Tag Archives: Community

Vendor Wars: Tribes In IT…Get Used To it!

In the last couple of weeks there had been murmurings within the VMUG Leadership Group that Nutanix was about to be banned from sponsoring events worldwide. This was confirmed this week and in addition to that ban, no current Nutanix employee can be a Leader of a VMUG chapter, though I’m not sure if this carries through to the steering committee. There has been mixed reaction online depending on which side of the fence you sit and while the action undertaken is drastic it should come as no surprise…I don’t mean that to suggest that the constant back and forth between Nutanix and VMware that has been ongoing for a number of years now was to blame, because without question that contributed to the decision. What I mean by saying that we should build a bridge is that it’s human nature to form tribes and when we form tribes we have division.

We all root for our respective teams, whether that be sporting, political or in business…and more importantly, we will always side with the team or tribe that benefits us the most. With that in mind it shouldn’t come as a shock when we see such passionate debates specifically in the IT Vendor world. It’s been going on since the inception of the industry however we have seen an amplification since social media has made it both easier for one to show their true colours and for arguments to be played out in public forums.

Being part of a tribe is human nature…we can’t change the way we are programmed and tribes will form in every aspect of life. Even within smaller social circles micro-tribes form and divisions are played out. There is a great TED talk around tribal leadership in business and it’s worth a watch as it made me realize that there can’t be respectful common ground when it comes to tribes being at war.

I have seen the calls for us in the IT community to be respectful and not enter into tit for tat insults and FUD propagation however our industry by definition is disruptive…our industry also has a lot of money behind it with startups and established vendors promising lucrative incentive based payouts if or when a company goes public or is acquired. When you have money involved with tribalism the effect is magnified because not only are people rooting for their own teams, but they are playing all in for possible financial success…Because of that there is very little chance of impartiality…No matter what anyone says to the contrary.

So while we all get annoyed from time to time when we witness vendor bias or arrogance or more specifically in the case of the VMUG ban, the Nutanix vs VMware tribal battles we should accept that it’s a way of life. Things will not change and nor should you believe that mutual respect will be reached…we will always have a favorite and we will always show bias towards one brand, one vendor…one tribe.

HomeLab – SuperMicro 5028D-TNT4 Unboxing and First Thoughts

While I was at Zettagrid I was lucky enough to have access to a couple of lab environments that where sourced from retired production components and I was able to build up a lab that could satisfy the requirements of R&D, Operations and the Development team. By the time I left Zettagrid we had a lab that most people envied and I took advantage of it in terms of having a number of NestedESXi instances to use as my own lab instances but also, we had an environment that ensured new products could be developed without impacting production while having multiple layers of NestedESXi instances to test new builds and betas.

With me leaving Zettagrid for Veeam, I lost access to the lab and even though I would have access to a nice shiny new lab within Veeam I thought it was time to bite the bullet and go about sourcing a homelab of my own. The main reasons for this was to have something local that I could tinker with which would allow me to continue playing with the VMware vCloud suite as well as continue to look out for new products allowing me to engage and continue to create content.

What I Wanted:

For me, my requirements where simple; I needed a server that was powerful enough to run at least two NestedESXi lab stacks, which meant 128GB of RAM and enough CPU cores to handle approx. twenty to thirty VMs. At the same time I needed to not not blow the budget and spend thousands upon thousands, lastly I needed to make sure that the power bill was not going to spiral out of control…as a supplementary requirement, I didn’t want a noisy beast in my home office. I also wasn’t concerned with any external networking gear as everything would be self contained in the NestedESXi virtual switching layer.

What I Got:

To be honest, the search didn’t take that long mainly thanks to a couple of Homelab Channels that I am a member of in the vExpert and Homelabs-AU Slack Groups. Given my requirements it quickly came down to the SYS-5028D-TN4T Xeon D-1541 Mini-tower or the SYS-5028D-TN4T-12C Xeon D-1567 Mini-tower. Paul Braren at TinkerTry goes through in depth why the Xeon D processors in these SuperMicro Super Servers are so well suited to homelabs so I won’t repeat what’s been written already but for me the combination of a low power CPU (45w) that still has either 8 or 12 cores that’s packaged up in such a small form factor meant that my only issue was trying to find a supplier that would ship the unit to Australia for a reasonable price.

Digicor came to the party and I was able to source a great deal with Krishnan from their Perth office. There are not too many SuperMicro dealers in Australia, and there was a lot of risk in getting the gear shipped from the USA or Europe and the cost of shipping plus import duties meant that going local was the only option. For those that are in Australia, looking for SuperMicro Homelab gear, please email/DM me and I can get you in touch with the guys at Digicor.

What’s Inside:

I decided to go for the 8 core CPU mainly because I knew that my physical to virtual CPU ratio wasn’t going to exceed the processing power that it had to offer and as mentioned I went straight to 128GB of RAM to ensure I could squeeze a couple of NestedESXi instances on the host.

https://www.supermicro.com/products/system/midtower/5028/sys-5028d-tn4t.cfm

  • Intel® Xeon® processor D-1540, Single socket FCBGA 1667; 8-Core, 45W
  • 128GB ECC RDIMM DDR4 2400MHz Samsung UDIMM in 4 sockets
  • 4x 3.5 Hot-swap drive bays; 2x 2.5 fixed drive bays
  • Dual 10GbE LAN and Intel® i350-AM2 dual port GbE LAN
  • 1x PCI-E 3.0 x16 (LP), 1x M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4, M Key 2242/2280
  • 250W Flex ATX Multi-output Bronze Power Supply

In addition to what comes with the Super Server bundle I purchased 2x Samsung EVO 850 512GB SSDs for initial primary storage and also got the SanDisk Ultra Fit CZ43 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive to install ESXi onto as well as a 128GB Flash Drive for extra storage.

Unboxing Pics:

Small package, that hardly weighs anything…not surprising given the size of the case.

Nicely packaged on the inside.

Came with a US and AU kettle cord which was great.

The RAM came separately boxed and well wrapped in anti-static bags.

You can see a size comparison with my 13″ MBP in the background.

The back is all fan, but that doesn’t mean this is a loud system. In fact I can barely hear it purring in the background as I sit and type less than a meter away from it.

One great feature is the IPMI Remote Management which is a brilliant and convenient edition for a HomeLab server…the network port is seen top left. On the right are the 2x10Gig and 2x1Gig network ports.

The X10SDV-TLN4F motherboard is well suited to this case and you can see how low profile the CPU fan is.

Installing the RAM wasn’t too difficult even through there isn’t a lot of room to work with inside the case.

Finally, taking a look at the HotSwap drive bays…I had to buy a 3.5 to 2.5 inch adapter to fit in the SSDs, however I did find that the lock in ports could hold the weight of the EVO’s with ease.

BIOS and Initialization’s boot screens

Overall First Thoughts:

This is a brilliant bit of kit and it’s perfect for anyone wanting to do NestedESXi at home without worrying about the RAM limits of NUCs or the noise and power draw of more traditional servers like the R710’s that seem to make their way out of datacenters and into homelabs. The 128GB of RAM means that unless you really want to go fully physical you should be able to nest most products and keep everything nicely contained within the ESXi Host compute, storage and networking.

Thanks again to Krishnan at Digicor for supplying the equipment and to Paul Braren for all the hard work he does up at TinkerTry. Special mention also to my work colleague, Michael White who was able to give me first hand experience of the Super Servers and help make it a no brainer to get the 5028D-TNT4.

I’ll follow this post up with a more detailed a look at how I went about installing ESXi and how the NestedESXi labs look like and what sort of performance I’m getting out the the system.

More 5028D Goodness:

 

vForumAU 2016 Recap: Best Event In Years!

Last week I was in Sydney for the 2016 edition of vForumAU…I’ve been coming to vForumAU since 2011 and this years event was probably up there with the best that I have attended in that time. For the past couple of years the event has had to shift venues due to the Sydney Exhibition Center being knocked down and rebuilt and in that time the it’s been at Luna Park and Star City Casino…both of which presented their own challenges for VMware, sponsors and attendees. This years event was held at The Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park which offered a perfect venue for the event and helped deliver on what was a great vForumAU.

Adding to the venue was the calibre of speakers that VMware ANZ was able to bring out for this years event…in fact it was the best lineup that I’ve seen or heard of outside of VMworld. We had Pat Gelsinger, Kit Colbert, Paul Strong and Bruce Davie to add to the local VMware talent and given that this event fell after both VMworld US and Europe, I felt that the content was more complete in terms of announcements, products and overall strategy and vision.

I heard Pat deliver the keynote at VMworld US a few months back and the deck was largely the same, however I felt he delivered the message better and talked to the key points around VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy a lot more concisely and with a lot more tact in terms of ensure that vCloud Air Network providers where still very much in the reckoning for VMware’s future strategy around Hybrid cloud. There is no doubt that the partnership’s with AWS and IBM has caused some unease in the vCAN but every key slide had vCAN representation which was pleasing to see.

The Cross Cloud Foundation is something also that still sits uneasily with a lot of vCAN Providers but I have to admit that the tech preview of the Cross Cloud Platform was very very slick and shows how much VMware has changed tact when it comes to playing with other public clouds. There is no doubt that Cloud is the new Hardware and VMware want to be there to manage it and offer it’s customers tools that do the same. Hybrid cloud is here to stay, and they hyper-scalers certainly have a share…however on-premises and partner hosted IaaS will remain significant and relevant for the next 10-15 years.

Moving on from Pat’s keynote there was a super session Technical Keynote that was held after lunch that featured 20-30 minutes on every new product enhancement or release that has been announced of late. From vSphere 6.5 to VSAN 6.5 and a look at NSX futures as well as VMware’s container platforms this was a brilliant couple of hours of presentations. Highlights for me was Paul Strong talking VSAN, Kit Colbert going over the various Photon platforms and Bruce Davie talking around NSX extensibility into AWS. Of note was Bruce Davie (who also presented at the main keynote) who I have come to seriously admire as a speaker over the past couple of years.

The Sponsors hall has a very VMworld feel to it this year which elements of VMworld brought to the event such as VMVillage, special lounges for All Access Pass visitors and probably the best food that I’ve experienced at a vForumAU by way of specialised food trucks bringing a wide array of foods to enjoy. Though the first day wasn’t as well received by exhibitors (AAP attendees pay for sessions, not so much visiting sponsors) in talking with some people on the booths, the second day was very busy and the venue and location had everything to do with that. Again well done do the VMware events team for bringing the event to The Royal Hall of Industries.

Finishing off this recap, once again there was great spirit and community around both sponsors and the attendees to which the venue offered a great chance to catch up socially with people from the VMware community and that fact shouldn’t be lost on the benefit of attending such an event. And while I didn’t attend the offical party I heard that it went really well and was highly entertaining with a lot of food!

Well done to VMware ANZ for putting on a great event!


As a side note, I also attended my final VMware vChampion event on the Wednesday morning where Kit Colbert facilitated an open discussion on containerised platforms and the new continuous integration and continuous deployment methodologies that are creeping their ways into mainstream IT. Again, thanks to the vChampion team!

VMware vChampion Farewell!

About four years ago I was invited to join a program called the VMware vChampions…this program is run and operated by the VMware ANZ Channel and Marketing teams and is an invite only advocacy group who’s members are made up exclusively from VMware’s top partners and service providers in the ANZ region. The numbers have varied over the past couple of years, but at any one time there are about 30-40 vChampions in the group.

With my new role at Veeam I have had to leave the program and this week at #vForumAU will be my last as a member of the group. Before I sign off I wanted to openly thank the people who have made the program such instrumental not only from a personal work point of view, but also from the point of view of enhancing my engagement with the wider VMware community. Probably of most importance, superseding both work and community benefits the program has allowed me to develop friendships with those I have come to meet through the program…some of those people I now consider some of my closest friends.

The program helped take me to my first VMworld in 2012 which is still one of the highlights of my career and an experience that included an VMware Executive Brief at the VMware campus and an introduction to the global VMware community. At vForumAU that same year, the vChampion’s where briefed by then CTO Steve Herrod. The following year at PEX ANZ I was able to work towards landing a dream role at Zettagrid and also establish friendships that are still going strong today. Later that year at vForumAU the vChampions had a whole day event that included a discussion with Martin Casado just shortly after Nicira had been acquired by VMware…the inspiring talk by Martin was, again a career highlight and lit of flame under me that got me into Network Virtualization and deeper into automation.

Over the last couple of years the vChampion program scaled back it’s activities and bi-annual meetings become once a year get togethers however the team was still able to secure guest speakers such as Sanjay Poonen and Kit Colbert. In an amongst the speakers the group was given insider NDA access and product roadmaps…and there in lies the true value of the group for VMware and in equipping the vChampion’s with knowledge and updates the group is equipped to go back to their companies and advocated VMware technologies to the rest of their peers and hopefully also spoke out in the community about VMware technologies.

All in all the value that the program has added to my career can not be understated and I would like to thank, Katrina Jones, Anthony Segren, John Donovan, Rhody Burton and Eugene Geaher for allowing me to be part of such a brilliant program. Also a special mention to Grant Orchard and Greg Mulholland for being the vChampion Champions within VMware and for always being there to help organise and support the vChampions.

Thanks guys and I hope the program can continue to deliver!

vForumAU 2016: vBrownBag TechTalks

With vForumAU 2016 less than a week away it’s time to talk about what the vBrownBag crew will be up to next week in Sydney. If you don’t know what the vBrownBag TechTalks head here for an overview…but in a nutshell the crew offer the technical community a platform to present on topics that are more social than sales and marketing and allow those that participate a public platform from which to interact with the community.

The Sydney vForumAU edition still has a few slots available so if you are going over to vForumAU next week and want to get something off your chest that the VMware community might find informative…head to the site below and register.

Below is a snapshot of the talks that will feature next week:

  • Matt Allford – Using Vester Project to Enforce vSphere Configuration
  • Frank Yoo – What is RESTFul API and How to use it
  • David Lloyd – Building an Elastic Bare Metal Service
  • Luis Concistre – Microsegmentation VMware Horizon and NSX
  • Brett Johnson – Disaster Planning and What’s new in vSphere 6.5

TechTalks at vForum Sydney

vExpert Pivot: NSX and VSAN Program Announcements

This week the VMware vExpert team officially lifted the lid on two new subprograms that focus on NSX and VSAN. The announcements signal a positive move for the vExpert program that had come under some criticism over the past two or so years around the fact that the program had lost some of it’s initial value. As I’ve mentioned previously the program is unmistakably an advocacy program first and foremost and those who are part of the vExpert group should be active contributors in championing VMware technologies as well as being active in their spheres of influence.

Corey and the rest of the team have responded to the calls for change by introducing vExpert Specialties now more in line to what Microsoft does with it’s MVP Program. The first specializations are focused on VMware’s core focus products of NSX and VSAN…these programs are built on the base vExpert program and the group is chosen from existing vExperts who have shown and demonstrated contribution to each technology. The VSAN announcement blog articulates the criteria perfectly.

This group of individuals have passion and enthusiasm for technology, but more importantly, have demonstrated significant activity and evangelism around VSAN.

With that, I am extremely proud to be part of both the inaugural NSX and VSAN vExpert program. It’s some reward and acknowledgment for the content I have created and contributed to for both technologies since their release. Substance is important when it comes to awarding community contribution and as I look through the list I see nothing but substance and quality in the groups.

Again, this is a great move by the vExpert team and I’m looking forward to it reinvigorating the program. I’ve pasted linked below to my core NSX and VSAN content…I’m especially proud of the NSX Bytes series which continues to do well in terms of people still seeking out the content. More recently I have done a bit of work around VSAN and upgrading VSAN from Hybrid to All Flash series was well received. Feel free to browse the content below and look forward to catching up with everyone at VMworld US.

References:

vExpert NSX 2016 Award Announcement

Announcing the 2016 VSAN vExperts

Top vBlog 2016 – Still Time to Vote

While I have resisted temptation to post a blog on this years Top vBlog voting I thought with a couple of days to go it was worth giving it a shout just in case there where some of you who hadn’t had the chance to vote or didn’t know about the Top vBlog vLaunchPad list organised and maintained by Eric Siebert of vShere-Land.

As Eric mentions the vBlog voting should be based on blog content based around longevity, length, frequency and quality of the posts. There is such great content creators out there in the VMware community and the 300+ lists of active bloggers is testament to the effort and passion shown by members of the community.

As has been the case in previous years, there has been talk of this being a popularity contest and there has even been some other comments around gender participation this year which is disappointing to have around what should be a legitimate way to help recognize the vBlog community. In my opinion the best way to vote was described by @Virten shown below.

Export Browser History…
Filer URLs…
Calculate Sums..
Filter out non VMware related sites..

How to vote for Top vBlog 2016 @vsphere-land.com

However you do it, or have done it good luck to all those who are listed and for those who haven’t voted yet click on the link below to cast your vote. If you feel inclined and enjoy my content around vCloud Director, NSX, VSAN and Cloud and Hosting in general…It would be an honor to have you consider anthonyspiteri.net in your Top 12 and also in the Independent Blogger category.

http://sgiz.mobi/s3/TopvBlog2016 

Thanks again to Eric Siebert.

Beta Participation Matters! – vSphere Beta Program

Over the past week there have been a number of posts around the new vSphere Beta which is the first step in testing the next major release from VMware following vSphere 6. As has become custom there is a private beta form that can be accessed here and people that are interested can fill out the form and register their intent to participate.

With all the issues that VMware have experienced over the past 12-18 months it’s massively important (I feel) that this beta is well represented and as many people as possible download the bits and put to the test the new vSphere platform. There is no doubt that this next release will be VMware’s most important when you think about the 5.5 and 6.0 issues as well as the perceived pressure being heaped by Nutanix and…to a less extent Microsoft with Hyper-V.

VMware need to nail .NEXT!

I say this because the one thing that VMware need to combat AHV, Hyper-V and other hypervisors out their is a return to core platform stability and that can be further achieved if there are enough people testing and then reporting back to the VMware beta teams about their issues…the more diverse the beta base is the great the exposure to potential issues and bugs. This isn’t a guarantee that the perception of reduced stability and increased bugs won’t be totally eradicated but it goes some way to helping.

If selected to participate in the beta there are a set of expectations that people need to commit to.

Participant Expectations:

  • Online acceptance of the Master Software Beta Test Agreement will be required prior to visiting the Private Beta Community
  • Install beta software within 3 days of receiving access to the beta product
  • Provide feedback within the first 4 weeks of the beta program
  • Submit Support Requests for bugs, issues and feature requests
  • Complete surveys and beta test assignments
  • Participate in the private beta discussion forum and conference calls

I highlighted the dot point above relating to participants being active when part of a beta program. If you are just wanting to download the bits and install them for a quick look then you are probably not going to get anything substantial out of a beta program. One of the key reasons they exist is to generate feedback and testing on software thats not yet feature set and potentially has undiscovered bugs. Computer game companies have of recent times been putting out open betas (such as the recent one for the new Doom) to put their software through harsh testing at the hands of their potential customer base…this is no different to what betas such as the vSphere Beta.

When I participate in Beta’s I know that I am helping to shape the future of the product…people that know me know that I am a bit of a “beta whore” but that’s only because I understand the benfits of being involved in the programs and understand that it’s not only important for the vendor…but also important for the customer…after all you are getting a look at what’s next and essentially get to contribute in the final release.

vSphere 6 Beta Details:

This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information.

 

We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

So if you want to contribute to the future of vSphere…register for the BETA and be active in your participation!

References:

http://info.vmware.com/content/35853_VMware-vSphere-Beta_Interest

It’s A Good Book! – vSphere Design Pocketbook 3.0

Last week Frank Denneman blogged about the release of the third installment of the vSphere Design Pocketbook. This is a great initiative from PernixData and Frank which gives bloggers the chance to have certain posts published in the form of an book of which gets distributed at industry events around the world, including EMC World and VMworld.

Having read through this years edition I can tell you that it’s well worth getting your hand on either in PDF format, or in book format if attending events with PernixData is sponsoring. The Social Media Edition is split into 7 Chapters going through specific areas of vSphere including Host Configuration, Cluster Design, Storage, Networking and Security, VM Configuration, Management and general Words of Wisdom and if I was to highlight a section I would make sue you check out Understanding Block Sizes in a Virtualized Environment by Pete Koehler which is becoming a lot more important in this day and age…it’s something that FVP Architect has made easier to discover and understand.

The contributors to the book include respected community and industry leaders like Chris Wahl, William Lam and Frank himself. The remaining contributors (myself included) all run excellent tech blogs and are active on Twitter so make sure you view the list on the download page and follow them on the social networks.

Again, thanks to Frank and the team at PernixData for taking the time to get this project together. Download the Book from the link below and look out for the Hard Copy at an event near you!

http://www.pernixdata.com/resource/vsphere-design-pocketbook-30-social-media-edition

The Change Message is on Repeat…I Reckon Evolve! – VMUG UserCon Take Away

Yesterday I attended the Melbourne VMUG UserCon for 2016 and had a great day catching up with community friends, presenting with PernixData and attending other quality sessions. As I listened to Keith Townsend‘s morning Keynote I couldn’t help but think that I had heard one of his core messages around change before…Sure enough not one year earlier at the 2015 Melbourne VMUG UserCon we had John Troyer (@JTroyer) talk about Pivoting to the New IT

…His presentation was based around a change of expectation around what it is to be part of the IT Industry…and even though there are some IT Professionals that will not embrace the shift that’s currently happening…the VMware/vExpert/Virtualization/Cloud Community is at the forefront of driving that change and best positioned to harness the pivot that’s currently on offer.

[Have a read of my 2015 recap here where I go into more detail around John’s talk]

Fast forward back to 2016 and with Keith talking about how he had embraced significant change in his work roles I started to think about how all I have heard over the past couple of years on repeat is that we in the IT Industry need to change or die…or adapt or die.

I’m not doubting the message that’s being drilled into us and without question there are more disruptive technologies and methodologies appearing in the IT Industry almost on a weekly basis. However I almost feel that the message around change is one that is to abrupt..too harsh. And for the IT guys sitting in the audience hearing these messages I feel like it can almost come across as…What the hell can I do? What am I doing?

I saw the tweet below from the Sydney VMUG UserCon and when I referenced it in context to the Melbourne Keynote I thought to myself the message is a little too simplistic.

Why would I give up all the hard work and knowledge that I had worked extremely hard to learn and master over the first 10-15 years of my career in IT. All that I have done previously has allowed myself to evolve to where I am today in a technical and personal sense. If I hadn’t started work on Linux servers configuring BIND or SENDMAIL I wouldn’t have developed an interest for internet messaging which lead me onto working on Hosted Exchange Services which lead me onto working on Hosting Platforms which lead me onto looking into Virtualisation which got me into deploying my first Hyper-V cluster which lead me to get familiar with vSphere and ESX which lead me to Cloud Management Platforms like vCloud Director which now leads me into technologies like Network Virtualization and Hyper Converged Platforms that has in turn exposed me to consuming platforms differently via APIs which now leads me onto the next evolution of my career.

Get where I am going with this?

Don’t feel like you have to change just because…that can be harsh and change is abrupt…you can’t pivot without having your foot on the ground before planting the other…EVOLVE!

P.S I am not having a go at the presenters (or Grant via that Tweet) as I respect them 100% as community leaders and understand the messages around change needs to be heard…I’m trying to portray the message in another light based on how I have interpreted the it…feel free to comment below.

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