Connection Filtering in Exchange 2003

May 2nd, 2010

A client recently had problems with a compromised account being used to send SPAM.  Unfortunately, in this case, the client does not require authenticated SMTP from internal mail clients.  So, at first glance, it appeared that there would be no way to prevent the compromised account from sending (short of blocking his IP on the MTA’s firewall or removing the offending computer from the internal network).

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Deduplication for VM Storage Environments

April 27th, 2010

I’ve been working with a co-worker who is performing a Tivoli Storage Manager migration, moving from a strictly tape-based backup scheme to a disk-to-tape scheme. As part of the new disk-to-tape scheme, he has configured TSM’s deduplication feature on the disk-based storage pool. For those who are not familiar with deduplication, this is a nifty technology that identifies duplicate blocks and replaces the non-unique blocks with pointers to the first inode on disk that represents the duplicate data. This has the benefit of reducing the amount of duplicate data that needs to be stored on disk. Depending on data type, this can have a huge implication on the amount of storage needed.

This deduplication got me to thinking…what if we could deduplicate our VMDK storage for our VMware environment. We have about 100 VMs operating in this environment, with a mix of Linux and Windows guests.  There must be a huge amount of duplicate data stored here. Some expensive enterprise grade iSCSI arrays include the ability to do deduplication on the array, but these come with a hefty price tag. I wonder if we could use some open-source software to “roll our own” deduplicated VM storage using deduplication software like lessfs or SDFS/opendedup (or a filesystem like ZFS that has dedup built-in) and an iscsi target software like iscsitarget.

The Importance of IOPs in Shared Storage Environments

April 23rd, 2010

We recently helped a client determine what to do with an aging Fiber Chanel infrastructure.  Cisco had announced end-of-life status for the existing FC switches and the replacement switches had a list-price of $144,000!  Even with their education discount, the replacement hardware would have been well north of $100,000.  All of this just to access 4.5TB of 8 year old fiber channel disk.

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ClamAV for Exchange Anti-Virus

April 16th, 2010

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a free anti-virus package that could scan Exchange mail?  Normally anti-virus packages for Exchange are priced based on the number of Exchange mailboxes that will be protected.  In many cases, the cost to provide anti-virus protection for an enterprise can rise into the tens of thousands of dollars.  Well, maybe this isn’t needed: ClamAV, qmail and Exchange mail transport rules to the rescue!

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“Datacenter In a Box”

April 16th, 2010

We will be giving a talk at the North Country Technology Symposium on May 19th.  The talk will focus on how a small- to medium-sized business can use virtualization technologies and open-source software to dramatically reduce the costs of deploying traditional IT infrastructure.

There are a number of other exciting and informative sessions scheduled for the event, so if you’re in the area be sure to attend!