August 2010 Archives

Flying Around The World In Virtual Mode

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This summer's been interesting.

It's supposed to be holiday time, but the IT world is mega-active at the moment. Consequently I've been out to Utah with a client there, Paris and now... er, Crawley (where the "summer" weather is 12 degrees and the sky has consisted of several varying hues of grey (or near solid rainfall) for the past five days.

One thing I've found interesting in this time is that none of my vendor clients (or other locations I have been residing in - hotels etc) have anything like as fast an Internet connection as I now have in the official home of technology exotica that is Andorra. I notice this particularly in the US. It's like they get ahead initially and then sit on that technology and get spectacularly behind the times. Think, cable, GSM etc...

Meantime, in Crawley I'm busy testing with Spirent's (test equipment vendor) excellent new virtual test rig - i.e. does all the fancy L4-7 bells and whistles tests but sits as a virtual appliance on a VMware VM. So, we're looking at securing a virtual data centre with a virtual test device. How virtual is that? Anyway, if you're worried that your VMs aren't going to be as secure as a regular OS, you can read the report when it comes out next month...

And talking of travel and virtual in combo, how about a virtual courrier service? This is one we'll define as a global courrier service that doesn't actually deliver anything. A big-name courrier who we won't mention by name (but it's not DHL or TNT and they allegedly do EXpress delivery) has been attempting to deliver an Access Point from a vendor client of mine (whose name we won't mention but they recently acquired 3Com) for almost two weeks, to our French office for me to test. And it still hasn't arrived. It HAS been to the Far East on more than one occasion (from where I understand it originated), China, Hong Kong, the USA four times, Alaska and Spain once and actually France TWICE, before it headed off to Texas, then Hong Kong and is theoretically on its way to Grenoble as I type (for the third time). So, here's the "official" explanation:

"Apparently the postal code for Grenoble is the same as Millington, Pennsylvania USA which is what has been causing issue at Fed-ex.  What I find amazing is when "France" is listed as the country you would think this automatically rules out any postal codes in the USA..."

Of course, the above assumes that the folks in the USA have actually heard of France. I kid you not - ask my mate at HP, Martin O'Brien...

Escaping the summer UK weather tonight to head back across the channel (probably suitably bumpy) and test that wretched Access Point if it ever turns up. Meantime, to cut the travel down marginally, I've worked on a way of remotely testing software with my UK-based client Certero (Varrington, to be precise) from aforementioned Andorran 'net connection. Unlike Ryanair and Squeezyjet, both of whom I would happily never see again, I'm hoping this methodology does take off.

Boom boom...