June 2007 Archives

Novell iPrint and Vista

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Novell has a TID:


In short, Vista has native IPP support. Unlike Linux, Vista's native IPP support supports both SSL and Authentication. So out of the box Vista can print to iPrint printers. It can't do the nifty automatic setup through a web page like iPrint allows, but at least it can print.

Back from vacation, part 2

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The downside to these vacations, especially ones with lots of other people, is the age old one Doctors know all to well.

"Oh, you work in computers?"

Those of you in the industry know the dread that phrase incurs. It means that you will shortly be asked a question about a computer problem, usually software. Or a strange error messages. Or a thingy that worked last week but just suddenly stopped. Any ideas? And in this age of laptops everywhere, even on vacation when there is zero WiFi coverage, the offending hardware can be whipped out for some on the spot troubleshooting.

The real demon of it is that while I do work "in computers", 95% of the questions I get from friends and relatives are for the part of "in computers" I don't do. Specifically, desktop OS and application support. I used to be able to do that sort of thing, but at the time I worked on a helpdesk doing that every day. Not any more.

What I do every day could be called "enterprise". One question I did field this weekend actually WAS near my area of speciality, someone wanted to know how to connect to a service hosted on a desktop machine behind their NAT router from the internet. For the rest, especially the Vista questions, I was singularly unhelpful.

For the OSS advocates out there, one guy did ask me about linux. His son had set him up with linux on a desktop system he gave him. Very nice, shows advocacy. Unfortunately, printing mysteriously stopped last week and did I know how to get it back? Um.... no. He didn't know what distribution he was using, or even if it was KDE or Gnome. How do you explain THAT? As with all things linux there are three completely different ways to set printing up, and each distro seems to configure it, or skin the configuration, its own way. It is much much harder to troubleshoot these things from the remove of a user who doesn't know the interface trying to describe it. In this case I'm pretty sure it was Ubuntu, and I've never used that distro.

So I'm considering revising my answer to the statement, "oh, you work in computers?" To, "no, I work in networks. Not the same thing." They'll still pitch their problems at me, but perhaps the expectation of getting a resolution will go down.

Back from vacation, part 1

The reason there haven't been any posts for the last 7 days is that I've been hanging out here:
Evening Fog
Which was quite nice. I even have the mosquito bites to prove that I had fun! It was relaxing.

And I come back to fine that OES2 hasn't released yet, but there is at least a public beta of the Novell Client for Vista out. Win one, lose one.
Announced in Cool Blogs.

On the Beta Page.



Still no word on when OES2 is coming out. This is somewhat disheartening, as I had heard at BrainShare that the OES2 release would be simultanious with the Novell Client for Vista release. At this point, it is looking like an August release for OES2, which soooo blows my schedule.

New Novell releases

Looks like Novell pushed several products out the door late Friday:
No OES2. No Client for Vista. But SP1 gets me closer to where I need to be.

NCL 2.0 is interesting since the current version is v1.2. The full rev of the version suggests that they made marked improvements to it. I have noticed that they offer both 32bit and 64 bit versions of the client, which I don't think 1.2 had.

Still waiting

Any day now OES2 will come out.

Any day now.

Any day now I'll get a paravirtualizable NetWare and will be able to run it through its paces.

Any day now I'll get to try and figure out how Xen virtualization of NetWare interacts with an HP MSA1500cs.

But not today.


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From what I can see, it's on the Red Carpet servers now!


I wonder if I can register against it? Hmmm....

SLES 10 SP1 is nigh! Nigh!

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There are a couple of highly interesting items available for download right now from download.novell.com.

SUSE Linux Enterprise On Microsoft's Virtual Hard Drive
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on Microsoft's Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) is a VHD image file that contains the latest release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server: SLES 10 SP1 with most available packages already installed. With this image you can run SLES 10 SP1 on your Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2.
While not interesting to me in that I don't use VHD, this is reportedly a SLES 10 SP1 build. If they've felt the need to release this, then SP1 must be out really soon.

iFolder 3.4 for SLED 10 SP1

The iFolderTM 3.4 client for SUSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP1 enables users to share their local files through a central Novell® iFolder 3.2 server. Users can create multiple iFolders, share each of the iFolders with other users, and specify each member's access right to the iFolder data. Users can also participate in iFolders that others share with them.

The iFolder 3.4 client for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP1 is available for 32-bit (i586) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. The client consists of three modules: iFolder, Nautilus, and Simias. Each of the compressed download files contains the three modules for the specified architecture.

To use the client, the user must also have an iFolder account on a Novell iFolder 3.2 server.

Again, we don't use iFolder, but this is the client that works with SP1. This is available for download right now.

Could we have SP1 out on Monday? Could OES2 (based on SLES10 SP1 code) be out Monday? We shall see, we shall see.

Quiet lately

The reason I haven't been posting much is that I haven't been up to much here at work. Most of my projects are waiting on other people to get done before I start. I found a really nifty tool that I want to try out a few times before I proclaim it to the heavens, so that's waiting on the right error condition before I do so.

In other news, there was a Slashdot article yesterday along the lines of, "What RAID, JBOD, or Whatnot should I use for my home storage center?"

There are two questions that drive my answer to this overall question:

1) Is the capacity you are shooting for larger than a single drive?
2) How important is write speed?

If you're looking at 1TB of space, you can do that several ways:
  • Buy a 1TB drive
  • Buy 2 500GB drives and use RAID0 to span them
  • Buy 3 500GB drives and use RAID5 to span them
  • Buy 2 1TB drives and RAID1 them
  • Buy 4 320GB drives and use RAID5 to span them
  • Buy 4 500GB drives and use RAID0+1 to span them
How important write-speed is to you will determine whether or not RAID5 is a good fit for you. As I've shown in previous benchmarks, even on enterprise SAN hardware the parity calculation limits how fast data can be committed to disk. I don't have benchmarks that compare, say Linux LUM RAID5 versus a hardware RAID5 controller to see which writes faster with a fast CPU so that will depend. In general, it is better to parallelize that where possible, which means a separate controller that performs the parity computation independent of the main CPU. For a media-center PC this means you can use your whole CPU to transcode that incoming raw video stream into MPEG4, without having to worry about CPU contention for writing to disk.

That said, the PCI-Express SATA RAID controllers that I can find on NewEgg all use software Raid5 through the storage driver when they support it. If you go PCI-X, that changes and you have several options in the $200-$400 range that will do true hardware RAID5.

Newegg puts a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB drive at $124, the 320GB of the same product line at $90, and the 1TB Hitachi Deskstar drive at $400.
  • ($400) Buy a 1TB drive
  • ($250) Buy 2 500GB drives and use RAID0 to span them
  • ($375+$250 = $625) Buy 3 500GB drives and use RAID5 to span them
  • ($800) Buy 2 1TB drives and RAID1 them
  • ($360+$250 = $610) Buy 4 320GB drives and use RAID5 to span them
  • ($500) Buy 4 500GB drives and use RAID0+1 to span them
In the above case, it is actually cheaper to get 4 500GB drives and use software RAID0+1 than it is to purchase an additional RAID controller with RAID5 offload, at least for the 1TB size. The down side is you're installing 4 drives in your case and that may push the limit to what you can fit. This is probably why the hardware RAID controllers don't really exist in the PCI-Express market, which is predominantly a desktop bus not a server bus.

Whether or not write performance is a big issue for you will tell you whether or not spending $375 for a software RAID5 makes sense over spending $250 for a non-redundant RAID0. How disastrous a hard-drive crash will be will tell you whether or not to spend the extra $250 for a redundant RAID0+1 setup.