Sep 172015

Seems a rather vague question right?

It can depend on any number of variables:

  • Weather
  • Speed
  • Tyre type
  • Tyre condition
  • Age of the driver
  • etc

I know starting a tech blog post off by talking about the stopping distance of a car is odd but I wanted to make a point as this is relates to a question I was asked by a customer recently.

A fairly snr figure in my customer organisation asked me in a public forum “How long does it take to power on a Vblock”. With the benefit of hindsight (isn’t that a wonderful thing), I should not have even entertained trying to answer his question in that forum. But of course I tried, with both parties dissatisfied of the quality of my answer.

As I tend not to give disappointing answers to questions this has troubled me for a few weeks now. Analysing my response over and over didnt seem to resolve my issues with my answer so I have come to the following conclusion

Fundamentally the question was floored!

For example is he referring to how long it takes to boot up the individual components after power outage? Is he referring to getting the base level virtual infrastructure back up (likes of vSphere etc)? Or is he (as i suspect) referring to how long it takes the application to be back to a state where they can run their services?

Each view point has a plethora of facets that need to be factored in to the SLA variables, like below just to mention a few:

  • MTTR – Mean Time To Recovery
  • RTO – Recovery Time Objective
  • RPO – Recovery Point Objective

In a mixed workload environment (which this is) it is common to see different workloads having different SLAs within the same system, and depending on the logical setup around each of those workloads (cluster settings, SRM, Stretched DC clusters etc) each SLA can vary wildly.

Thus, “How long does it take to Power on a Vblock” is not only an impossible question to answer (without a multitude of variables to support the questions) but its fundamentally the wrong question as each application will take differing levels of time to restore fully.

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May 062011

I have always been a confident when it comes to presenting, be it a deck I prepared myself or someone else’s. It will not surprise you that around 95% of all presentations I do are based on PowerPoint slides with a projector along with a whiteboard. If on the odd occasion no projector is available (can happen at customer sites) then there is nearly always a whiteboard to illustrate the points you want to portray. Even if that is not available then you can always huddle round a screen.

So how did I get caught out?

Not planning for every possibility when it comes to the customers circumstances.

I checked prier to the meeting I had the following:

  • Knowledge of the subject
  • Fully charged laptop – VGA & DVI cables
  • Slide deck on USB and on laptop
  • Whiteboard Pens

This usually is enough for me to give a good presentation. Unfortunately the leading technical manager who was heading the customer project was completely blind!!!

Giving a presentation without the usual visual aids was difficult even when you know your subject inside out but to not have prepared for it was even worse. Explaining a new technology to someone with only words is not as simple as it sounds when there are many aspects to the technology and its very easy to stray and forget where/what you really want to portray.

I now ensure that I have with me not only a printed version of my slide deck for me to refer to but also bulleted headings and key terms I want to get across. This allows me to keep a the presentation flow going and allows me to get back on track if I stray or get asked impromptu questions.

Its going to be pretty rare that I come across this situation unexpectedly again but I now better prepare myself for these types of situations.

As for how it went……. I managed to blag it and it went down well but someone less confident or less knowledgeable on their subject may struggle in this type situation so be warned – BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!!.

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Jan 032011

I have been pretty quiet over the last couple of months both on my blog and on twitter. Anyone that knows me will know this is quite unusual.

While I have missed the interaction with my fellow geeks I needed to re-charge my batteries and get my focus back. I had been contracting for over 2 years and felt it was the right time to take a short brake and spend the time with my family. Over 2 months later and I feel refreshed and ready to take on anything that can be thrown at me. Also spending 24/7 with your family can really make you want to go back to work. (my other half does not read my blog 😉

So while quite a few of you reading this may already be aware that I have accepted a new role I thought I would let the rest of my readers know. I have left the uncertain and quite frankly unfriendly world of contracting behind me and have gone back to the warm embrace of permanent work. While I’m sure Mr tax man will also be rubbing his hands in anticipation at this news I felt the opportunity was far to great to turn down.

I am now a Virtualisation Specialist/Consultant for BTInet. I wont go into great detail about BTInet but if you would like to find out more about the company please visit the website bellow.

BTInet Home

So expect lots of posts on Clouds, UCS, vBlocks, Flexpods and VMware. You may also see some posts on VMware’s rivals also.

I am looking to keep my hand in with the communities as networking is a fantastic way to meet like minded people and contribute my own opinions. All being well (and if I’m aloud) I will be attending the London VMUG in Feb and the next vBeers.

I am very exited about 2011 and it couldn’t have got off to a better start. I’m sure January is going to be a mentally busy month for me but I’m sure it will be immensely enjoyable also.

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Oct 252010

Here’s a list of Visio stencils and other images I use in addition to the standard. I am intending this list to grow as and when I come across new or undiscovered sources.


Quality VMware specific stencils.


Josh Townsend – VMtoday:

Josh has some great stencils and images at


Data Dr:

Good for using some of the images and creating your own individual images.

SoftGrid Stencils


All the usual networking related stencils .but some really useful Unified Computing stencils.

Virtualisation Related Cisco Stencils

General Icons

Hyper-v Stencil

Some very good home made stencils.

Jonathan Cussons Stencil


VMware specific stencils of very good quality.

VMware community doc 1

VMware community doc 2


Visio Cafe:

Huge set of stencils for any need.

Visio Cafe Home Page

Maish Saidel-Keesing:

Very good Stencils and PP.

Stencils and PP




VNX Stencils (you will need a powerlink account)

Xtravirt Presentation Pack 2.1


Useful rack stencils

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