SpireTech Blog - Tag: Review
Hardware and software reviews and opinions.
SpireTech recently introduced a way to monitor customer satisfaction by including voting links at the end of a ticket closure email. So far, the feedback has been that we are doing an excellent job, and that customer satisfaction is very high, an average of 9.91 out of 10.
Unfortunately, a very small percentage of you respond – it only takes a few seconds. We would love it if more of you can let us know how we’re doing! At the end of the survey, the tool will offer you a chance to leave a Google review – positive public reviews help our search ranking – it would be greatly appreciated if you can also complete a Google review!
Thanks in advance!
A.K.A. how I weaned myself off my iPad for good.
So recently I upgraded my old boat-anchor notebook for something small and light, eg a Surface Pro 3. Unlike my old laptop, which had a 21″ screen (yes) and matching wheel-bag to haul it around with, the Surface sports a little 12″ screen.
So I needed a new external monitor, and was contemplating a two-monitor setup like many of us use here. I determined that for the price of two smaller monitors, I could buy one 28″ 4k monitor (yes, that’s 3840×2160 resolution) and hook it up to the Surface’s mini displayport connector.
I had some concerns that text might be too small at that resolution, but on the 28″ monitor it is just fine for me. I can use the windows-right and windows-left arrow keys to dock programs on the left or right side of the screen and simulate a two-monitor setup. Read more...
Just want to keep you all up to date on our progress with Server 2012 testing: We’ve acquired some more hardware to continue our evaluation of Server 2012. Our lab environment includes two servers connected to a shared external SAS drive array, which allows for expansion of disk storage and server failover. Each server runs Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition, and shares the disks in a pool between the servers.
One of the most exciting features promised by Server 2012 is automatic server failover of virtual machine (Hyper-V) servers. We’ll get to that in a future edition, but for now our evaluation has focused on the storage layer.
One of the most exciting things about Server 2012 is Storage Spaces. This new feature adds a lot of function to how the operating system can interact with and manipulate storage. It adds a virtual layer to provide high availability and clustering features with fewer hardware requirements. Read more...
In the buzz of the next version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system, Windows 8, an important Microsoft release sits in its shadow – Windows Server 2012. Often taken for granted, Windows Server is the keystone to many offices. We’ve had a peek at the release candidate for this new version, which sees a lot of improvements in function and efficiency. On the surface, the most striking difference is the server management interface – but there are are powerful capabilities under the hood.
The desktop environment has been stripped bare. That took some getting used to. In previous versions, the desktop looked much like any other workstation with a few extra options. The new interface has been designed to improve workflow. All dashboard menus are now oriented toward administrative functions. Previously, you had to navigate through the workstation elements to get to the administrative options behind it. My experience with Server 2012 gave the feel of a uniquely tailored environment for servers rather than a workstation with server options shoe-horned in. Read more...
A few months ago, we reviewed the open-source package OwnCloud. Since then, we’ve been through a few version updates and bugfixes, and are unhappy to report that Owncloud is not ready for prime-time yet. Our main beef at this point involves file duplication, which is a known bug which has yet to be fixed. The good news is that several other issues have been addressed by the development team, so perhaps the problem will be rectified soon.
So, we decided to review the commercial package Egnyte, which is a “Hybrid Cloud” (we know, this is an overused/abused term) software. It is available in both on-premise and cloud-hosted versions. It allows dropbox-like functionality, with enterprise-class security and administrative features, and the usual array of mobile and desktop sync clients. The free iPad client has a nice user interface and viewers for common file types.
It is configurable for both bandwidth use and hours of day, so that you can schedule synchronization to occur when it is best for you, eg. Read more...
After my first two weeks being the owner of the Google Nexus 7, my impressions are positive. As a worker in the tech industry, I need access to a computer pretty regularly, and access to e-mail is an important part of my job. The appeal of getting a tablet was to have a easily mobile method to get to the web, if need be. Previously, I had been using netbook for mobile computing, and the Nexus tablet has grown on me quickly. The first thing that struck me is that I don’t need a separate bag to carry it around. With laptops, and the netbook, I tend to want a bag to carry the machine, along with a power adaptor. The tablet is small enough that carrying it in hand isn’t tiresome, and the battery life is quite good, so it isn’t necessary to carry the USB charging cable.
The Nexus 7 is smaller than the iPad, closer to the size of a Kindle. Read more...
OwnCloud is an open-source software package that allows companies to setup a dropbox-like environment for employee use. It comes with clients for windows, mac, linux, android, and very soon, iOS – as well as a server component that works on either Linux or Windows. It sounded extremely useful to our clients, so we immediately began our evaluation process. We began by installing OwnCloud on a Linux VPS (Virtual Private Server) in our datacenter, and evaluating the windows and android clients.
The file sharing is the best feature. OwnCloud allows you to replicate folders from your local hard drive (or perhaps a server drive) to cloud storage hosted at SpireTech (or another hosting provider). You can share individual files or folders with coworkers, and create groups with permissions similar to what you would do in a conventional file server type environment. It supports LDAP, so we think we’ll be able to integrate it with local user databases on linux or windows-based file servers, although we haven’t tested that out yet. Read more...
At the 2011 hostingcon conference, we ran into OnApp’s mega-booth right as we entered the exhibit hall. Impressive. These guys must be big, or well-funded. They claim to have some fairly large reference customers that we have heard of, so we decided to take a closer look.
OnApp solves many of the problems a hosting company engaged in selling virtual servers has: It provides a web-based console for you and your customers to control their servers. It allows for all the commonly-needed functionality – you can start/shutdown/reboot virtual servers. You can configure RAM, disk, networking, and do remote control. Plus, it does all this at an affordable price.
OnApp installed quickly and easily. We had it up and running in a two-server test environment in a couple of hours. We tested high availability (HA) features, wherein a failed server can be automatically restarted on another server. We examined the networking configuration, especially wherein network traffic from one client’s servers cannot see or “sniff” traffic from another. Read more...