Martin’s Weblog

video confession 10

 “The Network is the Computer” – we have always connected everything but are preparing for a paradigm shift to “The Network is our computer” (1) by anticipating and encouraging the use of web 2 systems. Such use will demand more of our network and of our systems.To prepare the college has started some major upgrades and developments – over the next 12 months we are:

* Upgrading inter-site circuits from 100Mbps to 1Gbps (to cope with higher demand)

* Installing physically diverse inter-site and internet backup connections (to improve continuity)

* Re-engineering our routing and Internet access (to offer new features)

* Installing new core switches from Extreme (to cope with higher demand, improve reliability and add features)

* Installing new Wireless access from Aruba (to cope with higher demand, improve speed, reliability and coverage)

* using Virtual systems (to offer a quicker response to new system deployment and improve continuity).

Virtual machines have proved to have real benefits and at the college we have been using virtual servers and desktops in development, to deploy services faster and to improve continuity.

One of the pressures on IT systems these days is the tremendous demand for storage and I anticipate that virtualisation can help with this too. Interestingly, networking plays a key role in recent virtual storage scenarios.

One form of storage virtualisation is to treat it as a service and make use of massive external systems like Google (use Google Docs, Youtube video), Flickr for photo’s and Microsoft Livespace for file storage. However, the pressure for ever increasing internal storage continues and I will be looking at two systems.

The easiest place to start with standard file storage where space rather than performance is the issue – things like user home folders (Z: drive), shared file storage like our “Pool” folders (P: drive), technicians storage area and the media storage areas (where marketing and the design team keep lots of photos and videos). For this standard large NAS (Network Attached Storage) should give us what we are looking for and I shall be looking at NAS first.

Another interesting option is to look at virtual storage for virtual servers where performance is not crucial – for this NAS could also be used but I will also have a look at iSCSI systems.

In the video

Our senior management team are away on a budget conference meeting which means that all their offices are empty and available- I managed to bag the principal’s office to hold a meeting with suppliers to talk about network and storage virtualisation.

Kevin from Vanix gets in a good plug for his company as “one of the UK’s premier network integrators – Guildford, Paris, Peckham”. Kevin briefly describes the work of Vanix on our Extreme backbone network and their work on our early installation of Aruba 802.11n equipment. 

Jon from Onstor distributor Zycko talks about “off-loading our budget” – storage virtualisation has many advantages but could be a little expensive by the sounds of it – the Onstor NAS systems are certainly big and impressive.

The link here explains virtualisation and provides the explanation below.

“In general terms, virtualisation refers to the abstraction of computer resources so they can be logically assigned. It is a technique for hiding the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way in which other systems, applications or end users interact with those resources.”

 (1) Thanks to Mark Gobin for the phrase “The Network Is Our Computer”

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March 8, 2008 - Posted by | video blog, virtualsation, web 2

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