Is there anything more terrifying?

13 03 2012


Just the very word evokes strong reactions of gut wrenching contortions in almost everyone who hears the word…


When the years start stacking up and you notice those little nags, bumps and lumps that weren’t there before it’s where your mind turns…


It’s the word your mind jumps to when the doctor calls and says that he needs you to schedule another visit after your test results come back…


It’s the word they use to describe that unwanted, treacherous, plotting and deadly individual on your team or in your company…


It’s one of the greatest equalizers in the world…it can strike or bring down the riches of Steve Jobs, the voice of a vocalist, or the warmth of your grandmother…


Our own tissues and living cells…destroying us from the inside out… I, like many others have some strong feelings about cancer. It’s touched my family and those that I’ve loved. I worry about it in my own life and in my immediate family’s lives. Even though all of that is true…the absolute worst cancer of them all has to be childhood cancer. The arcane and painful treatment regimens, the incessant visits of doctors and specialists, the way that life suddenly becomes serious and no fun, the loss of youthful vigor and energy, the innocence snuffed out before its time…by far…childhood cancer is the most insidious form of that dreadful disease. My company, NetApp, supports a great many charitable endeavors, but to me…the fight against childhood cancer is one of the ones I care most about. Although I have been blessed that none of my children have been touched by cancer, as a parent I still dread even the thought. It is for this reason that I support St. Baldrick’s. St. Baldrick’s is a foundation that raises money for the fight against childhood cancer. They do so by enlisting the help of volunteers who offer to be shaved for donations. The group brings fun, a purpose, and a symbolic brotherhood to the effort of raising money for fighting childhood cancer. This year, one of my team members has volunteered to be shaved at a St. Baldrick’s event and I’ve made a donation in his name to the cause. Will you join me and the many others in the fight to help end childhood cancer? If you can do so, please donate through this donation link.

The road to Boot Camp Hell! :-)

6 03 2012


LONG Rant/Novel/Epic ahead!!!

Let me share my recent hellish engaging experience in getting Boot Camp going on my late 2011 15″ MacBook Pro with you…

I recently took the plunge and purchased one of the new Intel 520 SSDs for use in my MacBook. In doing so, I decided that I too wanted to move to the dual drive setup like many others have discussed on this DL. I however, being ever the contrarian, decided to forgo the IMHO over-priced OWC or MCE superdrive caddies and I went instead with a caddy from a seller on Amazon for around a whopping $18.50 (hey…freed up some money for my  over priced SSD :D). This turned out to be a great move as the caddy was absolutely perfect and worked like a champ for taking my already upgraded 500GB Momentus XT. Installed a fresh copy of Lion onto the new SSD and did some symbolic linkage kung fu and I was humming along perfectly soon enough.

Then I decided that in addition to running my many VMs through Fusion, that because I have so many demanding games business applications, I would like to have a Boot Camp install for those times that I just wanted a clean and fast Windows experience. This turned out to be quite a challenge much to my surprise. To begin with…I thought, “hey, I can just install Windows from a USB stick!” Well, not so fast there sonny boy! Boot Camp unfortunately will not allow you to create a USB stick unless you match one of their “chosen” machines. Well! I got just the trick for that! With a little bit of sudo and a little bit of vi, I had a the plist item inside of the Boot Camp package molded to fit my boot ROM version and my machine model in no time. Whammo! I now could create the USB stick and run Boot Camp to my heart’s content. Err…well…uh…no. Not so much. Upon the reboot after running the Boot Camp wizard, the machine attempted to boot from the USB stick and proceeded to promptly present me with the “No boot device available” mumbo jumbo. “Crappage!”, I thought. Then I thought to myself, I should just go get a USB CD ROM and be done with it. Surely that would get it done. I started thinking about all of the ways to get my now removed superdrive working as a USB device, such as the one the cheapo plasticky drive enclosures that you can get on Ebay and from places like MCE, but being the superficial Mac user that I am, I thought, “Heck no. I want something that looks like it belongs with my MacBook Pro.” Of course…that led me to thinking about the MacBook Air Superdrive…

Now the MacBook Air superdrive, unlike the other trash enclosures you can get, is made of the same real aluminum that is featured on the Mac laptops. The cable is a bit short, but hey…this a Cupertino product here…looks are what matters! In any case, you’ll read all over the place that the darn thing just won’t work on anything but a MacBook Air. Well, that’s just not true. With a little magic kernel flag (mbasd=1) inserted into the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ file…your just a reboot away from having some external superdrive fun on your MacBook Pro too. WooHoo! Now I can finally get Boot Camping away on my dual drive MacBook Pro! Ahem…grunt…sniff…ahhhhh…no. Not a chance. Upon rebooting with the superdrive attached and filled with my Windows 7 Ultimate bounty…the macbook presented me with the infinitely blinking cursor of torture. Damnage!!! Argh!!! There has to be a way to get this done!!!!

Me being the smart-aleck intelligent VMware person that I am thought, “I’ll show this stupid ‘puter who’s boss! I’ll just use a raw disk map to the now created Boot Camp partition and install through Fusion!!!” So, I proceeded to do just that. I got Winderz installed perfectly and everything was awesome (in Fusion), so I thought, “Schweet! Time to reboot to my Boot Camp paradise!” So I reboot, select the Windoze partition at startup and… Sigh…face palm…follicle pull… The dang thing won’t boot and complains about a corrupted install that only a reinstall or boot disk will fix. RARRRR!!!!

I finally put the thing away for a bit and go get a stiff drink sleep on it for a night. The next afternoon, I start scouring the net for any sign of intelligent life that has faced this issue too. Luckily I stumbled upon this one blog post that looked too French very promising. Long story short…the process actually flipping worked. It took WAY too long, and was WAY too complicated, and required me jumping through so many hoops that I can’t see straight anymore, but in the end it worked. I now have a functioning Boot Camp installation on my no-built-in-superdrive MacBook Pro. So…if you travel down this road, hopefully some of this story haunts provides you with a bit of direction.

Attention!!! New Challenges Ahead!

1 11 2011

Well folks…all good things must end…and for this Friday that means my career with Terremark.

I do wish that somehow things had worked out differently at Terremark, as I sincerely enjoyed my time and the relationships I developed with the great many superb individuals that I met while working there. However, things were not to be. Some people are satiated by their current status, some only strive for purely monetary gains and increases, but others like myself strive for something more. Something less tangible, but just as important… I strive for influence, respect, and recognition. I want to leave my mark. I want to influence direction. I want to shape the future. I want to aid and assist individuals and businesses in their growth. I might have been able to do those things at Terremark…but then again…I might not have. Terremark, like many businesses after a major merger/acquisition is in a mammoth state of flux. The business direction appears to be in flux, the management is in flux, the teams are in flux, and just about nothing seems clear or decided. If anything has been decided, it certainly hasn’t been communicated to the rank and file. Ultimately, between what I’ve failed to see during my time and combined with the fears for what I feel is coming…I was led to submit my resignation to Terremark due to receiving an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

That opportunity was presented to me by NetApp. I will be reporting to work bright early Monday morning as a Professional Services Consultant. I’ve always enjoyed working with NetApp products. The integration between their products and my first love of VMware is something that most other companies only dream of. Add their excellent reputation for easy extensibility with their well-supported APIs and to me…it’s a dream platform. I’ll make no bone about my preference for file based storage either…but I’ll try to avoid the holy war here on my blog. Needless to say, I’m just tickled pink to have the chance to work for NetApp, and I’m going to work my tail off to make a name for myself there.

I’ll miss Terremark/Verizon…but I know great things are ahead at NetApp for me and my career!!!

Easy installations for vCenter and VMware Update Manager

8 09 2011

Easy installations for vCenter and VMware Update Manager.

(*WARNING* – Requires free registration in order to view)

The link above points to an awesome post by Mike Laverick about automating the installation of vCenter Server and its various accompaniments. I’ve been considering doing so myself for a great amount of time, but prior to coming to my current employer, installing a fresh copy of vCenter Server was a sufficiently rare event to not be worth the effort in automating. Well…working at a cloud provider means that you stand up new environments on a regular basis. So long story short…this might just be what the doctor ordered. Although I’d be doing the whole kit and caboodle via PowerShell myself 😉

Commodity Sux

28 08 2011

Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock recently knows about HP’s impending exit from the consumer PC and tablet market. HP has come to the shocking conclusion that playing in a purely commodity market just isn’t much fun. In fact in a recent Wall Street Journal article, they were quoted as saying, “facing low margins and low growth in the PC businesses.”

HP’s Consumer Quandary

Many might say that it’s a natural progression of a mature market, this march toward pure commoditization. Some might also argue that such scenarios reward companies for doing things leaner, meaner, and more efficiently. Look, Wal-Mart has clearly been successful doing just that right? Well, that might be true, but I think that even Wal-Mart would admit if backed in the corner that it sees the storm clouds on the horizon. They are rapidly searching for profit expansion, new markets, and higher margins throughout their business. The reason for this dire search is fairly simple, and it’s what caused HP to want to exit the consumer market… The reason is, “once you finish the price/efficiency/speed race to the bottom and you look around and see others still alive…what then?” Well, you get stagnabusiness – (a state of business with faltering stock performance, uninteresting and uninspiring business growth, and a brain drain from the departure of more radical thinkers from the company)

Why would I write an article about this, with me being a virtualization geek? Well, it’s because I see VMware pushing hosting and service providers down this road at a rapid pace. Here at VMworld 2011, I’m hearing and seeing a lot written, spoke, and demoed about how end-users and stand-alone companies can freely move their resources in and out and between and with both Public and Private cloud infrastructures. This is a tremendous win for these consumers, but I also hear a great deal of troubling things about the technologies that will be forced upon service providers to allow for this ease of migration for these end users/companies. I can’t help but feel that this will be forcing an unprecedented level of commoditization among providers. I’m extremely concerned that the only differentiator between most providers will eventually become solely based upon pricing. I don’t want to participate or compete in such a market. There are no “real” winners in such a market…only various levels of starving survivors. I sort of feel that what VMware is doing is something akin to the following scenario:

“A fictitious state doesn’t want to build its own highway system so it sells a bond to a private company that allows the company to construct a highway and allow that company to then have the right to levy tolls against the users of the highway. Later after the road becomes increasingly popular and the company becomes profitable, the state decides that they want to encourage more users and grow the areas around the highway, so they force the company to construct on and off ramps that allow drivers to avoid the company’s tolled exits.”

This is close to my opinion about the direction that VMware is moving…and I don’t like it.

Hoping these things can keep up!

28 08 2011

One of the most frustrating aspects o nerd congregations is the absolute and complete decimation of all wireless communications. Here after receiving my VMworld 2011 conference materials I noticed the portable access point sitting outside the ballroom. Hopefully they can handle the throng. So fat it’s rocking pretty good speeds.


Ready for VMworld 2011!

27 08 2011


I’m officially checked into VMworld 2011! Looking forward to the conference again this year. Here are a few pics of the registration area (very smooth registration process by the way).




Everyone’s still setting up, but things look like they are coming together! Good luck to everyone and I look forward to seeing and hearing about the new cool products and technologies.

First Come…First Serve

30 08 2010

I don’t know if this is an improvement over the old session system or not!!!

So far…the sessions have been a bit too marketing heavy for my taste. I’m an engineer…”where’s the beef!!!” In any case…here’s my thoughts on the sessions I’ve attended thus far:

SP9649 – Imagine Virtually Anything w/ NetApp, Cisco, and VMware: This was unfortunately not much more than hot air. Nothing of real substance here…only some drivel about how much one could save by utilizing such a system. Also…it was our first glance at what’s looking to be the main theme here…”IT as a service!!!” They completely glazed over some real deployment problems and security issues inherent with deploying vFilers in a cloud service provider environment.

SS1055 – Partner Track Super Session: A little more marketing here…but there were some tidbits to take from this session. One, and I’ve felt this way for a while, it’s clear to me that VMware is hot and heavy in their move toward acquiring the mindshare, resources, and capabilities to directly sell cloud computing to end users. Even if they might say this is not the case…I can’t shake the feeling that this is the case.

ALT3003 – VMware vSphere Performance and Tuning: This is the first non-marketing session that I’ve attended this year. Notes as follows: This session is based on Lab #24 in the Self-Paced labs area. Session begins by talking about Storage I/O control. Statement made that storage is best when <30ms of latency. Unfortunately… (lack of sleep is catching up to me in this session 🙂 ) SIOC control normalized latency. In vSphere 4.1 we can also set IOPs limits. Value is per disk. 2ms kernel latency should be the max you should see… "A little bit of a glitch"…can't display real-time stats for a VM…Yeah…little glitch…too bad I see it all of the time. Turn on Mem Compression Mem.MemZipEnable (Enabled by default on vSphere) They say to be mindful of NUMA…but they don't really elaborate… Swap in rate should be watched… Should force hardware assist on AMD 32-bit guests… They talk about dropping off in increasing vCPUs in VMs…but leave off the drop from 8 vCPUs. Nothing magical in the vCPU performance management… 2000ms is a problem according to this session.

VMworld Check In

29 08 2010

Well, things didn’t start off so well today. First of all, although it’s great that this year VMware is running regular shuttles between the Moscone and the approved hotels in the area…we struggled trying to actually get on one. No less than three buses passed by the stop outside our hotel, even with the VMware guy trying to flag them down. Well…all of the members of my team were anxious to get registered, so we all decided to begin walking down to the Moscone on foot. Not a terrible walk from the hotel to the conference center…so not the end of the world.

Upon arriving at the Moscone, the line for registration was already quite long, but luckily it got moving pretty fast once the registration opened up. Once we received our badges we made our way down to the materials room to pick up our inevitable schwag bags. Welcome to line #2:

After waiting a few minutes to get in…I got to pick up my bag, but these yahoos didn’t have me down as being a VMUG member…which I most certainly am. Darn it!!! Oh well…hopefully the rest of the week turns out better!

VMWorld 2010!

25 06 2010

I’m getting psyched up about heading to VMWorld again this year. Looking forward to seeing folks that I’ve met over the years and also to get a chance to take a peak at some of the offerings from the many vendors and demonstrators. My focus areas this year… IP Based storage(NFS, iSCSI, etc.), virtualization security and monitoring, and PCI compliancy tools.