TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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#AWS #ReInvent Day 1

The first official day of AWS ReInvent kicked off yesterday with the number of people arriving for registration and the Expo hall and sessions open and in full swing. If you missed my Day 0 recap then have a look here.

 

My Day 1 started with me getting up early due to my body clock still being on UK time and going for a run whilst the streets were quiet, its something I like doing and getting some “fresh” air rather than recycled casino or hotel air is really helpful I find. I managed to hit a fair number of steps by the end of the day after my run and the amount of walking around the conference to different sessions and I was careful too book as many as close as possible to each other

 

For a number of these conferences I enjoy meeting up with people in the community who are doing the same kinds of things and through my work and time within the VMware community I am very fortunate to have built a good amount of friends and being able to speak to people doing different projects with the same technology or knowing that person who is doing the same thing you are for a customer helps you reach other and learn from each other. I met up with a few London VMUG, VCDX and vBrownbag crew for breakfast at the non politically correct named – eggslut

 

Next I went to a session all around Amazon Aurora and it’s now GA offering and some lessons learnt from a customer Pagerly who has already used it as well as a preview of what the offering does and enables you to do. It amazed me how many people kept taking pictures of each and every slide when the sessions are recorded where you can see the slides as much and for as long as you want. The offering looks amazing and it certainly has it’s place but I was saddened to hear they weren’t supporting the latest version of PostgreSQL which most of my customer use and would require it to support

 

The next session I went to was unfortunately full by the time I got there as they open up the waiting line ten minutes before the start and my reserved seat got taken so I met up with and chatted to a company who are working with me on my current customer and discussed my thoughts of using them for some customers I have not just doing DC migrations but also to help them move workloads to the cloud and track them efficiently.

 

After lunch I went to a session all around the AWS Well Architected Framework which was a whiteboard session and was very interesting. If you haven’t heard of or used the framework for your deployments then I would highly recommend it as it reminds me of VMware vCAT solution that helps you with a large amount of broad best practices but is pen enough for you to utilise it to your customer/companies requirements.

 

The expo hall was then opened and I walked around numerous times talking to people at the VMware booth all about VMware Wavefront, the AWS booth around security and compliancy and the Dell EMC booth as I had a few friends working on there.

 

I had some dinner with some friends and then was an old man and went to my hotel as my lack of sleep and number of steps had caught up with me and I anted to get a good sleep before the vBreakfast running this morning of around 30 VMware community people attending eh conference all meeting up for breakfast and hopefully starting something we can do annually

 

Gregg

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#AWS #ReInvent Day 0

Yesterday was Day 0 of AWS ReInvent for me, I have always wanted to attend ReInvent due to my deep interestes in AWS and being the Solution Lead for AWS in EMEA for Dell EMC.

 

The day started out almost midnight time Vegas time as I flew in from the UK early to try do a day flight to make the ~10 hour flight more bearable. It certainly did make it easier to stay awake on the plane as by the time I landed it was only 8pm UK time. I proceeded to drops my bags off at my hotel and then met up with a number of the London VMUG crew who I have known for a number of years for some drinks and chatting and also to register and collect my badge and hoodie for the conference. I did like that they let you try on the hoodies beforehand so get an idea of sizing’s as American sizing’s can be huge for us from Europe

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I had signed up for the AWS Tatonka challenge which is a chicken wing eating competition but was also going for the Guinness world record for the number of people participating in a chicken eating competition in one sitting. We had around 340 people and myself, Julian Woof, Chris Porter and George Short all managed to get ourselves into the competition and participating. They gave us numbers, explained the rules to not void the world record attempt and then we got our plates of chicken wings (which were fairly spicy)

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The LonVMUG Crew ready to eat some chicken wings

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Meeting the AWSCloud Ninja

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The Tatonka challenge also allowed us into the Midnight Madness party and first announcement’s session early which was highly beneficial as they supposedly only let in around 6000 people although i don;t thin that many in the end attended. I’m actually unsure if we broke the record as by the time they had done all the calculations the announcements on stage had started with the first one being the launch of Hiber Global and their partnership with AWS and their IoT nework. Next was the announcement of AWS RoboMaker and their opening of the code so anyone can use the code to program robots. Certainly an interesting announcement and one I need to read up more on. There are a number of sessions for RoboMaker although none were showing in the ReInvent planner last night when i looked to register for one.

I for one welcome our Robot overlords Smile

I then made my way home as it was by that time 9am UK time and I had essentially done an all nighter albeit a very nerdy all nighter. Today I hope to do a number of sessions largely around data migrations and financial services opportunities and capabilities within AWS linked largely to my daily work and the work Dell Technologies customers are coming to us to ask for help on.

Gregg


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#UKVMUG 2017

I was again very fortunate to attend the UKVMUG today. I have been a supported of the London VMUG for a number of years although due to work commitments and billable work obviously winning out I haven’t managed to attend as many as I would like. For this year I was also able to attend my first vCurry which for those who don;t know is a curry (who would have guessed) and a typically British quiz night but with a technology slant to it.

vCurry

The vCurry was really great and was held inside the motorcycle museum in Solihull next to where the UKVMUG is. It was great to see many faces from the community and even some #vBrownbag crew in Rebecca Fitzhugh who I presented a session with today and Emad Younis . The quiz was really good fun with loads of amusing question like some of the below around some of the famous VMware faces and their unknown previous job (just one is true)

 

My table/team won which was nice and there were loads of good laughs during the evening followed by some drinks and chatting to people.

The UKVMUG

I arrived fairly early for registration and then chatted to a few old colleagues and some people from the community around IoT and my growing interest in the area especially with Dell Technologies having a play in the space.

The day started with a welcome from Simon Gallagher and then moved onto the keynote by VMware EMEA CTO Joe Baguley. As usual Joe’s keynote was really interesting and shows where the industry might be going and focused on edge computing which as I mentioned earlier fit right into what I am currently learning around Dell’s IQT offerings. I wrote about my perspectives around it a few months ago here if interested. Joe also covered the need for not just understanding IT like we do day to day but also OT now that these edge devices are in the domain of OT people who have been using very specialised and critical systems to do their day to day job.

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Joe also covered how there is now becoming a need for not just the normal data centres but now micro and nano data centres

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Next I went and chatted to a number of the sponsors to learn what they are offering and to see how their offerings might fit for my customers or for some how their offerings are a competitor to Dell EMC. I also chatted to the UKVMUG crew who are also the London VMUG crew. If you want to attend a UKVMUG or even better want to present then please do reach out as they have their next meeting very soon:

  • Thursday 18th January
  • Thursday 22nd March
  • Thursday 14th Jun

After lunch I attended the Virtual Design Master session by Chris Porter, Gareth Edwards and Kyle Jenner which was really interesting and seeing as I managed to watch the recordings of this years one it was great to see and hear what the guys learnt from the whole process.

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Next was mine and Rebecca’s session around “How failing the VCDX made me a better architect”. The session went really well and we had some good questions and discussions afterwards with a few people coming up and declaring they are aiming to submit and defend for VCDX. I’m planning to maybe do a vBrownbag for mine and Rebecca’s session so I don’t want to cover it here but one point from our session was something I mentioned in my VCDX passing posting around the videos I used to watch which had Eric Thomas speaking in them about how badly do you want it and about giving up after my first failure. The full piece of this speech I found fairly recently which is here and is something I watch often and I would highly recommend. I also finished his book this past week and again highly recommend it. This quote over my desk is one of my favourites of his

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After my session I spoke to a few people about IoT pieces as well as VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware HCX and then made my way home to miss traffic. The day was really great and as always I really enjoyed presenting and certainly need to up my game and try present more at VMUG’s ,on the vBrownbag and hopefully Dell EMC world and VMworld next year

 

Gregg


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Dell IQT Part 2

*Disclaimer* Whilst I am a Dell EMC employee this is my own take around the announcement and technologies whilst utilizing resources available to me as an employee, this posting has not been reviewed nor requested by my employers and whilst I plan to give as factual information as possible nothing mentioned below can be deemed fully verified.

 

As I promised during my first posting about the Dell IQT announcements I am planning to cover my own perspectives around the announcements and try share information about it as I learn it myself. For this second part I am planning to cover why you would choose Dell Technologies as your IoT solutions provider/partner.

Unlock the potential of the unconnected by bridging IT and OT

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The value of IoT is at the intersection of IT (information technology) and OT (operational Technology). Most of the net new data coming from the 50 billion connected devices that analysts are predicting will be in operational environments and IT will need to work with OT to securely access this data and integrate it with existing IT data and systems to create value.

  • Working together, IT and OT organizations must join forces, using the strengths each has to offer.
  • IT must securely add computation, storage and secure connectivity closer to OT equipment and devices, including ruggedized equipment for harsher environments
  • OT must find ways to gather, analyze and move this data to where it delivers the highest business value whether that be the device, the fog or the cloud.

 

Dell has been unlocking human potential for over 30 years with their computing technologies – Their mission in IoT is to unlock potential of the unconnected by bridging IT and OT.

The idea that IT and OT will need to converge for IoT to be successful is pretty prevalent in the industry today but most companies will stop there.  Dell has 30+ years of IT heritage and they have been focused on the tenant of security and manageability, but Dell has also been customising their technologies for OT environments for companies like Honeywell, Emerson, and Johnson Controls through their OEM business for over 15 years. Finally their best-in-breed partner program delivers vertical specific OT expertise.

Dell is also 100% focused on Industrial/Commercial IoT where they believe the real progress is being made.

The challenges and risks can seem overwhelming

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Security & data governance: Exponential increase in connected devices introduces an exponential increase in security risk. This still continues to be the #1 concern for IoT deployments – that is why you want to work with a company with years of experience securing critical data on remote client devices back to the data center. 90% of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach

IT and OT partnership: Lack of CIO and business stakeholder alignment derails strategy development and implementation.2/3 of all IoT projects are managed outside of IT.

Data volume & analytics complexity: The volume and complexity of data generated by sensors and devices overload traditional infrastructure, and data management and analysis tools.Worldwide data will reach 44 zettabytes by 2020 growing from 4.4ZB in 2013 (EMC & IDC)

Lack of data protocol standards: Lack of protocol standards complicates cross-domain data sharing. The true benefit of the IoT is realised through the integration of the core elements. New devices, applications, networks interacting with fragmented and immature technologies and vendors, each using proprietary, non-standard technologies, make the required interoperability between the systems and applications a complicated problem to solve.  Organisations considering IoT projects are relying on vendors with proven experience engineering and integrating fragmented vendor and technology ecosystems to lead the way.

Diversity of niche providers & solutions: The diversity of start-up, niche providers with immature solutions adds complexity and risk in deploying an end-to-end solution.

Confusion on use cases, ROI: Hype obscures real opportunities, causing confusion about use cases, outcomes and ROI, what are they trying to measure and what problem data do they need to collect and how to move forward.

 

loT Practical Approach

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With the industry’s broadest IoT infrastructure portfolio together with Dell Technologies ecosystem of curated technology and services partners, they cut through the complexity and enable you to access everything you need to deploy an optimised IoT solution, and by working with these partners they provide proven use-case specific solution blueprints for a faster ROI.

 

Comprehensive standards-based portfolio:

– Provides choice and flexibility

– Speeds deployment through global scale, support and financing

Dell Technologies have successfully developed award-winning edge computing solutions to help customers securely access and analyse data in operational environments, complementing their trusted data center computing solutions. Now with the added assets from the EMC Federation, they are solidifying Dell’s IoT market leadership by providing choice and flexibility and helping you speed up your IoT deployments with a comprehensive infrastructure portfolio from the edge through the fog to the cloud.

 

Curated partner program:

– Reduces risk and complexity

– Delivers vertical expertise

– Provides implementation and support

Dell Technologies ecosystem of curated partners in their best-in-breed partner program, cuts through the complexity and enables you to access everything you need to deploy an optimised IoT solution. Their hardware and software technology partners and systems integration partners deliver the vertical expertise on top of the trusted Dell infrastructure offering.

 

Proven use-case specific solution blueprints:

– Accelerates ROI

– Optimizes implementation

A + B = C here! By leveraging their comprehensive portfolio and working with these partners they provide proven use-case specific solution blueprints for a faster ROI. Because Dell Technologies do the work to curate the best partners for your use case and validate the solution they can offer a reference architecture to work from which optimises your implementation.

 

Get to market faster with Dell’s curated partners

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Dell’s IoT Partner program cuts through the noise, providing a curated best-of-breed partner ecosystem with deep vertical knowledge

Dell Technologies have invested time and money to find these partners on your behalf.

Using Dell’s infrastructure foundation along with Dell’s partners speeds deployment by reducing risk and complexity – the Dell partner program allows enterprises to choose from the proven IoT solutions that match their needs

Dell’s best-of-breed partners include system integrators, hardware, software (including platforms), security, network and big data analytics – everything you could need to deploy an IoT solution

Case Studies

If you want to read some of Dell Technologies case studies then I would recommend the following:

For my next posting I am hoping to cover off Dell Boomi as I promised I would in my first posting. If you want to learn more about Dell IoT and IQT then have a look here.

Gregg


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Dell IQT

*Disclaimer* Whilst I am a Dell EMC employee this is my own take around the announcement and technologies, this posting has not been reviewed nor requested by my employers and whilst I plan to give as factual information as possible nothing mentioned below can be deemed fully verified.

 

On Wednesday this week Dell technologies announced their new IoT Strategy, Division and Solutions to Accelerate Customer Adoption. There were a number of announcements from the event and for me this is super exciting as I have always had a very keen interest in the whole AI and IoT eco-system and what it enables and to be part of a company that is investing and looking to do so much within the arena truly excites me and so I wanted to give my own take of the announcements and possibly as more bits come out I might do a series of postings around the various solutions. Also if I am lucky enough to play with some of the new technologies being announced then I might even try do some NDA permitting pieces in a series about those as well.

Being someone who works with customers every day as part of my job to help them digitally transform and move more towards cloud computing and a centralized model of  delivering IT services I have seen amazing success stories and benefits from this but now with the age of not just smart phones but smart cars, smart watches,heart monitors and a plethora of smart sensors there has become a requirement for a distributed core that allows focused real-time processing of information as these devices require instant responses rather than having to wait for a response from a centralised cloud infrastructure (if companies are even at this fairly advanced stage) that may be seconds away.

Michael Dell,  chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Technologies linked to this change where he stated : “IoT is fundamentally changing how we live, how organisations operate and how the world works.Dell Technologies is leading the way for our customers with a new distributed computing architecture that brings IoT and artificial intelligence together in one, interdependent ecosystem from the edge to the core to the cloud. The implications for our global society will be nothing short of profound.” Due to this requirement from customers Dell Technologies announced the new Dell Technologies IoT Division which will be led by someone very well-known in the virtualisation arena VMware Executive Vice President and CTO Ray O’Farrell, and is chartered with orchestrating the development of IoT products and services across the Dell Technologies family. Ray set out that Dell Technologies is investing $1B in new IoT products, solutions, labs, partner program and ecosystem.

You may or may not be aware but Dell already provides Edge Gateways which are made to function at the extremes from being able to offer an operating temperature range of -30°C to 70°C and in a hardened enclosure that protects from dust, oil and weather elements, while the chassis intrusion switch sends an alert in case of unauthorized access to name two non technical features. These gateways can be managed by VMware Pulse IoT Control Centers. Lets have a deeper look at VMware Pulse IoT Control Centers:

 

VMware Pulse IoT Control Centers

VMware define the offering as : “ a secure, enterprise grade, end to end IoT infrastructure management solution which allows OT and IT to have complete control over their IoT use cases, from the edge all the way to the cloud. It helps companies to onboard, manage, monitor and secure all “things” and infrastructure for IoT.”  Additional information around VMware Pulse seems to be very limited at the moment even for VMware partners but from what is covered in the datasheet it uses a Liota open source SDK to allow enterprises to create edge system data orchestration applications, the ability to integrate with NSX for network segment mapping (I wonder if this is using NSX-T or NSX-Cloud) and console integration with VMware Identity Manager for SSO.

Project Nautilus

The next announcement was the announcement of Dell EMC’s unified data stack for IoT called Project Nautilus which provides an extensible collection of elastic storage micro-services

 

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Manuvir Das, SVP and GM of Unstructured Storage Division at Dell EMC gave a brilliant demo of the offering at the IQT announcement showing how Project Nautilus ingests millions of streams of data in real-time and analyzes the data in these streams in real-time as well.

Boomi

Another offering covered during the announcement that has been out for a bit is Dell Boomi, Dell Technologies enterprise integration platform as a service  offering. I have only started learning about Boomi so I plan to write a separate posting about the offering and link to it here but there is a brilliant demo already available around the offering here

Other announcements

At the event, Dell Technologies also revealed new IoT services initiatives which include:

  • IoT Vision Workshop – Identifies and prioritises high-value business use cases for IoT data – essentially how and where to deploy IoT analytics that drive business.
  • IoT Technology Advisory – Develops the overall IoT architecture and road-map for implementation.In addition, with the core focus on technology and services, Dell Technologies’ strategy is to grow the IoT footprint via a strong partner program and ecosystem.Dell’s award-winning IoT Solutions Partner Program is a carefully curated, multi-tiered program consisting of 90+ partners from enterprises like Microsoft Intel and SAP to start-ups like Evolve, FogHorn and Zingbox, who  also presented at the event.
  • Investments in IoT Future through Dell Technologies Capital
    Dell Technologies Capital, the venture arm of Dell Technologies, is partnering closely with the IoT division, providing industry insight and relationships to support its strategic agenda. Through its investments in promising startups and founders, Dell Technologies Capital provides a valuable link to the external innovation ecosystem, effectively accelerating the development and deployment of new IoT, AI and ML technologies and solutions.

As I stated at the beginning I am hoping to be able to write a series of postings around these offerings as I learn more about them. I’m personally really excited about the offerings and the investments being made and hopefully I can learn them and also share the knowledge around them on this blog.

Gregg