Archive for December, 2013


Group Projects

Saw this pie chart on Twitter (yes I know it was more of a joke) on what group projects are supposed to teach us:

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But this is how we really feel:

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As a person who has been spending the last two years working on a huge “group project” I felt in a way that this was true in my life. But why? Is it because the right people haven’t been included or more that it’s hard for us to pass tasks off to others. My answer, both. I started over communicating to the point others probably created a junk rule on my emails. I only collaborated with putting documents and Visio drawings in Sharepoint. The in person meetings felt repetitive when tasks were stalled on any given reason and we couldn’t move forward anymore. Eventually we finished the core tasks so that we could move forward with production.

Now how do we fix the root of this problem?

Accountability, done effectively, is a skill you can develop just like any other skill, and while it is not a difficult skill to acquire and hone, it does require a high degree of conscious effort. When you do it right, you’ll also find it the fastest way to improve morale…


Is it morale? Obviously when I do something wrong (forget to change subnet on NAS/iSCSI, doh!) my morale is low but I don’t let it destroy my ability to function. Your morale needs to be a personal encouragement every day. Hold yourself accountable to the group. You were asked or assigned to it for a reason. If you feel like you cannot, ask why you were brought into the project.

Getting people engaged in their work so that they invest in and take personal ownership of the results you need to achieve is a fundamental management imperative.

While the above quote says management, I feel that is our personal obligation as well. If you are the leader of this group then it is also your responsibility to try and keep everyone involved. But ultimately this day and age we shouldn’t need someone to keep us involved. (Unless you are an evil Project Manager!)

If you feel I am off base or agree please let me know.

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OUIT Shared Services – 2013

This year has been packed with things that we’ve been doing in S2 at University of Oklahoma.  We went production with both data centers in OKC and Norman being a stretched cluster.  Brought up vCloud Director to give our users self provisioning and better visibility into their environment.  This meant we had to get storage, both block and file, working across then we even upgraded the controllers for the Dell Compellent SAN.  We were able to do this with little to no downtime to our customers which proved what we designed it to do.

Now was it all easy and full of great smelling flowers?  No way.  I would love to say we can engineer an active/active data center with no issues.  But we have enough great engineers to quickly resolve or remedy a problem.  I’d say over all phase 1 of S2 is going pretty well.  If it wasn’t I doubt I would have been able to present over it on a vBrownBag podcast or a session at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.  Now that was exciting, not everyone can say they spoke at a conference that is attended by 22,000+ people from around the world.

Phase 1 included:

  • Two Active/Active Datacenters (OKC and Norman with Tulsa being a separate data center for now)
  • 4 Dell Compellent SANs (2 each DC) with 800 TB RAW all together – largest environment in Oklahoma currently
  • 2 EMC Isilon NAS (1 each DC) with around 250 TB that can replicate to each other
  • 4 Cisco 7K’s (2 each DC) and multiple 5K’s and 2K’s that are linked together using either our dark fiber between us or OneNET’s path.
  • Juniper SRX firewalls
  • Palo Alto for IPS/IDS
  • 16 vSphere ESXi 5.1 general cluster nodes (8 each DC/Dell PowerEdge blades)
  • vCloud Director 5.5/vCOPS 5.7
  • View 5.2 (OKC only for now)

Phase 2 will be finishing the upgrade of our VMware environment to vCloud Suite 5.5 and seeing what vCAC 6 could bring to the table.  More training is already scheduled for our Operations and Design teams on vCloud Director, vCOPS, View and CommVault.  Simpana 10 backup is installed and configured but slowly rolling this out so we can finish up transitioning this into Shared Services as an offering to our customers.

It will be a busy year for us in 2014 but it will be a ride.. time will tell if it’s a great, good or heck of one!

Many thanks goes out to:

  • My coworkers, specifically David Stricklin (@strickfila) for backing me up when needed/keeping me in check and our VP David Horton (@hortonhearsyou) for doing all that he does for OU/OUHSC.
  • Sean O’Dell (@theseanodell) from VMware on always assisting me the OKC VMUG, keeping us up-to-date with VMW products and co-presenting at VMworld.
  • The vBrownBag community (@vbrownbag/#vbrownbag) like Jon Harris (@thevcacguy), Damian Karlson (@sixfootdad), Cody Bunch (@cody_bunch) and many others.  Check them out at http://www.professionalvmware.com
  • The VMUG community (@myvmug) as a whole and there’s not another one like it.
  • Also all past and current vExperts to which I’m thankful to say I am 1 out of 581 to be named in 2013.

If you do have Twitter, I highly recommend following these people as well as our Shared Services (@ouits2) and OKC VMUG (@OKCVMUG) pages to see what is going on for 2014.

There are several podcasts that I recommend besides just vBrownBag: