Category: Hardware

NAT Store: The books you read and the stuff you use.

One of the lines that I have taken to heart in Life is  “your only difference between now and ten years from now will be the books you read and the people you meet”.  I read it years ago and since then I have doubled down on my reading.  Prior to this I was reading lots of fiction and technical documents around doing my jobs as a network engineer.  Since then I have expanded into Finance, Marketing, Strategy and more.  I can’t begin to tell you the difference in my life it made.  While I won’t go into details actions I took as a direct result of what I was reading helped me go from a mid five figure salary to a solid six figure salary and on a pace that made me part of the businesses I was with not just an employee. Read more

All Good Things Come to an End: Cisco Aquires Meraki

I have been very lucky in my career.  There is pretty much no network vendor whose gear has not come across my desk and I have had the opportunity to install and play with on some level.  Last year we engaged Meraki to consider then for both their Cloud Controller based Access Points but also for their new Access Switch product line.  I did lots and lots of research and honestly found a mixed bag of info.  On one hand people were saying this is really amazing stuff and if you can handle a bit less than full enterprise class gear you should really look at it.  On the other hand I read a few articles like this one out of Canada that paints a picture of pretty shady practices from Meraki.

So I sat through their online demos, had local partners come in to tell me how amazing it was then I got my AP (Modle MR12) from them to play with and see what I thought.  In all honestly their AP and overall wireless product underwhelmed me.  My Cisco 1200 B only radio covered better and and my Cisco 1252 even in 2.4 only mode way out gunned this poor little guy.  But what they do very very well is the management of it all.  Even after I had decided that my company would not be moving to their access points nor the new switch line I decided to stick with System Manager because how good it was at managing remote devices and it was free!  So right off the bat I do not hate these guys or their products I actually think they are pretty cool but over just not the right fit for what we needed.

Then tonight it happened.  @MrFogg97 hit me up and said “Saw this on #meraki’s site when reading the announcement. and yes I did say that and to this second I still believe its a great product.  But then I asked myself what announcement.  A quick trip to Meraki’s website told the tale.  Cisco announces intent to acquire Meraki   And that is why I am really writing this post. Read more

Fake it till ya make it!

So no one who is reading this should be in the dark about some of the interesting things I have been doing as of late.  But if you are here is a quick re-cap.

Language Access Network my employer is undergoing an installation of a first of its kind Video Call Center.  I will more on that to write soon.  As part of this process we had a WHOLE LOT of infrastructure put into place.  For starters we needed a “SAN”, we needed Servers, we needed DC Switching and we needed lots and lots of licensing and that all before the developers and engineers jump in to make the whole thing work.  The cool bits of this first part are what we did for “SAN”, Server and Network.  As you all know I am a past Cisco UCS zealot and I have a NetApp in my basement so you would think that it would be simple math as to what I would have installed.  You would be right.  UCS and NetApp were about $100,000 more than I could scrape out of my budget and still have anything left for other major components.  Before people get bent out of shape about me saying Cisco UCS and NetApp are to expensive, I did not say that.  Honestly I think within existing DC platforms they are both very well priced if you don’t bring next gen platforms into the mix.  In my case the next gen platform is Nutanix.  If you don’t know anything about these guys click the link and check them out.

In a nutshell Nutanix is 4 Blades of Compute and 20TB of Storage in a 2RU chassis with FusionIO, SSD and SAS Drives and no common backplane between the 4 nodes.  Along with my four pod node we added Arista 7124SX as our DC Switching/Fabric.  There are lots of details around this combination like currently Nutanix does not support using the Node for a bare metal server like you can do with UCS or other Blade Enclosures and the storage has limited access to the outside world (it is setup to presented to ESXi Hosts as iSCSI targets and VMs as ViSCSI targets) but so far I love the platform.  It gave me what I needed in the price point I needed and offers huge scale out options considering it is based of the GFS files system that Google uses across their DC’s. Read more

Storage Wars the Epic Battle Rages On

So tonight as I was getting into bed I did my normal scan twitter to see who I have pissed off or what might be going on that should rob me of sleep.  Well tonight @david_Strebel asked the following questions;

“Who thinks FCoE will win over iSCSI?”  and I responded “Not I” and then David asked the next logical question which was why not and here is what I had to say in the incredible detail that Twitter allows;  “l2 boundaries, specialized hardware other than nics, hate relationship from most network people.”


The problem with this answer is pretty clear though.  It does not really answer the question just gives a few power point bullets to appease the crowd.  I don’t feel like this is enough though.  So I am going to attempt to lay out my overall view on this issue of who will win iSCSI or FCoE and why.  For those of you who don’t want to read the whole article which might get a a tad windy I don’t think either will win.  But I don’t think FCoE will emerge as the leader until something better come along.  For those masochists who like this kind of crap read on.

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Welcome to the HP Dream world where reality does not apply.

So last night while working on a Scalable Compute and storage design for a client, this post popped up in my twitter stream from @ErinatHP;

“New HP blog post “In the light of day – the Cisco UCS hype doesn’t match the promise” ; UCS not all its marketed to be”

So in my normal do not let a stupid dig by a lame duck player go unmatched I responded “Oh I can’t wait to read this FUD” (you can check me out on twitter @joshobrien77)

All the twitter marketing and pissing matches aside I meant what I said and I did look forward to reading the HP Spin on where their market is vanishing to.  And here are my responses, while they might not be the most technical they are not un-informed from the basis of the Cisco UCS platform or the HP C7000 with FLEX-10 Platform.  And remember at the end of the day I represent me not Cisco not my employer, just little old me.

Also just so if this gets nasty I want to make sure that I am crediting this correctly:

All of the HP Writes: Are direct Quotes from Duncan Campbel with HP on his blog which you can find here:


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