Pushing Virtual Limits

Favorite picture from this past weekend in NYC
July 30, 2008, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

If you haven’t heard of the John J Harvey then I recommend you go visit this link

I took this while on a harbor trip this past saturday going under the Manhattan bridge.


SS4200-E revisited – Software v1.1 (Updates to the rescue!)
July 25, 2008, 11:06 am
Filed under: Documentation | Tags: , , , ,

OK – TSA has a new update on the fresh 1.1 firmware for the box here.

It looks like my biggest gripe (No NFS shares) has officially been removed. My only hang up in purchasing one of these bad boys is that I want to wait and see what Iomega does with the LifeLine software package. Now that it has the basic feature set I required of a home NAS (and the drive spin down finally works) what can a real home equipment make do for the form factor?
The box as it is now is serviceable but it is not sexy, cut, or good looking by any stretch of the imagination. It looks like the briefcase that portable nuclear weapons go in.

But who really cares about looks? Mine is going to go either under a desk, coach, or endtable and I care about it being reliable, quiet, and cheap (in that order). It looks like my purchase is imminent.

Kudos to the LifeLine team for addressing issues with the initial release and really turning this product around.
See the SS4200-E here

EMC Adds “Facebook like” features to D6.5 – Sort of but not really
July 24, 2008, 2:52 pm
Filed under: CenterStage | Tags: , , , ,

OK here is the link to the article.

My two cents – If you read the article I don’t see “FaceBook” like features anywhere in there. I think the guys who wrote the article and have seen the product are just blown out of the water by an entire suite of Documentum based offerings that are intuitive and look amazing.

I know – DCTM has always been a work horse but it hasn’t been the prettiest horse in the stable. With CenterStage and the other new applications I am blown away by how good they look and more importantly how responsive they are. Pretty and slow doesn’t work for me. D6.5 is wicked fast.

Take a look at the article but I think they were going more for hype than substance.

D6.5 Pictures and More CenterStage Pics
July 22, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Thanks to Storagezilla for finding this flickr account.

Links to the images here.

For the record these screenshots constitute significantly more than one product but it is a good overview of what the D6.5 family is going to looklike. (Webtop, CenterStage, DA, WebPublisher, etc all have pics in there)

EMC Magellan is now EMC CenterStage
July 20, 2008, 3:36 am
Filed under: EMC CenterStage | Tags: , , ,
Be More Productive with EMC CenterStage

Be More Productive with EMC CenterStage

Here is one of the posts about it on the developers network. Having spent some time with this product I can say that I am seriously impressed. A link with good screenshots can be found here.

More details will come in the near future and hopefully soon we will be able to talk more openly about all the features. If you are interested in it make sure to sign up for the beta from the EMC developers network homepage.

From the Beta page:

About the Beta Program

In the coming months, EMC will introduce its next generation knowledge worker offering named CenterStage that will offer a best of breed user experience and put business users in control of their content enabled applications. CenterStage includes CenterStage Essentials which provides basic content services to enhance individual and team productivity and CenterStage Pro which focus on Web 2.0 functionality to empower business users to be in control of their business applications.

Over the next months, EMC will be conducting a CenterStage Essentials Beta program. The CenterStage Essentials Beta program is expected to run from September, 4th, 2008 to December 15th, 2008.

The purpose of the CenterStage Essentials Beta Program is to enable EMC is to obtain feedback from customers and partners regarding CenterStage Essentials’ configuration, functionality, and usability to validate market readiness and to help ensure successful adoption.”

Offtopic – COIN post
July 20, 2008, 3:33 am
Filed under: Humor | Tags:

Not sure if anyone bothered to read my last post about COIN theory but this stuff is so applicable in the business arena. There is a great intro article here.

Dealing with counterinsurgents is very much like competing against the big guys *cough*Microsoft*cough*.

Winning over the hearts and minds of citizens overseas is like trying to win the hearts of serious business customers. Anyway, I indulged my academic side enough for one post. It is worth the time to read through it and consider the applications.

Managing a Growing VMware deployment in a Software Development and Testing Environment
July 20, 2008, 3:29 am
Filed under: vmware | Tags: , , , ,

Big title, Big problem.

I think anyone here gets the basics and probably has a VCP or some other certificatation to prove they know what they are doing. On a technical level I have my fair share of challenges right now (SQL2k to 2k5 upgrade of the VC, an ESX Host that has decided two of its NICs are dead, and a variety of client issues) but those are pretty straight forward. VMware support has been challenging lately(see my earlier post on how they told me SQL2k was no longer a support DB backend with VC2.5 and told us we HAD to upgrade) but with the forum and other people out there posting I don’t think anyone ever hits a “unique” technical problem.

What we all hit that is unique is our management structure, our IT structure, and the ever changing requirements of the security teams. These not technical obstacles have always proven to be the limiting factor in my deployment and I doubt I am alone.

Let me set the stage a bit for the discussion that will follow. Right now our environment is working on at least three major new products and providing sustaining and support for at least twelve others. Our average machine profile – 1 cpu, less than 2gb of ram (1gb avg), under 60GB total hard disk space. The problem is we add or remove a dozen or more a day and have 100+ users with Virtual Machine Administrator rights.

The tricky problem comes in when you take a look at 26 hosts spread across more than five business units. Now that we are fully utilizing DRS the “I bought this host and therefore it is all mine” mentality becomes challenging. If one team has excess capacity shouldn’t they be part of the solution rather than hoarding an easily reclaimed resource?

At EMC we have this concept of “One|EMC” to try and bring all the acquisitions together. There are good things and bad things with this policy but I think this is an opportunity to do a real good. In this effort my management team has been very supportive with “lending” our excess capacity to other teams.

My BU owns the hardware, licensed the software, and pays for all upgrades and maintenence. There are a ton of costs associated with this effort and we have no intention of “charging” for utilizing idle assets (exactly what VMware excels at). What I do need to do is provide “cost visibility” to my management and the business units we work with. In order to do this we have purchased and are implementing VKernels “Chargeback Appliance.” The plan will be to provide scheduled reporting based on the following levels:

Deployment Total

Business Unit

Project teams within each BU

(Other reports as necessary)

The great thing is that these reports will be ready at anytime and I can give a login right to my management structure so they don’t have to ask me to generate reports for them. We will also be going one step further to show just how much we save by buying big iron – we will create a cost in VMware vs a physical system cost. VKernel has provided a great baseline for costing out the big numbers as well as all those little things that I just assume will be there (like electricity). Metrics matter and here they matter more than at most places. We know we have had a great thing for the past few years but now I finally have the tools to collect the metrics to show the big guys exactly how much money we are saving.