KeePass – password manager

Password manager is a must have tool for an admin who end up logging to multiple windows logons, support portals, customer network, VPNs, FTP, his/her bank accounts etc…

So whats the big deal we can put all our passwords in an excel, notepad or doc. This would still work but it is one of the worst practices which must be avoided by us. Instead of getting in to insecurity hazards, switch to KeePass – one of the best password managers which I’ve used so far. Please check out the features like DB, encryption, algorithms mentioned in the website. This small yet powerful tool has become quintessential for me to maintain both professional and personal passwords.

The best thing of KeePass is its free and open source code. Switch to KeePass and keep your passwords safe and secure. BTW sneak peak at the awards / ratings given to this tool. Truly mind blowing…

In Indian terms its a Godrej Nav-taal standard lock which can’t be picked 🙂

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Converged Infrastructure (CI)

Hi All, let us recap from my previous blog, we are moving away from traditional storage and heading towards Converged Infrastructure.

Converged Infrastructure: Compute, Network and Storage are combined together as a unified product and supported by a single vendor. This helps customer to reach out to single vendor for above three technologies instead of multiple vendors. CI  provides pre-configured combo of hardware and software in a box by the single vendor and its collaborators.

CI solution provides guaranteed capacity and performance developed by industry’s best architects, developers and engineers. Customers can make right investment and procure exactly according to their capacity and performance required from CI. This avoids over-budgeting or under budgeting for the infrastructure hardware, software and support requirements.

CI is best suited for customers who wants to launch new services in shorter span of time and build new data centers or planning to migrate from existing traditional setup. CI ensures reduced cost, shorter deployments and lesser carbon foot print, cooling, power and rack space.

Please find below Gartner converged infrastructure magic quadrant:

VCE is the industry leader followed by some good competitors like Cisco-Netapp and Oracle placed under ‘Leaders’ quadrant. HP, IBM and Nutanix with its stack running on Dell servers are leading in the ‘Visonares’ quadrant followed by Simplivity.

Regardless of the vendors / products, compute, storage and networking are tightly coupled into a single rack of shared resources that can be pre-configured to customer needs. This helps customers to reduce their time for go to market or launch new infra setup in a days not weeks or months.

Though CI is good for greenfield and new DC’s, CIO’s handling old infra can’t get attracted to this solution. Since existing product life-cycles are vary from product to product that they have procured in their infrastructure setup. Also, there is high risk of losing ROI and TCO. Some of the architects are supporters of best of breed products which does not aid them to look at these type CI vendors / collaborators.

There is no doubt that these CI’s are more flexible, scalable and redundant which assures service and data availability. They are the next big thing in future data centers. Single-pane-of-glass management consoles, reference architectures and proven use cases helps customer to bring down cost in managing these converged infrastructure.

CI vendors like VCE are matured and doing well in the market because they have well defined approach and uses cutting edge technology in all three platforms. The secret of success for any CI product to Win the customers is to ensure that the product has the best interoperability between compute, storage and network which in-turns deliver scalability, high performance and data protection.

I request and encourage to share your views or discuss on this emerging technology platform by leaving your comments below.

Finally, if customer can get all such good things from converged infrastructure products then why do we need “Hyper” converged infrastructure products?

I’ll try to find out answers in my upcoming blog on Hyper Converged Infrastructure. Till then stay tuned for the next blog!!!

Death comes to traditional storage but lets welcome converged and hyper-converged infrastructure

We (Storage Admins) are in transition from logical entities to virtual entities. Every new storage product wants to have a name with prefix of “V”; to attract customer base to virtual world…

Traditional storage would be thing of the past very soon… Some of the storage vendors have declared EoL and EoSL for their traditional storage arrays longback. Since customers are looking for ease of manageability, software defined data centers and automation at all levels to cut down cost in managing operations, vendor support and etc…

Traditional storage could not survive the competition because of its predecessor’s features like

1. Virtual Provisioning, automated tiering and Flash storage

2. Federated storage

3. Mammoth storage capacity in a single array

4. Ease of administration and reduction in storage admins headcount !!

5. Advanced storage replication technologies

6. Scale up and scale out storage features

7. Lesser carbon footprint (thanks to 2.5″ disks)

8. High performance, redundancy and availability

9. Converged or tightly coupled with Network and Compute

10. Unified storage cater customer needs of Block, File and Content from single array

Irrespective of storage vendors, their development of new products have these buzz words like cloud compatible storage, virtualization and software defined storage etc.

What’s next?

1. Converged: Compute, Network and Storage are combined together as a unified product and supported by a single vendor. This helps customer to reach out to single vendor for above three technologies instead of multiple vendors. Converged infrastructure aids in easier management using a single management console for provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting. Another great advantage is that we can still liaise on dedicated management suites to manage compute, network and storage separately.

People who would manage these converged infrastructure would be called as CONVERGED ADMINS!!! Customers or service providers also have greater advantage of reducing workforce by ratio of 3:1 per product.

2. Hyper-Converged: A of set Compute nodes having virtual storage appliance manage JBODs in a high-end clustered network creating a high performance and redundant file system storage. This file system is presented to virtual machines either using iSCSI or NFS. By using hyper-converged infrastructure, customers can avoid setting up costly SAN network its management overheads.

Based on customer needs they can scale up and scale out without or minimal impact to production. Vendors provide ready to use hyper-converged box where customers don’t have to wait for implementation and deployment phase. Using cutting edge migration software tools, data migration takes less time and downtime too!

Caveats:

It is high time for us to shift gears up to learn and equip any hyper-visor knowledge along with getting acquainted to converged or hyper-converged solutions! Certifications are key to recognize individual’s caliber so our next short term goal is to do a certification on any of the above mentioned technologies ASAP!!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a fellow storage admin, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Also, if you have any other new product strategies similar to converged and hyper-converged solutions then let us know in the comments.

I’ll try to envision the converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions in my upcoming blog. Till then stay tuned for the next blog!!!