Tag Archives: Opinion

AWS re:Invent 2018 Recap – Times…they a̶r̶e̶ have a̶ Changi̶n̶g̶ed!

I wrote this sitting in the Qantas Lounge in Melbourne waiting for the last leg back to Perth after spending the week in Las Vegas at AWS re:Invent 2018. I had fifteen hours on the LAX to MEL leg and before that flight took off, I struck up a conversation (something I never usually do on flights) with a guy in the seat next to me. He noticed my 2017 AWS re:Invent jumper (which is 100x better than the 2018 version) and asked me if had attended re:Invent.

It ended up that he worked for a San Francisco based company that wrote middleware integration for Salesforce. After a little bit of small talk, we got into some deep technical discussions about the announcements and around what we did in our day to day roles. Though I shouldn’t have been surprised, just as I had never heard of his company, he had never heard of Veeam…ironically he was from Russia and now working in Melbourne.

The fact he hadn’t heard of Veeam in its self wasn’t the most surprising part…it was the fact that he claimed to be a DevOps engineer. But had never touched any piece of VMware software or virtualisation infrastructure. His day to day was exclusively working with AWS web technologies. He wasn’t young…maybe early 40s…this to me seemed strange in itself.

He worked exclusively around APIs using AWS API Gateway, CloudFormations and other technologies but also used Nginx for reverse proxy purposes. That got me thinking that the web application developers of today are far far different to those that I used to work with in the early 2000’s and 2010’s. I come from the world of LAMP and .NET applications platforms…I stopped working on web and hosting technologies around the time Nginx was becoming popular.

I can still hold a conversion (and we did have a great exchange around how he DevOp’ed his applications) around the base frameworks of applications and components that go into making a web application work…but they are very very different from the web applications I used to architect and support on Windows and Linux.

All In on AWS!

The other interesting thing from the conversation was that his Technical Director commands the exclusive use of AWS services. Nothing outside of the service catalog on the AWS Console. That to me was amazing in itself. I started to talk to him about automation and orchestration tools and I mentioned that i’d been using Terraform of late…he had never used it himself. He asked me about it and in this case I was the one telling him how it worked! That at least made me feel somewhat not totally dated and past it!

My takeaway from the conversation plus what I experienced at re:Invent was that there is a strong, established sector of the IT industry that AWS has created, nurtured and is now helping to flourish. This isn’t a change or die message…this is simply my own realisation that the times have changed and as a technologist in the the industry I owe it to myself to make sure I am aware of how AWS has shifted web and application development from what I (and from my assumption the majority of those reading this post) perceive to be mainstream.

That said, just like the fact that a hybrid approach to infrastructure has solidified as the accepted hosting model for applications, so to the fact that in the application world there will still be a combination of the old and new. The biggest difference is that more than ever…these worlds are colliding…and that is something that shouldn’t be ignored!

Office 365 Backups and the Opportunity that Exists for Service Providers

In recent weeks i’ve become reacquainted with an old friend…There was a time where eighty to ninety percent of my day job was working in and around Exchange Server. If I had started this blog in 2005 it would have been dominated with posts around the Hosting of Exchange Server and probably be named Exchange is Life!. I take pride in my Hosted Exchange Org and User creation scripts that I created before Hosting Control Panels where even a thing.

Over the last five or six years my interest in Exchange diminished due to moving roles and also due to some lingering ill feelings about the way in which Microsoft treated their initial Hosting partners as they started what would become, Office 365 back in the late 2000’s. That said I have remained aware of the Exchange landscape and while there is still a lot of on-premises Exchange instances and still a number of decent Hosted Exchange providers out there, there is no stopping Office 365’s growth.

I even jumped on the bandwagon by moving my personal SliemaLabs domain over to an Office 365 Exchange subscription late last year. That domain initially lived on an Exchange Server I ran from home, and then on a Hosted Exchange platform I built and now it’s completed it’s own journey to Office 365.

Having spent a bit of time recently looking at the 1.5 version of our Backup for Microsoft Office 365 product…more specifically the new self service feature that came in Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3. I’ve had a renewed sense of purpose around the Exchange ecosystem…and that purpose is to ensure that all service providers understand the opportunity that exists around creating offerings for the backing up and availability of Office365 services.

This post follows a post that was released on the Veeam.com blog by Paul Mattes (VP of Global Cloud Group at Veeam) talking about the success of our Backup for Microsoft Office 365 product.

In 2017, more than 25,000 organizations installed our Office 365 backup solution, representing 2.3 million Microsoft Office mailboxes. We saw a staggering 327% quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4 of last year.

And the reasons why all Office 365 users should consider an external backup solution for their data hosted in Microsoft’s SaaS cloud platform.

It’s important to remember that SaaS platform providers, like Microsoft Office 365, take on the responsibility of application uptime and the underlying infrastructure. But it is the customer’s responsibility to manage and protect their vital business data.

This is public cloud in a nutshell…Ultimately the customer has the responsibility to ensure all data is backed up correctly. I won’t go into the technical aspects as to why Office 365 requires additional backups solutions. There a plenty of good online resources, a Gartner report is available here Microsoft’s has an offical page on High Availability and Business Continuity guide. Doing research into the nature of SaaS you understand the need for third party backup solutions.

The Office 365 Opportunity:

From a service provider point of view there is an opportunity to tap into the 85 million user Exchange Online market and offer availability services for organisations using Office 365. This is a multi-billion dollar market that exists today and services based around backup and management of that data are central to tapping into that opportunity. Just breaking down the ANZ market alone, there are approximately 4.25 million Office 365 users of which if only 5% was captured would represent a combined 3.5 to 5 million dollar market.

For those VCSPs who have already deployed Cloud Connect and offering Backup services, the ground work has been laid with regards to having the infrastructure in place to extend that service to offer Veeam Backup for Office 365 aaS.

The billable components of this service are licenses and then storage costs. Managed Service Providers can also build in management fees that offer an end to end solution for their clients. Where it should be seen to be extremely attractive for VCPSs is in the potential for the storage revenue to be significant early and then continue to grow as tenant’s backup and retain more and more mailboxes in addition to new tenants coming on board.

We have given our VCSPs the tools to be able to build a strong service around Office 365 backups with the 1.5 release of Backup for Office 365 focused on scalability and automation. Add to that the self service feature that came in Update 3 for Backup & Replication and there is no excuse to not start thinking about offering this as a service.

Looking beyond Exchange Online, version 2 of Backup for Office 365 will include the ability to backup SharePoint and OneDrive as well…have a think about what that represents in terms of revenue opportunities just on the potential for storage consumption alone.

Again, I want to emphasis that this market is huge and what’s on offer in terms of potential revenue can’t be ignored. I’m excited about the next 12-18 months in being able to see our VCSPs grab this opportunity…don’t let it slip!

References:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/exchange-online-high-availability-and-business-continuity.aspx

The Limitations of Microsoft Office 365 Backup

 

 

What I’ve Learnt from 12 Months Working From Home

This week marks one year since I started at Veeam and it feels like that twelve months has flown by. Before I started here at Veeam I had only worked for local companies here in Perth, though the last two had national presence which meant some travel interstate and occasionally overseas for events like VMworld. Prior to this role I was office bound however this role, being part of a Global Team meant that I had to work remotely from home. Something that I thought would be a walk in park…however the reality of working from home is far from that.

There is a growing norm (especially in IT) where location doesn’t matter and working remotely is embraced. For the employer they win by getting the person they want…and for the employee the boundaries of locality are lessoned meaning that more opportunities can be pursued. In my case, living in one of the most isolated cities in the world I was aware of other vendor roles where people worked from home so knew if the right role popped up, I had a chance to remain in Perth…travel a lot…and work from home.

The role that I’m in has me traveling roughly once every three days, however that has come in waves and I’ll have periods of travel, followed by periods at home meaning I could have times where i’m working from home for weeks on end. While this isn’t a definitive guide as such to working from home, I wanted to jot down some experiences and lessons learnt from my last 12 months, because the adjustment was tougher than expected.

If you want some generic advice there are lots of articles out there that list the Top Working from Home Tips, but below are my key takeaways from my experiences.

Getting into a Routine:

This is the obvious one, however it’s actually hard to achieve unless you really put your mind to it. Over the first two to three months I was finding myself still stuck int the old routine of getting up and effectively going to work. I sat in front of the computer from 8am to 5pm, had dinner, played with the kids and had family time. Problem was my team was spread across the globe and I was then working from 9pm to 12-1am so my screen time was significant. I wasn’t burning out, but came to the realisation that because of the working from home and the fact that timezones meant nothing I had to stop thinking as a 9-5 worker.

This involved setting a routine that was achievable. When home I now get up, have breakfast with the family (when possible) and then get ready to go into the study. For me, having a shower first thing is still optional and while that might disgust some people out there, I tend to wash up during my first break of the day. That break is usually around 11am after dealing with emails and when the east coast of the US starts to go to bed.

One of the things that I try and do during the middle part of the day is get out the backyard and shoot some hoops…basketball is a great game to play by yourself. Once I have lunch I usually get back on the computer for a couple of hours and then head out to the gym for a workout. Once I get back home the kids are back from school and generally its time for dinner and I try to do some family time where possible.

After family time I then do the nightshift when most of EMEA is well into their day and the US is starting to wake up. From 9pm till 12am (or later) I can work efficiently and tend to get a lot fo work done during this period. It’s also when most of the timezones I deal with are awake at the same time, so interaction with workmates is at it’s peak.

Getting over the Feeling on Loneliness:

Those that know me know that I am a pretty social guy…I love a good chat and enjoy interacting with people in the office. Those that have worked with me, also know that I like to muck around a little bit and have a laugh during the day. All in all I enjoy peoples company, so probably the biggest adjustment to working from home was the fact that I did feel lonely to begin with. It was good to hear that people I have mentioned that to that also work from home had felt that as well…good in that I wasn’t alone in this.

The key that i’ve found to combating that sense of isolation is to ensure that I am not home bound 24 hours a day, five days a week. The thing that solved this for me was developing a routine where I get out of the house to go to the gym to be around other humans…and while I am not exactly having conversations with people at the gym I’m at least physically around people which seemed to help.

In addition to that, social media platforms like Slack, WhatsApp and Skype are critical social interactions and while they can be sometimes distracting…they are critical to making sure that I feel connected with the outside world which in turn helps beat the isolation.

Having a Proper Home Office Setup:

The last thing is around having a decent home office setup. I know a lot of people that work from home but work at the dinner table or on the kitchen bench. This isn’t conducive to being able to work constantly or efficiently. I made sure that there was a decent study when looking for a house and I’m lucky enough to have a good one at the moment. It’s isolated from the main living area of the house and setup in such a way that it closely replicates an proper office.

Apart from all the right technology one of the biggest things for me is keeping this space tidy and organised. It’s important to maintain a high standard even though no one else gets to see the setup. Apart from that the other thing I’ve learnt is to make it as desirable as possible to be around…because I spend all day there I want to feel like I want to be there. Apart from the job being rewarding, for me it’s important to have a sense of pride in your work space so even if working from home it’s an important point to consider.

Wrap Up:

One thing to finish up on is that support comes in many flavours while working from home. I’m lucky that I have a great boss and a great team that I work with…they help tremendously in making the working from home thing work. Without a great team and support structure it would be indeed be a lonely gig.

All in all, after a period of adjustment I’ve settled into a decent routine while keeping myself sane during the periods when I am working from home. Ultimately what I learnt during the first twelve months of working from home is that you have to be disciplined. With the discipline to stick to my routines and get into a rhythm day in and day out it’s become easier and more natural. That said, I still miss the office atmosphere however there is some sacrifice that needs to be taken in order to work in a role that is ultimately very rewarding.

And like actually being at an office…the key is to minimize distractions!

Work Life Balance: My Impossible Reality

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while but haven’t been able to articulate myself in terms of the message I wanted get across until now. This post is about work life balance and how it’s so critical to maintain. This is about not letting yourself become consumed by work and career. This is about realizing what’s important in life…what really matters.

Last year I was driving my family to see the Christmas lights a local street puts on every year. While stopped a set of traffic lights I remember my brain ticking over trying to resolve an issue at work…I can’t remember exactly what it was but it was one of those times where your brain is on a loop and you can’t switch it off. I remember looking down at my phone to check something and then drove off. The only problem was that the light was still red and I found myself half way through the intersection with traffic still cutting across.

My wife yelled and only then did I realise what I was doing…to be honest I have no idea why I took off with the light still red…I just did! Luckily the other cars had noticed my mistake and stopped before anything serious happened. This wasn’t inattention…this was total absorption. Total absorption of mind and body in whatever problem it was and the total disconnect with the task at hand. Whatever it was I was trying to work out while waiting at those lights, it had resulted in me putting my family at risk.

People that know me know that I am find it almost impossible to switch off. If I am not at work I am thinking about work or thinking about checking my Twitter stream…seeing what’s happening on Slack or trying to work out the next blog post. I have a serious and very real case of FOMO. I realise that having this addiction or for a better word, dedication to my career which doubles as my hobby which doesn’t help isn’t healthy.

The inability to switch off is a dangerous one because I find that my brain will always be ticking…consumed by whatever issue I am working on…whatever product or tech I am researching. This means that other parts of my life get relegated to the background task section of my brain…almost irrelevant and not worth wasting precious capacity on!

As that near miss has made me realise…there must be a time to switch off…a time to disconnect and move the background tasks to the foreground. Those background tasks are in fact the most important…family, health and wellbeing. I’m still not where I would like to be in regards to being able to balance this out but I’m trying to be better. Better when I come home and spending time with my wife and kids…better in trying to remained focused on them instead of relegating them to the background…better in understanding that work and career is important…but not that important that all else suffers.

I realise the irony in getting this post out while on a flight traveling away from my family for work on my MBP at 30,000 feet…but hey, at least I now recognise that 🙂

Azure Stack – Microsoft’s White Elephant?

Microsoft’s World Wide Partner Conference is currently on again in Toronto and even though my career has diverged from working on the Microsoft stack (no pun) over the past four or five years I still attend the local Microsoft SPLA monthly meetings where possible and keep a keen eye on what Microsoft is doing in the cloud and hosting spaces.

The concept of Azure Stack has been around for a while now and it entered Technical Preview early this year. Azure Stack was/is touted as an easily deployable end to end solution that gives enterprises Azure like flexibility on premises covering IaaS, PaaS and Containers. The premise of the solution is solid and Microsoft obviously see an opportunity to cash in on the private and hybrid cloud market that at the moment, hasn’t been locked down by any one vendor or solution. The end goal though is for Microsoft to have workloads that are easily transportable into the Azure Cloud.

Azure Stack is Microsoft’s emerging solution for enabling organizations to deploy private Azure cloud environments on-premises. During his Day 2 keynote presentation at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, touted Azure Stack as a key differentiator for Microsoft compared to other cloud providers.

The news overnight at WPC is that apart from the delay in it’s release (which wasn’t unexpected given the delays in Windows Server 2016) Microsoft have now said that the Azure Stack will only be available via pre-validated hardware partners which means that customers can’t deploy the solution themselves meaning the stack loses flexibility.

Neil said the move is in response to feedback from customers who have said they don’t want to deal with the complexities and downtime of doing the deployments themselves. To that end, Microsoft is making Azure Stack available only through pre-validated hardware partners, instead of releasing it as a solution that customers can deploy, manage and customize.

This is an interesting and in my opinion risky move by Microsoft. There is a precedence to suggest that going down this path leads to lesser market penetration and could turn the Azure Stack into that white elephant that I suggested in a tweet and in the title of this post. You only have to look at how much of a failure VMware’s EVO:Rail product was to understand the risks of tying a platform to vendor specific hardware and support. Effectively they are now creating a Converged Infrastructure Stack with Azure bolted on where as before there was absolute freedom in enterprises being able to deploy Azure Stack into existing hardware deployments allowing for a way to realise existing costs and extending that to provide private cloud services.

As with EVO:Rail and other Validated Designs, I see three key areas where they suffer and impact customer adoption.

Validated Design Equals Cost:

If I take EVO:Rail as an example there was a premium placed on obtaining the stack through the validated vendors and this meant a huge premium on what could have been sourced independently when you took hardware, software and support costs into account. Potentially this will be the same for the Azure Stack…vendors will add their percentage for the validated design, plus ongoing maintenance. As mentioned above, there is also now the fact that you must buy new hardware (compute, network, storage) meaning any existing hardware that can and should be used for private cloud is now effectively dead weight and enterprises need to rethink long term about existing investments.

Validated Design Equals Inherit Complexity:

When you take something in-house and not let smart technical people deploy a solution my mind starts to ask the question why? I understand the argument will be that Microsoft want a consistent experience for the Azure Stack and there are other examples of controlled deployments and tight solutions (VMware NSX comes to mind in the early days) but when the market you are trying to break into is built on the premise of reduced complexity…only allowing certain hardware and partners to run and deploy your software tells me that it walks a fine line between being truly consumable and it being a black box. I’ve talked about Complex Simplicity before and this move suggests that Azure Stack was not ready or able to be given to techs to install, configure and manage.

Validated Design Equals Inflexibility:

Both of the points above lead into the suggestion that the Azure Stack looses it’s flexibility. Flexibility in the private and hybrid cloud world is paramount and the existing players like Openstack and others are extremely flexible…almost to a fault. If you buy from a vendor you loose the flexibility of choice and can then be impacted at will by costs pressures relating to maintenance and support. If the Azure stack is too complex to be self managed then it certainly looses the flexibility to be used in the service provider space…let alone the enterprise.

Final Thoughts:

Worryingly the tone of the offical Blog Announcement over the delay suggest that Microsoft is reaching to try and justify the delay and the reasoning for going down the different distribution model. You just have to read the first few comments on the blog post to see that I am not alone in my thoughts.

Microsoft is committed to ensuring hardware choice and flexibility for customers and partners. To that end we are working closely with the largest systems vendors – Dell, HPE, Lenovo to start with – to co-engineer integrated systems for production environments. We are targeting the general availability release of Azure Stack, via integrated systems with our partners, starting mid-CY2017. Our goal is to democratize the cloud model by enabling it for the broadest set of use-cases possible.

 

With the release of Azure Stack now 12+ months away Microsoft still has the opportunity to change the perception that the WPC2016 announcements has in my mind created. The point of private cloud is to drive operational efficiency in all areas. Having a fancy interface with all the technical trimmings isn’t what will make an on-premises stack gain mainstream adoption. Flexibility, cost and reduced complexity is what counts.

References:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-azure-stack-delivering-cloud-infrastructure-as-integrated-systems/?utm_campaign=WPC+2016&utm_medium=bitly&utm_source=MNC+Microsite

https://rcpmag.com/articles/2016/07/12/wpc-2016-microsoft-delays-azure-stack.aspx

http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-to-release-azure-stack-as-an-appliance-in-mid-2017/

http://www.techworld.com.au/article/603302/microsoft-delays-its-azure-stack-software-until-mid-2017/

Top vBlog 2016: Aussie (vMafia) Representation

The Top vBlog for 2016 Results where announced a couple of nights ago and Australia had an ok representation this year, though the number of active bloggers on the list has decreased from last year. There where 321 blogs listed at vSphere-Land.com. I know of a lot more bloggers locally so if you have a chance head over and register your site on the list ready for next year’s revamp.

http://vsphere-land.com/news/top-vblog-2016-full-results.html

I’ve pulled out the Aussie Blogs and listed them below…Those with the Rank highlighted in Red are contributors to the @aussvMafia site with myself, Craig Waters, Rene Van Den Bedem and @JoshOdgers taking out a Top 50 spots this year. Those not familiar with Aussie vMafia, head here and take advantage of one of the best aggregation sites focused on VMware Vitualization going round. Great to also see three new blogs appear in the list as well.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Votes Total Points #1 Votes
CloudXC (Josh Odgers) 17 15 -2 189 1342 24
VCDX133 (Rene Van Den Bedem) 19 37 18 167 1284 24
Craig Waters 37 58 21 75 579 4
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 44 105 61 77 544 14
Penguinpunk.net (Dan Frith) 78 229 151 52 320 2
Virtual 10 (Manny Sidhu) 82 246 164 41 303 7
Proudest Monkey (Grant Orchard) 93 98 5 45 278 1
Pragmatic IO (Brett Sinclair) 153 224 71 30 199 4
Musings of Rodos (Rodney Haywood) 214 319 105 20 140 0

Virtualization is Life! managed to jump up 61 places from last year to #44 which is a great feeling and humble reward for the work I put into this site. It also shows that there is strong interest in vCloud Director, NSX and the vCloud Air Network in general. The list of bloggers that are ranked higher (and lower) shows the extraordinary power of community generated content. There is quality throughout!

Thanks again to Eric Siebert for taking his time to go through the process and organise the voting and all the good and bad that goes with that…and thanks to all that voted!

#TopvBlog2016 #LongLivevCD

ps. Please let me know if I’ve left anyone off the list..I worked through the list in quick time so might have left someone out.

CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!

[UPDATE] – VMware have released an official KB for the CBT issue.

Sadly if you recognize the title of this post it’s because this isn’t the first time I’ve felt compelled to write about the continued industry frustration with some repeat ESXi bugs. In February I wrote in general around the recent history of bugs slipping through VMware QA. Four months later and there has been another CBT bug slip through the net…just to reaffirm the core message of my last post I talked about the fact:

There are a number of competing vendors (and industry watchers) waiting to capitalize on any weakness shown in the VMware stack and with the recent number of QA issues leading to a significant bugs popping up not abating, I wonder how much longer VMware can afford to continue to slip up before it genuinely hurts its standing

The one area of absolute concern is the amount of Change Blog Tracking bugs that seems to slip into new builds of ESXi. This time it’s Express Patch 6 for ESXi 6 (Build 3825889) that contains an apparently new symptom of our old friend the CBT Bug. The patch it’s self is a fairly critical one for those running VSAN and VMXNET3 NICs as it addresses some core issues around them but if you use quiesced snapshots duing a VM Backup may have issues with CBT. The vmware.log of a VM being backed up will contain:

vcpu-0| xxxx: SNAPSHOT:SnapshotBranchDisk: Failed to acquire current epoch for disk /vmfs/volumes/
vmdk : Change tracking is not active for this disk xxx.

For a detailed explanation of the issue go to: http://www.running-system.com/take-care-express-patch-6-esxi-6-can-break-backup-cbt-bug/ 

[UPDATE]

VMware Support is aware of this issue and are currently working on it.
This KB article will be updated once the fix for this issue is released.

To work around this issue, apply one of these options:

Again as a Service Provider the CBT bugs are the most worrying because they fundamentally threaten the integrity of backup data which is not something that IT Operation staff or end users who’s data is put at risk should have to worry about and most backup vendor’s use CBT to make backups more efficient. In this case…specifically if you use Veeam the lack of CBT will extend backup windows and increase the chances of VMs not being backed up as expected.

VMware need to continue to nail ESXi (and vCenter) as well as keeping focus on the new products. VSAN, NSX and everything that VMware offers runs on or off of ESXi and though hypervisors are not as front of mind anymore, everything that VMware does relies on ESXi and VMware partners who create products to work with ESXi need it to be stable…especially around backups. Everyone needs to backup with absolute confidence…the more these CBT bugs appear the less confident pundits become…I already hear of people not wanting to go to ESXi 6.0 because of issues like such as this latest one.

That’s not a good place for VMware to be.

Note: I had sat on this post since Friday, but reading through Anton’s Veeam Community Forums Digest this morning where he lamented the lack of QC and repeat issues. He suggest’s that this is the new normal…and that maybe the thing to do is wait and hope for vSphere 6.5…not a good situation. However, like me he also believes that this can be fixed…but it needs to happen before the next release.

References:

https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2144685

 

 

Quick Thought: The Lonely Traveler…Isolated No More! #WiFi

WiFi on planes is here…well its been around for the best part of a decade as I can remember paying $50 for a 30 minute stint back in 2006 on a flight from London to Singapore back in 2006 that didn’t actually work on my Microsoft PDA device. Fast forward ten years an Emirates offer free 10MB per device ($1 for per further 500MB) on most routes and even allow you to have your cellular data on if you have roaming enabled and a deep pocket.

I had a thought while on route from Perth to Dubai on my way to London that even when traveling on a plane in the middle of a massive ocean cruising at 40,000 feet near the speed of sound there is now the opportunity to stay connected.

Depending on which side of the millennial generation you come this is either a really really good thing…or a horrible thought that even now up in a plane you can jump onto Twitter …view your FaceBook or Slack Channels or do more traditional internety stuff like browse websites and email.

I was discussing with a couple of mates before my flight the fact that I don’t much enjoy solo travel…not that I travel too often on long hauls but for the past 4 or 5 years its been with someone to keep me occupied along the way. It was then suggested that solo travel presents is an opportunity to break away from the rest of the world…sit back, relax (as best possible) and generally be with your own thoughts for the 18-24+ you might be in transit.

For most of us having the temptation of the internet at your fingertips as you are flying would be hard to resist. I know there are lots of people who tell me I am addicted to my phone and content on the internet and in truth they are spot on. I crave content and I crave information (FOMO)…I can’t be disconnected for too long or I get figity. Now that in it’s self if not healthy and I know this, but it’s a reality of the modern world and we are enabled in almost every situation we find ourselves in these days…now, as discussed even in the sky.

So, is this a good thing and can I resist the urge to jump online and get the fix I need?

I am going to try really hard to not succumb to temptation if the opportunity presents on future flights…there is something to be said to disconnect and be with yourself only for a while…it’s just something that doesn’t come naturally anymore.

Could you resist the urge to jump online in-flight?

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If I can give up coffee I can do this! Can you?

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.

ESXi Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!

VMware is at an interesting place at this point in time…there is still no doubting that ESXi and vCenter are the market leaders in terms of Hypervisor Platform and that the vCloud Suite offers a strong portfolio of management, automation and monitoring tools. However VMware has become the hunted and is suffering what most massivly successful tech companies go through after a sustained period of uninterrupted success…there are those that want to see it burn!

There are a number of competing vendors (and industry watchers) waiting to capitalize on any weakness shown in the VMware stack and with the recent number of QA issues leading to a significant bugs popping up not abating, I wonder how much longer VMware can afford to continue to slip up before it genuinely hurts its standing.

The latest couple to watch out for have become common repeat offenders since the 5.5 release…problems with vMotion, Pathing leading to PDLs/APDs and CBT issues have seemed to be on repeat if you search through the VMwareKBs over the past twelve to eighteen months.

KB2143943 – vMotion Fails After Upgrading from a number of builds
KB2144657 – ESXi 6 may not fail over correctly after encountering a PDL

As a Service Provider the CBT bugs are the most worrying because they fundamentally threaten the integrity of backup data which is not something that IT Operation staff or end users who’s data is put at risk should have to worry about. Veeam have done a great job circumventing the issue, though these issues are being fixed with drastic measures like full CBT resets…On a IaaS Platform where machines are not easily scheduled for downtime this is a massive issue.

I know that VMware are not purposely going out of their way to produce these errors, and I am sure that there are individuals and teams getting an ass whipping internally. But it has to stop…the quality of what is released to the public for consumption can’t continue to suffer from these issues. Their lead is secure for the moment and VMware have an extremely passionate and committed supporter base and even though their hypervisor competitors are not free of devastating bugs themselves (in fact ESXi was still the least patched hypervisor platform of in the last 12 months) it’s not a lead VMware can afford to let slip any more…specially with ESXi and vCenter are still at the heart of what VMware is trying achieve through new focus products like NSX and VSAN.

To be fair the VMware team do a great job and keep everyone up to date with issues as they arise and are generally fixed in quick time…VMware can’t afford to have many more:

Resolution:
This is a known issue affecting ESXi 6.0.
Currently, there is no resolution.

Especially if they are repeat bugs!

http://blogs.vmware.com/kbdigest/ 

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