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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

In the IT industry today it is nearly impossible not to hear the word cloud dozens of times a day, but many storage administrators treat cloud a four letter word.  The basic tenant for a storage administrator is to ensure an organization’s data is safe and secure.  If the storage administrator makes a mistake bad, bad things happen.  Companies fold, black holes collapse, and sun exploded.  NetApp is trying to change the minds of those storage administrators, and for good reason.  IT organizations are always looking to do more work with lesss money, and cloud storage can’t be ignored as a viable way to do that.   At Storage Field Day 9, NetApp talked a fair amount about how they are embracing cloud storage as key to the industry’s future.  No more a storage vendor affords not to embrace cloud storage,  and NetApp sees it as a key.  Part of the future for NetApp is expanding theRead More →

Pure Storage Logo

This week I’ve been spending some time at Pure Accelerate,  where I’ve been able to talk to the engineering and executive teams behind the new FlashBlade system. In an attempt to embrace its start up cultural roots, Pure Storage developed FlashBlade as a startup inside the company.  What that means is they hired new engineering staff to build a unique and separate product from the ground up.  The new team members, to keep the development secretive,  were not connected to other traditional Pure employees on Linkedin. While the development was largely separate,  some of the FlashArray development team did help where it main sense.  That collaboration resulted in a fork of the FlashArray management interface which is used by FlashBlade. The result of the startup of a company is a new and a unique product. The first thing to understand about FlashBlade is what it is not.  It is nor a replacement for a low latency andRead More →

If you’ve worked in IT for any amount of time you’ve likely heard the term “secondary storage” which you’ve known as a backup tier.  You’ve also heard of “tier 2” storage for test and development workloads not needing the data services of production.  These two terms have had very different requirements.  Backups target storage is generally cheap, deep, and optimized for sequential writes.  Test/dev storage, on the other hand, needs to have different performance since it has actual workloads. Cohesity thinks this needs to change.  They content that secondary storage needs to be anything that is not primary storage. Redefining a term and carving out a new market segment is no small task, but Cohesity shows some pretty interesting use cases: Data Protection for VMware environments – Once a hypervisor snapshot is created the data is sent to the Cohesity array where things like deduplication and replication can be applied. This gives you unlimited snaps without theRead More →