Jan 13

3D FlexPod: The Best of NetApp, Cisco & NVIDIA in a Single Stack

Last week, I received a lot of attention on social media (more than 50,000 views) when I posted about how to run oil and gas applications on LinkedIn. Now maybe it was the beautiful dual-screens that grabbed everyone’s attention, or maybe it was the fact that we were replacing expensive workstations with something more simple, more secure, and frankly, much more exciting!

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Jan 13

Veeam and AltaVault: The Perfect Backup Combination

In my line of work, I spend most of my time talking to customers. And as a long-time NetApp fanboy, a lot of that time is spent talking up NetApp solutions. However, while I’m always a bit partial to NetApp, my team and I do our due diligence and examine other options. In this case, we were comparing Veeam Backup on NetApp AltaVault vs. an AWS Gateway (as well as the Virtual Tape Library, or VTL, option) to replace a customer’s existing tape solution.

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Jan 10

A DevOps Engineer’s Nirvana: The Real Benefits of Using ONTAP Cloud

As a developer and automation architect, I’ve worked on many exciting automation projects over the last six years. One of my first automation projects required designing a self-service portal for Oracle administrators and developers to provision and manage the Oracle Test/Dev as a service on NetApp arrays. The result was a self-sustaining portal that ran for nearly four years before anyone had to touch the storage – and that was only because of the migration from 7-mode to ONTAP. Even now, when shelves and controllers are added, the automation instantly recognizes the space and handles the allocation.

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Jan 07

What’s in your bag…

I have seen many a post recently that dives into the IT professionals bag and divulges the secret travelling tech products or just the cant leave without amenities. I decided to jump on this and let you know what I carry around in my bag.

The Bag

I have a choice of two and this really depends where I am heading, if I am heading out for a conference I prefer a backpack, easier to march around airports and conference centres with a backpack but if I am rocking a suit or have a particular customer meeting then I would probably go for the messenger bag.

The Machine

Since my Professional Services days where I carried a 15" MacBook Pro specced to the nines allowing me to run remote labs and give me enough power to do anything whilst onsite I have downsized to a smaller MacBook Pro 13"

Enough spec to run everything I need as a Systems Engineer and now a Technical Marketing Engineer, everything I need really conveys to, Outlook and PowerPoint and the odd requirement for remote desktop.

Tech Amenities

Power bank - this is not a inherited or acquired one from a tech show as they just do not really have the power, this is a full blown unit giving me about 4-5 charges on my phone but also the ability to charge other devices I sometimes carry such as iPad or my Kindle Fire. Depending on where I travel I do have some more pocket friendly units that can give me just enough top up. It’s a whopping 20000mAh and take a look it was very cheap.


Head Phones - I have my beloved Beats by Dre regardless of where I am heading and what bag I am taking I will always have these in hand they are coming up to nearly 4 years old now so its about time I looked at some newer shinier ones but the replacements will follow me everywhere.

Although mine do not look like this anymore.

Lightening cables - my MacBook has an embedded HDMi but not all screens out and about have that capability still yet so I am always armed with my two VGA adapters.. Why 2? Because if one fails and you are to present then you best be able to have a backup plan before the witch hunt starts on the Mac guy. I also carry a lightening network adapter, to be honest since getting this I think I have used it once. Its much easier to tether or find an open Wifi for connectivity.

PowerPoint clicker - Much the same as the VGA adapter if you don’t have your clicker and no access to one for a presentation it really throws me off so always keep one in my bag and always a couple of spare batteries for it.

Charging cables - I have recently moved over from a OnePlus One to the new HTC 10 and in doing so this means a change of all of my charging cables from mini USB to USB-C. I also have my iPad which is a 2 shame on me but still using that old Apple charger and then my kindle fire so I like to make sure I have one of each of these plus maybe one of those handly little multi cable chargers.

Passport  -  I also carry a 1TB western digital passport purely for backups, as I am aware that the public cloud offerings from OneDrive, DropBox are not a form of backup as I will touch on in an upcoming ransomware post. So although very handy and great for syncing my work data between my travelling laptop and home docked macbook pro its not going to protect me if a corruption occurs and replicates around my data. I also have another Western Digital Passport at home hooked into the docked machine running scheduled backups. Some might say that I am very protective of my data and I guess so but given who I work for if I was to lose data it would look really bad. Plus your data is important protect it as much as possible… things happen.
On top of all that above I will also have a lot of small bits I always carry, I carry a small pair of earbud headphones ideal for remote calls and WebEx sessions, a notebook and pen when you just need to write something down. I also carry a stylus for my iPad, sometimes when on a customer site or giving remote sessions an iPad is the next best thing to an old fashioned whiteboard. I try as well to always have a few Veeam branded USB drives with the latest ISOs and documentation on or just plain empty ones that I can use for various tasks.
That’s really it, I find these posts really interesting so would love to see more out there so take 20 minutes and jot down what you have in your bag.
Jan 07

2016 – Let’s wrap this up

Another year done here at vZilla and I would say a very successful one. Besides all the political melting pot either side of the Atlantic and the horrendous year for celebrity deaths. I personally have had a pretty good year.
I started the year as a Systems Engineer with Veeam where I had started in the March of 2015. Kicking the year off with Cisco Live which was in Berlin and then heading over for the Annual ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) NetApp A Team symposium over in Sunnyvale. That’s when things started to change I have detailed the start and finish of that transition here - http://bit.ly/2e1094p

Fast forward to November 2016, this is when I jumped into the new role with both feet for the last two months of the year. I managed to get some good content out there but nothing like I am going to be producing in 2017.
It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to look back over the year and compare things, things like number of blog posts, site visits and any other comparable number I can get hold of and compare.
At the beginning of the year I changed the website statistics engine from Webalizer which looks very dated to AWstats (which also doesn’t look cutting edge) I have also looked at Google Analytics and more recently CloudFlare.
2015 Stats
See what I mean about dated… (Webalizer above) Below are the numbers from 2016.
I like looking at these stats at the end or beginning of the year. It shows when I was focused on the content creation or in fact when I was busy with day job. I can see that overall I didn’t get as many visits compared to last year but I can also see the reason behind that in 2016, July, August and September were my quiet months. Whereas this year for whatever reason I had a quiet spell from March through to July and then for the rest of the year it was very busy. Overall hits are up.
From a content side of things, the top viewed posts came around the time that Veeam made their “Next Big Thing” announcement towards the end of August.
Veeam “The Next Big Thing” Wrap Up - http://bit.ly/2boeEj7
A lot of hits during the month of November where I took part in the #VDM30in30 challenge and managed 10 posts. It was always going to be a big ask having started a new job on the 1st November, I did have a couple more posts that were in draft but time constraints meant they were left in the chamber ready. You can find them posts here – http://www.vzilla.co.uk/vzilla-blog/category/vdm30in30
A big part of my #VDM30in30 posts were around the home lab and in particular my post on my own use case for the home lab – Test, Demo & Training can be found here - http://vzilla.co.uk/vzilla-blog/projecttomorrow-my-own-use-case-test-demo-train
Looking at the number of posts for 2016, I managed 8 more posts than the previous year, the intention for 2017 is to break that 30-post mark, but I really feel strongly about quality over quantity.

The Twitters

My twitter is still where I started my community engagement, I would say that a lot of my success has stemmed from the activity and effort I have put into this social media craze. I would also suggest that this is where I learn the most about our crazy industry.
I am blown away by some of these numbers compared to the year before, seeing 835.8K impressions compared to the previous year’s 498.6K is mind blowing! Also, picking up over 200 more followers, the analytics engine from twitter seem to have a problem with twitter followers during the first few months not sure if anyone else had that issue?
All in all, I am happy with how 2016 went from a work perspective and social media & blogging presence. With the change of roles this is going to mean a much stronger focus on different content and may affect the content that arrives on vZilla but all in all content will be created and shared and hopefully that will help a community member somewhere.
Happy New Year and the best of luck to everyone.
Jan 06

Tech ONTAP Podcast Episode 67: Trident and Kubernetes

Just before the Christmas holiday, NetApp delivered a very special, open source, present: Trident, a storage orchestrator which integrates with Kubernetes for dynamic provisioning of persistent volumes.  Trident is configured to manage one or more storage systems while providing a provisioner for persistent volumes in Kubernetes, natively giving the ability for applications to consume the storage that they need, when they need it, and where they need it.  Additionally, Trident has a REST interface for any application to consume capacity on demand.

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