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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bill's Recommendations - Virtualize The Server Room

I am a HUGE fan of virtualization, and have been since the early days of VMware Workstation and Microsoft Virtual PC. The first time I had ever tried VMware I was amazed and saw the potential of using this technology in a business and even home environment. I used Virtual PC 2004 and 2007 in college for home work assignments dealing with my server operating system classes because I didn't have the money to build a 'real' test lab at home. At work, I utilize VMware workstation for advanced networking capabilities to build virtualized test networks complete with a working clients, AD/DNS, and a Microsoft System Center Essentials server....all from a Acer laptop.

With the advent of products such as Intel and AMD VT enabled CPU's accompanied with free VMware & Microsoft Hyper-visor offerings, virtualization has begun to be seen more and more in IT environments. The advantages I always tell customers about are the costs savings and robust backup and recovery features of utilizing a virtual environment.

When I talk about cost savings, I am talking about reducing the amount of hardware needed to setup a server or group of servers. What used to take 2-3 physical boxes to run a basic small business network for file/printer sharing, AD/DNS and Exchange Email now can be done with one server using virtualization. (I know that a Microsoft Small Business Server 2003/2008 can do all 3 of those services, but for a business that has more than 50 computers you would typically see 3 different servers, at least in my experiences I have.)

As for backup and recovery features, virtual machine images can be migrated and backed up quickly and easily. Just look at VMware's Vmotion and Vsphere products. These products are really exciting and for investment up front, the return in my opinion is real disaster recovery solutions that have been proven. I recommend looking at VMware's products, they are the most robust and supported virtualization product out there, but Microsoft's Hyper-V product isn't far behind.

Bill’s Review - Sprint HTC EVO - The World’s First 4G Phone *UPDATE*

In my previous post, I stated the following:

"Now to my one gripe about the Spring HTC EVO 4G. The phone seems to be
slightly crippled. The phone features a app called “Sprint Mobile Hot
Spot” which is a feature I was VERY excited about using on the job. The
feature is available on other carriers newer android phones and it
enables the phone to act as a small wireless access point, connecting
your laptop to the Internet without tethering via your own portable
wireless network.
This feature is what caused Steve Jobs iPhone 4 launch to have some problems while demonstrating it’s features.
(I would like to note that the phone itself was not the problem, but
the fact that there were a lot of overlapping Wi-Fi hot spots created by
these types of phones.) This feature has lots of handy uses, but then
again, there are so many wireless networks out there now that one would
be hard pressed to not find a hot spot to use.
"

After some discussions with a co-worker and some light reading, I found an answer to my issue. The following link contains an article found on the website Engadget that discusses this very issue.

So it is true that Sprint has disabled this feature and will be requiring a $29.99 activation fee. It was working for a short period of time on 4G networks only according to the article mentioned above, but that was dated in July and it is now the end of August. If I had to take a logical guess as to why Sprint and probably other carriers that have this feature on newer android phones have disabled it by default and are requiring an additional activation fee would be the fact that the carriers network is not currently capable of handing the increase in data traffic. Maybe soon the networks will catch up to the demand for data connectivity.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bill’s Review - Sprint HTC EVO - The World’s First 4G Phone

Yesterday I finally had an opportunity to dump a HTC Windows Mobile device for a Sprint HTC EVO 4G Android. It has been 24 hours since I first turned it on and it has been field tested today while at work. I have to say, I can see why the Android-based phones will soon overtake the market beating out the iPhone 4. There’s only one minor thing that I have about Sprint which I will get into later in the post. It has nothing to do with the phone itself, just service.

So far, my experiences have been great and I found setting up email through an Exchange account to be a breeze, syncing all contacts, calendar appointments and mail quicker than my old Windows Mobile phone. I have already been able to add apps that help me do my job quicker and more efficiently by using the App Store.

The speed of the phone with Android 2.2 is very pleasing. I have not managed to lock up the phone as of yet while running multiple apps. I am also impressed at how slim the phone is and the size of the screen. It is visibly larger than the iPhone 4 and the screen to me seems equally vibrant and bright. The power button is a little annoying to me. It is very small and I find it hard to turn the phone on at times, but then again I have large fingers and the button is small. Every other button is easily accessible and responsive. I do recommend that if you have larger hands, go with a larger phone, the on-screen keyboard is easier to type on.

Now to my one gripe about the Spring HTC EVO 4G. The phone seems to be slightly crippled. The phone features a app called “Sprint Mobile Hot Spot” which is a feature I was VERY excited about using on the job. The feature is available on other carriers newer android phones and it enables the phone to act as a small wireless access point, connecting your laptop to the Internet without tethering via your own portable wireless network. This feature is what caused Steve Jobs iPhone 4 launch to have some problems while demonstrating it’s features. (I would like to note that the phone itself was not the problem, but the fact that there were a lot of overlapping Wi-Fi hot spots created by these types of phones.) This feature has lots of handy uses, but then again, there are so many wireless networks out there now that one would be hard pressed to not find a hot spot to use.

It seems that Sprint has taken upon themselves to disable this feature on the phone along with the built in USB tethering feature. From what I have read from other sources, Sprint is requiring those who want to use this feature pay an addional $29.99 per month on top of their current data plan. This is silly and in my mind a little shady of them to do this. If a person is already paying for a data plan, the feature(s) should be available. I am in contact with a vendor who may be able to explain this to me and give me a definite answer. I will post what I find.