Ottawa Valley SAGE

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Dec 1, 2007 - 7 minute read - Comments

I'm not a mac zealot. Really.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks… Work, outside activities, visitors, etc.

First thing. I have posted the poll for the social meeting. Visit the site and log in to vote. Voting closes in 2 weeks. Just enough time to make a decision and send it vis the mailing list.

Next thing. I need a new job. My contract ends in just over a month and I don’t have anything lined up yet. On the plus side, I should have no difficulty getting to a few training events I want to go to, but thats just a small benefit. I still need gainful employment. A few things have cropped up, but nothing has come of it so far.

On the plus side, I just did something I have been avoiding doing for years, as I thought it would be too much of a pain to set up - a PXE boot server. If you break it down sufficiently, it’s rather trivial to do. Perhaps I’ll set one up in a VM on my laptop and go through the motions of creating a kickstart and/or a jumpstart server for installs of Linux or Solaris for the January meeting. It’s useful info and I can always post the steps afterwards.

Continuing on in my ADD way, I have been re-acquainting myself with various vendors. In a fit of vendor events, I have been to a VMware and NetApp DR presentation which was pretty interesting. Those who were at VMworld will probably have a better feel for what I saw, but the ideas are impressive. I think I showed a few of the slides last meeting and promised to send them to at least one person. That will happen later, as I have to fire up my notebook to get them.

I just spent a day at an Apple event - Leopard and Leopard Server technology show. I thought I’d be a little bored, but I did want to see leopard server and actually look at an Apple X-Serve. It appears that my Mac Pro is effectively the same thing. The more interesting thing is the price. At around $3500, you would think it’s very pricey. If you discount the Leopard Server Unlimited software at $999, you are at $2500 for a pretty slick rackmount (which is about the same as the MacPro by a little I might add).

I’m going to bring along a few copies of the CDs they gave out. This is designed pretty effectively to provide a business infrastructure. The $500 version is like MS Windows Small Business, but it’s limited to 10 users. The $999 version is unlimited. You get some pretty impressive integration and a few extras, so it’s pretty much a comparable offering. There is nothing in here that you can’t do with OpenSource, but it is nice to see it all wrapped up together in a unified package that actually seems like it was designed that way. If you think about it, you’d spend at least that much on getting someone to implement the unification if you wanted to go Open Source, so it’s not such a bad deal. I don’t know the price point for MS Small Business Server, but it has to be at least $500 if not more. A quick check shows that it goes for $519 for the server and 5 CALs (Apple does not limit access).

The marketing blurb shows:

Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 (SBS 2003 R2) is an advanced IT solution designed to help you protect your data, do more with less, and connect with customers like never before. SBS 2003 R2 provides small businesses with many of the features used by large companies – e-mail, Internet connection, internal Web sites, remote access, support for mobile devices, file and printer sharing, backup and restore – all in one affordable, integrated solution.

Premium Edition Only:
* Powerful, integrated data management and reporting solution
* Firewall for multi-layer security
* Tools to manage and monitor internal Internet access
* Tools to develop websites

The premium version goes for $998 (and still only has 5 CALs. I was almost ready to say this was somewhat reasonable when I saw the CAL referneces:

Purchase Small Business Server 2003 5 CAL packs and get five additional licenses which are valid for all editions of Small Business Server 2003, including Small Business Server 2003 SP1 and SBS 2003 R2. You can also purchase SBS 2003 20 CAL packs.

  • With Device CALs, you will acquire 5 additional CALs - one for every device that needs to access your server. This includes laptops, desktop computers, Pocket PCs, etc.
  • With User CALs, you will acquire 5 additional CALs - one for every individual who is given named access to your server. Licensed users can access the server from any device.

Pricing goes like this:

  • Price: $333.00  Add 5 User Cals
  • Price: $184.95 Add 5 User CALs - Upgrade
  • Price: $413.01 Add 5 User CALs OEM
  • Price: $318.57 Add 5 Device CALs
  • Price: $184.95 Add 5 Device CALs - Upgrade
  • Price: $371.94 Add 5 Device CALs OEM
  • Price: $414.50 Add 5 Device CALs (OLP)

I never bothered to look up the 20 user pricing. Add 15 users and you have bought the top of the line Apple server and Server OS with no limits. I’m not really giving this sufficient comparison. If I continue, I’ll get branded a mac zealot. Look at what comes with it and you make a choice. Don’t compare this to engineering environments where specialized tools are involved, just think about a normal office environment. Also don’t forget that the MS Office suite is available for a mac.

If there was a truly killer app that comes with the server package, it’s the app called podcast producer. I can’t do it justice, but a very short and simplified description is that it is an automated work flow system for producing podcasts. I’ve been spending quite a few hours just producing the audio portion of the BSDCan 2007 conference and once you are in the zone, it takes a good 30 minutes to set up and produce one single episode. Lets see… 2 days of 3 rooms with 6 sessions is about 16 hours once everything is in place. At my current consulting rate, that pays for the server OS and gets me started on the X-server platform. Why give up my desktop for this? If I get a few fat contracts this year, I know where I’m investing a few dollars. I’ll set up one as my business server (again, read the specs from the CD).

Hmm, that was a long tangent. Another event (which I missed) was at the Westin, put on by NorthernMicro who appear to be very much alive and mostly involved in government procurement. I would have liked to go and see their entire offering, but real life intruded and I got stuck at work.

An additional event was supposed to happen yesterday with Zentra and Sun, but it was canceled last minute with a promise to reschedule for the new year. That might be a fun one. They have also offered to come out and do a dog and pony show for us for one of our meetings.

In other news, I was lurking on the OCLUG IRC and saw reference to the ship that ran aground in Antarctica.

The MS Explorer, an adventure travel ship operated by a Toronto company, was on a 19-day cruise off Antarctica when it hit an iceberg on Nov. 23.

The full article is available online.

I find it amusing that the MS Explorer is listed as threatening penguins (think for a few seconds).

I also just realized how long this thing is getting. I should post more often, keep the verbosity down.