Blogrotate #26: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

May 9, 2010 / By Brad Hudson

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Hi there and welcome to Blogrotate in which I, your humble host and blogger, bring to you interesting stories and events from the past week in the SysAdmin world. It’s been yet another busy week, which is why this is coming out on a Sunday again, so I am going to have to short list this edition but there’s still plenty of tasty nuggets to be found. Read on.

Operating Systems

It’s been discovered that Microsoft released three patches last month without including them in the release notes. Two of the patches were to fix security holes in MS Exchange servers. While this is nothing new it completely removes the ability for a sysadmin to evaluate the impact of the patches on critical corporate systems, which is necessary before rolling out the updates. Not to mention it makes it really difficult to diagnose a change in behaviour if you have no idea there was a change made. See more gory details in Security firm reveals Microsoft’s ‘silent’ patches.

Sun/Oracle removed public firmware downloads is a strange piece by someone called techbert describing how he logged into the sunsolve to download some firmware for his systems only to find that they were no longer publicly available. This is a bad move that will likely annoy a lot of people looking for firmware on old, repurposed or used systems. It’s a good thing that my Sparc 1+ is already patched!

If you are an old fogey like me you may still be using newsgroups over nntp for many things. Even Microsoft provided support for their products using newsgroups, but as of June 2010 they will begin decommissioning the groups in favour of their online community message boards. See the official news release Microsoft Responds to the Evolution of Communities.

Internet

Ars Technica has a look at the current market share for internet browsers. Chrome has surged to a new high while IE has dropped below 60% market share. FireFox and Safari (Mac) have remained fairly static which means that Chrome is taking the bite right our of Microsoft’s share of the pie. For more visit Emil Protalinski and his aritcle Chrome continues surge as IE drops below 60% market share

From the Google Chrome Blog, a piece about performance improvements in the latest Chrome beta claiming “30% and 35% improvement on the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks over the previous beta channel release” and “as much as 213% and 305% on these two benchmarks since our very first beta”. Take a look at Pedal to the Chrome metal: Our fastest beta to date for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Since we’re all about the chrome this week check out this link that Bill provided, a video demonstrating the rendering speed of Chrome. See the youtube video Google Chrome Speed Tests (SFW[1]). I think the results were skewed because a) the french fry chopper introduced resistance to the potato reducing it’s velocity and; b) actual sound waves move faster than paint moving against gravity no matter how much force you put into the paint. Still they are all really neat.

Virtualization

Linux Journal has a nifty little piece by Bill Childers about setting up your own Ubuntu server in the Amazon cloud. Check out Put Your Servers in the Cloud with Amazon EC2 and Ubuntu.

Data Center Knowledge
has an interesting report by Rich Miller called Rackspace Hits 100,000 Customers. Based on the numbers he presents it seems that “the managed hosting unit accounted for less than 1 percent of customer growth, but 77 percent of revenue growth” meaning basically that they’re gaining a lot of cloud customers but it’s not their money maker, it’s just gravy. Still the gains in cloud presence are impressive.

Matt Asay at C-net writes about increasing competition between Red Hat and VMware in the virtualization and middleware markets, and suggests that Red Hat may look at growing by acquiring a NoSQL technology and VMware may enter a bid for Novell to enter the operating system space. See VMware and Red Hat: The war for the data center.

Hardware

The world is hungry for storage capacity and there are limits on storage density using current technology. But wait! There is hope for the future. There is a new paper showing how a combination of thermally-assisted magnetic recording (TAR) and bit-patterned recording (BPR) can be used to “store data at densities of up to one terabit per square inch, and suggest the media could be stable up to ten terabits per square inch”. See Casey Johnston’s article New hard drive write method packs in one terabit per inch.

And finally a couple of amusing items for you. Head on over to IT World and check out Vintage Tech Ads: The 15 Funniest Videos and also Priceless! The 25 Funniest Vintage Tech Ads.

That’ll have to do it for this week. Leave your own picks in comments and we’ll see you next week.

[1] In a surprising turn of events when I went to do my usual linking of the Internet slang definition for SFW above I found that the definitions themselves included language that would be considered NSFW. So for those who do not know SFW == Safe For Work and NSFW == Not Safe for Work.

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