Stories by Paul Venezia

  • Are sealed-in laptop batteries a good idea?

    When Apple introduced its new MacBooks recently, it touted a doubled battery life -- but noted that the laptops' batteries were sealed into the case, not user-swappable as is the norm on laptops.

  • iPhone 3G S is evolution in action

    The iPhone 3G S handset is well appointed, functional, and nicely packaged, but it's not at the high-end of the smartphone hardware scale. The OS and interface -- and the richly stocked App Store -- remain the best reasons to buy an iPhone. Unless you need 16GB or 32GB of storage, a compass, and a faster CPU, the iPhone 3G will suit you as well as the more expensive iPhone 3G S.

  • VMware vSphere 4

    VMware vSphere 4, out today, is a big release, with plenty of new features and changes, but it's not your run-of-the-mill major update. The new features, which range from VM clustering to agentless VM backup, are especially significant in that they may mark the moment when virtualisation shifted from the effort to provide a stable replica of a traditional infrastructure to significantly enhancing the capabilities of a virtual environment.

  • Review: Sun's stellar NAS in a can

    The Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System's combination of 48 drives, SSD log storage, broad protocol support, ZFS, and amazing GUI make for one great filer

  • Review: Citrix hits the VDI high notes

    It seems that the whole world has been talking about VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), with very different views of what VDI actually means. If virtualization itself is an adolescent, VDI is still an infant, and thus there are still plenty of growing pains to come.

  • Preview: VMware Fusion 2 Beta 2

    Virtualization on the Mac has never had it so good. There are several options available for running almost any x86-based operating system as a VM under Mac OS X, including Parallels, VMware Fusion, and VirtualBox. If you like the fact that Macs are less prone to problems, viruses, and spyware, but you simply have to run a few Windows applications, it's a great time to be alive.

  • Test Center review: Firefox 3 comes out sizzling

    As the window to the Internet, the Web browser is arguably the most important application ever developed, and it will only become more important in the coming years, as applications continue their retreat from the local system and into Web frameworks built on Apache, IIS, Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, and countless other languages and tools. Against this backdrop, today's official introduction of Firefox 3 may in fact be a watershed event in the history of computing.

  • Sun's X4150 shows the beef

    Sun has developed a 1U chassis design that can handle an impressive number of drives, yet also provide for a standard two-socket Intel-based mainboard and the company's signature four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, not to mention a relatively advanced Lights-Out Management coprocessor. The Intel-based Sun Fire X4150, AMD-based X4140, and SPARC-based T5120 and T5140 servers all look identical to the casual observer, but each offers a different take on the purpose of the ubiquitous 1U server.

  • Sun's octo-core SPARC is made to multitask

    The past few years have seen some major changes in Sun hardware. The return of Andy Bechtolsheim has brought forth an impressive array of new server hardware, and reinvented Sun as an x86 server vendor. But where does that leave the SPARC?

  • Device breaks the low-end NAS wide open

    I've been on a bit of a green kick around here for the past few months. A computer lab is notoriously power hungry, with servers running at 100 percent utilization for days on end, generating traffic or running test harnesses. There are certain areas where I can make some reductions, however, such as collapsing a half-dozen less-utilized boxes onto a single VMware ESX server. There are some other ways, too.

  • Cisco's switch upgrades tout speed, ease, innovation

    Cisco Systems has introduced a new chassis and supervisor module in its midrange Catalyst 4500 series of switches, and a new supervisor for its flagship Catalyst 6500 series. Both sets of announcements -- one evolutionary and one revolutionary -- give Cisco admins and network architects plenty to get excited about.

  • Sun's new big iron bends the rules

    Looking at Sun's brand-new sun Fire x4600 M2, most would figure it for a quad-socket system. After all, at 4U it matches the profile of the four-way HP ProLiant DL585 and Dell PowerEdge 6850. A quick peek under the hood tells a different tale, however: The Sun Fire x4600 M2 holds eight (eight!) easily swappable sockets.

  • Muscular Sun Fire X4200 feels the burn

    Last year, Sun announced the Galaxy server line, its first foray into the dual-core Opteron world. In conjunction with this, Sun sent us a preproduction unit of the Sun Fire X4100. Although it proved a formidable and cleverly designed machine, the X4100's preproduction status was readily apparent, and the duo ran into several significant issues.