Notes from 2018 VMWorld

Day 1 kicked off with the announcement of AWS’ DBs running on vCenter.  This is to dovetail with VMware in AWS.  Trying to figure out how this makes sense, allowing AWS to make their move to on-prem.  Makes me wonder if the same thinking here was the same thinking that led the wizard Saruman to make a deal with the dark lord Sauron.

VMware clearly is trying to prepare for a day where there are fewer on-prem workloads.  There is more management with vRealize Cloud in the vRealize Suite.  There is more growth in the replicate to VMC in AWS.

Meanwhile on the WAN front, there is the big announcement of the Velocloud purchase and pulling that into the NSX family.  CEO Pat Gelsinger has that as a major announcement in his keynote following the AWS portion.  I thought that NSX was going to be omitted from mention, but there they did get their spot before the end of the keynote – so it is still moving along.

On the vendor front, they occasionally threw an obvious line to Dell/EMC their major shareholders.  This was especially true when it came to discussion around vSAN.  vSAN seems to have a positive direction as it was positioned as a relevant technology as opposed to the bumps it had in years past where they were touting features over adoption.  When talking about HyperConverged, it was vSAN, and it was Dell/EMC.  And there was the subtle exclusion of Cisco on the slides.  Dell/EMC, HPE, Lenovo were on the compute slides, but not Cisco.

There was a huge portion of Day 2 keynote to social action which Gelsinger mentioned a bit in Day 1.  He specifically quoted and rejected Milton Friedman’s premise that a company should maximize shareholder value. I’m not sure if (1) he really believes this (2) he’s following Michael Dell’s lead being the majority shareholder (3) he’s trying to appease the Millennial crowd who want to see companies doing this – and these are the folks he wants to hire, or (4) some combination.  It is probably some combination that leads to this errant view.  But, there was a Nobel prize winner on Day 2 – though in the overflow room, the audio went out for minutes as they introduced her.  A lot of time was spent trying to come up to speed afterward.

There were two announcements also around vmotion/svmotion on ARM chips and NVIDIA GPUs (not together).

The vendor hall was filled with the vendors you’d expect.  Apparently, t-shirts are back.  At my conferences attending a year ago, it seemed customer dress socks were the rage.  This was my first multi-day conference at Mandalay Bay.  The catered food is better at the Venetian/Sands convention complex than Mandalay’s.  Personally, I spent a fair amount talking to different vendors that are involved in one of my projects to get advice on supportability of an odd use case that I’m dealing with.

The lab environment was done well – held on the bottom floor away from the top two levels which are much noisier (live music, etc.).

The 25,000 attendees made for congested hallways and escalators.  But, I saw more former Denver colleagues there than I do when I’m around town here.

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Notes from #NTAPInsight 2014

Green Ball

After a partial week at NetApp 2014 Insight US, here are my thoughts:
(full disclosure:  I was a presenter of one session at the conference)
  1. Keynote thought
  2. OnTap 8.3 announcement
  3. Hybrid Cloud
    1. Data is state-ful, unlike (cloud) computing
  4. Data locality
  5. Different UNIX variants – Different Cloud
  6. Laundry services similar to cloud computing (Jay Kidd / NA CTO)
Tom Mendoza (NetApp Vice Chairman) was fantastic in his keynote.  He focused on culture and wanting to build a culture of trust & candor.  CIOs understand every company is going to have issues, the question will be does the CIO of the customer trust the vendor to be there when there is a problem.
Lots of talk about OnTap 8.3 – though the fact that it is RC1 and not GA is disappointing.   Didn’t hear anyone reference that the 8.3 is a Release Candidate.  8.3 provides full feature parity with 7-mode.  There was little discussion about 7-mode, except for how to move off 7-mode (7-mode transition tool).  7-mode transition still appears to be a large effort.  For, 7MTT, the key term is “tool”.
The key focus in the keynotes was “Hybrid Cloud”.  One of the key takeaways is the need for data locality.  The data is ‘state-ful’ as opposed to cloud computing which is ‘stateless’ — in the sense that the resource need can be metered, but data is not.  So, when moving from on-prem to cloud, data would have to be replicated completely between 2.   Or more so, if you are working between clouds, or maybe between clouds in different countries, the full data set has to be replicated.  The concern is that government entities (Snowden effect) will require data to be housed in respective countries.  This now becomes the digital equivalent of import/export laws and regulations.
With the notion of different clouds, it reminds me of all the different UNIX variants.  We had Solaris boxes and we had HP-UX boxes and we had DEC boxes and we struggled moving data between.  Some were big endian, some little endian.  So, binaries were incompatible.
Finally and irreverently during Jay Kidd’s (NetApp CTO) presentation, my mind wandered when thinking about cloud computing analogies.  Never noticed before how metered cloud computing is so much like washing machines at the laundry mat – pay per use.

 

Jim – 10/30/14 @itbycrayon View Jim Surlow's profile on LinkedIn (I don’t accept general LinkedIn invites – but if you say you read my blog, it will change my mind)

Lack of Tech Workforce Diversity in Silicon Valley – my $0.02

Green Ball

Earlier today, on a Wall St. Journal tech blog stats were published showing that a large majority of workers at well known Silicon Valley tech companies are white or asian.  This follows some news of the last several weeks where tech companies are acknowledging this.
The question is:  Is this a problem?
And the next:  If so, can it be solved?
And lastly:  If so, what is the one solution or what are the multiple solutions to the problem?
I’d argue that it is a problem.  The world is in a knowledge economy and the more Americans that can participate in the knowledge economy, the better for America.  The lack of diversity reflects a lack of participation in the field and thus portions of the country not participating in the economy, as full as possible.
Yes, there is extrapolation going on here – large companies predominantly housed in Silicon Valley is being used as a proxy for all tech, and tech being a proxy for the best portions of the economy in the nation.
But, when they say that small companies grow the economy, it isn’t someone selling stamps or vitamins, it is companies that have venture capital like the beginnings of Facebook and such.
Tech companies start with some tech guys with an idea.  They borrow.  Then they go for venture capital.  Venture Capitalists want to ensure that the plan is sound and/or that they have some proven leadership.  The companies try to staff up with the best staff they can.
Meanwhile, the tech companies are in fierce competition for talent (except when they collude to keep wages down). So, tech companies in Silicon Valley have glorious headquarters and are willing to shuttle staff down from San Francisco.
So, when selecting candidates from college, what would tech companies look for?  Graduates with STEM degrees, of course.  And what does that diversity look like?  According to this site, , in 2011 75% of grads in Comp Sci were White or Asian.
In addition, those who start college pursuing STEM degrees, under represented minorities are less successful in completing those programs than others.  And this can be tied to how they perform in high school.  Minorities are known not to perform as well. In 2013 it was said, “This year only 15 percent of blacks and 23 percent of Latinos met or exceeded the SAT benchmark for college and career readiness.”
So, this does not really seem to be a problem with the tech companies.  You don’t hear how NFL teams aren’t recruiting enough from the Ivy League.  Going back to the question:  Is this a problem?  Yes.  More specifically, is it the tech companies’ problem?  No.
Can the problem of minority participation in tech be solved?  Maybe.  It needs to be done in earlier years.  In high school and earlier, logic and cause & effect, need to be taught.  Taking on the subject of the problem with public schools is beyond this blog, but the point is that the diversity in tech outcomes are results of issues long before it gets to employers.

Off soapbox,

Jim – 06/19/14 @itbycrayon View Jim Surlow's profile on LinkedIn (I don’t accept general LinkedIn invites – but if you say you read my blog, it will change my mind)

Notes from #EMCWorld 2014

Green Ball

After days at EMC World, here’s what sticks out in my mind:
  1. 3rd Platform Paradigm
  2. ViPR (& VMAXce)
  3. Electricity model
  4. Just like school
  5. The Venetian
  6. VMware
  7. Backups
  8. Other folks

Side note:  There was talk of SAP HANA, Hadoop, & Pivotal.  The place that I typically play in is Storage and not that space, so I’m going to ignore their emphasis there.

  1. 3rd Platform — This is at least the 2nd year that EMCWorld has had mention of this and I really like the tie into the concepts from the Innovator’s Dilemna i.e. that there are technology waves and that mobile users and devices are the 3rd wave of consumers, following the 2nd wave, PC users, and 1st wave mainframes.  Emphasis on this, in my opinion is a strength.

  2. ViPR (&VMAXce) — Lots of talk about ViPR 2.0 their abstraction layer & coding into storage.  One of my unknowns was how does EMC ViPR compare with VMware Orchestrator.  Turns out, ViPR needs to talk northbound into the VMware layer or OpenStack Layer while VMware Orchestrator would need to talk southbound to ViPR or directly to arrays.  Last year, there were lots of mentions of VMAXce, this year I didn’t hear anything.  So, VMAXce makes it easier to provision on predetermined tiers and such (Cloud provisioning portal, etc).  If EMC struggled getting that right, how will smaller firms deal with their own coding to do ViPR?

  3. Electricity model for storage models (Utility model) — Dovetailing to the above, one presenter made analogies to the Electricity model.  Right now, it is a utility 110/220V.  Whereas before AC was standard, companies needed their own electricity generation (Singer sewing machines as an example).  So, if the future is to scale, we need less complexity and thus, fewer options.  This ties back to ViPR and also ties into performance based criteria to storage, not just capacity.  Redundancy & Data Protection would be considered as givens.  But, as we can see from #2, it doesn’t appear as simple as it sounds.

  4. Just like school — Spoke to one new attendee to EMCworld and he compared it to school — racing between classes, information overload.  I think one can add parties at night, concert midweek, sleep or bail on the last day of the week (attendance at breakfast this AM was lower and projected to be so).

  5. Las Vegas Venetian / Sand Convention Center — Every year, I’m blown away with the logistics of feeding 15,000 people for breakfast and lunch.  Herd everyone in for breakfast, clean up, truck the stuff out, truck the lunch stuff in, prep the buffet tables, replace table cloths and herd the lunch crowd in.  Very impressive.  (I said in #4 that breakfast this AM, following last night’s concert, was projected to be less — they cut the dining area in half it appeared).

  6. VMware — I always find it interesting that at EMCworld, EMC touts VMware as an integral part of their company (I think they own 80%).  When you talk to VMware staff, they sound independent — as they wish to be storage agnostic.  However, it seems that the cultural differences between the two and other barriers are coming down a bit more.  Seems that VMware is really more a part of EMC than they used to be.

  7. Backups — During one of the backup presentations, there was a nice slide on the data protection spectrum.  Continuous Availability (immediate w/ VPlex), Replication (seconds, w/RPAs), Snapshots (minutes, w/array based), Backups (hours w/Avamar or Networker), Archive (days w/Atmos).  Seeing with those point solutions added clarity.

  8. Other folks in town — While EMCWorld was at the Venetian, I saw that NetApp was at the Aria & I heard that Symantec was at Caesar’s Palace.  I guess the week in Vegas was a temporary tech conference.

Jim – 05/08/14 @itbycrayon View Jim Surlow's profile on LinkedIn 
(I don’t accept general LinkedIn invites – but if you say you read my blog, it will change my mind)