VMware Partner Exchange on Tour 2013 – Reading

Wow…. it’s exactly a month since I last posted on my blog! Not good signs….. =P

TBH, I’ve been some-what busy with work, exams, training courses, webinars…… plus the last thing I’ve wanted to do after a long day at work is to log on and blog (which can be read “I’ve been lazy!”).

It’s been a busy month – finally got round to taking and passing the HP0-S35: Implementing HP BladeSystem Solutions exam for the course that I took last November (… procrastination…), so finally have my HP ATP – BladeSystem Solutions Integrator certification! Although I can’t actually check because my HP SmartPortal access has been revoked as HP have killed off anyone with access linked with 2e2! So I can’t even check my HP certs now! ¬_¬”

Also been busy trying to complete the training and certifications required to enable MTI to achieve the VMware competencies! Currently working my way through the Management Competency as I already have a few clients in place that we can submit as case studies (this will be MTI’s 4th competency out of the 6 key ones! Although we’re also eligible for Cloud IaaS).

Did quite a lot of delivery work the past month…. upgrading VMware environments to the latest and greatest…. showing clients the pitfalls of SSO and informing them to ‘get use’ to the new web-client.

Been also busy hosting a MTI Webinar on vCenter Operations Manager – what it is and what it can do to your business! Went well, loads of new leads and quite a number of clients are trialing the product. Should be hosting a technical webinar soon to ‘deep-dive’ into vCOPs! =)

Finally I’ve been very busy deploying several versions of SRM…… VMware SRM and EMC SRM….. =)

VMware SRM = Site Recovery Manager (http://www.vmware.com/products/site-recovery-manager)

EMC SRM = Storage Resource Management (http://uk.emc.com/data-center-management/storage-resource-management.htm)

What I don’t understand is why choose the same acronyms?!? Coming from a VMware background, I always think SRM is going to be Site Recovery Manager – and so will pretty much most of the market!! So why EMC had to call their new management suite SRM is beyond me!!

Anyways, it’s quite a powerful suite of products – consists of:

  • ProSphere (great for discovering end-to-end topology of your whole infrastructure…. as long as you set it up correctly! Twas a painful process),
  • Watch4Net (great dashboard which allows you to create custom reports with a ton of solution packs allowing you to connect to NetApp & EMC storage, Cisco MDS/Nexus, Brocade, VMware, etc…..)
  • Storage Configuration Advisor (great for compliancy – checking aginst EMC best practice as well as setting up other baselines that you can use to check your environment against)

The only issue is it’s really really expensive!! And not to mention a pain to setup and configure….. it would be much better when they finally put it all into one product! Also did I mention it is Stupidly expensive? I mean you’re looking at 5-6 figures!! When you consider products like EMC Storage Analytics or even VNX Monitoring & Reporting give you great functionality for monitoring and managing your EMC Storage for a couple hundred dollars, you really have to think twice when breaking open the chequebook for SRM! Anyways, EMC are trying to push us into selling this product…. but it’s just not priced for SMBs/Mid-markets…..!

Moving swiftly on….. today was VMware’s Partner Exchange on Tour 2013 @ Reading (http://www.partnerexchangeontour2013.com/reading), held at the Madjeski Stadium…… home to the recently relegated Reading FC! I thought it was ironic that the venue was the home of the Royals and that the theme of PEX was “Take Charge”….. Couldn’t help but think the theme came too late for Reading! No one really took charge of keeping them in the premiership last season! Lol….. =P

As always, some good sessions…… especially the keynote speech by Joe Baguley, describing the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) to be like ‘chicken farming’….. =)

TBH, the keynote was pretty similar to what was heard at VMware Forum 2013, although more cats/chickens in the story this time round…. plus a large african snail!

I found it interesting that VMware have now focused their strategy into 3 key areas:

  • Software Defined Data Centre
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • PC->Mobility

I vaguely remember that a year ago this who area was very wishy-washy with the terms End-User Computing, Application Transformation and Infrastructure Transformation….. tbh, those terms could mean anything!! Glad that they’ve now got some good headlines (and some focus) that us partners can build on!

At least this year the venue was decent….. last year it poured with rain and we all had to park on the grass at Wokefield Park….. suffice to say there was a lot of damage to the grass at the end of the day when people tried to drive off in their cars! (Like the huge skid marks I left trying to get my 3-series going – 19″ rims don’t offer much grip on soggy grass!!)

Over the past year at both 2e2 and MTI, I’ve been trying to push home my own thoughts at how a customer’s journey to the cloud should look like:

  • Adoption – starting the virtualisation journey.
  • Evolution/Optimisation – virtualising business critical apps, look into managing the virtual environment, SRM, vCOPs.
  • Revolution – private cloud.

It was nice to see a keynote slide that detailed a similar path that VMware see as the journey from server virtualisation to SDDC!

  1. Virtual Servers
  2. vSphere Operations Management (vCOPs)
  3. Software Defined Storage and Availability (SRM, VAAI/VASA, VDP)
  4. Virtual Networking and Security (VCNS, Nicira)
  5. Cloud Service Provisioning (vCD, vCAC)
  6. SDDC

Ok, so my idea was pretty much squashed into 3 steps and had fluffy marketing spin on the names, but my thought process was pretty similar…. quite chuffed that I was heading in the right direction as the bods at VMware.

Anyways, enough of an update…… roll on VMworld 2013…..!

Oh, and before I sign off….. I’ve finally succumbed and registered myself on Twitter….. my handle is @anthony_poh (https://twitter.com/anthony_poh)……. no idea what I’ll be tweeting….. I’m hoping it will be IT related, but it may end up descending into tweets of my random thoughts and moans! =P

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10 most influential bosses in the storage arena

Quite interesting article on The Reg regarding the 10 most influential bosses in the storage arena…..

Surprised at seeing the CEO of Dropbox in the top 10….. as well as the CEO of Amazon and Facebook’s Open Compute Project at 7 & 8….. I guess cloud computing and cloud storage is really coming into the fore now!

Dropbox is pretty much used by most people in the IT industry to share large presentations and software…. great handy tool!

Amazon have pretty much commercialised the aspects of ‘cloud computing’ which explains why they’re there…..

And Facebook are pretty much leading the way with non-vendor specific hardware (although quite surprised Google aren’t listed as I’m sure they’re in the same boat as Facebook with building their own piece-meal hardware and they have vast storage requirements).

Violin Memory’s inclusion over the likes of more established storage vendors like IBM and NetApp is really interesting – especially since they mainly sell all-flash arrays. Then again, I supposed they’re currently one of the ‘innovators’ in the flash-array market and have been making big waves in flash-array tech…..

Not surprised that NetApp aren’t on there as frankly they haven’t innovated for a long time and in my opinion haven’t really impressed the market with some of their OnTap products (ie Clustered OnTap), but really surprised at seeing HP at No. 6 given how they let their EVAs and StorageWork portfolio decline over the years (although I believe they’re trying to rescue the division with the acquisition of 3Par). Again, I would have thought IBM would be on there considering their new Storwize V7000 arrays have been receiving decent praise (then again we don’t go up against IBM much as if a client is pretty much a ‘Big Blue’ house, they tend to be pretty closed off to other vendors!).

No surprise to see Joe Tucci – CEO of EMC – as No. 1….. no other CEO has overseen the recovery of such a big giant and gone on to make such clever acquisitions (DataDomain, Avamar, VMware, Isilon, XtremIO, Greenplum). I wonder what the future holds for EMC… they’re already No 1 in so many different product areas (data dedupe, storage, virtualisation, etc)… You have to wonder who’s next on their acquisition trail!

Another name missing from this list is probably Samsung…… Aren’t they the leading manufacturer of flash memory and SDRAM? Pretty sure I read that they are looking at entering the PCIe Flash-storage cards soon!

 

Anyways, interesting times ahead in the storage arena……. I guess the next big move would be to link server-based PCIe flash storage with back-end flash-based storage arrays!

End of the 1st week…..

So what have I learnt after a full week in my new job?

Well….

  1. That EMC actually have quite a decent storage proposition and portfolio…… far better than any other vendor I’ve worked with…. and I’ve actually been very impressed with what I’ve seen and learnt so far.
  2. That NetApp (for all their publicity) are going about their Cluster storage in a very difficult and painful way…… whereas it’s far easier with EMC (for example Isilon).
  3. That EMC Isilon is quite an impressive product!
  4. That Networker can be a bit flakey sometimes when setting up, and isn’t the ‘easiest’ of backup products to configure and get working correctly!
  5. That EMC practically own the dedupe market with Avamar and Data Domain

From what I’ve learnt over the past week, I’m surprised at how well EMC can predict the market and how clever they are at acquiring businesses and turning them into big successes…. VMware, Avamar, DataDomain, RSA, Isilon……  What successful acquisitions have the rest of the market vendors done?

HP – well they bought Palm and killed it, 3Com and merged it with their ProCurve division, 3PAR & Lefthand since HP StorageWorks had practically been overtaken by everyone else! Autonomy – yeah that’s going well!….. tbh, Autonomy will probably come good for them, but none of the others have set the world on fire…..

Dell – EqualLogic & Compellent because they didn’t have a storage proposition, Sonicwall for security, Force10 for network and Wyse for thinclient… again, none have been market leaders or big name market players (apart from Wyse)!

NetApp & IBM – zero decent acquisitions that were game changers!

 

So having come from a background steeped with HP knowledge, I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen from EMC so far…… tbh, I had always viewed that when it comes to storage EMC were streets ahead of the rest of the market!

 

Yes…. I’ve pretty much been brainwashed already!

New Road Ahead…..

Been a bit silent on my blog recently due to the number of interviews I’ve been going to over the past 2 weeks…..

However, I’m thankful to say I’ve landed on my feet and will be starting a new role next Monday at MTI (http://www.mti.com) as a Technical Account Manager!

Yay….

 

Looking forward to the new role as it’s going to give me the opportunity to fill in two LARGE holes in my knowledge – Storage & Networking!

Got a lot of learning to do in the up-coming months as they put me through training on EMC storage and also on Cisco Nexus…..

In addition, I get to brush up my Cisco UCS skills and continue honing my VMware skills! Result! =)

 

Now that my interviews are over (or cancelled in some cases….), need to decide whether to study for some HP exams I was due to take before 2e2 went under or focus on putting some content on this blog and getting it out to the VMware community! =)