Posted in Business

Parenting & Business Units

The title of this post already gives an idea of my thought process. Over the years, I’ve been involved in setting up and running a few start ups/business units and I currently work for a organisation that has spun up a number of business units that will push out new products into the market

There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in launching a new idea into the deep which common with this terrain. One of such fears comes with how to allocate resources from the parent organisation to its subsidiaries.

I usually like to use the analogy of parenting to describe how I feel this challenge should be tackled.

As a parent, I nuture my children from birth to adulthood. While they are with me and under my roof, I fend for them, feed them and handle all their bills. I also help them to find their footing, I guide their dreams and I provide direction and advise. Once they come of age, I will need to step back and let them stand on their own. At that time, most (if not all) the support is removed for two reasons – the first, is that I want them to no longer feel the need to rely on me. The second reason is that I wasn’t them to grow strong enough and possibly rise better than I ever did.

Now let’s juxtapose this idea of parenting unto the parent company and the subsidiary. I believe the same should be the case. Businesses should not start up a subsidiary and expect that small/weak company to somehow support the larger organisation. That would be an unfair expectation.

Rather, the parent organisation should for a limited time support and handle the bills of the child company up and until a time when that child company can support itself and can stand on its own.

Sadly, when this is not done, in most cases it leads to the death of those subsidiaries. I’ve seen a lot of these in the industry in recent years.

Obviously, starting up a subsidiary or spinning up a new business unit is not as simplistic. In fact, it’s one of the most complex aspects of a business and there are many, many things to consider and set in place for success.

Posted in Technology

Why every design should include VMware vSAN

vSAN is VMware’s enterprise-class storage virtualization solution. In other words, it is a virtual storage solution. If you’re familiar with server virtualization, this concept of virtual storage is easy to understand.

Intro

So, let’s start with a quick introduction to virtualization. Virtualization in simple terms refers to the process of creating software copies of a server/computer’s physical resources. Physical resources here refers to memory, CPU, storage and networking.

Enter vSAN

Now that you have an understanding of server virtualization. You can understand storage virtualization as a process of replacing the physical components of a typical storage with a distributed software based storage system.

VMware’s official definition is;

vSAN is enterprise-class, storage virtualization software that, when combined with vSphere, allows you to manage compute and storage with a single platform. With vSAN, you can reduce the cost and complexity of traditional storage and take the easiest path to future ready hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud. Evolve to an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution with vSAN to improve business agility, all while speeding operations and lowering costs.

One of the main benefits for me of using vSAN over a traditional storage array is the fact that it provides a greater redundancy than your traditional storage. In essence, vSAN gets rid of the dreadful SPOF which beseeches every design. SPOF stands for Single Point of Failure. Eliminating single points of failures is a key design requirement because a single point of failure in an infrastructure could render the entire platform unavailable. I’ve experienced this and its painful 🙁

Posted in Life

There is a string

When I listen to some amazing songs like Casting Crowns, One Awkward Moment, I can’t help but wonder how these artists were able to write words and compose melodies to go with those words.

Did Mark Hall know his words and songs would speak to someone on the other side of the planet? Or is it just one big coincidence.

Is man made of the same stuff that allows a single cord to run through us all?

Or is it just one massive conspiracy theory. Is it a scientific experiment or the product of some calculations done on a computer somewhere that can tell the artist that a combination of certain words and certain cords would produce a certain emotion result in humans.

As an engineer, this makes more sense for my logical, analytical mind but I think I am just giving man too much credit.

There is a string and there’s a weaver of those strings.

Posted in Technology

The ISCSI device shows up as “Not consumed”

A few months ago, my team ran into a problem when we tried to mount a VMFs datastore with ISCSI backed LUN to particular hosts in a cluster. At the time all hosts were running VMware ESXi 6.7 U3

Problem

We had purchased a few new servers and for some reason, the VMFS datastore which was already connected to the existing servers in the current cluster was not showing up properly.

The ISCSI device shows up in the storage devices section of the vSphere client but the datastore displays “Not consumed”

We had escalated to VMware support but they pointed us to the storage vendor referring to the logs that show that the connection between the two was being dropped. We had also tried formatting the datastore but that didn’t work either. It just gave an error – “Failed to create VMFS datastore Test – Cannot change the host configuration

Solution

I decided to set up a nested ESXi to try to simulate the issue since we didn’t have any spare servers to test it on. I downloaded the appliances from William Lam’s site – virtuallyghetto – https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/nested-virtualization/nested-esxi-virtual-appliance

Decided to try out 6.7 then 7.0. For some reason the appliance deployment for 6.7 failed so I went ahead to use the 7.0 appliance.

After installing and configuring the hypervisor as I would the physical server, I went on to configure the iSCSI software adapter as well and voila! I could see, mount and create a datastore from the LUN.

I went on to upgrade one of the hosts that were previously not connecting and it worked. I guess the conclusion is that the issue, whatever it was, was fixed in v7.0

Update:

After upgrading a few hosts we realized the issue still occurs on some of the hosts. This meant that the issue was not with the version of ESXi.

We took another look at the hosts that were working and compared them with those that were not and realized that it appears the MTU was different. Some hosts had 9000 and some others had 1500. The MTU was really not consistent all through.

Solution

We changed the MTU on the hosts that were not connecting to the storage and that solved the issue. It was amazing that after a few weeks of troubleshooting, the issue rested on the MTU.

Anyway, unto the next discovery….