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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →