eGroup – Together, We make IT happen.  Our slogan, our tagline.  IT is what we do, together.  From our Operations team, to Inside Sales, to Sales, to Pre-Sales, to Delivery.  We do IT, and together.

We announced today that eGroup has been named to CRN Tech Elite 250 list for 2017, which “honors an exclusive group of North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology vendors, scaled to their company size”.  Read the full press release here.

It’s amazing to work at a place that focuses on the team, and making sure that from project to project, customer to customer, our strategy, customer focus and delivery revolves around the team.  Whether its part of our Microsoft strategy, Data Center and Hyperconverged strategy, or our Managed Services

So to my eGroup co-workers, thank you for bringing your A games every day to work!

To the guys on the Data Center Architecture team (Pete, Dave, Joe, Adam and Steven), let’s keep raising the bar, bringing amazing solutions and results to our customers.

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We’re just two months into 2017, and it already feels like the year is flying by!

The 2017 vExpert announcements came out today – you can read it here, and for the 3rd year in a row (well, really 2.5 since I forgot to renew at the end of 2015 and made it in the 2nd half of 2016) I’m honored to be included in the list of some very smart people.

Back in December, I was also included in the Nutanix Technical Champions list found here, and again I was very honored to make that list.

So what does it all mean?

Well first off, getting on these lists isn’t just going to a class and/or passing a certification. It’s not doing some training on a subject(s) and proving knowledge during a project.  It’s not helping out your friends/coworkers when they need help or have questions.

It’s all of the above.  It’s taking the time to share ones knowledge and give back to the community that has provided so much learning and education.  It’s collaborating on solutions, on particpating in beta programs that help shape upcoming software.

I’ve been really fortunate to have had a very fun and educational career, from cutting my teeth with Citrix platforms, to Oracle databases and Unix platforms, to Virtualization, Networking, Storage, the list goes on.

What I’ve gotten from all those different learning opportunities was somebody always smarter than me showing me the ropes, how to do something one way, why to do it another, and how to think about the ultimate outcome for solutions we deploy.

Being able to give back; even if it’s just a quick answer to a question, spending time with somebody on GoToMeeting or doing some hands on workshops or training is incredibly meaningful to me.  The opportunities I’ve had to present at conferences, from the Regional VMUG in Charlotte on vRealize, to the upcoming session on Nutanix at TriCon, to the eGroup take on the Modern Office – give me the opportunity to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained and hopefully get a few people excited about the topic and ready to explore some new opportunities.

So to me, being included on these lists with some very smart people doesn’t validate how smart I am, but it validates to me the value of knowledge sharing – thru blogs, Twitter, Slack, LinkedIn, etc.  More to learn, more to share!

Thank You!

So to all the folks that join me on the list of #vExpert and #NTC in 2017, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me, for giving different ways to do different things.  I hope that I’ve been able to give back as much as I’ve received.

For the people that I work with at eGroup, thank you for the amazing company we have, and for making every day a fun and exciting one.  Every day is a learning experience, one I do not take lightly.

And finally, to my wife Michelle.  You put up with a crazy travel schedule sometimes, a garage full of servers, and a husband who sometimes doesn’t know when to put work away.

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Back in November 2015 I wrote a post about FEX Topologies with the Cisco Nexus platforms, and at the time the Nexus 5K/6K line was the only model that would support the active/active FEX topology (FEX-AA), which was unfortunate in designing redundant connectivity for downstream devices.

But with the release of NX-OS code 7.2 and above, we now get FEX-AA support on the 7000 and 7700 series switches!

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Continuing our journey with testing out Nutanix AHV functionality for one of our partners, one of things we wanted to get deployed was Prism Central.    Prism Central is very similar to VMware’s vCenter, defining Prism Central as  “software provides centralized infrastrcuture management, one-click simplicity and intelligence for everyday operations.”

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As I wrote about in the last post that started our journey with Nutanix and Mellanox, we will be testing AHV DR replication for one of our partners while evaluating the use of the Mellanox SX switch platform for a lower cost 10/40Gbe switch.

The NX-1050 Block was pre-configured at another location, so all network subnets will be recreated in this lab. The NX-3050 block is net new, and that will be configured onsite.

This post will serve as the initial setup of the lab testing environment and topology.

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I’ve been given the opportunity to do some testing with 2 Nutanix blocks and a Mellanox SX1012 switch for one of our customers, who is looking to do some disruptive changes to the platform they deploy their software onto.

Background

Currently, we partner with this customer to do your typical 3-Tier infrastructure deployments with EMC VNX/VNXe for Storage, Cisco Catalyst and Nexus for switching, Cisco UCS or HP for compute and VMware vSphere for the hypervisor. While this solution has worked very well over the years, when we approached this partner a few years ago with Nutanix, the interest was there but the justification was hard to come by.

Fast forward to this year, we were able to get our partner out to the Nutanix .Next conference for an executive briefing and generate some more internal interest.

To say we were successful is an understatement! By the time we had gotten over our jetlag coming home, it was how fast can we get a POC box onsite to test with. We got a box into their hands, a nice 4 node NX-1050 model, I headed out to California, did the install and gave them the keys and let them start testing – all on Nutanix’s Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV).

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I have to say, I love working for eGroup.  We’ve put together and awesome group of people company wide, but especially on my team – the Data Center Architecture team it’s a group of really smart, hard working guys.

For the 6th year in a row, we (eGroup) have achieved Cisco’s Advanced Data Center Architecuture Specialization.  You can read the press release here, but what it really comes down to is we’ve put together a team that can go into any size Data Center, and provide our customers with solutions that make sense and work for them.
I’m really proud to see where we’re going, starting with the Advanced Data Center Architecture specialization, and looking towards the Advanced Security Architecture specialization among others.
So to everybody at eGroup, awesome job and let’s keep it up!

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