My first week with Android after switching from iPhone

This is not my normal kind of post for this site, but figured it is tech related. Also anytime you talk to someone about their phone it can spark some good discussions. I’ve been an iPhone user for the past couple of years and before that I had an Android phone in the early 2.x days.

My iPhone 4S was getting old and and lets face it I had a case of hardware envy. I really liked how easy to use the iPhone was and with my entire family being on Apple devices communication and services was a great fit. But I’m a bit geeky and like to experiment with things and that is part of what drove me to change. Well that and the small screen and slowed pace of innovation by Apple.

 

What phone did I get?

After spending a week or so looking at the options I ended up choosing the Note 3 from Samsung. I know, its a huge phone but I really don’t talk much these days with the phone to my ear. So I was not too concerned about the size. It has even been called my small TV phone a co-worker. Had I not been limited to Verizon as my service provider my other choice would have likely been the Nexus 5 from the Google Play store.

One of the main goals for the new phone was something with a larger screen and more power. The Note 3 blows booth of those requirements out of the water. It is fast and packed with memory and with a screen measuring in a 5.7″, it really is almost a small TV.

While I’m still adapting to the change in phone size, it is so much more enjoyable reading news and emails on the phone. I can now consume more media that I would have had to wait for computer access to catch up on before.

note-maxresdefault

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This is what makes VMware a great company other than the products

This week was a pretty crazy week, it’s nearing end of the 4th quarter and year so as a partner it gets no busier. Also this week I published a post that drew a larger amount of interest inside of VMware and I’m sure I ruffled more than a few feathers.

On a positive note is that I was reminded why I am such a strong believer in VMware products and their people. Lets face it while I feel my write up was well written and neutral, the folks at VMware could have taken a different stance then they did. The teams could have tried to get me to change or take down my blog post, they could have tried to call my employer and demand that they do something.

None of those things happened, well there were a few phone calls made to my work. But nothing that was negative and only wanted to talk and get details. Out of all this, I was invited to have a meeting with the director of product management at VMware for EUC products. He put out the invitation in good faith and wanted to start a process of ongoing communication between his teams and myself on their EUC products and futures.

I think this is great and could have been handled much worse, instead the VMware teams rose above being petty and started on the path to building something better. For this I have a lot of respect, lets face it I’ve been in IT for a few decades and have never experienced the level of community involvement that VMware offers. I work with Microsoft, Citrix and many other storage and hardware vendors and most do not even come close to what VMware is doing with the community.

I do think that this has been recognized by some and they are seeking to change things. With recent programs starting up from Cisco and EMC to help with community involvement and I hope more are coming. Other vendors can learn a lot from what VMware has done over the last 5 years or so.

 

 

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My 2013 year in review at Petri knowledge base

It’s that time of year where people write a blog post to wrap up their thoughts for the year. I had mine all queued up for a few weeks and this morning on twitter I saw someone mention that they were waiting for the tidal wave of these types of posts to start. So to not disappoint anyone here is mine. You can read the full write up on my post over at Petri Knowledge base.

2013wrapup

 

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My EUC suite comparison for VMware vs Citrix

In my day job I spend a lot of time working with Enterprises developing strategies around their End User Computing (EUC) services. Once the strategy is developed it usually leads to the design of the EUC offerings. It is increasing evident that just being good at VDI is no longer acceptable. The following are services or requirements that are rapidly becoming table stakes for many customers.

  • Application presentation – any app to any device
  • Mobile app and data management (MDM, MAM)
  • Enterprise fie sync and share

As many Enterprises and smaller customers evaluate offerings from Citrix and VMware they are increasing looking for a vendor that can provide solutions to satisfy their requirements. They do not want to have to use solutions from multiple vendors that do not integrate well together.

The following comparison is based on the product versions listed below. After the table I have broken each evaluation point out and explained why I rated them equal or why one won in my eyes. This does not intend to sway your view to or from either vendor, I am simply trying to shine light on how they stack up. Not every customer needs all of these capabilities at the start and might be able to wait for them to mature or could use a hybrid solution with the best parts from both vendors.

  • VMware Horizon Suite (View 5.3, Mirage 4.3 and Workspace 1.5)
  • Citrix XenDesktop (XenDesktop 7 and XenApp 6.5)

 

  • VDIVDI
  • Physical PC managementPhysical PC management
  • EUC PortalEUC Portal
  • Mobile ManagementMobile Management
  • File sync & shareFile sync & share
  • Application optionsApplication options
  • NetworkingNetworking
  • VMware Horizon Suite

  • VDIyes
  • Physical PC managementyes
  • EUC Portalyes
  • Mobile Management
  • File sync & share
  • Application optionsThinApp
  • Networking
  • Citrix XenDesktop

  • VDIyes
  • Physical PC management
  • EUC Portalyes
  • Mobile ManagementRequires XenMobileyes
  • File sync & shareRequires ShareFileyes
  • Application optionsXenAppyes
  • Networkingyes
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Do IT departments need to start hiring PR reps?

It’s no secret that there is a communication and sometimes a social gap between the folks in the IT department and the executive team and end users. The reason for the gap exists is due to many reasons of which some included the inability to properly describe issues to non technical people.

This gap has always existed but seems to be widening in recent years. I think as people continue to adopt cloud services and the app store model they find it harder to understand why IT teams still operate in the way they do. The business and end users will continue to demand services with short turnaround times and will want to be offered more choices than they had in the past.

happy-it-crowd-dance

To deal with this I think that the IT staff needs to learn new skills and become more adapt in messaging their services and describing outages to the business and users. This will help with how they are perceived and allow them to become the people there to help people work more efficiently rather than be seen as the creepy bunch of people locked away in the basement cubicles.

How to fix?

One option would be to send IT managers and team members to some type of communication workshop to try and improve their methods. I think this option would just fail 99% of the time. So the option most likely to succeed would be for the IT department to hire a PR rep. The IT PR person would work closely with the CIO and directors to craft the mission statement for the department and what their services are. Here are some things that would help with the perception of the IT staff.

  • Communicate what services are available to the business and how they can and should be used.
  • Properly communicate status of operations during service interruptions to the business.
  • When root cause is identified communicate to leadership what the cause was and what steps were taken to mitigate the issue. (Example would be an Microsoft OS patch causes an issue with a number of servers. Did the team do testing in the lab ahead of deploying to production and such.)
  • When the business is demanding some new cloud based type service. Help them understand what is available to them today and help with determining if the new solution is a valid option.

I know this is a radical idea and problem seems crazy to many. But I hear from a large number of questions that they experience these types of issues on a regular basis. During a recent project one of my teammates mentioned this idea and it really got me thinking. If you think I’m crazy or onto something drop a note in the comments.

 

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EMC XtremIO management console walkthrough

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on an XtremIO brick from EMC. These bricks were just released to the general public a couple of weeks ago and before that they were nearly impossible to get your hands on one. I have only had limited exposure to it so far but plan on getting to know it better. That means trying to crush it with different workloads and see how it behaves, until then I thought a walk through of what the management interface for XtremIO looks like would be a good place to start.

 

XtremIO Dashboard

The management dashboard is a Java based application, I’m not crazy about Java but I do have to say that it performed pretty responsive. The pages loaded quickly when moving between the different areas and most of the data updates Live so you are not looking at old data.

The dashboard is laid out pretty clear with the main areas shown as icons along the top of the screen. Its very easy to see what your options are and navigate between them. I would say that this layout is carried over and EMC has not muddied it with Unisphere ugliness yet.

In the first image shown below we are looking at the main dashboard screen that you see when logging in. This dashboard gives you different info that lets you know how the brick is performing and its health. On the left side there is capacity information that shows the dedupe ratios and capacity information. The upper right space is showing performance information, the current view is showing the IOPS view, there are other tabs shown below for latency and bandwidth.

The lower two spaces show the health of the brick, the left shows a color view of the health of the unit. While the right shows any alerts for the brick.

XtremIO Dashboard

XtremIO Dashboard

 

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Infinio Accelerator install and walk through

I was recently provided the opportunity to work with the Infinio Accelerator product. In case you have not heard of or gotten the chance to look into Infinio I will give a quick summary. The accelerator is a software only server side caching product that will help accelerate the reads from your central storage.

In the current version of Infinio it supports NFS only storage. It uses a management VM and an accelerator VM on each host. The accelerator VM uses one vCPU and 8GB of memory. Since the solution uses excess host memory there are no requirements for local SSD.

The product is pretty darn easy to install and get working, which you will see from my walk through below.  Besides the ease of install the licensing cost of the solution is affordable also. Infinio licenses the product on a per socket license and the retail price is $499 per socket. This puts the cost at about $1000 per average server used in most configurations. Also a large majority of shops do not run their hosts very hot so having 8GB of memory available won’t be an issue either.

 

Infinio Accelerator Install

The first thing to do is download the install bits from Infinio which weigh in just over 1GB. One you have the software ready there will be an .OVA file and a setup.exe. You need to start the install by running the executable, if you just deploy the OVA it will deploy but you will be missing some important configuration options.

Upon starting the setup wizard you will be presented with the first screen shown below. This explains the steps that you will go through for the setup and asks you to accept the License Agreement.

 

infinio install 1

Infinio install Step 1

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