Stories by Tom Henderson

My journey from Macs to Mint

I saw the commercial. Buying a Mac would throw a rock through the window of mundane, non-graphical computing.

Microsoft takes off the gloves with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1

In Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft has released a combination of operating system updates that we find very compelling. Microsoft has joined much of the rest of the industry in annual release roll-ups with feature additions, and this time, they listened to the critics. More interesting are the one-upmanship features targeted directly at its virtualization and cloud competition. Some were stunning, despite a few strange and perhaps anecdotal basic problems that we found.

Tale of two cloud-based management tools

Anturis and CloudPassage Halo are complementary products that attack infrastructure monitoring from different directions. Anturis is a cloud-based portal that monitors systems connectivity, systems, MySQL databases and websites. CloudPassage Halo monitors operating systems instances and the comparatively sticky compliance of instance state machines.

Eurocom Panther 5SE: The Incredible Hulk of notebook computers

Eurocom rocked us with the most powerful per-pound choice in a notebook that we've seen to date. The Panther 5SE came with 4TB of storage, 64GB of DIMM3 memory and eight Xeon cores. You won't find the Panther at the big-box retailers – the version we tested runs $7,500. But we rate this device highly for its extreme flexibility and muscularity.

LinuxMint 15 delivers smooth alternative to Ubuntu

The crafters of the LinuxMint distro are in a ticklish position. Mint is based on Ubuntu, which in turn, is based on Debian, which in turn, has the moveable feast of the Linux kernel as its underpinning. All three have changed underneath LinuxMint, but LinuxMint 15 pulls off a new cut without missing a step (save a missing KDE version).

TwinStrata delivers data to the cloud

TwinStrata's CloudArray is a brokerage platform between enterprise networks and cloud storage services providers, and we found in testing that it's pretty clever.

VMware one-ups Microsoft with vSphere 5.1

The race for virtualization dominance between Microsoft and VMware has become more interesting with VMware's recent release of vSphere 5.1. We obtained vSphere around the same moment as the final release of Windows Server 2012, whose newly included virtual switch and enhanced Hyper-V features were designed to clobber VMware.

Top tools for BYOD management

When we tested mobile device management (MDM) last year, the products were largely focused on asset management - provisioning, protecting and containing mobile devices.

Microsoft targets virtualisation with Windows 8/Windows Server combo

Much of the attention being paid to this week's Windows 8 launch focuses on the new Metro-style interface and the fact that Microsoft is extending its desktop OS to tablets and smartphones. But for enterprises, the real story is the way Microsoft has integrated Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and the Hyper-V hypervisor to create an unmatched system for running virtualized environments.

How We Tested Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

We tested the Windows Server 2012 Editions and Windows 8 Professional/Enterprise Editions on a Gigabit Ethernet switched network, principally using an HP DL580G8 with four 2.17Ghz quad-core Intel Xeon CPUs, 64GB of memory, and four high-speed local drives. We also used an NFS store for developing ISO images, then used VHD and VMDX images to build Windows 2012 and experimented with Windows 8 images. We also tested Windows Server 2012 on VMware vSphere 5.1, and Citrix XenServer 5.6, where we found no difficulties in mounting and managing Windows Server VMs. We tested features, spawned new virtual machines, configured routing and (tiny) VLANs to emulate environmental multi-tenancy successfully.

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