Getting Started with Azure for Free

I recently created a blog post about Getting Started with AWS. I like what they do and think they’re a great platform but there is more than one horse in the public cloud race. Microsoft Azure is a close second to AWS and getting better every day. Microsoft has many advantages that AWS doesn’t: They are probably already in your datacenter and you probably have an ELA with them. If you do, check and see if there are Azure credits in there.

Qwiklabs for AWS

A little while ago I wrote about getting started with AWS. I have since been reintroduced to Qwicklabs and felt I should talk a little about this resource. I have always been a hands-on learner. I built a home lab to teach myself VMware, I had a Windows domain in my house, and so on. The easiest way to learn AWS is to dig in and with the free tier you don’t even have to pay.

Getting Started with AWS on the Cheap

I have been skimming the surface of AWS and Azure for various work projects and as part of my new role as a vBrownBag crew member. I feel it is safe to say that public cloud has arrived for the enterprise. It is a very scary transition for Operations. Cloud reminds/infers layoffs and reorgs. If we don’t manage hardware why have a hardware team. I think education is the easiest way to cut through fear.

Upgrading VMware Tools Without a Reboot Using PowerCLI

Historically, one of my biggest little annoyances with a VMware version upgrade has been upgrading VMware tools. In vSphere 5.5, VMware added the ability to update tools without a reboot. If you were manually kicking off the tools upgrade all you need to do is enter the following features into the advanced settings box /s /v"/qn REBOOT=ReallySuppress? This is great and causes the tool update to only lose one ping instead of requiring a full restart.

Backups are Important, Recovery is Essential

On January 31, 2017 Gitlab experienced a massive database outage. They suffered hours of downtime, which they have detailed here. The transparency in that link is breathtaking for a couple reasons. First, any company willing to details their failures and challenges in such public terms gets my kudos. It’s not easy to put yourself on display, warts and all. Second, there are so many self inflicted wounds and unforced errors in the story.

The Road to Root Cause

Have you ever received a call from someone that started with “Why is everything so slow”? I think it’s a safe assumption that everyone working in IT Operations has heard some variation of that question. The request could be anything from issue accessing Yahoo mail to a mission critical application unable to communicate with its database. The worst of these calls happen at 2am. Everyone is crabby, nobody wants to take blame or have a finger pointed at them, and there may not be solid supporting data showing slow down.

Tech Field Day 13 is Here

The time has finally arrived! Please watch us this week at If you have any questions for anyone, please tweet me and I’ll be sure to ask. Here is the schedule of events:

Tech Field Day 13 Preview: DellEMC

Last but not least in my Tech Field Day 13 Preview series is Dell EMC. If you’re reading this you are probably aware of the Dell and EMC merger that occurred in September 2016. This 67 billion dollar merger took the #2 server manufacturer by market share and combined it with the (tied for) #1 storage vendor. The dust is starting to settle and server bezels are starting to reflect the new logos.

Tech Field Day 13 Preview: SolarWinds

There are a few companies presenting at Tech Field Day 13 that have such robust catalogs that they are hard to preview. SolarWinds is such a company. They were founded in 1999 to provide management and monitoring tools for every layer of the datacenter. In January 2017, IDC recognized SolarWinds as the market share leader in Network Management Software. You can read the press release here. I have professional experience using their network configuration manager and virtualization manager tools.

Tech Field Day 13 Preview: Platform9

Tech Field Day is drawing closer and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to dig into vendors during these previews. I have definitely found some products I wish I had known about during one struggle or another. Platform9 is such a vendor. Launched in 2014 by a group of former VMware employees, Platform9 has a goal of bringing OpenStack and Kubernetes Containers to an organization while utilizing their existing investments in hardware and virtualization.