Next time you walk into your local Mega Lo Mart take a look around and try to think about the sheer volume of data potentially created. Shoppers have rewards cards, items have barcodes, cash registers keep track of money, and countless other things that could be recorded. In thousands of stores like this companies place small data centers to manage and analyze all that data, but for the average enterprise remote offices as much smaller.   These enterprise IT remote offices typically have a very specific need: file shares. File shares don’t have the scale that warrants spending much money building a cluster or a small virtualization farms, but they are critical to the remote users. They depend on them as part of their daily work lives, so building a remote office solution can be more complicated than plugging in Windows server. The solution needs to think about disaster recovery, traveling employees, network bandwidth, data protection, dataRead More →

Networking at tech conferences like VMworld has been a huge part of my career. Talking to people who’ve faced the same challenges I’ve faced is so much more valuable than most of the sessions. On this weeks CTO Advisor Podcast, Keith and I talk vBrownBag with one of the pillars of the community of ours, Alastair Cooke. We discuss what vBrownBag does, VMunderground, and what they are doing at the conference. If you’re going to be at VMworld, I can’t recommend finding them enough!   Show Notes:  VMUnderground and Opening Acts Keith’s comedic vBrownBag vBrownBag Podcast Pure Storage Build Day Subscribe iTunesRead More →

In this episode of the CTO Advisor Podcast, Keith and I sit down with James Myer of Intel to talk about how Intel is looking to change the computing landscape with their next-generation storage class memory, Optane. Intel is hoping that with the soon to be released Optane Memory Module,  that we’ll have a second tier of memory that performs similar to DRAM but with NAND like capacity. Keith and I review some business cases with James and talk about the challenges Intel is facing by building a new market. This was a great conversation around next generation storage and its convergence with memory. Show Notes:  Wikibon research on Intel Optane (Disclaimer: Keith has appeared as a paid co-host on Wikibon’s theCube) The Evaluator Groups research on vSphere Intel August 7th Optane Webcast Keith’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe Subscribe iTunesRead More →

We think of the cloud as this vast pool of unlimited storage, usually at not super fast speeds, and accessed via the internet. Great use case if your compute is in the cloud, or you’re not concerned about the latency. If you want low latency access to the data, you’re probably going to at least look at a storage array. We think of storage arrays as having a finite bucket of capacity, the polar opposite of cloud storage. The closest thing a storage array has to unlimited capacity, snapshots, are usually tied to some strict limits. Your storage array needs more capacity. Public cloud providers have extra capacity. It sounds like the beginnings of a match made in heaven. At Storage Field Day 13 Dell EMC talked about their Unity storage array and its integration with their own Cloud Tier Appliance. The Cloud Tiering Appliance is an external device that allows data to move from the storageRead More →

Sometimes when you’re roasting a Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, you notice what appears to be uneven cooking on the bird. Uneven cooking can create a problem for the cook because you risk drying out one part or under cooking another. The last thing you want to do is serve undercooked and dangerous food. The second to last thing you want to do is serve dry turkey to your grandma. Uneven cooking is the bain of cooks everywhere, so they take great care to avoid and mitigate the problem. No, you haven’t stumbled onto a random food post, I just wanted to point out that consistency and predictability matters in the kitchen. Just like it matters in the kitchen, it matters in nearly every aspect of technology. We want web pages to load quickly, search results to return instantly, and our turkeys to cook evenly. We want gravy without lumps and wifi without bumps. Nowhere is consistentlyRead More →

In Enterprise IT we’re all used to life cycle managed of equipment.  For a long time, one of the most painful areas for this was the storage array. Every few years it became time to rip out the old gear and bring in the new.  That process has gotten much better, but one thing still bothers me. What happens to the software that I paid for when I bought that storage array? The idea isn’t limited to storage arrays either.  Enterprise IT shops buy software to do something,  then their needs change, and they replace that software. As long as they got the business value from the software, no one cares that they essentially throw the bits away.  When dealing with big vendors, like VMware or HPE, this is where the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) comes into play.  It’s an agreement between a vendor and a customer saying that vendor agrees to provide and support software inRead More →

Wikibon’s Stu Miniman makes a return appearance to discuss AWS Re:invent. Initially, I made some bold claims about what I believe Snowball Edge means to hyperconverged. Stu sets me straight. We then go over some interesting industry wide topics including the following.  Container Management  Cloud lock-in  Hybrid infrastructure  VMware Cloud on AWS Read More →

1996 was a memorable year. It was the first year of the MLS in the United States, the Nintendo 64 was brand new, Windows NT 4.0 was released, I graduated high school, and some friends and I started a local Internet Service Provider. It was the year my passion for technology transformed into a career. In the decades since then, I’ve picked up many skills to bolster my toolkit ranging from networking, Oracle databases, Unix administration, programming, and storage architect. Learning new technology and keeping your skills current is something everyone in IT, from operations to development, understands the importance of.  While learning new tech is always a great idea, too many people often overlook two important skills: speaking and selling. Since I recently spoke on speaking,  I wanted to spend some time talking about selling – and I don’t mean a person trying to sell their wares to a customer. Selling, in this context, is takingRead More →

Last week I moderated a panel at the annual Cincinnati VMware User Group conference with some great panelists. As a moderator, I had a pretty simple job: enable the panel to educate and entertain the audience.  Ask some questions, engage the audience, and don’t let anyone ramble on. Pretty straight forward, but when I got off stage one of the staff members commented that it was hard to find IT people who are decent at speaking to a large audience. I dismissed his comment at the time,  but it got me thinking about being a high school freshman. That was the first year I had to write and give an actual presentation to the class. I don’t remember the topic at all, but what I do remember was being filled with anxiety at the seemingly daunting task in front of me. Everyone is looking at you, judging you, waiting for you to fail. Ok, so maybe theyRead More →

A few years ago I was at a conference when I ran into some community bloggers. They were all huddled around a whiteboard working on a storage area networking design. As they all discussed the solution, it was clear everyone was simultaneously giving information and learning. Right then and there I knew I wanted to be a part of whatever it was they were doing. I wanted to share myself and my knowledge with the community. I didn’t know how to start, but I threw my hat into the ring and started this blog. I started by sharing scripts and tricks I had developed to make my day to day life as a storage administrator easier. Starting this blog and engaging the community on social media has changed my life. Part of that growth has given me opportunities to engage with the community and many events. I’ve spoken on storage, backup, virtualization, and plenty of other topics.Read More →