Author Archives: Chris

PowerShell Maths

A colleague recently popped in a support request after noticing that the Calculator app wasn’t installed on their computer. This prompted an office discussion on how else you can solve sums when sat in front of a computer, and I mentioned you could just use PowerShell.

Open a regular PowerShell window and you can just start typing in basic sums

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So addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division work fine- but what else can you do without making it complicated or hard to remember?

PowerShell this comes with the backing of the .NET Maths library, so you can enter [System.Math]:: (or just [Math]:: ) and then tab through possible operations – for example square root (see screenshot), power, trigonometry and so on.

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There’s currently 35 methods in this library and you can get a full list of these using the GetMethods property. This example lists them nicely in comma delimited form so you don’t have to scroll this webpage too much 🙂

PS C:\> ([System.Math].GetMethods() |
Select-Object -Unique -Property Name ).Name -join ", "
Abs, Acos, Acosh, Asin, Asinh, Atan, Atan2, Atanh, Cbrt, Ceiling, Cos, Cosh,
Exp, Floor, Log, Log10, Pow, Sin, Sinh, Sqrt, Tan, Tanh, BigMul, DivRem, Clamp,
IEEERemainder, Max, Min, Round, Sign, Truncate, ToString, Equals, GetHashCode,
GetType

So, who needs a graphical Calculator app now?

VMworld

VMworld 2019 Dates

It was announced this week that registration for VMware’s VMworld 2019 conference will open at the beginning of May so now seems a good time to look at some of the key dates for the event.

Call For Proposals – March-April

The CFP process seems to be a little different this year being only open to VMware Employees (till -April 9th). However Non-VMW staff can submit an outline for review, applications for which are accepted through to April 16th. The reviews then happen through May and submitters should find out by June 11th.

The process is running concurrently for both US and EU events and full details are on the vmworld.com site.

Early Bird Registration 7 May

If you’re definitely going (and why wouldn’t you?!) then Early Bird pricing is the way to go. For VMworld Europe this deal runs from registration opening on 7th May through to 27 July and cuts the price by 200 Euro.

For the US event Early Bird Registration ends 15 June and offers a $300 saving on the regular rate.

Remember, there’s additional discounts on top of these offers for VMUG Advantage members, VCP holders, and Alumni.

Content Catalog 18 June

The release of the content catalog is the first chance to see the sessions on offer for both EU and US events. Whilst timings aren’t announced at this stage it’s a good opportunity to start marking the breakout sessions that are of interest.

The sessions listed can change, with some being added or possibly removed as the catalog develops so keep popping back during this period to keep up to date

US Session Builder 16 July

The Schedule Builder is where you can plan out your week and the US one goes live about a month before the event. A top tip is to get in early on the day this goes live and book in your “must see” sessions. As with the content catalog, keep popping back as the event draws near (and even after the keynote) as new sessions are always added in- particularly those tied around as-yet-unannounced product releases.

VMworld US 25-29 August

After a couple of years out in Vegas, VMworld US returns to the Moscone Centre in San Francisco for 2019.

EU Session Builder 25 September

Like the US session builder detailed above, the timetabling function for the European leg is released a few weeks before the event itself.

VMworld Europe 4-7 November

The European leg is back in Barcelona again this year and keeping to the November dates from last year.

 

Full details of the conference can be found on vmworld.com

VMworld2018Sign

Cohesity Marketplace

During the recent #vRetreat event in London, Cohesity presented their latest release of DataPlatform – and with a launch happening the very weekend of the event, February 26 2019 this was timely presentation. This release included a number of new features- and when following up on the vRetreat event one which caught my attention is the Cohesity Marketplace.

The Marketplace is designed to allow third parties (plus your internal developers and Cohesity themselves) to release products that plug directly into the Cohesity framework- “bringing applications to the data, versus data to the applications”. From what I have seen of previous integrations they have been focussed on automating the backup/recovery process- for example using ServiceNow to provide end-users with self-service restores. This marketplace however allows third party applications to interact with and process the data on the Secondary Storage directly, without it leaving the appliance (or the public cloud storage). I see this as an interesting development, and visiting the website today you can get an idea of how this is going to grow.

Already in the list are analytics providers such as Splunk and Antivirus/ Threat Protection providers such as SentinelOne and ClamAV. The potential here for not just data protection but also analysis and business intelligence operations is intriguing- all that old, dark, data that companies hold but don’t make use of should be in this secondary storage and the ability to tap into that directly opens up many possibilities.

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This all sits alongside a new Developer Portal and the existing REST API and PowerShell frameworks provided for the DataPlatform. Apps can be developed in-house but the big benefit I see is the third-party products being presented to admins to deploy- simplifying the traditional method of liaising with all the vendors in your environment separately to try and achieve a level of integration. And because the data is being processed within the Cohesity platform there’s the benefits of additional security, less duplicated storage, reduced network costs, and potentially better performance because we’re not spending time shifting data around to process it.

It’s early days yet so there’s only a handful of apps available (Mid March 2019), but it will be interesting to see how this develops and whether the work developing apps falls to Cohesity or will partners and third-party vendors take up the mantle.

For more information, check out this video from Cohesity.


vSphere 6.0- time to upgrade

vCenter-logoIf you’re running VMware vCenter and ESXi 6.0 it’s time to start planning to upgrade as General Support ends on 12 March 2020- one year from now and five years from it’s release. Thankfully the upgrade from 6.0 to 6.5 or 6.7 is usually quite straightforward, and VMware have put a lot of work into streamlining this process.

Looking at the Product Lifecycle Matrix other notable products in the VMware stable worth keeping an eye on include NSX for vSphere (NSXv) 6.2, Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 6.0 and 6.1, and vSAN 6.0-6.2.

vRetreat February 2019- Secondary Storage with Cohesity

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the latest #vRetreat blogger event. This edition featured a day of presentations and labs from enterprise storage vendor Cohesity held at Chelsea Football Club in London. In my first blog post from the event I look at what Cohesity are doing to distinguish “Secondary Storage” from “Backup Storage”.IMG_20190222_105103399_sm

There’s a number of vendors on the market who can provide enterprises with a backup appliance and support for public cloud storage. Cohesity have looked at this and asked what other business operations can leverage this (comparatively) cheap storage media? I’ve heard their message of “we’re not backup, but secondary storage” before, but at this event the distinction really clicked with me.

IMG_20190222_110747824_smWhilst front-line production services often demand the best-performing storage possible, storage for backups doesn’t (hopefully) need to be accessed regularly and doesn’t require the speed of access that front line production systems might. Where possible organisations will purchase cheap(er) storage for this task, and this can lead to a separate backup storage silo.

If nearly 80 percent of stored data goes unused after 90 days then the majority of data on NAS/SAN filers also fits these access and performance characteristics, so why not combine the two and reduce the silo count? The Cohesity platform offers SMB and NFS, and can also function as an object store. This also helps justify the outlay on the storage for backup which, like an insurance policy, you hope to never actually need.

CohesitySimilarly test and development workloads can often (but not always) be run on lower performance storage than their production counterparts. Again these functions are looking for similar attributes to backup when it comes to storage- keep the cost/GB low and don’t impact on the performance of our primary production storage.

Cohesity’s DataPlatform consolidates the traditional backup storage platform along with the ability to spin out test and dev workloads directly from this data, whilst also providing host file and object storage. For example, when the primary storage is upgraded to all flash, the NAS or test workloads that don’t need this level of performance can use the Cohesity platform.1550869582007_sm

This was an interesting briefing, and for me this part definitely showed the potential for not thinking of your backup infrastructure solely as an insurance policy but continuing to find new ways to leverage that investment elsewhere in the IT function.

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a sponsored event rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment, although Cohesity did sponsor the lunch, T-shirt, and stadium tour at the event. Attendees were also given a pair of bright green socks and matching branded shoelaces so you should be able to spot them.