Intel CPU Design Flaw, Performance Degradation, Security Updates

I was just taking a break and reading some tech news and I saw a wonderfully detailed post from El Reg (link below) about an Intel CPU design flaw and impending crisis-level security updates to fix it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the fix for the problem is estimated to decrease performance by 5% to 30%, with older systems being the hardest hit. Welcome to 2018, folks. In short, an Intel CPU tries to keep itself busy by speculating about what it’s going to need to work on next. On Intel CPUs (but not AMD) this speculative execution doesn’t properly respect the security boundaries between the OS kernel and userspace applications, so you can trick an Intel processor into letting …

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My Kind of March Madness

I’m not much for basketball but I laughed when my friends at Solarwinds emailed me about their version of March Madness. They’ve got a Sci-Fi Bracket going on which is totally my style.

For the people that have voted already, I do believe you’re smoking crack in at least five instances:

Statistics Rollups Are Evil

It’s pretty common for statistics-gathering software, like MRTG, Cacti, VMware vCenter, etc. to roll statistics up over time by averaging them. This helps save space, as well as cut down on the processing needed to look at & graph the data. The problem is that the process is lossy. These systems save disk, memory, and CPU by averaging the data over longer and longer time periods. Those averages remove spikes and make the data less and less representative of what actually happened on your system or network. It also makes it damn near useless for planning and troubleshooting. Let’s start with an example I drew up in Excel to simulate something like vCenter recording an application server’s CPU load every …

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CMDBs Suck: Keeping Track of Servers, Applications, Addresses

My third post over at thwack, the Solarwinds forums, is up, asking how you keep track of servers, applications, IP addresses, warranties, etc. It could also be titled as “CMDBs Suck.” This is one area that everybody does differently, and there’s some good stuff going on. There’s also some ridiculous stuff going on. I think people put too much information into their CMDBs, particularly information that the CMDB cannot be authoritative for, so it gets out of sync. On the other hand, CMDBs often don’t have complete information about applications, so a sysadmin gets called for everything when it should really be the app guy. I want to hear about it, and I thought it’d be a good way to …

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Is it possible to have too much monitoring?

In the category of shameless self-promotion[0] I’m one of the SolarWinds thwack Ambassadors for the month of March, and I’ve posted my first discussion topic, asking whether it’s possible to ever have too much monitoring. If you’re not familiar with thwack it’s the SolarWinds community site, it’s great. I’ve been in orbit around SolarWinds since Networking Tech Field Day #1, and I’m happy to take a few topics that are more discussion-oriented and post them over there. SolarWinds also has a whole bunch of free tools there, like a Wake-On-LAN tool I’ve used to wake my VMware ESXi hosts up from standby, a VM-to-Cloud calculator to let you see how expensive it would be to take all your VMs and …

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Thoughts on the VMTN Subscription Idea

Mike Laverick has started something of a campaign to bring back the VMTN Subscription, which was something like the Microsoft TechNet or MSDN models. I’m a TechNet subscriber and for $349 I get access to most everything Microsoft has. For testing purposes this is great. I don’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with activation timeouts, I can just test things and leave the my own test environment up and running for when I want to test new VMware Tools, or whatever. I think that’s fair, since I buy real Windows licenses for every other VM that I have (dev, test, QA, production, etc.). Right now, if you want a test environment your options are to pay for …

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Why Your Company Should Be A Part of Tech Field Day

Next week I will be participating in my third Tech Field Day, this one in Austin, TX. It’s a great opportunity for both independent bloggers and companies. Here are four big reasons I think more companies should be participating in Tech Field Day. 1. The ability for actual users, and potential users, to give you direct feedback. Who is your company listening to for feedback? How does your company get feedback from actual users of your products, or potential users of your products? If it’s through your marketing or PR channels you might be getting a filtered version. Analysts are good, but in many cases they’re not actually going to use your product. With Tech Field Day there’s no filter. …

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