New Year. Looking back, looking ahead.

A year in review, and a look ahead!

We have a gift of mind and body given to us every day we are alive, no matter what we face with either. Forcing myself to do which I never thought I could, is the best Christmas and New Year gift I could give myself. I do not want to stop challenging myself until it kills me

2013, I have worked my mind, and not as much my body. I think I accomplished most of what I set out to. I accomplished much more than I could have anticipated I would need to last year.  Though, a tad too much eating out while on the road.

Coming into 2013, I took hold of a concept, a mantra, that I learned in 2012 from a Symantec Conference.  I am my customers ‘Trusted Technical Advisor’!  In every design, in every plan, and in every deployment, would I trust what I propose as my own.  Would I love to have to manage what I am deploying or proposing?

I started the year off with a whirlwind trip between customers all over the country and Canada.  I continued on with some NetApp Cluster Mode deployments,  Cisco UCS/Nexus and FlexPod deployments. Sprinkle in Riverbed, and Quantum DXi deployments and you have a terrific 2013!

In the middle, I took one of the best trips of my life to Costa Rica, picked up dozens of certs/accreditation, including my CCNP DC.

I ended the year with a stellar class teaching about Riverbed Granite.

It’s hard to complain that I got so much done.  I helped many customers, putting their foundation for the future into place.
2014 will be embracing mind and body, and setting the path for future progress.

I have my goals lined out, many extending back from dreams of my youth. While they are numerous, I want to progress towards all of them.
They are not resolutions.
They are beginnings. Most of my goals are to be larger, longer, and more difficult than anything I have set out to do before.

  • Begin a structured health program (Probably martial arts, which I have not been in since I was a teenager. Maybe go for Krav Maga or Muay Thai Kickboxing)
  • Learn the basics of playing guitar, and share time with music with the kids. (My hand coordination sucks and I must improve it.  I picked up a bargain basement Ibanez MiKro and Rocksmith2014 for me and the kids to share and use, my arm seriously went numb from playing it.  )
  • Get my Sport Pilots License in 2014 (w/ Private Pilots license to follow as I can afford flight time. This has been a dream since I was 13.)  Anyone have a plane I can borrow in PA/NJ/DE?  I’ll trade PS time for air time 😉
  • Prepare for Cisco CCIE Datacenter & VMWare VCDX certification
    – First attempt testing in 2015
    – 2014 sub-goals of CCNP R/S, get up to date on my VCAPs, and the start of my Design/Defense paperwork for VCDX
    – Recert everything about to expire
  •  Learn to juggle. (I can type over 100wpm, over 175 if casually chatting, WTF is it so hard to juggle? Tried countless times to learn.)

What are my 2014 Predictions and where  would I like to see my customers spend their time?  Where should they avoid?

  1. YES: It’s the year of NetApp Clustered Ontap!
    I have no reservations that in 99% of my customers new deployments, Clustered OnTap can show plenty of benefits!
    I recently did a deployment for a customer’s secondary site in the midwest (we ripped out a competitors all-flash array because of issues).  Near the end of the project, we brought their Oracle databases online (which used NFS for all files), I started pulling out network cables, and unplugging power to the primary controller running their exports/volumes.  Oracle didn’t skip a beat.  It didn’t see anything happen.   LIFs migrated to the other node, NFS stayed up, customer was thrilled!
  2. YES: Ten Gig Networks and faster.  It’s 2014… it’s about damn time you get 10gb+ networking.
    Do you know how much of a pain in the balls it is when I goto your datacenter, and all you have are old network switches?  And then you want to do time wasting analysis on why your backups are slow, or why your NAS/SAN can push as much data as you want it.  It’s your damn network!  It’s a pain in my balls!- Even more, you grew by adding a switch here, and a switch there. and A switch here and a switch there!  Wait, did you just goto Staples and buy a switch and plug it in?  AHHHHHH!!!!
    I don’t think you realize what you are being limited to in this situation.  And, rethink your VLANning, damn it!!
    Most of this can be avoided if you stop using pizzabox servers, and start using well designed, top to bottom, datacenter components such as Cisco UCS.  (see the next one!)
  3. YES: Cisco UCS or FlexPod!!!!!!!  DataCenter 3.0 is here!
    I have worked in technology, primarily enterprise systems, for about 20 years now.  I have seen few changes as revolutionary as Cisco UCS!  I think the last time I felt like this was when I first touched VMware in 1999.
    Stop buying pizza box servers.  It doesn’t matter if you need 4 servers, or 400, this is the way you should go!  You are screwing yourself over so much by continually one-offing with pizza box servers or sub-par designed/overpriced blade solutions.
    Compare the cabling picture from above to this.  This is a multiple chassis setup, fully redundant multi fabric deployment.  No mess!  Future ready!  80GB up to the Fabric Interconnect.  (You can go even higher if you want!)
    Want to add another 8 blades each with redundant IP fabrics, redundant fiber, redundant FCoE, boot from san, etc etc etc ?  Ok, 4 power and a few twinax cables.  That’s it.Are you already buying a NetApp and need servers too?  Go FlexPod! Already buying EMC? go vBlock!   Simple purchasing, reference design and architecture.  Certified configurations!
  4. YES:  Better ‘Network’ monitoring and utilization!!! Seriously, why the hell do I even have to say this?  I dont mean just pinging a server!  Don’t you people understand that????  There is more than layer 2/3 in your datacenter!   Monitor your applications, monitor your data, monitor your processes!  Monitor it! Check out  Riverbed Cascade Suite.

    Do you have multiple routers you need to monitor end to and packet analysis? Use Riverbed Cascade Pilot to display and multi-flow analyze against your captured data!  Seriously, work smarter!
    * What about your end users?  How do YOU help THEM work smarter?
    – Make their network better!    
    +Riverbed Steelhead Mobile
    will optimize their VPN connections, reducing traffic needed to pass, speeding up throughput.
    +Riverbed Cloud accelerator will speed up all access between you and common clouds like Google, Sales Force, Live/Office365
  5. NO: Software Defined Networking (SDN) – I am going to get lynched by many people I know for this… Avoid the buzzword!
    Please, don’t think about this in 2014. This is the “CLOUD” buzzword for 2014.  How many of you actually went full cloud in 2013? Don’t think this will solve your problems.
    * Most of you don’t have VMware Enterprise Plus.
    * Most of you don’t have your physical network layer sorted out and planned right.  Even with a good physical network foundation, there is little benefit in this.
    – First, ask yourself, WHY do you want to use this.  Please, I’m serious.  Stop it.  Stop it right now. I know you are thinking about it…  Stop it.  I get in trouble for yelling at people… please don’t make me yell at you.
    Here, why don’t you use a little baby SDN footstep  called VXLANs. If you do in fact NEED this, you will know why.  You will have a specific reason or use case.  Then, Only then, should you really invest your time here as a major initiative of 2014!  After all, a REAL need, and SDN is really freakin awesome!
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