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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Nov 1, 2001 (Vol. 6, #84 - Issue #319)
XP Slower Than W2K?
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Time To Fortify Your Enterprise Walls
    • Need To Boost SQL Performance? Try This:
    • InfoWorld Tests Show XP Slower Than W2K
    • Nimda Hits Again
    • Retina V4.7 Finds More Holes & Protects Better
    • Double-Take Extended To High Growth NAS Market
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Cisco CCNA Training Kit, Exam #640-507
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Time To Fortify Your Enterprise Walls

Hi All,

As you well know, with the current military action, the two top things that IT is fast-tracking are security and business continuity. It's time to fortify your infrastructure with the specter of retaliatory electronic attacks. That does require some tough decisions when budgets are shrinking. But getting that business insurance policy in place is crucial, especially now.

The good thing of all this is that these two issues: security and business continuity are now on the radar screen of top management, and it is easier than ever to get budget approval for these kinds of tools that you knew for years you really should get. So now is the time! The two magic bullets are SECURITY and BUSINESS CONTINUITY if you ask for money. Sunbelt has the best-of-breed tools for you, with mainframe quality tech support. Keep on reading.

And if you are requested to come up with a cost justification for these tools, read this simple but powerful article called "Coming up ROSI" about Return On Security Investments over at CIO magazine.

Warm regards and be safe,

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

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Need To Boost SQL Performance? Try This:

We found in a recent MS-SQL stress test that the log file is I/O Bound. So if you are in need of boosting SQL performance, here is something you can try and see if it does anything in your own environment.

This week, developer Superspeed Software ran the following SQL 2000 stress test. It was run on a 4 CPU Dell PowerEdge 6400 Server. The system under test has 4 550MHz CPUs and 8GB of RAM. The OS was W2K 2000 Advanced Server, Service Pack 2. By editing the test control file, the test was set up so that the database was on the D: partition, and the LOG file was on the E: partition.

The only difference between the runs was that SuperCache 2000 was first disabled on the E: partition, and then enabled with LAZY Write mode ON on the E: partition. The SuperCache 2000 cache index size set to 100% (max cache size). All other SuperCache 2000 settings were the default.

The default test creates a 50 MB database file and its associated log file. This test simulates a very heavy load on the SQL 2000 database. It appears that the log file causes a major write I/O bottleneck which is solved by lazy write caching the log file with SuperCache 2000.

The test runs five passes over the database and then computes the average results shown below where the first number is without SuperCache 2000, and the second number with SuperCache 2000 in lazy write mode:

                                     without    with 
Average Writes per second            1066.66    1597.50
Average Transfer Rate in MB/sec      8.85       13.26
Elapsed time per test cycle in secs  30         20

The results speak for themselves. To implement SuperCache performance gains in your production environment, simply set up the log file on its own partition and cache it in lazy write mode..... The more memory and CPU power available, the better the SuperCache boost to SQL. It is recommended that your systems have a UPS to prevent system outage. SuperCache 30-day eval downloads are here:


InfoWorld Tests Show XP Slower Than W2K

I was quite surprised to see the results of this test by InfoWorld. It's hard to believe. I'm sure that MS is extremely unhappy with these results, and they commented they were not able to replicate them either. I'm sure many more words will be written about this, but InfoWorld are a bunch of smart cookies and they have done this for over 20 years, I have been reading them for that long.

A lot of my industry knowledge comes from this mag. It's not like the first bunch of rookies tells us that WinXP is actually slower than W2K. If it's true, it's a black eye for some one for sure. As per "fair use" I'm copying two paragraphs of the InfoWorld article, and then I'll send you to the actual full article. This is pretty amazing. When I received the email with this news I said to myself "WHOA NELLIE !!" Here goes:

"HOPELESS OPTIMISM must be a fundamental part of human nature, because we want to believe that new operating systems truly represent an improvement on their predecessors. It's easy to point to certain features in a new OS as examples of progress, but end-users often find that a new OS performs like molasses compared to the version they were using. As a result, CTOs wanting to capitalize on the benefits of a new OS may find that new hardware investments are necessary -- and expensive -- requirements.

"Unfortunately, Microsoft's Windows XP appears to be maintaining that tradition, as indicated by results of independent testing performed by CSA Research and confirmed by our work in the InfoWorld Test Center. Our tests of the multitasking capabilities of Windows XP and Windows 2000 demonstrated that under the same heavy load on identical hardware, Windows 2000 significantly outperformed Windows XP. In the most extreme scenario, our Windows XP system took nearly twice as long to complete a workload as did the Windows 2000 client. Our testing also suggests that companies determined to deploy Windows XP should consider ordering desktop systems with dual CPUs to get the most out of the new OS."

Here is the article. This is a 'must read' my friends: And I'll keep you up to date regarding the inevitable sequels of this saga.

Nimda Hits Again

Time to patch all the browsers in your domains! (And also start thinking about password protecting all local shared drives if you haven't already).

This persistent Nimda critter is difficult to swat. There is now a fifth variant out in the wild and even a few machines in the Sunbelt network got hit today. Its two main vectors are email and web pages that get infected. The latest .E version has been recompiled by the criminal that let it loose, after some mods that they made like renaming it and grabbing two other DLL's. These changes bypassed all the fixes of existing anti-virus products.

This .E variant is not spreading as fast as the original, but it's spreading nonetheless. If you took defensive measures last time it hit, but limited those to updating your anti-virus tools there is a good chance you still will get hit. It's about as big as a headache as the last one, but at least it does not carry a destructive payload.

Symantec has a free scanner available that will disinfect boxes:

And anyone that had SecureIIS running on their website, was again protected this critter infecting their site:


Retina V4.7 Finds More Holes & Protects Better

The new version improves Retina in a major way, apart from scanning for more holes. Here are the new features. If you have not tested Retina yet, this is the time to do it. This new version is a quantum leap for the product. It was never easier to get budget money for security related tools than now.

Here are all the new goodies:

  • Added over 100 new Vulnerability Audits and modified several to eliminate false positives.
  • Redesigned Backbone Architecture - Scanning module and data storage components have been completely redesigned to increase performance and accuracy when scanning large systems.
  • Added Class B Scanning (Enterprise and Traveling versions only).
  • Improved Auto-Update System - Can be set to check for new vulnerabilities whenever the product is launched. Also displays which vulnerabilities and modules were updated.
  • Added more robust scanning mechanisms.
  • Increased scheduling functionality.
  • Modified/improved license management and interface.
  • Improved documentation.
  • Improved OS detection.
You should really check this new version of Retina out, even if you already own a scanner. Retina does both "inside-out" and "outside-in" scans so you see what a hacker sees when they try to penetrate your network from the outside. Here's the eval:

Double-Take Extended To High Growth NAS Market

Developer NSI software announced that Compaq will be the first hardware manufacturer to use Double-Take replication for their NAS Devices. The new product that does this is called Double-TakeŽ for NAS Devices. It provides the data replication technology for any IT environment that needs to protect both server and NAS devices in data critical environments.

If you rely on NAS(*) to protect critical data and applications you can now deploy Double-Take to cost-effectively move and protect data to an off-site location anywhere in the world with minimal impact on network or system performance. Compaq will support NSI Software?s Double-Take for NAS on all shipping Compaq NAS products. As part of the relationship between Compaq and NSI Software, Double-Take underwent rigorous testing and numerous QC and QA procedures.

"High end block or volume replication schemas have been available for some time. NAS file replication technology has been lacking. The combination of Compaq's NAS with NSI Software?s products, give NAS users a high-end solution at a very inexpensive price point. We see no reason that this isn't an instant hit," said Steve Duplessie, senior analyst and founder of Enterprise Storage Group.

Now, the NAS market is still young. Many companies are in the process of determining which NAS architecture they are going to use. But in the current "911"-climate it makes sense to have disaster recovery in place even if you do not use a NAS. You find Double-Take in the High Availability / Disaster Recovery Category on the Sunbelt site:

(*)A NAS is an appliance dedicated to add storage in a plug and play mode and accessible through the network.


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

  • Electronic financial networks: How safe are they? Article in USA Today.
  • Bill Gates and Kevin Mitnick both on U.S. TV this month. Gates on Nov 13-th on the Frasier show. World's #1 hacker Mitnick plays federal agent on Alias show. Must See TV [grin]
  • The world's #1 page about creating bootable CD-Roms for PC's

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