Vol. 19, #10 - March 10, 2014 - Issue #970
BitTorrent in the Enterprise
- Editor's Corner
- Survey coming soon!
- From the Mailbag
- BitTorrent in the Enterprise
- Tip of the Week: Keep your Sent Items Folder Slim
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Asia Pacific
- Webcast Calendar
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- More on BitTorrent
- Enterprise IT
- Windows Azure
- Windows Server News
- App performance management through a cloud admin's eyes
- How VDI implementation brings the winds of change
- Resistance is futile: Five ways to secretly virtualize a server
- IT pros size up new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with a critical eye
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- #1 Hyper-V Backup
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Best Free Tool for your VMs
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about legitimate uses for BitTorrent in enterprise environments. We welcome Jeff Mason, an IT professional with over 25 years of experience, who has contributed this week's guest editorial on this subject. Torrents are often viewed as the dark underbelly of the Internet where illegal file sharing is rampant. But did you know that:
- There's a 1926 film called Torrent that stars Greta Garbo?
- There's a city called Torrent within the metropolitan area of Valencia in Spain?
- That the daughter of Wolverine and Storm is named Torrent?
I'm sure as a geeky IT pro you probably knew that last bit of trivia ;-)
HOT: If you use Microsoft Outlook in an Exchange Server environment and your Sent Items folder is getting out of control, be sure to check out our Tip of the Week in this week's issue!
Survey coming soon!
Just a heads up to all of you out there that we'll soon be mailing out a survey that we'd like you to complete. This survey will help us ensure that WServerNews is meeting the needs of our readers and it gives you an opportunity to make suggestions on how we can improve our newsletter. We would appreciate it if you would please take the time to thoughtfully respond to the survey when you receive it in your inbox. Thanks!
From the Mailbag
Matt, an IT Network Manager in the UK, took time to respond at length to my editorial in Implementing Wi-Fi in Enterprise Environments (Issue #967):
I manage a network in an Academy in Rochester, Kent, UK. We have about 600 wireless clients, mainly laptops, with just a handful of tablets. We evaluated Meru and Ruckus equipment, but decided to go with Ubiquiti UniFi (we also had a survey from Xirrus, but their quote was way out of our budget). Our surveys were based on signal strength tests (using WiFi Analyser, NetSurveyer to name a couple) and producing our own heat maps and coverage details. We also performed real experience tests and tasks such logging in a group (20+) laptops at a time, streaming video and copying files. I think education is unique to corporate environments in that we have hundreds of logons at roughly the same time several times a day, rather than just a gradual surge first thing in the morning.
We decided to use Ubiquiti UniFi based its apparent value for money. I agree with a post in the UniFi forums:
to say UniFi is cheaper is incorrect as "cheap" can sometimes mean "inferior". I would say that Ubiquiti UniFi is "inexpensive", and it does exactly what we needed it to. True, Meru, Ruckus, Xirrus and Cisco may have many more bells and whistles, but if we are not going to use them, there is no point is paying for it unnecessarily.
I think Ubiquiti is sometimes criticized for its lack of enterprise support -- I don't believe that it's possible to just ring them up and ask about a problem. Their software appears to be criticized at times for being a continual beta or for features not being finished. However it's more than adequate for our needs and the hardware is solid.
It's a shame Ubiquiti kit not marketed or promoted as much as other manufacturers (especially over here in the UK). It does seem to be made by professionals for professionals, but it quietly gets on with the job very well. We still have a bit of work to do for finishing upgrading the rest of the site, but we probably did it for half the cost of alternative solutions (hardware purchase costs). However, for as reliable as it is I still prefer a hardwire where possible!! I hope this is of interest to your readers. Keep up the good work.
I think Matt has made some very good points here, but I also think the key is whether the customer wants/needs "enterprise-level support" or not. From my past experience the Educational market tends to lean towards less expensive roll-your-own solutions for meeting their IT needs. That's not to say that Ubiquiti is in any way an inferior product, it sounds terrific. But if you're a corporate customer who wants something that "just works" and who needs to be able to pick up the phone and say "just fix it" then more expensive solutions like Meru etc are IMO generally the way to go. What do other readers think? Email me at [email protected]
And now on to our guest editorial by Jeff Mason...
BitTorrent in the Enterprise
BitTorrent, the protocol for uploading and downloading large files in a widely-distributed manner is, more and more, being used as a technology to facilitate distribution of main-stream applications and legitimate data transfers, such as general distribution of large data/media files.
BitTorrent's Traditional Grey Areas
Historically, BitTorrent has been maligned as potentially infringing upon copyrights and facilitating, if not encouraging, illegal downloads. Since the BitTorrent protocol itself is efficient and effective at allowing large data to be gradually uploaded or downloaded, even across networks with limited bandwidth, it lends itself to being used to download movies, music and other files of considerable size. The problem is that the person who uploaded a movie file to share on the BitTorrent network likely did not have ownership and/or licensing rights to allow that file to be shared and downloaded; conversely, the persons downloading the shared files may or may not already own the rights to download the file they've chosen to download.
Distributed Processing and Storage -- Sharing the Load
Part of the beauty of the BitTorrent protocol is the fact that the uploads and downloads are distributed among rather random, disparate "clients" -- therefore, you may or may not know where a particular portion of your downloaded file comes from. In this manner, BitTorrent works on a sort of "shared bandwidth / volunteered service" basis. Each person who desires to download files via a BitTorrent server also agrees to share upload/download processing with other "peer clients" on the BitTorrent network.
The Pieces that Comprise the Data May be Delivered in Any Order
Another incredibly advantageous feature of BitTorrent is the fact that the downloaded pieces of a "torrent" (existing uploaded, compressed package containing the app or data) do not need to be downloaded in any specific order; the "end client" receiving the file has an "index" of how the pieces should fit together and, once all pieces have been downloaded, the BitTorrent client places them in the proper order. This means that, for example, if a file consists of pieces 1 through 4 , and the client receives piece 4 first, the other pieces can be received from any other participants in any order, and the final result will be a re-indexed package that can be expanded back into its original form.
The Robust, Self-Healing Nature of the BitTorrent Protocol Makes it Attractive
The fact that geographically diverse peer clients share the processing and network load for accomplishing BitTorrent data transfers means that the protocol is able to efficiently distribute large data files, without the limitations on speed, processing and bandwidth of traditional single-server-to-single-client data transfers, such as FTP. For example, in an FTP transfer, a single point of failure exists whereby, if the server hosting the data file becomes inaccessible, the transfer fails and must be manually re-initiated. Conversely, with BitTorrent, there is a built-in self-healing checksum-like capability. How this functions is that, when the transfer is interrupted before completion, the client recognizes that the downloaded package is incomplete and the client then searches for other peers that host the missing piece(s); upon finding those peers, the transfer automatically continues until the file is fully downloaded.
Due to the robust, self-healing nature of the BitTorrent protocol, a growing number of well-known companies are using BitTorrent to distribute legally-licensed data, applications and media. These companies/entities include Amazon, the band "Nine Inch Nails," CBC (Canadian broadcast Corp), Facebook and Twitter, among many others.
BitTorrent's Potential Future (and Future Potential)
Future purposes should include using BitTorrent technology to upload "full image backups" of computers for later retrieval in a disaster recovery or failed hardware situation. Imagine making a full backup of your entire hard drive of, let's say, 250 Gigabytes. Using a traditional method for uploading your backup image to a cloud storage facility would take considerable time and your upload might be interrupted, in which case you would have to start the upload over from the beginning. This is not a concern with the BitTorrent protocol, which will split your image into multiple, evenly-sized smaller chunks, and will upload those chunks of data using various distributed clients, without regard to the order of the chunks, and with a virtual guarantee that all pieces of the data will make it to the desired target storage location. As an example, BitTorrent Sync is currently being used in certain backup/synch scenarios.
Other purposes might involve "Reverse BitTorrent Clients;" i.e., clients that allow and facilitate dissemination of information to "unknown destinations," in catastrophic events, where many servers and network connectivity points may no longer be available. The protocol could be tweaked so that, using previously-designated "drop-off repositories," seeded during use of normal BitTorrent transfers, critical disaster relief information would be deposited in any server/host remaining that contains a "drop-off repository." Any remaining BitTorrent clients would recognize the "Disaster Beacon" being transmitted from the "drop-off repositories" and, much like the television's "Emergency Broadcast System," the BitTorrent clients would sound warnings and display the repository's disaster information, assisting injured and frightened disaster victims in getting medical help, finding shelter and maintaining awareness of the status of the disaster.
BitTorrent technologies also would facilitate management and transfer of "Big Data" in "the Cloud." Any technology that can split and re-assemble large data files from location to location, via distributed resources, easily could provide tremendous advantages in extremely large data environments.
These proposed uses and the fact that BitTorrent is seeing growing use by well-known entities are excellent signs for a protocol whose potential is just now beginning to be tapped by legitimate users for legitimate purposes. In conclusion then, it appears that the oft-maligned yet robust and efficient BitTorrent protocol truly is coming of age and may still have uses not yet imagined.
For more information on BitTorrent, see the Tech Briefing section of this issue.
About Jeff Mason
Jeff is an IT professional with over 25 years experience and a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems (MTSU, 2001). Jeff is also an avid scripter; his scripts have been downloaded thousands of times on Microsoft's TechNet site:
Send us feedback
Got comments or questions about this topic? Let us know at [email protected]
This week's tip is by Emanuel Halapciuc, a Premier Field Engineer (PFE) at Microsoft based in Bucharest, Romania. For more information about him you can view his LinkedIn profile:
The Exchange admin may not be your best friend to grant you infinite mailbox size, or you just prefer to keep a slim mailbox. Sometimes you don't want to save a copy of each email you send, because you'll get a copy anyway when the person you sent it to replies. Or because it links to a dramatic hamster on YouTube or it may be used against you later in court (cannot help you there, though). The tip below will show you how to not save emails in Sent Items when you don't want to. Easily, with a simple shortcut. Here's how:
1. Press Ctrl+N in the Mail view (which can be reached with Ctrl+1) to fire up a new email. Then click the little arrow at on the Quick Access bar (in the top of the window) and from the pop-up menu select More Commands...
2. In the Outlook Options window go to Choose commands from and select All Commands > scroll and select Do not Save > click Add > click OK to confirm. Optionally, you may change its position in the list. This step is as easy as 1-2-3, but it's actually 1-2-scroll-3-4:
3. You're almost over, step 3 was the most difficult. Actually, you're done. Whenever you start a new email, you may notice this additional checkbox with a self-explanatory box. All you have to do is not tick it, and the email won't be saved in Sent Items:
4. If ticking a check-box is too complicated, it's even easier. Press Alt+n, where n is the Do not save option in the Quick Access Toolbar. In my case, it's the second command. So all I have to do is press Alt+2. In case you forget, Outlook is nice enough to remember you all the shortcuts when you press Alt:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
This week we have some soon-to-be-released books you might want to pre-order:
Mastering Hyper-V 2012 R2 with System Center and Azure
Virtualizing SQL Server 2012 with VMware: Doing IT Right
Mastering System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
Microsoft Big Data Solutions
VMware vSphere Performance: Designing CPU, Memory, Storage, and Networking for Performance-Intensive Workloads
Networking for VMware Administrators
The Science and Technology of Counterterrorism: Measuring Physical and Electronic Security Risk
Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation
Microsoft Virtual Academy
March 12: Windows 8.1 Deployment Jump Start
Find out how to deploy Windows 8.1 the "right way," from a team of MVPs and Microsoft experts. In this recorded session, featuring live Q&A, they'll share real-life, practical experience gained from working with early adopters, and they'll offer tips on saving time, money, and hassle by automating part--or even all--of the process. Register here:
Get on the fast track with your IT Career with a Certification Offer from Microsoft
Start or advance your career as a systems administrator or as a computer support specialist by earning a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification. Sign up for access to free certification exam prep courses from Microsoft. Find out more and sign up here:
Quote of the Week
"Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it." --Stephen Leacock, famous Canadian humorist. Oops, make that humourist. Sorry, eh?
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
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Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC 2014) on March 30-April 2, 2014 in Austin, Texas
Microsoft Build Developer Conference (Build 2014) on April 2-4, 2014 in San Francisco, California
TechEd North America on May 12-15, 2014 in Houston, Texas
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Microsoft SQL Server PASS Summit 2014 on November 4-7, 2014 in Seattle, Washington
European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
TechEd Europe on October 27-31, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
TechEd New Zealand on September 9-12, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand
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We will start off this week with a few links where you can find out more information about BitTorrent and its legitimate uses...
More info on BitTorrent
Wikipedia article on BitTorrent:
Wikipedia article on legal issues with BitTorrent:
Using BitTorrent Sync to transfer backups:
Now let's move on to some other stuff...
Time Sync Recommendations For Virtual DCs On Hyper-V – Change In Recommendations (AGAIN) (Jorge's Quest for Knowledge)
When To Use ForestPrep, DomainPrep And RODCPrep (Jorge's Quest for Knowledge)
Demartek Interview — When Does 16 Gbps Fibre Channel Make Sense? (Demartek)
Hyper-V: Number of NUMA Nodes on a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 R2208GZ4GC (Third Tier)
Product Review: Unitrends Enterprise Backup for Hyper-V (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Linux Integration Services Version 3.5 for Hyper-V (Microsoft Download Center)
A vSphere Distributed Resources Scheduler Conceptual Primer (Part 1) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
VMware vSphere Resource Management Configuration Basics (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Guide to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Step-By-Step: Manage Windows Azure using PowerShell (CanITPro)
Setup a Windows Server 2012 R2 Domain Controller in Windows Azure: IP Addressing and Creating a Virtual Network (Petri)
Windows Azure Datacenter IP Ranges (Microsoft Download Center)
App performance management through a cloud admin's eyes
While moving applications to the cloud can yield significant benefits, ensuring optimal application performance throughout the migration process is not a simple task. Inside this resource, find key cloud-friendly tips and tricks for successful application performance management.
How VDI implementation brings the winds of change
Before moving forward with any VDI implementation, it is essential to consider the key changes your environment, IT shop, and end-users will experience. Discover how VDI impacts both users and systems administrators alike and learn how to prepare for the move inside this exclusive tip.
Resistance is futile: Five ways to secretly virtualize a server
Have you faced resistance about server virtualization? What you might not know is that there are ways of secretly virtualizing servers without permission. Find out five tricks you can leverage to sneak in virtualization without anyone knowing it.
IT pros size up new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with a critical eye
Microsoft's new CEO is looking to change the leading IT vendor's cloud and mobile fortunes by reenergizing its technical strategies. Inside this exclusive article, learn more about what cloud and mobility developments you can expect to see from Microsoft in the coming year.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Model Helicopters Lift A Human
Another world record and aviation milestone: The first ever remote-controlled human flight achieved by two model helicopters lifting a grown-up person.
The 2014 Oscars In Under 2 Minutes
In case you didn't have time to watch the entire Academy Awards 2014, here are the highlights in under 2 minutes.
'Boogie Woogie Twins' - Dr. John & Jools Holland
The 'Boogie Woogie Twins' Dr. John and Jools Holland present an exhilarating performance at the TV show 'Night Music'.
Amadeus Cat - 'Ameowadeus'
A parody of the 1984 film 'Amadeus' based on the Internet classics 'Keyboard Cat', 'Hamster on a Piano' and 'Dramatic Chipmunk'.