Right now I’m writing this in the Qantas club at Dallas airport waiting for my 16 hour non-stop flight back to Brisbane. I used up my last complementary voucher but this really is a good way to fly. I’m supposed to be shopping for my wife but I’ll do it going through customs on the way home .. hopefully.
So with the sun setting and a free beer in my hand I thought I would jot down a couple of things and notes from my week at the Compellent offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For those who don’t know, Minnesota is above and to the left of Chicago, just below Canada. Apparently it’s pretty bloody cold there for most of the year but it was glorious weather all week, hot but not humid.The Compellent offices are in a suburb called Eden Prairie, south west of the city and we stayed right near it.
I was lucky enough to get the call up to go for a three day IDM training session with a motley crew of Dell storage engineers from around Asia and Europe. The first part was core Compellent by one of the Compellent Principal Architects. The second part was presentations from product management to do with VMware and the vSphere plugin, Hyper-V, Exchange, NAS, SQL, Oracle and powershell . The whole thing was great and very educational, filled a few holes I had about Compellent and I got to meet a couple of the Compellent ‘tweople’ – Jason Boche @jasonboche, Tony Holland @TonyHolland00 and Justin Braun @JustinBraun. There were other great guys I could mention but they’re not on twitter so they aren’t the “look at me” types the rest of us are and may not appreciate it.
The offices are very nice and spacious, and they have that high roof thing that Americans seem to like (and I must admit so do I). Those who follow me on twitter may have seen my review of the bathroom facilities as well . It’s all spread out over a couple of buildings with a few data centres chockers full of disks. It must must be a nice power bill, no wonder they went SAS! There is a lake just out the windows and it apparently freezes over they ice fish out of it. That is such a weird concept for me.
I guess I haven’t really written before anything about Compellent but I do like the technology, it was a small reason I made the jump from EMC to Dell. It’s a much different look at storage and I like it, especially some little things that EMC could do well to copy like replay profiles and LUN creation defaults. Just little things but you can tell the Compellent team were really focused on minimising the amount time a storage admin spent managing an array. If enough people are keen I can do a writeup about it and how it works, or if you are in Brisbane I can come show you. We were messing around in the labs and created 600 LUNs by clicking Create LUN 600 times. Not real life but still silly fun.
We spoke about a lot of things, most of which I wouldn’t be able to write about. I might do a short post later about some of the tidbits I discovered. I even squeezed a few futures out of them and the future looks real good … but I would say that right? . Two great things to highlight were seeing the vSphere plugin in action and also learning about powershell and how to integrate it with SQL server.
You can download a youtube video of the Compellent vSphere plugin in action here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baDnDLxTn1c.
The Dell guys on the course were very friendly, about half from Asia and half from Europe. It was good to hear the stories from the other countries and how similar things can be, even if they are on the other side of the world.
One of the best parts of the trip was that I didn’t meet any dickheads. None. Everyone was super nice and up for a chat, from the airports to the pubs and of course at work, not that anyone could understand anything I was saying. The way I say the word “training” it must have a certain tone about it because I would get some funky looks whenever I said it. I even tried to put on an American accent, no luck. Even the TSA were nice to me. I was nervous thinking about all the touch up stories I had seen on twitter and forgot to take my laptop out of my bag in the scanner. They were really laid back about it, rescanned it and off I went. Phew, no cavity search for me. We spend a bit of time at a bar called Champps which has over 60 beers on tap (awesome) and one of the first times I have felt like someone earned their tips. Service was great and good unusual beers too. Another place to point out was Redstone grill where I had perhaps the best bit of fish in my life, Sea Bass something something, and boy it sure was something.
I went to the Mall of America. It was big and it had a theme park in it, but besides that it’s like every other shopping centre in the world. I tried to find a good quality basketball, no go. I tried to find a certain makeup for my wife, no go. I tried to have a shower in the kids pool, no go. Its ridiculous. However I did get to see ‘The Change Up’ at the movies. If you are a man and have kids please go see it.
I did get to go to a sport lovers paradise called Dicks Sports, a good name but not as good as The Dick Liquor. I didn’t get to fulfil my dream of owning an NBA basketball as they didn’t have any in stock so I got a good one for a bargain. Side note, after shopping here it cements that Australia is a rip off. I bought some Aussie thongs (flip flops) for half the price I can get them at home.
Going to the states I was trying to find a cheap 3G prepaid simcard so I could have data on my phone and got told that nothing exists because the US phone system is all over the place. One the Qantas flight over they were selling a prepaid sim from a provider called truphone.com. For $20 I got $15 credit and cheap calls and 15c/MB, bargain. The only bugger is that you have to activate it online so you still have to get near the web somewhere.
One last thing, I got asked is why does my twitter profile say “I’m pretty parched!!!”. Well here is the reason http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdVHZwI8pcA,
Actually, one last last thing. I got upgraded on my flight back home. Not a bad way to fly at all.