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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 13, #8 - Feb 25, 2008 - Issue #662
Server Down! Which Brand Does Best?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Server Down! Which Brand Does Best?
    • Quotes Of The Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Tech Briefing
    • Microsoft Security Testing Tools
    • How To Prevent Windows Vista's Green Ribbon Of Death
    • Vista SP1 Prerequisite Updates Send Some PCs Into Endless Reboot
    • Tracking Which Users Have Connected To A Terminal Server
    • Intel Unveils Eight-Core High-End, Gaming Platform
    • FAQ: Windows XP SP3 Nears Finish Line
    • Server Virtualization Reseller Project Guide
  4. Windows Server News
    • Yankee 2008 Server OS Reliability Survey Executive Summary
  5. WServer Third Party News
    • UltraAdmin V6 Available For Vista - And Free
    • Kudos And Flames
  6. WServeNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • BOOK: Gray Hat Hacking Second Edition: Uncover, plug, and ethically disclose security flaws.
Renew Your Ninja Maintenance. Here's Why:

Michel Bruyere from E-Z-EM Canada just renewed maintenance on Ninja for 250 users. He said, "There is no company elsewhere that are so customer oriented than you guys. Also, the products are REALLY developed for admins, not for management. This is a big point on the market today, the features are mostly driven by management requirement instead of real technical requirement. As I said, you're one of the VERY RARE that didn't fall in this trap. Keep up the good work guys."

Editor's Corner

Server Down! Which Brand Does Best?

Many of you participated in this yearly Server Reliability survey, and I received a warm thanks from Yankee Group's Laura DiDio. The full Executive Summary is in the Server News Section. This is original content and you saw it here first!

"Thanks to all who participated in the Yankee Group 2007-2008 Server Operating System Reliability Survey! Our apologies for the long wait but primary research takes time. And in addition to the Web-based responses from those of you here on Sunbelt's lists, Yankee Group also polled several hundred of its own customers and conducted in-depth first person customer interviews to get that all-important anecdotal data. As promised any of you who participated in the survey, email me at: [email protected] and you will receive a complimentary copy of the full Report as our way of saying "Thanks" for your participation. Also, please feel free to email me with any comments, constructive criticism as well as what topics you'd like to see covered in our upcoming surveys and reports."
-- Laura DiDio, Yankee Group, Research Fellow

Quotes Of The Week

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." -- Voltaire (1694-1778)
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." -- Samuel Adams
"Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe." -- Robert Service (1874-1958)

Warm regards, and thank you for being a WServerNews subscriber. Please tell your friends about us. They can subscribe here:

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

Now Available: Ninja Blade - The Barracuda Killer

Ninja Blade is built on commercial grade soft- and hardware, as opposed to inexpensive boxes which re-brand open source offerings. A lot of system admins asked us for an email appliance with the quality of our Ninja Email Security for Exchange software product. You told us you wanted an appliance at the Barracuda price points, but more reliable hardware, and high-end antispam and antivirus code with less false positives. So we created a 'barracuda killer' for you. Check out the specs and the prices, and draw your own conclusions. You can now get an evaluation copy and see it for yourself. Pricing starts at $1,995; annual maintenance and support costs (which include automatic signature updates for anti-spam/anti-virus) start at $599 for the 500 model which runs on a Dell server with 3 year warranty and 4-hour on-site service!

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

--- Migrating (virtual) servers? Don't take risks during your data migration! New, advanced technology lets you migrate files without creating broken links.

Event Log and System Health Monitoring. Feature Rich, Affordable, Award Winning. Download your FREE Full Featured Trial Version or FREE Light Version Today.

Extend Active Directory to your UNIX, Linux, Mac, web and database platforms. Free authentication guide.

Just released! PerfectDisk 2008 defragger w/ unattended defrag & exclusive VMware support. Only defragger Vista Certified. Free evals.

Must Have FREEWARE! Web Active Directory & Self-Service Password. Download Now! Let users self-manage, but stay in control using native & delegated roles.

Tech Briefing

Microsoft Security Testing Tools

Learn which tools you can use to test the security in your Windows shop and read about some of the top free tools available today in Chapter 2 of this All-in-One-Guide to Microsoft security assessment and testing.

How To Prevent Windows Vista's Green Ribbon Of Death

Successor to the well-known Windows blue screen of death, the 'green ribbon of death' crashes Vista when the progress bar freezes an Explorer window. Here's why it happens, and how to make it stop.

Vista SP1 Prerequisite Updates Send Some PCs Into Endless Reboot

In most cases, they reported that the final update hung while displaying the message "Configuring Updates Step 3 of 3 -- 0% Complete," which was followed by a reboot of the PC. Which was followed by another reboot, and another. "[It] reboots ad infinitum," said Frank Melk on the Microsoft support newsgroup. Redmond pulled SP1 and is debugging now.

Tracking Which Users Have Connected To A Terminal Server

Have you ever wanted to track which users have connected to a terminal server and wondered if there is a log of these people? expert Christa Anderson explains how you can see interactive connections that show the name and domain of the user who connected and more in this Ask the Expert response.

Intel Unveils Eight-Core High-End, Gaming Platform

Intel Corp. unveiled its latest gaming and high-end computing platform, which includes two quad-core processors and graphic cards. The new platform, which had been code-named Skulltrail, not only holds a total of eight processors; it also gives users a choice of two multicard graphics solutions -- one from ATI and one from nVidia Corp. The platform is the latest product to run Intel's 45-nanometer Penryn microprocessors, which hit the market last November. I want one! More at ComputerWorld in the link below, and I also found a good article that compares Intel Santa Rosa vs. Penryn in LAPTOP Mag:

FAQ: Windows XP SP3 Nears Finish Line

Now that Microsoft has released the latest version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to the public, it looks like a final release of the OS update is near. Here's what you should know about it, and how to get it.

Server Virtualization Reseller Project Guide

Server virtualization may seem a panacea that promises to increase revenue, but simply deciding which products will address a particular customer's need is a challenge in itself. This Server Virtualization Project Guide will help you select, plan and deploy virtualization products.

Windows Server News

Yankee 2008 Server OS Reliability Survey Executive Summary

Disclaimer: Yankee Group polled over 700 users worldwide in this independent, non-vendor sponsored survey. Yankee Group also took precautions to ensure the integrity of the survey by implementing intrusion detection and authentication mechanisms to ensure that no parties could tamper with the results or vote more than once.

The latest survey, which was completed in January 2008 served up some very interesting results and a few surprises. UNIX, the leading Linux distributions from Novell and Red Hat as well as open source Ubuntu were the clear winners in Yankee Group's 2007-2008 Global Server Operating Reliability Survey.

Yankee Group's second annual Server Operating System reliability survey polled 700 users from 27 countries worldwide. The latest independent, non-sponsored Web-based survey showed that revealed that all versions of UNIX -- which typically carry very high workloads -- are near bulletproof, achieving 99.999% reliability. IBM's AIX UNIX led all server operating systems for reliability with just over 30 minutes of per server annual downtime but Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems also got high scores.

The top Linux distributions Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Novell SuSE Linux notched the biggest reliability improvements in the latest 2007-2008 survey. Each decreased per server per annum downtime by an average of 75%. The biggest and most unwelcome surprise in the survey was that Windows Server 2003 downtime increased by 25% to nearly 9 hours of per server, per year downtime compared to the results it achieved in Yankee Group's 2006 Global Server Reliability Survey. Windows Server 2003's decreased reliability is attributable to a series of security alerts Microsoft issued in the summer and fall time frame which caused network administrators to take their Windows Server 2003 machines offline for significantly longer periods of time to apply remedial patches.

In the past two years, the Yankee Group polls indicated that all of the major server operating system platforms have achieved a much higher degree of reliability than they experienced in the prior decade. In general, none of the major server operating systems -- Linux, Macintosh, Windows or UNIX are today beset by the long list of bugs that plagued their predecessors back in the 1980s and 1990s. Additionally, there is far less disparity now, in both the number and severity of unplanned server outages and the time that businesses experience on their standard Linux, Windows and UNIX platforms, than at any time in recent memory.

Yankee Group's Individual corporate Linux, Windows and UNIX servers experience an average of 1 to 4 failures, per server per year resulting in downtime that ranges from 1 hour to up to 10 hours of annual downtime for each server, depending on the server operating system and its specific configuration (See Exhibit 1 in the PDF link at the end of this article).

Among the other survey highlights:
  • UNIX-based servers, which represent about 10% of the installed base of server operating systems, achieved the highest reliability ratings among mainstream distributions.
  • IBM's AIX achieved the highest level of reliability with corporate enterprises reporting only 36 minutes of average per server downtime in a 12 month period. Hewlett-Packard's HP UX version 11.1 recorded 1.1 hours of downtime for each of its servers on a yearly basis, while Sun Microsystems' Solaris customers reported 1.4 hours of per server, per year downtime.
  • Both versions of Novell SuSE Linux -- the standard off the shelf distribution as well as the custom implementation -- saw downtime decline by 73% from just over 4 hours in Yankee's 2006 Global Server Reliability Survey to a little over 1 hour of per server annual downtime in the latest poll. The off-the-shelf version of Novell SuSE Linux, bested Red Hat reliability by recording 37 minutes less downtime for each server compared to the comparable off-the-shelf RHEL implementation. The customized version of SuSE Linux experienced 65 minutes of downtime per server, per year, roughly 13 minutes more for each server than its chief competitor RHEL in a custom configuration. Additionally, Novell's market share climbed from approximately 13% in last year's survey to roughly 17% in the current poll.
  • Linux market leader Red Hat scored similarly rosy results: per server downtime decreased by 75% for the standard off-the-shelf distribution to 1 3/4 hours for each server annually, down from just over 7.1 hours in Yankee Group's 2006 survey. And Red Hat's Enterprise Linux also increased in its enterprise presence. Custom implementations of RHEL delivered even greater reliability -- a scant 52 minutes of per server, per year of unplanned downtime. This year, 31% of the survey respondents reported they have standard RHEL present in their shops, up 5% from the 26% who had it installed in the 2006 survey.
  • Debian, a popular open source distribution, which last year posted the highest number of outage minutes, saw significant improvement in the latest 2007-2008 Global Server Reliability Survey. Debian servers this year experienced just over 5 hours of annual downtime a 41% decrease from the downtime figure it posted in Yankee Group's 2006 Global Server Reliability survey. And the open source operating system also increased its presence year-over-year with 24% of the respondents reporting they had at least one Debian server in their network compared to 15% who had it installed in the 2006 timeframe.
  • Ubuntu, which appears in Yankee Group's Global Reliability Survey for the first time this year, has also come on strong and is an open source operating system to be reckoned with. Some 22% of the survey respondents are running at least one Ubuntu server at their sites. And it has proven highly reliable, with 1.1 hour of per server, per annum downtime.
Here is the graph with the Hourly Per Year Downtime per Server:

WServer Third Party News

UltraAdmin V6 Available For Vista - And Free

Version 6 of UltraAdmin software is now fully compatible with Vista, and they are making the full version available *at no charge* to any Microsoft Windows network admin who wishes to download and use it. You can read more about the utility, as well as download a full feature list in PDF format:

Kudos And Flames

A kudos to Sunbelt, a flame on other companies, and a quick analysis on why False Positives rates are bogus: So, I just found that my AV Software flagged one of my files as a virus. It's a Driver I have saved, not installed, for a Samsung phone. I use it all the time. False Positive in my eyes. The AV quarantined it as soon I tried to copy it a different folder.

I figured I will just send an email to the company and explain why I think this is a false positive. They could either correct it, or enlighten my as to why they include in their signatures. Then I realized - the company is not Sunbelt! I can't just email a nice Lyris list or support team and start a discussion about it. It's a different company, and I will have to jump through hurdles to submit any info to them!

I highly appreciate Sunbelt's implementation of what I refer to as 'Open, Public, Easy Support'. I think everyone on this list knows that, agrees, and loves it. We all know the support rocks. Thanks.

I think other companies are getting hurt by not implementing this type of support, and in turn, it hurts the customers. Here is why. FALSE POSITIVES. My Example: SPAM Filtering / False Positives.

Many SPAM filtering companies now claim false positive rates in the 1/Million ratio. Or they advertise it as virtually 100% FP free. It's BS. You know why: BECAUSE THEY MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SUBMIT THE FALSE POSTIVES FOR ANALYSIS. And it hurts the customer in the end because the detection rates will not improve without feedback. With my current SPAM filtering setup, I have opened many tickets with them regarding my false positives. I have followed all their recommendations. At times, I will have 100s of FP Emails that I will need to submit to them. However, they make me submit them one-by-one. No mass upload. No FTP. It would take me forever. So I just don't bother. Not only that, but it took them 2 technicians to even tell me where to submit the FPs to. (Shouldn't that be in the manual?)

Therefore, I believe their stats on False Positives are way off! Just are just clueless because nobody reports them. That being said, even if Sunbelt's products had a high false positive rate, I would still be more inclined to purchase a product from them since I know that the FPs can easily be submitted and rectified. And not only that, the Support team actually says an unscripted, honest, human, heartfelt 'SORRY'. WOW. Rock on Guys.
-- Sam Cayze
Information Technology Administrator

WServeNews FAVE Links

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

WServerNews - Product of the Week

BOOK: Gray Hat Hacking Second Edition: Uncover, plug, and ethically disclose security flaws.

Prevent catastrophic network attacks by exposing security flaws, fixing them, and ethically reporting them to the software author. Fully expanded to cover the hacker's latest devious methods, Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker's Handbook, Second Edition lays out each exploit alongside line-by-line code samples, detailed countermeasures, and moral disclosure procedures. Find out how to execute effective penetration tests, use fuzzers and sniffers, perform reverse engineering, and find security holes in Windows and Linux applications. You'll also learn how to trap and autopsy stealth worms, viruses, rootkits, adware, and malware.