New Adventures

For the past 10 years, I have had the pleasure of working for the great educational institution of Fuller Theological Seminary. I have worked in many roles in the past decade, most recently in Windows Systems Administration, Virtualization and Storage Administration, Project Management, and as the Sr. Systems Administrator. They have given me every opportunity to explore enterprise IT, expand my skill set through training, conferences, workshops and user groups, and have nurtured my love for Social Media and the community surrounding IT by allowing me freedom to participate in various Field Days (thanks Gestalt IT, HP, Dell, SolarWinds, etc.!) as an independent blogger.

My team has been a fantastic source of encouragement and trust. Truly a second family.

However, it’s time to move in to what I feel is a natural progression both personally and professionally. I’ve really enjoyed engaging vendors, VARs, consultants and other IT professionals surrounding architecture and solutions and am very excited to announce that towards the end of May I will be joining the Solutions Team at Nexenta, Inc. as a Solutions Engineer. My role will initially be focused on their vCloud implementation and solutions, white papers, solving hard problems, and expanding from there.

It’s a big leap for me going from SysAdmin to working for a vendor, but I’m joining a great team (which includes friends Theron ConreyMichael Lestchin, and Tom Howarth) for a product I’m really excited about.

It’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s the right move at the right time. I look forward to continuing the conversations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have about 300 prodecures and systems to document before I leave.


Google Adds Docs Integration to Google+ Hangouts


Google just announced a feature that was previously available only in the ‘Extras’ version of Hangouts: full Google Docs/Google+ hangout integration.



With this move along with screen sharing, Google is making it harder and harder to ignore Google+ as not just a social media platform, but a full fledged, honest to goodness business productivity tool. But what I think is really happening is that Google+ Hangouts are slowly but surely becoming what they wanted Google Wave to be. I think that Wave came too soon and was too different. Google is letting people get used to an expected feature set, letting it become normal and expanding.

Will this new feature, along with screen sharing draw in more business use? Will it eventually be Wave 2.0?



SolarWinds Announces Server & Application Monitor v. 5.0

SolarWinds today announced their release of Server and Application Monitor v5.0 as well as reviewed a few of their recent acquisitions  as well as new in house platforms and how they fit into their current portfolio.

Acquired in December, 2011. With a current user base of over 100,000, they felt it was a appropriate place to jump into the single sysadmin remote support tool space. v8 will be coming out ‘soon’ and add features such as chat and capture screenshots to the already fairly extensive feature set. I’m an heavy DameWare user and am glad to see their dedication to development of this product.

Acquired in Feb 2012. EminentWare WSUS Extension Pack will become SolarWinds Patch Manager. The base product will include a limited set of 3rd party applications as maintenance on the platform – Mozilla, Apple, Java, Adobe, etc. Their goal is to get the price down to “couple bucks” a node to make it affordable to any size shop.

Synthetic End User Monitor
This suite monitors web applications in which you perform quick recording of sequence of web page walk throughs and the application will run through steps, giving alerts if any steps are slow or don’t work. New to the feature set is their Cloud Player Portal which can be deployed into an Amazon EC2 instance directly from the product itself. This gives admins the ability to monitor sites from all over world and is priced per transaction, which has a pretty encompassing definition (can be a login to site, complete action = 1 transaction, etc.). With Amazon’s recent drastic price reduction, this could be a pretty affordable, flexible and valuable option.

The big news, though, is their release of Server & Application Monitor (SAM) v 5.0, formerly Application Performance Monitor (press release below). The new name is to reflect the more extensive reach of the application and what its capabilities are focused on – from just application monitoring to now including real-time hardware health, operating system and application health and performance.

Dell Launch Event – 12G and more

This is a repost of a writeup that I orriginally did for

This past Monday (2/27/2012), I had the opportunity to attend Dell’s San Francisco event, led by CEO Michael Dell, VPs Praveen Asanth and Forrest Norrod along with Sr. VP David Johnson, at which they unveiled several new offerings across their enterprise product line. While you can read all about the wonderful sales figures that Dell shared on other financially focused corners of the webosphere, I want to spend a few posts focusing on the event and products themselves and what stood out to me.

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Dell Acquires AppAssure

Dell announced their acquisition of AppAssure today, a software based enterprise backup solution for physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. They feature both local (DAS, SAN, remote disk) and cloud based backup, replication and recovery.

This further supplants the idea of Dell as being a hardware company and continues them on their path to a more solutions and services focus. As some colleagues in the field and I were just talking (@plankers, @tscalzott) that hardware (especially storage/server/network) are becoming ubiquitous, the real value will be in features and software innovations.

Here’s the press release from Dell:

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Downgrade firmware on an Dell ESXi host

An issue has come up on one of my Dell PowerEdge R610 ESXi hosts that I wanted to attempt a downgrade of the firmware on my Broadcom BCM5709 network adapters for troubleshooting, but was not finding any easy way between the Server Update Utlities, OpenManage Essentials, etc.

This didn’t fix my issue, but it was a PITA to figure out the best/fastes/easiest way to get this done, that I thought it worthwile to share.

My first thought was to attempt to use the Firmware Upgrade wizard built into the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter because it offers an option to select an update executable from a CIFS share, but that, unfortunately, just threw me an error even though I was using a valid DUP file.

Failed sending update file: (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) to iDRAC – Details: The update package (NETW_FRMW_WIN_R299290.EXE) is not supported via 1×1 update feature. Use the repository method to update this device. This error can also be seen if package is not named according to Dell naming standards.

So I decided to build my own repository and point the Plug-in to that, and here’s that process:

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HP Tech Day 2012

This week I’m excited to be flying to Ft. Collins Colorado for an HP Tech Day that will be hosting independent bloggers to take a look at the LeftHand and 3Par products as well as their VMware integration. I’ve been to a couple demos, read a couple papers and have had some conversations with people about these products, so what makes this trip special is that we get some good ol’ fashion hands-on-lab experience. There’s a chasm of a difference between seeing the product in a slide deck and being able to kick the tires yourself.

I’m also excited to meet a group of new bloggers/storage-geeks. I’ve met a few of the guys at different events (Tech Field Day, VMWorld, Hp Cloud Tech Day, etc.) and on twitter and I’m excited to meet the rest:

Alastair Cooke, @DemitasseNZ,
Brian Knudtson, @bknudtson,
Ray Lucchesi, @raylucchesi,
Howard Marks, @DeepStorageNet,
John Obeto, @johnobeto,
Justin Paul, @recklessop,
Jeffery Powers, @geekazine,
Derek Schauland, @webjunkie,
Rick Schlander, @vmrick,
Justin Vashisht, @3cVguy,

The crew will be hosted by HP Storage Guru and all around good guy Calvin Zito (@HPStorageGuy).

As is all the rage for conferences and other intimate gatherings, a live stream of the event will be attempted. Keep an eye out on twitter for the hash tag #HPTechDay and/or #HPCI for the latest information and buzz about the event.

Can’t wait.

HP Cloud Tech Day

I had the privilege of attending an HP Cloud Tech Day this past week in Houston, organized by Ivy Communications. Tom, Chris and Halley did a great job gathering some pretty cool and smart bloggers and thinkers to hear about and give feedback on HP’s cloud offerings and aspirations. The list of attendees were:

Patrick Pushor

Christopher White

Rich Miller

Phillip Sellers

Phillip Jaenke

Bob Stein

John Obeto

Chris Wahl

Frank Owen

Michael Letschin

Ofir Nachmani

I highly recommend you check out their stuff. Super smart guys. A great mix, too, of sys admins, cloud evangelists, service providers, etc. I’ll follow up with some specific posts about the topics we covered while I was there, but here’s what we covered in day 1: HP Enterprise Business Cloud Strategy, HP View of Cloud Futures, Hyperscale for Cloud, Inner Workings and Building of a CloudSystem Infrastructure, Performance Optimized Datacenter Overview and Tour. Overall I was quite impressed. My regret is that I could only attend one full day. I will be following the rest of the action on Twitter (hash tag #hpci) and on (live video, twitter feed and chat).