Start of a new era for me

For the last eight years I have been a VMware Certified Instructor (VCI). This certification allows me to deliver VMware’s official courses at VMware Authorized Training Centres (VATCs). Over that eight years I’ve taught over two hundred courses with students all over the Asia Pacific region and had a great time. When I started I thought that VMware would be my focus for two or three years and then there would be something new. I’m surprised to still be primarily working with VMware after eight years. I was also surprised to find that I enjoy delivering training and am better at it than I expected. Now it is time for a change.

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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My career is random

I have read a few blog posts by my friends talking about how they planned their careers and chose what community activities to get into and what work to do involved in order to get into a dream job. Now I thought I’d share my experience, which is altogether different. My career is essentially a chaotic and random thing that progresses without much planning.

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This is a random picture, linked to the photographer

The problem with a lot of planning and clear goals is that concentrating on those can prevent you seeing other opportunities. The biggest changes in my career have come about from chance conversations and being in the right place at the right time. Back in 1997 I became a Citrix specialist after helping troubleshoot an issue on one server. Being a Citrix specialist got me a much better contract rate when I relocated to England for a couple of years. While I was in England a chance conversation introduced me to VMware. A few years later when I was again self-employed a chance comment in a classroom lead me from being a student of VMware to being an Instructor. A series of other chance meetings have led to other changes: Meeting Cody Bunch at the CXI party in 2011 lead to me being part of vBrownBag. Meeting Stephen Foskett at the same VMworld lead to me being a Tech Field Day delegate. vBrownBag TechTalks came about after twitter grumblings about rejected VMworld sessions. Each instance was a random meeting or comment along with being open to opportunity.

For me having long term career goals just doesn’t work. Plans never seem to work out the way I thought but the results are always awesome in some form. Don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t plan and that planning is a bad idea. Having goals and pathways to the goals is a great idea. I do always keep an eye on what is developing and invest in my own skills. Just keep yourself open to other things that crop up along the way. Career plans should not be cast in concrete, they should be flexible and must change as the world changes.

© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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New Project, Notes for Engineers

I’ve started a new project called Notes For Engineers. It is a video training blog which will feature frequent updates of small learning pieces. A feature of these videos is a hideous pink colour scheme that is inspired by the giant pink post-it note that I am using in some of the videos.

Post-It

I am going to do videos with people who are building infrastructure and who have experience to share. These are an interview format with a guest who explains a problem they solved or a piece of technology they have implemented. Some of these will be about new products or new ways of using products. I hope to learn a lot by producing these, hopefully you will too.

I have a series of videos in the pipeline that are about the basics of virtualization taken from workshops I do with operations teams who need to know about VMware. These are starting with a few videos about how VMware snapshots work and the issues around using snapshots. I’ll also look at thin provisioning and HA configuration. A lot of these videos are saving you from explaining the same thing to each team member who doesn’t specialise in virtualization, just send them to Notes For Engineers.

If you’d like to appear in a video let me know, the more people whose experience I can capture the better. If you have an idea for a tutorial on a virtualization basic then let me know. If you are a vendor looking to explain your product to the people who will build solutions with it then also get in touch with me. You can reach me as alastair@demitasse.co.nz

© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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North East Asia

In April I got to visit two new countries in one week, teaching Nutanix courses in Seoul and Tokyo back to back. My week was 20,000KM flying, six airports, two hotels and a lot of different cars. I met a lot of Nutanix staff and even more Nutanix partners. One of the things I really like about my work is going different places and meeting different people. This week definitely delivered both people and places.

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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CloudPhysics, vSphere management by Big Data

CloudPhysics is an interesting company name to go with an interesting company. I have a University degree in Physics and spent many hours looking out windows at clouds whilst gaining that degree. Of course CloudPhysics does little physics and while it is in the Cloud it isn’t in the sky. They apply big data analytics to information about a large number of vSphere environments. The results of the analysis are presented back to customers in a web portal. The analysis provides configuration information and actionable recommendations. The data about the vSphere environments is provided by every CloudPhysics customer. Each customer deploys an observer VM which reports back to the CloudPhysics data warehouse. Customers can then connect to CloudPhysics web site and get insights into their environment.

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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Pure: All Flash for Everyone

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Some flash array vendors want to make the fastest flash array they can. Pure’s array isn’t the fastest, that is by design. Pure Storage want to bring the benefits of flash storage by being price competitive with hard disk based arrays. Pure is targeting being a mainstream storage array that uses flash. Pure want to replace the spinning disk in your datacentre. When I say Pure isn’t the fastest flash array I mean a single array won’t do a million IOPS, only a few hundred thousand. To put this in perspective an all hard disk array without cache would need eight racks of disks to hit 200,000 IOPS. Not the fastest all flash array is still a very fast array. The purchase price for usable capacity may be similar to hard disks. The price per unit of performance is much lower than hard disk.

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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AutoLab 1.5 released, vSphere 5.5 and vSAN

It’s funny what motivates you. Last week I was at Virtualization Field Day 3 in San Jose. These events are where I hang out with my tribe and talk virtualization. Over beer one evening we were talking about AutoLab and I was vigorously encouraged to ship the vSphere 5.5 build of AutoLab even though the documentation wasn’t updated. Now that I’m home I’ve spent my evenings getting the documentation fixed, after an awesome week last week it didn’t take me long to get the docs together.

AutoLab v1.5 is available for download on the AutoLab home page. It supports vSphere 5.5 as well as the current versions of View. In order to let you play with vSAN there are now three ESXi VMs and they have a disk tagged as SSD as well as another disk. Setting up VSAN on AutoLab is easy (provided you put the license key in). Keep in mind that you’re really only looking at the interface to VSAN, you’d need to do some funny things to make it perform like a real VSAN.

If you are new to AutoLab then make sure to read the deployment guide. If you have used AutoLab before it works the same, just be aware that the ESXi VMs now have 4GB RAM configured, so that ESXi 5.5 will install. To fit on an 8GB physical you will need to reduce each ESXi to 2GB after install.

© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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Validate your Cloud with Spirent

My normal day job is teaching about virtualization for enterprise IT. I don’t often get to install large environments. As a result much of what Spirent does is way beyond my knowledge. My normal day job is teaching about virtualization for enterprise IT, so I don’t often get to implement large environments. As a result much of what Spirent does is way beyond my knowledge.

Spirent Meme

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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Writing for a new site

It is always an honour when people you like and respect approach you to work together. I was delighted when Scott Lowe (the “Other” one, not the one talking about NSX all the time) and David Davis asked whether I’d like to write some articles for their web sites, VirtualizationSoftware.com and the newly launched EnterpriseStorageGuide.com. The sites are both filled with articles by independent community members and with interviews and videos that Scott and David have produced with vendors. There are quite a few articles there that I want to have a read over when I get a moment. The two articles of mine that have been published are Why RAID Cannot Cope With Large Disks: Rebuild Times and An Introduction to Scale-Up vs. Scale-Out Storage there are a few more that should appear on the site over time.

For a full listing of the pieces I have written please take a look at my Other Publications page. It’s getting quite long since three articles a month for two years adds up. If you are looking for writing services do get in touch via my About page.

© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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Virtualization Field Day – Day 0

I’m in silicon valley for VFD3, this is my first time in the valley so I’m having the experience of seeing tech company signs on way more buildings than I’m used to in New Zealand.

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© 2014, Demitasse. All rights reserved. This post first appeared on the Demitasse blog www.demitasse.co.nz

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