Hard to believe but I have been a CCNA for almost three years now. October is the three year anniversary which also makes it the month my CCNA expires. I had planned on moving on to my CCNP tests well before the three year deadline but I got distracted by becoming a manager, having two more kids, and fall head over heels into virtualization with VMware. Even with all the distractions I still studied when I could. The plan was to take the tests one by one and whittle them down. A new problem arose when Cisco decided to update the tests. They put a firm July, 31st 2010 deadline on the tests I had been studying for. So now I had two deadlines. I had one deadline for having to start all over (October) and another one to get at least the two big tests or the bigger composite test out of the way. Well, time has a way of sneaking up on you and in the beginning of this month I realized I had 31 days to pass either both Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI) and Building Cisco Managed Switched Networks (BCMSN) tests or risk it all by taking the composite test which combines both. On top of this I was booked for at least two weeks of customer calls and side projects for my team. About two weeks before the deadline I booked the test. July 31st @ 11:00am. Only one shot because by the time I [...]
Watching John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, give the keynote presentation today at Cisco Live 2010 I was struck by two important things: The focus on changing the way the consumer / business users utilizes technology The strong emphasis on the demand for a new model for business operations. Both of these appear on the surface to be great marketing statements. But, what makes these different is the timing with the evolution of technology today. I think the value proposition of the video on every business/consumer device is obvious. I know the Cisco Cius brings the capability to change the way interactions occur and collaberation begins. But, what affected me most was a simple statement that Mr. Chambers made: “Today, change starts from the consumer and moves to the datacenter” It just clicked for me with this statement. The drive for the private cloud, for infrastructure that is flexible, agile, and easily consumable is based on demand. It isn’t based on just the energy savings, cost efficiency, or enabling of new technology. The consumers want more. They want their milk with their cookies. They want to do things quickly with lots of choice and a multitude of interaction. This trend is obvious with devices like iPhones, iPads, Flip Video, even mobile hotspots like Sprint Overdrive. And because the consumers want more and the competition to fill that need accelerates; business development is demanding more from the way it interfaces with technology. The point being, that the acceleration of technology is imposing [...]
Yesterday I officially passed my first EMC certification test. I am now a full fledged EMCPA! So I know, this isn’t the highest-level and I am not going to impress the ladies down at the civic center. But, this is the first *storage* certificate for me and I am happier than a tornado in a trailer park. I am working towards the Technical Architect track and so this test (E20-001) was the first step. I went through the Web Classroom training which was good. But the real secret is studying the ISM book (Amazon link). I really enjoyed the material on fibre-channel protocol and the in-depth work calculating IOPs/capacity. I ended up making a huge Excel spreadsheet so I could play with the formulas. The test was challenging. Some of the questions were not in the book or Web training and instead required some careful thought. Knowing your data replication methods and SAN topologies (even FC-AL) is extremely important. I take tests more to help advance my knowledge (forced studying goals) than to get a certificate. I think EMC certification tracks will definitely add value to you as an individual. The track I am on is for employee/partners only. But they have a multitude of tracks available for customers also. Take a look at their certification framework here. So what is next for me? Well my CCNA is expiring in October, so I am going to focus on the CCNP composite test next. I will be using a combination of [...]
So that is a few hours of my life dedicated to seeing how easy it is to utilize the VMware vSphere Web SDK. And from a datacenter guy I can definitely say that the documentation, community (thanks @sjin2008), and SDK made this a pretty easy task. I highly recommend everyone take your cool tool ideas and try something out too.
This post is inspired by this outstanding post by Chuck Hollis (@chuckhollis) and this one by Chad Sakac (@sakacc). Chuck mentions my favorite way to summarize what virtualization encompasses: “abstracts logical from physical”. What makes abstraction critical is that it breaks historical dependencies that develop as technologies are built over time. I have said this phrase hundreds of times over the last four years of my career and in my mind it translates into an incredible paradigm shift in data center approach over the next ten years. A good example of this is the push to service-oriented architecture design principles in the enterprise application space over the last decade. The whole gist was to enable business functionality to achieve independence and agility by breaking hard coded dependencies to platforms and systems. A loosely-integrated system can provide value to multiple business units by removing the overhead of inherited designs. Any ability to move quickly to market with business features brings competitive advantage. In simple terms, removing boundaries opens more opportunities. Virtualization is the same approach with the end goal of the four food groups (CPU, memory, storage, networking) becoming commodities that can used as needed and where needed. The status quo has been large CapEx investments in infrastructure where efficiency was limited by the boundaries of the physical needs and the return on labor cost to optimize. Even with a large team invested in tuning and sizing, the organic growth of the business can waste resources quickly as usage patterns change [...]
Image via Wikipedia Many times I have seen situations where an application or process grows incrementally to a point where it is no longer able to meet it’s SLAs (whether official or imaginary). The cause of this can vary but is usually: Overworked/Unbalanced teams - Too much effort dedicated to new feature-add and not enough to technical debt Poorly planned systems – Designs for immediate need without taking into account needs for things like instantiation or scaling of decoupled components. Poor maintenance/understanding – Lack of knowledge or effort to tune application/process to more effectively use resources. This can exist in both the application and infrastructure groups. Usually the performance degradation is known early on but accepted because the business users are not making a big enough stink; or at least not big enough to reduce the drive for new features. In addition, lack of monitoring and baselining of application performance is a critical problem. It eliminates the ability to effectively plan for growth and manage team resources. Eventually the impact reaches a point where someone significant (business executive) resets priorities to fix it (technical debt due date). Many options will be evaluated immediately, from trying to buy time by tuning components to finding misconfigurations. However if no easy answers exist, it usually comes down to two options. Optimize the application/process (Fix the code) Scale the application/process with faster hardware (Throw metal at it) Both of these options impact the same core factors: time and money. Depending on what time of [...]