vSkilled Crypto – Now SSL Encrypted!

vSkilled is now fully SSL encrypted and including HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).  Since vSkilled is a technical IT blog, one would expect to think that the communication between the client and server aught be encrypted. Now that traffic has picked up on the site I decided to move things over to SSL.

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vSkilled uses CloudFlare as our CDN so that complicates things slightly when using SSL. We’re using the Full SSL (Strict) model which encrypts the connection between you and CloudFlare, and from CloudFlare to vSkilled’s web servers.

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Enjoy!

 

 

vExpert 2016

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I am very honoured to be selected as a vExpert 2016 by VMware. Getting recognition is awesome but knowing that you are sharing content that is for the benefit of others is even better.

The annual VMware vExpert title is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. The title is awarded to individuals (not employers) for their commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion for VMware technology above and beyond their job requirements.

vExpert’s benefits and activities receive:

  • vExpert certificate
  • Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc for one year
  • Access to a private directory for networking, etc.
  • Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners
  • Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams)
  • 365-day eval licenses for most products
  • Private pre-launch briefings
  • Private briefings from tier 1 alliance partners
  • Blogger early access program for vSphere and some other products
  • Featured in a public vExpert online directory
  • Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels.

I give thanks to the other vExperts and the VMware social media & community team for their hard work and dedication.

The full list of the 2016 vExperts can be found here.

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Whoops! My Samsung 950 PRO M.2 512GB SSD experience

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This story is a bit of a sad story. Mainly due to the failure of my own personal oversight over a very important specification requirement and snowballed by my online shopping addiction.

For a little back story – I had been reading great reviews all over the internet about Samsung’s new 950 PRO 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD drive having amazing benchmark speeds. This drive features cutting-edge V-NAND-based NVMe SSD supports PCI Express Gen 3 x4 lanes, providing a higher bandwidth and lower latency to process a massive amount more data than SATA SSDs. It outperforms SATA SSDs by over 4.5 times in sequential read and by over 2.5 times in sequential write, delivering the speeds of 2,500 MB/s read and 1,500 MB/s write respectively. I have never purchased or used a M.2 drive before, so this would be me venturing into a bit of an unknown territory.

I wanted to get my hands on one of these really badly! I knew my motherboard (Gigabyte X99 G1) had a M.2 slot so I checked the website to confirm and at a glance everything appeared to be right… So I pulled the trigger and purchased it. Patiently waited 2 weeks for it to arrive. Finally, I was able to install the drive after some frustration with BIOS settings and drivers. But something wasn’t right… I was concerned as to why I was getting a little under half of the speed other people were getting on their benchmarks. What gives?

Well… lets take a closer look at my mother board specifications again. It is the Gigabyte X99 G1:

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See that..!? Notice the “PCIe x2/x1“? The Samsung 950 PRO 512GB is a PCIe 3.0 x4. So that means that on my motherboard the M.2 drive is operating at literally under half the bandwidth that it’s capable of running at. Only at this point, having the drive purchased and installed, did I realize that there is a major difference between “M.2”  and “Ultra M.2” which also known as PCIe 3.0 x4 which supports up to 32 Gb/s (4 GB/s) compared to PCIe 2.0 x2 which would only support 8 Gb/s (1 GB/s).

nooooooooo

That means for a M.2 drive using PCI-E 2.0 x2, it only has a 25% potential speed increase over SATA III. Not exactly what I was going for considering the $329 USD price I paid. This means for me to be able to use the drive at full speed I will need to find a motherboard with a LGA2011-v3 CPU socket and a Ultra M.2 socket. A harsh lesson to learn and a fix I will have to put off for some time. Luckily I may be able to just get a M.2 x4 to PCIe adapter to fix this problem.

In the end I can only laugh at myself as a technical professional to make a mistake like this – but hey this is my story and hopefully it may help you avoid making the same mistake. Check to ensure your motherboard’s M.2 interface version supports PCIe 3.0 x4  NVMe 1.1!

 

Update 1/28/2016:

Fixed! Thanks to the $30(CAD)  Addonics ADM2PX4 M2 PCIe SSD to PCIe 3.0 4 Lane Adapter.

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The Samsung Magician software is also showing that I am using all four lanes, instead of just two!

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Here’s a bonus benchmark of another Samsung drive I have with RAPID mode (RAM cache) enabled. :O
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Do you have a story to tell about your M.2 drive experences? Let me know in the comments below!

Microsoft support and security updates for Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 end on January 12, 2016

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Microsoft has announced that they will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer. Running older versions of Internet Explorer after January 12, 2016 may expose you to potential risks.

The latest version of Internet Explorer will continue to follow the component policy, which means that it follows the support lifecycle and is supported for as long as the Windows operating system for which it is installed on. Focusing support on the latest version of Internet Explorer for a supported Windows operating system is in line with industry standards.

Most customers are already using the latest version of Internet Explorer for their respective Windows operating system, however we have found there is still fragmentation across the install base which poses problems for web developers and support staff. Microsoft recommends customers upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer available in order to experience increased performance, improved security, better backward compatibility, and support for the modern web technologies that power today’s websites and services.

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates, as shown in the table below:

Windows Desktop Operating Systems Internet Explorer Version
Windows Vista SP2 Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 SP1 Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1 Update Internet Explorer 11

 

Windows Server Operating Systems Internet Explorer Version
Windows Server 2008 SP2 Internet Explorer 9
Windows Server 2008 IA64 (Itanium) Internet Explorer 9
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2008 R2 IA64 (Itanium) Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2012 Internet Explorer 10
Windows Server 2012 R2 Internet Explorer 11

 

Windows Embedded Operating Systems Internet Explorer Version
Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS) Internet Explorer 7
Windows Embedded Standard 2009 (WES09) Internet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 Internet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded Standard 7 Internet Explorer 11
Windows Embedded POSReady 7 Internet Explorer 11
Windows Thin PC Internet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded 8 Standard Internet Explorer 10
Windows 8.1 Industry Update Internet Explorer 11

 

For customers running on an older version of Internet Explorer, such as Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft recommends customers plan to migrate to one of the above supported operating systems and browser combinations by January 12, 2016.

Customers have until January 12, 2016, to upgrade their browser after which time the previous versions of Internet Explorer will reach end of support. End of support means there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

 

Sources:

 

ARIN Region IPv4 Free Pool Reaches Zero

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Well it has finally happened. The IPv4 free pool for the ARIN region is now fully depleted. ISPs are encouraged to utilize IPv6 for additional customer growth and the IPv4 transfer market for their IPv4 interim needs.

A copy of the announcement:

From: ARIN <[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>>
Subject: [arin-announce] ARIN IPv4 Free Pool Reaches Zero
Date: September 24, 2015 at 12:04:22 PM EDT
To: <[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>>

On 24 September 2015, ARIN issued the final IPv4 addresses in its free
pool. ARIN will continue to process and approve requests for IPv4
address blocks.  Those approved requests may be fulfilled via the Wait
List for Unmet IPv4 Requests, or through the IPv4 Transfer Market.

For information on the Waiting List, visit:
https://www.arin.net/resources/request/waiting_list.html

For information on IPv4 Transfers, visit:
https://www.arin.net/resources/transfers/index.html

Exhaustion of the ARIN Free Pool does trigger changes in ARIN’s
Specified Transfer policy (NRPM 8.3) and Inter-RIR Transfer policy (NRPM
8.4). In both cases, these changes impact organizations that have been
the source entity in a specified transfer within the last twelve months:

“The source entity (-ies within the ARIN Region (8.4)) will be
ineligible to receive any further IPv4 address allocations or
assignments from ARIN for a period of 12 months after a transfer
approval, or until the exhaustion of ARIN’s IPv4 space, whichever occurs
first.”

Effective today, because exhaustion of the ARIN IPv4 free pool has
occurred for the first time, there is no longer a restriction on how
often organizations may request transfers to specified recipients.

In the future, any IPv4 address space that ARIN receives from IANA, or
recovers from revocations or returns from organizations, will be used to
satisfy approved requests on the Waiting List for Unmet Requests. If we
are able to fully satisfy all of the requests on the waiting list, any
remaining IPv4 addresses would be placed into the ARIN free pool of IPv4
addresses to satisfy future requests.

ARIN encourages customers with questions about IPv4 availability to
contact [email protected] or the Registration Services Help Desk at
+1.703.227.0660.

Regards,

John Curran
President and CEO
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)

 

This means a number of things for the Internet as we know it. The costs of IPv4 IP addresses will increase significantly. This will hopefully help force the push to to IPv6 in the future since it would be more cost effective and generally the ‘right’ thing to do.

Some major providers on the other hand are alarmingly still very far behind in their IPv6 adoption than they probably should be considering this important announcement. Many parts of the internet are IPv6 enabled and ready to be used. The whole reason for the inertia against going to IPv6 is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well now it is broken.

 

VMware HTML5 Client?

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I’ve caught wind of a real HTML5 web client being developed. Its currently very early into development and is released as technical preview fling. To be clear it’s not for vCenter, but we can only imagine the direction this would eventually go. This version of the ESXi Embedded Host Client is written purely in HTML and JavaScript, and is served directly from your ESXi host. So that means it’s specifically meant to run on the host, and controls only the host but it claims to “perform much better than any of the existing solutions”.

Mainly I am happy to hear that there is no Flash dependency in this version of the web client. Maybe the feedback from customer’s is actually being heard by VMware. Maybe we could see this continue to develop into replacing the vCenter version of the flash web client. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now we know that at least something is being worked on and that is better than nothing.

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See full details on the ESXi Embedded Host Client on the VMware Labs website here:

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