Jul 18 2017

Schedule Builder for VMworld US now open

The Schedule Builder for VMworld 2017 US opened today and registered attendees can start scheduling sessions. One thing I noticed was they removed the ability to see how many seats were left in a session which is unfortunate as it was a nice was to gauge how full a session was getting. Also as a speaker it’s nice to see how your session registration numbers are progressing.

While building your schedule you will notice a distinct lack of VVols sessions this year, you can read more about why that is here. I will make the pitch for my own VVols session which will be a technical deep dive on the new VVols array replication feature introduced vSphere 6.5. I have one of our 3PAR engineers who developed much of our integration joining me, so despite the session being a sponsor session I can ensure you that is will be very technical content and not marketing focused. I also have Julian Cates from Nimble joining in as well to tell us a bit about their implementation of VVols replication.

So I’d love to see you at our session and being it’s at the end of the day on Monday if you want to catch a beer afterwards and talk VVols I’d be happy to do that. Now if you are interested in VSAN sessions there is definitely no shortage of those, almost 1/4 of the sessions at VMworld are on VSAN. A search of VSAN in the breakout sessions in the Content Catalog show 89 sessions on VSAN of the 425 total breakout sessions. So go get registered before sessions fill up and hopefully I’ll see you there.

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Jul 15 2017

Some Top vBlog 2017 results statistics

While we wait for the results announcement which should come in about 2 weeks via a live webinar with John Troyer and Turbonomic, I thought I would release some statistics on the results as an appetizer before the big meal arrives.

  • This year there were 1600+ votes, which is about the same as last year.
  • There were 321 blogs in the voting last year, this year there were 273. Blogs that did not have at least 10 posts in 2016 were left off the voting ballot this year.
  • There were 62 new blogs added this year to the ballot that were not there last year.
  • There was 1 new blog (started in 2016) that made the top 50.
  • There were 11 additional blogs that made it into the top 50 that were not there last year.
  • There were 8 blogs that made it into the top 25 that were not there last year.
  • There was 4 new blogs to the top 10 (one blog from last year did not qualify and Duncan/Frank chose to step down).
  • There was 9 position changes in the top 10.
  • Do we have a new #1? Of course we do as Duncan did not participate, who will it be? Watch the live results show to find out.
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Jul 14 2017

Top vBlog 2017 update

So the voting closed about 2 weeks ago and we had over 1,600 people vote this year. Afterwards I had to export all the survey data to Excel and apply the weights to all the votes to get a total point score for each blog. The way that works is a #1 vote is worth 12 points, #2 vote is worth 11 points and so on down to a #12 vote is worth 1 point. In the past I’ve had to manually count the number of #1, #2, #3, etc. votes for each blog but starting last year I was able to automate it in Excel so it’s much simpler and accurate.

This year there are two additional point modifiers that are applied to each blog that factor into the total point score. These were added in an attempt to make this less about the popular vote and reflect the work the bloggers put into maintaining their blog. The first is the number of posts that a blog had in the year, I applied 2 points for each post up to a maximum of 400 points, so the more active a blogger is they are rewarded for it and will be ranked higher. For any site that was a pure blog aggregator with automated content they were scored at the minimum 10 posts.

The second score modifier is based on how well a site is constructed and how well the end user experience is. Any blog that was bloated and inefficient is scored lower than blogs that are optimized and fast. The measurement for this that I used was Google Pagespeed which analyzes a website and scores it with a percent with 100% being best. I ran every blog through Pagespeed and the resulting percent is used as a score modifier. Every blog started with 200 possible points available which was reduced by the resulting Google Pagespeed percent. So if your blog scored a 70% it would have a 140 point modifier applied to you your total point score.

So the resulting score looks like this:

  • Voting points + post points (max 400) + Pagespeed points (max 200) = total point score

I’ve spent hours and hours in Excel getting all these modifiers in, thanks to Andreas’s blog post counts it helped me immensely not have to count blog posts for each blog but there were still a few dozen that I had to go count. So all the scoring is now complete and we’ll be announcing the results via a live Top vBlog Results Show hosted by Turbonomic with myself, Eric Wright and John Troyer. We’ll be using a standard webinar platform this time around as Google Hangouts was rather limited and a pain to use.

Also this year instead of doing commemorative coins we’re giving nice 1.5″ lapel pins to the Top 50 bloggers. They will be different medals just like the coins were for Top 10/25/50 and because there are no die costs we can have them made Top 10, Top 25 and Top 50 instead of all of them saying Top 50. The pins will be done before VMworld US and you can pick them up there, if you are not attending we can mail them to you.

So stay tuned for the details, the webinar will be held the first week of August.

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Jul 12 2017

Bad Wifi: Netgear releases Orbi 1.12.0.18 update that keeps disconnecting your devices

Despite an initial rough start with the NetGear Orbi Home Wifi System I’ve been a big fan of it up until today. The reason I bought the Orbi was because I kept having wifi drops in some areas of my house with my Asus RT-AC87U router. I play a lot of online games like Clash of Clans and if you know CoC the dreaded wifi symbol while you are playing is not something you want to see. That symbol means your connection sucks and you are about to get dropped, I would get that frequently with my Asus router. Once I had Orbi up and running my wifi problems were completely gone for 7 months, until today.

Netgear pushed out a 1.12.0.18 update to my router and satellite last night and today I awoke to constant and frequent disconnects on both my iPad Air 2 and Galaxy S7 Edge. I could literally not go a minute without a disconnect. I called their support who was basically useless, they said to enable Implicit Beamforming which has been disabled by default many updates ago because of issues it caused with some devices. I tried that anyway and it seemed to help a little with the iPad but not the Galaxy S7.

Ironically Netgear had a big focus on fixing wifi disconnects with this update which has apparently plagued them from the beginning, read the Netgear forums and there are lots of threads on this issue like this one and this one. They also have problems with the Orbi losing connection to your internet device (i.e. cable modem), I also experience this frequently as well, the only fix is to reboot the cable modem. Most of the updates up until now have not really done all that much, this one had a lot of big fixes as seen below:

  • Fixes the iOS disconnection issue.
  • Fixes the Dropcam disconnection issue.
  • Fixes the convergence issue when an Ethernet connected device moves from one Orbi to another.
  • Fixes the issue where the Orbi app can’t find the Orbi router if the router is using IPv6 and is in AP mode.
  • Fixes the issue where the Orbi app can’t display more than 20 connected devices.
  • Fixes the issue where the installation assistant might not display if the device is connected to the Orbi network wirelessly.
  • Fixes the issue where the 2.4 GHz backhaul setting is disabled if the fronthaul MU-MIMO and TxBF is disabled.
  • Fixes the issue where IPv6 devices on the guest network can access the Orbi router’s web GUI.
  • Includes security fixes for the following security vulnerabilities:PSV-2016-0133, PSV-2017-0607, PSV-2017-0615, PSV-2017-0736, PSV-2017-2190

So an update that supposedly fixes disconnect issues (which I never experienced) does the opposite and starts causing them instead. Thank you Netgear for breaking my perfectly wonderful wifi system. Apparently their engineering team has been spending most of their time introducing new Orbi devices and not spending much time refining their current firmware.

I ended up downgrading both my router and satellite to the prior version which is 1.11.0.20 which has been working perfectly. In fact I have never had an issue with an Orbi update until now, I’m beginning to suspect the reason why is that they haven’t really done much with any of their 11 updates up until this one. Look at their typical release notes for the last 3 updates:

  • 1.10.1.2 – Fixed few bugs
  • 1.9.1.2 – Fixes bugs and security issues. – Improves the firmware upgrade process. – Continuous improvement in wireless connection stability
  • 1.8.0.6 – Fixes bugs and security issues. – Supports Korea wireless region

Now that they have finally starting to pay attention to some of the serious issues that Orbi has had they have apparently tried to fix some things and broke other things. At this stage with this new update I’m not going to update past 1.11.0.20 until Netgear gets their act together which is a shame as I will be missing out on potentially other fixes and enhancements. I loved my Orbi up until today and just yesterday was recommending it to people. However after this update dropped I will not recommend it anymore and may just end up migrating to one of the competing systems from Ubiquiti, Google and Eero which is a shame as Netgear had a good thing going with Orbi. Ultimately it comes down to what works best for me and if Orbi can no longer deliver that anymore than it’s adios amigo.

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Jun 28 2017

Why there are almost no VVols sessions at VMworld this year

I submitted two sessions on VVols as part of the VMworld Call For Papers this year. Based on the great attendance at my VVols session last year I was hoping to get at least one through. So when the notices went out that both my sessions were declined I was a bit disappointed. The rational notes that we got back said “BU direction to cut back on the # of VVols sessions for VMworld”. I also made some inquiries at VMware and confirmed this, apparently the VMware Storage BU has decided to stop marketing VVols and as a result they declined just about every submission related to VVols this year. This is in sharp contrast to last year were there were 5 VMware VVol sessions, 1 partner panel and 9 partner VVol sessions.

So why did VMware decide to stop promoting and marketing VVols? Simple reason is it’s basically a feature or core architecture of vSphere, it’s not really a product that they sell or monetize in any way like VSAN is for them. I believe they feel they have done enough already to promote VVols since it’s initial launch in March 2015 and now it’s up to the storage vendors to promote their own VVols solutions. When you think about it, it’s basically the same as other core integration features like the vSphere APIs (VAAI, VADP, etc). At it’s core VVols is mainly VASA which is the specification that VMware writes that allows storage vendors to develop VVols solutions specific to their own arrays. As a result every storage vendor is going to have their own VVols solution were they can pick and choose what capabilities they want to advertise to storage policies and what features they want to implement to support VVols.

So does this mean that nobody cares about VVols anymore? I think that is far from the case, VVols is still relatively new and there are a lot (most) of storage vendors still trying to catch up with it and deliver mature solutions for VVols. There are definitely some great benefits that VVols provides and it will take time for it to become the norm as customers (and VMware) migrate away from VMFS. I talk to people about VVols fairly often and the education and understanding level of what VVols is and why a customer would want to migrate to it are very low. I do find that as customers discover more about VVols their interest level in it grows significantly.

I was talking a 3PAR product manager the other day who recently attended HPE Discover and he had a lot of people asking about VVols to try and learn more about. I find the same to be true at VMUG events I attend and the fact that I had almost 1,000 people register for my VMworld VVols session last year proves that customer interest in VVols is high. Now that VMware has pulled back from promoting VVols, it’s now up to the storage vendors to do more to promote it and educate customers. For any vendor with a solid VVol solution it’s clearly to their advantage to market that as there are many storage vendors struggling to catch up with VVols and having a solid and mature solution is a competitive edge in VMware environments.

As for the number of VVols sessions at VMworld this year, it was 2 but I see a 3rd one was just added to the Content Catalog (see below). There is only 1 VMware session on VVols, it’s the VVol Deep Dive they do every year with Patrick Dirks & Pete Flecha. The other 2 are sponsor sessions as no VVol partner submissions made it through the CFP process. One is a HPE/Nimble session on VVol Replication which is basically one of the submissions I did for the CFP turned into a sponsor session (without adding any marketing). I have one of our 3PAR engineers joining me for that session to give a very technical deep dive on VVol replication. I was also able to add Julian Cates from Nimble to the session as well as HPE & Nimble are the only 2 vendors that support VVol replication today. The other partner session is from Pure Storage who is finally bringing their VVol solution to market.

So if you are attending VMworld this year and want to know more about VVols and the new replication capability in vSphere 6.5 be sure and sign up for our HPE sponsor session and we will do our best to give you a great technical deep dive on it.

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Jun 02 2017

Nakivo adds built-in support for QNAP NAS appliances

QNAP has a great product line of disk appliances to fit every user from small home and SMB units all the way up to enterprise level rack mount units. Embedding a backup application within those units makes for a seamless administration experience that puts the backup console within the disk management console. Nakivo previously announced support for Synology disk appliances and has now just recently announced support for QNAP disk appliances as well.

The benefits of this solution include easier management as backup and disk management are unified. It also frees up virtual infrastructure resources that were previously used for backup and results in a smaller footprint and less maintenance. Additionally it also increases efficiency by allowing higher VM backup speed by up to 2x compared to VM-based backup solutions. This is achieved because backup data is written directly to the NAS disks, bypassing network protocols such as NFS and CIFS.

All in all having disk and backup combined just makes sense and when you couple that with Nakivo’s rich feature set and affordable price point you end up with a great well-integrated backup solution. Want to see for yourself? Nakivo lets you try before you buy with a trial edition so you can experience the benefits first hand. So if you want to ensure that your VMware environment is well-protected from data corruption, malware, user mistakes, hardware failures or disasters give Nakivo a look and get peace of mind for an affordable price.

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May 31 2017

Voting now open for Top vBlog 2017!

After a huge amount of effort finding and migrating to a new survey platform (and briefly breaking it with the sheer size of this survey), voting for Top vBlog 2017 is now open! The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to stay at an amazingly high level, this year there are almost 300 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the Top vBlogs for 2017. Last year over 1,600 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 50 bloggers were revealed. Now it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs and then rank them in your order of preference. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 50 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot with the current top 100 blogs listed first with their current ranking and the rest of the blogs listed below them alphabetically. So please go through the whole list when making your choices.
  • Note that blogs that did not have at least 10 posts in 2016 are not eligible to participate and not listed (Alan Renouf #9 was one of those). Also note that Duncan Epping (Yellow Bricks) #1 and Frank Denneman #4 chose not to participate this year which should make for a whole different top 10.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 12 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 6/30, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast with myself, John Troyer and a special guest from Turbonomic.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.
  • Also please keep it classy and don’t try and work the voting system to get your blog ranked as high as possible.

New this year bloggers who make the Top 50 will get a nice commemorative pin that they can wear anywhere to proudly display their accomplishment. The pin will be fairly similar to the coin designs of past but is obviously one-sided as it is meant to be worn on clothing.

Of course all this is made possible by Turbonomic who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2017!

So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.

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May 18 2017

Top vBlog 2017 – slight delay but still coming soon

I wrote in my last post that voting for Top vBlog 2017 would be kicking off this week but I have a slight delay as I work to find a new survey tool that can meet my requirements. The survey tool I had used for years, SurveyGizmo worked great for me but they recently changed their plan pricing and it would of cost me 10x more than usual as the features I need are in their most expensive plan and you can no longer buy it on a monthly basis. I thought I had found a replacement with SurveyMonkey but after signing up for a year plan and trying to setup my Top vBlog survey that’s when things quickly fell apart.

SurveyMonkey did support the one must have feature for me, piping between questions, many survey tools do not support this. This is needed so after someone selects their 12 favorite blogs I can pipe them to the next question so they can rank therm. However, many of the other features that I used with SurveyGizmo weren’t there on SurveyMonkey, I couldn’t bulk import html answers, didn’t allow for indicating maximum selection of multiple entries (you could select more and it gave a vague error), most of these weren’t ideal but I could work around, but the big kicker for me they had a max limit on their answers at 200, we usually have way more blogs than that participating. Overall I found there survey tool a bit difficult to use and lacking so I requested a refund and continued to search for another tool.

After looking at dozens of survey tools, requesting trials and asking questions I think I finally found one, QuestionPro. After talking to their support it looks like their Corporate plan will do everything I need, I haven’t set it up yet so I have my fingers crossed, so after a slight delay I should hopefully have the voting open next week. Stay tuned and get ready.

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