Look Who’s Coming to Dell EMC World 2017

It’s official. I’ll be attending Dell EMC World 2017. I’ve been invited to attend on a Media/Analyst pass.

Naturally, I’m excited and looking forward to it. This conference seems to be causing a small amount of confusion for folks who’ve attended past events. Folks who came from the EMC side (I include myself in this group) have to keep correcting themselves when they call it “EMC World”, and folks who came from the Dell side have to keep correcting themselves when they call it “Dell world”.

But “Dell EMC World” it is. I’m looking forward to seeing the joint solutions and how the two technology portfolios are coming together.

A Brief Personal History

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How I’m Using a Mind Map to Keep Track of My Job Search

Folks who’ve known me a while will know I’m a big fan of mind maps. A mind map is a diagram that helps to organize information visually. I know a lot of folks like outlines, and I’ll grant that they have their place, but I’ve always found outlines too structured and too limiting.

Outlines force straight-line, linear, hierarchical thinking. That’s exactly what you want for some things. I know a lot of people who think in a straight line most of the time — I’m just not one of them.

My thinking tends to try to go in multiple directions at once, and I like to figure out how things connect together. Sometimes those connections aren’t straight lines and don’t fit into simple hierarchies. This is where mind maps come in handy.

Plus, with a mind map, I feel like I can get an overview of the “big picture” with a single glance.

Several people have seen me using mind maps as a note-taking tool during brainstorming sessions. I wanted to demonstrate their usefulness as a tracking tool, too, so I figured, why not use my job search as an example (since I’m actually using a mind map to track my search).

If you weren’t aware that I’m currently looking for my next job, please take a moment to read about my job search before continuing with this post.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s dive in. Continue reading

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Cisco and Pure Announce FlashStack – a Joint CI Solution

Last week, Cisco and Pure Storage announced FlashStack. FlashStack is a jointly-developed Converged Infrastructure (CI) solution bundle / reference architecture.

The FlashStack solution uses Cisco network and compute hardware, Pure Storage storage hardware, and VMware for the hypervisor and virtualization layer.

FlashStack CI is not a product, per se, but a Cisco Validated Design (CVD) or reference architecture (RA) that both companies will work together to support. This support includes both Pure Storage’s Flash Forward and Evergreen Storage programs. Continue reading

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Things Marketers Need to Just STOP Doing

In general, Marketing is a Good ThingTM. It’s how we learn about new products. It’s where we get info on how to differentiate between products. It can help us decide a particular product’s suitability for specific purposes.

The folks in Marketing in the IT industry often take a lot of flak. There are several reasons for this.

IT is, by its very nature, technical. The vast majority of folks in Marketing don’t have technical backgrounds. Also, many Marketing folks have never been the customer for the product they’re marketing. This creates two hurdles when trying to market to technical customers.

Also, I’ll admit it — technical folks tend to be picky, sometimes even nit-picky.

I’ve always said that I brought two big advantages to any Marketing-type position:

  1. I have a technical, not a Marketing, background.
  2. I have been a customer.

So, while IT-related Marketing sometimes takes the blame for things that aren’t their fault, sometimes they do things that really are their fault. Below, I’ll cover the five things that Marketers need to just STOP right freaking now.

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VMware Announces vExperts for 2017

Yesterday, VMware announced their list of 2017 vExperts. The vExpert program is VMware’s way of recognizing those people who have made valuable contributions to the overall VMware and virtualization community.

The program was started several years ago as a way of extending appreciation and recognition to those folks who were going above and beyond their job descriptions in finding ways to share knowledge and contribute to the community.

To quote VMware:

Each of these vExperts have demonstrated significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share their expertise with others. Contributing is not always blogging or Twitter as there are many public speakers, book authors, CloudCred task writing, script writers, VMUG leaders, VMTN community moderators and internal champions among this group.

…a “vExpert” is not a technical certification or even a general measure of VMware expertise. The judges selected people who were particularly engaged with their community and who had developed a substantial personal platform of influence in those communities.

I feel simultaneously pleased and honored to be included among those selected as a 2017 vExpert. This is my sixth year in a row receiving this designation. It’s been great to be part of this active community of knowledgeable people who are motivated by sharing that knowledge with others.

Congratulations and thanks to all the returning vExperts, and a special congratulations to the first-time vExperts out there. Keep up the good work.

You can see the full list of VMware’s 2017 vExperts in the official announcement.

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Cisco Announces Champions for 2017

Today, Cisco started sending out “Welcome” emails to folks they’ve named as Cisco Champions for 2017.

The Cisco Champions program is a community recognition program. It’s intended to recognize people who are making valuable contributions to the IT community through knowledge sharing. Unlike some other similar programs, Cisco’s own employees are not eligible to be Champions.

What makes a Champion? To quote Cisco:

Cisco Champions is a global group of highly influential IT technical experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses people with interests across Cisco’s technology portfolio, including Data Center, IoT, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration, and Security.

I’m honored to add that I received my own 2107 “Welcome” email earlier today, naming me a Cisco Champion for Data Center for the fourth year in a row. It’s been both humbling and helpful to be part of this community. Often, seeing how much the other members contribute has been the motivation for me to sit down and do the work to convert an idea into an actual blog post.

I’m proud to be part of this community, and look forward to meeting other Champions at event.

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My Interview with Geek Whisperers on Being a Technical Generalist

I had the honor (and fun) of being the guest on the most recent episode of the Geek Whisperers podcast (Episode 129).

I know this will cause my long-time readers to immediately ask two questions:

  1. How is it, exactly, that these folks have managed to do 128 episodes without having you as a guest before now?
  2. Isn’t this episode incredibly timely given your current job search?

I’ll attempt to answer these questions as best I can. Continue reading

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Pure Storage’s FlashBlade is now GA

Pure Storage logoToday, Pure Storage, an All-Flash storage vendor, announced the General Availability (GA) of their FlashBlade, a scalable, All-Flash, NFS storage platform, as well as the GA of version 1.2 of Elasticity, the software that runs the FlashBlade.

I wrote about FlashBlade when it was first announced in 2016. At the time I was very excited about the possibilities of this platform. I wasn’t able to get hands-on with the platform. The closest I got was being able to hold and examine one of the blades — encased in a Lucite box. (Really. They handed it to me all boxed up. I was tempted to use my multitool to open the box up to conduct a more-thorough examination, but not only did it feel like it would be rude, they also seemed to always make sure I was within arms-reach of at least three Pure employees at any point the blade was within arms-reach of me… (Kudos to them on having done their advance research.))

At that time, not all of the specifications had been solidified, but those details are available now. Continue reading

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Mixed Message Monday: Flonase Thinks You’re a Drooling Moron

Time for another Mixed Message Monday, where I point out marketing that sends a different message than the intended one. At least, I hope the message delivered was different than they intended…

This time I take a look at an allergy medicine commercial for the brand Flonase.

The commercial comes out with a great message on the value of their brand: Continue reading

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HPE Acquiring SimpliVity for a Bargain Basement Price

Yesterday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that they had entered into an agreement to acquire hyperconverged infrastructure vendor SimpliVity for $650 Million in cash. This number comes in significantly lower than the rumors that had been going around, valuing SimpliVity as an acquisition target at as high as $3.9 Billion.

Long-time readers already know I’m a long-time fan of SimpliVity (in fact, they’re one place I had contacted as part of my current job search). I’d been rooting for them to make it to the IPO stage. Continue reading

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