My Craft of Writing

My work has changed a lot over the last couple of years. I am no longer in front of a class teaching courses that are provided to me. Since 2015, my main work is writing, producing blog posts, analytical articles and training materials. I end up writing thousands of word per week and thought I’d share a little about my process.


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Datto in the house

A little while ago I wrote about Datto and their cloud-enabled backup system. I said at the time that I was interested in trying out the solution in my lab. I was fortunate enough to be sent a unit to trial and have been playing around with the product.

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Great Things Happen, Sometimes

If you spend enough time traveling, you get to see some amazing things. Unfortunately, you also get to miss some amazing things.

shutterstock_Mic-RibbonNext month is the first Asia Pacific Podcast Conference in Auckland. The conference is aimed at serious podcasters who want to make a career out of podcast creation. Speakers include internationally successful podcasters, as well as professional communications professionals who include podcasting in a portfolio of media production. The agenda is two days of a single stream, so you will be able to attend every session.

The conference is coordinated by Paul Spain, host of the NZ Tech Podcast and all round good guy. I’ve been a guest on that podcast a few times and my wife recognized him talking gadgets on TV3. I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to attend the conference as I will be on a plane to a podcast inspired adventure in Berlin.

If you want to find out how to make podcasting into a career or to use podcasting to extend your media and communications career then I’d suggest you get to Auckland for the Asia Pacific Podcast Conference. If you come to the conference from overseas, make sure to book an extra week or two to see some of New Zealand.

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Yestoday is Here to Stay

This weekend I started my first log haul trip of the year. A week in Boston with SimpliVity and the VTUG Winter Warmer. As you probably know, travel allows lots of idle time to think. One of the things I have been thinking about is how changing time zones changes how we describe things. Not the usual jet lag and sleep deprivation, but the results of crossing the dateline.

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Videos of SimpliVity platform

I haven’t mentioned my other site, Notes4Engineers for quite a while. Partly because I haven’t posted anything there for nearly a year. I have a few videos that I made with SimpliVity that cover some of teh ways that hardware failure can affect a SimpliVity cluster. This first video covers how SSD and HDD failure affects a cluster.

You can find this video here on Notes4Engineers.

<SpoilerAlert> The use of hardware RAID means that there is no outage even with multiple concurrent failures</SpoilerAlert>

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Clone a VM without any IO. Curiouser and curiouser!

I’ve written quite a bit about deduplicated storage for VMs over the last few months. It’s almost the only thing I’ve written about here. So far I have mostly talked in general about dedupe and its impact on VM storage. Now I want to share something I recently found out about SimpliVity’s deduplicated VM storage. It is fundamental to how SimpliVity gets operational efficiency from their data efficiency.

Disclaimer: While I am regularly doing paid work for SimpliVity, they have not requested or reviewed this article.

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IPMI appliance for Nested ESXi

Nested virtualization is an awesome way to learn about virtualization and
test features or processes. My AutoLab even makes the nested build process relatively
simple. But there are a few things that are impossible to test without real
servers. One feature missing from nested ESXi servers is an IPMI interface. IPMI
is a standard for out of band hardware management. Having IPMI on a nested ESXi
VM would enable testing of IPMI scripting as well as DPM, Distributed Power
Management, which is otherwise impossible. It would also resolve some of the
challenges making the Nutanix Community Edition work in nested virtualization.

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A brand new Violin Memory

Tech Field Day can be an interesting event, not just from the technology side. One of the early questions for Violin Memory was basically: How are you still in business? The answer was that they still have cash and are selling product. The core of their presentation is that this is not the Violin you remember from a couple of years ago. So I’d suggest you take a moment to let go of what you know about Violin. Forget that they were a one product company. Forget that they had a speed demon all flash array with no data services. Forget that their IPO was a disaster. How are you doing? All forgotten? Let’s take a look at the new Violin.


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#vBrownBag TechTalks at vForum


For the fourth year in a row there will be community presentations at vForum in Sydney. vForum is October 21 & 22, unfortunately I won’t be there as I have other travel commitments. Luckily Craig Waters is carrying the community torch and making sure TechTalks happen. You can find details of the TechTalks at vForum Sydney here along with the sign up link.

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Inline dedupe for performance as well as capacity


I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the results of a deduplicated array for storing VMs. I think it’s time to look at some differences between deduplicated arrays.  Deduplication of storage has been around for a few years. Naturally there are different ways of deduplicating storage, each with positives and negatives. One of the first questions to ask about deduplicated arrays is: inline or post processed? Another is the scope of the deduplication? Another is where in the data path the deduplication is done?

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