In the spirit of these new short-form blog posts (see TekBytes: A Blogging Experiment) it’s probably appropriate that I write a quick post on a new short-form podcasting project I am working on; CloudSpotting!
My day job is as a Solutions Architect at Rackspace, where I’m fortunate enough to work for one of the most tech-agnostic global service providers around! A typical week could include me talking about or designing solutions based on VMware, Hyper-V, AWS, Azure, GCP, OpenStack, or even just plain old dedicated servers! Add to that a swathe of security, networking and storage “stuff”, it all adds up to a pretty healthy mix.
Myself and my colleague Sai Iyer thought it would be fun to share some of our learnings and experiences in designing and operating customer solutions. What better way (we thought!), than an easy-to-consume 30 minute monthly podcast for architects and engineers… In the first episode, we discuss scaling applications for peak periods and the insane growth of Kubernetes adoption! We already have episodes planned on phishing, cyber kill-chains, encryption, automation & DevOps along with a host of other topics, so watch this space!
Just to be clear though – No Kool aid, just cool tech! 🙂
For those of you who are also regular Open TechCast listeners, this doesn’t mean I am changing lanes in any way, there will just be more of my dulcet tones available on your favourite podcatcher (which may or may not be a good thing!).
Where can I find it?
If you want to catch the first episode, just search for “CloudSpotting” on iTunes or Stitcher, or catch the show on Soundcloud here:
I don’t know about you, but some of my best and worst ideas come to me when I’m in the shower… it’s quite possible this may be the latter, but let’s see where it goes!
For those of you who are either regular readers of this blog, or perhaps even know me in the “walking, talking flesh sacks” world, you will probably have noticed I’m prone to long-form communication; whether it’s writing, or indeed speaking!
Due to many reasons I won’t bore you with today (but maybe later!), life has been spectacularly busy the last few months. This has led to something which I want to correct; missing out the enjoyable act of blogging here!
What’s the plan, Stan?
In response I am going to try a little experiment based on the theory of “little and often”.
In addition to my traditional “epic saga” posts, I will be producing a new post series I’m calling #TekBytes. Not quite Twitter-style microblogging, but more regular, bite-sized chunks of content. No more than a few paragraphs or a couple of hundred words per post, based on observations and challenges I see day to day in my role as a multi-cloud solutions architect.
That doesn’t mean it will all be cloudy of course, just whatever comes to mind and I can get down into a post in a few minutes, possibly even from my phone! Some of them might even only be questions for you, the readers!
And before you ask… of course there will still be terrible memes! 😀
Thoughts? Feedback? Make yourself heard using the comments below!
Whether it’s the IEEE, the ISO or any other, we live in a world governed by standards. This has the positive impact in allowing interoperability of devices and elements, but at the same time has the unfortunate side effect of hampering the development of new technologies which conflict with those standards, even if their adoption would ultimately provide a better outcome for everyone!
At the same time, many organisations (read: vendors) opt out of these standards and introduce their own. This is great for the vendor as it is tailored to their requirements and products, but it doesn’t help the customer or their lowly sysadmin who has to then implement a load of additional tooling to manage these products. Take S3 as an example; AWS took one look at what was out there in the market, decided that none of the standards met their requirements, so wrote their own!
The key seems to me to be finding a balance, where you implement a standard, but make it extensible, such that individual vendors can add additional data or functionality over and above the baseline. This means that you can always support the “lowest common denominator” for everyone.
So what is Swordfish?
Funnily enough, the folk from SNIA (The Storage Networking Industry Association) have implemented precisely this with one of their latest standards releases, Swordfish. Specifically, this defines the standards for APIs used to manage storage devices in a consistent fashion, regardless of vendor or indeed storage class (for example software based hyper-converged solutions are supported by it, as well as block, file, object, etc!).They have achieved this by taking the existing SMI-S standards and refactoring them into a simplified model which is client, not vendor oriented, and based on a REST API model, JSON (the current industry favourite for almost all data interchange) and OData. Not only that, but they have achieved this and agreed the standards with their many members in less than 12 months. By comparison to your average RFC from the IEEE that’s lightning fast! 😮
Now this is not to say that your typical vendor is going to throw out everything they have today, but if they begin to run these APIs in parallel, I could see this eventually becoming the defacto standard for all storage management. In addition, SNIA have confirmed that if 2-3 or more vendors have a requirement for the same additional fields (which they will initially have to implement via extensions), then SNIA will ratify them within weeks. Truly an agile methodology for standards!
The Tekhead Take
This seems to me to be a pragmatic approach to a difficult problem. Keeping vendors happy, whilst trying to make life easier for storage consumers and administrators by bringing storage management into the twenty-first century!
Despite being a relatively dry subject matter, I was actually quite interested and impressed with this innovation! People will still need dedicated local storage for many years to come, and these standards will help to enable them to manage storage in a more consistent fashion. Who knows, it may even promote more competition!
Want to Know More?
I was fortunate enough to meet the team from SNIA last year at their Colorado HQ, with Storage Field Day 13. One of the speakers (industry veteran Rob Peglar) also recently appeared as a guest on the Storage Unpacked podcast – an episode well worth a listen too!
Disclaimer/Disclosure: My flights, accommodation, meals, etc, at Storage Field Day 13 were provided by Tech Field Day, but there was no expectation or request for me to write about any of the vendors products or services and I was not compensated in any way for my time at the event.
On day two of VMworld Barcelona 2017, our team of intrepid podcasters were able to catch up with Chief Operating Officer of Customer Operations, Sanjay Poonen, for a chat about life, careers, cloud architecture, VMware strategy and the startup space!
It was a great conversation and clear to see how passionate Sanjay is about the organisation, but more importantly, the people around him. He ended the podcast with a few nuggets of career advice which I think are well worth taking on board for anyone, regardless of seniority or time in the industry. The episode is well worthwhile a listen for this alone!
Once again, Kev, Ather, Amit and myself were there in person, with Gareth remotely dialled in from the UK via Zoom, albeit via a rather dodgy wifi connection at our end!
We were fortunate enough to sit down with both Sanjay and Pat Gelsinger at the event (find interview post here!). It’s great to see senior leadership at as huge an organisation as VMware taking the time out of their insane conference schedules to involve themselves in community initiatives, such as the Open TechCast!
Community engagement is one thing I think VMware continues to do better than most organisations in the industry. It’s probably (at least in part) VMworld continues to attract larger audiences every year, even when other public cloud vendors are taking such large chunks of attention and market share.
Finally, massive thanks again to Sanjay for taking the time to hang out with us! It was a blast!
If you want to catch this extra-special episode of the Open TechCast, you can tune in at: