Dell Desktop Authority v.9.3 is now live!
We're happy to announce the release of a Windows 10 ready Desktop Authority v.9.3. We've also made some performance enhancements and opened up features in certain licenses. Have a look!
Support for New Platforms
Desktop Authority 9.3 now supports:
SQL Server 2014 and
Exchange Server 2013
Enhancements and Improvements
We've added the MSI Packages feature to Standard version
We've added Hardware/Software Inventory & Reporting to Standard version
We've also enabled the USB/Port Security feature for all Standard and Professional licenses
We've spent some time implementing performance improvements. In this release, we've fixed issues that customers have reported and have found and fixed numerous intermittent bugs, performance bottlenecks, and stability issues.
See Release Notes for a complete list.
New to the product? Ready to try it in your own environment?
There’s an old saying: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
If you’re tired of spending your nights and weekends performing Oracle upgrades and migrations, struggling to minimize downtime and business impact, and worrying about what might happen if the migration fails, it’s time to shake things up. You don’t have limit yourself to old habits and old tools that don’t deliver the results you need. To get different results — better results — you need new approaches and new tools.
For example, the traditional way to reduce the impact of a migration on the business is to schedule resource-intensive tasks during times of low activity. But before you just accept all those long evenings and weekends in the office, look into newer technologies, such as near real-time replication, that can minimize the migration’s impact on the business — and your personal life.
Lest we throw out the baby with the bathwater, let’s take a hard look at the traditional methods for performing upgrades and migrations and determine whether and when they are helpful:
In short, while each of these tools has value in certain specific scenarios, all of them are complex or resource-intensive, require lengthy downtime of production systems, or work only for Oracle databases. Fortunately, you don’t have to limit yourself to these traditional tools. In my next blog, I’ll explain why investing in an enterprise tool is a smart alternative.
You can also learn more in our new e-book, “Simplify Your Migrations and Upgrades: Part 2: Choosing a fool-proof method and toolset.”
About Steven Phillips
With over 15 years in marketing, I have led product marketing for a wide range of products in the database and analytics space. I have been with Dell for over 3 years in marketing, and I’m currently the product marketing manager for SharePlex. As data helps drive the new economy, I enjoy writing articles that showcase how organizations are dealing with the onslaught of data and focusing on the fundamentals of data management.
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If you’re like most system administrators, you’ll never have Mike Tyson working on your Exchange migration or Active Directory migration project. But when he says, “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth,” you’d better know he’s talking about you. And your project.
As a system administrator or IT manager, you almost always have migration projects on your radar, and some of the 2016 releases from Microsoft (think: Exchange, Windows Server, SharePoint) may be coming into your environment soon.
Have you got a plan? Are you ready in case you get punched in the mouth?
Active Directory and Exchange Recovery Plans
Think about a few things that can go wrong in an AD migration or Exchange migration:
None of that hurts as much as being punched in the mouth, but why run the risk when you can put in place an Exchange recovery plan using Windows recovery software before any of it happens?
Implementing Recovery Manager for Exchange and Recovery Manager for Active Directory lets you do three things to ensure your migration goes smoothly:
Recovery Manager is like buying insurance against the things that can go wrong in your migration project. Since there’s no such thing as a perfect project, recovery software is a good way to keep your Exchange migration or AD migration plan intact and on schedule.
Planning an Exchange or AD Migration? New Tech Brief
Which Windows migration projects are on your horizon? Have you devised a migration plan yet? More important, how about a recovery plan?
Have a look at our new tech brief, Planning an Exchange or AD Migration? Three Reasons to Include a Plan for Recovery. You’ll see in greater detail how a recovery plan can help you overcome getting punched in the mouth mid-project. You’ll also see real-world scenarios in which sysadmins have used Recovery Manager to get email back and keep their migration projects on schedule.
What you won’t see is Mike Tyson. When we wrote the tech brief, he was still on bed rest. After all, everyone has a plan till they get punched by a hoverboard.
Mobility Tranquility is the state we want to put you in. It’s where you are when you’re using the Spotlight mobile app to monitor the performance of your SQL Server instances anytime, from anywhere.
Spotlight collects SQL Server performance data from all layers – SQL Server, Windows, VM layer/Hyper-V, Analysis Services, High Availability, Replication and SQL Azure – then summarizes it in dashboards that make it easy for DBAs to execute basic troubleshooting tasks:
We’ve taken the highest-level, most urgent functions of Spotlight and built them into our mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. You can pull out a smartphone or tablet anywhere at any time and monitor SQL Server performance, no matter how far away your servers are located.
In my previous post, I described the heatmap in the app that shows you which of your instances are most in need of attention:
You can touch any tile for high-level information about what’s going on inside the instance. More important, you’ll see specific notifications and alarms coming from the instance. In this example, database ADWorks12_DBM has some mirroring problems you’d better address:
You then access a deeper layer of diagnostics for sorting and grouping notifications:
As with the heatmap and everything we build into Spotlight, our goal is to make it easy for you to find any SQL Server performance problems as quickly as possible and start troubleshooting right away. Sorting and grouping of diagnostics is now available in the iOS app and will soon appear in the Android and Windows Mobile apps.
Our own Peter O’Connell conducted a webcast called SQL Server DBAs: Do you have Mobility Tranquility? You can listen as Peter takes you through the mobile app and describes the freedom it gives DBAs to “monitor SQL Server performance back at the office while out on a boat in Galway Harbor, being rained on and getting hypothermia.” Peter never lets a good time get in the way of monitoring his databases.
Watch the webcast for a lively overview of the Spotlight mobile app, Spotlight for SQL Server Enterprise and Spotlight Essentials.
The mature and stable backup market has seen an influx of innovative technologies over the past few years and organizations can now choose a mix of backup technologies that are just right for them. Backup-to-tape is slowly being phased out and replaced with disk-based backup targets, and backup appliances and cloud services are also being added to the mix.
IDC's recent survey of storage managers shows that 30% of European organizations are already using backup-as-a-service and that a further 43% are planning to add cloud services to their mix of backup technologies in the next 12 months.
With so many options to choose from, it can be a challenge to design a future-proof backup strategy. Here are three key points to consider when choosing your next backup solution:
Ultimately, your new backup solution should give you the flexibility to take advantage of any backup technology that you want to deploy, and leverage the benefits of cloud if you want to use cloud services or, if you are not already using cloud services, provide the option to do so in the future, when the time is right for your organization.
If you would like to learn more about the characteristics of a future-proof backup strategy, download our complimentary white paper, “Choosing the Right Public Cloud for Better Data Protection”.
About Carla Arend
Carla Arend is a program director with the European software and infrastructure research team, responsible for managing the European storage research and co-leading IDC's European cloud research practice. Arend provides industry clients with key insight into market dynamics, vendor activities, and end-user trends in the European storage market, including hardware, software and services. As part of her research, she covers topics such as software-defined storage, OpenStack, flash, cloud storage, and data protection, among others..
View all posts by Carla Arend |
Congratulations to Jim Ganthier, Dell’s vice president and general manager of Cloud, HPC and Engineered Solutions, who was recently selected by HPCWire as a “2016 Person to Watch.” In an interview as part of this recognition, Jim offered his insights, perspective and vision on the role of HPC, seeing it as a critical segment of focus driving Dell’s business. He also discussed initiatives Dell is employing to inspire greater adoption through innovation, as HPC becomes more mainstream.
There has been a shift in the industry, with newfound appreciation of advanced-scale computing as a strategic business advantage. As it expands, organizations and enterprises of all sizes are becoming more aware of HPC’s value to increase economic competitiveness and drive market growth. However, Jim believes greater availability of HPC is still needed for the full benefits to be realized across all industries and verticals.
As such, one of Dell’s goals for 2016 is to help more people in more industries to use HPC by offering more innovative products and discoveries than any other vendor. This includes developing domain-specific HPC solutions, extending HPC-optimized and enabled platforms, and enabling a broader base of HPC customers to deploy, manage and support HPC solutions. Further, Dell is investing in vertical expertise by bringing on HPC experts in specific areas including life sciences, manufacturing and oil and gas.
Dell is also offering its own brand muscle to draw more attention to HPC at the C-suite level, and will thus accelerate mainstream adoption - this includes leveraging the company’s leading IT portfolio, services and expertise. Most importantly, the company is championing the democratization of HPC, meaning minimizing complexities and mitigating risk associated with traditional HPC while making data more accessible to an organization’s users.
Here are a few of the trends Jim sees powering adoption for the year ahead:
A great example of HPC outside the world of government and academic research is aircraft and automotive design. HPC has long been used for structural mechanics and aerodynamics of vehicles, but now that the electronics content of aircraft and automobiles is increasing dramatically, HPC techniques are now being used to prevent electromagnetic interference from impacting performance of those electronics. At the same time, HPC has enabled vehicles to be lighter, safer and fuel efficient than ever before. Other examples of HPC applications include everything from oil exploration to personalized medicine, from weather forecasting to the creation of animated movies, and from predicting the stock market to assuring homeland security. HPC is also being used by the likes of FINRA to help detect and deter fraud, as well as helping stimulate emerging markets by enabling growth of analytics applied to big data.
Again, our sincerest congratulations to Jim Ganthier! To read the full Q&A, visit http://bit.ly/1PYFSv2.
Successfully Running ESXi from SD Card or USB – Part 2
In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed some items that need to be addressed to successfully run ESXi from an SD card or USB drive. Most specifically the syslog files, core dump, and VSAN traces files (if VSAN is enabled).
This post will discuss some options to address each one and various pros and cons to each method. Unfortunately there is no definitive answer. Since each infrastructure can and will be different it is nearly impossible for me, Dell, or VMware to say exactly what you should do. The intent of the information below is to help give you options on how to manage these files. These are by no means the only options.
How do we manage these files, so they are persistent?
Remember, not every solution above will work in your environment. But I do strongly advise doing something to protect, at the very least, the core dumps and VSAN trace files. These are two key items that either VMware support will require to help resolve issues that may come up. With the available free options it is cheap insurance for what could be a terrible support/troubleshooting session.
Look for the third and final blog in this series where I will show you how to configure some of the infrastructure discussed above.
Recently, we have received questions about why our VSAN Ready Nodes don’t have local drives dedicated to running ESXi. This post will provide some guidance on how to successfully deploy an ESXi host running from a SD card, such as Dell IDSDM solution, or USB drive.
This method is fully supported as long as you take into account some requirements and recommendations. Dell takes this one step further with the Integrated Dual Secure Digital Module (IDSDM). This module can support up to two 16GB SD cards and can protect them in a RAID 1 configuration. This means you get all the benefits of running ESXi from a SD card, with hardware-enabled redundancy as well.
This post was originally going to focus only on our Ready Node architecture, but I felt it prudent to discuss this particular topic on a more general scale. Items relevant to VSAN are discussed but obviously if your host is not enabled with VSAN then any items pertaining to VSAN can be ignored.
Requirements to install ESXi on SD/USB
ESXi Scratch Partition
The ESXi scratch partition is used by ESXi to store syslog files, core dump files, VSAN trace files, and other files. The most important to manage SD/USB boot are:
What are these three items? And why do I care?
So why do we have to “manage” these files? Doesn’t ESXi just store them on the SD/USB drive?
Not by default. When ESXi is installed to a SD/USB device, the scratch partition is not created on the drive itself, but in a RAMDisk. A RAMDisk is a block storage device dynamically created within the system RAM. This device is mounted to the root file system for the ESXi installation to use.
There is one exception to this rule. In failure scenarios other than complete system failure, the VSAN trace files are written to the locker partition on the SD/USB drive. These trace files are written in order from newest to oldest until the locker partition is full. This won’t necessarily capture all the VSAN trace files as the VSAN trace files can be much larger than the locker partition.
Part 2 of this blog will discuss some different methods/software to address the management of the files we have discussed. Look for it coming soon. Once it is posted I will link it HERE.
Did you come across a failure “Error : Permission denied“ while upgrading from one version of ESXi to a later version as noted in the screenshot below ?
Wondering what might be causing this !! ? This blog points out the details of the error and a potential solution to overcome this failure. This is generally seen on hardware configurations where ESXi is installed on a USB device and there is no HDD/LUN exposed to the system during first boot of ESXi.
The reason for this error is ESXi creates a partition number 2 of partition ID ‘fc‘ (coredump) during 1st boot when ESXi doesn’t detect a harddisk / LUN. Here is an example of how the partition table look like in this scenario.
Where vmhba32 is the device name for the USB storage device.
Refer to VMware KB to know more about the partition types. During upgrade, the installer see the partition #2 and it tries to format it as vfat thinking that it’s a scratch partition. The format triggers the error “Permission denied“.
Now how do I resolve it ? Here you go.
The first step is to reassign the coredump partition to a different partition other than #2. The commands shown in the below screenshot does the same.
As you see the coredump partition is reassigned and made active on 7th partition. Now, it’s time to remove the 2nd partition from the partition table.
There you go. Now upgrading ESXi to a later version is seamless and will not end up in permission denied error.
Back in the early 90’s, I began my professional career working for a payroll tax company. Soon after, I began to realize what corporate life was – the pluses and minuses. I also realized the coffee provided at the office was going to be a lot more cost-effective for me than multiple cans of soda each morning. Wearing a tie, drinking coffee; who was this person I saw in the mirror every day?
As I mentioned, there were many pluses and minuses to corporate life. At a superficial level, I learned I didn’t really enjoy wearing a tie. Who does? Beyond that, I’m not going to bore you with any of the minuses I’ve found because, in all honesty, I don’t think it would be a useful exercise. Also, if I’ve learned one thing in my career and in life it’s this; focus on the positive relationships you can build.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work alongside some incredible individuals. Many of them shaped my early years involved in technology, mentoring me in computer operations, different technologies, and even time management. A few of them even attended my wedding.
I can think back and remember so many things about these people, from printing payroll tax forms on special printers that only one of us could figure out, to the day when their children came into their lives. The connections with these friends has been a constant in my career and my life.
Now here’s the kicker, three of us still work together here at Dell Software. If you asked Randy, Steve, or I 20 years ago if we’d all still be working together we probably would have laughed.
So take a minute to think of the personal relationships you’ve been fortunate enough to build over the years. Work to keep the relationships you have, whenever possible. Take time to learn something interesting about your coworker; who knows – you may still be friends with them 20+ years from now!