Uncertainty.    I think we can all relate to this definition right now.

2020-03-23_07-42-37.png

We’ve all got our schedule; we wake up, go thru a routine.   Maybe you’re a gym person in the morning, or get out and enjoy nature for a few miles.  Maybe you really enjoy that first cup of coffee and the newspaper.  Maybe it’s breakfast with friends once a week.

For the majority of us, our lives are thrown into a level of disarray we weren’t prepared for.  Working from home when we’ve never set ourselves up for that.  School/Daycare closures and our kids are now at home all week.  Business and Restaurant closures, etc, etc.

Technology can help us adapt quickly.  Whether it’s remote work thru a VDI or VPN solution enabling us to do our jobs, or online education for school allowing kids to continue their education, or Online ordering thru our favorite grocery store, technology can help us get thru the tasks.

But past technology, how do we adapt to our changing situation.  How do we still remain productive at work?  How do we still ensure our personal health is being met?  For me, it comes down to 2 key topics:

Finding Your Normal and Redefining Your Schedule

I had the opportunity this past week to join a roundtable on the Nutanix Community podcast to talk about working from home and supporting customers, which was an enriching experience, to hear from folks around the world about their experience and how they were finding their own normal.

You can listen to the podcast here (also available anywhere you download podcasts).

Finding Your Normal

One thing I believe is that even during this time of uncertainty, you have to be able to find a level of normal.  With business closings, your morning workout at your Gym might be cancelled, can’t sit in Starbucks or Panera and knock out a few morning projects, or even happy hour events with co-workers.

Being able to find what your new normal is will help you continue to be productive at work, keep relationships strong, and keep yourself mentally healthy.

Can’t go to the gym?  Grab a backpack and add some weight to it, and do some at home workouts in your garage, living room or driveway.  Do 100 each of air squats, pushups and situps.  Go for a run or a walk.  At our gym we’re provding In-Home workouts for our members daily, with programming we’ve written for folks to do at home, minimal equipment needed!

Can’t get together with friends/family for lunch or dinner, fire up FaceTime/Zoom/Webex/Teams, etc and enjoy the conversation and seeing somebody.  Get out and talk to neighbors (albeit from a distance), don’t forget to interact with people.

Do the same thing with Co-workers, get together for a happy hour virtually.

Family trips cancelled?  Nature is still free (well, there might be a parking fee), but

Date Night?  Get dressed up, get takeout or delivery, light some candles and enjoy each others company.

Find your level of normal, what your ideal day looks like in a crappy situation.

Redefining Your Schedule

When you first start working from home, you’re going to learn what you like and dislike about working in an office setting.   With kids at home and needing to get thru online learning, many parents are now spending more time helping kids that they aren’t used to.

Maybe your work schedule needs to evolve to working earlier for a few hours, take a break, do lunch, work a few more hours, take a break, and work a few more hours.  Find a schedule that allows you to still be productive at work, but that still allows customers/employees to know you’re there working for them.

Maybe your team meetings need to evolve as well to a more dynamic, quick video touch point, but after hours.

Shifting work schedules as an employer will allow your employees to remain productive, while alleviating the stress of working from home.  I can’t stress enough as leaders, we must believe in our employees that they will not take working from home as a vacation, but as an opportunity to continue productivity, if not more.  Sure, there will be those that need help along the way, but providing the ability to allow employees to define their schedule will help overall productivity.

Work isn’t where you do it, but what and how you do it.

What Comes Next

After going thru the podcast, I realized I don’t have it figured out, and it was great to hear the other folks share their experience.  Having worked from home for many years now, I feel fortunate that the COVID-19 outcomes haven’t affected my schedule too much.  Sure, it’s affected my travel to work with customers, but now it’s time to do whatever we can to make sure our customers can continue to be successful for the near future and beyond.  For those of us fortunate enough to remain employed thru this time, use it to become more product and more valuable

Finally, having to spend more time at home doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home.  Make the best of it.  Find a new hobby, learn a new skill.  Re-engage with your family, with your spouse, with yourself.   Don’t forget to step back and take a breath for yourself.  Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Our motto at eGroup is #WeGroup, and I believe that’s pretty perfect right now.  We’ll make it thru this, and we’ll get back to what was normal.  As Red Green said on the Tv show:

“Remember I’m pullin’ for ya–we’re all in this together.”

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten any fresh content on this blog, hopefully I’ll get some content ideas to keep a regular cadence of updates going.

While I was updating the cabling on the garage lab, I realized it had been a while since I had done anything on my CE lab from a version perspective, in fact the last update I had done was March of 2019.  So I figured now was as good a time as any to go ahead and upgrade the CE cluster.

Much like the luck I usually have, I went to upgrade CE thru Prism, and the upgrade seemed to fail with a USB that was corrupted – seems like my USB luck continues on having really crappy USB drives.  So, I went over to Best Buy, bought a few $9.99 64GB PNY USB Drives, came home and started the process to get the image file over to USB, since the CE .iso installer still hasn’t made it’s return.

All was going well, until the hosts booted up.  Now my hosts are a bit long in the tooth, but they are still decent enough with 24 cores and 48gb ram.  This PNY USB drive was HORRIBLY slow, so much so that I couldn’t stand it.  Never again will I buy PNY drives.

So, I thought about what other options do I have.  The drive configuration on these CE nodes was as follows:

  • 1x 256GB Samsung EVO SSD
  • 1x 500GB Samsung EVO SSD
  • 1x 1TB Samsung EVO SSD
  • 1x 1TB Western Digital HDD

So, I figured, why not try to use the 256GB SSD as the boot drive, instead of a USB drive. My Supermicro hosts are old enough that a Satadom might be hard to come by for it, and I honestly had more than enough space on each node, that the 256GB drive wouldn’t hurt too bad.

So, I pulled the drives out of the drive caddy’s, pulled out my trusty Inatek USB Drive Caddy, and proceeded to drop the CE .img file onto the 256GB SSD, using the gdd commands I prefer over the dd command.

Imaging done, and once I correctly set the BIOS on the Supermicro hosts to use the 256GB drive in Port 0, I booted  up each of the hosts and much to my happiness, I was able to get the install to go thru, CVM deployed and cluster created.  And the speed of install was as you’d expect much better!

So in hindsight, with my dislike for USB boot, I wish I had thought of using the internal drive with the .img file.  I did this when the CE .iso installed allowed you to select a boot drive, but for some reason always tried to get the usb drive to work.

So, now I’m happy to say I’m not using the USB drives anymore, have a sturdy SSD drive for my CE boot drive without having to give up much space at all.

2020-02-17_16-18-41.png

Updated 5.22.19

Coming back from the Nutanix .Next conference two weeks ago, the biggest announcement that really got me excited as the ability for Nutanix Frame to run in AHV environments.   AHV comes as an additional environment to AWS where Frame started, Azure and Google Cloud, currently in early release.

I’ll be going thru a multi-part series around Frame and configurations use cases. So stay tuned!

(more…)

If you haven’t taken a close look at the hypervisor from Nutanix, AHV, well you might be missing out on something very valuable – that you already have access to as a Nutanix customer. AHV addresses the majority of the use cases people require with virtualization, and it does so very well with a simple deployment, simple management and POWERFUL features when Prism Central is added (and still powerful when it’s not).

(more…)

The Nutanix Teams released the 2019 Nutanix Technical Champion (NTC) listing, and for the 3rd year in a row I’m honored to be part of this group of 129 professionals around the world help evangelize, implement and support the Nutanix platform for customers, partners and every group in between.

It’s a group of people that I’ve been able to learn from the shared experience, and hopefully be able to provide a bit of experience back to. The Nutanix platform has provided me and the rest of my Data Center team at eGroup the ability to bring solutions to our customers that provide speed and certainty, simplicity and elegance to IT, rather than complex hardware and solutions that either the customer will never fully utilize or will never be able to fully administrator.

Also cool to see my friend and teammate Dave Strum also on the list for another year! Good job my man!

Here’s to a great year in 2019 with Nutanix!

Thank you to everybody on the NTC Channel, my friends and peers at Nutanix and everybody at eGroup who allows us to work with these solutions for our customers.

See the full release here:
https://next.nutanix.com/blog-40/welcome-to-the-2019-nutanix-technology-champions-ntc-31459

 

Freedom to Choose… Freedom to Play… Freedom to Cloud….

I just returned from a week in New Orleans at the Nutanix .Next conference, where I was fortunte to represent eGroup as a partner as well as being part of the Nutanix Technical Champions group.

In addition to being a conference attendee, a co-worker Dave Strum  and I co-presented with one of our customers on the benefits of deploying Nutanix on Cisco UCS hardware, lessons learned and future plans.  It was fun and definintely not like your typical presentation.IMG_0830.jpeg

There’s a lot of blog posts and content around the .Next conference news (Plug for Dave here), and the Nutanix roadmap continues to dazzle and amaze people (ok, me especially) with simplicity, functionality and yes, Freedom.  Keyword here is Freedom.

And this post isn’t about recapping the .next conference, I’ll let my peers and friends handle that.  This post is about Freedom…

(more…)