Looking ahead into 2018 with rsts11

My friend Tom Hollingsworth posted a good piece on New Year’s Day, talking about writing more, and the balance of video and text, and more. It was an inspiring read, and there’s a lot that I probably could have said in this post if I hadn’t read his post first.

Go ahead and give it a read. I’ll wait.

Now back to rsts11, in a quick review and a look forward…

Looking back to 2017

Visit rsts11travel for travel technology, caffeination, and loyalty program advice wherever we go!

In 2017 (or more accurately, New Year’s Eve 2016), I launched rsts11travel, splitting out travel content (technology, caffeine, and loyalty) to its own site. The year-end review for rsts11travel went up on New Year’s Eve. This year I’ll try to keep the two blogs rolling at a similar pace, and there will continue to be crossovers as we had in 2017 where the content warrants it. And I still have a slight hope of coming up with a better name, but for now it works.

On the rsts11 side, we looked at NBASE-T and the Modern Office (part 1, part 2), Internet connectivity on the road (part 1, part 2). I made a fun build in a misleading case, inspired by our look at Antsle’s personal cloud servers — and they followed our Xeon-D direction later in the year. And I met with Opengear at InteropITX, with a conversation on video with them later on about the state of out-of-band management.

Moving ahead into 2018

I’ve been getting back into hardware (as opposed to getting surrounded by hardware, which I’d been excelling at for years). This has been partially due to a renewed interest in cryptocurrency mining, so there are a couple of posts in the posts-in-progress folder about some hardware designs and a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency mining.

There are also a couple of project machines (like the Microserver Gen 8 that I finally upgraded to a Xeon E3) that are overdue for coverage as well. I have some other interesting gear in the lab that may make its way onto the blog as well (especially if I can figure out how to reset a particular SDN device to factory defaults).

Invoking Bartles and Jaymes…

As always, I appreciate my readers’ support in any form. Comments and feedback here, on Twitter at @rsts11, or Facebook at @rsts11 help me target and track coverage for the blog. Buying things through my Amazon links (like an Omnicharge 20, or pretty much anything through an Amazon link on the site), or taking advantage of other referrals listed on the support-us page can help fund acquisitions for review, cover the minimal ongoing costs of the blogs, and maintain respectable caffeination levels along the way.

Where do we go from here?

Let me know what you’re looking for from rsts11 this year. Would you watch videos, and if so, what sort of content are you looking for? Maybe you want more product reviews (retail and enterprise?), or system and solution builds?

 

 

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Quick Take: Antsle coming out with Xeon-D models with 10GbE in December

Welcome back to rsts11. Earlier this year you saw us post a first look at the Antsle “personal cloud” development systems, which provide a fanless, silent development and desktop cloud-style provisioning environment with the KVM hypervisor and Linux Containers (LXC).

Later, we built a system that approximated our view of the obvious evolution of Antsle’s model, albeit not fanless (thus not completely silent), and not as compact. We used the SuperMicro X10SDV-4C-TLN2F-O 4-core, 8-thread board that featured dual 10GbE copper ports and support for 64GB non-registered or 128GB registered memory.

Well, Antsle announced today that they will be releasing Xeon-D based models in mid December.

antsle-announcement-tweet

Their low-end machine, with similar specs to the 4-Core board we used, starts at $1,349. Models with 8-Core and 12-Core boards are also available.

antsle-xd-models

The prices jump more than the difference in board cost because the base RAM/SSD configurations also grow, as do the uplift options.

  • antsle one XD: $1,349 for 4-core, 16GB (upgradable to 32GB), 2x 256GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • antsle one XD Pro: $2,499 for 8-core, 32GB (upgradable to 64GB), 2x 512GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • antsle one XD Ultra: $4,499 for 12-core, 64GB (upgradable to 128GB), 2x 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
  • The Avoton-based systems are still listed, starting at $759, and if you register for their mailing list, you will probably get occasional promotions and discount offers. You can also watch their social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook) for some of these offers.

We still haven’t ordered one of the Antsle boxes due to shifting project budgeting, but the idea still has promise. And they don’t seem to do eval boxes (although if they change their minds, we’d love to try one out).

As we noted in our original take on the antsle model, you can probably build something similar on your own, and if you find it worthwhile and/or practical to spend time building the hardware and software platform, you’ll probably have lower capital expense building it yourself. If you just want to plug a silent box in, plop it onto your desk, and go to work, the nominal added cost for the pre-built appliance is probably worth spending.

Have you tried the antsle platform, or built your own similar system? Let us know in the comments.

 

Disclosure: While I’ve had an email exchange with the CMO of antsle prior to writing the original antsle post in March 2017, I don’t get any consideration from antsle for discussing their product. And while it is relatively resilient (mirrored SSDs, ECC RAM), I wouldn’t recommend it for an enterprise deployment into production. But then, it’s explicitly not aimed at that market.

 

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now – are they just vapor?

For those of you not of a certain age… a bit of a soundtrack for this post.

 

 

I wrote last month about the “antsle” “personal cloud server,” and a few people on Minds had a brisk but respectful debate over whether it was cloud, and whether there was more to cloud than cloud storage (i.e. Dropbox, Box, Owncloud, OneDrive, Sugarsync, etc).

It got me to thinking about how I’d define “cloud” and why others feel differently. So here’s a bit of a soft-topic consideration for you along the way.

I was first exposed to the buzzword around 2009, when a major PC and IT gear reseller from the midwest was trying to convince me on every call and email thread that I should buy The Cloud(tm). My rep never could tell me why, or what problem it would solve, a common shortcoming of quota-bound sales reps. I think the closest to a justification I ever got was “Just give a try, you’ll be able to tell where you can use it.” And I didn’t.

As the current decade rolled along, anyone running the server side of a client/server model called themselves The Cloud(tm). And of course, Amazon Web Services and other players came along to give their own definitions and market shares to the matter.

Today, at its extreme interpretation, anything not running in focus on your current personal device is probably considered “cloud” by someone. And to be fair to antsle, that’s where they fit in a way.  Continue reading

First look: Checking out the “antsle” personal cloud server

Most of you know I don’t shy away from building (or refurbishing) my own computers. I used to draw the line at laptops, but in the last couple of years I’ve even rebuilt a few stripped-for-parts Dell and Toshiba laptops for the fun of it. Warped definition of “fun,” I’ll admit.

So when I saw a Facebook ad for a “cloud server” called “antsle,” I was curious but unconvinced. It was something like this:

The idea is you’re buying a compact, fanless, silent microserver that, in addition to some fault-tolerant hardware (mirrored SSD, ECC RAM), includes a proprietary user interface for managing and monitoring containers and virtual machines. You can cram up to 64GB of RAM in there, and while it only holds two internal drives, you can add more via USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, for up to 16TB of officially supported capacity. Not too bad, but I’ve been known to be cheap and/or resourceful, so I priced out a similar configuration assuming I’d build it myself.  Continue reading