ClearSky is a Boston-based startup founded in 2014 by industry veterans Lazarus Vekiarides and Ellen Rubin; ClearSky comes with a unique proposition, which – if successful – might revolutionize the way primary storage is consumed. I introduced ClearSky in my previous TFD14 preview article where I described their solution; the objective is to reduce drastically the Data Center footprint of traditional primary storage by shifting it to the Cloud while at the same time simplifying DR operations and ensuring accessibility of data from any location. This outcome seemed to be impossible to achieve due to the strict latency requirements that primary storage inherently carries, but ClearSky has found an elegant and effective solution to this conundrum. However, there is one caveat here and it will be evident in the following paragraph.

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This article is a follow up to my TFD14 Turbonomic preview; at that time I knew very little about Turbonomic and that post was a collection of thoughts and impressions I gathered looking at the product from a distance. I am happy to say that after the TFD presentation, my understanding of the solution is clearer and the initial good impressions are confirmed.

Turbonomic is – in their own words – an “Autonomic Platform”; the play on words here is the merge between Automation and Economy, that is because Turbonomic uses the “Supply Chain” metaphor, where every element in the infrastructure “buys” resources from the underlying components and “sells” upstream, leveraging at the same time automation to ensure that the apps are always performing in their “Desired State”.

The objective is to “assure the applications performance” regardless of where the app is running (in the Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud). Coming from an operations background I know well how difficult it is to keep an infrastructure running within ideal parameters: any single intervention – no matter how apparently insignificant – leads to an imbalance in the infrastructure and this, in turn, leads to a deviation from those optimal parameters. What happens is that app performances are less predictable and corrective actions must be taken to return to the “Desired State”. This is what is called the “Break-Fix” loop, which requires continuous human intervention.

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NetApp opened Tech Field Day 14 with a presentation by Andrew Sullivan and Kapil Arora, entirely focused on the company’s efforts in the Open Source field. One might imagine that a company like NetApp – or any other big IT vendor – would consider Open Source as a menace to their business or, in the best possible scenario, just as a fad worth to exploit until the advent of the next hype. Well, this could have made some sense until just a few years ago but today we live in the GitHub age and it is evident that no company can afford not to share some of their own open code with the public.

NetApp is no different from any other company and they are probably doing this for many reasons similar to those of their competitors – what it is worth investigating here is where their motivation comes from and what is driving their efforts.

NetApp’s involvement with Open Source begins in 2011 with their support to OpenStack and their contribution to the Cinder and Manila projects; the team has evolved – mostly in the past 18 months – into something bigger called the “Open Ecosystem”, also friendly referred to as “The Pub”. The focus has expanded well beyond OpenStack and now covers Containers, Automation and Orchestration, Configuration Management, CI/CD and Agile Development tools.

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In this third and last post of this Tech Field Day 14 Preview Series, I will focus on Datrium. Truth to be told, a fourth vendor was added at the last minute to the list of TFD14 presenters, and that is NetApp; interestingly enough their presentation will be DevOps oriented and I will report my impressions in a future post when I am back from Boston.

Back to Datrium then. Like myself, this will be the first appearance of Datrium at Tech Field Day, so there was no “TFD prior art” in the form of old presentation recordings I could leverage to get myself acquainted with their solutions, therefore my research was limited to browsing their company website. I hope I got everything right, but I can tell you what I found there was enough to tickle my curiosity; they seem to have an interesting approach to the solution of the converged data center problem, their own buzzword to define this is “Open Convergence”. What I see there is a mix of ideas already heard of before, but even if the ingredients are familiar, the recipe is different and the serving looks yummy! Enough with the gastronomic analogy, let’s talk tech.

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This second Tech Field Day 14 Preview post is focused on Turbonomic. I must confess I know very little about their solution and I am very anxious to hear more from these guys when I will meet them in Boston: I did some research in the past few days about Turbonomic and I definitely feel I need to learn more about thir product. Very much looking forward to be enlightened!

Coming from a vROPs background, I kind of assumed – most likely wrongly – that Turbonomic was a direct competitor of VMware’s solution, but from what I have seen so far, although there are for sure some similarities and overlapping areas, here we are talking about two completely different beasts, so I will leave the comparisons there. More »

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Next week I will fly to Boston to attend my first full Tech Field Day conference as a delegate.

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to the smaller scale Tech Field Day Extra event at VMworld Europe and I really enjoyed the experience, so you can imagine my excitement when I received the invite from Stephen and Tom to join them at TFD14.

Not yet time to pack a bag, but definitely time to start doing some research on the three vendors that will present at TFD14: ClearSky Data, Turbonomic and Datrium.

Let’s start this TFD14 Preview Series from ClearSky Data: from what I understand ClearSky has a very unusual approach to Cloud Storage which is normally intended for secondary/object storage kind of use cases. ClearSky has developed an interesting architecture that allows for storing all your data in the cloud while not sacrificing the performance (and use cases) typical of primary storage – all of this going beyond the obvious caching technologies that have been around for some time. More »

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VMworld Europe 2016 will be a memorable one for me, not only because I will be returning to the event after a one year hiatus, but also because something very special is going to happen.

Let me explain… last August, at VMworld US 2016 in Las Vegas, VMUG Leaders gathered for the traditional lunch with VMware Execs (including Pat Gelsinger).Every year there is a ceremony where a few Leaders are publicly mentioned for their commitment and their efforts for the VMUG community. This is when people who have gone the extra mile for the community are acknowleged at the presence of their peers. More »

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Every now and then I realize how lucky I am to be part of this community of peers sharing a common passion for what can be (in a very simplistic way) referred to as “virtualization technology”; last November 12th, on a train back to Rome after the conclusion on VMUG Italy’s 2015 UserCon, I had once again such an epiphany. I was very tired after a long two days in Milan spent preparing and running the conference I have helped to organize together with my VMUGIT friends, but I was also very happy and proud for the awesome result we (as a community) obtained.

The outcome is here for you (not me) to judge: 274 attendees, 18 sponsors/exhibitors, 3 keynotes, 15 breakout sessions and one closing panel featuring some of the most influential leaders and visionaries in the IT industry. One of the aspects I am particularly satisfied with is that this time (our third one) the VMUGIT UserCon has become a true international event: most of sessions were delivered in English by prominent speakers coming from Europe and the US specifically to present at our conference. We also had Brad Tompkins (the VMUG International CEO) and Massimiliano Mortillaro from the Czech Republic VMUG as our welcome guests. The Italian UserCon may not be one of the biggest in terms of attendance, but for sure it can now be acknowledged as one of the leading international community events in terms of quality of content presented. This doesn’t come by chance but thanks to the hard work of all the people involved (the VMUGIT Board, the VMUG International Team, VMware itself and, last but not least, partners and sponsors).

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You know that old saying “Third time’s a charm”?

Well, I am not saying that the previous two editions of VMUG Italy’s (@vmugit) User Conference weren’t a success with almost 300 attendees each, packed sessions and the participation of some of the most famous names of the virtualization community, but believe me, this year the VMUGIT leaders are working behind the scenes to organize the best edition ever.

Here are some details about the event.

The UserCon will take place on 12 November 2015, in Milan; the venue is Centro Congressi Milano Fiori – Assago (the same of the 2013 edition, which has undergone a refurbishment process in the meantime).

The registration page (which also includes directions) is open and you can already reserve your seat. Although the page is in Italian, the process is standard, so you should know which buttons to press and how to fill the forms. In case of any issues, don’t hesitate to shout out.

All of the sponsors are confirmed and you can expect top notch, user focused technical sessions delivered by the majority of them. Just a few names: VMware (of course!), EMC, Nutanix, Pure Storage, Acronis, HP (with Intel), Infoblox, PernixData, Tintri, Webroot, Zerto, Hitachi, Micron, Simplivity, Aruba, Hitachi, Solarwinds. A few more might still be added, so be sure to keep checking the event page on the VMUG website for any updates. Be sure to visit their booths at the Solutions Exchange area to learn about the latests developments in their products and technology.

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VMworld Europe 2014 is only a mere four weeks away and now it is time to start focusing on it and achieve that sort of Zen mental state that it is required to survive the experience!

For the third year in a row the event will be held in Barcelona: somebody may object this, but from my perspective it does totally make sense. I admit I am totally biased as Barcelona is my favorite European city and a place where I’d move anytime if I had the chance, but let’s be honest: the city has a gorgeous weather in October, it is easily reachable from anywhere in Europe, it has great accommodation options, a working and efficient transportation system, food is great, it is a cheap place compared to other destinations and it is a pleasure for the eyes! Gimme Barcelona anytime!

After two Catalan VMworlds and almost a dozen leisure trips to Barcelona I can consider myself a veteran, so let me guide you through my experiences, who knows, you might find some useful advice here.

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