Archive for April, 2006
As seen on digg this morning:
I’ve really tried to appreciate silence this week.
In appreciating silence, I’ve found yet another way to be or seek to be counter-cultural. I was headed up to another floor in our building today and as the door opened in the elevator 3-4 people were standing there with white ear buds connected to some unseen device in their pocket. If you’ve not been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you’ll know that they were connected to the ever ubiquitous iPod. As I thought about it, that device, next to the cell phone has permiated college-culture to the point of saturation. There used to be a time that walking across the quad meant trying to avoid the dive-bombing squirrels and just simply interacting with the place you go to school. The iPod and the cell phone have single-handedly turned passing period into office and entertainment time.
In our need to be ever so more connected, have we missed out on something? As a good friend of mine often says ‘What are we running away from’? Is silence that scary? Does our student culture really know how to rest? Is it a priority? Does entertainment = rest? The majority of people would lean towards that conclusion, but entertainment often provides an escape that don’t solve our problems but creates more.
I there is an increasing opportunity for mind share in this world. As an educator the ubiquity of these devices offers another opportunity to step into a student’s life through a new channel; it should be exploited. As a Christian, it challenges us to become more healthy and fit and to treasure rest more and to use that time to become fully refreshed vs. just being ‘downtime’. As a person, I’m saddened by it because there are times when we need to listen and reflect and by doing so, we’ll be better off for it.
“I expected to turn over a rock and find the words ‘made by God’” – Quote from the movie Red Planet
If you were to guess what the above picture was, what would you say? Could it be a part to a machine? A bearing in an engine? Actually, it’s the key that locks and unlocks the drives to be pulled out of the XServ RAID. At close examination, it is a piece of metal that it extremely well crafted and designed. It has a very useless function in the grand scheme of things, but a tremendous amount of effort, thought and time went in putting it together for the purpose it served. As we put together the server yesterday almost everything related to the installation was like this. Thought and care went into the function of everything and an attempt was made to make it not only functional but well designed and beautiful.
An ethos of mine, as a Christian IT worker has always been to do quality work that is exceptional but also reflects well on my creator. I really desire to do well in a similar veing as Eric Liddle, a missionary who was also a track star that ran in the olympics, when he said ‘God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure’. For me, IT is me running fast. Installation of the XSR yesterday was an opportunity to see equipment and gear that was made with thought, care and quality. And probably without their knowledge, reflected on a creator that seeks excellence and beauty.
This was originally one post, but I’m breaking it up into a couple because there are a few thing I want to do with it. My workplace entered the world of fibre channel storage yesterday when we got a brand new, XServ RAID in the shop. We had an opportunity to demo this unit when we were considering making the purchase and several features of the system tipped the scale for us.
First, but certainly not the deciding factor was money/value. The closest entry in the low end SAN market was a AX100 from Dell/EMC. We were looking primairly at SATA based storage simply because we couldn’t produce enough capacity to justify purchasing true Fibre based storage. After looking at specs, the comparison on seek times on the XSR vs. CX300, Dell/EMC’s fibre-based storage system was simply comparing apples to oranges. SATA based Fibre storage (it’s confusing if you’re not familiar with the terminology) seemed to be the right pick for us. With that said, I was able to get roughly twice the storage with Apple’s product at roughly twice the stated speed compared to the AX100; and, I was able to get it at 3500 less (YMMV).
This unit was going to replace a PowerVault 220s that started to fail miserably after I realized that, in cluster mode, the ability to service more than a dozen or so concurrent users was pretty small. As an aside, I can think of no more useless product that the PowerVault 220s. A google search will return a ton of people who are dissatisfied with their experiences with the 220s. For us, it boiled down to not being able to do write caching in Cluster mode. Because of that, during peek times of our day people couldn’t copy anything up to the server because it was too busy. Feel free to e-mail me if you want more details.
Speaking of write caching, the two systems are really divergent in how they handle write caches. When you put that ability inside an enclosure like the AX100 or XSR there needs to be some way of protecting it in case of a power failure. For the AX100, the backup is a whole seperate UPS that needs to be plugged into the unit in order for it to run. For the XSR, it is a battery backup module that keeps the write cache running until everything is written. Stated specs say it can run for 72 hours; I’m not sure, but it is internal to the unit and extremely easy to replace/trade out.
Support looked very similar in both situations though for the price I paid for the XSR, I was able to get three years of 4 hour response time support as well as a small parts closet to replace key components (all of which are hot swappable) in no time flat.
End result, we picked the XServ RAID because it was a better product that was cheaper. Likelyhood is that it will go into production sometime early next week.
Sunday was an extremely beautiful day and capped off a fun, renewing type of weekend. Being an IV alum, one of the things that was beat into our skulls as students was the importance of finding rest and doing it well; not just sitting and vegging in front of the TV, but actually finding rest that renews and restores your energy rather than not doing anything.
I love storms. This weekend, a couple of big ol’ fatty ones blew through our fair city. At points this last weekend, I got out for an errand in south bloomington that involved me taking a spin down veterans parkway and watching a light show as I drove down it.
Sunday was a big one though. We saw hail that was pee sized in our back porch, but others in town saw much larger (with reports of golf ball sized hail out west of town). Our neighborhood just east of campus skirted the storm even though we spent an hour or so Sunday afternoon listening to sirens from our basement. Friday was also on the bizarre front as we went from a wake of a old friend who recently passed away of cancer to the joys of watching our dear friends the Ouns give birth of their daughter, Kiri. Send them some props on their beautiful daughter .
It really reminded me of the different seasons of creation. In the middle of the tulmult of a storm, a quiet baby rests. That in the same day sadness can be felt and joy can be full. Friday night, MJ and I sat in the dark of our front room listening to a quiet, but powerful storm blowing into our neighborhood. It made me realize just how poetic the weekend was and how much the world is full of contrasts but a common theme runs throughout.
Bromen Medical Center and the storm that was beginning to bear down on the city.
Kiri, who slept soundly inside.
Sunset over Normal as the storms and the weekend began to pass.