Category Archives: Technology

Does the Surface Pen work with the Surface Laptop?

So the Microsoft Surface Laptop “surfaced” earlier this week. I was disappointed that they did not announce the Surface Pro 5 on the same day. That was really what I was waiting for. I was holding off on purchasing a new laptop until that came out but to my surprise, they announced something a bit different. The Surface Laptop which is basically the Windows MacBook Pro. I decided that I would get the Surface Laptop for myself and have employer purchase the Surface Pro 5 for me when it comes out.

I’ve decided on the 7th Generation Kaby Lake Core i7 with the 8Gb’s of RAM and 256GB SSD. Now for my accessories… can’t have a Surface without a Surface Pen right? Hmm. thats where things get a bit foggy. According to Microsoft, the current Surface Pen is only compatabile with the Surface Pro 3, 4 and the Surface Book. There’s no mention of it work for the Surface Laptop. Now I don’t know if they just haven’t updated the product page to show that it works for the Surface Laptop or rumors mention that Microsoft has filed multiple patents for a new pen coming out.

So long story short, no one really knows the answer to that question but I would play it safe and hold off on buying a pen for the Surface Laptop until further notice.

Update: Another thought just popped into my head, its a Laptop, maybe it was never intended to be used with a Pen. Otherwise it would be designed as a convertible and you’d be able to flip the screen on its back and use it as a tablet.

Datto BDR vs Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Backup

I have been selling Datto BDR to my clients for the past 4 years. Datto is a ┬áBDR solution sold by many MSP/VARs in the IT management space. It features a private label SuperMicro chassis with linux based OS running Datto’s software. It touts hybrid virtualization which means you have the ability to spin up your servers virtually in the Datto cloud in a DR scenario or spin up the server locally on the Datto appliance itself (only available in select models). For the most part it works however it’s expensive as you start backing up larger amounts of data. Anything over 1TB becomes out of reach for most SMB customers.

Datto Pros:

  • One appliance takes care of it all
  • IT company manages health of the appliance and monitors backup
  • Centralized management portal for all Datto appliances in MSP fleet
  • Datto managed DR scenario – support from Datto Team
  • Backs up legacy OS, Windows 2003 included
  • Works with VMWare, Hyper-V and Physical Servers

Datto Cons:

  • Requires 50% of free space to provide adequate protection
  • Non salable growth: if you surpass unit GB allowance, you must upgrade to a larger unit
  • Expensive for a BDR solution for clients with larger than 1TB of data

Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery on the other hand was designed to backup on-premise physical and virtual machines. Both VMware and Hyper-V environments are supported. Certain linux distributions such as RedHat, CentOS, Ubuntu and SuSE is also supported. There is a per instance fee of $25 per machine backed up but the costs are much more reasonable. The technology is also much better. Datto uses StorageCrafts backup technology which in my opinion is antiquated. Azure Site Recovery uses a Site Recovery dedicated machine and backups via site recovery agents. What you would have to do first is to design a Azure network used for your emergency workload. This means you are creating a vnet, a vnet gateway and a VPN back to your premise, setting up Azure Site Recovery, backing up your environment and testing your disaster scenario. If this is done right, you eliminate the need for having a high monthly Datto charge and you’ll end up with a highly flexible Azure solution.

Azure Site Recovery Pros:

  • Very salable, back up unlimited workloads and LOB applications – never run out of resources
  • Use Azure’s infrastructure for running your workload in a DR scenario
  • Priced very reasonably, $16/month for customer owned sites or $25/month to backup to Azure + the cost of Azure storage
  • Works with VMWare, Hyper-V and Physical servers
  • Allows pre-disaster orchestrating of a DR which will force you to think about DR before it happens
  • Can be used to migrate existing workloads to Azure

Azure Site Recovery Cons:

  • Requires more IT knowledge than Datto for set up and management
  • Requires Azure knowledge – vnet, storage, ASR and VPNs
  • Does not work with legacy OS, ie Windows 2003, older versions of Linux
  • Requires instance for ASR configuration server, essentially a backup management server

Moving to a New Web Hosting Company

This is my first post on my new reseller hosting plan from I transferred my cPanel accounts last week from JuguarPC formerly A few years back ResellerZoom provided decent services for rock bottom prices, then one day I got a bill from JaguarPC for the same services. A quick visit to the website showed that they either changed their name or an acquisition was made. Anyhow the quality of services went downhill quick. It was still cheap but they were over allocating server resources big time. My sites would crawl and sometimes wouldn’t load at all. For those of you who may be familiar with the Server Status on the WHM panel, the cache hard drives and memory were at its peak 24/7 but I decided to keep everything the way it was, after all I was still paying very low prices and it would be a pain to move all my sub accounts over to another host.

Then I found InMotionHosting while researching for a replacement. By this point a few of my clients had told me they noticed performance getting worst, I had to do something. InMotionHosting provides reasonable PREMIUM pricing for a server running cPanel and SSD hard drives. Being in IT sales, I knew SSD’s were the biggest bottlenecks on computers and servers. I had to have it if I was going to spend the effort to move it and so I did. I am running on the RS1000 plan that I got with a discount for prepaying 1 year of services.

Things I considered before picking InMotionHosting was going with a company like WP Engine but I did not want to pigeonhole myself with just a web host that specialized in running WordPress websites even though its one of the most popular CMS’s out there now, I still wanted that freedom of having just a regular cPanel linux web server which has been built on reliability I have grown to trust for so many years. The migration of all my accounts went very smoothly and at the end of it, I just had to update my A record on each domain’s DNS manager and BAM, websites now load 10x faster than they did before.

If you need a fast web hosting company, try InMotionHosting: