July 24th, 2015 by NerdBlurt

I can’t describe it any better then a funk to write over the last few months. I have had several conversations and the desire to write something just hasn’t been there. But i enjoy writing so why have I not been doing so? I have at least four partial drafts for work blog posts.

Let me ask this fellow bloggers.. how do you deal with this funk?

I am motivated to learn new things as I’ve been playing around with learning coding stuff, just because I want to make something I think is cool and useful to me, maybe I should write about some of that and the challenges there.  I’ve thought of writing about my transition to my role over the last year at HP and that has been a whirlwind of goodness but such a professional and personal growth..so maybe I will share some of those tribulations and trials.

Desk of Blurt

Nerd’s Blurt

This is just a quick post to start to get back into the swing of things, think i might do more of these random little thought posts…

Blurt out

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

The PowerCLI Cookbook by Phillip Sellers is an excellent resource for any skill level, whether you are a beginner or looking for a great reference to have with you.

PowerCLI Cookbook by Phillip Sellers

First and foremost, this book far exceeds what I expect out of a technology cookbook. If you step back and think about a (food) cookbook you get the recipe for what you are going to make (i.e. what you are going to do in PowerCLI) and the ingredients to make it (i.e. the cmdlets necessary to perform the task). Phillip took that a step further and began the cookbook with how to actually start the oven, or in this case a simple recipe to connect to vCenter and get started using PowerCLI.

The chapters in the book are laid out very well, starting with basic hosts related tasks, before moving on to vCenter, virtual machines, and other more complex scenarios – the build up in this format makes it excellent for those who are new to PowerCLI, or even VMware for that matter. Each recipie also has a “how it works” section where the components use are explained (no one has ever told me how food flavors work together!).

You could quite literally use the book to just about stand up a complete vSphere environment as all the major topics such as networking, datastores, clusters, and virtual machine management (including using PowerCLI to invoke in guest scrips) is covered.

**Disclaimer – I have a book published with Packt Publishing and spoke to Phillip before he decided to write the book. This book was provided to me by the author but the review was not read, or approved by Phillip, it is simply my opinion on the book and its contents.**

Yummy! – PowerCLI Cookbook Review by Phillip Sellers (@pbsellers)

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

There were two software related announcements at EMC World this week which I found very exciting. Building on the free for no production use of RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines from VMworld 2014, EMC announced the same for ScaleIO. ScaleIO allows you build your own Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution (HCI). This is the same software used in the new VxRack from VCE which was also announced at EMC World.

CoprHDIn addition to ScaleIO, EMC also announced CoprHD which is an open source version of EMC ViPR (@coprhd). ViPR (which is also free for non production use) is a solution that allows you to manage multiple arrays and present those as virtual volumes to hosts. In addition to managing the arrays, it also provides a self-service and automation at the storage layer. EMC ViPR also supports ScaleIO, assuming this carries over to CoprHD you could deploy a fully managed, and automated storage solution on commodity hardware for test/dev or QA (I hope they publish more specific guidelines on just what they mean by “non-production”).

Last, but not least, the community version of the VNXe which you can use to provide full block and file servers on commodity hardware. The vVNX will later come in a supported ROBO and cloud edition.

My hope is that CoprHD, ScaleIO, and the community edition of the vVNX will lead to more solutions being open sourced and offered in a free to use model. CoprHD should be available on GitHub by June, ScaleIO by the end of May, whereas the vVNX is available now for download.

 

New free software from EMC to build your own SDS solution

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

As a Windows user I have been looking for a good markdown tool to write in, however most of the tools freely available have been mediocre at best. Enter Visual Studio Code, a (currently) free download from Microsoft that codesupports Windows, OSX, and Linux (OSX/open source gear heads take notice – write software cross platform!). You can download Code without any login from vistualstudio.com.

Once downloaded, it is a pretty a-typical install, no next, next, next – it just works! The UI takes a bit of poking around to get comfortable with, but after just a few minutes all seemed to be working as expected.

Below you can see an example of some markdown syntax in Code.

code-markdown

The toolbar at the top of the image

toolbar

allows you to change between split screen or single screen and, as I have done above show a preview of what you are writing. This is just a quick hands on, you can see how simple it is to get started. Now that I have found a tool that seems work properly in Windows, my next step is to find a tool for markdown presentations that is also easy to use (in Windows of course:) )

Hands on with Microsoft Visual Studio Code @code

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April 23rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

A couple of weeks ago a question was posted on the Ansible LinkedIn group stemming from an Ansible role for security CentOS. The question, whether Automation is the only way to ensure security. My brief social media shorted response was

Completely agree. If you aren’t automating then you can’t really claim to be secure

This caused some fuss on the post, with most disagreeing with me. Now I stand by my answer, you cannot be secure if you are not automating, but to further my answer, you are not necessarily secure just because you are automating. Security is not just something you turn on, said another way its not binary, you don’t just turn on security. Security consists of many layers, not the least of which is truly understanding your companies business, goals, requirements, processes, and people. With that understanding, you can now apply any specific security measures you may need to abide by. For example if accept credit cards then appropriate safe guards need to be taken to ensure data is encrypted and certain elements such as the validation number are not stored.

Now, if you are not adhering to those requirements, there is no automation process in the world that can secure you. However, even with the most specific of run books, security teams, engineers, and auditors ensuring you have done everything technically possible to ensure security, you cannot truly say you are secure with a means to automate the installation, and configuration as you have defined them.

heartbleedAnother argument in the group discussion was that automation can also lead to widespread vulnerabilities by opening security holes. And while this is true, my previous statements still hold true – you need to have the proper security processes, and details in place before you automate them. Now, say for example, something like Heartbleed comes along again – how quickly would it take you to patch even 10 systems? What about 100? or 1000 if you are doing it by hand? Much longer than it would take to leverage something to patch the systems automatically.

Automation, configuration management, devops; none of these things are a panacea – however security teams should need be relying on automation, not manual efforts to configure, and secure systems.

Security needs automation, but automation does not mean you are secure

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