Thursday, March 28, 2013

IBM System Storage DS3500 - CFW 7.84 Release

Great news for IBM System Storage DS3500 customers – there’s a new Controller Firmware (CFW) in town. The Controller Firmware (CFW) 7.84 release brings even more powerful features to the table with even easier premium feature ordering.

Some of the new, free-of-charge features included in the 7.84 release include full disk encryption, up to 128 partitions, up to 32 enhanced FlashCopies, and up to 256 VolumeCopies. And what’s even more awesome - if you have a current support contract, you are entitled to a FREE UPGRADE to the latest firmware.

And that’s not even the half of it. Additional (and not to mention GRATIS) features offered through CFW version 7.84 include IP Mirroring and Super Key. These features provide DS3500 storage systems with the functionality for performance read cache, disaster recovery options, and backup and restore options. Plus, all of the previous options (such as Turbo Performance Option or 96 to 192 Drive Enclosure Expansion keys) will remain available and functional.

Last but not least, other CFW version 7.84 features include optional AIX/VIOS Host Kits, HP-UX Host Kits, Linux on Power Host Kits, and Mac OS Host Kits. You now have the option of a Solaris Host Kit.  This new kit will provide entitlement and support for servers that host a Solaris OS and are used with IBM DS3500s.

So, the question remains. Are you going to take a closer look at the DS3500?


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dell is More Than Just Desktops and Laptops

For those of you whose image of Dell was defined by the campaign, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” we’re here to tell you - Dell is a lot more than just desktops and laptops. Over the last few years, Dell has been strategically shifting its image from a PC business to an enterprise business; and through their acquisitions, they have built an impressive enterprise portfolio.

Here at Vista Computer Group, we understand dealing with an alternative association. I mean, we are named VISTA computer (think slight correlation to a certain Windows OS). But just for the record, we had that name first! So we understand what Dell is going through, and even more so because we sell the Dell enterprise products.

We focus on Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell PowerVault and Dell EqualLogic storage.  Dell PowerEdge servers encompass tower, rack and blade server form factors with Intel or AMD processor options and impressive technology features. The Dell PowerVault and EqualLogic storage lines provide disk storage for SMBs to the enterprise.

Targeted towards the SMB, the Dell PowerVault storage line includes Direct-Attached Storage (DAS), Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and even Shared Storage Area Networks (SANs) at cost-effective, entry-level prices. Targeted more towards the enterprise, the Dell EqualLogic storage line provides an iSCSI SAN solution with scale-out, virtualized storage technologies.

So the next time you’re thinking about making an enterprise technology purchase, remember that Dell is more than just laptops and desktops, it’s a strong technology option for your business needs whether you are an SMB or large enterprise. And not just Dell, but Vista (AHEM, the original Vista that is) is an experienced technology partner that can help you with Dell enterprise products.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Cisco Catalyst 4500-e Switch Review

While we've done product reviews in the past, we have yet to focus on a networking product. So since networking was feeling neglected, we’re going to take a look at the Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switch, the newest addition to  the Cisco Catalyst 4500 family of modular access switches.

The Cisco Catalyst 4500-E is a current generation, chassis-based switch. All models offer 10GbE capabilities, and full level redundancy is available in the 4507R-E and 4510R-E models, but not the 4506-E. Not to blow your mind or anything, there are actually 6 models of Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches.

The 6 different models include Cisco 4510R+E, Cisco 4507R+E. Cisco 4510R+E, Cisco 4507R-E, Cisco 4506-E and Cisco 4503-E. Due to their modularity, all 4500-E switches can scale to fit your exact needs. However, each model does have unique characteristics, especially when it comes to the number of total slots and the line card slot speed.

Let’s break it down for you:

  • Cisco 4503-E – Offers the lowest amount of total slots (3) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps. 
  • Cisco 4506-E – Offers the second lowest amount of total slots (6) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4507R-E – Offers the second highest amount of total slots (7) with options for line card speeds limited to 6 Gbps and 24 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4507R+E – Offers the second highest amount of total slots (7) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps, and 48 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4510R+E – Offers the highest amount of total slots (10) with options for line card speeds limited to 6 Gbps and 24 Gbps.
  • Cisco 4510R+E – Offers the highest amount of total slots (10) with options for line card speeds of 6 Gbps, 24 Gbps and 48 Gbps.

Overall, the Cisco Catalyst 4500-E is a good purchase if you are looking for a high performance switch that will allow you to build a secure, reliable campus network while at the same time lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO). To be honest, it’s not really ever a bad purchase. Unless you were asked to purchase an entirely different product, like a game console…and then there will be tears my friend.


Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Official: The HP ProLiant BL460c G7 Is EOL

Well, the HP community has been talking about it for months, but as of last week, it’s actually happened. As of February 28th, The HP ProLiant BL460c G7 blade server has OFFICIALLY gone end of life.  And we mean retired, off the market, sayonara baby.  So what does this mean for you?

It depends on how you typically source these server blades. If you are used to purchasing these blades from HP or through their distribution channel, you will probably experience a tightening of inventory until, sooner rather than later, you will no longer be able to purchase these servers new. This may cause you to pursue an alternative source for the BL460c G7.

One alternative source to consider (since you've visited our blog and all) is Vista Computer Group. We are an alternative source to HP and their distribution channels, as we will maintain an inventory of HP ProLiant BL460c G7 server blades for the foreseeable future.

For those of you who are standardized on the BL460c G7 server, don’t want to invest the time to learn new features, or simply don’t have the budget for Gen8 blades, as always, we've got your back.

- KH