Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 and no new years resolutions

2015 has now come and as of right now is almost gone. The year as a whole was very quiet for me. I did my job the best I could and came home to play with mini-me. I want to say my last year was in three parts. Cisco Live, NetApp Insight, and iVision while the new year will start with no resolutions! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I want to do when I grow up.....

It's been a very interesting year.

A little over a year ago, I left Dynamix Group and started working for Accenture on a couple of projects. The reason I left was the amount of travel and I wanted to spend more time with my boy, who is growing up really fast. I spent the last year trying my best to help manage the network and implement some new 9K's and make sure things were running well. I was also primary on the storage side. I went back to Accenture (I worked on the same projects before working at Dynamix) with the impression that I would be able to talk about using some products that I love and enjoy (NetApp and Cisco UCS) but was unable to get the chance, so I never had the opportunity to show what they could do for these projects. I enjoyed the work for the most part, but something was missing and after a year I felt like the skills I had worked really hard to build were getting stale and it wouldn't be much longer before they vanished.

With this in mind, I made the decision to try and branch out of the projects I was assigned. Even with as large as Accenture is, I wasn't able to find anything that fit my needs, so I reached out to my personal network and let them know that I was rusty but willing to really dig deep to refresh my skills. Through some amazing friends, I was able to land a job with a great company called iVision. My new position will be a Sr. Support Engineer with the Engineering and Support Services (ESS) group with some crossover to their consulting side.

I'm very excited for the opportunity to get back into NetApp and working on Cisco UCS again. I want to get back to writing for my blog (not that I did a lot of writing for it before) and post some useful content up here besides my rambling posts on personal change. I want to provide you with technical stuff up as well and contribute to the communities that have given me so much.

Thank you iVision for this opportunity! Thank you NetApp A Team for the support of the last year. Thank you Accenture and thank you everyone else for sticking with me.

I hope for a great year next year and many years to come.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NetApp Insight 2015 Recap

NetApp Insight was a few weeks ago in Las Vegas and it was a blast. I would have had something posted sooner, but I have been recovering from the information overload and Las Vegas just gets to you at some point. I picked up some kind of black plague that I thought was going to take me out, but I am on the mend and I want to do a recap of what Insight was for me. 

It’s all about the Data Fabric!

It took me a bit to wrap my head around this idea. When NetApp first talked about their vision of the Data Fabric, I couldn’t really figure out what they were trying to do. Hybrid clouds are becoming almost a standard for people wanting to get into the cloud market, but what is this Data Fabric? Is it a product? Is it a service? Well, it is kind of both. It is a vision that I think they have brought full circle. 

So what is Data Fabric and why should people care? Here are the basics of it. It’s your data, do with it as you wish. 

  • Do you want your data on-site? 
  • Would you like a copy in the cloud? 
  • Would you like to move that data to another cloud? 
  • Do you want to bring that data back on-site? 

These are the questions that the Data Fabric help answer. You can do all of these things using a number of NetApp products, as well as the most recent acquisition of AltaVault (formally SteelStore). NetApp gave a couple of great demos that showed how powerful this idea really is. I really recommend you take the time to look them up on the NetApp YouTube channel or look at the playlist for NetApp Insight videos here. The ability to SnapMirror your data from your onsite FAS or AFF to AWS or Azure and then back again is really powerful, if you think about it. NetApp is offering a bridge between the types of storage that everyone uses and allowing the users to control their own data in ways that no one else is able to do. It’s freeing people up to the option of using the cloud in a way that works best for them. 

Insight is great for learning!

There were a TON of sessions and classes at Insight that really showed how much NetApp wants people to understand the technology and how it works well with others. There were not only sessions on core NetApp ONTAP and E Series solutions, but also on OpenStack, FlexPod, VMware, and Hyper-V to name a few. If you have something running on top of a NetApp product, there was probably a session on how to make that run more efficiently.  I really enjoy how NetApp seems to try and help customers and partners to get the most out of the collaborations that they have with other vendors. 

On top of the great sessions, NetAppU provided the ability to get certified! I am a huge fan of NetAppU and how great their materials are, but they have really kicked it up a notch with their certifications this year. The questions are harder across the board and I think that is better for the overall testing process. But the best part? Free certification tests! And boy were people taking advantage of that. The testing center was always full, and there was a celebration for everyone who was certified on Wednesday evening. With over 200 people showing up wearing their certified bracelets, I think it was a wonderful success. 

Insight Central was the place to be! 

Insight Central was the “vendor” area this year. It was full of NetApp booths, as well as the partners they work with, offering solutions for almost every problem you can think of. Some of my favorites were Cisco and VMware. Veeam had a good booth and Catalogic Software was in full force this year. I really enjoyed talking to people from all these vendors, as well as being able to get with people from NetApp who were helping build the products that we work on. There was always a cool feeling at Insight Central as customers and partners were able to connect to NetApp and their partners to work out solutions. Whiteboards were everywhere and they always had diagrams and drawings on them. The “Meet the Engineer” area was always full of people working out the worlds problems, and next to it the social hub was keeping everyone informed on the happenings of NetApp Insight. While wandering around, I even ran into Dave Hitz!

The Social Network!

As people in IT, we all know about the network. NetApp Insight offers us a chance to get out of the office and participate in our social network. There were multiple opportunities for people to get together and interact with other attendees and NetApp employees and expand that human network that is important to us all. I tried to take advantage of this as much as I could. I am not that social really, but I hide it well, and really reached out to people through the events and the Tech ONTAP podcast. There was the Tech ONTAP Live shows at Insight Central that were great to watch (and I even participated in one, little more on that below), the Greet and Geek certification meet-up, as well as the huge customer appreciation party featuring Train! (Yes, that is myself with a real mermaid!)

Hanging out with the NetApp A-Team!

Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of being part of a great group of people that tries to support NetApp the best way we know how. We are the NetApp A-Team and we were in full force at NetApp Insight. What did we do? Well, we were able to get great seating during the general sessions, we were able to participate in the Tech ONTAP podcasts, we did two tweet chats, and we helped to host the Greet & Geek celebration with NetAppU. I was able to participate in a Tech ONTAP live show with Hercu Rabsatt from Mansfield Oil and hosted by Andrew Sullivan; which was amazing. Participating in that show was a great experience for me. Like I had mentioned before, I have really been trying to push myself to get out of my shell more and being up on stage definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

NetApp has a strong vision and they have put in place amazing technology to make this vision a reality. With AltaVault, Cloud ONTAP, OnCommand Cloud Manager, and SnapMirror everywhere, I think NetApp has the foundation for flexible customer choice and really showed that during the presentations and sessions at Insight. NetApp Insight EMEA is only a few weeks away. If you were unable to attend the one in Las Vegas, then I really recommend trying to get to that one. 

If Vegas proves anything, Berlin is going to be one great show. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NetApp Insight

After what seems like forever, I'm getting back into the swing of things. I've got work killing me and I'm trying to start up a personal project just to keep my sanity while working. But something really exciting is NetApp Insight is right around the corner!! This October 12 - 15, the brightest and best in the storage industry will be getting together in sunny Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay to talk about current state and future of storage. NetApp has always been an exciting and innovative company and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they have to talk about in the way of flash and I hope they get into more cloud stuff. The NetApp A Team will be there in full force, so if you see anyone out there then please stop us and say hi. We love to talk (about NetApp and beer) so don't hesitate to ask questions and introduce yourselves. I don't know where everyone will be, but you will more then likely find me around the social hub when that opens up. Get signed up, pick out of the catalog of great sessions, and stop us and say hi. It will be a great week and I'm REALLY looking forward to it. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where to learn ACI

I remember walking through Cisco Live last year in San Francisco and hearing all about ACI and the Cisco DevNet program. To be totally honest, I shrugged it off as just something that was trying to get hyped up and would not have any real impact on what I do. 
Well......that has changed over the last year for me. What made it change? I guess a desire to learn and grow. I have also seen how learning to code is becoming very important to any IT position. There is a lot of power in the software layer and learning to harness that power is very important to be able to accomplish our jobs. So, with that in mind I have started to learn Python. Why python? I come from a scripting language background with my years as a Windows admin. I never jumped in with both feet, but I did enough to be dangerous. And learning to write code has always really interested me, I just didn't have a good reason to do it. Now, with ACI and SDN showing promise and no longer buzz words to me I am going to dive in and learn. 
So now that I am going to learn, where to start. I've been digging through the Cisco DevNet site and found a ton of great resources there. They have on demand labs and tutorials to get you started in Cisco ACI. They also have a very active and helpful Cisco Community. If your interested in learning, this is a great place to start getting information. There is also the Cisco Live site. After having gone last year, I can't stress enough how great this event is for learning and networking with peers, but they also put all their recorded sessions up on the site for people to view after the conference is over. Let's face it, there is so much information that comes out of Cisco Live that it is really hard to keep track of it all, so this feature is great when you need to refresh that session that you took early in the week before you burned out on Thursday. The website has recorded sessions from the last few years of Cisco Live and you can even filter by "Developer Network" which will bring up all the DevNet sessions. I've also come across and started their python course. Codecadamy has a few other languages and technologies that they teach that are all free. It is good for people who want to learn by doing. I've used both video and hands on training before, and I definitely learn better by putting code to screen. But if you would rather learn through video type of training then INE has some really good python classes that you can get and watch. 
I'm very new into ACI and Cisco DevNet, but I'm very excited by what they are showing. I hope that these resources help and let me know if I missed anything or if there is another great place to go and learn.