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 →

All my life I’ve been a fan of learning new things.  I remember my mom reading to me when I was young and just craved more.  I remember the exact moment when my love of learning into a passion for technology,  specifically computers. It was the day my dad brought a Commodore Vic 20.  My life changed forever as he unboxed the (now) giant floppy drives. It wasn’t long before I was writing a basic program to make an ASCII bird fly around the screen. I knew I had reached the pinnacle of technology.  Surely nothing could every be cooler than making an ASCII bird fly on my monitor?  I was, of course,  wrong. For decades after that moment I play with countless technology.  Software development, hardware hacking, bits and bytes, and packets – I’ve done it all.  In my professional career, I’ve thought about how the technology helps business.  Every modern business runs on people, time,Read More →

A few weeks back my wife and I went to spend the weekend in Louisville, Kentucky for no particular reason. When I first mentioned the idea of this road trip she immediate got excited about one of her favorite places to eat in the area. She talks about some particular dish with such passion that I couldn’t help but get excited to try it. Fast forward for lunch that weekend, and boy was I disappointed.  Sure the food was good, but that’s it.  I doubt anything could have lived up to the hype and met my expectations. This constantly happens with IT sales teams, usually with the best of intentions. It all starts with an announcement of a technology or product concept being announces long before it exists. Fantastic claims are made about the performance, ease of use, or some other awesome feature. Once the product is nearing general availability, the sales hounds are released to attackRead More →

At a crossroads - Decisions and choices concept

I started my career in the information technology industry when I was young, so young that I was still in high school.  I wasn’t working at Burger King or the mall like most of my friends, instead I was putting my passion for technology to work bringing the people of the Cincinnati area dial-up internet access. A few friends and I had connected with a local businessman and, somehow, the idea to start a new company was formed.  In the beginning, it was a handful of us, with me and my friend Todd doing all the server and development work. We spent countless hours of the mid-90s building servers, creating web pages, and working hard in out tiny server room. It felt like the pinnacle of technology to me. The whole world was at our fingertips just waiting for us the capture it. Roles shifting and Todd moved on to bigger and better-paying things.  Soon after heRead More →

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As a long time enterprise infrastructure specialist, I’ve spent countless hours trying to optimize the performance of environments.  Early in my career, I spent some time on a team who worked very closely with the monitoring team where I learned how hard it was to correlate the volumes of data collected. We were collecting so much data about our environment that it was almost overwhelming. Things like the temperature of the CPU, how many storage IOs were pending, and memory usage was.  We had all this awesome data and what did we do with it?  We set up monitoring to make sure numbers didn’t cross a certain threshold.  When it did cross that threshold, we sent an alert.  All this data at our fingertips and all we used it was for alerting.  I knew something was off, but I was green and didn’t  understand that we were missing the bigger picture. That was a long time ago,Read More →

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In my twenty years of enterprise infrastructure experience, I’ve noticed a few things that are universal to every organization.  One of the most universally time-consuming things about working IT is usually disaster recovery testing. We all know that business continuity is extremely important, but that doesn’t make testing and executing recovery plans any less expensive.  It takes compute power to takes full and incremental copies of the data and, of course, storage to house the backups.Organizations also spend weeks and weeks of people’s time planning, documenting, executing, and remediating disaster recovery plans.  Until needed business resiliency often seems like a waste of money and time – but that all changes when you need it. When finally needed everyone remembers what a great investment data protection is, but what about all the rest of time?  Can’t data resilience be more than a one-trick pony? The simple answer is “yes” it is possible to use all the data copiesRead More →