Nothing Finer than a Well-Considered Powershell Module

Kudos to Intel  for recognizing & implementing a full Powershell module for their network adapters.

This is probably old news to most of you (and indeed, I think this was released in 2013) but I’ve just now managed to explore them.

How do I love them? Let me count the ways.

  1. With IntelNetCmdlets, you no longer have to fart around with netsh cmds to get your NICs primed to push packets properly
  2. With IntelNetCmdlets, your Network Engineering colleague in the cube next to you will no longer laugh as you suffer from Restless Finger Syndrome. RFS is characterized by furious mouse clicking interspersed with curses such as, “Goddamnit, I don’t have time to hunt through all these Device Manager menus just to input the Receive Buffer values I want! And I have four adapters! Somebody kill me. Now!”
  3. With IntelNetCmdlets, engineers who dabble in the virtual arts now have yet another tool in the box that can reduce/eliminate human error prior to the creation of an important virtual switch in a well-considered Hyper-V infrastructure.
  4. With IntelNetCmdlets, even your beater lab environment shines a little brighter because these babies work with my favorite NIC of all time, the  I350 T-4 quad port server adapter, which you can now buy brand new (Probably a Chinese knock-off…but the drivers work!) for about $70 on eBay. Suck on that Broadcom NetExtreme and goofy BroadcomCLI!

Here’s an example of what Intel’s Net cmdlets can do for you.

Let’s say you’re building out a host in your homelab, or you just received some new Whitebox x86 servers for a dev environment at work. Now, naturally this box is going to host virtual machines, and it’s likely those VMs will be on shared storage or will be resources in a new cluster…whatever the case, proper care & raising of your physical NICs at this stage in your infrastructure project not only sets you up for success and makes you a winner, but saves potentially hours or days of troubleshooting after you’ve abstracted all this nonsense away with your hypervisor.

Of course this could all be scripted out as part of a Config Mgr task sequence, but let’s not get too fancy here! I’m no MVP and I just want you to kill your need for Device Manager and the cryptic netsh commands, ok?

Gifcam demo time. Here I’m setting the Jumbo packet value in the Windows registry for the four Intel adapters on my I350-T4 card:

intelncmd

 

What I love about this is that Intel’s gone the extra-mile with their Netcmdlets. There’s a full Powershell helpfile, with extras if you tag -verbose or -examples to the end of your get-help query. Any setting you need to toggle, it’s there, from “Green Ethernet” to how many RSS queues you want, to whether VMQ is enabled or disabled.

All you need? A quality Intel card (the Pro1000 cards prior to the I350 family don’t support this officially, but you may be able to trick the Proset drivers into it!), the Proset driver package utility (here) and Powershell. Hell, you can even do this while PS Remoting!

 

What are you going to do with all the time I Just saved you? Cheers

Integrating Trendnet IP Cameras with my homelab

What do you get when you take an IT Systems Engineer with more time on his hands than usual and an unfinished home project list that isn’t getting any shorter?

You get this:

Daytime

My home automation/Internet of Things ‘play’

That’s right. I’ve stood-up some IP surveillance infrastructure at my home, not because I’m a creepy Big Brother type with a God-Complex, rather:

  1. Once my 2.5 year old son figured out how to unlock the patio door and bolt outside, well, game over boys and girls….I needed some ‘insight’ and ‘visibility’ into the Child Partition’s whereabouts pronto and chasing him while he giggles is fun for only so long
  2. My home is exposed on three sides to suburban streets, and it’s nice to be able to see what’s going on outside
  3. I have creepy Big Brother tendences and/or God complex

I had rather simple rules for my home surveillance project:

  • IP cameras: ain’t no CCTV/600 lines of resolution here, I wanted IP so I could tie it into my enterprise home lab
  • Virtual DVR, not physical: Already have enough pieces of hardware with 16 cores, 128GB of RAM, and about 16TB of storage at home.
  • No Wifi, Ethernet only: Wifi from the camera itself was a non-starter for me because 1) while it makes getting video from the cameras easier, it limits where I can place them both from a power & signal strength perspective 2) Spectrum & bandwidth is limited & noisy at distance-friendly 2.4GhZ, wide & open at 5ghz, but 5 has half the range of 2.4. For those reasons, I went old-school: Cat5e, the Reliable Choice of Professionals Evereywhere
  • Active PoE: 802.3af as I already own about four PoE injectors and I’ve already run Cat5e all over the house
  • Endpoint agnostic:  In the IP camera space, it’s tough to find an agnostic camera system that will work on any end-device with as little friction as possible. ONVIF is, I suppose, the closest “standard” to that, and I don’t even know what it entails. But I know what I have: Samsung GS6, iPhone 6, a Windows Tiered Storage box, four Hyper-V hosts, System Center, an XBox One and 100 megabit internet connection.
  • Directional, no omni-PTZ required: I could have saved money on at least one corner of my house by buying a domed, movable PTZ camera rather than use 2 directionals, but 1) this needed to work on any end-point and PTZ controls often don’t

And so, over the course of a few months, I picked up four of these babies:

TV-IP310PI_d02_2

Trendnet TV-IP310PI

Design

I liked these cameras from the start. They’re housed in a nice, heavyweight steel enclosure, have a hood to shade the lens and just feel solid and sturdy. Trendnet markets them as outdoor cameras, and I found no reason to dispute that.

My one complaint about these cameras is the rather finicky mount. The camera can rotate and pivot within the mount’s attachment system, but you need to be careful here as an ethernet cable (inside of a shroud) runs through the mount. Twist & rotate your camera too much, and you may tear your cable apart.

And while the mount itself is steel and needs only three screws to attach, the interior mechanism that allows you to move the camera once mounted is cheaper. It’s hard to describe and I didn’t take any pictures as I was cursing up a storm when I realized I almost snapped the cable, so just know this: be cognizant that you should be gentle with this thing as you mount it and then as you adjust it. You only have to do that once, so take your time.

Imaging and Performance:

ircam

Nighttime

Trendnet says the camera’s sensor & processing is capable of pushing out 1080p at 30 frames per second, but once you get into one of these systems, you’ll notice it can also do 2560×1440, or QHD resolutions. Most of the time, images and video off the camera are buttery smooth, and it’s great.

I’m not sharp enough on video and sensors to comment on color quality, whether F 1.2 on a camera like this means the same as it would on a still DSLR, or understand IR Lux, so let me just say this: These cameras produce really sharp, detailed and wide-enough (70 degrees) images for me, day or night. Color seems right too; my lawn is various hues of brown & green thanks to the heat and California drought, and my son’s colorful playthings that are scattered all over do in indeed remind me of a clown’s vomit. And at night, I can see far enough thanks to ambient light. Trendnet claims 100 foot IR-assisted viewing at night. I see no reason to dispute that.

Let the camera geeks geek out on teh camera; this is an enterprise tech blog, and I’ve already talked abou the hardware, so let’s dig into the software-defined & networking bits that make this expensive project worthwhile.

Power & Networking

These cameras couldn’t be easier to connect and configure, once you’ve got the power & cabling sorted out. The camera features a 10/100 ethernet port; on all four of my cameras, that connects to four of Trendnet’s own PoE injectors. All PoE injectors are inside my home; I’d rather extend ethernet with power than put a fragile PoE device outside. The longest cable run is approximately 75′, well within the spec. Not much more to say here other than Trendnet claims the cameras will use 5 watts maximum, and that’s probably at night when the IR sensors are on.

From each injector, a data cable connects to a switch. In my lab, I’ve got two enterprise-level switches.

One camera, the garage/driveway camera, is plugged into trunked, native vlan 410 port on my 2960s in the garage,

The other switch is a small CIsco SG-300 10p. The three other cameras connect to it. The SG-300 serves the role of access-layer switch and has a 3x1GbE port-channel back to the 2960s. This switch wasn’t getting used enough in my living room, so I moved it to my home office, where all ports are now used. Here’s my home lab environment, updated with cameras:

The Homelab as it stands today

The Homelab as it stands today

Like any other IP cam, the Trendnet will obtain an IP off your DHCP server. Trendnet includes software with the camera that will help you find/provision the camera on your network, but I just saved a few minutes and looked in my DHCP table. As expected, the cameras all received a routable IP, DNS, NTP and other values from my DHCP.

Once I had the IP, it was off to the races:

  • Set DHCP reservation
  • Verify an A record was created DNS so I could refer to the cameras by names rather than IP
  • Login, configure new password, update firmware, rename camera, turn-off UPNP, turn-off telnet
  • Adjust camera views

Software bits – Server Side

Trendnet is nice enough to include a fairly robust and rebadged version of Luxriot camera software, which has two primary components: Trendnet View Pro (Fat Client & Server app) and VMS Broacast server, an http server. Trendnet View Pro is a server-like application that you can install on your PC to view, control, and edit all your cameras. I say server-like because this is the free-version of the software, and it has the following limits:

  • Cannot run as a Windows Service
  • An account must be logged in to ‘keep it running’
  • You can install View Pro on as many PCs as you like, but only one is licensed to receive streaming video at a time

Upgrading the free software to a version that supports more simultaneously viewers is steep: $315 to be exact.

Smoking the airwaves with my beater kiosk PC in the kitchen. This is the TrendNet View client, limited to one viewer at a time

Smoking the airwaves with my beater kiosk PC in the kitchen. This is the TrendNet View client, limited to one viewer at a time

Naturally, I went looking for an alternative, but after dicking around with Zoneminder & VLC for awhile (both of which work but aren’t viewable on the XBox), I settled on VMS Broadcast server, the http component of the free software.

Just like View Pro, VMS Broadcast won’t run as a service, but, well, sysinternals!

So after deliberating a bit, I said screw it, and stood-up a Windows 8.1 Pro VM on a node in the garage. The VM is Domain-joined, which the Trendnet software ignored or didn’t flag, and I’ve provisioned 2 cores & 2GB of RAM to serve, compress, and redistribute the streams using the Trendnet fat client server piece as well as the VMS web server.

Client Side

On that same Windows 8.1 VM, I’ve enabled DLNA-sharing on VLAN 410, which is my trusted wireless & wired internal network. The thinking here was that I could redistribute via DLNA the four camera feeds into something the XBox One would be able to show on our family’s single 48″ LCD TV in the living room via the Media App. So far, no luck getting that to work, though IE on the XBox One will view and play all four feeds from the Trendnet web server, which for the purposes of this project, was good enough for me.

Additionally, I have a junker Lenovo laptop (Ideapad, 11″) that I’ve essentially built into a Kiosk PC for the kitchen/dining area, the busiest part of the house. This PC automatically logs in, opens the fat client and loads the file to view the four live feeds. And it does this all over wifi, giving instant home intel to my wife, mother-in-law, and myself as we go about our day.

Finally, both the iOS & Android devices in my house can successfully view the camera streams, not from the server, but directly (and annoyingly) from the cameras themselves.

The Impact of RTSP 1080p/30fps x 4 on Home Lab 

I knew going into this that streaming live video from four quality cameras 24×7 would require some serious horsepower from my homelab, but I didn’t realize how much.

From the compute side of things, it was indeed alot. The Windows 8.1 VM is currently on Node2, a Xeon E3-1241v3 with 32GB of RAM.

Typically Node2’s physical CPU hovers around 8% utilization as it hosts about six VMs in total.

With the 8.1 VM serving up the streams as well as compressing them with a variable bit rate, the tax for this DIY Home surveillance project was steep: Node2’s CPU now averages 16% utilized, and I’ve seen it hit 30%. The VM itself is above 90% utilization.hosts

More utilization = more worries about thermal as Node2 sits in the garage. In southern California. In the summertime.

Ambient air temperature in my garage over the last three weeks.

Ambient air temperature in my garage over the last three weeks.

Node2’s average CPU temperature varies between 22c and 36c on any given warm day in the garage (ambient air is 21c – 36c). But with the 8.1 VM, Node2 has hit as high as 48c. Good thing I used some primo thermal paste!

trsp

All your Part 15 FCC Spectrum are belong to me, on channel 10 at least

All your Part 15 FCC Spectrum are belong to me, on channel 10 at least

From the network side, results have been interesting. First, my Meraki is a champ. The humble MR-18 802.11n access point doesn’t break a sweat streaming the broadcast feed from the VM to the Lenovo Kiosk laptop in the kitchen. Indeed, it sustains north of 21mb/s as this graph shows, without interrupting my mother in law’s consumption of TV broadcasts over wifi (separate SSID & VLAN, from the SiliconDust TV tuner), nor my wife’s Facebooking & Instagramming needs, nor my own tests with the Trendnet application which interfaces with the cameras directly.

Meraki’s analysis says that this makes the 2.4ghz spectrum in my area over 50% utilized, which probably frustrates my neighbors. Someday perhaps I’ll upgrade the laptop to a 5ghz radio.

vSwitch, the name of my Converged SCVMM switch, is showing anywhere from 2megabits to 20 megabits of Tx/Rx for the server VM. Pretty impressive performance for a software switch!network

Storage-wise, I love that the Trendnets can mount an SMB share, and I’ve been saving snapshots of movement to one of the SMB shares on my WindowsSAN box.

I am also using Trendnet’s email alerting feature to take snapshots and email them to me whenever there’s motion in a given area. Which is happening a lot now as my 2 year old walks up to the cameras, smiles and says “Say cheeeese!”

All in all, a tidy & fun sub-$1000 project!

Father’s Day 3.0 & the Spectrum

This is my third Father’s Day as a dad to the Child Partition, Everett.

But in a real sense, it’s my first Father’s Day as a true Daddy.

On the other Father’s days, I was a pretender, a fraud, a passive observer in the boy’s development, letting things happen to him, getting frustrated when he didn’t comply, dreading his tantrums and so on.

Now, on Father’s Day 3.0 in 2015, I make things happen for Everett, my 2.5 year old son who was diagnosed with mild/moderate ASD. Today, I’m a full active-active Dad.

And the results have been incredible.

Some back of the napkin advice for other new dads like me who may be struggling with an ‘on the spectrum’ toddler:

  • Own the schedule: I’m convinced there’s a tempo and rhythm to a child’s day that will set him/her up for success if properly planned, or result in failure, frustration and shouting if neglected. IT Guys are good at looking at thinking of systems and sequencing things properly; take that talent and set up your son or daughter for success.
  • Toys suck, for the most part: This is the biggest thing I’ve learned. You can’t just take a toy, give it to your kid and expect them to find fulfillment and joy. Kids, especially ones like my son, need active, structured play with mom or dad, and they need mom or dad’s full attention, so only take your mobile out to take pictures of your kid. Bonus father points if you can set up a play environment that stimulates & works your son or daughter’s joints & muscles. The $50 I spent on a safety trampoline have been more effective & fun for Everett than a box full of well-intentioned toys, even ones that are STEM-focused.
  • Be imaginative: Reality beats imagination into submission when you’re an adult, and it’s hard to get it back. But if you work at it, you can fill an empty slot in your kid’s Sunday afternoon with something that stimulates him, is 100x more fun than watching TV and mega-fun for you and your kid. Pull an old rope out of your utility area or garage, knot it up, and teach your son or daughter what tug of war is. With all those Amazon boxes you’ve intended to recylce, build a fort. Play games that involve contrasts and opposites: Gooo faast! Now Slow! When your kid wants to climb, structure it: we go up, we come down, and so on.
  • If you get resources, exploit them: If your son or daughter gets diagnosed as ‘on the spectrum,’ don’t spend a month moping about as if it’s the end of the world like I did. Rather, challenge yourself to maximize the impact of all the resources about to come your way, whether it’s in-home therapy, occupational therapy, or speech. You’ll only have to go through this once and though it might be inconvenient for your career, it’s the best time to help your kid. So do what you have to do Dad!
  • Use your tools and tech know-how: I organized all the appointments & schedules with my Office 365 Exchange tenant, and built the timeline below with my Visio Subscription. I’ve got a Kanban style whiteboard at home with family tasks. Work the problem with what you have and you’ll see the results quickly.
  • Make Transitions fun: Getting my boy to sit in his car seat used to be a 20 minute scream & cry stressor. But once I learned to plan his transitions from one activity/place to another, the boy responded. So now when we get in my car, he pushes the start button, then climbs in the seat himself and says, “Ok, we go now.” Which is so great!

Once I figured this all out, I couldn’t believe how the boy changed. Rather than throwing a tantrum, he tells me what he wants to do. He seems to be sleeping a bit better thanks to the routines. We ramp him up to active play in the AM, then wind him down before lunch.

Happy Father’s Day!

morning

Kill the Windows part of Server, Microsoft

Looking back over the last 12-18 mos, the revolution occurred and barely anyone noticed: The Windows in my Windows Server were ousted in a bloodless coup, le ancien regime passed away into the dustbin of history, and a new and more fearsome, powerful chief was installed.

And yet no one is talking about it.

Of course, the audience was limited from the start -how many people care about the development of Windows Server to begin with1- but even among those of us in the know, one could make the case that Microsoft guys are in denial, ignorance, or are strangely into working way harder than they need to because truly , the Windows part of Windows Server is dead and buried, a relic of the 2000s.

So long Cascaded/Vertically Stacked GUI, buh-bye mstsc.exe & RDP, buona notte taskbar & Device Manager, adios Next>Next>Next>Finish Wizard, don’t let the Explorer.exe or MMC snap-in snap you in the ass on the way out of my datacenter.

Parting, in this case, is not sweet sorrow, but pure joy. Why? Personally, I hate the mouse and consider it a personal & professional failure anytime I have boxed myself into using it, which is a lot less these days. And that’s coming from a guy who was using RDP as a crutch and only recently realized how powerful Powershell is.

Check it:

  • As I keyboard this in mid June 2015, I have four Windows server hosts and 9 Hyper-V VMs in my homelab that 1) lack any kind of graphical user interface, including the minimal server shell of which I’ve been so fond of for so long
  • The VMs have never been logged into via traditional methods (RDP, Console, I’m even using MMCs less) and I’m hosting SQL on one, a set of VMs sharing DHCP scopes, a couple IIS boxes, a Certificate Authority, VMM, and more. The physical servers were logged into at one time, but no longer; my Tiered Storage Spaces host is running core & RDP is disabled.
  • These VMs have a dramatically smaller footprint on my lab storage box, and -as a result- a dramatically smaller attack surface and reduced updates. And these are 2012 R2 VMs….it’s only getting smaller with Server 2016
  • Even Powershell is less intimidating than it used to be; get-beer -stout for the person or persons who priortized Powershell help, which by my reckoning is on par or superior to Unix man pages.
  • PS Remoting is incredibly great for the management of remote Windows Servers by itself, but from the same interface and with the same verb-noun constructs, you can manage your Office 365 Tenant, interface with mighty Azure, and -holy shit, someone made Sharepoint Online cmdlets?!?- even do some Sharepoint stuff. From. The. Same. Interface.

If I can do it, you can too, you stubborn 2003 Server holdouts! Come on, get with the program…get with the times…Get intimate with your keyboard and the Tab button once again!

So if Windows guys who are using mice to manage Windows Servers are doing it wrong, in denial, or just like working harder, how about the Linux folks?

As Jeff Snover/Lee Holmes and others tell the story, there was a small cult of Bash/Unix/Scripting devotees inside Microsoft 10+ years ago, meeting in secret, hiding from the authorities, trading scripts and bits of code over hushed conversations in the dark. One day Snover’s band did what revolutionaries do: they posted a manifesto. Demotions followed, but their idea had merit and staying power because even a packed room of MBAs can’t keep a good idea down. Engineers saw Monad/Powershell for what it was: a wholesale reinvention of Microsoft’s enterprise products, and they built it out slowly & carefully, using persuasion, demos, and .net. In those days, Powershell was hard to use, but today, it’s the Coin of the Realm, the lingua franca and the Admin’s Swiss Army Knife, all in one.

It’s approachable. You can learn it, and not only that, you will like it.

During that same time though, Linux went from backyard tinkerer toy to global infrastructure heavyweight thanks to its scriptability, automation capabilities and scale-powers. Windows guys either ditched Microsoft with the rise of Linux-based VMware, or,  they stuck with what was familiar: the GUI, the MMC Snap-In, our venerable c:\ and tried hard but mostly failed to keep up with the state-of-the-art in Linux infrastructures. There’s really only so far you can go with a patchwork collection of unsigned & broke-ass VB Scripts & batch files, afterall.

Those Linux guys never looked back at Windows, and since I talk to a lot of them, they probably never will look again at Windows. They have the IT Scars & bear the trauma of 2000-2008; Windows is bad, Windows sucks, Windows Updates blah blah blah. And who can blame them?

Microsoft should kill the Windows in Server 2016 completely. Nano Server is a start, but let’s ditch it altogether. Windows is stale, Windows is baggage, Windows is consumer, and Windows Server does not accurately describe a properly-considered Microsoft Infrastructure, which is built atop varieties of the Microsoft Server, the same good stuff running Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365.

And guess what? Microsoft Server –Powershell Inside- is now ahead of the curve -something about pipelines & objects-  and my guess is Microsoft would find much traction in DevOps or Lean IT environments by selling a Microsoft Server, perhaps enough traction to offset the sting of scared enterprises that only buy Windows Server.


  1. answer:we,we happy few, we band of sysadmins and engineers! 

With Acropolis, Nutanix dares the Icarus comparisons and steals from Hoosiers

Today, in front of a crowd of one-box-wonder foot soldiers, Nutanix, the American Pharaoh of all things hyperconverged announced something interesting at its .next conference. I’m told by eyewitnesses1 that there was great pomp and circumstance accompanying the announcement, which went more or less like this:

Nutanix CEO: Behold!  From the east, a hypervisor star is born! A hypervisor that will rescue our stack in its hour of greatest need…a hypervisor free of vBloat, as agile as it is cloudy, a hypervisor so hyper and so converged that even light cannot escape its event horizon, a hypervisor that embraces the past yet is born of the future… a hypervisor -Ladies and Gentlemen- without peer….

My people, I give you…ACROPOLIS!

Arms spread wide and looking to the heavens, The Nutanix CEO thundered as the curtain fell:

My Name is Ozymandias, King of Kings!

EMC…Microsoft….Look upon my works ye Mighty and despair!

Then he dropped the mic and with a swish of his cape, left. I’m told it was very dramatic, as tech/nerd conferences go.

Bam. So we have a new hypervisor whose creators apparently wants us to think of this thing

No, not this thing

For the record, you should associate Nutanix’s Acropolis hypervisor more with “timeless Hellenic Architecture/inventors of democracy & philosophy” and less with “Greek Bailout/Icarus burned his wings/fell to the earth/EU Economic Train Wreck”  per the marketing department memo, ok?

but has this green thing & uninspired font as its logo

This thing

Acropolism?

yet can power a Roomba that’s invisible:

roombas

even as it’s bold enough to drop vowels in the word “Extreme”, reminding me of bad roller coaster ad campaigns from the 1990s:

xtreme

Wow!

If I sound a little snarkier than normal, well, I am. First of all,  when did the Pure Storage marketing team depart en masse to fair Nutanix?  Did I miss that story?

Secondly….Jesus….Acropolis? Invisible infrastructure? The Xtreme Computing Platform?

Holy Shit Nutanix, I thought I knew you. I expected a little bit more gravitas from the capo de tutti capi of all things Hyperconverged, from the guys who brought Google-scale into my datacenter,  from the one-box-wonder shop that invented a new industry yet designed for VMware and Hyper-V…instead I feel like I just watched an Apple keynote and I’m drenched in Reality Distortion Field juice.

My first thoughts upon reading the reports and watching Twitter blow up:

  1. Calling Acropolis a new Hypervisor is like calling last night’s leftovers fresh: This is just warmed-over KVM. You could download KVM yourself, modify some its bits, make/build it, package it up and market it as the “Burj Khalifa” of Hypervisors and guess what you’d have?  KVM. Only it’s not supported by RedHat, and good luck asking Microsoft for help with an Acropolis VM.
  2. In a very real sense, Nutanix is borrowing/extending the Scale Computing strategy: You remember Scale Computing, right? Scale is the Indiana-based Hyperconvergence vendor who presented to us at Virtualization Field Day 4. They offer….get this…a hyperconverged solution with a custom, in-house hypervisor named HyperCore, in reality, just a modified KVM hypervisor. Atop that, they offer a pretty slick management interface that lets you migrate VMs, move storage volumes, even replicate to other Scale Computing clusters off-site. Their cloud story is weak, but as hyperconverged appliances go, they’re a sharp & small team who rolled their own Hypervisor years ago, before it was Xtreme and worthy of being named after cultural treasures.
  3. I think I owe Nigel Poulton a beer, but he owes me one too: In a LinkedIn discussion a few months ago, Nigel Poulton2 speculated Nutanix might be building their own Hypervisor. I chimed in and said 1) That’s crazy, Hypervisors aren’t special or interesting anymore and why would an esteemed company like Nutanix waste their time rolling a quaint hypervisor, and 2) if they did build it, I bet they’d just fork KVM like Scale Computing. I was way wrong on #1, but spot on #2. Well played Nigel, well played.
  4. This blurs the Nutanix story and now I don’t know where they fit: I thought they sold a 2u box with dual or quad sockets, some storage, some 10GbE NICs, a nifty file system & software package that abstracted it all into an appliance. As such, they were an easy solution to recommend to certain customers/clients, namely the hardware-haters: “Right. You hate hardware. Let me tell you about Nutanix.”  Now they sell that, plus KVM and Prism, which seems to be yet another Orchestration/Automation/Management overlay that wants to be CloudFoundry, AzurePack or whatever RESTful https on-prem/hybrid/fullCloud flavor is hot this month.
  5. I can’t see why anyone would buy this to make VMware VMs into Hyper-V VMs: Acropolis + Prism are apparently capable of changing a .vmdk into a .vhdx file, which sounds impressive, but isn’t as converting VMware VMs into Hyper-V VMs is something you can do with a free Microsoft utility, 5Nines, and multiple other inexpensive options and is something Hyper-V guys have been doing with blood, sweat, tears and prayer for +5 years. Secondly, I think Nutanix missed the most important lesson DevOps has taught us: VMs are cows, true, but not sacred cows. In 2015, cutting-edge IT practice is to slaughter old VMs and automate the creation of new ones, not extend the lifespan of aged/infirm/pensioner Windows 2003 VMs and more or less hot-cut them over to a new alien stack. Sheesh. Who does that??!? Or more accurately, who buys several hundred thousand dollars worth of hardware & software to do that in 2015?3

I do remain a fan of Nutanix and I’m happy that Microsoft remains a first-class citizen on their platforms, but this was a bit over the top and reeks of desperation in my view.

The thing is, I don’t see why they’re desperate. You’re Nutanix for crying out loud, you invented this space and are the undisputed leader of it.

Register piece is a good read by the way.


  1. not really 

  2. man about storage, Linux Pluralsight trainer, Container Virtuoso, a Proper Brit and a darned Good Podcaster 

  3. Granted, not all IT Shops are cutting-edge or DevOps-minded, maybe Nutanix finds an audience for its XTreme invisible infrastructure in such places; if so, what does that say about Nutanix?