World Of Servers Week 1: What We Learned

World Of Servers Week 1: What We Learned

Lifehacker’s World Of Servers project kicked off last week with a series of posts from LCA2013 in Canberra looking at systems administration, virtualisation and the future of networking. Here are the key lessons we learned.

Network switch picture from Shutterstock

We’re Ignoring IPv6

How is it that we effectively managed to run out IPv4 addresses but we still haven’t made the wholesale transition to IPv6. The answer is that carriers are using network address translation, a move which undoubtedly gives us a few more years but which doesn’t lead to particularly efficient network design. It also raises the prospect of a shift away from widely-accepted standards and open, accessible networks.

We Live In A Multi-Platform World

When it comes to choosing server platforms, it’s much more a case of choosing the best tool for the job than blindly sticking to a single-platform strategy. That’s evident even on a meta-level when it comes to choosing hypervisors, and the importance of having choice was a point underscored by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Building multi-platform systems is complex (just ask the Samba development team), but it’s essential to factor it into everything you do, from training onwards.[clear]

Effective Systems Administration Requires Planning

Keeping all those platforms ticking over requires careful planning and attention to the basics. We stepped up with guidelines for how to be a better administrator, moving your systems to the cloud and issues to watch out for when running database servers online

Cloud Legal Issues Remain Murky

You might not think that last year’s legal battle between Optus and the NRL over Optus’s TV Now service had much impact on anyone else. But the case underscores how our legal system hasn’t adapted to the cloud era — something that needs to be resolved if business is going to further invest in this area.

Networking: It’s A Matter Of History

The slow transition to IPv6 underscores the point that old technologies rarely disappear entirely. That’s why SNMP continues to play a role, and why understanding older networking protocols can be useful. One thing (unfortunately) hasn’t changed either: we’re still slack when it comes to patching servers

Our next World Of Servers posts will run in late February, direct from Data Centre World in the UK. In the meantime, keep checking out Lifehacker’s IT Pro channel for the best in IT advice.

Lifehacker’s World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I’m in Canberra for, paying particular attention to the systems administration mini-conference and sessions on virtualisation and best practice.

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