Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Performance Thresholds...

Ahhh, performance thresholds... it's the kind of information you always know the approximate answer to, but rarely remember exactly what the recommendations are. Here's a link that covers the biggies.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

AMD to Intel MHz conversions...

While putting together some documentation surrounding physical to virtual migrations, I recalled the following handy formula for approximating Intel MHz from AMD MHz. It's basically a reverse engineered derivation of the formula used by AMD for the Athlon64 'Processor Rating' numbers. Now admittedly, that was part marketing BS, to make them more appealing to Joe User who had been brainwashed by the Intel marketing machine into thinking it was all about the MHz (and boy isn't that coming back to haunt them now!). But the 'Processor Rating' number was close enough to the Intel MHz number that the chips held their own in most benchmarks, so it wasn't complete marketing tripe.

This of course only applies to the older PIII / P4 Xeons - not the latest Woodcrest based chips. But then again, the older PIII / P4 Xeons are the most common targets of P2V migrations, so it works nicely.

The formula is:
(AMD MHz + 500) X 1.5 = Intel MHz

I know you want to confirm it for yourself, so go ahead - here's a list of a few Athlon64 CPU's with their PR & respective MHz numbers.

So, if you had a dual 1.4GHz PIII Xeon box using 20% CPU on average, and you wanted to know what that would equate to on a single 2.2GHz Opteron, you'd do something like:

Dual 1.4GHz PIII Average Workload in MHz:
(1400 X 2) X 20% = 560
Estimated Total Intel Equivalent MHz of Single 2.2GHz Opteron:
(2200 + 500) X 1.5 = 4050
Estimated Percentage CPU Utilisation of Single 2.2GHz Opteron:
560 / 4050 = 13.8%

Of course there is a boatload of confounding variables, such as how optimised the application is for multi procs, is the Opteron dual core, what if that was a Hyperthreaded P4 Xeon instead of a PIII, and all the architectural differences in the chipsets etc etc. While they are all valid questions, I'm just talking about a very basic rule of thumb here. You've gotta draw a line in the sand somewhere, and there's little point in trying to make a guestimate more accurate - in the end, it's still a guestimate.

If anyone else out there knows of a better / more accurate conversion, please post it in the comments!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Moved to Blogger beta...

With all the beta madness going on, I thought I might as well move the blog to the Blogger beta, which is integrated with Google (in terms of authentication). Doesn't seem to be a whole lot of changes... as long as my shit doesn't get deleted somehow, I guess all will be well!

UPDATE: The new navbar up the top is something I have been hoping for! Finally I can sign in directly from my blog, instead of having to go the Blogger homepage and sign in there. And no more 'republish blog' hassles after a new post... 2 thumbs up!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Microsoft - I paid for the OS, now get the F@#K out of my face...

It would seem the initial excitement of Vista has worn off... I'm starting to get angry at things that pop up in the OS.

Like the Soundbuzz icon on the Windows Media Player toolbar. I can't get rid of it. I can't imagine how much they must be paying (or is this company owned by Microsoft) to have it imbedded there, but FFS Microsoft - you already earn billions of dollars a year in profits, you charge the end user for your product (and this post relates to the 'Ultimate Edition', the most expensive of the lot), how can you possibly justify planting unremovable advertising in the OS? There's a word for software that does that kind of thing - spyware. There was a recent backlash against 'browzar', where it was labelled 'spyware' because it doesn't give you the option to change the search bar, hence delivering them advertising dollars. Isn't planting an unremovable link to Soundbuzz on the Media Player toolbar the same? Sure I can add more stores, but I can't remove this one.

It also seems that little has been learned from the antitrust lawsuits. Have a look at the Welcome Page. What's that at the bottom? 'Offers from Microsoft'. Now I can only hope that Microsoft isn't stupid enough to disallow 3rd parties advertising in that same space, but at what cost? How about the copies of Windows that aren't purchased via an OEM? There won't be anything non-Microsoft offerings in those cases will there!

What's next then Microsoft? An unremovable adbar in IE? An unremovable ad gadget in the sidebar? Forced advertisements when downloading Windows Updates? Ad technology built into the Windows Installer, so that ads are displayed in the dialog boxes during install? The progress bar replaced with an adbar and a number to indicate percent complete (inconspicously placed of course - wouldn't want to detract from the ads!)?

It's only RC1, and already I'm getting a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's time for that Ubuntu install after all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

n00dles gets one over Windows Server Team blog...

Longhorn build 5600.16834 is out now!!! Not sure if it will be labelled 'RC1', but I'll let y'all know in a few hours.

You read it here first :-D

UPDATE: Well I can't see the words 'RC1' anywhere, but it's certainly a signifcant step forward compared to Beta 2.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Update: Vista RC1 on Virtual Server...

Wow that didn't take long... after attempting in vain to try and disable the wallpaper in the VM for about 15 minutes (the change wallpaper applet crashed everytime), I'm ditching Vista on Virtual Server. Even with 1Gb of RAM, a 16Gb vhd (sitting on a sata2 disk) and the VMAdditions for Vista Beta2, it was completely unusable. It had the CPU pegged at near 100% the whole time - there were no other VM's running and all I was doing was trying to disable the wallpaper!!!

So yeh, Vista RC1 on Virtual Server - just don't do it!

IronPython 1.0 Released...

As if there wasn't enough going on with Vista RC1 and Longhorn build 5600, the IronPython team decided to release 1.0 final! Go grab it here. I've been thinking about having a look at Python for a little while now, so I'll probably have a bit of a look. It may well turn out to be a tough choice for the administrative scripter looking to ditch VBscript - use something like IronPython, or learn C# and leverage the cmdlets functionality of the new shell (which I refuse to call by the name Microsoft gave it).

In the meantime, my Vista RC1 VM (on Virtual Server 2005 R2 x64) just finished installing, time to check it out! Will post up something about that in the next few days...

Monday, September 04, 2006

One word for Vista RC1... sweeeeeeeeeeet!

It's definitely an RC... still quite a few little annoyances and bugs, but it's definitely out of Beta. Beta 2 was so unusable I installed it, used it for a few hours, then promptly blew it away. All while taking Bill's name in vain, and convincing myself that Microsoft was about to lose massive market share on the desktop front. But Vista Build 5600 is going the extra mile on my machine. On first impressions, it rocks!

Sure, there are a few niggling things about parts of the interface. And talk about bloat - it was chewing up ~520Mb or RAM while idling. But to be honest, I don't care. As a gamer, I understand the concept of software built for the next generation of hardware all too well. And that's exactly what Vista is. I don't give a damn that I could get a fully functional Linux box running in 1/10th that amount of memory utilisation - I've got 2GB of RAM in my box, what is the point of not using it!!! In a year or 2's time, when Vista adoption is really hitting it's stride, 2Gb of RAM will be standard on a new machine, maybe even sub-standard. And with terabyte drives for the home just around the corner, I don't care about the 11Gb of disk the OS takes up either.

I've taken a bunch of screenies that you can all check out. Over the coming weeks I'll be getting stuck into some application testing, and no doubt giving the ACT 5.0 beta a workout. Just like I did with earlier versions back when I was a desktop engineer doing packaging and compatibility testing for the early XP rollouts. I'll run it up in Virtual Server for that, it will be a good chance to see what Vista is like without Aero, how it runs as a VM, and whether the beta 2 Vista VM addtions do anything.

And speaking of XP, although Vista is very cool, I don't think there will be widespread adoption for a few years. I also predict XP will become another Windows 98 - favoured by gamers and those who want an OS with less overhead. But then again, Xp still has another 6 years of life before support runs out. I'm sure the successor to Vista will be out by then.

And with regards to my previous post, I've never been so happy to be proven so utterly wrong. I was fully prepped to switch to Linux on my desktop (but stick with Windows servers - it's what I know). But after a few days with Vista RC1, I won't be looking at Linux anytime soon, if ever (not counting the service console of ESX ;-)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Last chance, Microsoft (anticipatory thoughts on Vista)...

With the Vista RC1 bits flowing through the tubes to my pc as I write this, I'm wondering how much effort I'll put into getting everything working on it... when I could probably get most stuff working on Linux with the same effort (and feel a little bit better about it).

After a string of pretty woeful beta releases, I am hoping build 5600 is all Vista is cracked up to be, otherwise I'm switching to Ubuntu (and will run any non linux stuff I need in an XP VM).

So I'll build up a Ubuntu 6.06 box and stick on VMware Workstation with an XP VM, and then build up a Vista box (thankyou to whoever invented removable HDD racks!) and see which one gets more usage over the coming months until Vista goes RTM (by which time a newer version of Ubuntu should be out, will will probably have XEN built in!)

Watch this space...