Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Evening with OpenStack and the DevOps Community

I had the chance to attend the Triangle DevOps meetup, along with my podcast co-host Aaron Delp (@aarondelp), which was being held at the Teradata offices and lead by their DevOps person (Felix Maldonado) responsible for their OpenStack environment. It was an interesting event for a few reasons:
  1. We've had a few guests (here, here, here) on the podcast to talk about OpenStack, but our hands-on exposure had been limited in comparison to years of VMware environments.
  2. Most of the people we had spoken with were deeply involved with the OpenStack development, or worked directly at Rackspace, so their viewpoints were slightly skewed to the positive.
  3. Aaron had just written a blog about his experience with the new Rackspace Private Cloud edition. We had compared it to another write-up from Cody Bunch (@cody_bunch), noting that Aaron's experience seemed much simpler. Another experience here.
The presenter was very transparent about his experience with OpenStack. They had work that needed to be done, but they were short on budget, so they decided to spend their money on new server hardware instead of software licenses. They were a development group, but their output needed to go into a production environment, so the system ultimately needed to work. He was tasked with getting a small "cloud" up and running (3 servers, hosting about 80 VMs of various sizes).

[I'll stop here and clarify that I don't intend this to be a commentary on OpenStack, but rather a set of observations from both the audience ("DevOps crowd") and myself, somewhat in the context of experience with other systems.]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top 5 Consulting Jobs 2012-2015

Maybe the economy has you down. Maybe you're worried about what your career path looks like. Have no fear, these will keep somebody busy for many years to come.
  1. Windows 8 "Where is that function?" person - This will be a common occurrence in offices and homes around the world.
  2. OpenStack PoC and interop person - Your business thinks OpenStack will be great for them, but which version should they use (Redhat, Rackspace, HP, Piston Cloud, Nebula, Community, etc.) and will they be compatible? Even the leading analysts can't keep track of it.
  3. Android "why don't I have that feature?" person - Only 16% of existing Android phones are on the latest version of software. And they are enabling almost a million phones a day
  4. "Can I borrow an Apple power cord?" person - If the rumors are true, the iPhone 5 will have a new power connector, which most likely means that iPad will as well. So long to all the existing cables
  5. "Open-source setup, Virtual-Lab setup" person - Most enterprises IT groups struggle with open-source because it's traditionally under-documented. This seems to be getting somewhat better (before, after), and some live resources, but there is a market to make this simpler to access and consume.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some Basic Questions about SDN Technology

Long, long ago, in a Data Center far, far away, I used to consider myself reasonably knowledgeable in the ways of networking. Somewhere on a dusty bookshelf or the bottom of a packing box is a remind that I once held Cisco CCIE #3077. And I was even once semi-knowledgeable about a significant transition from a function that was hardware-centric to one that led a revolution to software-centric productivity.

But even as I spend more time trying to grasp Software Defined Networking (SDN), talking with some of the smartest people in the industry, I find myself still left with some very basic questions that I haven't seen answered yet. So I'm just going to make a list, with the hope that those more in the know might provide answers via links or comments in this blog. The Packet Pushers podcast touched on some of these, but I don't believe answers emerged.
Plenty has been written about the potential economic impacts (both to customers and vendors/suppliers) of more open networking equipment. Considering the size of the market for networking hardware ($50B+) and the incumbent vendors involved, I can understand the focus. But it seems strange (to me at least) that we have so many open technology questions. 
I'm going to try and group these into categories that span from greenfield environments to large legacy environments, so I can better understand how to get from here to there.

Looking Forward to VMworld 2012

It's that time again - VMworld. For the 2011 event in the US, I wrote some before and after thoughts on the state of technology, new trends and the event.

Given the actions that VMware has taken recently (new CEO, Software Defined Data Center vision, Nicira acquisition, DynamicOps acquisition, Cetas acquisitionCloudFoundry + OpenStack),  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that VMworld 2012 will be one of the most highly watched events that IT has seen for a long time (all Apple announcements not withstanding). It's not a reach to say that every aspect of VMware will be questioned: