Why does the “Industry” predict what happens when it’s the Community who Adopts?

March 19th, 2015
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

This is a particularly pressing question that has come up recently.  I even put out a post about it in the SolarWinds Thwack community because they’re such a diverse and engaging community I love the feedback they tend to present!

I’ve seen a lot of predictions over the years, whether it is “This is the year of VDI!” (Currently we are on the 7th “year of VDI”)  Or “Big Data is here!” we all know the infinite number of predictions we constantly hear about, I’ve even included one of my own for the coming 2015 from from? ?SingleHop who hit me up at the end of 2014 saying, “Hey, do you have any IT Predictions for 2015?”

Single Hop 2015 IT Predictions

So I get it. You get it.  But are these really predictions intended to become self-fulfilling prophecies or are they mere posturing while YOU the Community. You the CUSTOMERS of the world are the ones determining whether these predictions actually come to fruition.   Now not all Predictions are within our control, like saying the cost of a particular product or solution will be reduced, that is really up to the industry that bears it, that we constantly fight for pricing on and against. 

But let’s talk about some general purpose predictions and it’s really up to you to decide what YOUR adoption is, I’ll provide some color in some places if you’re not familiar with it so as to give you a baseline to discuss.

Software Defined Storage (SDS)

Everybody and their brother is talking about SDS. “Check out our SDS Solution! It’s awesome!” blah blah blah.  So for the moment, let’s take a sober look at what the SDS space looks like.   VSAN is now available as 2.0 in vSphere 6.0.  However prior to it going GA last week, VSAN alone has ~1200 customers.   That’s pretty significant considering their solution has only existed for LESS than a year. (Compared to other similar solutions, the numbers are in the HUNDREDS not Thousands) so the possibilities look potentially bright, albeit at a cost.  

Now what about vVOLs you say. Yea you can say that, is it too early to tell? Yes. Yes it is FAR too early to tell, because vVols have gone GA LAST WEEK and not every vendor has their support integrated for it.  For what it is worth, vSphere 6.0 having just come out still isn’t fully baked and supported by all of your third-party applications, so if you run a pure-play VMware environment only without Veeam, Zerto and every other billion vendor solution out there and at the same moment your SAN also supports vVols, then sure, but for most of you… You’re going to be waiting a little while (At least 60-90 days for full support and adoption)   So for the meantime you’re still looking at vSphere 5.5 and the respective solutions present there, that’s not a BAD thing, it’s just a factual thing you need to be aware of.

Now to play the devils eggvocate on this a moment, If VMware has Let’s say a million customers, and ~1200 of them are running VSAN today. There’s nothing but room for growth, lots and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of growth.   So it’s not like the tides have been turned, the tipping point as it were (I’m sure that’s somehow relevant :)).   It really comes down to you to decide, “Of the Software Defined Storage strategies available in the market place which ones am *I* liking and seeing value to leverage in my organization” You know or blah blah blah. :)

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Why yes, let us talk about the SDN space for a moment… The number of solutions available aren’t exactly bursting at the seams.  I mean sure, –14- hours ago, Juniper and Mirantis have expanded their partnership to pursue SDN type joint development, but for the whole of the market-place, that doesn’t mean they have a go to market solution we can adopt.   That said, let’s discuss what we CAN adopt.   VMware NSX, Cisco ACI and OpenFlow.   VMware’s NSX is the best player in town, it has the greatest feature-set and capabilities and will give us visibility and insight into East-West traffic which has essentially been masked as a result of the adoption of Virtualization.  Pretty awesome, right? NSX has been around for ~5 years+ now? And they had 400 customers when VMware acquired Nicira back in 2012, and today they have 400 customers.   I don’t see this puppy jumping off the shelf, when something like VSAN which has been 1.0 has 3x as many customers.   Now, I’ve found that VMware sales people will disagree with me, “We see it everywhere, everyone is interested, stop saying that no one is buying NSX”  Okay, show me the money, stop telling me the rhetoric that YOU are being told.  Like I said, it is the BEST player in town, yet when I talk to guys who run some of the large NSX shops… Well, let’s just say I wish that it worked as well as HA, DRS, or vMotion.   So should you adopt an SDN strategy or should you look at one? I’m sure you’ll be the first to tell me that YOU are indeed looking at one, because we can predict all the hell we want, it’s up to you to decide and enact.

Hybrid Cloud

The Cloud the Cloud the Cloud! This is surprisingly one area where I keep hearing about it from YOU and not in reverse.  Customers and friends who have made such claims as, “Yea, I moved ‘x’ services from On-Premises into Azure” or one who said they’ve moved 100% of their server workload into Azure. Yea, Seriously, Wow!  I’m with you, the proof is in the pudding, and want to see how it tastes 3, 6, 9 months and a year out, but the fact that others are doing it is quite a positive testament to the capabilities.   Oh and people are starting to adopt the same in a vCloud Air type of scenario (Yes, I hate it when they keep changing product names on us, I mean give a brother vCloud Air with Retina at least! :))   So while even *I* have predicted that people will start adopting Disaster Recovery as a Service leveraging capabilities like vCloud Air, I’ll let you know how I see that start to play out vs just saying, “Yea I think people will start to do something like that”.   The year is still early and I’ll actually have some interesting Hybrid Cloud stories to share as the year progresses, but for now, you tell me if you’re seeing adoption of YOURSELVES increase :)

Monitoring and Management

This is often the most overlooked, undervalued and most necessary part of every organization.   Companies who produce tools that allow you to manage your environment, watch over your infrastructure and then start to provide intelligence and guidance as opposed to merely sharing information with you can be few and far between.  Some players in this space like Solarwinds have done more than just simply take a temperature of what people are doing and have started to integrate what matters most to you into a single pane (drink!) to allow for better management.   I’m not saying, Hey stop proceeding down your road of deploying Orion, NPM, SRM, Virtualization Manager, and an infinite number of items that provide insight, however Solarwinds themselves have seen a need for integration, thus their release of AppStack to provide that unified point of management.   The Microsoft Fanboys may say, “I can do everything I ever could want with System Center” and it’s cute that you believe that, but the moment you need to do something non-microsoft centric or provide deeper insight into a Virtual, Storage or Network layer… I’m not saying you won’t see anything, I’m just saying… you’ll have blinders on. :)   The monitoring and management landscape is filled with lots of players, many of whom are one-off and many of whom are trying to be the ‘everything for everyone’ ala HP OpenStack (ouch!) so be wary and be aware.  Though how important is correlation engine analytics and deep inspection visibility and insight into your infrastructure into 2015? Is that something you desire or do you feel it merely a myth?

These are just a handful of items which are often predicted about and in particular have predictions for this year.   What are you seeing be the players in this space that you’re looking into? What do you see yourself straight-up adopting?   You’re the trendsetters, we’re just a bunch of random people touting our thoughts. :)

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Posted in Big Data, Cloud, Community, Evangelist, Microsoft, Storage, Virtualization | Comments (1)

The EMC VSPEX BLUE is available for Purchase! Also our @Xiologix EMC Storefront for VSPEX BLUE is now LIVE! <3 #EMCElect #vExpert

February 17th, 2015
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

EMC VSPEX BLUE Storefront by @Xiologix

Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute, wait just one minute. What what?!   Yea, that’s right! You can finally start buying EMC’s VSPEX BLUE! Awesome right?!  Also if you remember from my last blog post on this subject,  EMC announces Sapphire on Rails! Err… I mean VSPEX BLUE a VMware EVO:RAILS Solution! I stated that this is only available “Through Channel Partners” So an extra ounce of awesome to that is… OMG WE’RE ONE OF THE CHANNEL PARTNERS! <3 <3 <3

EMC has officially announced a channel distribution model for the EMC VSPEX BLUE but in addition to that, they selected ten partners throughout the US to kick things off with this ‘beta program’ of the EMC Storefront.  Interesting stuff…

I know some of you are of the position, “Wow, I just like to walk into a store, order what I want and just go with this” this essentially lets you do that in so many terms.   If you’re not sure whether VSPEX BLUE is a good fit for you, or whether any EVO:RAIL Solution is the right approach for your organization be sure to check out my previous post (mentioned above) to get the long and short, and the respective skinny on whether it is indeed a good fit.

And hell, if it is a good fit… and the EMC Solution in particular is the flag you want to wave, head on over to the Xiologix EMC Store Front and ‘put in an order’ so to speak ;)  I’ll personally say hi and tell you why it’s either a good or horrible idea. (Well, I’m not going to stop guiding, steering and consulting just because something shiny and Blue comes along, right? :))

Though seriously, check it out… A lot of effort went into putting this out there, so why not? Otherwise, good times and start catching the blues! <3

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Posted in emc, EMC Elect, EVO:RAIL, Hyper-Converged, Storage, vExpert, vmware, VSPEX, VSPEX BLUE | Comments (0)

I’ll be attending Storage Field Day 7 – Now with Clear Containers! #SFD7

February 16th, 2015
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Alright, so maybe I won’t be attending The Container Store’s “Storage World” though wouldn’t that be so exciting? No, but I will be attending Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day series; Storage Field Day 7!

(Wow that’s a mouthful! :))

For those of you wondering what Storage Field Day is about, check out my last blog post on the subject which was for Virtualization Field Day;  Why yes I’ll be a Delegate at Virtualization Field Day 4! #VFD4 and I’ll also elaborate out a bit!

At this wondrous event there will be an interesting sampling of Storage Companies who will be there to talk to us about something in their portfolio…

=

I’ll be honest… when you copy their logos… and then cast it against a black background, it doesn’t look as they intended… :)

So now that we know what Vendors will be there… Who’s going to be there casting the brunt of attacks, err I mean deeply technical and insightful questioning which will bring even the most experienced presenter to tears?

Arjan Timmerman @ArjanTim Virtualization lover by day, Storage admirer by night

Chris M Evans @ChrisMEvans Chris is a UK-based consultant with an interest in all technologies, focusing on storage, virtualisation and cloud.
Dan Frith @PenguinPunk I like punk rock and storage arrays.

 

Dave Henry @DaveMHenry Engineer and gadget guy, focused on storage and virtualization.
 

 

Enrico Signoretti @ESignoretti An IT consultant, entrepreneur and passionate blogger at juku.it (not necessarily in that order).
 

 

Howard Marks @DeepStorageNet Storage Analyst Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 

Keith Townsend @VirtualizedGeek Keith Townsend is the founder of Virtualizedgeek.com and is an IT management consultant with more than 15 years of related experience.
 

Mark May @CincyStorage Storage expert, unix curmudgeon, IT nerd, and sporadic blogger
 

Ray Lucchesi @RayLucchesi Ray Lucchesi is president of Silverton Consulting, blogs at RayOnStorage.com, co-hosts GreyBeardsOnStorage.com podcast and has worked in data storage for over 30 years mostly in marketing and engineering new disk and tape automation products.

Vipin V. K. @VipinVK111 Blogger, storage specialist and simple always.
Christopher Kusek @cxi CTO at @Xiologix – EVP of Engineering, Technology Evangelist, vExpert, EMC Elect, BDA, CISSP, MCT, Cloud, Ninja, Vegan, Single, Father, Cat, Humorist, Author

And I’m sure for those of you who have watched it and seen what comes out of it, it’s not all just really funny or very offensive memes… It’s also deep DEEP insightful connections which helps draw parallels and visibility into aspects of technology and industry like no other.

Or… if you just like the meme’s.. then yes, it is just memes. :)

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And of course a hearty thanks go out to the Event Staff who make this possible, the beautiful Stephen Foskett @SFoskett and the dashing Tom Hollingsworth @NetworkingNerd and the effervescent Clare Chaplais @CChaplais

So check it out as I know you will, not to mention the deeply grueling and intensive times I know I’ll be giving the vendors because I’ve been one and I know what it’s like ;) And be sure to check out the numerous blogs coming!

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Posted in emc, Storage, Virtualization | Comments (1)

VMware comes out in full support of NSX and Networking, “A vote for VCP-NX is a vote for Certification!”

February 10th, 2015
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Some of you may have read my original post back in November, The VCP-NV is your ticket to escaping the VCP “Class requirement” for VCP-DCV! which had basically stated that until February 28, 2015 you’d be able to get your Cisco CCNA/CCNP and then take the VMware VCP Network Virtualization with no course requirement, and that made you eligible for taking ANY other VCP (Such as Data Center Virtualization (DCV) or Cloud) without having to pay for the Course requirement applicable to those other certifications.

Then within the last week, an Asterisk appeared OUT OF NOWHERE, LIKE WTF?! Which prompted this blog post #AsteriskGate VMware feels the ‘pinch’ and “invalidates” the VCP-NV as a “valid VCP Certification” #AsteriskGate – And the general gist was, all of a sudden the stance appeared that the VCP-NX wasn’t as valuable as the other VCP Certifications (This prompted outrage from the community, to where people were being told by VMware Education that no, the VCP-NV did not ‘count’ basically) among other things.

Well, the latest on this trend of things is… This is no longer the case! I don’t want to say our community outreach and outrage respectively was the  ‘cause’ of this resolution but it likely was. :)

Here is an email I received from VMware Education when I contacted them on this matter;

As I understand, you need to know if  a VCP-NV certification taken through Cisco credential, can take certification in different track.

I would like to inform you that, yes, you could take VCP certifications in any track based on the VCP-NV certification taken through Cisco credential. There in no course requirement.

So there we go! Mission Accomplished. Oh and might I add an update from my original blog post which mentioned that the CCNA/CCNP route would expire 28FEB2015…

You can go this path until 31JAN2016!!!

So my dear friends, colleagues, network junkies and other industry brouhaha’s… Go out there, Get Certified! Whether that be by getting your CCNA R&S / CCNA DC, then getting your VCP-NV and on to VCP-DCV or you choose another path, the power is in your hands… Don’t let it pass you by! <3

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Posted in Certification, Cisco, Community, Education, Virtualization, vmware | Comments (2)

EMC announces Sapphire on Rails! Err… I mean VSPEX BLUE a VMware EVO:RAILS Solution!

February 3rd, 2015
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

For those of you who haven’t gotten the news… OMG EMC IS NOW A HARDWARE MANUFACTURER. Whoa, wait a minute, didn’t they produce storage? Sure, sure they did and sure they do!  However by officially entering the realms of the VMware EVO:RAILS Family with other legitimate server vendors like Dell, and such (not to be confused with the VERY confusing NetApp EVO:RAILS Solution ;))   Well, let’s just say this could be a game changer! Especially as we peel back the layers a bit!   So that said… Let’s get started! :)

EMC VSPEX BLUE Redefined Simplicity

So, what exactly is VSPEX BLUE you might be asking?   I mean you may have a sense of what an EVO:RAIL solution typically is, but let’s get a sense of what we’re getting in this little 2U Appliance…

VMware’s EVO:RAIL solution of VPSEX BLUE contains the following:

  • Software:
    • vSphere Enterprise Plus
    • VMware vCenter Server
    • VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)
    • vCenter Log Insight
    • EVO:RAIL Intuitive user interface (Dashboard)
  • Hardware:
    • Four ESXi Hosts per appliance
    • Two fully redundant power supplies
    • Redundant 2 x 10 GbE NICs (per node)
    • Enterprise grade boot device
    • HDDs and SSDs (will go into more details on that in a bit!)

I know what you’re thinking … “That sounds a lot like every other EVO:RAILS Solution” Why thank you for recognizing! I like how we’re in-sync on this!

EMC’s Value Add on top of EVO:RAIL

  • Unlimited cloud storage and file services via EMC Cloud Array gateway
  • Operational and Disaster Recovery, Replication and Continuous Data Protection with EMC RecoverPoint for VMs.
  • Centralized Backup and Recovery with VMware Data Protection Advanced that is built on EMC Avamar, with Data Domain as a target.
  • EMC Secure Remote Services (ESRS)—enabling 24×7 secure, remote monitoring, diagnostics and repair.
  • EMC Proven server hardware reliability.
  • EMC award winning Global Support and Logistics, single point of support from EMC, including VMware software.

Wait a minute, that all sounds like marketecture? Why yes, you’re damn straight that it is! Alright let me peel back the REAL covers of this onion for you, so you can see what’s really going on! :)

  • Yes there are benefits with EMC Cloud Array gateway, that itself is actually kind of cool. (Albeit, I’m reading it as 1TB Local Cache and 10TB Cloud Storage, so correct me if THAT is wrong…)
  • Why yes… EMC did recently make RecoverPoint for VMs FREE! But you have to pay for support… In VSPEX BLUE you get 15 VMs for free per appliance! (That’s a benefit, right?)
  • EMC’s VSPEX BLUE has a separate manager over the top of the EVO:RAILS manager which actually provides some really cool benefits above and beyond (Check out manager demos to get the inside scoop on that..)

VSPEX BLUE Manager integration

This should give you a sense of the connection points which VSPEX BLUE Manager has!

VSPEX BLUE is Available ONLY Through Channel Partners!

Yep! You heard it here first (or possibly.. not sure if this is the FIRST Place you’ve heard it! But still… :))

At least that is what we as channel partners are being told as well, That said… Oh, you want to buy VSPEX BLUE? It has to be bought through a channel partner.  In our case, in concert with EMC they’ve provided an interesting ‘storefront’ so to speak which won’t go live until February 16th so I encourage you to keep your eye on www.xiologix.com (We’re one of the 10 US Based Partners who are part of the VSPEX BLUE Pilot Program!) and once the site is officially published and available (read: 16FEB2015) the link will be made public there!)

!!!UPDATE!!! The Store is now LIVE! https://xiologix.store.emc.com/us/ So go check it out! :)

I don’t want VSPEX BLUE because Converged Infrastructure is a stupid-head!

This comes up at times, it’s common objections and concerns which are raised. So hopefully I can address a few of those points here with very common objections and challenges which are raised when looking at new technologies.

“I’ve heard Converged Infrastructure is complex, I don’t need more complexity!”

Interestingly, EMC’s VSPLEX BLUE is a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance which incorporates virtualization, compute, storage, networking and data protection into a single box. Additionally it automates the deployment which can help accelerate your ability to function while also reducing risk in your virtual environment.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure is too risky.

EMC VSPEX BLUE dramatically lowers risk and speeds time to production. As an all-inclusive appliance, EMC VSPEX BLUE eliminates the need for complex integration and streamlines operations with automated deployment, upgrades and patches. EMC VSPEX BLUE integrates both software and hardware resiliency to ensure near zero downtime. Leveraging proven capabilities of vSphere® HA, vMotion, DRS and VMware® Virtual SANTM to ensure high availability at both the compute and storage layers. (A direct EMC Quote :))

Want to scale Storage separately from Compute.

With the EMC Cloud Array gateway, you can scale on-demand to cloud storage as needed for backup, expansion, archive.

Can I re-use existing infrastructure investments?

No, VSPEX BLUE is an all-inclusive hyper-converged appliance. However, it can augment your investments for the purpose of Test/Dev, new departmental requirements or ROBO opportunities. (That’s quoted verbatim from EMC :))

Okay, but what about VALID Objections?

So true. There are a few areas I’ve identified which you ought to know, because I’m not here to pull the wool over your eyes.

  • When you buy an appliance you’re paying for all of the licensing as a single SKU. When you buy a second appliance, even if adding to your EXISTING appliance environment it is still a single SKU. (What this means is even if you’re not using your second vCenter license, or Log Insight instance, VSAN, so on and so forth, you’re paying for it.)  
  • Can you get a discount on licenses you’re not using? Not that I’m aware of.   I asked that question EXPLICITLY because I knew YOU would ask.  So the appliances will end up duplicative with licensing as you scale beyond your first appliance. Don’t shoot the messenger! <3
  • If you want to go direct with this, as far as what EMC is saying, “No you can’t, you must go through a partner” Albeit for what it is worth. *I* (Xiologix) am an EMC Partner who can sell this solution to you ;) But seriously, it’s important to find a trusted partner you can work with on this.   In theory I’m sure some back-alley deals can be done to go direct with EMC on this, but as far as posturing and positioning here for launch… this is “Channel Partner only”
  • Is this a fit for every organization? Absolutely. And no, absolutely not.  That’s one of the values of having this be Channel driven is working with a partner to understand your needs vs having someone pitch something shiny and blue!

I knew you wanted this… so here’s the hardware specs! I did it in an image just to complicate things! :)

VSPEX BLUE Hardware specs

Also it is worth pointing out that one of the added differentiators is visibility into the hardware which may not always be available depending upon EVO:RAIL provider

EMC VSPEX BLUE Hardware Awareness

Other awesome posts about VSPEX BLUE can be found here!

Hopefully you find this information useful.  I’ll eventually be doing a full deep breakdown of ALL of the EVO:RAIL Solutions available on the market, but I was waiting for this announcement first. :)

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Posted in Cloud, emc, vExpert, Virtualization, VMworld | Comments (0)

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