Chat with @RebeccaFitzhugh at #TFD13

Alastair Cooke took a break at Networking Field Day to have a chat with Rebecca Fitzhugh. They talk about the role of mentorship in career development within enterprise IT. It’s a brief but thoughtful discussion, make sure to check it out.


Uila: Visions of the Future

Uila presented at Tech Field Day last month, and Teren Bryson wrote up a look at their data center analysis solution. While there’s no dearth of overall analysis tools, Uila really impressed Teren by offering visualizations that he called “nothing short of stunning”. This information is gathered by virtual smart taps, which is able to intelligently provide application visibility.


Touching the physical world: Veeam Agents for Windows & Linux

Andreas Lesslhumer looks at Veeam’s efforts to become as renown in the physical server space as they are in the virtual one. With the Veeam Agent products for Windows and Linux, Andreas sees them making significant strides. The Windows Agent allows users to restore backups directly to Hyper-V or Azure, has source-side encryption, and full support for Windows Server 2016. Andreas gave it a spin, and so far it’s proven easy to install and as capable as you’d expect from Veeam.


Platform9 Simplifies Cloud Infrastructure

At Tech Field Day, Platform9 presented on their unique cloud solution. Rich Stroffolino came away impressed. It’s essentially a service for easing the setup and maintenance of a private or hybrid cloud. This can make the deployment of OpenStack and Kubernetes done in a matter of minutes, with none of the maintenance headaches to worry about down the line.


ZeroStack Aims to be a ‘Self Driving Cloud’

Rebecca Fitzhugh was at Tech Field Day earlier this month, and heard from ZeroStack. They’re offering what they envision as a self-driving private/hybrid cloud service. Rebecca really liked their clean interface, as well as their robust partnership with AWS. She’d like some more details on assigning high availability to certain VMs, but ultimately, she found their solution intriguing.


An Interview with Josh @EuroBrew at #TFD13

At Tech Field Day earlier this month, Alastair Cooke managed to steal a few minutes with Josh De Jong for a quick interview. They talk about how to approach learning throughout the changing technological landscape of IT. This is made more important by the fact that the cost of traditional training is often hard to come by when working for SMBs. It’s a really great conversation and food for thought for any IT professional.


Backups are Important, Recovery is Essential

Thom Greene has long been impressed with Veeam for virtualization backup. Now the company has offerings for bare metal machines. Veeam Agent for Linux and Veeam Agent for Windows bring a lot of the features of their virtualization backup and recovery to this market gap. The feature Thom thought really stood out was their support for road warrior laptops, called “endpoint protection for mobile users”. If your laptop is not connected to your network drive during your scheduled backup, this feature will quietly sync changes as soon as it becomes available. As you would expect from Veeam, the Agents are extremely capable, and easy to setup.


VxRail – One Year Later

VxRail has been on the market for about a year, and Sean Thulin got an update from Dell EMC about the HCI solution at Tech Field Day. So far, sales of VxRail have been strong, with major revisions even in the first year. Sean thinks that’s a good sign that Dell EMC is really listening to consumers. Unfortunately, the company had to admit that this lead to a dearth of professional services, creating a bit of a backlog for some customers. Sean is excited to see the next iteration of VxRail which will have options heavy on NVMe and NVDIMMs.


On-Premises Serverless

Alastair Cooke looks at what is required to adopt serverless architecture in your data center. While services like AWS Lambda provide this for the public cloud, it isn’t as evident how to do this on-premises. Alastair breaks this down really clearly, essentially for serverless operation, you need to be able to quickly spin up and coordinate containers in response to external triggers. He quickly gives an overview of offerings from IBM and Iron.io that provide Functions as a Service. But Platform9 offers a managed serverless platform on top of an existing managed cloud environment. Their Fission solution (currently in alpha) essentially offers a managed serverless platform on top of the managed Kubernetes platform. This gives you the scale of Platform9 as a cloud provider, but you can have all of your containers on-premises. It’s a really interesting approach to the problem.


StorMagic SvSAN – Scalable Virtual HA Storage for the Masses

Sean Thulin looks at StorMagic’s SvSAN solution, as seen at Tech Field Day earlier this month. As a virtual storage solution that sits inside your existing VM infrastructure, it’s already interesting. But Sean thought SvSAN really shined by being extremely lightweight, requiring only 1 vCPU, 1GB of RAM and only 2 nodes initially. It can also be used to help protect against large scale location failures, with mirroring that can operate on low bandwidth and even the most humble hardware requirements. StorMagic looks to have a solution that’s powerful but only needs lightweight requirements.


From the Beginning, Getting Started with SolarWinds

After hearing about them for a while, and seeing them present at Tech Field Day earlier this month, Alastair Cooke decided to try out what SolarWinds has to offer. The first challenge was to figure out what from their impressive catalogue to try first. After some research, Alastair decided on their Server and Application Monitor (SAM), which includes the Orion integration framework. After the install and initial setup, SAM was already giving useful notifications about domain controller memory and packet loss. Alastair is looking forward to using SAM with the Virtualization Manager from SolarWinds in his home lab to see how effective the combination can be.


Manage hybrid cloud with Platform9 solution

Andrea Mauro takes a look at Platform9’s hybrid cloud management solution. He originally got a look at this during Tech Field Day earlier this month. With their SaaS management platform, you can go live with a private cloud OpenStack deployment in about five minutes. From their, Platform9’s support takes care of management across the entire deployment. It looks like a great way to avoid the common headaches often seen in the private cloud!


Dell EMC: When Two Hearts Beat As One

Rich Stroffolino takes a look at Dell EMC’s update on VxRail from Tech Field Day this month. For him, it was an interesting look at the process of merging two large companies together. As far as VxRail goes, the company has been met with a lot of sales success, but was also upfront on what they needed to improve on. Overall, Rich found that VxRail hasn’t lost any of its focus by merging with Dell’s PowerEdge team. Indeed, the expanded hardware offerings now make it an even more enticing HCI solution.


IoT Puts On-Premises Back on the Agenda

In this piece, Alastair Cooke takes a look at the state of storage as we enter the age of IoT. For Alastair, he thinks projects of central object stores being inundated with tons of IoT data miss the point. Instead he sees compute moving close to the edge to be closer to the source of the data, only sending on composites of the gross data tonnage to the data center. As part of this, he thinks Robin System’s software HCI solution has the right approach. It simplified containerization on whatever servers and storage are available, giving enterprises the flexibility and simplicity to move compute closer to the edge.


Uila, the art of visualization

Andrea Mauro got a look at Uila’s data center monitoring solution at Tech Field Day earlier this month. Overall, he think that while it has similarities to other SaaS based monitoring solution, it differentiates in key ways. For one, while Uila generally operates it in the cloud, it can be setup as an on-prem solution. It’s also flexible enough to not just monitor infrastructure, but down to the application level. All of this is wrapped in their excellent visualization engine. Andrea goes into the technical detail of how this is accomplished, but overall he seemed impressed!


TFD13 Recap – New Veeam Agents and VeeamON

We were thrilled to have Rebecca Fitzhugh for her first Tech Field Day earlier this month. In her first post after the event, Rebecca takes a look at what Veeam presented. They debuted their recovery agents for Windows and Linux, and she came away impressed. These allow for quick recovery on either a volume or file level, with support for recovery to Hyper-V on the Windows variant. Best of all, they’re available to test out for free!


The Road to Root Cause

Work in IT for any length of time, and the dreaded “why is anything slow” question inevitably rears its head. It’s a loaded question, almost impossible to directly answer in that moment, and invariably happens at a bad time. Thom Greene thinks Uila might have a solution to quickly get some answers. Their Virtual Smart Tap provides unified metrics that give you a look into packet flows within virtual machines. They do this by having the Tap sit on each ESXi host and perform deep packet inspection. Thom was definintely impressed by how Uila visualizes this information in their dashboard. It makes it an ideal tool to quickly identify system slow down issues.


ZeroStack Adds Learning To Their Automated Infrastructure

ZeroStack demoed their “self-driving” cloud at Tech Field Day last week. Ethan Banks gave it a look and came away impressed. He doesn’t see this as a VMware replacement right now, but the current tools and roadmap the company outlined certainly could make it tempting in a refresh cycle or two. Despite using the buzzwords of “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” to describe their automation, Ethan saw it as a good way to automate a lot of the typical production tedium.


Tech Field Day 13 – personal experience, photos and many links

Andreas Lesslhumer recounts his experience at Tech Field Day last week in Austin. Overall, he found the time seemed to fly, filled with thoughtful conversations, networking with peers, and delicious Texas brisket. Plus, he got to checkoff an item from his bucket list: the delegates were driven around town in a stretch Hummer! He really enjoyed that most of the companies had trials or sandboxed versions of their solutions ready to start testing during their presentations. Overall it sounds like he had a great time in Austin. It was a pleasure to have him there too!


Time to Geek Out – Tech Field Day Veeam Style

Clint Wyckoff wrote up a post in his anticipation of his presentation with Veeam at Tech Field Day last week. Make sure you check out the full video coverage of their presentation, including their demo of various Veeam Agents for backup and recovery, as well as the Veeam Availability Platform!