Why Datrium’s Automatrix Platform Is “Too Good To Be True!”

During my time at Datrium, I’ve been hearing more and more CIO’s and Head’s of IT say the following line whilst our Sales teams are pitching the Datrium Automatrix Platform.

This sounds too good to be true!

The reason why Automatrix is classed as “too good to be true” is because of what we as an IT industry have become accustomed to. We accept and expect IT systems to be complex to manage, maintain and require training to operate. It’s a given that you will need to use multiple vendor solutions in order to meet your business requirements.

So when a solution is presented to us that contradicts our many years of IT experience, we immediately pass it off as “too good to be true”, even if in fact, it is true!

Take for example VMware. We all know and love VMware and their products. However, it didn’t always use to be this way. Back in the early early days of VMware, adoption of VMware Server, as it was called then, was almost limited to use as a Disaster Recovery option as it wasn’t deemed something that could be used in production. Not because it wasn’t production-ready, but because it was “too good to be true” and no one believed that it could do what VMware said it could do.

It’s frustrating when you know first-hand how good something is, but other people don’t seem to want to listen to what you are telling them, especially when you know that they will benefit from it.

I recently read a fantastic article from James Clear; Why Don’t Facts Change Our Minds and I think much of what James talks about in his article relates to what I am seeing within the industry.

Truth and accuracy are not the only things that matter to the human mind. Humans also seem to have a deep desire to belong. Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn the respect and approval of our peers. We don’t always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.

If a brain anticipates that it will be rewarded for adopting a particular belief, it’s perfectly happy to do so, and doesn’t much care where the reward comes from — whether it’s pragmatic (better outcomes resulting from better decisions), social (better treatment from one’s peers), or some mix of the two.”

I think because of what James talks about, IT folk find it difficult to go against the status quo, even if a new product can be highly beneficial to a business. And I get it. We all want to fit in and be accepted by others, even if it holds many of us back.

its-better-to-walk-alone-than-with-a-crowd-going-in-the-wrong-direction

Summary

During my time in the industry, I’ve actually found that going against the crowd, whilst as difficult as it is, can often bring us the most success. Not everything works out, but when it does, it’s massive and usually a game-changer for you and your company.

So if you see/hear something that you think “This is too good to be true!”, don’t just push it aside. It could actually be true and you are going miss out on all of the value you will get from it. Take the pragmatic approach. Dig deeper. This could be a diamond in the rough.

Datrium is not “too good to be true!”. It is actually true! We can prove it. If you’ll let us of course.

Here are some fun (non-IT) examples of where I wished I had taken the pragmatic approach rather than listening to my social circles.

  • Cold Brew Coffee – Growing up in England, Coffee was always hot. If it was cold, you’d pour it away. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff!
  • Tempur-Pedic Mattress – Quite possibly one of the best purchases I ever made. They cost an arm and a leg, but OMG it’s soo comfortable. Even though TV commercials told me how good they were, I thought they were “Too good to be true”. Then I had a hotel room with one in and I’ve never looked back.
  • Yeti Tumbler – How good can a cup really be? Do I really need my drink to be kept cold/hot? I thought not. I got one as a gift for my birthday and I’ve pretty much used it every day since. I’ve even brought one for other people I know who’d love it, but like me, thought it was “Too good to be true”.

 

 

 

 

Why I’ve Hardly Blogged Over The Past Year, And It’s All Datrium’s Fault!

Keeping It SimpleLately, I’ve had a few people ask me “How come you aren’t blogging much anymore?”  My typical response to that question is usually “I’ve not really had much to post about!” Which, when I think about it, really doesn’t make sense. I joined Datrium a year ago, and since joining, it’s been a near-vertical learning curve, working on some ground-breaking technologies. So why don’t I feel like I have anything to blog about?

Well, over the past 10 years, my main reason for blogging was to share knowledge with others around, usually, complex technical issues and configurations. Some examples from the past few years:

So, this leads me to why I’ve not really posted much since joining at Datrium.

Why blame Datrium?

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vMotion Error – Failed to receive migration

I recently ran into a situation, when after adding a new ESXi Host into a vSphere Cluster that will be used for Nested ESXi, I was unable to vMotion live VM’s onto the new Host. The error message I was getting was ‘Failed to receive migration’

A quick Google search didn’t yield any results, so I had to resort to reading the logs. In the Virtual Machine log file (vmware.log) I noticed this error message: (Scroll to the right)

2019-01-10T20:31:06.254Z| vmx| I125: Msg_Post: Error
2019-01-10T20:31:06.254Z| vmx| I125: [msg.cpuid.vhv.enablemismatch] Configuration mismatch: The virtual machine cannot be restored because the snapshot was taken with VHV enabled. To restore, set vhv.enable to true.

Doing a quick search of the term: vhv.enable showed me that this is required to be set on hosts that are being used for Nested ESXi. Thanks William Lam (https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/08/how-to-enable-nested-esxi-other.html)

So I ran the following command on the new ESXi Host:

echo 'vhv.enable = "TRUE"' >> /etc/vmware/config

After that configuration was added to the config file, vMotions began to function as expected.

Harnessing The vCommunity To Further Your Career

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been a part of this amazing community. Without this communities support, I wouldn’t have landed my dream job as a consultant within VMware, nor become a Double VCDX. At VMworld 2018 this year, I was lucky enough to spend 20 mins talking to the vCommunity about how they can harness the vCommunity to help further their career. This session was recorded and made available online. In this session, I will share my story and highlight ways that you too can leverage our community to help you reach your career goals and aspirations.

I hope you find this useful. Feel free to message me on Twitter if you have any questions on the content or want to discuss things further.


Introducing Datrium CloudShift

Hey guys, I have some exciting news for you. Today, we (Datrium), announced CloudShift. Below I’ve summarized some of the things that really excite me about CloudShift. However, before I begin, I think it would be a good idea to quickly go over how Datrium DVX handles Backups and Replication for those of you who might be new to this solution.

Datrium DVX Backup and Replication

As mentioned in my previous post; What is Datrium DVX?, DVX is a Primary storage solution that provides extremely fast storage performance to virtual machines and applications running on DVX Compute Nodes. This is achieved by caching all required data locally on SSD devices installed on the Compute Nodes. DVX then adds a layer of protection by replicating all write IO’s over to the DVX Data Node which acts as a mirror copy for all of the data living in the SSDs on the Compute Nodes.

The Datrium On-Prem DVX system provides a built-in backup mechanism for protecting and restoring data. Protection Groups can be used to group a set of workloads together. Protection schedules are then be applied to the Protection Group based on how regularly data snapshots should be taken and how long they should be kept for. These Snapshots can then be replicated either to another On-Prem DVX system or to a Cloud DVX instance running in AWS.

Hopefully, that gives you enough background for the next section.

Datrium CloudShift

Datrium CloudShift is a SaaS-Based Disaster Recovery (DR) and Mobility orchestration solution, hosted in AWS, that can orchestrate a variety of DR scenarios;

  1. On-Prem (primary) failover to On-Prem (secondary) using backups that are stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site.
  2. On-Prem failover to Public Cloud using backups that are stored in the public cloud
  3. On-Prem failover to On-Prem & Cloud using backups that are either stored at the On-Prem (secondary) site or in the public cloud

I feel this covers the majority of failover scenarios that our customers need to restore their business in the event of a disaster.

I imagine your next question is, “If this a SaaS-based solution, how do I get my data from one data center to another, or to the Cloud? Well, this is where Datrium DVX and Cloud DVX come into play.

Scenario 1 – On-Prem > On-Prem

Scenario 1 is most commonly used when a customer has two data centers, both of which have a Datrium DVX. The DVX is configured to continually replicate data using Elastic Replication from the primary over to the secondary data center (and possibly vice versa). In the event of a failure in one of the datacenters, CloudShift will orchestrate the failover of workloads from one data center to the other. Thanks to the replication technology in DVX, Recovery Point Objective (RPO) times can be less than 1 minute.

CloudShift - On-Prem to On-Prem
 

Scenario 2 – On-Prem > Cloud

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What is Datrium DVX?

Having recently joined Datrium, one of my first tasks is to begin to understand the product Datrium calls DVX. As a way of helping me wrap my head around this technology, I’ve decided to blog about it. I plan on starting at a high-level and then slowly digging deeper under the covers as I learn more.

If you are interested in following my posts, you can subscribe here and follow me on Twitter.

So to begin with, let’s start at the 100 level.

What is Datrium DVX? – 100 Level

Datrium DVX offers Tier-1 Hyper-Converged Infrastructure along with Cloud Mobility. Yep, lots of buzzwords there! So what does that actually mean? Let’s start with the basic question, “What is the Datrium DVX solution made up of?”

Datrium DVX

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Goodbye VMware, Hello Datrium

datrium

After almost 8 years at VMware, I am excited to announce the next chapter in my career. Today, I’ll be joining Datrium as a Sr. Solutions Architect.

“Datrium?” I hear you say? “Yes, Datrium!”.

If you are not yet familiar with Datrium, you soon will be. As I begin to learn and understand the technologies that Datrium offers, I’ll be blogging them as a way to help myself and my readers learn more.

I’d just like to thank of my friends and colleagues that I leave behind at VMware. It’s been an amazing place to work and I will certainly miss everyone. Even though I am now longer at the Mothership, you’ll most certainly still see me around. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and put yourself into situations that you can learn and grow from.

Watch this space.

Public Speaking Tips

VMworld 2017 seems like a distant memory. However, I wanted to share with you a cool vBrownbag session that I was luckly enough to be a part of, titled: Hacking Public Speaking – Tips To Help You Rock It!

The idea for the session came about in one of the #vExpert Slacks channels, where Thom was asking for some tips as he was planning on speaking at VMworld. A few of us replied to the thread with some of our favorite tips. We then thought it would be great vBrownBag session to present during VMworld.

So myself any my fellow co-presenters; Thom Greene, Ariel Sanchez and Edward Haletky combined our personal experinces and tips and came up with the following session.

I hope it’s useful.

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Receive Emergency Calls When Phone Is On Silent

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that very recently we had to evacuate our home due to a forest fire that was pretty close to our house. Luckily, when the evacuation order came through from the Sheriff’s department, I happened to be looking at my phone and I see the call come through. However, usually, I have my phone on Silent when I am asleep and would have missed it. Many of our neighbors missed the call to evacuate, as like me, they have their phones on silent when they are asleep. Luckily the Sherri’s department sent officers to our community to knock on door to make sure everyone was evacuated safely.

So I decided to try and figure out if it was possible to have my phone on silent, but still have Emergency calls ring the phone so I don’t miss them. It turns out, it is possible and it’s pretty straight forward. I’ve documented the steps for both Android (Oreo, v8) and Apple iOS (v11) below. (This post assumes you know your way around your phone. If you are not confident with your phones settings, please ask someone to help you).

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VCP Practice Exams Are Back!

vcp6.5 dcv examsJust over 8 years ago, I was working hard to learn all I could about VMware’s vSphere technologies. A big part of this learning process included creating VCP Practice Exam that I could use to help me learn all of the different products and features that I needed to know to pass the VCP Exam. What was unexpected, was the popularity of the VCP Practice Exam that I had created and shared on this Blog. I even had official VMware trainers recommending my blog to their students looking to sit the VCP Exam. And still, to this day, I get customers & colleagues coming up to me and thanking me for the work I did on my blog as it really helped them improve their knowledge and eventually pass the VCP Exam.

After offering VCP Practice Exams for both vSphere 4 and vSphere 5, other priorities meant that I never got around to continuing on this trend with vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.

However, today, I am pleased to announce that my VCP6.5 DCV Practice Exams are now available to everyone. I’ve personally created 150+ mock exam questions based on the objectives documented in the VCP6.5 DCV Exam Guide.

As with all of my previous exams, all of the questions are created by me. Unfortunately, this might also mean that some of the answers maybe not be completely correct. Yes, I am human, I make mistakes. This exam is still in BETA, as such, some question/answers may be incorrect or misleading. Feel free to provide feedback via the Contact Me page.

These VCP6.5 practice exams are designed to engage the thought process. DO NOT waste your time trying to memorize these questions/answers as they will NOT appear in your VCP exam. Instead, if you are unsure of an answer, go and revise the feature/product. This will ensure you have a better overall understanding and should be able to cope better when being asked other questions around those products/features.

I’ve created two types of Exams:

  • Section Exams, which only have questions specific to each section of the exam guide.
  • A Full Mock Exam, which simulates the actual VCP Exam. You will be given a time limit of 105 minutes in which to answer 70 questions picked at random from all 10 sections.

Section Exams

Full Mock Exam

Exam will contain 70 random questions from all categories with a time limit of 105 mins

Start Mock Exam