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.

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.



So Say SMEs in Virtualization and Cloud 2013 | Every Day SMEs Are Shuffling

In this week’s episode of So Say SMEs in Virtualization and Cloud 2013, we discuss our recent travels as well as their football teams’ current form. The net is that it is a journey and you definitely need to enjoy your time and experience instead of worrying about getting to the destination. The end is relative so make the means to that end count.

Let us know what you think.

So Say SMEs in Virtualization and Cloud 2013 | Free Agents

The only constant in life is change. And it is up to individuals to deal with these changes. Such is the case for fantasy football teams who need to make adjustments after their fantasy drafts. Similarly, vendors need to make similar adjustments when highly visible employees depart their company. The percentage of departures are especially high after major conferences such as VMworld 2013. Big companies can cope by promoting within or hiring from outside but lose too many of these highly prized assets and it can drastically change the fortune of a company.

In this week’s episode of So Say SMEs in Virtualization & Cloud, Todd and I discuss IT free agents in the overall scheme of things. Let us know what you think.