vBlog 2017 – Top Virtualisation & Storage Blogs

I’ll keep this post about vBlog 2017 very brief as you can see my thoughts on the subject of soliciting votes for awards in my post from 2015!

It’s that time of year again when Eric Siebert of vSphere Land and vLaunchpad runs his annual Top 100 vBlog nominations!

There are a huge number of bloggers around the world producing great documentation and insight, as well as podcasters helping you pass your daily commute in a constructive and educational fashion! Eric’s awards give people the opportunity to recognise those who really stand out from the crowd, as well as more up and coming bloggers / podcasts.

vBlog 2017 sounds great! How do I vote?

I would encourage you to head over to Eric’s site and cast your votes; it only takes take a few seconds of your time to show some appreciation for the time and effort put in by those ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly throughout the year to help make all of our jobs that little bit easier.

Of course, if you do feel like throwing a vote for the Open TechCast podcast and / or Tekhead.it, then it would of course be much appreciated! 😀

Direct link to the voting is also here:
http://topvblog2017.questionpro.com/

vBLog 2017 Awards

Storage Field Day 13 (SFD13) – Preview

Tech Field Day 12 (TFD12)

For those people who haven’t heard of Tech Field Day, it’s an awesome set of events run by the inimitable Stephen Foskett. The event enables tech vendors and real engineers / architects / bloggers (aka delegates) to sit down and have a conversation about their latest products, along with technology and industry trends.

Ever been reading up on a vendor’s website about their technology and had some questions they didn’t answer? One of the roles of the TFD delegates is to ask the questions which help viewers to understand the technology. If you tune in live, you can also post questions via Twitter and the delegates, who will happily ask them on your behalf!

As a delegate it’s an awesome experience as you get to spend several days visiting some of the biggest and newest companies in the industry, nerding out with like-minded individuals, and learning as much from the other delegates as you do from the vendors!

So with this in mind, I am very pleased to say that I will be joining the TFD crew for the fourth time in Denver, for Storage Field Day 13, from the 14th-16th of June!

As you can see from the list of vendors, there are some really interesting sessions coming up! Having previously met with Primary Data, it will be great to catch up with them and find out about how they have improved in the past couple of years. We also use quite a selection of DellEMC products at my organisation, so it will be really good to meet them and get the latest updates.

Lastly, I am particularly keen to find out what future trends and movements will be from the perspective of SNIA, the Storage Network Industry Association, about some of the most cutting edge developments in the industry.

SFD13 Sounds great! How do I tune in?

If you want to tune in live to the sessions, see the following link:
Storage Field Day 13

If for any reason you can’t make it live, have no fear! All of the videos are posted on YouTube and Vimeo within a day or so of the event.

AWS for VMware Admins – McVMUG Scottish VMUG Slide Deck

There is a certain amount of irony that the last post I did was on re-skilling, as this is the precise reason that it has taken me about 6 weeks to get around to posting this deck from our session at the McVMUG (Scottish VMUG)! I have spent all my time studying for my Microsoft Azure Architect exam (70-534)! Anyway, enough about that, I will cover it in a future post!

Last month, Chris Porter and I did a presentation at the Scottish VMUG (aka McVMUG) on AWS for VMware admins; a simple beginners guide with a few gotchas and tips we’ve picked up along our journeys to the public cloud.

The results of our mini survey were very similar to those of the recent London VMUG, in that most people had little or no AWS experience, but several were planning to do any AWS certs in the next 12 months, though notably less than half this time round.

Random Fact

After the McVMUG I was fortune enough to be able to go and spend a couple of days visiting family in my hometown of Oban. Here are a couple of cheeky snaps I managed to grab on the stunning train, if grey, journey to the West Highlands (between watching Azure study videos!). There also follows a wee pano from the hill behind my teenage home, looking out across Oban bay towards the island of Kerrera. Definitely enough to make me homesick!

McVMUG AWS Slide Deck

You can find a copy of the slide deck below:

AWS for VMware Admins v0.9 (McVMUG)

If you were unable to make the session and happen to be in or around Newcastle on 22nd June this year, Chris will be doing a solo repeat at the North East England VMUG, so make sure you register asap so you don’t miss out!

Further Reading

If you want to find out more about AWS, certification, etc, I have a load of additional resources and posts available here:

Index of Tekhead.it Blog Posts on Amazon AWS

Startup Spotlight: Re-skill, Pivot or Get Squashed

spotlight

The subject matter of this post is a startup of sorts and was triggered by a conversation I had with an industry veteran a few months back. By veteran of course, I mean an old bugger! 😉

It is an entity which begins its journey sourcing a target market in the tech industry and spends day and night pursuing that market to the best of its ability.

It brings in resources to help meet the key requirements of the target market; some of those resources are costly, and others not so much.

Occasionally it hits a bump in the road with funding and potentially needs to find other sources of investment, and may go through several rounds of funding over the course of a number of years. Eventually it gets to a point where the product is of a decent quality and market value.

Then it does a market analysis and discovers that the market has shifted and if the entity does not pivot or indeed re-skill, they will become irrelevant within a few short years.

Eh?

I am of course talking about the career of an IT professional.

Though I may be slightly exaggerating on the becoming irrelevant quite so fast, we certainly all made the choice to follow a career in one of the fastest moving industries on the planet. We have no choice but to continue to develop and maintain our knowledge, in order to keep driving our careers forward.

As a self-confessed virtual server hugger with a penchant for maintaining a pretty reasonable home lab, I enjoy understanding the detailed elements of a technology, how they interact, and acknowledging where the potential pitfalls are. The cloud, however, is largely obfuscated in this respect; to the point where many cloud companies will not even divulge the location of their data centres, never mind the equipment inside them and configuration thereof!

Obfuscation

Obfuscation

That said, those of you with a keen eye may have noticed a shift in my twitter stream in the past year or so, with subjects tending towards a more public cloudy outlook… Talking to a huge range of customers in various verticals on a regular basis, it feels to me that a great many organisations are right on the tipping point between their current on-premises / dedicated managed services deployment models, and full public cloud adoption (or at the very least hybrid!).

It’s hard to believe that companies like AWS have actually been living and breathing public cloud for over ten years already; that’s almost as long as my entire career! In that time they have grown from niche players selling a bit of object storage, to the Behemoth-aaS they are today. To a greater or lesser extent (and for better or worse!), they are now the yardstick upon which many cloud and non-cloud services are measured. This is also particularly the case when it comes to cost, much to the chagrin of many across the industry!

To me, this feels like the optimum time for engineers and architects across our industry (most definitely including myself) to fully embrace public and hybrid cloud design patterns. My development has pivoted predominantly towards technologies which are either native to, or which support public cloud solutions. Between family commitments, work, etc, we have precious little time to spend in personal development, so we need to spend it where we think we will get the most ROI!

charge

So what have I been doing?

Instead of messing about with my vSphere lab of an evening, I have spent recent months working towards certified status in AWS, Azure, and soon, GCP. This has really been an eye opener for me around the possibilities of designs which can be achieved on the current public cloud platforms; never mind the huge quantity of features these players are likely to release in the coming 12 months, or the many more after that.

Don’t get me wrong, of course, everything is not perfect in the land of milk and honey! I have learned as much in these past months about workloads and solutions which are NOT appropriate for the public cloud, as I have about solutions which are! Indeed, I have recently produced a series of posts covering some of the more interesting AWS gotchas, and some potential workarounds for them. I will be following up with something similar for Azure in the coming months.

Taking AWS as an example, something which strikes me is that many of the features are not 100% perfect and don’t have every feature and nerd knob under the sun available. Most seem to have been designed to meet the 80/20 rule and are generally good enough to meet the majority of design requirements more than adequately. If you want to meet a corner use case or a very specific requirement, then maybe you need to go beyond native public cloud tooling.

Perhaps the same could be said about the mythical Full Stack Engineer?

Good Enough

Anyhow, that’s enough rambling from me… By no means does this kind of pivot imply that everything we as infrastructure folks have learned to date has been wasted. Indeed I personally have no intention to drop “on premises” skills and stop designing managed dedicated solutions. For the foreseeable future there will likely be a huge number of appropriate use cases, but in many, if not most cases I am being engaged to look at new solutions with a publicly cloudy mindset!

Indeed, as Ed put it this time last year:

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