Contents tagged with Hardware

  • SharePoint Virtualization Survey - results

    Tags: SharePoint, Virtual Server, Hardware, Virtual PC

    About two months ago I tried to reach out to the SharePoint community with a small survey on how Virtualization is used with SharePoint. The survey was primarily for my own interest to benchmark what others are doing, but I also thought that I should share this with everyone. SharePoint and Virtualization is an interesting piece of discussion; some despise it and some love it. For more information on SharePoint and virtualization read this great article from SharePointMagazine.net.

    And now the results

    All but one answering this survey said that they were using virtualization in their SharePoint environment. Not that surprising - I guess that if you don't virtualize then you do not even bother to look at the survey.

    Virtualization technology

    Since this survey did not specify if it was for production, test, staging or development the answers on what virtualization technology that was used was quite spread. Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare ESX Server was the two products that most survey participants used. Not surprisingly was Microsoft Virtual PC right behind those two.

    image

    What is virtualized?

    Almost everyone (95.7%) is virtualizing their development environment and half (50%) of the survey participants is virtualizing their production environment. This was a bit higher than I expected.

    image

    But what is virtualized then? The Web Front End was the clear "winner" with the Query service as a runner up. A quite high number of respondents answered that they were virtualizing the database role (73,9%) but only half of them could really recommend it (37,2%). The Excel Services role was something that about half of the participants virtualized (47,8%) and recommended for virtualiztion (44,2%).

    image

    The majority did not recommend virtualizing the database role (80%) nor the Index role (43,3%).

    Satisfaction!

    Almost everyone was very satisfied (40%) or satisfied (53%) with virtualizing their SharePoint environments and only a few were dissatisfied (7%). 98% of the respondents do recommend virtualizing SharePoint.

    Why?

    One thing that I really wanted to find out was why SharePoint is virtualized and here are what the survey participants thought:

      Agrees Neutral Does not agree
    Lower hardware cost 82% 14% 5%
    Lower license costs 21% 47% 33%
    Lower maintenance costs 62% 29% 9%
    Better performance 7% 52% 40%
    Improves scalability 64% 24% 12%
    Improved security 27% 56% 17%
    Improved redundancy 60% 36% 5%
    Safe backup 55% 31% 14%
    Simplifies development 86% 14% 0%
    Simplifies deployment 73% 20% 7%
    Positive effect on the environment 74% 26% 0%

    Simplified development and lower hardware costs was the two ones that was quite expected. When looking at the license costs most people were neutral or thought that the license costs were higher with virtualization, probably due to the fact that you might need more (virtual) servers to have the same performance (only 7% thought performance was better with virtualization).

    The numbers speaks for themselves and I do like that 74% also thinks that this has a positive effect on the environment.

    Any other comments on this survey, pleas post a comment below.

    Have a nice summer

  • Developers, prepare for the 64-bit revolution

    Tags: SharePoint, SQL Server, Virtual Server, Hardware, Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008, VMWare, Virtual PC

    The day has come when Microsoft officially started to talk about the next version of Office 2010 clients and SharePoint Server 2010 (no longer Office SharePoint Server). We have since some time known that SharePoint 2010 will be supported only on a 64-bit platform, just as Exchange 2007.

    The new stuff revealed yesterday (as preliminary) are that not only is 64-bit required, it will only be supported on the Windows Server 2008 64-bit platform (including R2) and it will require that you have SQL Server 2008 on a 64-bit platform. There are some other interesting facts that you should check out also in the post (and on about 1.000 other blog posts), but this post is not just about these news.

    The interesting parts of this announcement is that now is the time to learn the 64-bit platform for real and especially Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008, not everything is the same; registry hives, file system, settings, know when to use int (Int32) or Int64 etc etc. You can start now, it's no time to wait! Make a decision to only install your new SharePoint installations on the required SharePoint 2010 hardware, make sure that you have that in your development environments and on your virtual machines. Yes, it will in many cases cost you a bit in new hardware.

    I think that this is the time when 64-bit really will kill the 32-bit era.

    As a bonus I can tell you one thing that I didn't know was achievable. My main laptop runs 32-bit Windows 7 and not 64-bit due to that it does not have the 64-bit driver support for the peripherals and I usually use(d) Virtual PC to virtualize my development servers. Downside with Virtual PC is that you guest machines can only be 32-bit and I don't want to have a Hyper-V laptop in 64-bit mode so I thought that I had to get me a new laptop (which is due for later). I was preparing for the worst of having a dual boot. Fortunately I did a test using VMWare Workstation today and found out that as long as you have a 64-bit capable hardware (which I have) you can host 64-bit guests on a 32-bit host OS. Did you know that, I did not! So I will spend this evening preparing my new development VM's. If you are in the same situation as me, stuck with a 32-bit OS for some time, head on over to VMWare and run the 64-bit compatibility checker and then dump Virtual PC and get VMWare Workstation.

    Welcome to the 64-bit world!

  • Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 or HTC Touch Pro?

    Tags: Personal, Hardware, Windows Mobile

    Wow, two heavy-weight Windows Mobile phones; Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 and HTC Touch Pro.

    In a few months I am ready to get me a new phone. I currently use the HTC TyTN, which has been a very pleasant ride (except for the glitching screen right now, to many drops…). When Sony Ericsson announced XPERIA X1 in march I got so excited and decided to get me one as soon as it hits the stores. Today HTC announced that they will continue their Touch series with the HTC Touch Pro, another sweet dream! So which one will be mine?

    Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 HTC Touch Pro

    Comparing them

    First of all here is a comparison of some of the specifications of the X1 and Touch Pro.

      SE XPERIA X1 HTC Touch Pro
    Size, mm 110 x 53 x 17 102 x 51 x 18
    Weight, with battery 158g 165g
    Screen 3 inch 800x480 touch screen 2.8 inch 640x480 (VGA) touch screen
    Processor Qualcomm MSM7200 528MHz processor
    Memory Internal memory: 400Mb RAM: 256Mb Storage: 512Mb ROM: 512Mb RAM: 288Mb
    OS Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
    Features XPERIA panel interface TouchFLO 3D
      Full specification Full specification

    As you can see they are pretty similar in specifications and they share a lot of other common things like the camera (3.2 Megapixels), GPS etc, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. They only thing that they really differ is the screen size, a big plus for the X1 for the larger screen.

    The main difference is the interface, on top of the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS; TouchFLO 3D vs XPERIA panel interface. HTC’s TouchFLO is the favorite here. But I have not yet seen or tested the XPERIA interface yet.

    So, by looking at the hardware XPERIA would be my winner and if I look at the software Touch Pro will be in my pocket (I will not carry them in the quite nerdy leather belt clip coming with these phones).

    I will wait out the first reviews after the product hit the shelves and run down to the store and touch them – one of them will be mine…

    Why not iPhone 2.0 some of you might think? First of all I have not seen the specifications (coming next week I guess). Second: I don’t like the methods Apple use to lock in developers and forcing them to sell their products through their channels so Apple can steal percentage of your income. Third: I don’t think that iPhone 2.0 will be ready for business usage, i.e. no central administration, no QWERTY keyboard etc.

    Which phone is your dream come true?

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  • Fixing VPN and IPSec pass-through problems with Belkin N1 Vision router

    Tags: Network, Hardware

    Belkin N1 Vision A couple of weeks ago I bought the Belkin N1 Vision router and was really impressed with the design, usability and performance of it. This was until I tried to connect to my work using a Cisco VPN - it just did not work!

    The specifications for the router states that it has VPN support; IPSec pass-through and PPTP. On other routers I have seen methods to enable/disable IPSec pass-through in the router configuration, but I could not locate it in the N1 setup utility. After some googling I found out that this is always enabled on the N1 Vision, duh - guess not!

    image

    So I finally submitted a support case to Belkin support (twice - one in the US and one in Scandinavia/Sweden). Quite quickly I received response  on both cases and after a few checks on firmware version, IP number series etc the Swedish support gave me access to a pre-release firmware. I uploaded it to the router and within a few minutes the VPN access worked perfectly.

    So if you have this problem contact Belkin support and ask for the pre-release firmware (F5D8232-4_WW_1.00.13, the latest official is F5D8232-4_WW_1.00.11), or contact me.

  • Unboxing of Belkin N1 Vision wireless router

    Tags: Network, Hardware

    I am really keen on gadgets and devices and have for some time had troubles with my current wireless routers so today I acquired a brand new Belkin N1 Vision wireless router. The reason for choosing this one was many but one of the most important ones was the WAF, Wife Acceptance Factor. Since it is placed central in our home the router must be good looking and that is exactly was Belkin N1 Vision is.

    I thought I should share the unboxing of this sweet device. The N1 Vision is not just a high-end wireless router it comes in a nice package and has the most compelling design of a wireless router I've ever seen.

    belkin1 belkin2 belkin3

    Wrapped and sealed in a nice package and when you open it you feel and see that Belkin has put a lot of effort into making this a high-end product.

     belkin4 

    Everything is nicely packaged. The Ethernet cable and AC adapter comes in small boxes, with numbers corresponding to the setup steps, more about that later.

    belkin5 belkin6 belkin8

    The router itself has the standard plastic foil for protection and when you peel it off you can see how shiny it is (the wife can nearly use it as a mirror, WAF++...). The back of the router is simple, and you can see the numbers here relating to the setup.

    belkin7

    The box contains the router, an Ethernet cable (for setup), an AC adapter, a thin setup manual, a warranty and a CD-ROM with the manuals.

    The setup of the router is really easy, and the instructions are made for non-technical installers. Everything is numbered and color coded, I could trust my wife with installing this one (WAF++). When everything is plugged in you just direct your browser to http://routersetup/. First time I've seen this, you normally enter an IP-address to configure the router. The setup is done through a wizard (you can do it manually also, which I of course did in the end) and the display of the N1 follows the setup. I was up and running within no time. Everything is done through the web interface - you can even configure it to update itself (not seen that either on a router before).

    belkin9

    If you have a router at home you sure would like it look like this.

    belkin10

    Just take a look at the N1 and compare it to the last three ones I have used - no competition!

    The display of the N1 Vision is the most notable feature and it's fun to have. Yes, mostly fun, I guess I won't be running down to the router all the time checking how much I have downloaded etc. I will use it as a clock in the hallway! I guess the display will come handy when something messes up.

    belkin11 belkin13 belkin12

    Through the display and the buttons on the router you can do some basic settings such as enable Guest mode and

    The technical specifications are impressive and this piece of electronics will for sure stay for a long time in our home. It even has lifetime warranty. So if you are ready spend three or four times more bucks on a router that looks this nice you should head over to the nearest electronics store...

  • Improve performance by dusting off your computer

    Tags: Personal, Windows Vista, Hardware

    Recently my laptop (DELL XPS m1210) has been really sluggish and I have had several BSOD's when I have been working with it. I try to keep it pretty optimized and up to date so it will behave nice. I think I've read most of the optimize Vista articles and posts and I always keep track on which processes and services running and how much memory is used etc etc.

    So I was somewhat confused since the machine has started to behave like this and degenerate over the last few months. Yesterday I went through all the optimization routine once again to find out that nothing helped me out.

    Resource Monitor CPU graphThe laptop behaved worse when running heavy applications or when the machine has been running for a while, and it felt like there was syrup in the CPU for a few minutes until it was back on track.

    I fired up the Windows Vista Resource Monitor, which I think is better than the Task Manager when looking at performance. When I looked at the CPU graph I could see that the CPU Maximum Frequency was dropping from 100% down to 20 or 30% more than often, and especially when running heavy applications! What! The blue line in the CPU graph shows you the maximum frequency used of the CPU.

    CPU Power ManagementModern machines lowers the maximum CPU usage to conserve batteries and power when not needed, but I had my machine running in High  Performance and plugged in and I have configured it so that it should always use 100% COU in this mode.

    There must be some hardware error I thought and shut the machine down and screwed it open to find out that there were tons of dust in the laptop. I took a deep breath and blew all the dust off. After a real cough-attack I assembled it together and fired it up again.

    100% And WOW, what a difference. Now it runs at 100% all the time!!!

    The reason must have been that the CPU and/or the passively cooled graphics card got to warm so the machine lowered the maximum frequency.

    So, open up your machines and dust 'em off.

  • Apple - grow up!

    Tags: Personal, Hardware

    Apple just released their new version of Max OS X (10.5) called Leopard, which of course has a real neat user interface and really cool experience - the Apple trademark. I have seen a lot of people moving on to the Mac platform the last years, but then we talk about personal and niche users and so far the Apple OS X share is about 4% compared to XP's 80% and Vistas 8%.

    I'm not a Mac expert nor user but I read as much as I can about new and impressive products to get a wide perspective on the area. During my read up on OS X 10.5 I have read about users getting, the Windows patented, Blue Screen of Death - which caused me some laughs.

    Today I read about the OS X 10.5 network icons. Apparently when you browse the network with Leopard you will get an icon of Windows computers that is representing an old-school CRT monitor with a BSOD . This gives me an impression that Apple still wants OS X to be a niche product and I think it's pretty childish and arrogant.

    OS X Windows Icon 

    Here are instructions on how you change it to a "normal" icon: http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/30/mini-how-to-remove-the-windows-bsod-icon-in-leopard-make-os-x-a-little-less-smug

    Yes, it is kind of funny at first sight...

  • mce-components.com is now live!

    Tags: Windows Media Center, Hardware

    image The Windows Media Center Components Database is now live! MCE components is a site which targets Windows Media Center self-builders with help to choose components and to see how the components work together. To help build the database you can add your own system and grade it to help others out.

    There are currently about 100 systems entered into the database and it will keep growing, as long as you help out. When you are adding your system you will rate it, on a scale 1 to 5, in stability, noise and performance. You can also enter your Windows Experience Index stats, if you are using Vista.

    To use it you just select which component you are interested in. For example Graphics->NVIDIA->Ge Force 6600. This will show you that three other systems have that graphics card and from there you can see how well these systems perform and what other components these systems use.

    The site is just launched but it is already a good source of MCE components, and there are still some Coming Soons. To keep you up to date of the site, subscribe to the feed.

    With all that data gathered I really would like to see these features implemented:

    • Average stats/experience index for each selected component
    • Most highly performing components
    • The most quiet system

    Good job Paul!

  • NVIDA driver scan tool

    Tags: Hardware

    NVIDIA has relaunched it's driver section and now includes a tool that you can use to scan your machine for the correct NVIDIA graphics driver.

    To find the correct driver head over to the NVIDIA Driver Downloads section, and either choose to automatically find your driver or make a manual search.

    Driver downloads start

    The manual search works fine and I find the correct driver directly for my GeForce 6600:

    Driver for my Vista Media Center

    The automatic uses an ActiveX control to scan your machine and locates your NVIDIA graphics driver. On my laptop which has NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400, there is no driver found (can't find it through the manual search either). This is probably due to that driver is release through the DELL support, but it would have been nice to have some information on that no suiting driver was found instead of an empty page.

    No recommended update

  • FrontView for Media Center on Windows Vista

    Tags: Windows Vista, Windows Media Center, Hardware

    If you have an Ahanix computer case (in my case an MCE 302-SA) with a Samsung VFD and have upgraded your HTPC system to Windows Vista you may have found out that the VFD does not work nor does the drivers available from the Ahanix web site.

    The image has nothing to do with the text and the text has nothing to do with the image, but it's there! But to your rescue there is FrontView for MCE by Media Center Magic. FrontView is an alternative to the default drivers for numerous LCD and VFD displays (CrystalFontz, Samsung, SilverStone etc) optimized for Media Center experience and with a highly customizable interface.

    You can customize the display to show almost whatever you want in different scenarios like playing TV, music or movies.The advanced version has support for RSS feeds and other custom plug-ins.

    FrontView is available in it's professional version for a 30 days trial and then you can use it in free mode.

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About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Director and SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for four consecutive years.

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