Don’t over-complicate!

Having recently relocated my home office and my home lab within my house, I have set about rebuilding my lab from scratch. As it evolves or my needs change, a rebuild is good to purge out the remnants of the various experiments and tests that I’ve done. However, I will sometimes fall into the trap of trying to be too clever.

Take last night as an example. I happened to read about a piece of software called Cobbler. To save anyone having to read what is quite a lengthy man page, Cobbler manages the provisioning of operating systems from a single server. I thought it would be great if I could automate and control the complete rebuild of my entire lab from bare metal to fully functional at the touch of a few buttons with my QNAP NAS acting as the Cobbler server.

After a little more research, I grabbed the source code and tried to shoe-horn it onto my NAS. Part way through, and encountering problems, I realized that I was vastly over-complicating this rebuild. Let’s face it, how many times do I actually need to reinstall everything from the ground up? Once or maybe twice per major release at most.

Thankfully I only wasted an evening on it although it was fun. I might still try and work it out in the future but there are more important things to do in the meantime.


Vote For Your Top Virtualization Blogs

voteIt’s that time again. For the last few years Eric Siebert, over at vsphere-land.com, has organised a vote giving you, the readers of virtualization blogs, the opportunity to decide which you think is the best.

Jeremy and I run this site in our spare time because we want to but if you could see you way clear to voting for us, or any of you other favourite virtualization blogs, then you have our thanks.

Just hit the “vote” button to the left to be directed to the voting page, or click here.


VMware – Changes At The Top

screenshot301Following on from VMware CTO Steve Herrod’s announcement that he is to leave his role, I joked on twitter that this was actually a response to the prospect of being accosted by Gregg Robertson and Darren Woollard at VMworld again about putting in an appearance at a London VMUG. I didn’t expect a response from him on account of the hundreds of other tweets he must have received, but the fact that I got one suggests to me that Dr Herrod is still fairly grounded despite having been instrumental in the establishment and growth of a very successful company whose developments have shaped IT and my career to date. Thank you.

Dr Herrod’s departure will raise questions about the future direction of VMware for sure. He joined the company in 2001 and moved into the role of CTO only a few months before Paul Maritz became CEO. Between them they oversaw a period of fantastic change that has continued past Paul Maritz’s step down last year.

I don’t think that Dr Herrod’s leaving is directly connected to last year’s change of CEO though. Look at the journey that VMware has made over the last 11 years, how they’ve grown from a one product company to an industry leader with a product portfolio to die for (in my opinion at least). However you measure success, VMware have achieved it and it’s not unreasonable for someone who has helped built up a great team around them to consider their work there done. That’s my take on it at least.

Yes, it’ll be interesting to see who steps into Dr Herrod’s shoes – they’re big – but I don’t think there’s much to worry about yet.

By the way Mr Gelsinger, I’m available any day next week (except Thursday – London VMUG) for an interview 😉


Database Survey – Please Help

A former colleague of mine (and Jeremy’s), Victoria Holt, is undertaking a survey as part of her PhD with the Open University here in the UK and has asked me for a little help in collecting data. Her research investigates the current practices and procedures that are used in database management and examines the complexities of managing database systems.

Regardless of the database engine of choice (SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, CouchDb, Hadoop etc.), your help would be appreciated.

Now I’m sure that amongst the people who read this blog there must be a few people who manage all manner of databases. Or perhaps you know someone who does. So please either take a few minutes to complete the survey, blog or share the link to it.

The Survey is at http://svy.mk/UcaxDm and maps the end-to-end lifecycle for managing database systems whether they be on premise, cloud based or involve differing databases engines, virtualization or big data.

Many thanks!


VMware Press Sweepstakes

VMware Press, VMware’s official publishing arm, are in the middle of running a 60 day competition sweepstake (that ends June 30th 2012). On offer are a $100 Amazon gift card and three VMware Press books for the winner and nine second prize winners will win an eBook of their choice.

Enter here.

The publisher has already produced two excellent books in Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 and Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator. This summer promises a glut of new titles that I’d be interested to read too:

  • Storage Implementation in VMware vSphere 5.0 (July 2012)
  • Managing and Optimizing vSphere Deployments (July 2012)
  • The Official VCP5 Certification Guide (July 2012)
  • VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop (August 2012)
  • VMware vSphere 5 Integration into the Datacenter (August 2012)

As and when they come out you can probably expect me to post a review here.


Poore the vSoup

Between recent visits to the San Francisco area I was lucky enough to join Chris Dearden (@chrisdearden), Christian Mohn (@h0bbel) and Ed Czerwin (@eczerwin) for a recording of the vSoup podcast. In truth, it was 3rd time lucky as being 8 (or 9) hours behind and on a fairly manic schedule didn’t lend itself too well to planning anything with anybody.

I have to say that it was great fun and I’d love to do it again sometime when the subject of conversation won’t be abnormally large shower heads. At some point in the proceedings I did manage to slip in a plug to the vSpecialist VCDX practice event – that we’ve yet to organise properly – but what with work commitments and new jobs it’s taken a back seat for a few weeks. We might have to see if we can dovetail with Christian’s new VCDX initiative

Visit the vSoup site or download from iTunes…


Why I Do IT…

There are times in everyone’s life when you can’t remember how you ended up doing what you’re doing or sometimes why you continue to do it.

I have these moments occasionally, I freely admit it. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share what really started my lifelong association with computers. Flashback to the 80s… Continue Reading


Top 10 Virtualisation Blogs

It’s been over a year since the last poll was held to determine which were the top 10 virtualisation blogs on the internet. At the time this one was written only by me and wasn’t even registered with vsphere-land.com for the vote.

A lot can change in 12 months. Jeremy now co-authors the blog with me and has written plenty of brilliant articles. We’re also registered on vsphere-land.com (Eric Siebert’s site) and it’s voting time once more.

The world is full of award ceremonies and polls, each important to those involved. The thing to remember about blogging is that people don’t often get paid for it. Many of the sites don’t carry any sponsorship and with all of them the considerable effort to keep writing comes from passion and interest in the subject. A little positive feedback from readers makes a big difference.

So if you can spare 2 or 3 minutes of your time to vote for your favourite virtualisation bloggers, I know they’d appreciate it. Cheers!