Networking and Hardware Blog

Mar 30, 2011
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Touring HP's New Sustainable-Energy Data-Center Research Facility

Two miles down the street from the Windows IT Pro offices in Fort Collins, Colorado, HP has opened a new, state-of-the-art research facility in which the company will advance sustainable data center technologies. Today I got the opportunity to tour the new facility with a few of my colleagues....More
Mar 24, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: Save Time Enabling SNMP

SolarWinds has a proud history of designing helpful free tools for systems administrators, and the company has released a new one called SNMP Enabler for Windows. SNMP Enabler for Windows makes it easy to quickly install, enable, and configure SNMP on Windows servers and workstations....More
Mar 22, 2011
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Is Scale-Out NAS the Solution to SMB Storage Sprawl?

Are you trapped in a vicious cycle of storage sprawl, adding NAS device after NAS device to accommodate storage growth? You're not alone—particularly in this storage era of reduced resources combined with enormous data growth in the form of presentations, spreadsheets, Word documents, JPG images, and video content....More
Mar 15, 2011
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OtterBox's OtterCares Initiative Proves the Importance of Community

There's a certain biblical reference to which the altruistic company OtterBox likes to point—"To whom much is given, much is expected." This is a company that is living the essence of that platitude: It has achieved remarkable growth over a number of years, and it is doing all it can to give back to the community from which it sprung....More
Mar 10, 2011
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4 Critical Cloud Monitoring Metrics

Network Instruments recently came up with some key areas of focus for those environments dealing with externally hosted or "cloud" applications. These tips are well worth repeating, so here we go: To successfully address problems and maintain performance, you’ll need to stay on top of these four categories of cloud metrics. For more information about these tips, and to learn about Network Instruments and its top-tier Gigastor product, visit the company website....More
Mar 9, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector

An indispensable tool in any IT pro’s toolkit is the Wi-Fi analyzer. You need to be on top of your wireless status—signal strength, Internet speed, range, and so on—and be able to troubleshoot any wireless-network problems as they crop up. There are quite a few powerful tools out there that will help you with these tasks (see AirMagnet's WiFi Analyzer), but not many of them are both powerful and free. Enter Xirrus's nifty Wi-Fi Inspector....More
Mar 8, 2011
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Touring the OtterBox IT Dungeon

OtterBox is a company that has certainly captured our attention here in Fort Collins, Colorado. It's a rare success story in a down economy—a company that's experiencing strong growth but remaining humble and demonstrably grateful. (Watch for a future article about the company's altruistic OtterCares community-involvement program.) And you might even be intimately familiar with this company, without even realizing it!...More
Mar 2, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: Snort

There are many intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) on the market, but one of the best, oldest, and most reliable also happens to be free. The open-source IDS/IPS tool called Snort has been covered a few times in Windows IT Pro, most notably by Douglas Toombs in "Sniff with Snort" (InstantDoc ID 42606)....More
Mar 1, 2011
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5 Tips for Managing Backup and Disaster Recovery in Virtual Environments

In January, I spoke to Acronis's Seth Goodling about his company's launch of the Global Disaster Recovery Index, a barometer that measures IT managers’ confidence in their backup and recovery operations. You can find the write-up of that conversation here. But now Acronis has issued a warning to small and midsized businesses (SMBs) worldwide....More
Feb 24, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: Use Recuva to Recover That Deleted File

So, here's the situation: You're about to head home for the weekend when you get a frantic call from a user. He's accidentally deleted a critical file, and to make matters worse, he's emptied the Recycle Bin! The file appears to be lost forever, and the user is practically in tears. What do you do?...More
Feb 24, 2011
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Where's Your Backup Confidence?

Backup My Info! recently announced the findings of an interesting survey. Apparently, disaster recovery and business continuity are primary reasons for organizations to back up their critical data—and yet the survey also found that only 55 percent of respondents are confident that their data will be restored completely within hours of a disaster....More
Feb 17, 2011
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Comodo Suggests DNS Security Guidelines

Think of DNS as a phonebook for the computer. When you want to look up someone's phone number, you look in the phone directory for that person's name, which corresponds with a number that your telephone can connect to. DNS works the same way. When you type a website address such as www.windowsitpro.com into your browser's search bar, the computer contacts a domain name server....More
Feb 16, 2011
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How Messy Is YOUR Cabling Closet?

Even if you're the most anal-retentive of IT pros and cable your closets perfectly and accurately the first time, they aren't going to stay that way. Hardware comes and goes, equipment get replaced, connectors break, and your closet becomes a technology nightmare. How about a low-cost tool that lets you remotely discover the users and devices connected to each port on your Ethernet switches, along with detailed device and port configuration information, such as connected MAC address, IP address, Hostname, port speed, duplex, and so on?...More
Feb 15, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: Simulate Your Data-Reduction/Capacity-Savings Potential

Because of the explosive rise of virtualization, SMBs are reconsidering their storage strategies. According to BridgeSTOR's CEO John Matze, "Racks that were once filled with servers have been replaced by a handful of VMware ESX servers." As a way to respond to this new storage environment, BridgeSTOR has introduced its Virtual Storage-Advanced Data Reduction (VS-ADR) Simulator tool, which lets you predict the effects of deduplication and compression on your primary storage capacity requirements....More
Feb 10, 2011
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Free Tool of the Week: The Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool

Frustrated by the time-consuming task of analyzing Performance Monitor data? It's not an easy task. It usually means you have to study Performance Monitor logs in graph view, and hope that you have the expertise to understand the voluminous information in front of you. In these days of dwindling IT resources, it's a tough proposition....More
Feb 9, 2011
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Wary of Cloud Backup? How About "Private Cloud" Backup?

According to recent surveys from leading storage and backup vendors, one of the primary concerns among IT admins regarding cloud backup is security. The fear may be unfounded, however: According to the same surveys, once a given company actually engages the services of a cloud backup provider, and lives with the new reality for a while, the fear subsides dramatically....More
Feb 2, 2011
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PRTG Network Monitor 8 Brings New Licensing Structure

I must say, I'm liking the sound of PRTG's new licensing structure! Paessler recently announced the release of PRTG Network Monitor 8. Primary new features include fail-over clustering, a redesigned web interface, support for Google Maps, and native Linux monitoring....More
Jan 27, 2011
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SANpulse Talks IT Priorities for 2011

How about another survey? There seems to be a bunch of them flying around lately, and I'm always eager to check out the results of the more intriguing ones. SANpulse Technologies recently announced the findings of its IT survey, which provides insight into the priorities that data center managers will face over the next year, as well as the concerns surrounding the most common and difficult tasks they expect to face. I spoke to Joy Burd, VP of Marketing Communication at SANpulse, who walked me through some of the key findings....More
Jan 26, 2011
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Acronis's Global Disaster Recovery Index Lays Out Bad News for US SMBs

Last week, I spoke to Seth Goodling, Americas Virtualization Practice Manager for Acronis, about his company's launch of its Global Disaster Recovery Index, a barometer that measures IT managers’ confidence in their backup and recovery operations....More
Jan 25, 2011
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Give Your Data the "Backup My Info!" Treatment

With only eight full-time employees (as of November 2010), Backup My Info! is nevertheless creating quite a stir. Founded in 2002, it's become a premium managed service provider specializing in online data backup and recovery. More than 500 customers (including personal favorite The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), use Backup My Info!'s data backup and recovery service, spanning professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds, and law firms....More
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