Proper use of the Force

Tech Blast #04 – Using the Force

tech BLAST2-01

(Drum roll) Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, folks from all around the world – welcome to the fourth installment of the Wahl Network Tech Blast! This issue is jam packed with all sorts of mystical creatures and mind bending activities that will leave you in shock, awe, and tingly. But, in a good way (I hope).

But enough stalling – on with the show!

Brain Food

  • VMware’s guru of storage, Cormac Hogan, has released a series on vSphere 5.5 storage improvements that has recently published its 10th part. I’ve been following along for those little tidbits of knowledge that can be difficult to track down in a white paper or reference guide.
  • A new site called Data Center Zombie, driven by Brian Suhr and Michael Mills, has launched with the intent of reviewing products that we tend to cram inside of our data centers. I see they already have a very in-depth review of Infinio posted.
  • I’ve repeatedly noticed that the vSphere Web Client is very slow compared to the C# client. Sad panda! William Lam offers a few tricks to try and speed up and improve your user experience here with flash player optimization.
  • The idea of “social servers” has resurfaced in a blog post by Steve Beaver over at the Virtualization Practice. I recall seeing some demos where VMware used social cast for VM lifecycle discussions, along with some older demos at the Arista HQ where you could chat with a switch over XMPP. While I like the idea of a cradle-to-grave history of a tech object (host, VM, whatnot), I’m not sure if social media is the place for it?
  • As a person who has typically bet the (server) farm on Emulex adapters, I tend to keep an eyeball on their progress with the OneConnect family. eWeek has an article out describing the next wave of OCe 14000 adapters, which can apparently scale itself towards bandwidth, reduced latency, or raw IOPS depending on your use case. I find this intriguing.
  • Discussing technology with peers is one of my favorite ways to learn about new ways to tackle old problems. One of the more recent Packet Pushers podcasts features Greg Ferro sitting down with members of the networking community, Shawn McGuire and Justin Seabrook-Rocha, to chat about best current practices, tackling spoofing, and various ways to collect flow data. It’s a great shop talk among professionals that I recommend lending an ear to.

Random funny picture inserted for no reason below:

Proper use of the Force
Proper use of the Force

OK. Back to being serious:

  • The VMware Product Walkthroughs (PWT) site has received an update and now features the vCenter Heartbeat solution with in-depth information. Heartbeat is one of the more complex and challenging solutions to install successfully.
  • Luca Dell’Oca has been on a rampage lately with server-side flash solution reviews. His latest posts cover PernixData FVP and SanDisk FlashSoft. Keep an eye on these sorts of solutions, folks, as they are extremely snazzy and solve many different issues for the IT organization.
  • The infamous Forbes Guthrie, who had a hand in many of the vSphere Design books as a lead author, has posted a four part series on using a Linux-based domain controller for your vSphere lab. I love this out-of-the-box thinking and found the posts taught me a lot about Zentyal. Even if you don’t plan to deploy a Linux DC for your work environment, I think you’ll get a kick out of this series.
  • The VMworld YouTube channel has posted a number of VMworld 2013 session videos that are free to watch and in HD up to 720p. Here’s the one for NET5521 on the vSphere Distributed Switch design and best practices by Vyenkatesh “Venky” Deshpande and Dan Watson.
  • Blogger Edwin Weijdema has posted a review series on his newly acquired Synology DS1513+ NAS box. The third part covers the use of NFS for his environment.
  • Looking to further tune your vCOps environment? Chris Slater has been posting an excellent blog series on just that – great stuff!

thinking-capChris’ Thinking Cap

The week following this issue will be filled with an around-the-world adventure as I shoot across the sky in a silver tube towards Australia to deliver presentations at the Melbourne and Sydney VMUG (VMware User Group) Conferences. But let’s take a moment to really ponder on the VMUG. The last year-ish has been focused on allowing more administrators, engineers, and “people who use VMware products” to step forth and discuss their experiences with their peers – “putting the user in the user group” so to speak. Many VMUGs are reserving sessions within their learning / education tracks specifically for users to present, labeling them Community Sessions. I, for one, both applaud and encourage these types of sessions (and do what I can as a member of the Leadership team in the Chicago VMUG chapter to foster them). However, vendors float the bills to make these sessions a reality so that attendees are relieved of any financial burden. It’s a difficult balancing act.

[symple_highlight color=”blue”]Have you presented or listened in on a VMUG Community Session? If so, did you find the content more or less valuable than a sponsored (vendor) session – and in what ways? Have you been to any memorable sponsored (vendor) sessions that “did it right” and want to share what you liked about it?[/symple_highlight]