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GURU blog

When the client counts as much as the technology

With a little more delay than what we expected, this GURU advisor issue too is online!
We have covered extensively about the power and usefulness of Git and of versioning in general, and in this issue you’ll find the second part of the article. 
But a technology alone is just a technology, it becomes useful when coupled with the proper tool to take advantage of it, so we have tested a selection of the best Git clients.
We started with the most famous and used, and as we didn’t just stopped by the first big names, we have discovered a huge ecosystem. In order to have coherent results, we used the same procedure (usage sequence) for all client, and we obtained a uniform experience.

Historically, we at GURU have mostly been inclined on the software side of things, but to break with the routine we decided to dedicate this issue’s cover to an interesting product used to cover an important number of use cases, hoping to arouse the curiosity to experiment in the field of middle-distance radio links.
In this segment of the market Ubiquiti is one of the main producers as it can cover an ample slice of the market and, in the last years, has improved a lot their graphical interface by making them appealing and intuitive, thus guaranteeing an improved user experience.
And for those who particularly enjoyed Ansible, we have the second part of the related article; finally, the updated list of Words of the Day and our bulletins.

Enjoy!

Seasons Greetings

This new issue, the twentieth, comes with the end of 2018 and Christmas holidays and somehow closes the first, initial cycle of the magazine, which made a long road in these three years spent together.

2018 has been the year of the GDPR for sure. The new regulation came into effect and affected the IT sector as a whole, from small SMBs to large multinationals as it required planning and developing a wide assortment of counter-measures. GURUadvisor has been tracking the phenomenon since the beginning and keeps doing it also with the valuable help of our attorney, who deals with the delicate matter of the Privacy by Design topic.

We at GURUadvisor are strongly believe that a conscious usage of IT tools comes from a proper knowledge and basic tuition, so we dedicated to articles to two new topics: GitLab and Ansible. This series will continue in the next issues.

We’d like to wish you a merry Christmas and a great New Year!

A last sprint before Summer

Summer holidays are getting closer and the GURU team is preparing to get its vacation time, hopefully well deserved.

We have crafted an issue with interesting content, starting with the column dedicated to Docker which covers storage and networking, going into deeper details of the technology.
After the impact of the new European regulation on privacy, the infamous GDPR, which we dedicated lots of space -and a cover as well- in the previous issues, we have done an on-the-field test of the tower server ML350 Gen9 by HPE. Gen10 is available too, yet Gen9 is still an high level product which is quite convenient provided configurations are not that extreme. A computer of this kind can be used in a SOHO environment where an Active Directory domain is required as per the GDPR compliance.

We took a look at the future with the Technical Preview of Windows Server 2019, which will be released by the end of the year and promises several improvements in terms of security, hybrid cloud, hyper-convergence and applications (the DevOps world related to containers).

But the article that got the cover of this issue is the one dedicated to a large comparative between Cloud Server services offered by the main national and international providers. We’ve tested in depth many services, not just to measure their performances, rather focusing on features and modalities offered: ease of use, interface, management and modification of instances, offerings, etc.. . The result is a very interesting comparison between big players like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, but also newer and “smaller” realities like DigitalOcean and Stellar.

So have a good read and enjoy your vacations!

We are ready for another year together

Despite fewer issues of GURU advisor last year (and we are working to invert the tendency), we strive as always to produce quality content.

The first issue of 2018 covers one of the hottest topics of the IT world, that is, Docker and the whole containers ecosystem.
It’s really a vast topic with plenty of aspects that can’t be covered in a single article: therefore we are about to write a sort of column with different chapters, each one dedicated to a certain aspect of the matter, from the origin to the actual situation.

Windows and Windows Server are covered in two different articles about Project Honolulu and Chocolatey. These are two platforms conceived to work within a Windows environment that helps sysadmins a lot in a number of ways, from the installation of updates to the deployment of software packages and the management of whole clusters.

Have fun and may 2018 be a good year!

GDPR is around the corner

It’s only a month before the new regulation on data protection goes into effect and this new issue of GURU advisor devotes the cover and a detailed article to one of the hottest topics of the moment.

Our lawyer has analyzed several aspects of the GDPR with the goal of providing us with a clear understanding of the fulfillments that will include in an extended and tangible all IT departments and consultants in Europe and most of the world.

As promised in the last issue, an article is devoted to two of the most spectacular and dramatic vulnerabilities of the last few decades: Meltdown and Spectre. We’ve recapped their history, characteristics and actual situation with a couple of remarks on the communication from vendors and manufacturers.

FreeNAS is an operating system we’ve been covering from a long ago, so we cover the new release that includes a new graphical user interface and interesting news under the hood, including several improvements and virtual machines management.

Docker and Container avid readers will like the second part of our introductional guide on the topic, which is about the first practical steps to create and use containers, while waiting for further articles about this new and apparently mysterious technology...

The importance of being updated

Inevitably, the cover of this issue of GURU advisor is dedicated to WannaCry, the ransomware that in the last weeks hit, in an unprecedented and unexpected mode, thousands of users all around the world. The WannaCry attack had such an impact that it was covered also by mainstream news channels and not only by those belonging to the IT world, as it plagued hospitals, transports, universities and companies. Because of that, we have dedicated a whole article to the ransomware where we have tried to analyze the first phases of the diffusion and the modalities of infection and attack.
Those of you that hasn’t secured your own infrastructure yet, you can find all information and references to the updates provided by Microsoft and some interesting information about which exploits have been used to realize all of that.

The importance of patches, updates and regular checks on devices is further highlighted by attacks like the one of a few weeks ago. In this edition we have dedicated an extended article to the Cortado Corporate Server software, a platform aimed to MSP and companies for the MDM management of mobile devices, from where you can control each aspect of terminals, be it a BYOD and a COPE (Corporate Owned - Personally Enabled) context.
The decision of using a platform instead of another represents a delicate phase of the experience of an IT professional: to help you with the choice, after the introductive article to XenServer on the previous issue, we went deeper with a step-by-step guide to the installation and first use of the “alternative” hypervisor to two giants like VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V.

This issue features a particularly rich Columns section, as it has been happening by the beginning of the year, with bulletins about Cloud, Security and CMS. Beside these 3, we have an interesting article by our lawyer which deals with a very delicate topic: providers’ liability, in the case of third parties operate illegally using services provided by the Provider.

Security before anything else

This summer issue of GURUadvisor is about security, be it about IT infrastructures or specific platforms like the renowned CMS WordPress.
In an ever connected world where the barrier between physical and digital gets shallower every day, it’s fundamental to understand the risk one is exposed, so that it’s easier to build an effective defensive system.
Therefore we have dedicated three articles to the matter, starting with a practical guide on how to secure devices of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which are getting more and more used, and to one of the most used Websites platform: WordPress.

In terms of IT systems for enterprise and business contexts, we have tested on the field the new product by GFI -LanGuard-, a real asset manager to manage patches and updates not only on an operating system level but also for third-party applications.

We will also cover the new FreeNAS release and how the long-awaited release 10 “Corral” had to make way for the successive release 11. We then go on with our monthly bulletins on Cloud and Datacenter, Security and CMS, and our lawyer will talk about Data Breach and the new regulamentation that will be effective with the turn of the year.

Focusing on Cloud

After the summer break and the updates from the recent VMworld in Barcelona, GURU advisor is back with a new issue, new columns and an update sysadmin’s glossary.

This fall issue focuses on Cloud services with an entire article about a comparison of products and providers for email solutions for business scenarios: we have crafted a comparative table with the two main providers -Microsoft and Google- and some competitors which include pricing, versions of the services and related products. We also talk about Stellar Cloud Servers, a 100% italian product for the outsourcing of IT infrastructures specifically conceived to offer scalability and Enterprise-grade reliability.

Then we introduce ZAP, an open source software by OWASP dedicated to penetration testing and vulnerability assessment, with a more technical article. ZAP is a very powerful tool that provides plenty of data and information regarding attack simulations and outcomes that can be hard to interpret, so it’s really suitable for pros only, yet it’s an interesting starting point when analyzing your own Web app or Website.

Remaining in the Internet services and products sphere, our legal advisor will talk about security and privacy in terms of Internet of Things devices. As more and more wearable and domotic devices can collect and transmit sensitive information about ourselves and our habits, the risk that these information are not handled properly in the context of the actual regulation rises.

The challenge of Cloud

Those of you follows the market of Cloud solutions’ providers will have noted for sure certain phenomena and behaviours that emerged dramatically in the last years.

  • The biggest players, ie Microsoft, Amazon and Google, have an increasingly more sophisticated and complex offer that can fulfill most business needs, thus eliminating the internal infrastructure. Apart from this trio, a very few other players can compete in more than two or three sectors. Who seeks an all-around solution must rely upon one of these.
  • In general the prices of these three giants tend to be higher than the rest of the market, but there are sectors (where economies of scale help) where are definitely cheaper than the average. To the detriment of smaller providers.
  • Who shows up in a more aggressive way on the market and manages to gain success despite the aforementioned three giants, makes it with a very specific PaaS or SaaS architecture, think of Salesforce/Force.com: smart and well architected structured starting from the resolution of a problem in the best way possible.
  • Traditional SaaS solutions like emails or object storage platforms (like Dropbox & Co.) compete with great difficulty with these giants, not in terms of prices but rather in terms of added value that Amazon, Microsoft and Google can offer. Microsoft in particular stands in a predominant position in the SaaS world thanks to the legacy of its past and traditional software: Exchange, Office and Sharepoint. Products that are heavily used in the Enterprise world that suffice to persuade lots of companies to partner with Microsoft, regardless of prices and modalities and times of effective migration.

Hence who -like some of you- wants to emerge in the world of Cloud services must maintain a certain appeal in order not to lose clients. So it makes sense to sell cheap mailboxes, but also to offer a management system that provides an added value and specific services to attract and keep loyal clients. Otherwise you will be replaced by one of these giants.

An aspect not to be underestimated is the extreme management complexity of these platforms and the continue updating they undergo: if you can’t compete with services, then organise and learn how to compete in the management of these platforms. Even experienced IT Managers can experience lots of difficulties in understanding and managing platforms so extended and structured like Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 or Google Cloud Platform. The same difficulties will be faced by companies that don’t have an internal skilled and expert IT department and will, consequently, rely upon partners and consultants.

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Word of the Day

The term Edge Computing refers, when used in the cloud-based infrastructure sphere, the set of devices and technologies that allows...

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The acronym SoC (System on Chip) describes particular integrated circuit that contain a whole system inside a single physical chip:...

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The acronym PtP (Point-to-Point) indicates point-to-point radio links realized with wireless technologies. Differently, PtMP links connects a single source to...

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Hold Down Timer is a technique used by network routers. When a node receives notification that another router is offline...

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In the field of Information Technology, the term piggybacking refers to situations where an unauthorized third party gains access to...

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Read also the others...

Download of the Day

Netcat

Netcat is a command line tool that can be used in both Linux and Windows environments, capable of...

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Fiddler

Fiddler is a proxy server that can run locally to allow application debugging and control of data in...

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Adapter Watch

Adapter Watch is a tool that shows a complete and detailed report about network cards. Download it here.

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DNS DataView

DNS DataView is a graphical-interface software to perform DNS lookup queries from your PC using system-defined DNS, or...

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SolarWinds Traceroute NG

SolarWinds Traceroute NG is a command line tool to perform advanced traceroute in Windows environment, compared to the...

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All Download...

Issues Archive

  • GURU advisor: issue 18 - April 2018

    GURU advisor: issue 18 - April 2018

  • GURU advisor: issue 17 - January 2018

    GURU advisor: issue 17 - January 2018

  • GURU advisor: issue 16 - october 2017

    GURU advisor: issue 16 - october 2017

  • GURU advisor: issue 15 - July 2017

    GURU advisor: issue 15 - July 2017

  • GURU advisor: issue 14 - May 2017

    GURU advisor: issue 14 - May 2017

  • GURU advisor: issue 13 - March 2017

    GURU advisor: issue 13 - March 2017

  • GURU advisor: issue 12 -  January 2017

    GURU advisor: issue 12 - January 2017

  • GURU advisor: issue 11 -  October 2016

    GURU advisor: issue 11 - October 2016

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    GURU advisor will be at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 22nd to 25th 2016!

    MWC is one of the biggest conventions about the worldwide mobile market, we'll be present for the whole event and we'll keep you posted with news and previews from the congress.

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