Finding My Inner Goddess

Each and every one of us has a positive energy, a flame inside of us that exudes the greatness within us. It’s part of our beauty, our mind, and our soul that makes each one of us unique. It inspires and pushes us to go beyond our limits to follow our dreams and our passions. It’s our own magical power. The spark that ignites a flame in all of us is our “inner goddess”.

When the spark is lost

We all have this goddess inside of us, hence my alter ego Exchange Goddess. Some are stronger than others, but it’s still there. Our inner goddess helps us fights those battles that we have in our daily lives. Sometimes the battles defeat our goddess, and we give up. There are times when the fighting becomes too much, and we don’t realize that we have lost her. That was the case for me.

I have spoken openly about my struggles with sexism in IT. It is sometimes called unconscious bias or diversity issues, but simply put it is a form of discrimination. For many women in IT this can be a challenging experience, a daily battle that is fought, and I was no different. This type of negative energy can defeat a goddess. It took a friend asking me a question while discussing sexism in IT for me to realize that my inner goddess was lost.

Will you ever be happy in this field? Maybe this is the wrong field for you?

WHAT?! Why was this man asking me this question? I love my work. I love technology. Could this man not see my passion? How dare he ask me this question just because I am complaining about sexism in my field? I was angry. Was this man so naïve living his privileged life, never having to experience any struggles of his own, that he just did not understand?

After dwelling on this question for a few days, I came up with two reasons why he must have asked this question. It was because of who I had become and possibly his own passive ignorance. He was not seeing my passion or my love for technology. That spark, the positive energy inside me, was not burning. He was not seeing my inner goddess because she was no longer there. I had lost her. Misplaced or perhaps lost in my shoe closet. Wherever she was, she was no longer visible or as bright as before.

He saw frustration, anger, and disappointment, but I do not think he quite understood where it all was coming from. I am sure he understood what sexism, gender bias, and unconscious bias are; we have all gone through those HR sensitivity courses, nodding our heads and thinking, “It’s wrong and should not happen.” However, if someone has not experienced this struggle for him or herself or has not had someone close to them go through the experience, it really is hard to truly understand what it means and feels to be discriminated against.

The Journey…

I had to rediscover my inner goddess. Everybody has a different journey. We all have different struggles and a different path to follow on that journey. In my case, I needed to let go of the anger and pain that I had been feeling about how I had been treated. The people close to me know that the last few years have been tough, especially within the last year. I had so much built up anger that I let it consume me. Anger is like a poison that can eat away you and it was starting to do that to me. I was so afraid of forgetting what I had gone through that I kept holding onto the anger. I did not want to forget it. I did not want to repeat it.

But letting go does not mean forgetting. Letting go allows you to move on and find peace within yourself. This allowed me to accept that I could not change what was in the past but I could change my future.

Using Bad for Good

I know that I was not alone and others must have gone through something similar. What about the future for my daughter? Will she have the same struggles when she enters the workforce? I had so much anger that I needed to channel that negative energy into something positive. I wanted to make a difference and perhaps bring about change.

Using that negative energy to create something positive brought about the Current Status, a weekly podcast/webcast that I co-host with two other women, Theresa Miller (@24x7itconnection) and Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33). It’s a show we do live on air with video using Google Hangouts where we discuss technology with various guests in a relaxed setting. There’s even wine on the show. When I had come up with the idea it was to show the world that we, us women, know and can speak technology. We are more than the token female IT person on the team. We are technical people that just happen to be women. We are smart, beautiful, fun, and we are IT professionals. Current Status has become more than what my cohosts or I had ever anticipated. The show is really taking off and gaining traction within the IT community. It is amazing how much support we receive, and we appreciate every bit of it. To read more about our show check out our Current Status page or head over to our YouTube Channel to replay past shows.

That’s what Goddesses do

Beyond the success of the show, the most amazing thing about what has happened is the bond that has formed with my cohosts. I have found my sisters, the “others” that have gone through similar experiences as myself. I have found other goddesses.

If you have the seen the show, you will notice that we have such a great dynamic with each on air and it really is like that off the air too. We are there for each when someone has a bad day at work or when there’s a promotion. It’s just not all business because when I have a bad hair day, I know I can send a group text to them. When I see some really great shoes on sale, and I cannot decide which one to get, they will be there encouraging me all the way. That’s what goddesses do; we support one another through bad and good.

She’s Back…

For my friend who asked me that “awful” question, I have your answer; I am following my passion for technology and yes I am happy. But most of all thank you.

It has been an interesting journey to say the least, but I have found my inner goddess again. That spark that was once burning so bright, that could be felt across the room, is back. It is much stronger and wiser now. She’s back and she’s ready to take on the world. This time she’s brought allies.

 

Setting up Data Protection on Tintri T540 – Replicate and Restore

If you read my earlier post about Tintri’s VMstore T540 you know that setting up data protection on the T540 is very simple. There is not much to it really just a few simple clicks and you’re replicating between applicances.  Once you set the Replication settings ( assigning the replicating partner and password) and add the purchased license on the appliance you are ready to configure the vms for protection.

Follow the below settings to setup replication of a vm and restore it on another T540. You’ll find that it’s very simple to setup and takes just a few minutes.


Add Replication settings to appliance

Fig4_TintriD

Add Replication License

Fig3_TintriC

 


 Configuring VMs for Snapshot & Replication to another T540

  1. Login to your T540 using the url of the appliance http://x.x.x.x/
  2. Click on “Search VM” link (top right)
  3. A listing of all the VMs will be shown
  4. Find the Virtual Machine you wish to protect and right click and select Protect. Select Protect
  5. Select the snapshot schedule, retention period, and if you want the snapshot to be replicated and the alert threshold. When you are completed Click on Protect.Tintri_ReplicateA
  6. To verify the replication state, on the Virtual Machine list right click on the header bar and select Data Protection. This will refresh the Protection tab showing the replication state, schedule and retention.Tintri_ReplicateB

 


 Restoring a Replicated VM on another T540

  1. Login to T540 hosting snapshot using the url of appliance http://x.x.x.x/
  2. Click on “Search VM” top right
  3. A listing of all the VMs will be shown. Click on Snapshots and this will lists all snapshots held on the appliance.Tintri_Snapshot
  4. Locate the snapshot you want to recover. Right click and select Clone.Tintri_Restore
  5. Create new Virtual Machine window will open. Fill out the required fields and click Clone. The window appear at the bottom right informing you that the Virtual Machine is being added to the inventory.Tintri_RestoreA
  6. Sign into vCenter and find the Virtual Machine that you just cloned complete any needed configuration changes and power on.

 

 

Tintri T540 – Simple VM storage management

It’s the storage wars. Lots of new vendors on the storage array market doing their dog and pony show,  trying to get pieces of the pie over familiar giants like NetApp and EMC. Having  managed NetApp for a few years I was comfortable with their Filers so why change?

After spending a few years managing our VMware and it’s storage, our environment had grown and  started to show some performance bottlenecks. We needed to find a solution that would meet the demanding IO needs of our VMs  and  support the HA and DR requirements for our datacenter. This is where we decided to think outside of the box and look at all the new players in the storage industry. We started doing research and eventually decided on Tintri and their VMstore T540 appliance. If you haven’t heard of Tintri before they are a flash based storage array that was designed just to be used for datastore use of VMs. It’s purpose in life is storing VMs ,making it run better and faster. The storage array is designed to not only meet the demanding IO needs of VMs but also reduce the complexity of managing the storage the VMs.

The T540 not only met our requirements but also gave us simple storage management. Even though there isn’t very much to manage with the array it still offers features that were key to us such as NFS , hot cloning VMs, deduplication, compression and hardware replication. Tintri supports VMware vSphere 4.x and 5.x  using NFS, RHEVand even HyperV. VDI deployments of VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop can also run on Tintri.

The Tintri VMstoreT540 is a 3U rackmounted appliance that comes with:

  • Capacity: 26.4 TB (8x 300 GB SSD + 8 x 3 TB HDD) with 13.5TB usable space
  • Management Networking :  2x 1GbE (RJ-45)
  • Data Network : Option 1: 2x 10GbE (10GBASE-SR LC fibre or SFP+ direct attach copper) or  2: 2x 10GbE (RJ-45)
  • Replication Network: Optional: 2x 1GbE (RJ-45) or 2x 1GbE (SFP)

From start to finish it takes about 30 – 60 minutes to rack the appliance ( dependent on how fast you can rack it) in the datacenter and connect to vCenter. There is very little day to day management with the T540. Tasks such as  Hot cloning VMs and setting up replication takes minutes and is effortless. Once the T540 is racked you give it an IP address and you are off to configuring the appliance to connect to vCenter.

Easy and Simple

The following screenshots of the appliance’s settings  will show you how easy and simple it is to setup.

Datastore IP is just that, it where you assign the appliance with the IP address that the datastore will used when connected to vCenter
Fig1_TintriA

Datastore IP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Setup Snapshot schedules using the Snapshot tab
Fig2_TintriB

Snapshot Configuration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
After supplying the Licenses for replication shown in Fig3_TintriC you can setup replication to another T540 shown in Fig4_TintriD
Fig3_TintriC

Replication License

 

 

 

 

 

Fig4_TintriD

Replication Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! I sound like an commercial for Tintri. There is no paid endorsement here, it’s just the  truth, the thing just works and does a great job at what it was designed to do. It runs just like they say it does.

To learn more about the Tintri and the their other products the VMstore T620 and T650 check out  Tintri’s website.

Don’t Forget to Assign Ownership to Disks on your Netapp Filers

The other day a co-worker was doing his rounds in the data center, sent the team an email with (photos attached) indicating amber lights on one of the shelves of our Netapp Filer.  Amber lights on a shelf of disk on your SAN usually isn’t a good thing so I jumped onto OnCommand System Manager to begin the troubleshooting.It didn’t take me very long to figure out the problem because the first thing I see after I am logged into OnCommand was a warning that I had “unowned disks”.

The aha moment hit me, just the day before we had 2 disks fail and were replaced via the configured Autosupport. Gosh, I do like the autosupport. Having a disk go bad overnight then getting a replacement before you even walk through the door is very convenient.

When these particular disks were replaced by another co-worker the day before, he had removed the bad disks and inserted the replacement disks. Since our filers are setup with software disk ownership , with disk auto assign disabled, the disks were not assigned automatically to an owner.  Ownership must be assigned for disk(s) before the filer can use them otherwise they are useless and flash amber lights at you.

To assign ownership to the disk(s) SSH into your Filer and do the following :

  1. You will need to locate the disk(s) that don’t have any owners. Type the following command
    disk show -n
  2. Once you have the disk name of the unowned disk you assign ownership with this command:
    disk assign <disk_name>
    disk assign 0b.16
    for multiple disks < disk assign 0b.43 0b.24 0b.27
    or
    Assign ownership for all unowned disks at once < disk assign all
  3. Run disk show -v to verify the disk assignments

So there you go, a pretty simple fix. Next time you replace a failed drive don’t forget to give it an owner!

Remove Hidden Devices From Servers

One of the things I do after a successful P2V of a server is do some cleanup on the newly virtualized server. Cleaning up involves uninstalling any software , such as Broadcom  and Dell Open Manage software, that is no longer needed for the server. I also perform clean up of the any old or removed devices through the servers Device Manager that may still be lingering around. Removing these hidden or ghost devices can prevent or  fix any issues you may have with the vm.

To remove the hidden devices you will need to go to Device Manager and tell it to Show Hidden Devices, the devices will be displayed in a lighter shade than the installed devices. However, after performing many P2Vs , I found out that Device Manager doesn’t display all the devices that server may have had at one point.

Fig1.Hidden

Fig1.Hidden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig2.Hidden

Fig2.Hidden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One would think by selecting this view everything would magically appear based on the fact that we just told Device Manager to “show hidden devices”. Since we are dealing with Windows and something that would be logical isn’t, we can the modify the registry  to see these “hidden” devices . Once the registry value has been added ,reboot the server then you will be able to see all those hidden devices that were never uninstalled and you can properly uninstall them.

Add the following Registry Settings

Registry Settings
System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTE\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]
Value Name: DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Value Data: (1 = show all hidden devices)

Fig3. Hidden

Fig3. Hidden

 

After Rebooting the server go back into Device Manager < Select Show Hidden Devices again and you will now see the hidden devices shaded lighter.

Fig4. Hidden

Fig4. Hidden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To remove a device , right click on the device and select uninstall.

Fig5. Hidden

Fig5. Hidden

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be prompted to confirm that you want to remove the device , select OK and the device will be removed.

Fig6. Hidden

Fig6. Hidden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can remove hidden devices  on VMs or even physical servers  that has been running for a while as part of overall server maintenance plan to keep your servers running in tip top shape.

TechEd 2014 – It’s more than KoolAid and Swag

IT conferences are a place where us nerds flock to a designated destination to discuss all things IT related and get your yearly supply of vendor t-shirts. Microsoft’s TechEd conference is no different and this year it’s held on  May 12-15 in Houston, TX. Tech conferences are more than the KoolAid and who has the best swag, it’s also about the parties/events and the people you meet there. The networking that one can do at a tech conference is amazing; you have vendors and IT professionals all in one location at your disposal. Making those connections can mean new business deals or even a job, you never know the sky’s the limit.  Not only are you building your IT professional network but attending social events after hours keeps you from watching re-runs on TV in hotel room. Who really wants to do that? Not I.

If you are new to TechEd or don’t know where to start with all this social activity I’ve made a list of some events that you may want to check out.  You never know you may even run into me at one these events…

Sunday Night 5/11/2014

  • The Krewe Meet and Greet at House of Blues – 7:30pm – 10:30pm

Kick off TechEd by meeting members of the world famous #TheKrewe- #TheKrewe is a community organized professional networking group. Their mission is to build a dynamic networking community through various activities and gatherings that extend beyond TechEd. The event is on a wait list but email  meetngreet@iamkrewe.org  to try to get yourself on the wait list.

Monday Night 5/12/2014

  • TechEd Expo Welcome Reception – 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday Night 5/13/2014

  •  Petri IT Author Meet and Greet –  5:00pm- 7:00pm

Come meet the authors of Petri IT knowledgebase (including myself!) sponsored by Veeam and Proximal Data.
The following Petri authors, contributors, and editors should be in attendance:

Aidan Finn – @joe_elway
Damian Flynn – @Damian_Flynn
Phoummala Schmitt – @PhoummalaSchmit
Jeff James – @JeffJames3
Daniel Petri – @p3daniel
Peter De Tender – @pdtit
J. Peter Bruzzese – @jpbruzzese
Mary Branscombe – @marypcbuk
Simon Bisson – @sbisson
Jonathan Hassell – @jghassell
Jeffrey Hicks – @jeffhicks

Space will be limited – RSVP ticket by clicking on the following link and registering for the event http://www.eventbrite.com/e/petri-it-knowledgebase-author-meet-and-greet-at-microsoft-teched-2014-tickets-11225258049

  • Join NetApp for craft beer, food and fun at Saint Arnold Brewing Company- 4:30–7:30 p.m

Stop by at the Netapp Booth with your TechEd Badge before Tuesday for an invite and party badge.Transportation to and from will be provided. Pick up will begin at 4:15 p.m. and runs through

5:30 p.m. outside of Hall F at the George R Brown Convention Center. Just look for the

NetApp logos.

  • Veeam TechEd Party at House of Blues – 8:00pm – 11:00pm

To register for the Party Apply  stop by at the Veeam booth or pre-register here: http://go.veeam.com/teched_party_2014.html

  • CommVault TechEd Jam Session at House of Blues- 9:00pm – 1:00am

Come hang out with your fellow attendees and see who has some musical talent. If you’re not into singing or jamming on stage just sit back relax and enjoy a beer, you might even see me swinging by.

Wednesday night 5/14/2014

  • TechExpo Happy Hour and Best of TechEd North America 2014 Awards – 5:00pm – 6:00pm

The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync admins, MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange, Office 365, and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange, Office 365, or Lync you need to be at this party. Come join other Exchange and Lync admins, MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, architects, and experts to discussion about issues, questions, and experiences.

Please RSVP to jeff@expta.com for event details and location

  • Scheduled Maintenance Party hosted by ENow – 9:00pm – 12:00am

The awesome folks at ENow are bringing all of us Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint admins much needed “Scheduled Maintenance”. This is a party you don’t want to miss. It will be EPIC!

You can also stop by the ENow booth for more details.

Go to http://schedulemymaintenance.com to request a pass.

  • Meet the DevExpress Team at TechEd and Lucky Strike Houston! – 7:00pm -11:00pm

Come meet the DevExpress Team and enjoy a night of cocktails, appetizers and bowling.

RSVP as soon as possible @ rsvp@devexpress.com

Thursday night 5/15/2014

  • TechEd 2014 Closing Party at Minute Maid Park – 7:30pm 11:00pm

Close out TechEd by enjoying an evening at Minute Maid Park where attendees have exclusive access to the entire park. There will be lots of food, drinks, music, games, and activities. You must have your wrist bracelet to attend party. Guests of attendees can purchase tickets for the party , see information/registration desk at convention hall.

If you need a daytime guide for TechEd, check out some of these sites:

Don’t Forget What’s Really Important in Life

Thanksgiving Day starts the holiday season with food, parties, family, and fun. This is also the time to reflect  on what’s really important in life. The world we live in today is driven by material things and we sometimes forget what’s real and meaningful to us.

I am just as guilty as everybody else when it comes to “things”; I love gadgets and shiny new toys just as much as the next person. I’ve done the Black Friday shopping, waited in line at Best Buy in the freezing cold for a really good deal, then racing to another store to do the same thing. It’s what we do on Black Friday right?

When I go through these moments of over indulgence in materialistic things I’m reminded of a story I was told when I was 19 years old. A story that puts life into perspective, reminds me what’s really important and drives home the need to be thankful for everything I have.

The story takes place in December 1978 in Laos; 3 years following the Communist Pathet Lao took over the country in 1975. A young father, in his early 30’s left his wife and their 2 young children, a boy 4 yrs and girl 20 months, seeking a better opportunity for his family. This man, a former Lao Army solider, had seen what horror the communist can do to the people of its country. He’d witnessed beheadings of fellow soldiers and innocent civilians. He knew what the communist were capable of doing and did not want his family to be a victim of any of their doings.

It has been several weeks since he left the village; his wife has started to lose hope since there has been no word where he was or if he was still alive. Just as she was coming to the reality that he may never return to her and their family the young father returns home on a December day. His return was short; he told his wife that he’d found a way for them to escape the communist country but in order to do so they had to leave immediately. The young wife’s younger brother, a teenager, was home at the time and begged to come and the family, knowing this was his only hope agreed to bring him along.  Her other siblings she had to leave behind as they were not at home. The young family grabbed basic essentials, with the clothes on their back said their goodbyes to her mother and secretly left the village by foot. Before leaving the village the young father instructed the remaining family members to hide or bury all their belongings. For the family feared the communists would hunt for them they were to be treated like they never existed.

The escape plan was to meet up with other people that were escaping Laos, at a rendezvous point a few miles outside of the village. With his 4 yr old son strapped to his back, daughter swaddled by his wife and teenage brother in tow they made the hike into the unknown jungle towards the rendezvous point. When they met up with the group they realized they were the only family with small children, this was not received well by some. They feared the family would slow them down and get them killed. The leader of the group allowed the family to continue the journey.

The journey to freedom from the communist was 41km (25 Miles) through the jungles of Laos by foot to the Mekong River. This is where they would escape to neighboring country of Thailand and seek refuge at a camp. For fear of being seen by communist soldiers and being killed the group only walked when the sun was down and stayed hidden within the foliage of the jungle during the day.  This was about a day and half hike on foot but when carrying small children it was even more grueling.

The young children not understanding what was going on around them continued to play, laugh and giggle in jungle not knowing how much danger they were in. If they were caught by communist soldiers it would be an immediate beheading, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, everybody would be killed on the spot.

The refugees came very close to being discovered at one point when they were nearing a highway;  trucks filled with communist soldiers were passing by. Since the sun was still out and as the foliage was light, hiding was very difficult. The leader of the group instructed everyone to lie down on the ground and be very still. This was a problem for the young family, as the 4 yr old son was still strapped on his father’s back and the daughter was strapped to mother’s hip. There was nothing they could do, the father laid down on the ground with his son on his back, the mother did the same, while she smushed her daughter’s face onto the ground so she would not make noise. They were on the ground for several minutes before all the trucks and people had passed them. Narrowly evading the communists, they breathed a sigh of relief and continued on their journey to the Mekong River.

Once they reached the Mekong River it was not completely safe there. The communists knew people were escaping Laos so as a deterrent they planted mines on the shore of the river. Before approaching the river the leader of the group used his flashlight to signal to the people helping from the Thai side of the Mekong River. Once the all the clear signal was received, a small boat was sent from the Thai side to pick up the group and bring them to Thailand. Before the boat made it to shore, someone used their paddle to scan for any mines, when it was cleared they shored up. The man on the boat quickly said he could only take a few at time but would return for the others. He pointed to the young family and said they were would be the first to go. Not hesitating the young family quickly jumped in the boat and started their way to freedom.

The boat ride to Thailand is a big milestone as many have been caught at the river and killed. Making it across the river gave the family hope. They knew they weren’t completely out of woods yet as they still had to travel to the refugee camp. They were told that once refugees make it to the camp they will first be imprisoned by the Thai government before being allowed in the refugee camp. When they finally reached the refugee camp fence they found it was closed for the holidays. Who knew they were shutting for Christmas and New Year’s? The family along with about 10 other people sought shelter in a small hut in a neighboring rice patty field. They would stay at the hut for a week before the refugee camp fences were re-opened.

When the refugee camp finally opened the family went there ready to be sent to prison first but to their surprise the police officer of the camp did not imprison the family. Instead he allowed them in the camp freely and imprisoned the others. The young family did not question the police officer and carried on into the camp as he instructed them to do. The family registered at the camp as refugees hoping that this would bring them freedom in another country.

The Thai refugee camp would be home for the family for 1 year. During the course of the year, some friends, cousins, uncles, aunts, and other relatives of the young family would later join them in camp. They all traveled through the dangerous Lao jungle in search of a better life. Conditions in the camp were horrible; people lived in poverty and were given small rations of rice daily. The family made do with what they had; the wife had a small garden for food and the young father and his cousin (who also had a family with 2 small children) built a hut house which the 2 young families would share while living in refugee camp.

The family was very lucky that they only had to stay in the camp for 1 year. There are others that have lived up to 5 -6 years in the refugee camp. On January 9th 1980, about a year from when they first made it into the camp, the family was granted refugee status and being sent to the US to start a new life. The family arrived in the US on January 18th, 1980 with no money in their pockets, did not speak English, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but a lifetime of dreams ahead of them.

The everyday hustle and bustle of life I go through is nothing like what this family had to endure. I am sure there are countless stories like this family that could be shared that would make any of us think twice about our problems and be thankful for what we have because others are not as fortunate. The fights over cheap TV’s during Black Friday at Walmart is just so irrelevant when there are people even still today that suffer in refugee camps in parts of the world.

Whenever I think about this story it makes think about what’s really important in life how thankful I am to be where I am today.  I am so thankful to have such a brave father and mother. They were so courageous for escaping our country; knowing if caught they would be killed and going into the unknown to seek a better life for us.

When I ask my father what made him want to leave and go into the jungle not knowing if we were going to make it or not, he responded “ I saw what the communist did to our people, I know what they are capable of doing and didn’t want that for us. I knew very little of what was out there but I knew it was better than what was coming if we stayed.”

What are you thankful for this year?

thankful

*These are the only baby photos the 2 young children have