Who would be on your dinner invitation list?

This is not my typical post that I would write on here but it was something that I’ve thought about at different times and wanted to write something down. The question is if you could host a small dinner party who would you invite? Let’s keep the dinner small and limit the number of guests to three, but we are holding a number of dinner parties that will be focused on different topics to keep the conversation focused. It does not matter if the guests are living or deceased, this is a wish list.

I think this idea comes from weird interview questions that people get asked sometimes, but I think about this when I see or read about someone that I think that it would be cool to sit down and talk with. So I’m going to put down a few lists of my own and encourage others to do the same in comments, would be interesting to see who others might have on their lists.


There could be a million people that fall in the sports category that it might be cool to meet. I’m focused more about sitting down and talking sports and life for a few hours that shaking hands and getting an autograph from Michael Jordan.

  1. Herman (Herm) Edwards – Herm is a past football player and coach and now an ESPN analyst. I think he is just an interesting guy, I like his no bullshit approach to sports and life. He talks about taking ownership of your actions and hist famous “you play to win” rant.
  2. Chris Carter – Like Herm, Chris also works for ESPN and is a former player for one of my favorite teams the Minnesota Vikings. He is not without his issues on past substance abuse, but he cleaned himself up and turned into one of the best receivers of all time. He also has a no BS take on things.
  3. Joe Maddon – He is the recent coach of the Chicago Cubs that seem to be taking the next step under his leadership. In the past he coached the small market Tampa team to two world series. Joe is a damn smart baseball man and seems to have endless methods to keeping his players interested and motivated is a great skill. He is also typically a great interview when I’ve heard people get enough time from him.



Here I don’t care about one hit wonders and pop sensations, was looking for interesting people. This might have been one of the harder categories for me as there are a number of different people and it was hard to narrow down.

  1. Stevie Ray Vaughan – For me probably my favorite music artist and hands down one of the best guitar players ever. That statement can be debated forever by many, but that’s how I feel. He was taken from the world too early and I would have loved the opportunity to see him live. He just seemed like a cool cat that had no agenda and just wanted to play guitar and entertain people. He broke down barriers and blew people’s minds, what else is there to say.
  2. Johnny Cash – I don’t like all of his music as he went through different periods in his career. He also was a son of a bitch to many people that knew him, but he was a great talent and is still very interesting.
  3. Metallica – I was not sure about my third choice but the guys from Metallica are sure to not disappoint. I’ve always been a big fan of the music, but their fight against Napster and music streaming services would sure to drum up some good conversation at the dinner table.



There have been a few great front men that have led companies that created cool things in history, these people come to mind first. But this category could include inventors of things and really anything tech related.

  1. Steve Jobs – This choice is probably very predictable, but I think it would be interesting to get a few unfiltered hours from the evil genius. He was very driven and did things a different way than others and while people were scared of him or hated him, he lead an organization that created some of the coolest gadgets in history.
  2. Elon Musk – Much like Steve he is considered to be a bit of an evil genius, only time will tell on if he is just evil or a genius. I think that he is either a really great idea man or just good at cultivating and finding other people’s ideas, but I’m sure it would make for an interesting conversation.
  3. Kevin Mitnick – I don’t care much about hacking, but his use of social engineering and just the creative thoughts it took for his approaches is interesting.



I’m not a big politics person, but I do like history so that is probably why my choices are all from the past.

  1. John F Kennedy – Not being a big politics person JFK is one of the few people that sparks any interest.
  2. Teddy Roosevelt – He has some ties to South Dakota my home state along with being an interesting story puts him on my list.
  3. Winston Churchill – He lived and ruled through some very interesting events and points in time.


Don’t be shy now, go ahead and share your list in the comments with others. If you have ideas for other categories go ahead and make those up also.


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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 DataCenterZombie.com 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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