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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Feb 22, 2001 (Vol. 6, #11 - Issue #246)
Storage: Now It's Movies!
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Storage Management
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Five Strategies To Get Your IT Budget
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • W2K Service Pack 2 Expected April/May-ish
    • Upgrade Path NT -> W2K -> WXP broken?
    • Windows XP not for businesses?
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • NetBoy: New Powerful Toolkit of Network Analyzers
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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  EDITORS CORNER

Storage Management

Hi All!

Saw it last night on TV: Music is dead, long live movies! Napster is moving to a 'for pay' model, and now the latest rage on College campuses is to rip whole movies and play them either on their PC's or via a projector. These students have the bandwidth to do it, and a whole slew of sites have sprung up that provide the latest movies. It's become somewhat of a sport to have a brand new movie before it has hit the cinema's.

And admittedly, I myself now have a CD sitting in the tray of my Dell Dual P933 W2K Pro box. What's on it? A 625Meg .AVI with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. MP3 files average about 3-5 Meg each, but movies is a whole different ballgame. If you get the DIVEX encryption, the quality of these movies is actually pretty darn good and one CD does it but they are BIG.

So, as college campuses have lead the MP3 way in the past, you can see how the storage requirements in the near future are going to completely explode if we are not careful. Storing a few movies is going to take a couple of Gigs. One of the Techs in our office now has more data stored on his home LAN than we have for the whole company of now 60 staff (!).

I already envision it happening in the office: lunch will be in some one's cubicle, popcorn thrown in the microwave, and a small gang of people will watch the latest movies in 2 or 3 installments, running on their office workstation. Download overnight, justified with "who cares, the network is not used anyway" and ready to play the next day.

And where does that half-gig go to? Either the server or their individual workstation. Guess who's backup window will extent into eternity? Right. Guess who is going to see network bandwidth utilization soar and get complaints about performance being slow? Right. Guess who is going to be called the Network Nazi with more vehemence than ever? Right again. Time to take some action before this new craze hits the office: Policy first and then the tools (StorageCeNTral) and Management support to enforce it!

Warm regards

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

  SPONSOR: NEW POWERFUL NETWORK TROUBLESHOOTER!
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  TECH BRIEFING

Five Strategies To Get Your IT Budget

In Tech, you have to have multifaceted skills to keep things up & running. Technical savvy does not always get you there. People and organizational (political) skills are also needed in many cases. With the so called current 'economic downturn' many companies are trying to cut costs. (So, growth is slowing down a bit, big deal.)

Anyway, here are some strategies for you to get your hands on the tighter budget for the tools you need. Most of the people in Tech that are under 35 have no experience what it means run IT during an economic slowdown.

So, here are five tested, tried-and-true approaches to get the money you need. First, you need to understand the difference between the two major ways a company spends money: 1) Capital spending and 2) Discretionary spending. Capital spending means the company invests relatively heavily in an area and it can be written off over a period of time. Discretionary spending comes out of this year's budget and has no write-off period. The Accounting beancounters will always try to stop discretionary spending *first*. So, Strategy Number One is always: See if you can get your budget classified as CAPITAL SPENDING. And IT spending can be classified as such in many cases.

Next, if this purchase generates immediate revenues or immediate savings for the company in the coming year you stand a good chance. Tools that cut down on the IT headcount, or prevent hiring more staff will count as such. You need to do the math of the business case and present this Strategy Number Two as: We spend only this much, so we can SAVE THAT MUCH.

It is the job of a Chief Financial Officer to slow spending down during economic times like these. In many cases, the CFO has some (IT) projects cooking to get that realized. If you can attach your request for budget to one of these projects, you stand a good chance to get them approved. Strategy Number Tree: Find out what the CFO wants and align your budget requests with that.

A great way to get funds approved is to point out that your IT dept needs to comply with Federal Government regulations. If you can point to the fact that for instance you are in Health Care and you are required by law to have disaster recovery in place, or you are a government agency and need to do vulnerability testing to not get into hot water, you're making headway. Strategy Number Four: Your management will usually be motivated to comply with these government requirements.

Sometimes you have to THINK like top management to get approval for what YOU need and want. Two things that are near and dear to their hearts are the company stock value and its competitive strength. So if you can, make the case that your IT project is important for either PR, visibility or will make you more competitive: (hey, the competition is already doing this? LOOK!). Strategy Number Five: put yourself in Top Management's position and make them look good with your project!

(Acknowledgements to Michael Vizard from InfoWorld for inspiration)

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

W2K Service Pack 2 Expected April/May-ish

Iain McDonald, a Microsoft Windows program manager, wrote in an e-mail to CRN magazine last Thursday that they are preparing to release Windows 2000 Service Pack 2. McDonald said it would ship "early next quarter." "We have to complete Windows 2000 SP2--customers are using and paying for it today--we cannot hose people in production," he wrote. "We also need to make sure the quality of Windows 2000 keeps getting better in each SP."

Well, they kept their promises with the stability of W2K. It's a lot stronger than anything MS has produced before. The Service Packs can make or break it, so they better keep up the quality. I'm not so worried though, they have learned their lessons with some of the horrible SP's for NT. And you can say what you want about them, but MS actually IS a company that learns from their lessons. Still, applying these SP's is fraught with risk. Test, test, and test again before you roll out to your production environments.

And how fast are W2K sales catching up with NT? Here are some numbers over the year 2000 supplied by IDC research. These are all W2K and NT versions (Workstations and Server) combined, worldwide per quarter in millions.

DateNTW2K
Q1-20004.661.25
Q2-20004.781.75
Q3-20004.372.91
Q4-20003.034.73

Plot them out in Excel and you'll see an interesting trend?

Upgrade Path NT -> W2K -> WXP broken?

OK, OK, OK, don't get worried, this is only a rumor I picked up, but a little bird told me that it might be that the only way to upgrade Windows XP on the Server side is going to be through W2K and that there will be no NT4 upgrade path straight to WXP. I need to get some research done on this to see if this is the case or not. Can some one in Microsoft shed some light on this? (there are many hundreds of W2Knews subscribers within MS). Email me at [email protected]

Windows XP not for businesses?

Yesterday Dave Kearns made a very interesting point in his e-zine published by Network World. He said: "Everything I've seen and read about Windows XP leads me to one conclusion - this is not for the office, either on the desktop or in the server room".

Wow, that is quite a strong statement. Why is he taking this position? Kearns goes on to say: "WXP will come in at least three versions: home, office desktop and server, with the server version not shipping until next year - possibly as Windows 2002 server.

"But the scariest thing I heard was that XP allows users to, in essence, set up their own virtual private network (VPN) between any two XP users anywhere in the world. According to IDG News Service reporter Ashlee Vance, the user "can permit a friend to see his screen via a chat-type protocol and even run programs from the original user's machine."

"Microsoft will publish a way, and provide the tools, for one PC to run software from another - and take over control of another machine. The crackers must be drooling with anticipation! Suspiciously, Microsoft gave out no details of the security mechanisms to be used, except to say that transactions would be encrypted (and the crackers love that, too - no way to trace an attack back to them).

Dave's conclusion was simple: "So, when debating among Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, you can throw out any consideration of XP. That makes the choice of Window 2000 that much easier to decide." Some other data that I got pointed out that WXP will not have:

  1. Client Service for NetWare
  2. The ability to use more than one processor
  3. Encryption File System (EFS).
Looks like MS is positioning WXP really for the consumer and SOHO market (small office/home office). But some 'plus' features that you also need to look at and decide if you want to use this in your office environment are the Built-in Terminal Services, Fusion Technology (true DLL protection), and the System Snapshot technology that returns your system to a usable state before a change had been made (incompatible device driver).

More news to come on this one for sure!

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

NetBoy: New Powerful Toolkit of Network Analyzers

I'm actually pretty excited to be able to announce you a new tool in the Sunbelt line-up of products. It's a really powerful suite of tools to look at 'what the heck is going on inside that wire'. The developers (NDG Software) are from down under, so the NetBoy name may sound a bit odd, but this is the real thing. I probably would have called it 'Sunbelt NeTraffic Control' and that would describe it a bit better.

Nonetheless, the NetBoy suite is a complete real-time visual Internet and LAN network monitoring suite. It's got a pretty cool interface and the three modules (EtherBoy, WebBoy & PacketBoy) simplify your task of troubleshooting and efficiently maintain your LANs.

EtherBoy gives you affordable real-time multi protocol network monitoring on your Intel-based PC. It provides insights and answers to a large number of network management and usage questions.

ETHERBOY ALLOWS YOU TO:

  • View all traffic on your LAN.
  • Identify all devices on your LAN including potential security threats.
  • Fully configure protocol focusing and visualization.
  • Define custom protocols.
  • Zoom in on areas of interest.
  • Produce reports in text, HTML, data, or Rich Text Format.
  • Display real-time traffic statistics and protocol breakdowns on individual hosts.
  • Monitor individual hosts and links.
  • Customize alarm triggers.
  • Obtain full protocol summaries for each link.

    PacketBoy is a packet analyzer/decoder package capable of decoding many of the commonly used LAN protocols. Protocols which can be decoded include TCP/IP, IPX (Novell Netware)®, Appletalk®, Banyan® and DECNET® protocol suites. Multiple captures can be loaded concurrently and packet traces can be loaded and saved to disk.

    PACKETBOY ALLOWS YOU TO:

  • Capture and analyze all network packets.
  • Set customizable capture triggers.
  • Use customizable packet capture filters.
  • Load and save packet traces.
  • Decode the TCP/IP protocol suite including many application protocols such as NFS, X11, RPC, HTTP.
  • Decode Novell Netware (IPX) including: NCP, SPX, SAP and RIP.
  • Decode the Appletalk protocol family including: ATP, AEP, ZIP and RTMP.

    WebBoy is a complete Internet/Intranet monitoring package. It provides statistics on standard Web traffic including URLs accessed, cache hit ratios, Internet protocols and user defined protocols.

    WEBBOY ALLOWS YOU TO:

  • View all traffic on your LAN.
  • View all Internet/Intranet traffic including hosts and protocols used.
  • View accessed URLs (and the requesting hosts) in real time.
  • Zoom in on areas of interest.
  • Fully configure protocol focusing and visualization.
  • Produce complete reports in text, HTML, data, or Rich Text Format.
  • Customize alarm triggers.
  • Summarize top hosts, URLs, proxies, Web clients, servers and alarms.
  • Produce full protocol summaries for each host.

    On my home LAN I just tried this out. I'm streaming MP3 data from the NT WS drive D to my W2K box, and it hardly makes a dent on the network traffic. But if I go to the Sunbelt Website and download a big file, you see immediately the line to that IP address get really fat and jump into view. Pretty cool.

    There is a 30-day FULL EVAL on the Sunbelt website. If you want to know what the heck is going on inside that wire, give NetBoy a swing and you'll be surprised. The install is done in less than 1 minute, and you see immediate results. (The developer offers a very attractive competitive upgrade if you already have a tool like this).
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=560

  •   FAVE LINKS

    This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Watchfire's solutions can help you get control of your website(s)
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=022201FL-Watchfire.com

  • Good article about the new Microsoft ISA Firewall - WebCache Server
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=022201FL-ISASERVER

  • The new website where the Super Cool new Xbox is being shown
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=022201FL-XBOX