Dear blog: A **ITload of virtualization & cloud happened this summer

At SolarWinds thwackCamp 2015, I was joined by my friend, Dave McCrory, CTO of Basho. We discussed the Application Stack Wars 2015 – Rise of the Versatilist. It was a total blast!

And I wrote my first eBook: 4 Skills to Master Your Virtualization Universe. My virtualization basics introductory blog post gives some insights into the purpose of the eBook. Just in time for SolarWinds at VMworld.

Then, it’s off to my friend, John Troyer’s, inaugural conference — The Reckoning.

Finally, it’s back to Austin to present at SpiceWorld Austin 2015. P.S. there’s something about AWS re:Invent as well.

Family Friends Forked #DescribeYourselfIn3Words

Twitter hashtag trends are fun little exercise in creativity in 140 characters. Today was no different as one was asked to #DescribeYourselfIn3Words. I choose Family, Friends, and Forked. The first two are obvious but the last word seemed to confuse folks so here is my clarification for describing myself as forked.

Forked pays homage to my engineering background and the choices made in life. In its simplified form, a fork is a place where one can travel in one of two distinct and different paths. A decision is made on which path to take. In fact, it’s a binary decision – “1” on the path taken and “0” on the path not taken. Simple and fundamental, yet able to build sophisticated and complex instantiations such as one’s life experience.

Yes, I could have said bifurcated but forking is more elegant and to-the-point than bifurcating. Forking has made me to who I am and who I continue to become. I’ve forked so many times that I’ve lost count; but each decision continues to mold the present and future me. And that’s why I’m forked — it describes me perfectly.

What three words would describe you?

So Say SMEs in Virtualization & Cloud: Back to Performance Optimal Shenanigans

Check us out. We quietly filmed 8 new So Say SMEs in Virtualization & Cloud episodes and they’re all available on our YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure. Thank you for your support and engagement!

I was auto scaling before auto scaling was agile, webscale, and simple.

But it was almost for naught.

According to AWS, “Auto Scaling helps you maintain application availability and allows you to scale your Amazon EC2 capacity up or down automatically according to conditions you define.” A similar process is discussed by Enterprises with private cloud resources who want to leverage additional compute capacity of public clouds during heavy load periods. Policies usually dictate how these additional resources are orchestrated and provisioned.

Sounds similar to claims from my US Patent 8,176,497, which specifically focused on database workloads, but would apply to other workloads as well. The funny thing is that the Dell Patent Committee almost voted not to authorize the disclosure. The deciding vote was cast by a retiring Dell VP and Distinguished Engineer. Had it not been for his vote and the other two Distinguished Engineers (one BIOS and one Solutions Engineer), this patent never would have gotten its chance before the US Patent Office. By the way, the dissenting votes were by a Dell Storage engineer- now a Dell Storage Director and a Dell Distinguished Mechanical Engineer. Hilarious that my “auto scaling” patent was almost killed by a Mech E. and a SCSI engineer.

This humblebrag is brought to you by a trip down memory after lunch with a longtime friend and former Dell OCTO engineer.

I’d love to hear of similar stories where your idea or your project was almost shuttered only to find its own greatness later down the road.

IT Change Management Starts with Visibility

IT Pros get buried in the responsibilities of our jobs. And we get classified accordingly i.e. there goes the virtualization admin, the SQL DBA, the network admin, the storage admin, the server admin, etc. Regardless of your admin discipline, the one common denominator is managing change. Change includes updates to virtualization settings, network configurations, SW apps, OSes, and HW systems. Effectively managing changes to one’s environment is the key to success in IT.

And it starts with visibility. You can’t address changes in the environment’s behavior without visibility. These behaviors usually manifest themselves as the following tickets:

• My application is SLOW!
• The Internet is SLOW!
• My system is SLOW!

Unfortunately, this usually is indicative of the level of details that IT Pros get on a trouble ticket. And the expectation is for the IT admin to root cause and solve the problem ASAP because the user’s issue is effecting their productivity. For virtualization admins, the trouble is doubled because you add in the complexities of the additional hypervisor layer. In these situations, visibility is the beginning to unraveling the issues and pinpointing the root cause. Visibility involves monitoring the environment including all the components – compute, memory, storage, & networking as well as the OS, application & hypervisor stacks. Visibility also includes the logs of what had happened and what is happening.

Ideally, a holistic view of all the interdependencies in the environment regardless of layers and the ability to drill-down through the layers and view the base elements provide the best starting point for successfully dealing with change. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

SolarWinds Virtualization Head Geek


I have joined SolarWinds as Virtualization Head Geek. First, I am thankful to my colleagues and friends at Gravitant for fourteen wonderful months. Gravitant is THE leader in the Cloud Service Brokering space with its technology, intellectual property and people; but my decision to join SolarWinds was about me, my career and the AWESOMESAUCE opportunity at SolarWinds.

SolarWinds provides me the opportunity to blaze my own trail in virtualization and Cloud. It will be all about the C’s: customers, communities (thwack, VMTN, Cisco to name a few), connecting channels, and creating contextual content. I am super excited to join the SolarWinds family.

Here’s some of the solutions that I will be immersing myself in:

Screenshots of VMan and SAM below.



The Internet of Everything: An Opportunistic View from the Clouds

The Internet of Everything (IoE) describes machine-to-machine (M2M) compute entities that track and measure real-time data that can be used to build out a data history for analytics that could be used to optimize the quality of life. The opportunity is represented by devices used in a person’s everyday life that are connected to the Internet, have the ability to learn a person’s consumption behavior, and embody the goal to improve the efficacy of services and goods delivery and consumption. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers says that the Internet of Everything could be a $19 trillion opportunity. 1 

Cloud computing plays a lead role in this large projected market, especially as the connected devices all vie for the same connected resources. Cloud provides the infrastructure, connectivity, web scale, agility, simplicity of use, and availability of services that the IoE can leverage as a framework. Cloud contributes to the connected ecosystem. All that data being generated is ripe for analysis, consumption, compliance, security, and protection. And as this marketplace is coming to fruition, the future of IoE is tied to the future of cloud.

Accordingly in a recent Cisco blog2, Gee Rittenhouse Ph.D. answers the top 5 questions about the future of cloud. Those questions are:

  1. When will all the major clouds support the same set of APIs?
  2. When will they support migration of data/workloads form one cloud to another natively?
  3. What comes after the race to the bottom in cloud storage prices plays out?
  4. When will we see a true cloud exchange?
  5. How can we be sure our data is safe in your cloud from prying eyes?

I invite you to read Cisco’s cloud blog post. It is listed in the reference section below. With respect to the IoE, I’d like to focus on question 4 and Gee’s answer. I completely agree that a true cloud exchange can only be delivered via a catalog with some of the features that Gee describes in his response. In fact, I’ve described that very catalog as an ITaaS Catalog, whose primary goal is to create a marketplace to optimizes services delivery and consumption. 3  This optimization and simplification of cloud services delivery and consumption is key to cloud adoption success and mirrors the one that needs to take place for the IoE success. 

In closing, it will be interesting to see the landscape that comes with the rise of the IoE and the cloud ecosystems that enable it.