What was announced at .Next 2015 by Nutanix and Dell

Disclaimer: I work for Dell. I sell the Dell XC Nutanix appliance. I have a vested interest however those who know me know I like to be fair and as little cool-aidy as possible, unless its about Basketball. This is my hot take on the announcements. BTW, it turns out I can’t spell announcements consistently. Do what you need to do with that info.

There are a plethora of blogs, articles, tweets, LinkedIn posts about .Next and the announcements so I’ll try not to rehash but instead give a Dell/storage guys opinion on them. At the bottom of the post I have collated a bunch of the articles I have read over the past few days.

Key Announcements

  • XCP – extreme computing platform
    • Acropolis
    • Prism
  • Storage node
  • Native NAS appliance
  • Nutanix App Framework
  • Erasure Coding
  • In-Guest iSCSI Support
  • Sync Replication
  • Nutanix CE
  • Global Search
  • Improved Analytics and Capacity Trending

NOS 4.1.3 (released last week)

  • erasure coding
  • sync replication
  • in-guest iSCSI support
  • ToR visibility
  • Acropolis Image Service and HA

Dell announcements

  • GPU offerings to support graphics intensive VDI workloads
  • Support for factory installed KVM and ESX 6.0 hypervisors
  • Storage-only node to increase cluster storage capability when additional compute and hypervisor resources are not required
  • IDSDM – Internal Dell SD Module
  • XC430 for smaller workloads (lite-compute)

A Big Week

You can see it was a busy week, the biggest part of which was the XCP “invisible infrastructure” and Acropolis announcements. Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) had a number of good blog posts prepared for the event but this is the great overview of the new features and vision for XCP.

XCP stands for Xtreme Computing Platform, which is a mix of Acropolis and Prism. Previously it was called VCP (Virtual Computing Platform) and the idea is now that hypervisor and the Nutanix Prism components stand separately on their own feet … if software had feet.

Notice it is now called XCP and our appliance is called XC Series. Coincidence? I think … probably. But still pretty cool!

App Mobility is the ability to migrate a VM workload from one hypervisor to another. The demo onstage was converting a ESX VM to a KVM VM. The VM needs to be on the NDFS filesystem (that’s redundant I know, like ATM machine) and then Acropolis converts some key meta-data to make it compatible with KVM. Very nice.

I asked the question on twitter if you could move back as easy and @vcdxnz001 responded quickly

It was recommended in one of the sessions (can’t remember which one) to clone your existing VM and convert the clone rather than converting the original, I think that is sage advice just in case there are any hiccups in the early days.

What this all leads into is for Acropolis to be your go to point for VM management, push workloads between hypervisors and between clouds. Ambitious but I think a great idea going forward.

The improved analytics and capacity trending build on the already excellent Prism reporting tools. There are loads of examples in this video:

New Dell XC Series Announcements

Here is the official press release for the new Dell XC Series features.

Out of the Dell announcements KVM support is a biggy, especially with the launch of the Nutanix Acropolis platform. AFAIK there wasn’t an architectural issue with XC supporting KVM, its just getting our engineering processes and support infrastructure in place to support it effectively.

Karl Friedrich who works in our Engineering department and presented the Dell XC session at .Next had a great point; Dell announced the XC product only 10 months ago, since then we have had two major releases – so 3 releases since it in 10 12 months. That’s a heavy workload and there is more to come.

Two new appliances were announced as well, the XC730-16G and XC430-4.

  • XC730-16G will support Nvidia GRID K1 & K2 GPUs as well as up to 16 drives. CPUs, Memory and Networking is configurable.
  • XC430-4 is a fully-featured box, just in a short-depth form factor, 24″. Ideal for ROBO and deployments that that use short depth racks.

Just to explain the naming structure, all the XC appliances are based on the Dell 13G PowerEdge rack servers. eg an XC630 is an R630 with some tweeks to support Nutanix like IDSDM, bios, drives, and most importantly the front sticker :) The components inside like CPU, Memory and Networking is configurable just like you would expect when buying a normal server.

The number at the end of the name, XC630-10, is the maximum number of disks the appliance will support. You don’t have to fill it but that is one of the advantages of the XC product that they have excellent disk density. Finally, the G in XC730-16G stands for GPU.

Dell XC series

The Dell XC630-10 (top) and XC730-24 (bottom)

So using all that new info you can work out the new appliances have up to 16 drives in the XC730-16G and up to 4 drives in the XC430-4.

IDSDM is a 16GB SD card residing on an internal motherboard riser card. It’s loaded during Dell Factory software installation with all necessary content to reset the XC system back to the Dell factory image. It’s available to Dell Support for initial deployment or remedial support when a factory reset is required and can restore the system back to the factory state in 10-20 minutes.

One of the Dell XC advantages is that we can ship the appliance with ESXi already installed. Nutanix is fast to deploy but with pre-installed ESX and rapid rails XC is super fast :) Here is a video from the Dell Sydney Solutions Centre that has a 3 node XC cluster being racked and configured in under 30 mins. You have to love the PowerEdge tool-less rapid rails.

If you want to see what all the Dell XC series appliances look like and their specs, you can view them via the Dell Virtual Rack. The new appliances aren’t there yet but you can see the existing XC630-10, XC730-12, and XC730-24 appliances.

Remember, Dell is taking great pains to not touch the Nutanix software. Your path, our platform as we like to say. When a new version of the software is released, it is available to all customers, XC included. A bad example is Samsung and Android. A new Android version is released and it might be a year until its available because of all the modifications and bloat that Samsung inject. Painful and a great way to alienate customers.

Our goal is to do what we do best which is produce great hardware with the sales and support that Dell can bring, and let the uber-smart dudes at Nutanix do their thing and produce great software. (*rant over, can you tell I’m dirty at Samsung?)


New Storage Features

Because of my background the new storage related features probably interested me the most, Erasure Coding, NAS functionality, and the Storage only node.

Erasure Coding is a great option to add and will really help get best bang for buck by allowing more usable capacity from the same amount of drives. If you are not familiar with Erasure encoding @jpwarren does a good job of explaining it in a couple of paragraphs here . Effectively it’s like RAID but rather than being at the physical drive layer it’s at the 4MB extent group layer (I think I recall someone mentioning that’s the granularity).

Thanks to Webster, Michael Webster for the clarification

Andre again explains the Nutanix space savings here. One caveat is that you need a cluster of at 4 nodes but that’s not a biggy. You’ll see better storage savings the more nodes your cluster has. I’m sure there will be more rules and best practices come out about when and where its best to use EC.

Next was native file serving straight out of a Nutanix cluster. The details are light on at the moment but it will be some sort of VM like the CVM running CIFS/NFS services. It will be very handy for VDI deployments where you need remote profiles and home directories etc.

One of the customers i spoke to will be looking to move all their file serving to the new NAS appliance. I asked why don’t why just run a VM with Openfiler or something similar and the response was because it wouldn’t be integrated into the Nutanix ecosystem, Prism, performance monitoring, support etc. Fair enough, although I have spent a lot of time around NAS products like Celerra and FluidFS and it’s a difficult thing to make simple.

When the storage only node was announced I was a little surprised, not because Nutanix would do it, but my first thoughts were “Oh shit, Dell doesn’t have one”. The good news is we do have one that was announced straight after the kickoff. Whew. Goes to show where I sit in the pecking order at Dell 😉 I don’t have any details at the moment but it will be like the NX-6035C, just enough compute to run the base KVM hypervisor but not to run any VM workloads.

Josh Odgers has a writeup about the storage only node. This has been a been a sorely needed piece of the Nutanix puzzle.

In-Guest iSCSI helps out with those large Exchange installations out there. It means you can serve storage from NDFS directly into a guest via iSCSI. Does it mean you can serve out iSCSI to non-Nutanix nodes? From what I could gather it will work but don’t do it because it makes no sense. If you want to use for migrations use the Whitebox option instead.

Nutanix Community Edition (CE)

Nutanix Community Edition (CE)  also is now officially available, and the best news is, it can be nested as a VM. Good review of what features it supports here but for hints and tips on how to install it Matt Day @idiomatically and Joep Piscaer @jpiscaer are the men you want to talk to as they ran the CE session at .Next.

Apparently after getting Nutanix and Rubrik Matt has heaps of time on his hands so smash him with questions :)Synchronous replication is a good new feature add and is essential for any product wanting to play in larger, highly-critical environments.

Whats .Next?

At the end of the conference the .Next tour was announced which will reach 100 cities around the world, and luckily will hit a lot of locations in ANZ, including Brisbane where I live!

Every man and his dog is blogging, tweeting about the conference and the new features, which is why I linked ot so many in this post. Here is a list of some of the blogs I have read so far from around the web.


*Featured Image at the top courtesy of @vcdxnz001

By |June 15th, 2015|Nutanix, Storage|0 Comments

Looking back at my personal experiences at Nutanix .Next 2015

Disclaimer: I work for Dell. I sell the Dell XC Series Nutanix appliance. I have a vested interest however those who know me know I like to be fair and as little cool-aidy as possible, unless its about Basketball. This is a personal post about my experience.

This last week I was fortunate to attend the inaugural Nutanix .Next user conference in Miami. I know what you’re thinking “Why was a Dell Storage pre-sales guy from sunny Brisbane there?”. Turns out a lot of people were wondering that because I got asked more than 20 times. Long before Dell announced the OEM partnership with Dell I have been following and learning about Nutanix tech because I have a few mates that have worked for Nutanix for a while and I trust their opinions.

I remember a while ago I asked one, “if you were a customer would you run this in your company?” and the response was “Previously, maybe not, but its rock solid now and yes I would run it”. This guy had never led me astray so that was high praise IMHO.

So why was I there? Because I’m an (unofficial) internal XC champion here at Dell and, full disclosure, I begged. :)

It was at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, pretty cool location but bloody expensive. Apparently it has a deep history and the scene with the girl covered in gold paint in Goldfinger was filmed there, good excuse to watch an old bond movie again if you ask me.

There were just under 1000 people there and more than half were customers. Pretty short event, only 1 1/2 days plus a few drinks pre-event on the Monday night. They crammed heaps into that time, maybe a bit too much as some sessions seemed rushed. Food was very nice, although very carb heavy, but I guess that’s any event catering. Nightlife was excellent, although watching the Warriors lose two NBA Finals games was a downer. [edit, at time of writing its back to 2-2 with game 5 about to start, #GoDubsGo]

Side note, what is with the people who go to that hotel to hang out by the pool? Some of the best looking people I have ever seen in my life, male or female, also some of the biggest train wrecks. It’s apparently the place to be seen, but sometimes I saw a little bit too much.

There were a heap of announcements during the event, enough that it got it’s own post that I will finish next week. This will be a breakdown of the announcements and links to other blogs around the place.

Here is the video of the new announcements and demos

The sessions were ok, I am a partner and I have been on NPP training so I had already gone over a lot of the content but I just didn’t feel like I got as much as I could from the sessions. I also think I chose the wrong ones, e.g. It didn’t help I went to 2 containers/docker advanced sessions without really understanding much about containers. (I still don’t).

The storage session had so much potential but we just didn’t have enough time to delve into the nitty gritty. Reality is I doubt many people there wanted to get into the weeds on storage as much as I wanted to. Everyone was tired but I think we could have repeated a few more sessions, which was unrealistic because as soon as the .Next conference finished, the .Now partner conference started an hour later. I’m sure it will be better next year.

Dell had a large stand at the event and I manned the booth through the all-important welcome drinks session. We were right near the bar, good for customers, good for me :) (Dell sponsored BTW!). Alongside me were product management and some of the engineering team, great people and nice to spend time with. As an Aussie I can’t stress how useful it is to make face to face contact with marketing and engineers creating the products I have to recommend to customers. I wish it could be done more but the distance is a real barrier.

The coolest part of the stand was a massive touchscreen with up on the screen. It is a virtual rack that has all of the Enterprise kit listed with pictures and tech specs. I recommend checking out the site, its impressive – The Aussie marketing team needs to get one of these ASAP. There were a number of Dell XC customers at the event too which was great.

Networking is always one of the best parts of these events and because the number of people wasn’t too large there were chances to have repeat conversations and not feel rushed. It was really great to meet a lot of people I only know from online, and i made a few new friends.

A bit of a fan boi shout out to the Nutanix exec team. I’m pretty sure I spoke to all of them more than once and they are very warm and made me feel very welcomed. Great guys and nice to meet them. But lets see what happens when I add them on LinkedIn :) Believe it or not, it reminds me a bit of Dell execs. One thing I have liked about my 4 years at Dell is that the management team are very visible and very approachable, which isn’t something I didn’t experience much at my time at other companies.

A big part of the event for me was Twitter. I sent more tweets in 4 days than I have in the last 6 months (sorry for your timeline abuse btw). I favourited heaps but here are some of the top ones.

Apparently @ccstockwell thinks I have some monkey in my jeans genes

On the last morning I finally made it for a swim in the Atlantic. Turns out I’m stupid for waiting because the water was glorious, although full of seaweed. The ocean was so flat it was eerie, I guess I’m just used to all the beaches in Australia having some form of waves. It was very peaceful. But the good thing is I’ve now swum in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans now – tick on the bucket list.

The distance is a killer, door to door it was about 72 hours travelling in 7 days. In a word, Ug. All in all I found it very worthwhile week and I would love to make it to the event next year although there is low chance of that unless I change roles in that time.

A couple of photos from the week, excuse the ugly mug! p.s I took the photo at the top of the page believe it or not.

I’ll end with this video which is a short roudup of the week. I feature for about 1/millionth of a sec but I look like a troll, enjoy


By |June 15th, 2015|Storage|0 Comments

Where to watch the NBA Finals in Brisbane 2015

Very short post based on the fact I can’t find this information anywhere on the web. The NBA Finals are starting tomorrow and here in Australia we are the perfect timezone to watch the games, but where do you watch the games?

I know Australians have the highest signup ratio for NBA League Pass in the world but its good to watch these games in a social setting, not just at home on the lounge. A few phone calls and I have come up with this very short list. Feel free to add more in the comments.

Hotels Showing the NBA Finals Live in Brisbane

  • Jubilee Hotel – Fortitude Valley
    • I called them and they will be showing it for sure. This is where I will be watching game 1! Come and say Hi! #GoDubsGo
  • Elephant & Wheelbarrow – Fortitude Valley 
    • Haven’t confirmed this one but I am assured they are showing it. They have a projector out the back I think.
  • Pig & Whistle – Fortitude Valley 
    • There are 4 P&W bars in Brisbane now but the newest one is in Brunswick St in the Valley. I was there last week to watch the Origin and the place is well set up for watching sport. They have a projector but I’m not sure if the game will be on it. I’m sure the other bars will have it on as well.
  • The Regatta – Toowong
    • They will be showing it for sure as they have been showing most of the games in the playoffs. There is a massive TV in the bar near the fire. This would be my preferred place to watch it but my car was towed from their carpark after I did the right thing and caught a cab home after a few beers. $560 dollars later I am boycotting the bar. Asshats.
  • Down Under Bar – City
    • They always show the games but without the sound. This might be different for the finals. They have a great $12 lunch deal with a steak and a pint, hard to beat that value.

There you go, not an exhaustive list by a long way but at least there is some content on the web when you search for it!

Here are the game times on TV in Australia:

  • Game 1 – Friday June 5th 11am
  • Game 2 – Monday June 8th 10am
  • Game 3 – Wednesday June 10th 11am
  • Game 4 – Friday June 12th 11am
  • Game 5* – Monday June 15th 10am
  • Game 6* – Wednesday June 17th 11am
  • Game 7* – Saturday June 20th 11am

* These games won’t be needed because the Warriors are going to sweep the Cavs :) Kidding, hopefully it’s an awesome series, and the best part is there is an Aussie on both teams so once again we’ll have an Aussie champion to go along with Gaze, Longley, & Mills/Baynes.

By |June 4th, 2015|Personal|1 Comment

Dell Storage Compellent Integration Tools for VMware 3.0 release (CITV)

The latest CITV v3 pack has been released. The CITV appliance is free to use for customers with an existing maintenance contract and enables advanced functionality in VMware environments. It is highly recommended to use the CITV tools if you have VMware on Compellent.

With this release CITV 3.0 now supports:

  • SCv2000 series
  • vSphere 6.0
  • CentOS 5.10, which was introduced in CITV 2.1
  • Security updates

It also includes the following updates:

  • VASA Provider: updated to use TLSv1.1 for certificate exchange
  • vSphere Web Plugin: Added support for NAS (FluidFS), and Live Volume + Sync Replication
    • VMFS Datastore now has the Live Volume/Replication support Tab
    • vSphere 6.0 support
  • Replay Manager for VMware: updated to support SCv2000 (FC and iSCSI only) and vSphere 6.0

If you have a SCv2000 you can get access to it immediately as it comes with the latest 6.6.20 code. If you are running another Compellent model (SC8000, SC4020 etc), just talk to Copilot and get on the key release list.

If you want to get the version for the SCv2000 you can get it here 

By |May 18th, 2015|Compellent, Storage|0 Comments

Some beginners information on Keto (LCHF) diet I have been trying out.

I originally wrote this as a post on FB for my basketball team asking about this diet change I have been embracing. Those who know me know that I’m tall and pretty active but years of IT has made me a little soft around the middle. The best part of it is how alert I have been feeling through the day.

Keto Diet Info

OK, this is the abridged version of the information I have about this diet. I dropped about 10 kilos in 4 weeks by eating a high fat diet and no exercise.

Firstly, its called Keto and is very similar to Paleo except it’s priority is fat, and not protein. Basically you are getting your liver to process fat for energy (ketones) instead of carbs (sugar). LCHF stands for Low Card High Fat. There are heaps of variants and book but the Keto option works for me because there is heaps of info and receipes on Reddit.

This seems like a silly thing, especially based on the way we are taught the food pyramid (small amount of fat, high amount of carbs). Current thinking is that they got it wrong, we should be flipping the pyramid and eating quality fats and little carbs. With the rise in fat buggers and diabetes its a very interesting concept. The movie Cereal Killers i list below explains all this very well.

When it says low-carb its super low-carb, eg I eat about 20g of carbs a day, if I have a piece of extra chewing gum that is 1g carbs, if I have 1 cup of chopped carrots its 12g carbs. Don’t even look at anything made from wheat. It will take about 3 – 4 days to enter into the “keto” state, where you body flicks over from using sugar to fats for energy.

The 3rd day you will feel extremely flat, just push through and keep drinking water. You have to drink a lot of water for this diet to work, you won’t do ‪#‎2s‬ anywhere near as often so you need to flush out the toxins with water.

Edit: This is a good list of foods

To work out how much you should be eating for your size and goals, is the best calculator on the web. Make sure you read the instructions.

You have to track your intake if you want to be successful because it’s so easy to kick yourself out of keto. Just imagine, your body is back to storing fats and 70% of what you are eating is fat, swelling intensifies.

The best tracker I have found is MyFitnessPal, its a free website and app(apple & android). You can customise the daily goals to ignore the default recommendation of mostly carbs.

So, an example days meals. My goals were 1500 calories a day with 20g carbs.

  • 7am bacon and 2 eggs, black coffee with 30g double cream
  • 10am 30g almonds (high fat but lowest carb nuts)
  • 1pm can of tuna, half avocado, 20g mayonaise, 100g of baby spinach
  • 4pm cheese, or another coffee or nuts again (so convienent)
  • 7pm Any meat, preferably fatty, cauliflower/broccoli/spinach/other low carb vege.
  • 10pm snack.

The more you keep that small meal, often balance the more your body burns at rest cause it doesn’t think its going to starve. In the movie the guys resting metabolic rate went up 50%.

There are lots of resources on the web, just search for Keto but best ones are: – Lots of conversations and tips here This is the getting started post, START HERE. It also has links to receipes and different subreddits like how to bulk under keto Is a bodybuilding forum devoted to Keto. It’s awesome.

You can see there is a lot to read. If you want an easy intro there is a great documentary on how a high carb diet is slowly killing everyone and the guy does a high fat diet with doctors monitoring his progress. It is called Cereal Killers.

I highly highly recommend it and at the moment you can watch it for free at the bottom of, although Im not sure for how much longer. If not its maybe available at some download sites, maybe

It’s about an hour. He is also about to release a sequel for Keto for high intensity athletes called Run on Fat (

There are a bunch of books on it as well if you are super keen. Let me know if you get to that point and I can dig them out.

By |December 17th, 2014|Personal|0 Comments

Dell to explain Project Blue Thunder and SDS strategy at Dell User Forum in Sydney.

Dell User Forum ANZThis is a follow up post to Dell User Forum registrations open for Sydney 15th October 2014

Date: Wednesday, 15th October, 2014 @ Randwick Racecourse, Sydney
Twitter: #DUFAU14
Register here:

Every large vendor needs their own shindig, and here at Dell Australia, we have ours coming up in 3 weeks on a grand scale.

Dell User Forum will be in Sydney on October 15th and is Dell’s largest customer event in ANZ this year. It’s being held at Randwick Racecourse which should be really interesting. Apparently the function centre has had some renovations recently and the word internally is that it looks fantastic.

I’m particularly keen to see what it’s like inside because for all the years I lived in Sydney I have never been to the track to watch a horse race. This is mainly because horse racing is phenomenally boring, and I have no idea what I’m doing when placing a bet, and I’m too big to be a jockey.

Fun fact: in the Triathlon series in Sydney, they have a separate category for guys over 92kg called the “Clydesdale Class”.

I did go there once to set up a CX3 system to keep track of all the horse husbandry data, which is an enormous industry in itself, e.g. the son of Silver Sovereign and I’llShoutyouGetEm was called MadonnaCantSing, but that’s a story for another time.

Now that the event has scaled to include all the main Dell pillars; Storage (Woo!!), Server, Software & Security, there will be tracks you can follow if you are interested in a certain topic. It’s buzzword city but after DUF in Miami in June these are the main topics attendees were interested in:

  • Big Data
  • Cloud
  • Mobility

Of course, if you want you can just pick and choose and go to whatever session you want.DUF Agenda

The formal agenda has been released to the DUF website. The PDF file has all the descriptions on what the breakout sessions will be covering.

I’m a storage guy, or Dan Dan Storage Man as I seem to get called lately, so I HIGHLY recommend you ditch all the other crap and only come to the storage sessions. In particular ignore servers, servers are the past man, storage is the future , like *cough* .. Nutanix .. EVO:Rail .. Storage Spaces …….. oh shit :S

I’m only kidding, SDS & convergence is a big topic this year and Dell seems to have its paws all over it. The upcoming OEM agreement with Nutanix, the new VMware EVO:Rail appliance, and Microsoft is a Platinum sponsor so heaps of info on Storage Spaces and whats coming from their part of the world. I have heard a rumour that we will have an EVO:Rail box on display at the Solutions Expo but that’s not confirmed. I’m keen to check it out. Hopefully I’ll know soon and put it up on twitter.

Helping the big push is the newly announced new PowerEdge 13G platform that is going to drive all these SDS products. Density and flexibility in storage/connectivity and of course raw compute power is needed to take it all this hyper-converged industry to the next level, and that is where the new R730XD and FX2 blade system will shine.

There will be 13G hardware demos and displays on the Expo floor.

Dell Storage

This time last year Dell was announcing our industry first ability to mix Write Intensive SLC with Read Intensive MLC flash drives with our On Demand Data Progression (ODDP) technology. This allows us to have the blinding write performance and endurance of SLC with the capacity and read performance of MLC at the same price/capacity of an equivalent spinning disk system.

You can see from this Register article on the 17/09/14 where the author wistfully dreams of a future where you can tier between two types of flash and Compellent has been able to do it for over a year!

It’s a year later and we have shipped a shed tonne of flash in that time and now we will be showcasing the latest Storage Center SC6.5 code that features compression, greater addressable capacity and some other goodness. As always, the additional software features are free if you have a valid support contract.

There will be a running SC4020 on the Expo floor for you to get hands on and try out some live demos.

One session not to miss is the “What’s coming next with Dell Storage (NDA session). We will have our very own storage Zen Master Andrew Diamond co-presenting with two of the guys running the Nextgen Storage strategy for Dell; Keith Swindell and Peter Korce. I expect to learn stuff in that session too, in which I will be live tweeting :)

On a side note, how do you live tweet an NDA session?

As most people who will read this post is aware, Dell is on a path to merge all of our storage systems into one common architecture over the next few years and SDS the fudge out of it. CRN has a good article on Project Blue Thunder  with an interview with Alan Atkinson (VP Storage) and where Dell Storage is heading. Andrew’s session will explain all of this in more detail.

Also, EqualLogic v8 firmware is about to be released with support for Compression and VMware Vvols. In the roadmap session we’ll take you through the next generation of the PS4110 and PS6510 systems.

The “Talent”

As part of the Keynote Forrester Research will be “presenting their exclusive findings on how Australian businesses are innovating using Cloud, Big Data and Mobility to securely meet the changing needs of their customers.” This will be an interesting session as I’m curious to see what they think the different Australian states are doing. Here in QLD we are seeing a massive push for Cloud and managed services, not just for storage but for everything in the datacenter. This is partially driven by government policy up here but private businesses are looking to make the move too. In NSW & VIC the cloudy push isn’t as widespread (IMHO). It probably helps that Dell has a established Data Centre presence in QLD already.

We have a lot of Dell execs coming down to present and talk with customers fresh after DUF in Miami, including

  • Alan Atkinson – VP Dell Storage @dell_storage
  • Enrico Bracalente – Directory of Product Management for 13G
  • Kishore Gagrani – Product Director – Fluid Cache for SAN @kgagrani
  • Amit Midha – Dell APJ President
  • Daniel Morris – All around good bloke and chicken enthusiast @danmoz

candy-thumb-400x300-49I haven’t personally met the other guys but if you can try and have a chat with Alan. He is remarkably approachable and happy to take the time to talk for someone at his level. Top bloke.

And then finally, at the end of the day we get to celebrate and have a beer or two. Sadly  we have training at 8am the next morning in Frenches Forrest, so that’s not so hot. The beers are sponsored by Cloud which is as ambiguous as you can get.

Orange whip? Orange whip? Three Orange whips!!

If you see me at DUF come and say G’day. I’ll be the guy frantically trying to cut and paste ■ ■ ■ ■ continually on my phone :)

Register now

Dell User Forum ANZ

By |September 24th, 2014|Dell Storage, DUF, Storage|0 Comments

ABC2 Basketball World Cup live TV schedule for Australia and USA games

I’ve been looking all over the web for the complete TV schedule on ABC2 for the Basketball World Cup and I can’t find it so i thought I would list them here. The best news is they are going to stream both the Australian Games and USA games live on free to air – no foxtel and all the crap ads.

The schedule below is taken from I have also created a public google calendar with all the times I know of so far, its at the bottom of the post. I couldn’t be bothered creating an outlook friendly copy. Sincerest appo logies.

Also, sorry for the game description text, its from the might of the ABC website. I would have done my own but you know how it is, lazy.

Looks like I might have to take Wed 3rd Sept off though, 3 games in 1 day :) One thing that is a real shame is there will be no Argentina or Spain games, or Canada for that matter until they get to the finals. Obviously I want the Aussies to do well but with Paddy Mills injured its going to be tough… but my next fav is Spain. Go the Gasols!

Date Game
Sunday 31 Aug 2014, 1:25am AUS v SLO First up Australia will meet Slovenia in their first pool game. Go the Boomers!
Sunday 31 Aug 2014, 5:15am USA v FIN I think the game starts at 6 so there might be a pregame show? ABC will be screening all the TEAM USA games from the FIBA Basketball World Cup. First up is the live coverage of the match between USA and Finland from Bilbao in Spain.
Sunday 31 Aug 2014, 9:25pm KOR v AUS Head to the Canary Islands to watch as the Boomers take on Korea.
Monday 1 Sep 2014, 5:25am TUR v USA Same deal as the previous USA game, the website lists two times, 5:25 and 6am.
Wednesday 3 Sep 2014, 1:25am AUS v LTU The Boomers play Lithuania in this match held in the Canary Islands.
Wednesday 3 Sep 2014, 3:30am USA v NZ The Kiwis take on the might of Team USA in Bilbao.
Wednesday 3 Sep 2014, 9:25pm MEX v AUS Back to the Canary Islands where Australia play Mexico
Thursday 4 Sep 2014, 5:25am DOM v USA Again, site lists two times. The game prob starts at 6am
Thursday 4 Sep 2014, 9:25pm AUS v ANG The Boomers play Angola in this match held in the Canary Islands
Friday 5 Sep 2014, 1:25am UKR v USA The Ukraine takes on the might of Team USA in Bilbao
Sunday 7 Sep 2014, 3:55am Round Of 16 – Teams TBA The pool matches are over and the top 16 teams advance to the elimination round of the FIBA World Cup. Live coverage from Barcelona. Teams and times TBA.
Sunday 7 Sep 2014, 11:55pm AUS v TBA Im not sure how they can know that AUS play here unless they know they wont make the top 16?
Tuesday 9 Sep 2014, 11:55pm Elimination Final

There is also some sort of basketball highlight/comedy show I haven’t heard of called Double Dribble starting on the Saturday 30th at 8:50pm. Could be good, could be shite.


Hey ABC web designers guys, how hard is it to have a list like this on your website?

Sad Monkey

By |August 27th, 2014|Storage|0 Comments

Dell Storage Update Manager v1.0 for EqualLogic released

Just a quick one today. The Dell Storage Update Manager for EqualLogic systems has just been released on the EqualLogic support site and is a available to download. You need a valid support login to download the software.

So why the blog post, well because everything is behind the support site and there isn’t really any information about what Dell storage update manager (DSUM or Dim Sum if you’re hungry) is all about.

From the marketing it simplifies the process of maintaining Dell Storage Products with guided update management. Really what does is it helps you manage the update process of EqualLogic systems and drive firmware. Previously you had to go through the release notes to workout what version of firmware you need to be running and if there was any incremental updates required to get to the desired firmware. Now what update manager will do is log into your group, work out what version you’re on and then look at the support site for the latest supported version and download them.

For drive firmware it’s even better. Currently you need to download a zip from the support site, and then FTP it to the array and then manually update the drive firmware. It was fast but cumbersome. Now update manager will download and update the drive firmware for you, which is very handy if you have multiple arrays with different drive types or ages.

As with all the EquaLogic products it is part of the all-inclusive software licensing so there is nothing you need a pay. It will help you save time and focus on more pressing tasks instead of upgrade path planning, especially in large EQL environments.

Download DSUM from the support site

Dell Storage Update Manager overview

Dell Storage Update Manager overview

By |August 6th, 2014|Storage|0 Comments

Compellent and EqualLogic Management with vCenter Operations Manager

Ever since VMware has been around it’s been difficult to troubleshoot and isolate issues to do with storage. In the early days you had a RAID set and a volume, present the volume to VMware and then from then you would carve up virtual machines. VMware is like an Ogre, it has layers. However, if there ever was a performance issue it was difficult to know where in the stack the problem resided, was it the storage, memory balloon driver, network, vmotion.  I remember when Navisphere was first able to show a LUN and its corresponding VMware volume name. It was like finding that last ice cream at the bottom of the freezer. From there we’ve had plug-ins, tools, different tools, SRM etc. but still if there was an issue you had to go through each layer in the stack looking for issues. Enter vCenter™ Operations Manager (vCOps), an analytics VM that is constantly watching and learning about your virtual environment and providing dashboards to help resolve current issues, prevent future issues and look at ways the environment can be better optimized.

vCops Overview

vCops Overview

Unlike traditional monitoring tools that work on thresholds, like space full, latency, etc; vCops learns how your environment typically operates day to day and displays events that would be above or below normal. Over time it knows when your backups run, when the Monday morning report is run, when everyone takes off to the pub for Friday afternoon drinks. It looks for patterns and then triggers when events or metrics fall outside that normal pattern. It takes about 30 days of collecting data before vCOps data becomes useful. For example: a virtual machine that typically does 300 IOPS sustained and that changes to 700 IOPS sustained, the virtual machine health status will change and alert in vCOPs. Likewise, every Thursday a full backup is run and the storage is smashed, vCOps knows that’s the expected workload for a Thursday night so its all ok. There is a lot more to vCOps and if you want more info I suggest checking out @mwpreston’s site as he loves the stuff. As a product vCOps has been around for a few years but with the latest version (5.7.1 when I wrote this) it now supports external data sources and custom dashboards, in particular around external storage metrics.

vCOps Storage Adapters

Heads up, it must be pointed out you need either advanced or enterprise versions of vCenter Operations Manager for the storage adapters to work.  Also the Dell Storage Adapter is a licensed product, but not too expensive in the scheme of things. Finally, most of this content is taken from a deck by Jason Boche and David Glynn at Dell User Forum in Miami this year, from a session called Monitoring a vSphere Environment with Storage Center and EqualLogic vCenter Operations Manager Adapters … say that three times with marbles in your mouth. vCOps Key FeaturesThe Dell storage solution pack adds value in a number of ways:

  • It delivers a servers to storage view of the health of your VMware infrastructure
  • Provides increased visibility, metrics, and rich storage analytics
  • Pre-packaged dell storage dashboards for alerts, health, performance, capacity, and top-utilization metrics
  • Performs analysis from VM to storage volume to speed root cause analysis

The storage adapter collects data through enterprise manager on Compellent (SC) and San HQ with EqualLogic (PS).  The data collection isn’t real time and can be up to 15 minutes behind depending on the values you choose to use (default is 5 mins for SC and 2 mins for PS).  This information goes into vCOps and it does its analytic magic from there. There are different UIs for VCOps, standard out of the box, Admin, and Custom.  The storage UI will have its own custom page. Standard UI

  • https://vcops UI FDQN
  • https://vcops UI FDQN/vcops-vsphere
  • Native VMware objects

Admin UI

  • https://vcops UI FQDN/admin
  • Configure/update vC Ops and install adapters

Custom UI

  • https://vcops UI FQDN/vcops-custom
  • 3rd party adapter configuration
  • 3rd party adapter objects
  • Custom dashboards

Loads of metrics are gathered by the adapter, arrays stats, controller, volume, front end and back end port stats.  By default there are a number of dashboards included with the adaptor but that doesn’t stop you creating your own custom dashboards that suit your business.  One bright feature is that shows you a visualization of the volumes presented to vCenter.  Volumes with issues will come up highlighted which you can then click and get information about the specific volume. There are little differences between the Compellent and EqualLogic metrics and I have included a screen shot of the differences below.

There is a great video by Josh Raw who is a Dell Storage Product Manager on Youtube that goes through the Solutions Pack, how to install it and demos a lot of the different dashboards (demo starts about the 7 min mark). He goes through the process of discovering an issue with a Virtual machine and drilling down to the volume that is the source of the problem, then eventually working out another VM on that volume is running a rouge process. 


As of July 2014, best to check the release notes:

  • vCenter Operations Manager 5.7.1 or higher (Advanced or Enterprise)
  • Storage Center 5.5 or newer, 6.3 or newer
  • Enterprise Manager 2014 R1 or newer
  • Enterprise Manager listens on TCP 3033
  • Credentials for EM or SAN HQ
  • SAN HQ version 3.0 or greater
  • EqualLogic Statistics Agent installed on SAN HQ Server
  • EqualLogic Statistics Agent listens on TCP 5040
  • EqualLogic firmware 6.0.7 or newer

 Screenshots of Storage Dashboards


By |August 5th, 2014|Dell Storage, Storage|0 Comments

Dell User Forum registrations open for Sydney 15th October 2014

Dell User Forum ANZ

For the past two years Dell has been putting on large customer information days.The first one was Dell Storage Forum in Randwick, Sydney, Australia which was all about, you guessed it, storage and information management. Last year we decided to change the name and include most of the portfolio at Dell Enterprise Forum in Melbourne. Both years have been very successful with almost 700 customers last year in Melbourne.

Now we’re in the third year and we just had to change the name again :). This year it’s called Dell User Forum and is in Sydney on the 15th of October at Randwick racecourse. This will be twice the size as the event in Melbourne with over 20 technical breakouts and heaps of hands on labs. Not only will there be enterprise content but also security and mobility content as well, but the best news is I’ll be there again.

We recently held DUF in the us in Miami last month. It was massive and all the videos and technical documents are available here if you are super keen

It’s a free event and a good way of keeping up to date with current trends and also getting some free training. If you see me come and say Hi.

Register for DUF here

Voice Recognition

On a side that it wants a move the selected text above seems a bit strange. I’m trawling at Ross and logs using a headset because well I’m pretty lazy and this seems like an easy way of doing. The only issue is it doesn’t really understand my thickest running backs in very well tside of a loss of the words come at a news quite interesting senses. When I talk in American accent it seems to understand me completely by the sound a bit strange and mike use the committee on hey dad was wrong with you. I’ll let you know I had this voice experiment does in the future. PS this spot I didn’t get that old and it might make no sense.

Wow …Now here is that paragraph the way I actually said it.

On a side note it may seem like the text above seems a bit strange. I’m trialing voice recognition software using a headset because, well, I’m pretty lazy and this seems like an easy way of doing it. The only issue is it doesn’t really understand my thick Australian accent very well and a lot of the words come out quite interestingly. When I talk in American accent it seems to understand me completely but it sounds a bit strange and the kids are like “hey dad whats wrong with you.” I’ll let you know I how this voice experiment does in the future.

It also doesn’t help that the Windows Speech recognition only really works in Notepad or Office.

By |July 31st, 2014|DEF, DSF, Storage|1 Comment
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