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You may have heard about Dell Customized VMware ESXi images. For those who doesn’t know what’s really extra in Dell customized images, here you go:
Dell’s customization of VMware ESXi image includes adding new or updated VMware IOVP certified drivers relevant for Dell hardware and specific third party CIM providers from IHVs into the VMware ESXi image. The Dell customized ESXi images are certified by Dell through VMware’s program for OEM customization. In addition to the drivers and providers, Dell’s technical support information is updated via OEM customization process. Currently, the Dell-customized VMware ESXi Embedded ISO images for ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.x and ESXi 6.x do not include Dell OpenManage Server Administrator.
NOTE: CIM Providers integration is stopped from upcoming Dell Customized VMware ESXi images.
The main advantage of using the Dell customized image is that it carries the updated drivers as part of the Installation CD. However, customers can further update the driver versions based on the requirement and availability at the VMware website.
New Server Resources To The Rescue At The Dell TechCenter
Q: What one thing do all super heroes have in common? A: They’re all able to accomplish impossible feats for the greater good of humanity.
Here at Dell, we may not have the ability to fly, scale walls or run around in spandex (I think we can all appreciate that). What we do have are solutions that can help fight the TCO Terror, Diabolical Deployment Mastermind, or even the dreaded Dark Lord Density.
Say hello to a resource that can help fight those vigilantes.
Dell Tech Center… the Technical Superhero’s Dream
The Dell Tech Center has been home to Dell’s wide portfolio and has been serving technical users for years. From forums, to wikis, deployment guides, to best practice videos, the Tech Center is the weapon every technical super hero needs.
Super Charge the Data Center
Looking to learn more about virtualizing an environment, accelerating storage, increasing capacity or enhancing performance? We’ve got all that and more!
The PowerEdge server team has redesigned and launched the server pages to address technical user’s needs. With the entire PowerEdge portfolio broken down by form factor, commodity, or systems management, it’s easy to navigate the site and find relevant assets. In addition to that, we’ve added an icon system so finding assets that are relevant is quick and painless.
What’s in it for me?
Great question! We’ve designed the tech center server pages with technical users in mind. We’ve made it so that all of our resources are in one place. There are spec sheets, wikis, forums, and more. Not to mention all of our PowerEdge 13G technical whitepapers.
So go check us out and bookmark the site! Fight data center villains with weapons that are up to the task.
Building End-to-End Hadoop Solutions
By Mike King
Description: Here are some key considerations for creating a full-featured Hadoop environment—from data acquisition to analysis.
The data lake concept in Hadoop has a great deal of appeal. It’s a relatively low-cost, scale-out landing zone for many diverse types of data. Actually, I’ve yet to see a type of data one couldn’t put in Hadoop. Although most accessible data is highly structured, data can also be semi-structured or multi-structured. (To my way of thinking, technically there is no “unstructured” data, but that is a subject for another post.)
Data may be found internally or externally, and some of the best data is actually purchased from third-party providers that create data products. Don’t ignore this “for-fee” data as it may allow you to connect the pieces in ways you couldn’t do otherwise. In many cases the upfront cost is pale in comparison to the opportunity cost. (Hey, that’s “Yet another Idea for a Cool Blog Post” [YAIFACBP].)
Perhaps one of the richest parts of the Hadoop ecosystem is the ingest layer. In short, it’s how you get data into Hadoop from a source to a synchronization—that synchronization is where you are moving your data into Hadoop or into a data lake. Options for moving data include Sqoop, Flume, Kafka, Boomi, SSIS, Java, Spark Streaming, Storm, Syncsort, SharePlex, Talend and dozens of others.
While the ingestion is important, if all you do is fill your data lake you have failed. There are several different aspects you should strongly consider for your data lake. These include data quality, data governance, metadata, findability, organization, ILM, knowledge management and analytics. How one accounts for each of these points regarding data tooling is of little importance, as there are many ways to skin the cat and my way may not be best for you. Let’s examine each of them in order.
Data quality can be thought of as cleaning data. The old adage “garbage in – garbage out”—GIGO—aptly applies. Data dimensions must include accuracy, completeness, conformance, consistency, duplication, integrity, timeliness and value. When cleaning data, a suggestion would be to start with a few simple measures based on the dimensions for the data that matter most to you. Keys (primary, alternate, natural or surrogate) and identifiers (IDs) tend to be the most important attributes when considering data quality. These keys and IDs are also how we access our data. Think about the impact to your business when the keys or IDs are incorrect. Checking items against one or more metrics, standards, rules or validations will allow you to avoid the problems and remediate those that do occur via a closed-loop process.
Data governance involves the control, access and management of your data assets. Each business must outline and define its own process. As Albert Einstein once said, “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” I’d advise “data lakers” to start small and simple even if it’s only a spreadsheet that includes pre-approved users, sources, syncs and access controls maintained by your Hadoop administrator. Data governance is an imperative for every data solution implementation.
Metadata is “data about data” and is often misunderstood. As a quick definition, if one considers a standard table in Oracle, then the column names and table names are the metadata. The data values in the rows are data. Similarly for Hive. There are times when metadata is embedded in the payload, as with XML or JSON. A payload is simply all the data contained in a given transaction. A good practice when implementing a big data solution is to collect the disparate metadata in one place to enhance or enable management, governance, findability and more. The most common manner for collecting the disparate metadata is to do this is with a set of tables in your RDBMS.
Findability is generally implemented with search. In Hadoop this typically is either SOLR or elastic search. Elastic search is one of the newest additions in Hadoop and is far easier to learn and configure, although either method will work. Note that the search function is an imperative in any big data solution.
The next key is organization, and although this may sound a bit trite, it is a necessity. Developing a simple taxonomy and the rules on how you create and name your directories in HDFS is a great example of organization. Create and publish your rules for all to see. Note that those who skip this step will have unnecessary duplication, unneeded sprawl, lack of reuse and a myriad of other problems.
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is a continuum of what one does with data as it changes state, most typically over time. Think of data as something that is created, cleansed, enhanced, matched, analyzed, consumed and eventually deleted. As data ages its value and usage declines. With ILM one might store data in memory till it is cleansed and cataloged, then in a NoSQL database like Cassandra for 90 days, and finally compressed and stored in HDFS for two or more years before it is deleted.
Knowledge management is simply how one manages the knowledge garnered from data. All too often one might ask, “If we only knew what we know…..” Learning is something that has great value to the individual. In a company or organization we should leverage knowledge so that the value of the knowledge multiplies. Sharing knowledge makes others smarter and safer, and therefore more productive. In Hadoop, how do your users learn about components like Hive, Sqoop and Pig? How do they share their tips with others? There are many more questions to ask, and using a “wiki” allows the secure knowledge sharing and management.
The next aspect in a big data solution is arriving at the stage where we can begin to analyze the data. When we arrive at this step we begin to build the insights into the data that allow users to see the fruits of their labors. The consumers of our data lake, like analysts and data scientists, should now have matured to using the data to begin to build the business, protect the business and understand their customers in a more comprehensive manner. Ultimately, driving data-driven insights allows users to be e more productive, make better decisions and get better results.
Mike King is a Dell EMC Enterprise Technologist specializing in Big Data and Analytics
Updated monthly, this publication provides you with new and recently revised information and is organized in the following categories; Documentation, Notifications, Patches, Product Life Cycle, Release, Knowledge Base Articles.
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Product Release Notification – vWorkspace 8.6.2
Type: Patch Release Created: September 2016
212395 - Drive redirection in the Windows Connector is slow
When using drive redirection in the Windows connector it may be slow to browse the user's local drives from the remote session.
Created: September 14, 2016
212629 - Universal Printers are not created in the remote session
When using the Universal printer (UP) redirection, local printers are not created in the remote session. When enabling logging in the UP applet...
Created: September 20, 2016
Revised: September 9, 2016
70481 - HOW TO: Secure Access Certificate Configuration
Revised: September 20, 2016
88999 - Where can I find the vWorkspace PowerShell module and information on the supported features?
Where can I find the vWorkspace PowerShell module and information on the supported features?
Revised: September 23, 2016
131760 - How to enforce two-factor authentication for all External clients but not for internal clients
Is it possible to enforce two-factor authentication (2FA) for ALL Internet clients - regardless of if they connect via the external Web Interface...
Revised: September 27, 2016
73446 - How To: Improve Performance to a Virtual Desktop VDI Session
When connecting to a VDI over a slow connection, users report that the performance on the VDI is degraded, or sessions are disconnected often.
Revised: September 29, 2016
Product Life Cycle
Product Life Cycle - vWorkspace
Revised: September 28, 2016
This blog will help illustrate the performance impact of Processor and Memory selection on the PowerEdge FC630. First closely examine the table below, you will notice with higher TDP processors the heatsinks cover portions of memory channels 2 and 3 on each processors installed.
This reduction in available memory slots is normally not a problem given total memory configurations of less than 256GB, as long as only memory channel 1 (i.e. sockets with white release tabs) are populated.
But as you can see in the following figure when the 104mm heat sink is installed, four memory slots on each processor socket are physically blocked. These particular DIMM sockets span across memory channels 2 and 3 (i.e. the black and green release tab memory slots).
If any memory slots beside the white slots (A1-4 & B1-4) are then populated, an unbalanced memory configuration will occur resulting in memory clock rate reduction and a dramatic drop in overall bandwidth performance. See the following Blog for comparative measurements:
The picture below better illustrates how the heat sink block the memory slots in the PE FC630
Since the 104mm heatsinks cover 4 of the black and green memory slots on both Processors, placing memory in the black and green memory slots can cause memory performance problems. The only way to correct this problem on higher-end processors with TDP’s of 135 watts and above is to use only the white release tab memory slots in the PE FC630, this may require the use of 64GB DIMMs on some memory configurations.
Unbalanced memory configuration will be caused in two ways, not enough DIMMS in a channel and too many channels being activated. The first occurs when there are not enough DIMMs populated in the channel. When the black release tab memory slots (i.e. memory channel 2) on both processors are used, the memory channel will be unbalanced because we are missing two DIMMS in channel 2 on both processors, this generally causes the memory performance to be cut by around 73%.
Three DIMMs per channel will happen, when memory channel 2 and 3 are used on both processors. This drops the memory bus speed from 2400Mhz on an E5-26xx v4 to 1866 MHz and from 2133MHz on an E5-26xx v3 to 1600 MHz in some cases. The memory bus speeds quoted here can be different depending on the ranking of the memory, see the table below to better understand how memory ranking choices can affect memory speed.
The last thing that can affect memory bus speed and performance is the maximum speed at which the memory controller in the processor can run, see table below for more details. The E5-2600’s memory controller has a wide range, at the bottom the low-end E5-2600 v3’s processors start at 1600 MHz and at the top the high-end E5-2600 v4’s processors go up to 2400MHz.
An Example would be the PE FC630 has 2400MHz memory installed in memory channel 1, but the system has E5-2609v4 processors, the 2400MHz memory with only run at 1866MHz on the current configuration and will fall to 1600MHz if you install memory in all 3 memory channels. Consult the table below to see the max memory bus speed of the processor that you might be considering or is currently installed in your system.
The table below shows how adding more memory can cause the memory bus speed to drop. For instance if you have sixteen 8GB 2400MHz R DIMMs in the FC630 for a total of 128GB and you need another 32GB of system memory. To do this you add eight more 8GB 2400MHz R DIMMs in the green release tab slots (i.e. memory channel 3) of the PE FC630, the memory speed will drop from 2400MHz to 1866MHz, this causes around a 23% decrease in memory performance. If your application is memory sensitive it would have been better to replace the DIMMs in memory channel 1 (i.e. sockets with white release tabs) with 16GB R DIMMs, instead of add the 8GB R DIMMs to Memory channel 3 (i.e. sockets with green release tabs)
In summary, the memory controller in the E5-26xx processor supports many DIMM configuration, but to maximize the memory performance on the PowerEdge FC630, you must consider all of these limitations. To better understand the memory configurations available on the PowerEdge FC630 please consult the User’s Guide at http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/product-support/product/poweredge-fc630/
vWorkspace 8.6.2 is a minor relase, with enhanced features and functionality.
Wyse vWorkspace 8.6.2 is available as a Patch Installer and a Full Installer version.
Customers with active maintenance may download the latest version from here: https://support.software.dell.com/vworkspace/download-new-releases
The Product information for Wyse vWorkspace is available here: https://support.software.dell.com/vworkspace/release-notes-guides
With the recent release, the WSM Role now supports the following Client Operating Systems:
The WSM Admin can now do OS capture/streaming, DIA Application capture/mounting and Virtual User Profile mounting on Windows10 both 32 and 64 bit OS Architecture.
For the complete list of features added, please review the vWorkspace 8.6.2 Product Documentation, available here: https://support.software.dell.com/vworkspace/release-notes-guides
What is it?
Content filtering is a vital piece of the security puzzle that has other added benefits such as the ability to block productivity-killing websites or limit the bandwidth to specific categories of sites such as streaming video. SonicWALL offers two content filtering options to help better protect end-users and their devices.
SonicWALL Content Filtering Service (CFS) is a firewall-based security application that enables organizations to control access to malicious and inappropriate domains and URLs or limit the bandwidth to specific categories on the internet.
SonicWALL Content Filtering Client (CFC) performs like CFS but can be separate from the firewall. It allows enforcement of web policies for devices outside of the firewall, such as at home or a coffee shop. In addition, it has the unique capability of providing contextual policy enforcement: roaming devices automatically switch from cloud-based policies to firewall policies when they are brought into the network and vice versa.
How is it built?
SonicWALL content filtering services allow administrators to configure domain policies to block or limit the bandwidth on specific categories based on customized preference. SonicWALL maintains a database of millions of domains and URLs and rate thousands of domains on a daily basis. Our database is formed from customer submissions and from sites that were found with our web crawlers. Naturally, all of these submissions are evaluated by our team of reviewers and are placed into one of 64 pre-defined categories that range from “Malware” to “Pornography” to “Violence.”
How does it work?
Content Filtering at SonicWALL is based on a rating architecture that relies on a dynamic database to block objectionable or inappropriate websites. The technology cross-references all websites as they are requested against a vast and highly accurate database of URLs, IP addresses and domains. The SonicWALL firewall then receives a rating in real time, and compares that rating to the local policy setting. The appliance will then either allow, deny or throttle the bandwidth of the request, based on locally configured policies.
In the case of access restriction on CFS, there is an administrative password that can be used to go beyond the block page; helpful to educators who want material on sensitive subjects.
Examples of Content Filtering in Action:
Why do people use it?
Organizations choose SonicWALL because we are the only vendor that provides contextual awareness filtering. Our products can filter based on your location; inside the network (CFS) or outside (CFC). We automatically switch web filter policies depending on where the user is located. Additionally, our CFC license allows you to select Windows, Mac OS or Chrome OS upon set up to alleviate the need to purchase separate licenses based on the operating system of a device. Furthermore, CFS comes as a standalone offer but also packaged in Advanced Gateway Security Suite (AGSS) to enable you to have a host of security solutions bundled together. Because of its association with SonicWALL firewalls and services, CFS offers a lower total cost of ownership than competing solutions.
Want to Learn More?
Please visit our security services page for more information on what is available to our customers. Download our datasheet covering both CFS and CFC. If you would like to take a higher level look at security, then I recommend our technical brief on K-12 school district network security.
This blog is a continuation of the blog series 1) Introduction to Ansible and 2) Ansible concepts overview and useful tips for writing playbooks.
In this blog, I cover Ansible Galaxy and point to useful roles in Galaxy to install and configure popular applications. I also share a role I created to add the official Dell repositories for Dell System Update (DSU) and OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) on Red Hat Enterprise Server (RHEL) and Ubuntu Server.
Ansible Galaxy is an online repository where you can share roles with others and download roles that others have written to install and configure just about any application you want to use. You can click here to see the most popular roles for managing applications, which include nginx, Jenkins and redis, just to mention a few.
Since Ansible can also be used for tasks other than managing installing and applications, roles can be used for doing a variety of system administration tasks like configuring networking, managing containers and virtual machines, beefing up system security and cleaning up log files.
Creating a role is beyond the scope of this blog, but after going through the documentation you should be ready to create a role in no time (this blog was useful too). Once you have created your first role, put it in a git repository and upload it to GitHub. Since you can link your GitHub account with Galaxy, adding a role in Galaxy is done by importing your repository in GitHub from the Galaxy management page.
Role to add Dell repositories
I created the dellreposetup role in Ansible Galaxy to add the official Dell repositories for installing DSU, which includes OMSA and firmware updates for your Dell PowerEdge servers. To install the role on your control machine, run:
$ ansible-galaxy install jose-delarosa.dellreposetup
Note: If you are behind a corporate proxy server and are having problems installing roles from Galaxy, upgrade to Ansible v2.1 to solve the issue.
To incorporate this role to your existing playbooks, add:
# I assume a ‘dell’ group exists in /etc/ansible/hosts – see documentation
- hosts: dell
- role: jose-delarosa.dellreposetup
This role checks for a supported Linux distribution, adds the Dell repositories, installs DSU and OMSA, enables and starts services and opens firewall ports as needed. When all tasks are completed, your PowerEdge server will be ready to be monitored by OMSA and you should be able to run DSU (available on RHEL only) to upgrade the system firmware.
The apt repositories for Ubuntu Server are not yet supported by Dell, however, they have been available for years and have proven very useful for customers. Though the Ubuntu repositories should also work on Debian Wheezy and Jessie, I didn’t add support for Debian in this role but I will as soon as I have verified that it works.
Please note that this Ansible role is not supported by Dell, it is provided as a convenience to all our customers who use Ansible playbooks to manage their IT infrastructure. To report any problems, please submit an issue on the GitHub repository site.
Next: Ansible vs. Puppet
In my next Ansible blog, I will do a high-level comparison of Ansible vs. Puppet and explain which configuration management solution might be better suited for your environment.
As I was driving home the other day one of my children spotted a house with Halloween decorations on it. While that holiday is still a few weeks away, it does get you to think about the ones that follow and their potential impact on your organization. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weekend in between kick off the unofficial holiday shopping season which goes until the end of the year. Add in Thanksgiving and we’re looking at a lengthy period of consumer shopping, much of which is done online.
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers to put this into perspective. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in 2015:
The expectation for 2016 is similar – higher sales and an increase in the use of mobile devices for online shopping which is great news for retailers. Interestingly, despite the growth in mobile transactions, the NRF found that online purchases using desktops still brought in the highest transaction size during the 2015 holiday season. Either way, there continues to be a transition toward online purchasing even when consumers collect their items at the store.
In an earlier blog I touched on three potential impacts online shopping by employees during Black Friday and other holidays can have on organizations – loss of productivity, bandwidth consumption and network security. Let’s take a closer look at the affect it can have on security.
No matter the device they use – desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone – anytime employees shop online at work over the corporate network it introduces risk. Inadvertently downloading malware from websites, even those that are known to be legitimate sites, is a very real danger. Hackers are continually finding new ways to develop more sophisticated versions of threats such as viruses, worms, and Trojans that can evade detection. One tactic they use to deliver these threats is phishing emails which lure recipients into clicking on a link in an email that appears to be legitimate. Once the employee complies, the malware is downloaded onto the device and it can spread throughout a network. Phishing emails are very popular during the holidays, often disguised as retailer promotions. According to a Prosper Insights & Analytics Post-Holiday Consumer Survey, 24% of respondents said they visited a website they shopped on last holiday season through an email promotion. Clearly hackers have learned that email promotions are popular with online shoppers.
Another threat you’re likely to hear more about during the holiday season is ransomware. This attack uses malware that denies access to data or systems unless the victim pays a ransom to the cybercriminal. Without access to files, data or entire systems most organizations can’t function. Some victims pay the ransom and if only a few systems are affected the cost can be manageable. But imagine the price if you have hundreds or even thousands of networked devices. It’s enough to put some organizations out of business.
Whether we like it or not, employees will use the devices available to them to shop online during Black Friday and other holidays. When they do it from the office or store, most likely they will use your organization’s network to connect to the Internet and this introduces risk. Fortunately there are steps every organization can take to secure their network and protect themselves and their customers from threats like phishing attacks and ransomware during the holiday online buying season. Deploying a SonicWALL next-generation firewall with our Capture Advanced Threat Protection service stops unknown and zero-day threats before they can enter your network.
If you would like to learn more about the threats online shopping at work poses to security, bandwidth and productivity, download and read our executive brief, “How Black Friday puts your network at risk.”