- Cisco IOS to Juniper JunOS transitions - why put up with a 100Mbit network when you can get all-gigabit (and more) for the same price? Plus, learning JunOS is really easy.
- Enterprise email: Cyrus IMAP is OK, but if your users can't (or won't) set up Thunderbird themselves, insist on a web interface, and you aren't able to outsource to GMail, there is no better enterprise MTA+MUA I have found than Stalker Software's CommuniGate Pro. Forget about Exchange.
- Virtualization / consolidation / storage: These three, which are all part of the same thing, should make it easier, not harder, to roll out new services, but you need to drink the whole pitcher of virtualization kool-aid, not just a cup here and there, for it to be really game-changingly useful.
- Tape backup: It's OK for some situations, but this is what your Grandpa used for disaster recovery. See "virtualization kool-aid".
- 3rd Party Bloatware: If you just bought Remedy, Weblogic, eHealth, Netbackup, or some such 3rd party bloatware, and it doesn't work, then ask for your money back, and spend your refund check to hire *us* instead.
- Building out a data center? I am an infrastructure guru. Measure twice, cut once. Including the BTU calculations.
- Finally, monitor everything and anything with Nagios, MRTG, and/or Cacti. Why spend tens of thousands to install and license proprietary 3rd party monitoring software, then tens of thousands more for their consultants to come in and set it up for you, when you can do the same thing for only the cost of the expert assistance?
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I'm just going to have to rip it out and start all over. Because Zmanda uses a massively tweaked version of Amanda, I think I am just going to blow off Zmanda entirely. Sorry, guys, it was a nice idea, to commericialize Amanda, but Zmanda required just as much tweaking as Amanda, and required fairly comprehensive knowledge of Amanda internals to get working, so, now that I know Amanda better, why should I bother? Zmanda does have Windows, MySQL, etc clients, but we don't need 'em. It will back up to a cloud, but cloud backup isn't cheap. (Or I should say it has "recurring costs", which tend to not recur around here.)
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This after a co-worker wasted the better part of a day trying to get a 3rd party SFP to work in an HP Procurve. He should have tested first, but the HP equipment was chosen for us by a vendor installing a turnkey package. (One more reason Carly Fiorina must be defeated, and Mark Hurd should have a "T" swapped with the "H" in his last name.)
FWIW, Junipers don't do any of this stupidity. Of course, they will deny support to 3rd party optics, but the first thing support will ask you for is the hardware config, and the 3rd party optics show up clearly:
Juniper -> Xcvr 3 REV 01 740-011613 AM0821S9YEJ SFP-SX
Junk? -> Xcvr 0 NON-JNPR P821YQL SFP-SX
A lot of 3rd party optics are junk, especially the ones for sale on EBay for 1/10 the price of a legit one. But (just as an example) we've never had a lick of trouble with Fluxlights. They support DoM, cost a tad less than Juniper modules, and are half the price of a Cisco-branded module. Generally, you get what you pay for.
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It's been a big mess. The Zmanda GUI is nothing special, but it's cheap and gets you started. If you have a kiddie SAN with only a few TB it will probably work out of the box. But Amanda does not scale up. Once you start spanning tapes and trying to track the state of 10+ million files it requires significant amounts of tuning to work, especially with regard to MySQL and getting it fast enough to support Ultrium IV without shoeshining, and you need to know the Amanda shell commands well.
It's still better than dealing with the incompetent bureaucrats at Symantec Netbackup support, our previous backup software, that's $50K down a black hole. With Amanda the the support is only as good as we users can make it. I haven't seen any other good tips online about how to make Amanda scale up. So as I figure it, I'll post some tips here.
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I wish I had saved some MRTG graphs, but the R510 has now replaced a decrepit 2-CPU, SATA based generic shitbox as the sole MTA and MUA for close to 10,000 users. Disk IO is 10X faster (the 2x12-core CPU probably 100X). The old box used to spike to load averages well above 100 whenever the Monday morning newsletter got sent out to all 10,000 recipients, or when some hapless user forwarded their entire inbox to Hotmail.
No more. I have yet to see the load average spike above 3. Flat-line. Everyone gets their email a few seconds after it's sent. Best Box Ever.
By the way we upgraded the MTA/MUA software, CommuniGate Pro, at the same time. If you have the bucks, buy it. It's isn't a nightmare to install and configure, like Sendmail or Postfix; support is excellent; it has a web browser interface for users too inept to install Thunderbird; and, unlike Exchange, is standards compliant and doesn't need a $5000 war chest of tools for backup and administration.
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