In the Lab Reviews
The StorageReview In The Lab series examines the behind the scenes and inner workings of our Cincinnati-based enterprise test lab. The content is designed to take a look at the equipment, software and tools that keep the lab going, with an eye toward helping IT administrators get new ideas while also seeing the challenges faced by a growing IT organization.
by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

In The Lab: Dell Networking S3100 Series Switch (S3148P)

As the StorageReview networking fabric overhaul continues, an important but unsung member of the family includes the Dell Networking S3100 Series Switch. While not as glitzy as the 25GbE networking cards or as fast as the S4048 and Z9100 workhorses soon going into place, the S3100 provides a critical role for the lab. Though our office is relatively small, just over 4000SF, we have technology that can benefit from the PoE ports the S3148P version offers. Primarily this includes a dozen or so security cameras that are always keeping a watchful eye over the lab. We also have an assortment of IP phones and wireless access points that mainline into the 48 Ethernet ports the S3100 offers.

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by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Mellanox ConnectX-4 rNDC Upgrade (Dell EMC PowerEdge R730)

We previously reviewed the Dell Mellanox ConnectX-4 rNDC 25Gb NIC, which is a custom form-factor card designed to slot into Dell EMC PowerEdge servers. This card is unique compared to traditional PCIe edge-cards, in that it is designed to integrate with the server in the same way as any other OEM part and not take up any precious PCIe real-estate. This is very valuable for 1U servers, where PCIe slots are in short supply. In this In the Lab article, we show the process of installing one of these cards into a Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 13G.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

In The Lab: Eaton 5PX & EBM Battery Replacement

In the StorageReview Enterprise Lab we use a variety of power management tools and battery backups. If a data center is not generating their own power or has sufficient backup generators, an interruption in power supply is inevitable (in the cases above, interruptions are still a possibility). For our testing environments we use Eaton gear from 5PX UPS  for managing a subset of systems up to the BladeUPS and its ability to power several racks. The 5PX UPS has been running in our lab for over 5 years and the time has finally come to perform some scheduled maintenance on it and the connected EBM (Extended Battery Module). In this In the Lab we go over the steps required to swap out the batteries in the UPS and replace the EBM.

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by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Fresh Air Cooling

Lowering power usage is a hot-button topic for anyone operating a lab or datacenter these days. Utility costs are always increasing, servers and storage keep growing and there are few signs that "the cloud" is going to do much to help. Regardless of the size of operation, power costs make up a huge portion of an OPEX budget (#4 at StorageReview); including the direct power usage of servers and associated hardware, as well as indirect power usage to cooling everything. During one of my first trips to Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, TX, I had the pleasure of seeing the Dell Fresh Air Hot House, which sparked ideas that would eventually lower the overall power usage of the StorageReview Test Lab.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

In the Lab: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series

The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 series is designed to adapt to a wide variety of different work styles and use cases, as it provides consumers with a multi-purpose functionality including the added option of a desktop experience. Users can attach the mobile keyboard, take advantage of the desktop docking station with dual monitors, or simply use it purely as a tablet with its active stylus pen for easy note taking. It also works with existing x86 applications, peripherals, and management tools, which allows it to effortlessly fit into all kinds of business environment.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

In the Lab: Seek thermal camera

The Seek thermal camera is an ultra-portable thermal imaging camera attached to, and managed by, newer generation Android and iOS mobile devices and is an ideal alternative for consumers or small-to-medium sized businesses that do not want to spend thousands of dollars on professional cameras. Working in both complete darkness and daylight, the Seek thermal detects the infrared light that is emitted by objects and uses the collected data from over 32,000 thermal pixels to create a visible image on the smartphone. The thermal sensor of the Seek has a resolution of 206 x 156 pixels and features a 36° field of view, which is more than enough for our use cases. It also comes in an XR model, which stands for “Xtra Range”, allowing users to see objects at greater distances with adjustable focus and a narrower 20° field of focus.

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by Kevin OBrien

In The Lab: AXIS Security Cameras

Axis is a leader in the video surveillance market, distributing a wide variety of cameras for use cases as broad as there are buildings and people to protect. In the StorageReview Lab we use several models of Axis cameras paired with a Synology NAS and Surveillance Station 7 to provide visualization of our space both while we're on premesis via flat panel in the lab, or remotely via Synology's mobile apps. What follows is a overview of the cameras in place, their core strengths and how they are part of the overall security strategy for StorageReview. 

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