Category Archives: General

HPE Stealthily Buys Nimble Storage – Someone was bound to do it

Today heralds a shock to the IT industry, even though many kept asking “when will someone snap up Nimble Storage”, I think we can say that HPE was not the company we expected to do it, especially after the purchase of Simplivity just a month and half ago.

Nimble Storage and HPE today announced the sale, via the following posts;

Below is a HPE slide shared by Nick Dyer highlighting the main points why HPE took the plunge and opened the wallets for Nimble Storage.

Looking back

The storage industry for the big players has been pretty static until the likes of Nimble Storage, Tintri, and Tegile hit out with innovative ways of addressing todays storage needs. Its well documented that one of the biggest losers was NetApp, unable to adapt, and finding unhappy customers turning to other vendors in the market.

Nimble Storage quickly found their way to the top of the pile, amongst the new wave of storage startups, leaving their new age competitors to suffer.

It’s not all been plain sailing

Nimble Storage hit a slight stall in their market share take over, they have great success with their adaptive platform, but as flash disks became cost-effective for day-to-day production use, Nimble were slow to react in getting an “All Flash Array” to the market, leaving other vendors such as Pure Storage to forge their niche in the market. Managing to (eventually) bounce back with a solid offering in the all flash market, Nimble have now cornered themselves as the solid competition against the big players in the market, e.g. Dell/EMC, HPE, NetApp.

Innovation is hard to do

I asked Joe Baugley in a interview recently what changes we should expect with the bigger vendors in the IT industry;

"The challenge comes when some organisations are too big and institutionalized to know what it is they do any more and what they should be doing."

HP is facing strong competition in almost all areas of the IT markets it competes in, and the successful churning beast has realised its time to reinvent or get left behind, reminiscing somewhat in the wake of the decline and rebirth of Microsoft. Splitting the company into two separate parts, HP and HPE, has possibly been the saviour of HP. It allows the company to concentrate on the deadwood in strategic sections, and trim down any bulk that’s been left unchecked over the years.

This doesn’t fix one of the immediate issues however, when you are a huge company, how do you innovate? The answer we generally see is “you don’t, you just buy someone who is”.

It can be argued that 3PAR has been a success for HPE (as part of an acquisition), however it faces strong competition in the storage market, and is by no way the golden goose in the coop.

Meg Whitman alluded the fact that acquisitions for HPE will be on the way, as the company becomes more “nimbler” in its ability to act, and address the markets it competes in.

Nimble Storage is more than just storage

For most people, this purchase is a no brainer. Nimble Storage are disruptive, and for all the right reasons. It was only a matter of time before someone made them an offer they could not refuse, was HPE the expected contender? Not in most people’s books. It’s a great move for HPE, although the dust has yet to settle, it’s already being touted that Nimble Storage plugs the gap between the HP MSA and 3PAR portfolio. For me, it’s a daft comparison, I think it offers something more than just a plug to a portfolio gap.

Nimble Storage offer an innovate way of decoupling performance from the disks, so you can easily scale performance or capacity as needed. Fix the adage, if you need performance, add more disks. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

For many customers and prospective customers, its Infosight that’s the jewel in the crown. Built from the ground up, the cloud analytics platform offers a unique selling point no other vendor can match.

This is selling point for Nimble, no longer do they go to a customer and spend their time in a contest as to who has the better specs when coming up against vendor X. Instead they take customers on a journey, selling the benefits of more than just fast storage, showing customers how to understand their environment and get the best from it, ensuring that the next 5 years plus are catered for in a purchase made today.

They offer a unique vision for a customer, especially those who have suffered resource sprawl in their environments, unable to get an insight into their platforms without a major cost to the business. Nimble Storage offers a gateway to allowing customers to capture this information, all included with the purchase of a storage array, focusing on only one of the benefits of Nimble Storage versus the competition.

And this is without mentioning the recently announced Nimble Cloud Volumes, and alternative way to get your data into the cloud, but providing better availability guarantees than AWS or Azure. Ironically announced just before the AWS outage.

What’s next? Unanswered questions

Today’s announcement leaves many questions, which will no doubt be answered as the dust settles;

  • What happens with the Cisco partnership
  • What happens with the Lenovo partnership
  • Have HPE bought Nimble for the innovation, or to remove them as competition to 3PAR
  • What will a rebranded Nimble look like?
  • Is Nimble Cloud Volumes a viable way for HPE to enter back into the cloud market?
  • What does this mean for Tintri and Tegile?

It’s safe to say at the moment its business as usual, whether you are a prospective customer, or an existing customer. Today’s announcement should give you confidence in Nimble Storage as a product, earmarking them as the leader of the next generation storage devices. If you are a Tintri or Tegile customer, you may well be asking yourself if you have invested in the wrong product.

HPE, in my books, can only looking to expand on Nimble’s success, utilizing the Infosight model further, and starting to approach all hardware integrations the same. If HPE can pull this off, it means their portfolio will complement one another better. Imagine having the Infosight like data and analytics for your HP Blade Chassis? Nimble were almost at that point working with Lenovo to achieve something similar, whereby they would have a full stack solution monitoring. But we will probably see this now with HPE products instead.

I sign off by hoping that this purchase is positive for all the employees of Nimble Storage, they are a great set of guys and girls there, and truly one of the better vendors I’ve worked with. So now we sit and wait to see how HPE can push Nimble Storage’s success further.

Interview – Dave Kawula – MVP, Consultant, Author

2017 is kicking off with my third interview blog post, this time focusing on Dave Kawula, MVP and author focusing on Microsoft Technologies. Let’s kick off straight into the interview itself, Dave likes to type! Longest interview yet, but its a great read.

(Dave is the one on the left, little known fact, but there is more pictures of Dave and Clint Wyckoff together on twitter than Dave and his wife πŸ™‚ )

The interview is split into three area’s of discussion;

  • Life and Worklife
  • Thoughts on the industry
  • Thoughts for those working in IT, and those wanting to work in IT
Lets kick off with a brief introduction of yourself

I’m a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. My background includes data communications networks within multi-server environments, led architecture teams for virtualization, System Center, Exchange, Active Directory, and Internet gateways. Very active within the Microsoft technical and consulting teams, providing deep-dive technical knowledge and subject matter expertise on various System Center and operating system topics. Continue reading Interview – Dave Kawula – MVP, Consultant, Author

Interview – Matt Crape – Community Blogger & IT Manager

In the second interview, Matt Crape of a blog around everything IT, is the person answering the questions. I’d personally been following Matt after his website went live and had the fortune of spending some time with him in London as part of the Veeam Vanguard program.

(Matt is the guy on the right, seen here undertaking a vBrownbag Meet the Expert chat)

So Matt, you’ve made a big impact on the community in a short time, congrats, but tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for that compliment πŸ™‚ I’m an IT Manager by day at an SMB in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, in Canada. I do all the typical managerial stuff like budgets, handling vendor contracts, personnel, etc. But, I also try to stay somewhat technical. I still find myself routinely tinkering around in vSphere, maybe some networking, or just looking at things from a higher level (e.g. reviewing backup and disaster recovery plans).
Outside of my day job, I’m also a first-time vExpert for 2016, a Veeam Vanguard, and I run my own local Veeam User Group. I’m somewhat active on Twitter (@MattThatITGuy), and when 140 characters aren’t enough, you can find a selection of my ramblings atΒ
What is the biggest challenge you have in your job day to day at the moment?

Continue reading Interview – Matt Crape – Community Blogger & IT Manager

Interview – Joe Baguley, VMware EMEA CTO

A while ago, I had the brilliant idea to interview people and peer from the IT industry, from different area’s, such as end users/customers, resellers, and vendors. So to kick this off, I started by asking around those who I know in the community.

First up is Joe Baguley of VMware, to many he needs no introduction, after countless keynote speeches at various conferences, and a stalwart in the IT community.

Below I stumbled on a picture of Joe pre-beard, chickens and cats from 2009.

So a lot of people will know you from events, and the keynote speeches you give (Chickens and cats), but outside of that, can you give us an insight into the other things you work in?

Customers and strategy.Β  I essentially manage and maintain communication between our field folks and R&D. Whether that is meeting with CIOs and their teams at our customers myself, or working with the CTO Ambassadors here at VMware who help me scale that role, mostly I spend my time keeping on top of what is and isn’t working, what our customers and the market are doing and planning to do and making sure we are all doing the right things.Β  I spend time with our R&D leaders and our Sales & Technical leaders to keep things together.Β  Both sides look to me for opinion and thoughts on what is going on, and the best way to approach things.

If we look at the big vendors in IT, Dell are merging with EMC, HP split into two distinct companies and offloaded their professional services arm, IBM offloaded their hardware to Lenovo.Β  What things should we expect on the horizon for big changes with the big companies? Continue reading Interview – Joe Baguley, VMware EMEA CTO

Powershell – Get-ADuser and output the homedrives to CSV file

I had a customer with around 27 file servers used as locations for AD home drives. We needed to do some analysis on which users used which server, as things like DFS or a strategy of where to place users were not in place. So PowerShell to the rescue.

A simple version of this script is;

get-aduser -Filter * -properties * | select DisplayName,Enabled,HomeDirectory,LastLogonDate,CanonicalName | Export-csv -path c:\scripts\userhomefolder.csv

I created this more complex script after the amount of unique objects exceeded the maximum filter within excel, so by splitting into a file per server fixed this.

First off, create an array with the multiple file servers, then used the “foreach” command to loop a PowerShell command with each file server name.

We look into all user’s in AD and output to a CSV file any users with file server X into a CSV file.

#Add the AD module into the Powershell session
Import-module ActiveDirectory

#Array containing each File Server, can be FQDN or short name
$fileservers = 'FS1','FS2','FS3'

#Loop to run a script for each object in the array against all AD users, outputs in CSV to C:\ folder
Foreach ($fileserver in $Fileservers)
get-aduser -Filter * -properties * | select DisplayName,Enabled,HomeDirectory,LastLogonDate,CanonicalName | Where {$_.HomeDirectory -like "*$fileserver*"} |Export-csv -path c:\scripts\userhomefolder2-$fileserver.csv