Intel X710 NICs Are Crap

(I’m grumpy this week and I’m giving myself permission to return to my blogging roots and complain about stuff. Deal with it.) In the not so distant past we were growing a VMware cluster and ordered 17 new blade servers with X710 NICs. Bad idea. X710 NICs suck, as it turns out. Those NICs do all sorts of offloads, and the onboard processor intercepts things like CDP and LLDP packets so that the OS cannot see or participate. That’s a real problem for ESXi hosts where you want to listen for and broadcast meaningful neighbor advertisements. Under Linux you can echo a bunch of crap into the right spot in /dev and shut that off but no such luck on …

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Fix the Security Audits in vRealize Operations Manager

(I’m grumpy this week and I’m giving myself permission to return to my blogging roots and complain about stuff. Deal with it.) Several bloggers have written about the Runecast Analyzer lately. I was crazy bored in a meeting the other day so instead of stabbing myself with my pen to see if I still feel things I decided to go check out their website. My interest piqued when I saw the screen shot where they show security hardening guideline compliance, as well as compliance with the DISA STIG for ESX 6. I do a lot of that crap nowadays. You know what my first thought was about the Runecast product, though? It was “This is what vRealize Operations Manager (vROPS) could …

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Redundant Gigabit Management NICs, Please

I’ve been doing a lot of system design work lately, building virtualization infrastructure for places where there is no pre-existing infrastructure available (also known as the revered “green field” deployment). One of the biggest issues I’ve had is that 10 Gbps switches can fall back to 1 Gbps when the proper transceiver is installed. However, they cannot go to 10 or 100 Mbps. “So what?” you ask. “Nobody in their right mind uses 10 or 100 Mbps anymore.” Management interfaces do, because the manufacturers haven’t bothered to update them to triple speed NICs (10/100/1000 Mbps). The Dell PowerVault 124T tape library can only do 10/100 Mbps. Brocade fibre channel switches, including their newest models, only have 10/100 Mbps capabilities on …

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Wish List

It looks like TechCrunch & USA Today blew an embargo on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 beta due to be released, and now lots of places are getting in on the action. I thought it’d be a good time to update my Lightroom wish list from version 4. The leaked posts mention a few new features that make it easier to retouch images, some automation around leveling photos (which would be a godsend for me, I cannot seem to take a level handheld vertical shot), and some catalog improvements. By & large, though, the announcements were pretty content-free, so I’ll definitely need to spin up a virtual machine to see what else they might have added.[0] Here’s my list of …

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Dear Google: I'm Not Changing My SSID

Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel, Google: I’ve considered your offer to not add my wireless network to your location database in exchange for appending “_nomap” to the SSID. I am rejecting it out of hand and laughing at the idea that this is “greater choice for wireless access point owners.” To start with, I’m not going to reconfigure all the wireless clients I support. I’m sorry that Google is facing increased scrutiny, legislation, and legal action for raping the world’s privacy in order to sell things, but changing an SSID is a big deal for everybody. Doesn’t matter if it’s grandma’s little wireless network or a giant intercontinental wireless hotspot setup, it’s a big pain in the ass to “protect” …

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Dear Microsoft: One Central Update Framework

Dear Microsoft, I really like Windows 7. A lot. It’s most of what I was looking for in Windows Vista, and a worthy successor to Windows XP. You left one big thing out, though. I have, beyond Windows itself, at least 28 applications that automatically check for updates: Adobe Acrobat, Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Lightroom, Apple iTunes, Apple Airport, Apple MobileMe, Apple Safari, Autopano Giga, Piriform CCleaner, Piriform Defraggler, Dell Client System Update, Evernote, Google Chrome, Metageek inSSIDer, Oracle Java,, LogMeIn Hamachi, Microsoft Security Essentials, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Skype, Tweetdeck, uTorrent, VanDyke SecureCRT, and VLC Media Player. My life is one big parade of pop-ups, warnings, toolbar installation offers, and auto-updaters. Would I …

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Dear Folks Affected by the 365 Main Outage

Dear companies who were affected by the 365 Main outage, That sucks. Been there, done that, and I hope everything came back up okay. I do have one comment, though: Next time don’t put up a “scheduled maintenance” page. We know it isn’t true. If it is you picked the worst maintenance window ever. 🙂 Believe it or not, we understand things like power outages, and how they’re freak, disruptive problems. Even a simple note about what is happening goes a long way to reassuring everybody that you’re on the job, fixing the problem. Thanks. …Your Customers

Dear Apple: Multi-Monitor Mac Minis

Dear Apple, I’ve been using a secondhand, older PPC Mac Mini for the last three months at home, replacing my homebuilt PC running Vista. I like it. It is simple, quiet, and small, and exactly what I need at home, where my computer acts more as a terminal and browser than anything. Plus, Vista sucks. I would buy a brand new one right now if it could drive two monitors. Yup, I’d be a Mac owner if that were true. But it isn’t. You made the iMac capable of dual displays. Can you do it for the Mac Mini, too? PLEASE?!? …Bob

Credits For Sysadmins In Shrek 3

Dear Dreamworks, I saw Shrek 3 tonight. It was funny as always. Good work! I’m the sort that watches an animated movie not only for the plot but for the way you rendered the water, sky, grass, hair, and shadows, and I was really impressed. I really liked the thought that was put into the light color, direction, and intensity for the different times of day. I also liked the the way light was cast on the “actors” and “set,” and some of the theatrical moments (like the panning to the light coming in the window when Shrek was in irons). I do theatrical lighting design as a hobby and those sorts of details really help tell the story and …

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