A day at sea aboard the USS Howard #CiscoChampions #LeadersAtSea #USNavy

March 27th, 2017
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

I’d like to share with you an absolutely amazing opportunity that I got to experience this recent March in 2017!    

Late last year the Cisco Champions forums were abuzz with this very unique and special occasion to get the chance to head to sea with the US Navy and experience a day in the life of the men and women in blue, serving our country.   Some of you may remember the two years I spent in Afghanistan, in a sandstorm of a landlocked country, where Army, NATO, Air Force and Marines were widely represented but the US Navy, not nearly as much.   So this further allowed me to truly experience life as they live it beyond what the sandbox offered.

Well as every journey begins with a single step, this journey began with a train ride in order to arrive at my eventual destination of the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA.

GoByTrain2

IMG_3840

IMG_3914-PANO

The journey was long and tumultuous but it was well worth it for the experience and adventures that it brought about.

ParkingSpace

Feeling like a rockstar, I begin my start with a parking space just for me, or well, Mr. version of me, but nonetheless, that felt pretty good!   But things only continued to get better from there! As we head inside to a briefing room we got to drill our initial chaperon on details of the day to come as well as very specific details about the US Naval Fleet!

AdmiralAndMe

It was an honor to meet Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden who is Commander Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet.   There were no electronic devices allowed in the briefing room when we first met with him so you’ll have to accept this post-briefing photo-op with him. More than the honor to meet him though was the hour he spent sharing with us details of the US Navy, it’s history and the current state of effects.   Some notable quotes, anecdotes and stories he shared were;

Enlistment and enrollment figures in the US Navy are between 60 and 70% existing Navy Families.   Fathers and Mothers who serve have a higher liklihood of their sons and daughters going on to serve in the Navy, while this is a very familial type story it also speaks to fewer and fewer candidates outside of Naval families are enrolling to serve.   This then lead to the Vice Admiral sharing that his father was coming to visit the week we were there, and what they were likely to talk about, was the Navy and how things can be done better. It’s interesting to note that Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden’s father was also a Vice Admiral during his service in the US Navy, an interesting comment that he made was, while his father served, his own three sons have not expressed an interest in joining the Navy.   If the trend of familial recruiment figures were to persist as they had in the past, but pursuing a military career isn’t in more individuals trajectories, we could be facing a recruitment crisis before long.

The US Navy focus is “How do you get from where you are, to where you want to be

US Naval ships are at their lowest figure in history, “It takes 15 minutes to close the door, and 15-30 years to deploy a new ship

On the hardworking nature of the men and women at sea, “Winners work hard, losers don’t.

BoardingHelicopterKeriAndI

Here we head out for our ~45 minute helicopter flight to go 80-90 miles out to sea where USS Howard (DDG 83) happened to be at that point! Keri Kukral and I are all geared up in this mid-flight selfie!

IntroOnDeck

Commander Amy McInnis, Commanding Officer of the USS Howard (DDG 83) introduces us to her crew and our liaisons who will be giving us a tour of this very operational Destroyer on the open seas of the Pacific Ocean.

Destroyer

A sample of both the crew and the fire power of this offensive and defensive warship.

MissilesDangerMissileBlast

Subtle yet very serious fire power available here on deck.

TheBell

As a testament to the very familial nature of the US Navy and their attachment to their ships.  This is the bell at the front of the USS Howard (DDG 83) and when the ship is in port, often baptisms are scheduled by families to have their children baptized on the ship. Their names are then etched inside of the bell for perpetuity.   I saw the engravings, it really ties family, and ship and navy and family all together.

SeaSeaSea

A comment made by one of the shipmates was, “They said join the Navy and see the world, but they didn’t mention that 71% of the Earth is covered in water!”   A poignant yet interesting comment, but they further went on to rave about all of the Ports across the world they’ve had the opportunity to visit and the amazing experiences they had while enlisted in the ranks of the US Navy.

ReadyToLeave

Our time cannot last forever, so our ride arrives to take us back to solid mass of Earth.

FinalPhoto

I really liked this photo and the simple yet very complex nature of the lives and roles these soldiers fulfill to protect our borders, our shores and our seas.

I’m only sharing a small sample of photos from this whole adventure as I have over 400 photos and videos I took!

To sum things up, this was an absolutely amazing experience I had the opportunity to enjoy and explore with, and I had many takeaways, some public like included here, and some private.    I don’t want you to think this is an advertisement for the US Navy or any of our Military operations, just as my time in Afghanistan was not either. However it really does shed light on the state of affairs across our military in general and particularly the extremely lean (too lean) Naval forces we have, both in the supply of people to man the ships, and the ships themselves.

It really increases my appreciation for everything they do, and this was just one ship as part of one fleet, in one part of our worlds oceans.

I really want to thank the Cisco Champions program, Brandon Prebynski, Dennis Hall of Avere Group LLC and Mike Raney, PRO of US Navy Fleet who helped make this all possible.

Also see the experiences of my fellow Leader at Sea, Keri Kukral 

A DAY AT SEA ABOARD THE USS HOWARD – By Keri Kukral of RawScience.TV 

Dennis Hall, founder of Avere Group LLC, made my embarking possible via his nominating me the US Navy. He is neither an employee of nor contractor with the military.  He does this as a pay-it-forward in tribute to service members, veterans, allies and their families.  Dennis Hall initially submitted my nomination to the Public Affairs Officer of the US Navy, Commander, Naval Surface Forces – Pacific. The Public Affairs Officer selected me for the Leaders to Sea Program.   Dennis Hall acts in accord with Cisco Systems as liaison with the military for public affairs programs pertaining to Cisco Champions and Cisco Social Ambassadors. 

Dennis Hall may be e-mail contacted at: ContactDennisHall@gmail.com   The word “Contact” is part of his e-mail address.  His mobile phone number is 916-430-5263. His blog for Avere Group LLC is www.AvereGroup.Wordpress.com  On Twitter he is @averegroup

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Posted in Baltimization, Cisco, CiscoChampion, Community, LeadersAtSea | Comments (0)

Test Trial using WordPress OSX App for Blog Writing!

February 24th, 2017
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Earlier today I was faced with the biggest challenge of “Holy crap I haven’t written blogs in a million years… why? Because I hate powering on my ancient Win7VM to launch Microsoft LiveWriter” and don’t get me wrong, I *LOVE* Microsoft LiveWriter, I’ve found that to be hands down one of the best and most favoritest blog writing apps of all time. I mean it’s free, it’s WYSIWYG and all that jazz.  But sometimes, just sometimes I don’t want to launch my VM … Or I run into a very weird bug in Windows (it’s not LiveWriter’s fault, it’s more Microsofty Faulty!) so I figured I’d see what other amazing apps are available.   There are lots of really good ones, some for high cost some for low cost in the world of Blog writing apps and after many great responses from friends in the Twitter and Facebook-o-sphere… I bring you…. The WordPress OSX App! Let’s see how this goes!

So far one thing I’m NOT a fan of, is the inability to just copy/paste images from Clipboard.  The image below was my test case there… I had taken a screengrab of it within the tool and I cannot simply “insert” I needed to save it out to a file. It’s by no means the WORST thing in the world, but it’s midly annoying for those of us who have a tendency to manipulate MANY data points at a time, including lots and lots of images.

Connections

It is nice that it maintains a “word” count in the bottom corner while I’m writing the blog post so I can get a gauge of how crazy town my writing is going in the words department.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 4.09.27 PM

It doesn’t seem to import the current / active theme like LiveWriter does so I can see what things look like as I do it (when you have a black/grey theme like I do, your entire presentation can look drastically different when it comes to publishing… I’ll see if there is a way around that.

It has an interesting “Featured Image” option on the side which I’m giving a try, and handling of Tags and Categories seems pretty straight forward.

All-in though, it seems interesting, I’ll continue trying some other tools to see if they can provide as good or better of a solution of Windows Live Writer, this certainly is leaps and bounds above the benefit of the ‘native’ WordPress editor so there’s that at least.

If you have some favorite WordPress editors (For Mac / OSX) definitely make it known! I have a list of things to look into including OneNote plugin, MarsEdit, UlyssesApp, Blogo, and to finish reading this post; Best Blogging Apps For Mac Users: 2016 Edition

Now the real test … Will this publish or will it error out with some weird RPC error :)

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Posted in Baltimization, General | 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)

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)

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