Categories

jfkiwN8N_400x400
25
January, 2017

So the news just hit that Cisco is acquiring AppD for a cool $3.7B.  Not bad for the AppD folks when the last evaluation I saw put them in the $1.9B or so range.  So is this good or not? For Cisco it can be very good.  AppDynamics is a fantastic application monitoring platform.  We’ve … Continue reading “Initial Thoughts on Cisco Acquiring AppDynamics”

Initial Thoughts on Cisco Acquiring AppDynamics

So the news just hit that Cisco is acquiring AppD for a cool $3.7B.  Not bad for the AppD folks when the last evaluation I saw put them in the $1.9B or so range.  So is this good or not? For Cisco it can be very good.  AppDynamics is a fantastic application monitoring platform.  We've been working with it for a while at AHEAD after we saw great potential with helping our customers dig in to their apps no matter where they run.  The possibilities of this with Cisco are pretty compelling. Cisco didn't have a tool for this space.  It's hard to argue with what they can do with network information and telemetry with such offerings such as the relatively new Tetration and the now-being-deployed-for-real ACI.  But now imagine that working along side AppDynamics and being able to correlate that information.  Good stuff. Will it happen?  Cisco isn't great at acquisition integration.  That's just a given in their software space.  Look at the "box of things" that they marketed as CIAC or what's happened so far with CLiQR.  Cisco's cloud strategy messaging in general is fragmented and not well articulated.  My concern is that AppD will turn in to just another tool in the Cisco tool chest...languishing and forgotten without being built in to a larger framework. Time will tell...but so far I'm not seeing those pieces gel in to anything meaningful yet and the world is marching on. I'd hate to see..... CiscoCliQr
 

Categories

cfd-logo-400x398
26
September, 2016

About two weeks ago I went out to the west coast for the first Cloud Field Day.  Now that I’m back I thought I’d do a quick writeup on how it went and thoughts on my first Field Day event.  The summary is simply that the event was very good and the whole Field Day … Continue reading “Thoughts on Cloud Field Day 1”

Thoughts on Cloud Field Day 1

About two weeks ago I went out to the west coast for the first Cloud Field Day.  Now that I'm back I thought I'd do a quick writeup on how it went and thoughts on my first Field Day event.  The summary is simply that the event was very good and the whole Field Day team does an amazing job.  There is a lot that happens when they put on an event. Josh Coen and I flew out on the same flight and arrived at SFO the evening before the first day.  When we arrived there was a car there to take us to a dinner/reception for the delegates from Mobility Field Day that was wrapping up and Cloud Field Day that was just starting.  It was a great opportunity to meet everyone and get to know each other, since we'd be spending a lot of time together over the next two days. The next morning all of the delegates for CFD1 got together for breakfast.  It has become a bit of a custom to do a gift swap the first morning.  The idea is to bring something from your home town/country/state since delegates travel from all over the world.  Anyone that knows me knows that I love coffee so I brought two bags of Counter Culture coffee from NC and a Contigo thermos that I really like.  I went home with some really cool snacks and space/science patches from Canada.  After breakfast and the swap Stephen Foskett and Tom Hollingsworth give you the run down on how things will go the next two days.  Time is of the essence at the TFD events.  One of the best things about these events is that the delegates travel to the vendor's offices instead of them sitting in a hotel conference room all day.  This gives you a really great insight in to the company's culture and their people.  The down side is you are hustling around all day with little time for setup, tear down, food, bathroom breaks, or anything else. During the run down you are given a microphone that you keep with you at all times.  When we get to a new office you setup your notebook, plug in your mic, and get ready to go.  Usually the AV guys get there a few minutes before, but often they are doing setup and you stay out of their way while they get things going.  Once everyone is set the presentations begin....  It's odd being mic'd the whole time but you get used to it quickly.  Just be careful not to try and say something to your neighbor!  Once a presentation is done you pack up and do it all again.  We only had 4 vendors for both days so it wasn't as fast paced as others, but I was a bit thankful for that. During downtime we recorded a couple of round table discussions on various topics that will come out soon.  This was a lot of fun as we had a varied group of delegates with some interesting insights and perspectives.  I probably enjoyed that at least as much as the actual presentations. If you have the opportunity to be a delegate I highly recommend it.  I've been wanting to do it for several years and am thankful I got the chance and hope that I get to do it again.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing some posts about the different vendors and their offerings.  These will appear on AHEAD's blog and I will update the links below as they go live.  During the two days we met with:
  • Cisco
  • Scality
  • Druva
  • Docker
Look for those coming soon!
 

Categories

cfd-logo-400x398
13
September, 2016

Just a quick note that I am currently on a plane headed out to the valley to be a delegate for Cloud Field Day 1. If you aren’t familiar with the Field Day events they bring people from the appropriate community together with select IT product vendors for discussion and candid feedback. Field Day is … Continue reading “Headed to Cloud Field Day 1!”

Headed to Cloud Field Day 1!

Just a quick note that I am currently on a plane headed out to the valley to be a delegate for Cloud Field Day 1. If you aren't familiar with the Field Day events they bring people from the appropriate community together with select IT product vendors for discussion and candid feedback. Field Day is an opportunity for tech companies and independent writers to meet, update, and discuss products and form new communications. The vendors present and the delegate panel can ask questions as they go. These presentations are not...well....SHOULD NOT...be the usual marketing overviews that are all too often shown. Time is limited and the panel is made up of people capable of cutting through the BS. This makes it a great opportunity to discuss how products and solutions really work.

There are currently several Field Day groups and events that focus on storage, data, networking, and mobility. The one that I am headed to is the first Cloud Field Day, which is pretty cool. I have wanted to be a part of these events for the last few years but just haven't had the chance.

Some of the vendors that are presenting over the next two days include:
  • Cisco
  • Druva
  • Scality
  • Docker

Throughout the next two days all of the presentations will be live streamed on the Tech Field Day Site. You can also see a full list of the delegates there. Conversations will be happening real time as well as after on Twitter using hashtag #CFD1. So if you have a question please throw it out on twitter with the hashtag so we can see it.

Look for updates over the next two days but I'm excited!
 

Categories

synology_logo
03
September, 2016

Just a quick FYI. It can take longer than you’d think to unmount SSD cache on a Synology volume and while that is going on your volumes will be offline. If you’re using this in your vSphere (or other) lab don’t unmount the SSD cache without moving or shutting down your workloads. This didn’t hurt … Continue reading “Monitor SSD Cache Unmounting on Synology”

Monitor SSD Cache Unmounting on Synology

Just a quick FYI. It can take longer than you'd think to unmount SSD cache on a Synology volume and while that is going on your volumes will be offline. If you're using this in your vSphere (or other) lab don't unmount the SSD cache without moving or shutting down your workloads. This didn't hurt me, but I thought others may not be aware. I'm writing this as I wait for 2x100GB SSDs in a DS1813+ to unmount and it's taking a while..far long than any timeout would allow.

If you want to get a status just ssh in to your Synology as admin and type:

more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress

You'll see the initial amount of dirty..stripes...pages...somethings as well as how many are left to be flushed to disk. Example:

[email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1293265 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1292588 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1292504 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1292392 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1292258 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1292042 [email protected]:/$ more /proc/flashcache/md3+md2/flashcache_progress initial_num_of_dirty=1501855 remaining_num_of_dirty=1291884 [email protected]:/$

Once the process is down the system will reboot.
 

Categories

VMWorld
28
August, 2016

Yeah, this is a little last minute but I wanted to get it out there anyway. This year I decided not to attend VMworld. I’m busy getting settled in to my position at AHEAD and just felt like I could use a year away. But….we have some great people there leading sessions and bringing people … Continue reading “AHEAD Colleagues at VMworld!”

AHEAD Colleagues at VMworld!

Yeah, this is a little last minute but I wanted to get it out there anyway. This year I decided not to attend VMworld. I'm busy getting settled in to my position at AHEAD and just felt like I could use a year away. But....we have some great people there leading sessions and bringing people together.

Here is a quick list of things to check out.

Sessions

Ask the Experts: Practical Tips and Tricks to Help You Succeed in EUC

Date: Monday, August 29
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Place: Breakers D, Level 2, Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Track: End-User Computing

Sean Massey (Technical Architect at AHEAD) will join Rob Beekmans (PQR B.V.), Earl Gay (RoundTower Technologies), and Jason Langer (GCSIT Solutions) for this EUC-focused panel discussion moderated by Matt Heldstab (Virtualization Architect at MnSCU).

Boost your End-User Computing knowledge by attending this power panel leveraging decades of experience. Eight experts will be on hand to give you their latest tips and tricks and to answer your questions about EUC deployments. Bring your notepads and your toughest questions! EUC Champions is an Expert Program designed with the help of several EUC experts in the community to provide a platform for the EUC expert community and VMware EUC product groups to exchange ideas and plans.

Jason's Comment: There are some really great people on this panel. Sean Massey from AHEAD is fantastic. Earl Gay and I worked together at Varrow and are still good friends and he is always insightful. Plus Jason Langer is another good friend and a great addition to the panel. The other two guys I don't know but if they are on with these three they can't be too bad. If anyone can answer your questions about proper EUC deployments it's them. These guys aren't marketing or hype focused. They've done it. They work with people all the time to really get things done. So please ask them some tough questions.

Say Yes to vRA and vRO in a Real-World Hybrid Cloud

Date: Monday, August 29
Time: 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Place: South Pacific D, Level 1, Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Track: Software-Defined Data Center

Sub Track: Cloud Infrastructure

Nick Colyer (Practice Manager of Cloud Management and Automation at AHEAD) will be joining Adam Cavaliere (Principal System Engineer at Tintri) for a technical, customer-focused breakout session detailing a real-world application of automation and orchestration in the enterprise.


Automation? Easier said than done-but they'll take you through it. This session takes a real-world approach to demonstrate how to design and implement automation catalogs step by step with vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Ochestrator (vRO). Utilizing Tintri automation workflows, they'll uncover the power of self-service when application owners are empowered to manage storage-related tasks such as snapshotting, cloning and replication. Plus, from a real customer example, learn how quality of service (QoS) and replication policies can be automated in a hybrid cloud environment to enable granular disaster recovery capabilities. DevOps and QA teams can benefit from the self-service portals to automate data synchronization and data governance.

Jason's Comment: When I grow up I want to be Nick Colyer...and not just for the accent. Even if you aren't a Tintri shop but are interested in automation and orchestration stop by. What you learn here will absolutely carry over.

Creating Automated Self-Service Data Protection with Rubrik and vRealize Automation

Date: Tuesday, August 30

Time: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Place: Islander H, Level 1, Mandalay Bay Convention Center

Track: Software-Defined Data Center

Sub Track: Cloud Management


Eric Shanks (Senior Solutions Architect at AHEAD) will be joining Chris Wahl (Technical Evangelist at Rubrik) for a technically advanced, enterprise-level breakout session detailing how to work with vRealize Automation and Orchestrator.

Many organizations have enjoyed the benefits from building a Software-Defined Data Center with VMware's vRealize Automation solution. It offers an end-to-end cloud management stack for virtualized workloads that want to take advantage of on-premises and cloud infrastructure. Data protection, however, has long since lagged behind due to its legacy architecture and lack of a robust, RESTful API. In this session, join Eric Shanks, Senior Solutions Architect at AHEAD, and Chris Wahl, Technical Evangelist at Rubrik, as they dive deep into how you can expose policy-driven data protection through PowerShell, vRealize Orchestrator, and vRealize Automation. We'll show you how to make REST calls through simple and powerful workflows and on-demand scripts. Experience a series of technical demos that showcase how to seamlessly integrate backups, change management, and incident management solutions with your lifecycle management processes.

Jason's Comment: Shanks and Wahl. What else do you need? Both really great guys that do a wonderful job relating information in a session. I've known both of them for years before I came to AHEAD and this session will show you that yes, YES YOU CAN, actually automate and integrate backups.

Brekkie-as-a-Service

This is a get together that we are putting together so people can discuss automation, orchestration, and devops.  Be warned this isn't a hosted event so bring your wallet, but I think the time will be well worth it given the people that will attend.

Date: Wednesday, August 31

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Place: Hash House A Go Go (at the LINQ Hotel) 
3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
You can register here.

Join Us for #vBrownBag TechTalks

The vBrownBag talks are a great program and some of our guys have volunteered to put a few together. Sean is doing two!

Automating Horizon: A Quick Primer (with Sean Massey)

Date: Monday, August 29

Time: 12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Place: VMvillage

Learn how to simplify the management of your VDI environment by learning the different tools that are available for automating VMware Horizon.

#CloudLife: What It Means and How to Build It (with Nick Colyer, AHEAD & Amy Manley, University of Chicago Medicine)

Date: Monday, August 29

Time: 1:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Place: VMvillage

You'll learn the skillets needed for building a cloud in your organization. Using UCMC as an example, they'll discuss the basics of using vRO workflows for automation

Jason's Comment: Nick and Amy together for one discussion is a great team. Stop by and ask your real questions about how UCMC is utilizing vRO and automation and what they've found and learned. Great resources here.


Keeping It "In Context" (with Sean Massey, AHEAD)

Date: Tuesday, August 30

Time: 12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Place: VMvillage

Find out how to reduce the number of desktop pools and group policy objects you need by using the context-aware settings of VMware's User Environment Manager software.


Container This (with Tim Carr, AHEAD)

Date: Wednesday, August 31

Time: 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Place: VMvillage

Tim Carr will discuss the fundamentals of using containers.

Jason's Comment: Very descriptive, Tim. And I have Google Fiber (for now) and you don't.

Come to the Opening Acts Panel Sessions

Opening Acts are panel-based discussions that happen prior to VMworld that give VMUG community members the ability to meet and greet with one another and warm up their brains before the days of learning to come. This is a joint production put on by VMunderground and vBrownBag. Best of all, attendance is totally free, but you'll need to pick up your tickets ahead of time here.

Date: Sunday, August 28
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Place: Liberty Loft (at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino)

Careers (11:00 a.m.)

Sean Massey (AHEAD) will join Tom Hollingsworth, John Arrasjid, Mike Letschin, Jeramiah Dooley, and Gina Minks (moderator) in a panel discussion focused on careers in technology.

Where do I take my career from here? How do I prepare for the next step? What, exactly, do I want to do? In this panel, they’ll discuss these topics as well as how to act professionally on social media even when you’re in competition with other folks in technology, tips on how to cope with imposter syndrome, and how to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Jason's Comment: Another great group of people. Interested in where to go next in your career? Want to stay out of trouble on social media? Or at least...serious trouble? Stop by they can help.

New Age/Next Generation IT (12:00 p.m.)

Tim Carr (Senior Solutions Architect at AHEAD) will join David Klee, Guru Chahal, Josh Coen, Matt Brender, and Jody Tyrus (moderator) in a panel discussion focused on new age technologies.

Technology is changing. “Virtualize all the things!” was the refrain from past years, but emerging technologies and solutions such as containers and their orchestration, network virtualization, and cloud-native applications are quickly altering how we approach IT. In this panel, they’ll discuss these topics and explore ideas on what’s next.

Jason's Comment: Again, another group of people. I've known most of them for a long time. This should be an interesting discussion from people that really get where we are going. Should be very informative.

 

Categories

cisco-logo
23
August, 2016

Correction: I mistakenly said that only AHV was supported on UCS.  That is incorrect.  Nutanix supports vSphere, Hyper-V, and AHV on Cisco C-Series. Late last week Nutanix officially announced support for AHV vSphere, Hyper-V, and AHV on Cisco UCS C-Series servers.  This was, unfortunately, not a joint effort between the two companies.  Nutanix has independently handled the … Continue reading “Cisco Loves HCI Choice, Except When They Don’t”

Cisco Loves HCI Choice, Except When They Don’t

Correction: I mistakenly said that only AHV was supported on UCS.  That is incorrect.  Nutanix supports vSphere, Hyper-V, and AHV on Cisco C-Series.

Late last week Nutanix officially announced support for AHV vSphere, Hyper-V, and AHV on Cisco UCS C-Series servers.  This was, unfortunately, not a joint effort between the two companies.  Nutanix has independently handled the testing themselves without the support of Cisco.  It also leaves customers with a split support model where Cisco should handle the hardware and Nutanix the software.  

It has been reported, and I can neither confirm nor deny, that Cisco is going on the offensive with their partners to make real damn sure they understand that there is no OEM or license agreement and that there are no validated designs or joint testing and support.  Given that this should be nothing but good for Cisco's server business...why the outrage?  Obviously there is customer demand.  I've seen it myself many times.  Why not make customers happy?

For a while Cisco has had a very weak position with HCI (Hyper-converged Infrastructure).  Initially there was the joint license agreement deal with SimpliVity that is still going, though probably under a lot of strain due to the SimpliVity lawsuit against Springpath.  Then Cisco entered an exclusive arrangement with Springpath.  During all of this there were constant, and very strong, rumors that Cisco was working to acquire Nutanix.

Recently at the Think AHEAD 2016 Summit in June I had the chance to moderate a panel on HCI.  It is available here.  On the panel was Matt Smorto of Cisco, Chad Sakac of VCE, and Dheeraj Pandey of Nutanix.  Out of the gate the topic of Cisco's strategy came up and the response was that they wanted to offer customers choice when it comes to HCI.  I pushed but never got what I considered to be a reasonable answer to why Cisco didn't just buy Springpath.  Maybe there were technology concerns.  Maybe they still were looking around to make sure they had the right target in mind.  Maybe they wanted to take it slow so they didn't end up with another Whiptail/Invicta fiasco.

But what does this mean to customers?  What interests me is the contrast between Cisco's messaging and that of VCE/EMC/Dell.  Luckily for me, the Nutanix.Next conference was the week before the Summit and during that conference it was announced that Dell and Nutanix had extended their OEM agreement.  During the panel I had the opportunity to ask Chad Sakac about that and what they thought.  It's no secret that over the last few years that EMC and Nutanix were very fierce competitors.  But Chad did what he always does and gave a very well thought out and reasonable answer.

You don't punch customers in the face.

If something is working and there is demand you don't stop it.  You don't try and fight it because you won't win.  And I think that's what we're going to see here.  Eventually Cisco will give in.  They'll come back and talk about how there was great customer demand and how they really want to provide customers the correct solution for the right workload.

This is exactly what Dell Technologies is doing.  VCE has their own offerings in VxRail (VMware/VSAN) and VxRack (VMware/ScaleIO).  They could easily push back as Cisco is doing but instead they are going to work with customers and offer Nutanix on Dell through the same sales teams and partners.

Cisco has gaps in their hybrid cloud strategy.  They have made some good acquisitions but integration has been very slow.  My opinion is that large infrastructure manufacturers need to offer a full stack solution, or something close to it.  Right now Cisco still doesn't have storage outside of their HCI offerings.  Their cloud management is fragmented and not well understood by most of their sales teams.  It's not all bad, for sure.  ACI is coming along very well.  They continue to dominate the data center switching space and their servers are still excellent, though innovation has greatly slowed.

The question is just going to be...  How long will it take Cisco to come around?  And will it be too late?

 

Categories

thinkaheadit-500
04
August, 2016

It’s been a while but I finally got the blog redesigned and back up.  This has been planned for a while but it’s something that just never bubbled up on the priority list, until now.  You’ll see more content coming up again now that things are starting to settle down for me… And on that … Continue reading “The Blog is Back! And I Made a Change…”

The Blog is Back! And I Made a Change…

It's been a while but I finally got the blog redesigned and back up.  This has been planned for a while but it's something that just never bubbled up on the priority list, until now.  You'll see more content coming up again now that things are starting to settle down for me...

And on that note...  Not exactly a big announcement but back in February I moved on from Sirius and joined the fine people at AHEAD out of Chicago.  From 2008 to 2015 I was very lucky to work with some amazing people at Varrow.  On May 1st, 2015 Varrow was acquired by Sirius Computer Solutions.  It's tough seeing something you put so much in to get sold but it was time.  The world was..and is changing and it was time.  After about 10 months I felt that I wanted to go back to a smaller company.

I have always said that if I went to work for another partner after Varrow there was only one that I'd want to join..and that was AHEAD.  Over the years I had gotten to know a lot of people at AHEAD and was always very impressed.  Excellent people, well developed culture, and a solid vision for where they wanted to take the company.  Thankfully, everything worked out and I'm now working with them to build new solutions, refine and develop the product portfolio, and push the messaging around our CDP (Cloud Delivery Platform). 

It's been weird being the new guy.  Not to mention being one of the first employees down in the Carolinas but they've done a great job of making me feel at home.  Now that I'm getting in the groove it's proven to be a great decision.

lab-2014-04-29-09.00.14_600-px-2

 

 

 

Categories

post-img-4
27
June, 2016

EMC, Storage, VMAX

The VMAX3: Why Enterprise Class is Still Very Relevant

This year most of the attention in the storage world has focused on the new shiny all-flash arrays (AFAs). They are fast. They are easy to manage. They scale reasonably well (depen