Hows the food on the vendor side, time for a change

I was unsure on whether I would even write one of these posts, but in the end landed on yes. Much like I did about 5 years ago I have decided to make a career change and shake things up. I felt like I needed to try something new and challenge myself. I had spent the last 4.5 years working for a great partner based out of Chicago called Ahead. During my time at Ahead I have grown tremendously both personally and technically. In this stop of my career path I was able to polish my presentation and architecture skills and work with some great customers and coworkers. The time was excellent and I would have changed very little about it, but in the end I was too comfortable and felt a new challenge was needed.

Having never worked for a vendor on the product side I felt this was something that I really wanted to try. During my time at Ahead I was able to work closely with the team at CloudPhysics on adding functionality to their product that allowed me to get a feel on what working for a startup vendor might be like. To say the least, I was hooked and this only help to escalate my time frame for finding the right vendor. As I talked to different people that I know and prospective vendors I set a question that I needed to be able to answer yes to without any hesitation to really consider a prospective vendor.

Can I wake up every morning and be truly happy and excited to talk about and support the product that I would be supporting?

I found that this question was harder to answer yes to than I expected. This question had to be answered first before any talk about the role, benefits and salary. Without answering yes to this the other questions would all be meaningless. In the end the list of vendors that I would be able to answer yes to was very short.

Enough with my ramblings, I have accepted the role of Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and will be starting on the 12th. This choice has mostly been met with positive feedback from those that I was able to discuss with in advance. They saw that this would be a good move for me and left politics out of it, there were a few jokes about geez isn’t another VCDX going to Nutanix a cliche.

There were a number of things that drew me to Nutanix and the process was a very long one that I only gained more respect for the company as the process had its ups and downs. First as a product I was very interested about two years ago when I got my first chance to get some hands on with the product. This allowed me to get the full experience, before this I was exposed to some of my customers that had already deployed Nutanix and spoke highly about the product. Secondly I was very impressed at the rate that Nutanix was innovating and moving their product forward. There was a constant and face pace of new features and performance improvements and this kept my attention.

The senior and mid-level leadership that I was exposed to during the process and through other avenues was very impressive. They communicated their vision and always handled themselves professionally even when things looked like they would not work out. Some of these same people have been labeled incorrectly due to their interaction publicly when battling with competitors, but how they handled our interactions and more importantly how they have worked with other employees that have been there for years is what really mattered.

The fact that Nutanix already has a large number of other VCDX’s employed already had no positive effect, in reality it probably caused me to look at them more closely. While I highly respect the VCDX certification, I tend to look at the quality of the people and talent over a certification label. Also the fact that me having my VCDX never came up in our discussions along the way was also a positive, I never felt like Nutanix was trying to collect numbers for some artificial reason.

Beyond all of this it was some sage advice that my loving wife offered me that really got the ball moving. She had heard discussion over the past year and had noticed that when I worked on projects or assisted with sales campaigns that involved Nutanix that my excitement was elevated. This along with paying close attention to the recruitment and interview phase she knew it was the right place for me to go new. Also leaving one day to pick the kids up from school she noticed that she was wearing a Nutanix hoodie, carrying a travel mug and phone charger all with the Nutanix brand made the statement that hell I already advertise enough for them you should just work for them.

I can say that I’m very excited to take on the new challenge of tech marketing and learning everything that I can about the inner workings of the Nutanix platform and helping the team reach its full potential. I don’t expect the content that I write about to change much here, but the product reviews that I’ve done on will be affected by this move to a vendor. I will probably be looking for other types of content to write about there that does not conflict with my day job.

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Rubrik install process walk-through


To get things started I used a VM on the same network as the Rubrik nodes were on. I installed Bonjour from Apple and made sure Google Chrome was installed for HTML5. Once that was done I wrote down all of the interface address from the back of each of the nodes and tried to ping one of them to make sure I could reach them. You simply use the “interface-address.local” to reach them.



Next up I opened up Chrome and entered one of the .local addresses. You can connect to any of the nodes in the cluster to setup or manage them. You are shown that it will be creating the “admin” user and asked to enter an email address and the password.



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Whats new in Horizon 6.2 and why should you care

Today at VMworld 2015, VMware announces the Horizon 6.2 release and the updates that will be available later this week. That’s right my fellow EUC nerds, we will not have to wait long to take advantage of these new little goodies. As great of an EUC story that VMware has built already, they have had multiple little things that plagued them when being compared to Citrix for certain customer requirements. This new release is going to help with several of these items and hopefully we won’t have to wait long for more to be released.

RDS Application Updates

Ever since VMware added the RDS functionality to Horizon in 2014 for shared desktops and application presentation I have been excited about the possibilities. They have improved on functionality in short bursts in the last 12 months, but even with that at times it felt like they were not closing gaps fast enough.

The Horizon 6.2 announcement today is going to close several of what most would can required gaps.

RDS Apps with Cloud Pod

I have to admit I’m not a big supported of the Cloud Pod architecture that is offered from VMware as a multi-site architecture, but the face that it was only for desktops in the past was silly. In the 6.2 update the Cloud Pod offering now supports global entitlements for applications and the associated placement and load balancing that has been available for desktops.

rds cloud pod

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CloudPhysics adds more features and Sexy Dashboards

This weeks major announcements form CloudPhysics focus on changes in your VMware environment. Often it is a change that brings about an adverse reaction such as a crash or performance issue. Without good insight and control admins are often left wondering what might have caused the issue they are battling at that moment. When fighting the fire thinking about recent changes can be the last thing that someone might be thinking about.

They struggle to understand whether changes — intended or accidental — result in performance disruptions and availability issues waiting to ignite. Further, when things go wrong, there is an inability to replay the changes over time to correlate events or trends that caused the current problem.

To help illustrate these changes and continue to build on their maturing performance reporting capabilities, CloudPhysics will be showing offer their new dashboards. In the previous versions of CloudPhysics data was presented in very focused details through their card’s which were similar to reports. The cards will still be available and a major part of the platform, but dashboards are taking their super metrics to the next level.

I’ve seen great products with ugly interfaces in the past, but getting the look of the product is critical. I think that these new dashboards from CloudPhysics are some of the best looking ones that I’ve seen from any tools vendor. The sample dashboard below is focused on showing performance and capacity details. The sections can be changed to show different data and time periods.

CloudPhysics dashboard


The second dashboard sample shown below is focusing in on CPU Rdy time a very important stat for admins. It is also showing the changes that have taken place in the environment along with when and who executed them. These are some great details and they are presented in an easy to consume and good looking interface.

CloudPhysics exploration mode


I would like to congratulate the CloudPhysics team on another great update to their product. I look forward to testing these new features out very soon.


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Rubrik reaches version 2.0 in a few short months

You may be thinking that it has only been a few short months since we first heard from Rubrik as they exited stealth mode, well you would be right. The team at Rubrik must not like to sleep much, because they have been working hard on several small code releases and are proud to announce they have reached version 2.0. This is a big deal for such a young company in a short amount of time.

There are a number of new impressive features in the new version along with an additional to the hardware appliance line. I’ll cover these in more detail below.


Version 2.0 Features

Replication – Rubrik will now have replication as part of their feature set. This replication is from site to site or box to box, however you want to say it. Whether I have a single brik or multiples in each site, with replication I can now replicate my protected VMs from site A to site B, as well as still keeping an archive copy in the cloud. This is a highly sought after feature and would be required by most organizations if they plan on adopting and have multiple sites. The replication enablement ties in smoothly with Rubrik’s SLA policies in that you turn on replication at the SLA level and any VMs protected by the policy will be replicated. This is flexible enough that you can replicate from as low as a single VM to every VM and all points in between. And lastly on replication the task is able to remain WAN efficient by taking advantage of global deduplication to reduce the amount of data needing to be sent between sites.

Larger Brik – With the release of 2.0, Rubrik is also announcing the availability of the R348 brik. This model appliance contains nodes that have 8TB drives, versus 4TB drives included in the original appliances. The 348 will allow customers to start with a larger capacity option or with the ability to mix and match briks you can add the type of node that will meet your backup capacity requirements.

AD Integration – The original release only had the ability to use local accounts for authentication. Version 2.0 brings the ability to use Active Directory accounts to authenticate to the Rubrik management interface for managing the appliance and backups. This is a normal progression for young products and is a must for larger organizations, good to se Rubrik checking off the required boxes in a timely fashion.

Swift Support – Since it’s release Rubrik has had the ability to archive backup data to Amazon, with 2.0 you will have the ability to archive to Swift the object based storage from the Openstack project. This will allow customers to archive to local or remote managed Swift storage, or to cloud hosted Swift storage. This is just another destination option for storing your long term archive backups for customers to take advantage of.

Application Aware Backups – This is something that will make a lot of admins and application owners happy. With 2.0 the ability to leverage VSS provider to protect MS SQL, MS Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint workloads will be welcomed. This is also a major requirement for most organizations when considering a backup solution.

Detailed Reporting – With the new version, Rubrik is improving their ability to inform the admin on what is happening with the solution. The reporting will improve technical detail, active job information and failure reporting along with other data. This is a natural growth path as feedback is taken from customers and testers of the product.

Capacity Planning – There was already reporting on how much space was being consumed via backup data in the first release, with 2.0 Rubrik is improving this data. You will also get insight into daily growth rates and get an estimate on how much capacity is left in the number of days till your current nodes would be filled up. This will allow you to adjust your archive to cloud config or know when to purchase additional capacity.

Compliance Reports – This is a simple way to see which VMs are in or out of compliance with their backup policies. In short do I have VMs that failed or missed a backup, which puts them out of compliance.

Auto Protect – In the first release you would assign VMs to a protection policy and they would be backed up. With this new feature, admins have the ability to apply a policy at the vCenter, Data Center, Folder, Host and cluster levels. This will allow protect any existing or new VMs at that level.

model table


The 2.0 release is a pretty large update for Rubrik and has some great new features. I look forward to the upgrade and getting some hands on time with the update soon.


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Rubrik unboxing and hardware details

A recent entrant into the data protection market is Rubrik. You can find out more about Rubrik and their background here. You can also learn a little more about Rubrik from a post that Eric Shanks just published following his visit to Virtulization Field Day. I was recently presented with the opportunity to install one of their brik’s into a lab environment to get some hands-on time with the product. I already have a list of follow-on blog posts planned. I’m not going to dive into how it all works in this post, I’ll save that for one of the other ones. Once the brik was racked and cabled it really did only take about 15 minutes for the total install process to complete, and I immediately configured my first VM for protection. Kudos to Rubrik on delivering on that fast install process.

The first picture is of the front of the Rubrik brik with the bezel on. You may have noticed this is not the nice white looking one currently being shown on their website. I was told that this is the original face place and would be replaced when others become available. The chassis that Rubrik is using, is a Supermicro that contains 4 server nodes. On the front mounting flange on each side there is a pair of power buttons and lights that match to each of the nodes.



The next picture is the front of the brik with the bezel removed. This exposes 3 disk drives per node. The drives for each node are stacked vertically. The model that I was testing is the one currently available and each of these drives is a 4TB drive.



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Nutanix .Next Conference announcements summary and recap

Today kicks off the first day of Nutanix’s first conference. It’s a day that’s been anticipated for a while and I really wish I could have been present. The .Next conference is certainly going to be the hottest hyperconverged infrastructure event of 2015. There is a ton of details and announcement coming out of .Next today and I’m going to try and break them down for you here. Over the next couple of weeks, there will be deeper level conversations on many of these topics and may lead to further blog posts.

To find out more about Nutanix read my detailed Nutanix product review at Data Center Zombie and Hyperconverged comparison article.

From One product to Two

Historically Nutanix has sold only a single product called the Virtual Computing Platform. I never heard many people referred to it by the product name, since there once only a single product it was always just referred to as Nutanix. Today Nutanix is announcing that they are splitting the platform into two separate products that fall under the new Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP) badge.

next4 copy


In the past, Prism was just part of the entire Nutanix solution. It’s been the primary point of management for several versions now. Today Nutanix has announced that Prism is becoming its own product and will be available in this form sometime in Q4 of 2015. As pat of this additional functionality is being added that I will cover later in this post. Nutanix Acropolis is the second product under this new approach. Acropolis will contain all of the storage functionality and data services commonly contained within the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS). There are also many new features being released and announced as part of Acropolis that I will cover soon.

next5 copy


Nutanix Acropolis

While many in the industry are going to laser focus on the KVM based Acropolis hypervisor option, Acropolis as a product is far more than that. The image below shows how Nutanix things of features within Acropolis as being contained in two major buckets. The App mobility fabric which seems to focus on availability, automation and integration with the greater stack. The Distributed Storage Fabric portion is about data protection, storage services, and hypervisors.



The following image touches on how the App Mobility Fabric features provide the mobility, automation, availability and integration mentioned above. These are by default not tied to a hypervisor platform, but may have different release dates for the different hypervisors. In Q4 this feature is going to expand to offer VM migration between hypervisors, that would allow powered off VMs to be moved between vendors all while staying on the Nutanix storage solution. This opens up a lot of opportunities for using the different hypervisor platforms between environments or projects within the same organization with ease.



If you follow the blogs and Tech rags you have probably seen the rumor that Nutanix was creating their own hypervisor to compete with VMware vSphere. Well that was a rumor, but based on how some of these updates are messaged I can begin to see how people jumped to conclusions. Nutanix still supports vSphere, Hyper-V and KVM like they have for some time now. What they are doing is working on improving the availability and operational management story around the KVM hypervisor. This new approach along with the other hypervisors is what Acropolis is bringing to market.



Many of the features that now fall under Acropolis have been available in the Nutanix platform for some time. The image below explains what’s available today and the following images touch on what some of the new features are.



In release 4.1.3 Nutanix will bring an Image Service to the KVM based hypervisor offering.



The new KVM High Availability (HA) feature is still only Tech Preview, but has to be one of the most exciting features. This will bring a similar experience to KVM as VMware customers have been enjoying for years with vSphere HA. No longer will VMs require intervention to auto restart of remaining nodes in a cluster upon a host failure.




Nutanix Prism

We can see from the image below that Prism is focused on providing and improving the one-click management features that are already there. Also one-click operation insight that is focused on increasing the visibility of what is happening within your environment and lastly expanding Prism to perform one-click troubleshooting.



The upcoming version of Prism later in 2015 is going to take the features we know and love today to the next level along with adding a bunch of new ones. The slideshow below gives a little sneak peak on what we can expect. The VM Management offering is being expanded, there is going to be a L2 network configuration option to assist with cluster deployments. The storage management capabilities are being improved. And lastly the cluster management, one-click type upgrades that we like today will continue to be a theme for other topics.

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Operational Insight Features

This operation insight area of Prism is going to be a big section of improvement and new features over the existing versions. We can to see a Service Impact Analysis, that will help correlate alerts to application impact. The upcoming Root Cause analysis will help isolate issues and lean on knowledge from the Nutanix global community. And a remediation advisor will give targeted recommendations for how to optimize the solution.

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I’m excited to announce and see that capacity planning is going to be coming to the Prism product in Q4. I think that this is an important addition for Nutanix and it looks like they took their time to release a great product the first time around. There will be a capacity trends behavior set of features to report on what is going on in your environment and provide time estimates. Also an optimization advisor will be there to help you find space that might be able to be reclaimed, such as unused VMs, snapshots and other items. And last up a What-if analysis will estimate what resources may be needed for different scenarios. The cool option is this features will have the ability at some point to send data into the Nutanix sizing calculator to allow for a better sizing and scaling exercise.

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A new search feature called Prism Instant Search will be coming also. The image below shows what some of the things you can do with the search feature. Think of it as a Google like search experience that allows Nutanix admins to find and accomplish tasks faster. I’m looking forward to seeing



Last up is the ability to create customizable dashboards in Prism. I’ve had a few customers looking for this ability and they will be happy that it’s coming later this year. The image below looks like a great example that show specific workloads and other alerts for a focused view that a specific role would be interested in. I think that I also heard that real-time stats would be available from Prism, today there is a slight time delay or a page refresh to get the updates.



As you can see there is a lot of new and updated news from Nutanix .Next. I think that most everything was covered, but I may have missed a few things which I will try and update as I hear of any.


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