Buying powerful PCs pre built is all so well and good but the fun comes in when you build them yourself!

That’s just what we have done at work with some media suite PCs which use 6 core processors, modular PSUs and all other kinds of fun things – full specs and photos to come after the video.

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I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to making sure that hardware runs with the latest firmware, quite often these software updates bring improved stability and features. In SSDs though it quite commonly brings about performance boosts.

However when trying to update the Vertex 4s I recently received to build a Custom RDS Farm I would go to update the drive, reboot the system (as directed) only to find that there hadn’t been any firmware update at all!

I started experimenting and one fix I have found is to flash the drive, shut down the PC and then remove the SATA power/data cables from the drive and leave the drive un-powered for a few minutes.
Next reboot the PC with the drive plugged back in and lone behold its updated!

The screen shots below show this in a little more detail.

One of the wonderful things about Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is that any driver that was written for Windows 7 will also run in Server 2008 R2! As such its very easy to take any Window 7 compatible PC (with a processor that can do hardware assisted virtualization like the AMD A and FX series) and turn it into a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept (POC).

In the video below you can see me doing just that with a HP 6465b notebook (AMD A6 powered) which has been enhanced with a OCZ Agility 3 SSD.

Read on as well for a list of parts that cost less than £265 (exVAT)  that you could use to run your own proof of concept for 3-4 VDI users! Continue reading

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

One of the most interesting features of the OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 is that in many situations you can boot a OS right off the drive (great for super fast gaming PCs). The only issue with this is not every motherboard out there will support booting right off a PCI-E SSD (OCZ do have a list here though) but also more importantly its a right pain to update the firmware on a SSD that you are booting off. Continue reading

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

One of the great things about VDI is the ability to create a ‘golden image’, that’s one single image that includes the OS and Software which can be accessed from any endpoint. Whatever VDI software you go with will then take that golden image and duplicate it multiple times to provide the desktops for your users.

However this masse creation of desktops can cause a bit of a IO overload… problem of many that a SSD can solve….

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This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

In this series I am going to be looking at how PCI-E SSDs can be used with VDI, I’ll be covering the hardware in use, the user experience and also why I believe PCI-E SSDs to be the best option to get your virtual desktops running as fast as possible. Continue reading

Its been a little while since posting What happens when you put a OCZ PCI-E SSD in a server? and I thought I would give an update to its progress.

After 2520 hours powered on (about 105 days or 3.5 months) the SSD is yet to give us any trouble – that’s while hosting 3 a fully active virtual machines covering Lync 2010 install (IM/and now moving into VOIP) , a App-V server and now a UAG 2010.

The full SMART details can be seen in the image to the side (using the OCZ Toolbox) and as you will see the drive is still reporting no reserve blocks used.

My intent would be to see how one (or maybe two of these drives in software RAID0) will work when hosting a number of virtual desktops but going to have to wait until April for that!

Last year just before Christmas I was very close to getting a Motorola Xoom Android Tablet PC but after much thought I changed my mind and decided that I would wait for Windows 8. Looking at the reasons below most of these relate to my nature as a IT professional and how I would use the tablet at both home, out and about and also at work.

Windows 8 is the match for my choice in phone and online services

I use Windows Live quite extensively covering Mail, SkyDrive (Photo storage/Documents), Contacts and Calendar – all of which integrate natively with my Windows Phone.

Microsoft has also demonstrated (video to the right) as to how these web services are built right into the OS in a way that is already familiar to me. This kind of continuity between devices can’t be matched and Android tablets (although Apple does very well with the iPhone and iPad offering a very similar user experience). Continue reading