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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 11, #12 - Mar 20, 2006 - Issue #568
2006 Server Reliability Survey Results

  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • 2006 Server Reliability Survey Results
    • More On Other Platforms To Support
    • Your Feedback About Software Firewalls
    • I Missed The Antispyware WebCast With Eric Howes!
    • Quote of the Week
  2. ADMIN TOOLBOX
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. TECH BRIEFING
    • What the Heck is SLI, And Why Is It Interesting?
    • Technology Spending Rises at Corporations
    • Pet Peeves In The Workplace: PDA's Offensive?!
    • Tell Your Users: Do Not Use Cell Phones While Flying
    • Topping The Windows IT Salary Charts
    • Tutorial: Exchange Server Public Folder Permissions
    • Deploying Apps Via Group Policy -- Cost-effective, But Risky
  4. WINDOWS SERVER NEWS
    • Yankee Group/Sunbelt 2006 Server Reliability Survey Results
    • On The Road But Still Having To Manage Servers?
    • Watch For Pre-Installed Google Desktops
    • Top Five T-SQL Stored Procedures
  5. WINDOWS SERVER THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • VMware Says GSX Server Not Fit For Prime Time. Says Who?
    • Protecting Your SQL Environment. Easier Than You Thought!
    • VeriSign Details Massive Denial-of-Service Attacks
  6. WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. WServerNews - PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • How To Get Free AV: Participate In Ninja Beta
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EDITORS CORNER

2006 Server Reliability Survey Results

Yankee Group/Sunbelt are delivering on our promise to get you the Executive Summary of the 2006 Server Reliability Survey Results. Very interesting data! Make sure you read the Summary in the Windows Server News section!

More On Other Platforms To Support

Quite a few of you remarked, hey, that's what I get paid for, so what's the big deal? I'm quoting: "The job of IT Support is to SUPPORT, not make unilateral decisions about what will and will not be supported as if you are the decision maker. Yes, IT always has input to help corporate make good decisions, but in the end you don't get to say, "We will not support that." OK, understood and point taken! ;-)

Your Feedback About Software Firewalls

It has been a long time that I received so much feedback on one of my editorial topics. And lots of people also took the time to vote in the SunPoll. Turns out that 22% of you already have a software firewall on production servers, and another 23% say it is a good idea if affordable. I was surprised by that, and thought the percentages would be lower. 34% stated they -do- rely on the hardware firewall at the edge, mainly to prevent problems with connectivity. Some of the reasons people wrote in claiming internal firewalls were a good idea:
  • "Depending on who writes the application management, it could be a great secondary point of protection. A properly secured interior firewall isolates servers from the brunt of internal points of entry."
  • "In our educational environment, we'll always have students who want to "experiment" with the freely available hacker tools on the Internet, so we have added additional software firewalls".
  • "A software firewall is likely to appeal to many environments. The days of playing fast and loose with your network are drawing to close, and network administrators will be required to know exactly what ports and protocols are being used on each client and server in their network. 10 years ago, we were struggling to keep systems up and connected. Now, the challenge is to identify and stop all the unwanted connections".
Perhaps you know that Sunbelt acquired the Kerio Firewall. Based on the survey feedback, later this year we will come out with a centrally managed server version of it.

I Missed The Antispyware WebCast With Eric Howes!

Did you guys record it and can I see it anyway? Yes we have and yes you can. It is posted here:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Webcast


Quote of the Week

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." -? Clarence Darrow

Hope you enjoy this issue of WServerNews! Warm regards, Stu Sjouwerman  |   Email me: [email protected]


ADMIN TOOLBOX

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

Must Have Freeware. AD Web Search App + GAL Self Service. Get your Free download at the namescape site here:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Freeware

Looking for a SMART attachment filtering tool that looks -inside- renamed attachments? Participate in the Messaging Ninja beta!
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-NinjaBeta

So Long, Safe Mode Boot! Here?s how to disable the Windows Safe Mode boot menu with a hex editor. Very useful tool and data:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Safe


TECH BRIEFING

What the Heck is SLI, And Why Is It Interesting?

A WSN subscriber made me aware of some very cool technology that somehow or another had slipped by me, so I sat up and listened. SLI is some seriously interesting graphics hardware. This stuff allows you to connect -two- graphics cards for brilliant and blistering 3D graphics. I asked for some sites that would explain more, and he sent me three that I will give to you below. If you are either into professional 3D graphics or serious gaming, I guess you should check these sites out:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-SLI

http://www.wservernews.com/060320-SLI2

http://www.wservernews.com/060320-SLI3


Technology Spending Rises at Corporations

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that IT spending among corporations is seeing a slow and steady acceleration, according to a survey of corporate technology buyers conducted by Goldman Sachs.

The survey found that an increasing number of participants in the survey are anticipating spending growth of more than 10% this year. Of the respondents, 19% fall into the above-10% spending camp. "Our survey's latest reading on spending health continues to point to a 2006 IT spending picture similar to that of 2005, with some subtle signs of improvement," said Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro.

Pet Peeves In The Workplace: PDA's Offensive?!

In a workplace etiquette-themed survey released by Randstad USA, a temp agency, they reported among the top pet peeves, 44 percent noted condescending tones as one of their biggest pet peeves at work. 37 percent cited public reprimands as a big pet peeve. 34 percent selected micromanaging as one of their biggest pet peeves.

Nearly one-third (32 percent) rated loud talkers as one of their biggest pet peeves. 30 percent listed cell phones ringing at work. 22 percent cited the use of speakerphones in public areas as one of their biggest complaints. 11 percent find it annoying when colleagues engage in personal conversations in the workplace. And nine percent find the use of PDAs during meetings to be offensive.
More at:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Pet_Peeves


Tell Your Users: Do Not Use Cell Phones While Flying

You as a Network and/or security manager can contribute to the effort to maintain flight safety. Giving your users personally useful security info is an excellent way to engage them in the culture of security. Point your colleagues to the FAA "Fact Sheet on Cell Phone Use" here:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Cell


Topping The Windows IT Salary Charts

Results from two recent Windows IT salary surveys show a need for professionals to broaden their perspectives as they climb higher on technical or management ladders. At SearchWinIT:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-IT


Tutorial: Exchange Server Public Folder Permissions

In this four-part tutorial, Brien Posey explains how to create a simple Exchange 2003 public folder tree structure, customize Exchange public folder roles and permissions and automatically propagate parent public folder permission changes to child folders. At SearchExchange
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Exchange


Deploying Apps Via Group Policy -- Cost-effective, But Risky

You can deploy applications using Group Policy. But without the proper planning, this is a good way to shoot yourself in the foot. The article at SearchWinSystems is interesting from the perspective of learning from other people's mistakes...
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Group_Policy


WINDOWS SERVER NEWS

Yankee Group/Sunbelt 2006 Server Reliability Survey Results

By Laura DiDio, Research Fellow. The Yankee Group.

All of the major server operating system platforms have achieved a high degree of reliability, though Unix-based servers still record the least amount of annual downtime. Microsoft?s Windows Server 2003 notched the biggest reliability gains over the past 3 years and the Microsoft server platform, along with some custom Linux distributions ranked close behind Unix for the most reliable server operating system platforms.

Those are the results of the latest independent Yankee Group/Sunbelt Software Web-based global survey of nearly 400 IT administrators worldwide. The survey also indicated that heterogeneity is the order of the day: a majority of respondents indicated they had an average of three server operating systems running in their environments.

And, in what can only be described as welcome news for corporate users, all of the major server operating system environments: Linux, Windows, Unix and open source environments exhibited a high degree of reliability -- with a surprising lack of disparity among the platforms.

Businesses reported that on average, their firms experienced fewer than two, Tier 2 reliability-related outages per server, per year and approximately one of the most severe Tier 3 outages per server, per year across all server OS platforms.

The survey also highlighted a number of crucial IT trends and revealed some surprising everyday administrator practices. Foremost among these is that a majority of IT administrators opt to manually apply patches and updates because they are not yet fully comfortable with automated patch rollouts. Perhaps the most surprising patch management statistic is that Unix administrators spend the most time patching their servers overall -- about 58 minutes and about 62 minutes for each server that they patch manually.

Microsoft IT administrators used automated patching far more than their Linux and Unix counterparts -- 32% of Windows 2000 Server IT managers and 38% of Windows Server 2003 managers use automated Group Policy to apply their patches. After Windows, automated patch management was most prevalent in the Novell SuSE environment where 28% of admins said they use Group Policy mechanisms to automatically update their systems. Red Hat and Unix administrators were least likely to deliver their updates automatically -- only 5% of Red Hat Enterprise Linux managers and 7% of Sun Solaris, HP/UX and IBM AIX Unix managers apply their patches manually. Other survey highlights include:
  • Not surprisingly, the UNIX distributions ? Solaris, AIX and HP UX took top reliability honors. Corporate UNIX users reported experiencing just under 600 minutes of per server, per year.
  • Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Linux with customizations and Novell SuSE Linux all reported roughly equivalent per server, per year outage times of just under 800 minutes. Surprisingly, Red Hat Enterprise Linux standard distribution users reported said they experienced 900 minutes of per server, per year.
  • Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 recorded the greatest number of Tier 1 Reliability related incidents -- nearly 3 incidents per server, per year for Windows 2000 Server and 2.5 Tier 1 reliability incidents for each Windows Server 2003 system annually. Still, the actual number does not vary substantially from rival platforms.
  • The Reliability and patch management of Windows servers has improved dramatically -- about 20% from Windows 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003.
  • Custom SuSE Linux delivers the highest reliability and fewest minutes -- about 430 minutes of per server, per yearly outages. However, because so few of the respondents -- less than 2% of businesses -- use a customized implementation of Novell SuSE Linux, it is not a statistically valid response. Hence, among mainstream server OS platforms, Unix must still be considered the most reliable server environment.
  • There were several write-ins for Novell?s legacy NetWare server OS platform -- seven to be exact -- taking us to task and asking why NetWare was left out of the survey. Overall, we included 11 different server OS configurations that represent the largest share of the current user base as well as the projected server OS environment going forward over the next three to five years. NetWare as a standalone server OS platform is rapidly disappearing. It currently accounts for approximately 3% of the installed base. However, for the record, the respondents still utilizing the legacy NetWare platform had high praise for its reliability and said they suffered little if any downtime.
In summary, Yankee Group and Sunbelt, want to express our gratitude to the nearly 400 of you who took the time out of your busy schedules to respond to the survey. As our way of saying ?thanks for participating? anyone interested in receiving a copy of the full Yankee Group report -- which will be published by April 4th, should send me an Email at: [email protected]

On The Road But Still Having To Manage Servers?

Here is a good solution for system admin/road warriors. T-Mobile is going to be first with a converged Wi-Fi/Cell Service. PC World just broke the news!

Converged Wi-Fi and 3G cellular service has been the dream of mobile warriors for a while now. Being able to roam seamlessly over high-speed cellular and Wi-Fi nets without dropping a connection is both a technological feat and billing conundrum. Now, T-Mobile International is taking advantage of its large hotspot network and emerging 3G HSDPA service (available now in Europe, coming soon to the U.S.) to do just that.

Beginning this summer, T-Mobile Germany subscribers will be able to subscribe to one billing plan that lets them connect via laptops, PDAs, and smartphones to both T-Mobile hotspots and EDGE/HSDPA service. The one downside is that the service won't work on home or office Wi-Fi nets, but it probably won't be long before T-Mobile comes up with a solution for that too. PC World has the full story.
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-PCWorld


Watch For Pre-Installed Google Desktops

A while back, Google added a disconcerting feature to the Google Desktop search engine. From a security perspective, this might cause compliance problems. They added the ability to store indexing data on Google's own servers. This allows users to search across computers and makes files like web history, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDFs searchable via Google's servers. They promise it's secure. Sure.

If you are in any way supposed to comply with HIPAA, or other federally mandated privacy data security laws, you need to look into this. The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns against this as well. Guess might happen when Google is subpoenaed? Right.
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Google


Top Five T-SQL Stored Procedures

T-SQL (Transact-SQL) is a set of programming extensions from Sybase and Microsoft that add several features to the Structured Query Language (SQL) including transaction control, exception and error handling, row processing, and declared variables. Microsoft's SQL Server and Sybase's SQL server support T-SQL statements.

T-SQL guru Brian Walker's series on stored procedures offer database administrators and developers simple tricks from finding columns and tables to executing code from a file. Find out what are your peers fab five routines, based on your visits to SearchSQLSever.com.
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-SQL


WINDOWS SERVER THIRD PARTY NEWS

VMware Says GSX Server Not Fit For Prime Time. Says Who?

IT shops that use the popular GSX Server from VMware Inc. might be interested to learn that the company's sales and engineering teams are now saying the about-to-be-discontinued software was unfit for a production environment.

At a recent VMware whistle-stop road show, Kirk Niska, a VMware software engineer, told IT managers that GSX -- which until recently sold for roughly $3,750 for a two-CPU server -- was never intended for use in production. The company is recommending that customers use its flagship product, ESX Server, a data-center-class virtual server, in business-critical environments.

In a move to defend against competition from Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005, VMware last month said it would discontinue GSX as a paid-for product, replacing it with VMware Server, a free follow- on to GSX Server. VMware Server is expected to come out sometime in mid-year. Customers can purchase support for VMware Server, and those with an existing GSX license will also continue to receive support, the company said. More of the story at SearchWinIT.com
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-WMware

Sign up for ongoing SearchWinIT.com server virtualization coverage at this link:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Signup


Protecting Your SQL Environment. Easier Than You Thought!

Would you like to cluster SQL Server, but can't afford it? Can you backup SQL Server 24/7 without impacting production? How long would it take your DBA to get SQL up and running if the whole server crashed? Can you send data 3,000 miles in real-time without sacrificing data integrity? Breathe Easy. Other than email, every critical application in your company probably relies on a database. No one has more experience and proven success protecting Microsoft SQL Server than Double-Take. Find out more at:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Server


VeriSign Details Massive Denial-of-Service Attacks

VeriSign said that about 1,500 organizations worldwide have been attacked this year by unknown hackers who used botnets and DNS servers to swamp their networks with unmanageable torrents of data. ComputerWorld has the story:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Verisign


WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS

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



WServerNews - PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

How To Get Free AV: Participate In Ninja Beta

Did you know that Sunbelt Messaging Ninja just went into Beta 2? If you are interested in testing Ninja on one of your production servers, there are some very attractive awards available. With Ninja you can scan and eliminate threats at the server level, filter attachments in a truly smart way, scan spam and viruses through multiple engines and much more. Check out the specs, and click on download to get instructions how to get the beta:
http://www.wservernews.com/060320-Ninja