Greetings from the beautiful Gold Coast in Australia where this week ScienceLogic is participating in Microsoft Ignite Australia 2015.
Microsoft has once again put together a wonderful event that brings together thousands of technical professionals to learn and network with one another. The agenda is packed with 4 days of sessions that cover both new and existing items from across Microsoft’s product and service portfolio.
Two of the major themes at this year’s event are Microsoft’s cloud services, Azure and Office 365, and the upcoming refresh of many of their long standing products that are due out in the coming year.
Yesterday I attended a session where Ewan MacKellar, a 10 year veteran in Microsoft Services, spent more than an hour demonstrating techniques for troubleshooting the most common issues that impact a user’s Office 365 experience. From latency and DNS to network configurations, it is clear that supporting cloud services require just as much visibility into the network and supporting systems as ever before.
Tomorrow, I am looking forward to getting my “First Look” at SharePoint Server 2016!
Feels like just last week I was writing about an outage for one of the major players on the web. Oh, that’s right, it was just last week! Well, its happened again, but to a different, yet equally powerful and technically savvy player, Google.
As a self-professed Google Drive and Docs lover, I found myself without a mainstay of my daily life for a bit today, when I couldn’t access and edit a Google Doc I was working on. After searching a bit (ironically enough using Google) online, I quickly realized that the service was down for many.
What’s interesting about this and last week’s outage, is that they happened to tech heavyweights. Maintaining a highly complex and dynamic infrastructure is tough and it takes some real talent and knowledge paired with great tools to do that. But you don’t have to figure it all out alone. If you’re interested in a list of the 20 tools you should consider to make sure your infrastructure stays up and running, check out this whitepaper.
On this “Outage Déjà vu” day I salute the infrastructure heroes who go in every day armed to battle the onslaught of network outages, storage overflows, and corporate users demanding ever more bandwidth to watch kitten videos!
Today, many knowledge workers found a mainstay of their productive lives unavailable – Facebook. Yes, to the horror of over a billion users, the world’s most popular social networking website was down for over 30 minutes despite having one of the most sophisticated IT infrastructures in the industry.
(Image via TechCrunch)
A company so advanced it redesigned its own software to increase energy efficiency should be nearly immune to downtime, or at the very least, should be able to rapidly recover – right? The reality is that this type of occurrence is not unique to Facebook. In fact, a large number of tech firms struggle to succeed at the very difficult task of ensuring availability, resiliency and performance of IT infrastructure.
In 2014, alone, we saw a number of notable IT failures by tech giants:
On January 10 Dropbox… dropped. And it stayed that way for nearly the entire weekend.
On January 24 Gmail became unavailable for nearly 30 minutes. Certainly not the colossal outage of Dropbox, but long enough to cause heart palpitations for Gmail users.
On May 16 designers were left with free time on their hands when Adobe’s Creative Cloud service went down for nearly 28 hours.
On June 19 earnings and productivity for several Fortune 2000 organizations experienced a major boost when Facebook went down. An experience similar to the one today.
On June 29 many corporate workers experienced something very rare – distraction free work. Thanks to Microsoft’s Exchange Online Service going offline for about nine hours.
And that’s only halfway through the year! So, what can we learn from these notable failures? All is lost and ensuring good IT service is impossible? No, not really. I think it’s more that IT infrastructures are incredibly complex. Understanding how all of the different elements in your IT stack relate is a must when providing good service. It isn’t just a must because users get upset when IT services are down, it’s a must because downtime can cause serious financial impact to the business.
Consider a rather crude and not very accurate cost estimate for Facebook. As of March 2014, Facebook made roughly $15,000 in revenue every minute. If one argued (again, with not a lot accuracy) that all of that revenue were subject to the availability of their service, this little 40-minute downtime cost Facebook $600,000.
To better illustrate the complexity of today’s IT infrastructure, let’s take a simple web application. If a user calls to the help desk complaining that they can’t get to their web application, is it the application itself that is experiencing a hiccup? Or is it the OS? How about the virtual machine it is running on? Could it be the bare metal infrastructure the VM is running on top of? Maybe it’s the network connecting the application to the storage it is using? What about the network connection between the end user and the application? See, it’s complex.
As another VMworld kicks off many sessions focused on the move to hybrid cloud. The pathway forward for VMware is clear stated throughout the show and show floors, “Ready for Any.”
The theme of this year’s VMworld comes with numerous enhancements to the vCloud Suite, and the rapidly changing vCloud Air service. Some of the key highlights and take away thoughts below:
The virtualization leader launched the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, later renamed vCloud Air, late last year. VMware’s public cloud crossed the threshold from Niche to Visionary (According to Gartner) in this year’s Magic Quadrant on the strength of VMware’s dominance in the private data center, which provides a large, built-in market for hybrid services. The message was echoed in every session I attended, hybrid workloads are real for VMware. With vCloud Air, VMware has positioned the trending message of “lift and shift” IT more to the message we are an extension.
“Our Data Center is your Data Center with SDDC (Software Defined Data Center).” To be honest, I think it is a brilliant play for VMware. They are still the #1 leading hypervisor in the world. ScienceLogic customers have almost ½ million VMware workloads under management using our software. So making that extension play into vCloud Air seems like a very logical one. With all the announcements today with enhancements to vSphere 6.1 Update (Significant Scale Enhancements, X Multiplier to almost all aspects of previously defined limits) in the coming weeks and the rapid development cycles of every 15 days rolling updates to vCloud Air is a staggering effort trying to make the extension more of a reality each and every day. It is by far the best play for VMware. The challenge I see for VMware is inverse for AWS. AWS is technology and service speaking leaps and bounds ahead of the closest cloud provider. Example: June 11, 2012 AWS released ec2 auto scaling features leveraging identity access management controls. Today, VMware in vCloud Air road-map sessions revealed that exact same type of feature set being discussed to be released in coming builds.
Three years may not seem like that far behind, but in the technology word that is an eternity. If VMware wants to continue to win the hearts of the Enterprise and get them drinking the vCloud Air SDDC extension story they really need to deliver and deliver now. VMware is providing up to $600 of free credits for vCloud Air to get you try it and see if the Kool-Aid is for you. http://vcloud.vmware.com/
I had the pleasure again this year of attending Cisco Live last week in San Francisco. Last year, I focused on attending ACI sessions and wrote a short blogon what I had learned about ACI from Cisco Live. Last year, very few people at the show seemed to know what ACI was. In contrast, this year everybody knew what ACI was and many were investigating the technology for a future roll out. ACI sessions were packed with many I attended having wait lines for those who didn’t reserve a spot.
This year I thought I would write about our experiences working with ACI over the last 2 months. As a Cisco Partner, we built a monitoring solution for Cisco ACI. ScienceLogic provides the most comprehensive monitoring tool in the industry which provides visibility into the entire IT Stack. Support for ACI is just one more piece of the complex IT puzzle.
Some of the key items that really helped us develop a solution for ACI are as follows:
dCloud – We started our project using Cisco dCloud. This was a really cool virtualized lab environment with support for many technologies. For ACI specifically there are 7 different environments that you can select from. Full access to all components is provided via a VPN, which enabled us to develop over 80-90% of our solution. We needed to go to a physical system only when we needed the actual fabric in place so that the attached endpoints could be discovered. It is possible that this could also have been done with the simulator but not when operating in the dCloud environment since it was very clear that the LLDP from the server to the leaf switch would not be supported and this is needed for the leafs to discover the endpoints.
ACI Simulator – The ACI simulator is a fully functioning ACI system that simulates the APIC, with 2 leafs and 2 spine switches. The Simulator was fully functional and really enabled us to quickly learn the ACI technology as well as the APl. The simulator leverages APIC production SW so what works on the simulator works on the production APICs and we had no trouble moving from the simulated environment to a physical environment. The simulator also provided a mechanism to insert faults and alerts which really helped in integrating this aspect into our monitoring system.
APIC and the Object Model– The APIC is the brains of ACI. The APIC is the repository of the very complex but well-documented management information tree. The APIC provides centralized access to all the fabric and tenant related information. The APIC provides very powerful scoping and filtering capabilities that make it easy to get the exact data you need. Scoping capabilities allow you to specify the scope of the query. For example, you can query an entire subtree by identifying the class name and requesting all the children under that class. You can then further reduce the scope, for example, by specifying a subtree class and finally you can apply a filter to specifically pick the objects that meet any criteria you specify. Filtering allows you to select only objects that match your filter requirements.
Visore – Visore is an object browser that lets you retrieve objects by class name or class type. This tool was critical in developing the user stories for our development team. The tool lets you browse the management information tree moving by up and down the tree as well as exploring all the relationships between objects. The following shows a screen shot of the Visore browser. In this case we were looking for the Client Endpoints object class and Visore returns the 3 instances of that class. The ? instantly brings up detailed documentation about that object. The green parentheses allow you to click on them to either see all the children of the object or the parent of the object.
API Inspector – Since the APIC GUI relies on the APIC API, the API inspector allows you to see exactly what the APIC GUI is querying to display/update the data. This was another critical tool that came in handy to enable us to quickly figure out what objects were being use to drive the APIC displays. For example the first picture shows the APIC displaying the virtual machines that make up the EPG while the second screenshot shows the API inspector which shows the requests and responses that were sent to the APIC to generate the screen. This is incredibly helpful when trying to better understand the overall object model and what objects represent what data on the APIC GUI.
SDKs – Cisco does support a python SDK. However, we did not make use of that due to its memory footprint size. Instead, we used the REST API directly.
In summary, working on ACI was a pleasure. This was one of the most well-done APIs I have worked on. The API, along with several tools made supporting this complex technology relatively easy. I have to really give Cisco credit for not only building what seems to be a fantastic product, but also focusing on all the tools needed to easily integrate this product with other products.
After a busy week of Cisco Live activities in the World of Solutions, customer and partner meetings, and a stellar Aerosmith concert, it was time to hear the last keynote of the event. Past Cisco Live final keynotes provide thought provoking insight into the future of technology but from the unique perspective of often-mercurial guest speakers. This year venerable TV host, actor, and narrator Mike Rowe fittingly took the stage in blue jeans, t-shirt and a baseball cap. He started his story with one of the funniest blooper videos from his Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs. It was another reminder of the wide breadth of experiences one man has endured in a quest to profile real people doing the jobs that make life possible.
Mike kicked off his presentation by sharing a grotesque and upsetting story that started him down the path of reporting on America’s awful and unnoticed jobs that happen every day. As the host of San Francisco’s “Evening Magazine,” he was moved by his ailing father to pay tribute to the working class by reporting his show within a city sewer. What followed was likely the filthiest, most disgusting experience one could imagine having a major city sewage system. I’ll spare you the details but the point was made: spending time in the shoes of hard working men and women was a humbling and transformational experience. So much so that he ended up dedicating his career to exposing these jobs no matter how nasty and repulsive they can be.
As his show gained popularity, the economic downturn of 2008 was the anagnorisis, or discovery moment, when Mike created the mikerowWORKS foundation. The goal of his foundation is to educate the population on how disconnected we’ve become as a society on the fundamentals. According to Mike, modern society has lost touch with how fortunate we are with every day services such as abundant food, electricity, roads, and plumbing. We tend to focus more on efficiency than effectiveness. This is true with the example of higher education as a sign of success vs. mastering a skill. We have conveniently forgotten the need for skilled workers to run and operate our modern world. His message was poignantly delivered in a remake of an older college promo poster to Work Smart AND Hard.
Mike Rowe wants to change our perspective on work. He has a call to action to use our IT knowledge to help connect the world using technology but don’t forget that skills and art remain critical to our country’s future. IT may be the plumbing of the digital economy but hard working skilled people keep us running smoothly. Let’s chip away at prevailing stereotypes while keeping America awesome, either one router or one dirty job at a time.
Did you attend Mike’s keynote address yesterday? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments below!
It comes as no surprise that when asked to discuss the future of technology during Cisco Live’s luminary keynote yesterday, Peter Diamandis focused heavily on the rapid acceleration of change and innovation globally. Global growth is universally anchored by the innovations brought to life through today’s technology advances – and innovation has never happened faster than it is happening today.
Over the past 10 years, the cost performance of bandwidth, computing, and storage has sharply declined, opening up these essential resources to a staggering portion of the global population. This rapid drop in cost has also lowered the cost associated with launching an Internet Tech Startup, effectively enticing many entrepreneurs and change-makers to turn their dreams into reality.
So, how do you compete in a world where change is happening faster than ever? According to Diamandis, you must disrupt. Not only disrupt stagnant industries with new, innovative ideas, but also disrupt your own ideas. Challenge your own processes and solutions to continuously streamline and improve your business.
Disruption is the foundation to Diamandis’ Exponential Framework. This framework can be seen in today’s biggest technology-based companies like Uber, AirBnB, and Apple. What do they all have in common?
They dematerialized their products or services. Essentially, these companies have removed excess “material” or middlemen and streamlined their offerings to be laser focused and highly impactful. They demonetized their competition by serving up a tailored experience that their industry predecessors simply couldn’t provide. But before they did all of that… they disrupted their industries.
At ScienceLogic, we understand challenging the status quo. In fact, our entire business was formed with the intent of disrupting the stagnant IT monitoring industry. Our founders were confident they could make a product that reimagined traditional monitoring solutions and that it could be delivered in one simple code base.
Gone are the days of using multiple tools to compile a single report, identify the root cause of an issue, or discover devices. Diamandis spoke about where technology is going to take us in the future, and ScienceLogic’s monitoring solution is already there.
Did you attend Peter Diamandis’ luminary keynote on Tuesday, June 9? Tell us what you thought about his presentation in the comments below!
For many of us who have made IT the center of our professional careers, CiscoLive is one of the biggest annual industry events you can attend in our industry. Cisco’s main event consistently delivers huge crowds, quality attendees, top vendors, and compelling informational sessions. Having attended many CiscoLive keynotes myself, there is another constant you can always count on: a dynamic keynote presentation from their stalwart CEO and Chairman, John Chambers. But, this year is different. This was to be John Chambers’ final keynote as CEO before handing the reigns to Cisco veteran Chuck Robbins.
After a colorful and loud opening by the up and coming pop sensation OK GO, Mr. Chambers took the front stage one more time to share his insight into recent IT trends and to shed light on Cisco’s future strategy. The keynote presentation had a core theme around FastIT and the Rise of the Digital Age. As with past keynotes, Mr. Chambers reflected on a changing market with many disruptions and transitions.
With the pace of change increasing every quarter, successful companies (and countries) will be required to quickly adapt to become more digital or face being disrupted by faster more agile competitors. Given Cisco’s broad portfolio and experience, the keynote focused on their Digital strategy differentiators: architectures and intelligent networks, compute-network-storage, ACI (SDN, SLN, NFV), security, IoT/IoE, cloud/Intercloud, unique processes and finally, a shift in focus towards outcomes.
As with most of his CLUS keynote presentations, John credited Cisco’s market share success on being able to adapt quicker than their competitors by investing in market transitions along with changing their culture and focusing on “Exponential Thinking.” Yet this year’s presentation had a different tone and a sense of urgency. He emphasized that we are at an inflection point regardless of your industry. If you don’t reinvent yourself in today’s economy, you will not exist in 10 years. Cisco believes that their focus on architecture is the basis for enabling the IT transition to a digital business. They also believe that focusing on acceleration, simplicity, operational rigor and culture will keep them in their leadership position. Given their massive product portfolio and partner ecosystem, you can’t count Cisco out from staying at the top of their industry.
By managing the transition from the information age to the digital age will define the winning companies and countries in the years to come. John Chambers has a proven track record of success over the last 20 years so we should pause and take heed on his parting comments: disrupt or be-disrupted.
Did you attend the welcome Keynote on Monday, June 8? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments below!
We’re a few short days away from the kick off of Cisco Live in San Diego, CA! The week is packed with excellent speakers and great information sessions; how do you begin to narrow down that you’ll attend each day? Let us help you out.
We combed through the Session Catalog and selected five awesome cloud-focused sessions to add to your itinerary during Cisco Live! See below for the full roundup.
Data Center and Cloud Strategy – Planning the Next 5 Years* (PSODCT-2088) WHEN: Tuesday, June 9 – 10:00-11:00 AM WHERE: 7B Upper Level WHO: Shashi Kiran – Sr. Director, Data Center & Cloud Networking at Cisco WHAT: Explore some of the top strategies organizations can factor into their planning cycles for building the next generation data center over the next 3-5 years. (*This session is also offered on Wednesday.)
Demystifying How to Move Your Production Applications to the Cloud (PCSZEN-1009) WHEN: Tuesday, June 9 – 1:45-2:15 PM WHERE: Pre-zen-tation Showcase WHO: Mark Duvoisin, VP of Sales at Dimension Data WHAT: Most enterprises will agree that cloud is the way to go, whether it’s via public, private or a hybrid technology – but where do they begin? How can your organization benefit from this next step to the cloud? During this session, attendees will get an easy-to-use checklist for selecting production applications and migrating them to the cloud.
Data Center and Cloud Strategy – Planning the Next 5 Years* (PSODCT-2088) WHEN: Wednesday, June 10 – 10:00-11:00 AM WHERE: 28B Upper Level WHO: Shashi Kiran – Sr. Director, Data Center & Cloud Networking at Cisco WHAT: Explore some of the top strategies organizations can factor into their planning cycles for building the next generation data center over the next 3-5 years. (*This session is also offered on Tuesday.)
Inside Cisco IT: Secure and Simplified Cloud Services with ACI (BRKCOC-1000) WHEN: Wednesday, June 10 – 1:00-3:00 PM WHERE: 30D – Upper Level WHO: Benny Van De Voorde – Network Architect, Cisco; Erich Latchford – IT Manager, Cisco WHAT: Learn how Cisco IT is designing next-generation application aware solutions and the new policy models required for this journey. Cisco IT is migrating all traditional applications to a radically simplified compute platform and programmable network. Application Centric Infrastructure, or ACI, will significantly reduce the network complexity and improve security, while reducing application deployment cycles. Additionally, the presenters will share the experience and lessons learned from their journey transforming applications and platforms to an infrastructure aware architecture.
Building Hybrid Clouds in Amazon Web Services with the CSR 1000v (BRKARC-2023) WHEN: Thursday, June 11 – 8:00-9:30 AM WHERE: 15B Mezz. WHO: Chris Hocker – CSE, Cisco; Steven Carter – CSA, Cisco WHAT: Learn how to leverage Cisco’s Cloud Services Router (CSR 1000V) and related technologies for deploying secure, hybrid clouds for enterprise workloads and network services. Attendees will also learn more on the use of the CSR 1000v with their service provider in extending into the public cloud through Direct connect, and much more.
Cloud Consumption in North America (PNLCLD-2202) WHEN: Thursday, June 11 – 10:00-11:30 AM WHERE: 8 Upper Level WHO: Ronnie Scott – Data Center TSA, Cisco; Greg Walker – Business Development Manager, Dimension Data Canada; David Senf – VP, Infrastructure & Cloud, IDC Canada; Gerald McElwee – Makita North America WHAT: Who is using cloud services? What are they using them for? What can we learn from their experiences? Those are some of the questions this panel will discuss. They’ll look at public, private and hybrid cloud services, as well as how the “intercloud” will change the marketplace going forward. Plus, many additional cloud-related topics you don’t want to miss.
For more information on any of the sessions listed above, visit the Session Catalog and search using the alphanumeric code listed beside each session title.
Was this helpful? You can thank us in person! Swing by booth 1919 during Cisco Live and enter to win a drone or attend the ScienceLogic Party on Tuesday, 6/9. We’ll see you in San Diego!
Every day IT operations teams are pushed to do more, faster, while cutting costs. While legacy IT infrastructure stretches to keep up with the increasing demands and scalability needed for today’s enterprises, cloud adoption presses ahead but brings its own challenges. The costs and complexity of legacy infrastructure are high, causing IT professionals to spend large amounts of time firefighting operational issues instead of innovating for future business needs.
Luckily, with Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure, those legacy IT roadblocks are a thing of the past. This powerful solution lets organizations build a modular, scalable service platform with predictable costs, all wrapped in a cocoon of hyperconverged simplicity.
ScienceLogic has seen an increase in Nutanix deployments at customer sites, and there is good reason for it. Nutanix intelligence seamlessly strings together pools of virtualized computer nodes and aggregated storage resources without a SAN.
Now, if the datacenter contained nothing but Nutanix technology, the practice of IT would be much simpler. Unfortunately, today’s data infrastructures remain unwieldy beasts with many layers of complexity. Legacy apps, virtualization, and cloud are all part of a roiling mass of dependencies and relationships.
And, that’s where ScienceLogic shines.
ScienceLogic offers customers a scalable, multi-tenant, monitoring and management platform that is capable of visualizing on-premise and cloud resources together through a single pane of glass.
With the help of ScienceLogic’s automatic discovery tool, organizations can profile their Nutanix environment with ease – achieving operational visibility on Day one. How does it work, you might ask?
ScienceLogic’s solution collects and intelligently interprets performance, capacity, availability and health data for all facets of the Nutanix environment. From lowly disks all the way to nodes, hypervisors, containers clusters, and applications – ScienceLogic can monitor it all.
But, all that information means very little unless you can see it. Using ScienceLogic’s solution, Nutanix deployments improve overall “time-to-value” by seamlessly integrating the new technology into the larger datacenter operations framework, including hybrid IT and cloud resources.
Nutanix has demonstrated that hyperconverged infrastructure is a foundational, “next-gen” data center technology. ScienceLogic is proud to be a Nutanix partner. And, you can’t argue with success.
Our blog’s authors aren’t just experts in their field, they’re also key contributors to our world-class monitoring platform. If you’d like to see how these topics play out in a real-world setting, please register for a free, no pressure demo: