A week of Networking Celebration at ONUG with Tech Field Day! #ONUG #ONUGSpring16 #TFDx #SDWAN #CiscoChampion

May 9th, 2016
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.46.46 PM

Hey everyone! Wow what a week ahead! I haven’t been down in Silicon Valley for at least a few months now and whoa what an adventure this week will be!

I am honored to be a delegate for Tech Field Day Extra at the Open Networking User Group Spring 2016 conference! And let me tell you, this will be quite a week of adventure and fun!

Our presenting sponsors, whoa, Cisco, HP’s Enterprise Division and Riverbed to talk about their SDWAN product/solution. It’s going to be quite the funfest of learning and educations!

I won’t be able to go into too many details at the moment but in post after things are rolling, my tweets will be a plenty and my blog will be explicitly detailed, to the best of my ability :)

And the vendors presenting are only half of the picture, my fellow delegates, OMG I am going to be surrounded by some of the finest minds in networking! <3

Be sure to check each of them out on the Twitters as they’re quite the crew to follow!

@BrandonCarroll, @Overlaid, @SharpNetwork, @RowellDionicio, @that1guy_15

So keep your eyes and ears peeled for some great stories, great content and great strides to the next generation of Networking! <3

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Posted in Cisco, CiscoChampion, HP, ONUG, Riverbed, SDWAN, Tech Field Day | Comments (0)

A week of Networking Celebration at ONUG with Tech Field Day! #ONUG #ONUGSpring16 #TFDx #SDWAN #CiscoChampion

May 9th, 2016
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.46.46 PM

Hey everyone! Wow what a week ahead! I haven’t been down in Silicon Valley for at least a few months now and whoa what an adventure this week will be!

I am honored to be a delegate for Tech Field Day Extra at the Open Networking User Group Spring 2016 conference! And let me tell you, this will be quite a week of adventure and fun!

Our presenting sponsors, whoa, Cisco, HP’s Enterprise Division and Riverbed to talk about their SDWAN product/solution. It’s going to be quite the funfest of learning and educations!

I won’t be able to go into too many details at the moment but in post after things are rolling, my tweets will be a plenty and my blog will be explicitly detailed, to the best of my ability :)

And the vendors presenting are only half of the picture, my fellow delegates, OMG I am going to be surrounded by some of the finest minds in networking! <3

Be sure to check each of them out on the Twitters as they’re quite the crew to follow!

@BrandonCarroll, @Overlaid, @SharpNetwork, @RowellDionicio, @that1guy_15

So keep your eyes and ears peeled for some great stories, great content and great strides to the next generation of Networking! <3

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Posted in Cisco, CiscoChampion, HP, ONUG, Riverbed, SDWAN, Tech Field Day | Comments (0)

EMC Announces Unity! Something something sliced bread! #EMCWorld #vExpert #EMCElect

May 2nd, 2016
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

 

EMC Unity something something sliced bread!

OMG! Can you believe it is here! A product announcement we weren’t exactly expecting, but nonetheless it is here! I particularly love the sliced bread image, honestly that was the huge incentive for me to write this blog post. Tip for your Product Marketers out there at Vendors; If you have something ridiculous and sillie in your Pre-Briefings, there’s a MUCH greater chance I’ll write about it, oh and if your technology is great too sure, but cmon, BREAD! :)

So what’s the deal what’s the dilly, what’s up with this new Unity Platform?!?  Well, I’ll do what I can to share stuff you may find useful, and then there are some unknowns that frankly I won’t be sharing, given their unknowingness :)

Unity All-Flash and Hybrid!

Unity is listed as made available in All-Flash and Hybrid configurations! There are some other slides which talk to its affordability ‘starting at x dollars’, however I won’t go into detail on those explicitly because I cannot confirm nor deny just how valid they are.  e.g., it’s one thing to say, “Wow you can get this thing really cheap, however you’d probably never build a configuration so scaled back like that”.  So while yes, a marketing message does SAY that, it would be technical malfeasance to allow it to go into production in such a state… I reserve the right to change that stance at some point, but for the moment… Gonna roll with things as they are. :)

What’s new in Unity?!

Okay this is a fair area to discuss, because there are definitely some cool features, attributes, etc which are unique to this new platform!

  • Management is done with HTML5 and not FLASH or JAVA or TELETYPE!

Unity Management Browser Support

  • ESRS for Support is an embedded Docker instance! That’s pretty cool

Unity Operating Environment and Architecture

Yes that’s a deep dive into the architecture a bit (See the docker instance!) You can take what you like from this architecture breakdown, I thought it was interesting enough to share!

So some of the features which they tout about EMC Unity and my comments regarding it…

  • EMC Unity is Simple
    • Err… SANs haven’t been “difficult” in years, unless you compare (as many often do) to a Clariion or ancient DMX, otherwise, “Simple” is expected, not a benefit
  • EMC Unity is Modern
    • Okay, yea the inclusion of Docker is a step in the right direction of “Modern”, so I’ll give you that.  Oh and it IS available as a Virtual Edition so you can run it as a VM…
  • EMC Unity is Flexible
    • I would damn well hope so. Albeit some of the measures of flexibility aren’t all that much different than VNX’s of the past, so I’m not sure what you’re saying here…
  • EMC Unity is Affordable
    • Okay… Sure, I’ll say it is, but then again so is ANYONE using Flash Disks at this point. The affordability likely is driven by the cost of storage going down, not the SANs themselves, so we’ll have to agree to disagree to agree here. :)

Some areas I ‘question’ regarding it, take what you will from this

See this image for my first areas of questioning…

EMC Unity is "Easy to setup"

So it claims it is easy to setup, hell, it can be setup in less than two minutes and then configured in under 15 minutes!

Err… You ever use cage nuts? OMG If I could get all of the appropriate ones in place in 2 minutes that would be GREAT! This is absolutely a marketing message written by someone who doesn’t know what the hell a server is, storage is, or the fact that racking and stacking requires, oh I don’t know, RACKING AND STACKING. Hell, taking it out of the BOX might take more than two minutes.  So no, get back to the drawing board on that. Am I bitter? Sure, but I don’t want a horrible false sense of ‘speed’ to be represented because it greatly misrepresents the facts, unless it mysteriously just appears in the rack with a 120 second time clock…

Now, to the earlier point there, fewer components! No Data Movers, No Control Stations and only 6 cables! (Well, unless you have multiple shelves, then I’d HOPE you have more than 6 cables…)

Note: The smallest and the largest system only have two controllers, period. No more, no less. So absolutely there is scale-up, but no scale-out with additional controllers like you’d get from a VMAX or XtremIO.

Now onto the “15 min setup” I guess we don’t deserve the full spelling of the word “Minute” … ;)   I’m sure the system is totally up at that point. boom! But then you still need to carve stuff up, so don’t think it’ll change too much when it comes to what it takes to configure your SAN today. Volumes are still carved, LUNs still presented, yada yada.

One area I want to specifically mention (Correct me if I’m wrong but this is the impression I’ve received from others).

The EMC Unity is NOT the replacement for the VNXe or maybe it is? Maybe it is intending to replace the VNX line? That’s one we’ll need to figure out as time goes on and the dust starts to settle.

 

What does EMC Unity mean for the Dell / EMC Relationship

This is a great question! I’m glad you asked!  No idea. The Dell / EMC Merger hasn’t happened yet, so until that’s finalized, and marriages are formed, relationships bonded, and products ‘normalized’ we will see what happens. So who will win after 18-36 months from a product set… Only the future will tell.  We have a lot of products to normalize in that time though, VNX, VNXe, EMC Unity, VMAX, XtremeIO, DSSD, Equallogic, Compellent – and many others!

What does this mean for me, an EMC Customer?!

It probably means, if someone was quoting you a VNX or was ABOUT to quote you a VNX, they might end up quoting you an EMC Unity system.  I mean if it comes in less expensive and gives you the solution you’re looking for, definitely sounds like a solid plan!  This has been in the coming for awhile but at the same time was being kept under wraps, respectively which makes sense. 

Why is this blog post hitting pretty aggressively on all sides of this release? WHY R U NO POSITIVES!?

The reason I’m laying things out as they are, is while this is great, a new release leveraging numerous patents and new technologies and blah blah blah, it also is leaving me (and you) wondering what’s changed much from this release vs past releases.  I’m not going to whitewash a product release as evolutionary when aside from a few things which I found “cool” (Docker, Loaf of Bread), I’m not directly floored by game changing “Wow, this is solving a problem I didn’t even know I had!”

This will likely be a good product and replacement for some existing product (VNX? VNXe? Existing SANs?!) and set the tone for future generations of solutions and such.   But get out there, learn more, maybe there’s a special secret sauce that applies to you as an individual or an organization which transcends the other features of this solution I intentionally glossed over!

Enjoy EMC World and the briefings and updates and announcements! <3

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Posted in CLARiiON, DMX, Docker, emc, EMC Elect, Storage, Unity, vExpert, Virtualization | Comments (0)

Fast Car Charger and GPS Tracker all-in-one!?

March 13th, 2016
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

So a while ago I was hit up by ZUS Smart to try out their Car Charger (which doubles as a GPS Tracker) and they asked if I’d like to give it a try and write a review. I’m not one to do that normally, but it seemed interesting enough that I said, Sure, why not!

As a disclaimer, they did send me a unit free of charge and I took it through the wringer to find its faults, its flaws and its benefits; because If I’m actually going to put fingers to keyboard, it’s to tell you the straight truth on it. :)

First things first, it arrived looking relatively pretty, aww, that’s sweet!

All dressed up and nowhere to go! Outside the Box the ZUS Smart looking all pretty!

I know what you’re saying, “Derr, I have a charger, I got a free one at some arbitrary event’”  Yea you’re telling me. My car is loaded with STACKS of lighter chargers which I’ve used to charge devices.  Unfortunately, they’ve also done things which are less than desireable:

  • Gotten VERY hot
  • Fuses burned out in them
  • ACTUALLY CAUGHT FIRE BEFORE
  • Chargers with multiple Amp settings been iffy
  • Oh and worst of all, charged either very poorly or not at all

What was pretty awesome about this charger is that it actually did what it said on the tin!

  • Charged fast
  • Charged consistently
  • Did NOT get hot while doing it!

I know it is a lot to ask for and probably weird to expect something to do what it’s supposed to do, but we’ve really grown complacent in our culture to expect little from the things we purchase, so this was a nice surprise!

OMG WAIT! YOU SAID GPS TRACKER?!

Yea, I did say that. Thanks for remembering! :)

This has actually been kind of cool, it remembers where you park your car and communicates that with your phone!  I’ve actually used it while hiking to check like, “Where is the direction of my car” and lo and behold it points in the direction of my car and an approximate distance.  I borrowed some of their stock photos for this, because I didn’t do a screencap of my phone when I was *8* miles away from my car on a hike and had it point to that direction. Mainly because it just works so I didn’t even think to do that notification :)

HEY DUDE WHERES MY CAROutdoors! 

Oh and it integrates its app with the Apple Watch so when I park my car it says, “Hey, you’re parked! Do you want to set a timer!”

I have used this here in Portland as when you pay at the Meter you’re paying for ‘x’ amount of time. So I mark that I paid for an hour at the meter and the app reminds me as we get close to that time so I can get back to my car before I pay a hefty fine!

There have been shortcomings.  When I park in enclosed garages where it cannot get GPS Signal you get a message like this image, where it says, “Hey, take a picture of where your car is!” Which is pretty cool and convenient, as I do that in Airport parking garages as it is!

OUT OF GPS RANGE

So to break down some Pros and Cons so you know where I’m coming from:

PROs:

  • Charges FAST!
  • Keeps track of your cars location
  • Will actually QUICKLY update your location on a map while driving using its internal GPS
  • Don’t have to remember where you parked your car or if your meter is about to expire
  • Integrates with Apple Watch
  • Did I mention it CHARGES FAST?! :)

Cons:

  • It does not work when parked under heavy concrete or out of GPS signal
  • If you unplug the charger it treats it like you’re parked
  • If someone else takes your car you won’t know where it is as it relies on Bluetooth for its initial sharing GPS location with your app

All-in, a pretty hefty little number of features and a much better replacement for those very cheap and often ‘free’ (you get what you pay for) USB car chargers!

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Posted in Reviews | Comments (0)

OMG OMG VMware Announces VSAN 6.2! ONE VSAN to Rule Them All! (Well, Kind of)

February 10th, 2016
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Wow, we’re finally here! Version 6.2 has arrived and woot is it a hoot! (That wasn’t intended to rhyme, but welcome to the party regardless!

This blog post will be filled with lots of cool things, lots of announcements, and a commentary on the ‘ONE VSAN to Rule Them All’ which is strangely more true than you can imagine!

VSAN now with 3000+ Customers! VSAN OSU Quote

So let’s get started! OMG it’s for all workloads, yada yada. You can read marketing slides. This is one of them, simply saying “Yea we can do this”, a little side note. VSAN currently has over 3000 Paying Customers! Compare that to other ‘enterprise storage vendors’ who have products in the market place. I won’t EXPLICITLY call any out, but as I see various stock prices tumbling and I look at their user bases being similar, it leads me to say, “Hey! VSAN has grown and grown and grown year over year, well done!”

I did include a quote from Oregon State University because I live in Portland now, and I wanna Represent! :) <3

VSAN 6.2 Ready for all vSphere Workloads!

So there’s lots of cool slides I can share. I won’t. I’ll share a few poignant and selective ones, but my real focus here is on what is NEW and what things can be impacted and in general things to watch out for as well!

What’s New?!

What's new in VSAN 6.2!

I’m sure most of you can read, so you’ll see some things in particular which are exciting and I’ll go into greater detail are things like DEDUPLICATION, COMPRESSION, ERASURE CODING! Yea SAP Ready is nice, and blah blah blah….

Most new features you and I care about are ALL FLASH ONLY

I think I should repeat that just in case it was lost in translation.  In the following slides I’ll be including you will be wise to notice in the top right corner the phrase “ALL FLASH ONLY” okay, it’s not in caps on the slide, but I’m putting it in caps for effect. Why? Because if you’re thinking, “Yea, I can do this with a ROBO LICENSE and two servers” No! STOP IT! NO YOU CANNOT! ALL FLASH ALL FLASH ALL FLASH! And if you cannot read caps, “Most of the features I will be discussing require an all flash solution, which requires all flash in your servers as well as an All Flash license. Plan accordingly”

VSAN Deuplication and Compression!!! VSAN RAID5 Erasure Coding!  VSAN RAID6 Erasure Coding

So the above features so heavily anticipated. Deduplication and Compression, and Erasure Coding whether RAID 5 or RAID 6 – These require All Flash in order to work.

ALSO note that RAID5 requires a MINIMUM of 4 nodes and RAID6 requires a MINIMUM of 6 nodes.

I’m sure there’ll be dozens of blog posts released today which go into even further depth on this. So note, these are some of the key differentiators and points of importance should you choose to adopt this. So don’t expect erasure coding in your ROBO instance, that’s still a ‘mirrored’ configuration (Or in your 3 node Essentials licensed system – that’ll not only require you to be in vCenter Server Standard to do more than 3 nodes, but again… you’ll need the all Flash License…)

Oh look! Other protections!

Virtual SAN Core Software Checksums!

Yea, you have other means of protecting your investment… Well, you don’t per se, it’s built in so it will be doing it on your behalf, but it’s good to know that disk scrubbing does run in the background!

What else is new?!!?

Alright, there are some other new things, it won’t all be storage centric things as much as I had hoped!

VSAN now with QOS! VSAN supports IPv6 - Not that anyone cares! <3 VSAN for ANY Application! VSAN Health! VSAN with MORE Health! VSAN Cache and Sparse!

As you can see from the list there are definitely a few other new things, like QoS (Awesome), IPv6 support (Err, who cares?) Enhanced application support (Pretty awesome), better healthchecks (They were already GREAT, and now they’re better?!?) and lastly cache and sparse enhancements, a great way to finalize up the list!

So as you can see not only is 6.2 not a “Point” release it comes with it some pretty AMAZING functionality and capabilities! 

But with any good release it comes with great responsibility…  Be sure you do your homework and research as you adopt down this path so you know what you’re getting yourself into.  You’ll be able to get the spread of economies of scale, compute and storage node calculations, and other jibber jabber differences! 

Get excited because this is one of the coolest things to hit VMware in a long time! <3

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Posted in EVO:RAIL, Oracle, vExpert, virt, Virtualization, vmware, VSAN | Comments (0)

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