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publié le 20 février 2018 Beauté › Bien-être

Janus remains something of a mystery. The god Janus had two faces, to look two ways at once, and it’s tempting to see that reflected in a concept machine able to succeed in both the business and the games markets - perhaps the way it had once been thought that the QL might go. Equally, and perhaps more likely, it reflects looking both forward and backward: the latter in its support for QL technology, but forward to a new world of computing based on Sinclair’s wafer-scale integration ideas.Certainly designer Rick Dickinson sketched and produced mock-ups of a number of wafer-scale machines, some in upright towers, others in squat, domed units. Many are marked “QL+”. Was Janus and the QL+ one and the same thing, and if so were they ever more than a concept for a future? We shall probably never know. At last year's Melbourne VMware user group (VMUG) conference, VMware's Mike Laverick opined that IT pros need a home lab these days, because bosses have stopped shelling out for training.

Plenty of you agreed with that proposition. Some even showed us their very own home labs.Most used old servers, an arrangement that this year's Melbourne VMUG conference heard is a redundant approach.The source of that pronouncement? None other than Simon Gallagher, a member of the London VMUG steering committee, former VMware staffer and – most importantly for this article – creator of the vTardis home lab. Gallagher describes vTardis as follows:“A small, low cost physical infrastructure (or single server) which is capable of supporting several multi-node ESX clusters. It provides an infrastructure representative of enterprise-grade vSphere/vCD deployment through heavy over-subscription of physical hardware as well as providing 'production' home services like media streaming, data storage, DNS, DHCP etc.”vTardis has been around since 2010, with some variants able to run on laptops. But in Melbourne Gallagher said he's been able to ditch servers altogether, thanks to the combination of a Core i7 processor and … Windows 8?

The Core i7 resides within a Lenovo W530, a laptop Gallagher says is up to the job of running a home lab because it can handle 32GB of RAM. With a 512GB solid state disk and VMware Workstation 10 aboard, he says he has no trouble running up to ten ESX instances, complete with nested virtual machines.Gallagher says lesser laptops will struggle to pull off that trick, and noted that the Core i7 3720QM he's using offers Intel's implementation of second level address translation (SLAT), Extended Page Tables, as this technology makes it easier for virtual machines to use memory (AMD's equivalent is called Rapid Virtualization Indexing). Not all Intel or AMD CPUs offer SLAT and Gallagher's messages was don't try this stuff at home without it.If you do own such a machine, Gallagher said all the hassle of server-powered power bills can go away forever, as can the need for a man-cave like his own Geek Cabin in which to house the lab.

One problem Gallagher did identify for those who would like their own vTardis is software licensing. VMWare offers 60-day evaluation software, but rebuilding a lab every 60 days is painful. The free version of ESXi lasts forever, but is missing some handy features like vCenter, vMotion and clustering. Now that Microsoft has more-or-less killed TechNet , similar problems await those contemplating a Hyper-V home lab.Let's not finish on that sad note. Instead, let us know if your home lab has been collapsed into a laptop. Let's also ponder what could be possible at home with the likes of Eurocom's Xeon-powered, 12-core, 24-thread laptop. Server flash fettler Fusion-io is the latest supplier to try to crack the make-VDI-popular nut with its ioVDI software, which combines server-side flash with shared storage.

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The ioVDI software is typical, in one sense, of many VDI-accelerating products, using server-side flash caching to speed the system's responsiveness. Fusion-io says its product is better than the rest (storage consultancy ESG reckons it comes in at under $125/desktop) and it features:Write Vectoring to monitor and direct transient, session-based desktop writes to server flash, with persistent desktop writes are sent to shared storage Transparent File Sharing to enable many hosted virtual desktops to simultaneously share common files. This accelerates reboot times Dynamic flash reallocation optimises flash performance across desktops during migration instances Fusion-io states that "by limiting shared storage interaction to the small number of writes that persist between login sessions, Write Vectoring preserves the use of VMware value-added features such as vMotion, HA, DRS, and SRM that require shared storage while substantially reducing SAN or NAS performance dependencies."

An ESG validation document says: "Write vectoring recognises the existence of transient desktop writes that never need persistence, including page file I/O, temporary files, and browser temp data. Essential desktop writes such as auto-saves and user data updates are directed as expected to shared storage for protection and HA."Concerning Transparent File Sharing (TFS) it says: "VMware Horizon View Storage Accelerator can use up to 2GB of RAM [and] Transparent File Sharing optimises performance by rapidly sharing common files throughout the VDI infrastructure."TFS provides inline, file-level deduplication of all desktop data hosted on a server, according to ESG."Fusion ioVDI delivers the persistence, performance, and HA of storage-side solutions with the cost-effectiveness and simple deployment model inherent in server-side solutions," according to ESG. The consultants also think Fusion-io best practice is to pair ioVDI with dedupe-capable primary storage which is also compliant with vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI).

What about cost? In ESG's words, "using online sources for pricing of the components used in the test bed, ESG lab confirmed that virtual desktop infrastructure could be provided at a cost of less than $125 per desktop."We understand a VMworld 2013 demo of the technology used a NetApp FAS2200 array with 24 x 400 disk drives configured in a RAID DP set-up. They were exported with NFS over a 1GigE wire. The array's ONTAP software provided deduplication and cloning tools.Fusion saw "actual disk usage of less than 500GB for 1,001 Fully-Cloned Windows 7 desktops with 32GB disks."There was "10 per cent utilisation of the NFS volume with 5TB left free ... The NetApp disk and CPU utilisation idled around 2-4 per cent once all 1001 desktops were fully booted. Without ioVDI the network was fully saturated and the NetApp disk and CPU utilisation were totally consumed."

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Is this better than VDI-accelerating hybrid arrays from Nimble Storage, Tegile and Tintri, the Violin-Atlantis ILIO set up, or GreenBytes' VDI-accelerating software? You'll have to do comparative testing.A thousand VDI instances run off an entry level FAS array is impressive, even if it was a tradeshow demo system. Now you can try out the real thing and see if Fusion-io's tech voodoo has built a magic carpet for reliable, affordable and fast-performing VDI systems.The ioVDI software is available now, either stand-alone or as an integrated system combining ioVDI software and ioMemory flash, through Fusion-io channel partners at a manufacturer’s list price of $50 USD per desktop. Something for the Weekend, Sir? A staple of radio phone-ins is to invite listeners to share their stories about funny things they found when moving into a new property.There are some tales that everyone can share, such as front doors fitted with a letterbox so small that you’d struggle to fit a postcard through without having to fold it in half. There are others that surprise or repulse, such as embalmed cats found behind walls and, in one revolting case, a man who discovered that the previous owner collected dead spiders in paper bags and left them stacked up in the cloakroom under the stairs.

With the exception of those who designed and built their own homes, surely everyone must at one point have looked around at the polystyrene ceiling tiles, dado rails, dusty pelmets and plastic chandeliers and wonder what kind of shit was going through the heads of the mentalists who used to live there.The previous owners of my house bricked up the door between the tiny kitchen and the dining room for no apparent reason. So instead of serving meals directly from the kitchen to the dining table, I shout, “dinner’s ready!”, pick up the plates... and step into the hallway.This week I have been making similar discoveries with respect to office machines at my workplace. When did they buy this crazy stuff? Are the people who used it still alive? And, oh lordy, why is this junk still here?Long-time readers of this column may remember that last summer I acquired responsibility for 2,000 square feet of office space near London’s trendy Tech City area of Shoreditch.I can assure you that "trendy" was not the word that came to mind the first day I stepped into this dismal den of obliquity. The walls and ceiling had been painted muddy green some time before I was born. All the furniture dated from the 1950s, all of it brown. At some point in the 1970s, cheap carpet had been glued directly onto what must at the time have been unfashionable parquet wooden floor.

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