Saturday, May 21, 2011

Three Lines, One Conduit

This one is a brief food-for-thought post.  I work for an SMB, with the focus on “S” during a large part of my tenure. Things come fast in this environment.  Requirements can be loosely defined and based on confidence in the key individuals, not their experience.  Timelines are short with most implementations starting same-day.

You know that you need connectivity and you know that it needs to be diverse.  If you’re truly SMB, you’ve started with one Internet connection and it has suited you well—until it fails or your need more bandwidth.  Add a 2nd, and you’re sure to choose an alternate provider and an alternate path into your site.  Repeat with the 3rd, throw some wonderful hardware at it, and enjoy your resiliency.

Or so you think. 

Do you know where your feeds go after they leave your building?  And if you have this knowledge, how far does it carry?  Around the corner, down the block, or a mile out? 

We found this information hard to obtain and it cost us.  The city relegated some of the routes and they therefore became common.  3 feeds with three entry points over 2 buildings ultimately shared the same conduit a short 4 blocks down the street.

A construction mishap brought this realization to light.  We had wireless at our disposal, but our hardware needed a software upgrade and complete reprogramming under a new paradigm before it could be used. This would take hours, and in the end there was little that we could do. While bad, we fared better than many who waited a week for all of the fiber and copper to be spliced back together.

Know your paths, beyond your site.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Great Enabler - Intro

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." –Confucious

I am fortunate in my career.  I work within a field that started and continued as a hobby—something that I love to do.  Driven by an interest and a knack, skill gets to follow along for the ride.  I believe that what makes me most fortunate, however, is the continual opportunity to make an impact.  To be rewarded with the ability to see thoughts and ideas materialize and change the tools, capabilities, or even manner at which we do business.

My fondest example is virtualization.  I’ve had the fortune to see my interest in articles read in 2007 flow from a casual conversation with my manager to relocation of our headquarters and main datacenter.  The road was paved with VMworld 2007 through 2010, virtual IT labs, developers’ stations, virtualized tier 3 workloads that soon became tier 1 workloads, first exposure to SANs, and a whole lot of peers, friends, and fun.

We’ve moved from 0% to 98% virtualized.  99% is around the corner with Private Cloud (there, I said it) in sight. 

We’re small.  Resources are tight.  Time has always been tighter.  We learned, we stumbled, we learned again.  I wanted to capture much of the most recent leg of the journey, so here we are.

I hope that you may find some of this interesting.  There’s more to come.