Job Search Successful — I’m Headed to the Cloud

First things first: I want to thank everyone who has followed along and supported me during the recent job search. It’s meant a lot to me to know that I was never really alone during it.

A special thank you to all of you who contacted me and acted as “connectors”, connecting me to people, companies, and job opportunities.

During the search, a few people asked me why I kept mentioning my job search on social media. My answer was always the same — every time I mention the job search, someone new contacts me with ideas, suggestions, or to help connect me to a job opportunity I was previously unaware of. In fact, a tweet about my job search is directly responsible for connecting me to my new job. I’ll do a future blog post with more details about how social media helped my job search.

But, none of that is what you came here to read at the moment. You came here to hear about:

My New Job

I’m very happy to announce that, starting today, I’m joining the team at Virtustream.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Virtustream is a cloud provider. (And one of the Dell Technologies companies.) Their offerings are designed for enterprises and global IT organizations. While they’re not a “household name” like the “Big Three” in cloud (AWS, Azure, and Google) are, I think Virtustream’s in a great place to get there because of the things that make them different than the Big Three.

The main difference I see is that using any of the Big Three is essentially a do-it-yourself experience. While you can do it all yourself with Virtustream, they also offer a full suite of managed services to choose from. Additionally, they also have offerings specifically built for Enterprises, for Federal, and for Healthcare.

What Will I Be Doing?

In the job posting, the official job title was listed as:

Senior Consultant: Technical Product Marketing

But, yeah, that doesn’t really tell you much about what I’ll actually be doing.

I’ll be in an individual contributor role, working with almost every team within Virtustream to create technical content, both for internal and external use. This will include articles, presentations, white papers, trainings, videos, whiteboards, demos, blog posts, and, well, pretty much any other format that folks would find as an effective way to consume information.

The job looks to be the perfect mix of “everybody already has a good idea of what they need from me” and “go forth to create and define this role for yourself”.

As a big plus, I’ll be getting to work with several folks I’ve known for years now who have not only earned my professional respect, but who I also actually like a lot.

So I’ll still be working with storage and virtualization, but I’ll also be moving that work deeper into the Cloud than I have in the past. Definitely looking forward to it.

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Premise vs. Premises: A Modest Proposal

If you’ve ever listened to, or been involved in, a conversation about Cloud, you’re familiar with the idea that the infrastructure that runs any specific cloud can be either on-premises (local or private cloud), off-premises (remote or public cloud), or a combination of both (hybrid cloud).

If you’re familiar with that, then I feel safe predicting that you’re also familiar with the seemingly-eternal debate over whether the term is “premises”, “premise”, or if it actually matters. In this case, there is, in fact, only one correct answer.

In the rest of this article, I will:

  • Make the clear case for the correct answer
  • Explain why it does, in fact, matter
  • Discuss three approaches for handling this, including a proposed solution that, if adopted, would end the premises/premise confusion in cloud forever

Continue reading

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Virtustream Launches Cloud Offering Designed for Healthcare

Today, at Dell EMC World, Virtustream — the enterprise-class cloud provider company in the Dell Technologies family of businesses — announced that they are offering a new service called Virtustream Healthcare Cloud.

This service provides cloud-based hosting of mission-critical healthcare platforms and applications in an environment that is completely compliant with all Health Insurance Portability  and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) regulations. Customers are able to get the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud with fully-managed services and availability Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of 99.999% uptime. The service can be deployed in both public and hybrid cloud models.

As healthcare organizations transition to the near-exclusive use of digital Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, they are faced with the dual challenges of access to records and securing them. EMR data needs to be accessible to patients, doctors, and analytical medicine applications, all while remaining fully-secure and compliant with a complex set of regulations. The Virtustream Healthcare Cloud offering enables healthcare organizations to achieve these goals as a managed service.

To give an idea of why this is a big deal, several other public cloud providers will allow customers to run this type of workload in their infrastructure, but the customers are 100% responsible for ensuring the HIPAA and HITECH compliance. The Virtustream Healthcare Cloud provides that compliance built-in.

With consolidation happening across the industry, and more hospitals and healthcare organizations joining into collaborative “Medical Group” type organizational structures, the ability to store, protect, and share EMRs in a secure and compliant public cloud solution becomes even more desirable.

Today, the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud service has been certified by Epic, a leading provider of EMR applications. I’ve spoken with a few of the folks at Virtustream and I believe we’ll see the certification with additional EMR software vendors coming in the near future.

You can read the Virtustream press release on their Healthcare Cloud here and read more details on the solutions here.

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Summary of Monday’s Announcements at Dell EMC World 2017

As you might have expected from a conference that was essentially created by combining two huge tech events (Dell World and EMC World), there were a large number of announcements made on the first day of Dell EMC World 2017. To help you manage the influx of so much information, this post will attempt to summarize them for you.

Dell EMC made announcements across the following areas:

  • New PowerEdge Servers
  • New VxRail Hyperconverged Hardware, Software, and Pricing Model
  • Software-Defined Storage
  • New Storage Arrays
  • New Integrated Data Protection Appliance
  • New Open Networking Products
  • New Flexible Consumption Models
  • Dell Technologies Venture Practice Emerges from Stealth

I’ll review each of these in more detail below: Continue reading

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NetApp United 2017 — A Numerical Breakdown

As you likely saw, earlier this week, NetApp announced the official kick-off of their 2017 NetApp United influencer program, welcoming 111 members.

While 111 members gives us a little idea of what the 2017 NetApp United looks like, I thought it was worth taking a closer look.

So, as I’ve done in the past for the EMC Elect program, I’ve taken a look at the information that’s available to see what other insights we could gain into the new program.

In addition to the numbers themselves, I’ve created some graphics to help visualize what the numbers tell us. You’ll find them below. Continue reading

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NetApp Names Members of 2017 NetApp United Program

NetApp has announced the first members of their new community recognition program, called NetApp United. I’m proud to announce that I’m one of those 111 people.

What makes a good candidate for the NetApp United program? According to the application announcement, NetApp was looking for technology enthusiasts who:

  • Have a social media presence
  • Have overall expertise within the technology industry
  • Are a member of the technical community in good standing
  • Are interested in learning more about NetApp products and services

My own NetApp experience dates back to 1993, when I installed several of the first Network Appliance “file toasters” to be purchased in the New England area. Back then the NetApp boxes were often replacing larger and more expensive Auspex NAS devices (although we hadn’t yet started using the term “NAS” at that point). Never heard of Auspex? NetApp is a lot of the reason for that…

More recently, in my last job I got quite familiar with Solidfire‘s scale-out all-Flash arrays. Solidfire joined the NetApp family through acquisition.

I look forward to meeting my fellow NetApp United members and seeing back this program brings in the coming year.

You can see the full list of the 2017 NetApp United members on NetApp’s announcement of the program’s launch.

 

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Pure Storage Announces NVMe DirectFlash and New FlashArray Model

Pure Storage logoToday Pure Storage, known for their All-Flash Storage arrays, announced their next Big ThingTM, DirectFlash, as well as a new FlashArray model. DirectFlash is a combination of NVMe hardware and the software to manage it (more details on that below). The new array model, the FlashArray//X, uses exclusively DirectFlash as the storage medium.

A Brief Flash Primer

“Flash” refers to silicon-based memory chips used for storage. It tends to come in one of two form factors.

The first is Solid State Drives (SSD). These typically have the same dimensions as hard-disk drives (HDD) and connect via either SATA or (more typically) SAS interfaces.

The second is Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). These use (not surprisingly) non-volatile memory chips to store data. The “Express” in the name indicates that it connects via PCIe which is not only higher bandwidth than SATA or SAS, but is both physically and logically closer to the storage controllers, making NVMe faster and higher bandwidth than SSD. NVMe is often 5X faster than SSD.

I’ll describe the new offerings from Pure below.

Continue reading

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Qumulo Secures Round C Prime Funding – My Conversation with Bill Richter

Qumulo logoToday, Qumulo, vendor of the software-defined scale-out storage platform Qumulo Core, announced the completion a funding round of $30 Million. This C Prime round of funding brings the total amount invested in Qumulo to date to $130 Million.

This new funding round was led by Northern Light Venture Capital and other first-time investors in Qumulo. Previous Qumulo investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB), Madrona Venture Group, Top Tier Capital Partners, and Tyche Partners also participated in this round.

This new round of investment in Qumulo follows some recent management changes that include the appointments of

  • Bill Richter (formerly of Isilon) as CEO
  • Jay Wampold as Vice President of Marketing
  • Eric Scollard as Vice President of Worldwide Sales

As long-time readers will know, I’ve been a fan of Qumulo since the beginning. At my previous employer, I was the PreSales Engineer in a deal where we sold a Qumulo cluster even before the company had emerged from stealth mode. At Qumulo’s invitation, I attended the company’s launch party.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Bill Richter and Jay Wampold took some time out of their busy day yesterday to spend some time speaking with me about today’s announcement and anything else I felt like asking them. Continue reading

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An Addendum to My Open Letter

[NOTE: This post might make more sense if you’ve already read my Open Letter to Influence Marketers, but I think it also might work standalone. Your individual mileage may vary.]

After I published my “Open Letter” post on Friday, I had a conversation with Kate Hutchinson, a colleague and friend for whom I have a lot of respect. During that conversation, she very gently reminded me that I dislike it when people complain about something without offering any constructive alternative.

I’ll admit, that once I got the point she was driving at, it stung a little, but that was entirely my fault, not hers. I had done the very thing that I dislike.

I’ll demonstrate with two examples: Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Influence Marketers

[UPDATE: I’ve posted an Addendum to this Open Letter. After you read this, be sure to check that out, too.]

Dear Vendor Marketers,

I love being invited to your technical briefings. I can’t emphasize this enough. They’re awesome. They’re filled with useful and interesting information that I’m more than happy to spend my own personal time writing blog posts about, adding my personal analysis and thoughts. With 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, I think that analysis and those thoughts have some value.

Plus, it means a lot to have you trust me with NDA and/or embargoed information. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough. It makes me feel like you truly consider me a valued partner in your success, and that you respect the value of what I can provide.

However, Continue reading

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