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Experiments with different Intel Processors in a HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen8 - Part 1

April 27th, 2016

I’ve recently managed to get hold of a HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen8 server, to test and maybe eventually replace my aging HP ProLiant Microserver N36L’s see here. I cannot believe it’s been almost 5 years since, I purchased my cluster of N36L to run VMware vSphere.

The HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen8 has been around for some time now, and represents good value for money, and is closer specification to the original ProLiant range than the previous Microserver offerings, e.g. iLo4 support, dual network interfaces, ECC ram support, and a socketed Intel 1155 processor socket.

Four different processor models of the HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen8 are available direct from HP resellers. See the quick specs here.

Intel® Celeron® G1610T (2.3Hz/2-core/2MB/35W) Processor

Stock G1610T

Stock G1610T

Intel® Pentium® G2020T (2.5GHz/2-core/3MB/35W) Processor

Intel® Core™ i3-3240 (3.4GHz/2-core/3MB/65W) Processor

Intel® Xeon® E3-1220Lv2 (2.3GHz/2-core/3MB/17W) Processor

The first two models are commonly available, the Xeon version is not as common, and the Intel® Core™ i3-3240 (3.4GHz/2-core/3MB/65W) Processor version seems a new addition, after noticing this in a recent BIOS update – which states Added support for Intel i3-2130 and i3-3240 processors.

It’s often much cheaper to purchase and fit an aftermarket Intel CPU, than purchasing the HPE model of the Gen8. Let the testing commence…

Stock 35 watt heatsink in Gen8

Heatsink removed on Gen8 G1610T

G1610T nicely cleaned

New Xeon E3-1220LV2 installed

added the thermal grease silver cross

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Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

April 24th, 2016

A bit late to the party, a close friend and my brother suggested I watch Breaking Bad, and then Better Call Saul, so I’ve just finished watching all 5 Seasons of Breaking Bad, and 2 Seasons of Better Call Saul, that’s approximately 3 days of Box Set viewing!

And coincidently, Better Caul Saul, Season 2 has just aired and finished!

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Mystery box from Experts Exchange?

April 20th, 2016

This morning I had a delivery from Experts Exchange.

What's in the box ?

This is what's in the box!

The reason for so many shirts, I give them to friends, staff colleagues, and students! If you want a shirt just ping me an email!

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Join the next VMware vSphere Public Beta Program

April 15th, 2016

I’ve been given the nod, I can publish this…..

Want to get a head start, and look and test the next VMware vSphere release, VMware vSphere Public Beta Program

Click the link and Join Here

VMware vSphere Public Beta Program

Participants are expected to:

Online acceptance of the Master Software Beta Test Agreement will be required prior to visiting the Private Beta Community

Install beta software within 3 days of receiving access to the beta product

Provide feedback within the first 4 weeks of the beta program

Submit Support Requests for bugs, issues and feature requests

Complete surveys and beta test assignments

Participate in the private beta discussion forum and conference calls

vSphere Beta Program Overview

We are excited to announce the upcoming VMware vSphere Beta Program. This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

Some of the many reasons to participate in this beta opportunity:

Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products

Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers

Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance

Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services

Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings

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RARE - Intel Xeon E3-1220LV2 Processor for my HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8

April 12th, 2016

Here is the replacement processor for my HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8. It has taken me a while to track this one down. It has a TDP of only 17 watts, compared to the stock Intel Celeron G1610T, which has a TDP of 35 watts.

These are like rocking horse dodo…

It’s an Intel Xeon E3-1220L V2, it’s a low power, 17 watt, 2 Core, 4 Thread Xeon with Intel VT-d.

I’m waiting for my thermal compound, before I install it.

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Synology NAS and SSD Cache Part III – Is cache better for VMware vSphere (ESXi)? Confusing results!

April 11th, 2016

So in today’s, crude and experimental research I thought I would connect all our VMware vSphere Hypervisors (ESXi 5.5 build 1892794) to a NFS datastore presented to the ESXi Hosts from a Synology NAS, and we’ll try the following tests

I deployed a small Windows 7 template, onto the NFS datastore as follows

  • No Cache Enabled – 3 minutes 27 seconds to deploy
  • Read and Write Cache Enabled – 2 minutes and 40 seconds to deploy.

Time for some more testing – The template deployed to the datastore was converted to a virtual machine, and the following tests were performed using CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 in the virtual machine.

NFS Exported volume No SSD Cache on the Synology NAS.

NFS Exported volume Read and Write SSD Cache on the Synology NAS.

NFS Exported volume Read only SSD Cache on the Synology NAS.

Some a bunch of very confusing results! And every time I test the results are similar.

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Synology NAS and SSD Cache Part II – Is cache better for Plex Media Server ?

April 10th, 2016

In my recent article comparing the performance of the addition of a Read and Write SSD Cache to a volume on a Synology NAS, I started to look in detail at whether this cache benefits any other services on a Synology NAS running DSM 5.2.

In this experiment I’m looking at the Plex Media Server, and I’ve setup two identical Synology NAS, running DSM 5.2 Build 5644 Update 5, both with Plex Media Server 0.9.15.2.1663, both are streaming the same 1080P Blue Ray movie to the same Plex client via WiFi, at the same time. The first NAS has no cache, the second NAS has 120GB of read and write cache, and these are the results.

The second NAS with the read and write cache enabled shows, lower Disk Utilization 1% compared to 5%.

Again you can see here, 6% (no cache), 1% (cache)

The same stats from both NAS, No cache and cache enabled, what is interesting is the CPU load results are lower on the cache enabled version!

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Synology NAS and SSD Cache

April 9th, 2016

I’ve been recently experimenting with SSDs (solid state disks), to accelerate my spinning rust in my Synology NAS.

Recently in DSM, a new SSD cache option is available, which allows you to create a read or write cache with 1 or 2 SSD devices respectively.

Here are some results, which I’ve graphed

2016-04-09-21_26_42-microsoft-excel-book5

In my very quick and crude tests, I could see an improvement in Writing to the NAS, which doubles in performance. Read speed is very similar, and the cache was “warmed-up” before testing.

And here’s a video of the new Synology SSD Cache Read Hit Rate graphic, which looks a little graphic equalizer, from the 70-80s, so I’ve dropped a music track in the background! I thought it only right to over-flange (distort!) the track, so you may want to turn down your volume!

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Spot the difference between these two Brother P-Touch tapes

April 6th, 2016

Spot the difference between these two White on Green Glossy Laminuated TZ-735 Brother P-Touch tapes?

The one on the right costs £14.00, and the one on the left costs £3.85, both including delivery.

What I had a chuckle about is the compatible tape is correct stating it’s 0.47 inch, and not 1/2 inch, if you work out what 12mm is in inches!

Both function correctly in the two Brother P-Touch label printers I have tested, but the one on the left is marked as P-Touch compatible, it’s not a genuine Brother product, and manufactured in China. Readily available from eBay, or other online stockists!

I was going to throw my P-Touch label printer in the bin, because the cost of replacement tapes was so expensive!

I’ve just taken delivery, of four of these cartridges, at approx. £10 – 6mm,9mm,12mm and all work as expected, this would have cost four times this amount for the Brother original parts! – Direct from China, including packaging and posting, arrived well packed, signed for delivery and within 7 days excluding weekend.

I’m not sure what is going to happen, when the China bubble bursts!

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Andy’s quest for the perfect cup of coffee! Part 2: Are you a Coffee snob?

March 22nd, 2016

A few years ago, after discussing good coffee with “Angus” at the local Coffee Shop, he described Lindsey & I, as “coffee snobs”, and this was the reason he open a local Coffee Shop, to roast, and produce coffee for local “coffee snobs” on a daily basis, Angus also declared himself as a “coffee snob”, and opened to shop because there was no other coffee shop locally, which did the same. Sadly Angus sold on the business, because his return on investment was too low.

Today my order of coffee beans has arrived from Hasbean.co.uk.

A large and well packed box of coffee beans, delivered by FedEx.

I’ve ordered Has Bean Exclusive: Guachipelin Natural, this is what is in the box of coffee


And Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeb Washed Kurume

I’ll get the grinder ready, and warm up the Chemex!

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