Dell EMC World – Day 1, the breakouts

Breakout session – Turbo charge your VDI project.

The last time I was at a major industry conference I had no need to attend any VDI sessions, but the only constant is change and that holds true in IT as well. Fast forward a few months and Horizon falls under my purview.

@andrewduce There’s a cake. A carrot cake. Seriously. Why? ok…

Recipes, ingredients (esp. best of breed, I think I can see where this is going), and time. The analogy is do you build your own cake, you have most of the ingredients or do you buy it? Build or Buy, it’s a subject that I focus on in one of my latest presentation proposals. It’s a subject that affects many of us, especially in the SMB space. Build is cheaper and more configurable, but it comes at a cost namely time and (lack of) experience. Buy is typically validated and faster to deploy, but you pay a premium for that. In the end it’s really a question of what you and your organization value.

If you want to buy it’s the Dell Technology view that you can stack vRO, VMware horizon and vSphere on top of vxRail to go for that integrated buy approach.

The kind folks at VMware offer a reference architecture on how to get onto Horizon 7. The also go through the effort to give you a bench-marking whitepaper to show you that the solution works.  And they also give you a set of VDI focused VxRail choices. How kind!

When you look at VDI, you need to take apart the various layers. What does that actually mean? In your golden image, don’t store software, separate out your application layer with a layering technology. Don’t add user settings to your app layer, use a technology to separate out the profile elements. By doing this if you go with best in breed, VDI becomes much more scalable than it was in earlier iterations. Combine this with VMware technologies like Instant Clones and App Volumes and suddenly you can significantly reduce your time to deliver value to your users.

The timing of this session is really perfect. I went through some demo’s in the past few weeks on Horizon, App Volumes and Smart policies. Smart policies is the one piece that I couldn’t get my head wrapped around until now. It seems like it’s a rule based approach to how you can dynamically control your end users environment, allowing them to seamlessly move from area to area and get updated settings based on location. Cool!

I’m impressed. A VMware guy said that Citrix is good. It’s in the context of “we can support anything”, but I like the honesty.

Just when I thought the session was over, a new offering being announced for a Dell EMC VDI complete solution. On prem as low as $8/user/month. Wow.

Breakout session – Tackle the Security challenge of Endpoints without End

The laptop is dying, had to revert to bullet points on the phone for this one

  •  ~10% of attendees have been hit by ransoms ware
  • No silver bullet, must look at things in depth, to reduce risk.
  • Ransomwares rise in prevalence is because it’s easier for bad guys to monetize.
  • Protect by anti malware-> signature based doesn’t go far enough any more. Machine based learning.
  • Backup is your special team. If something gets in, it’s your only real answer. They must be: PiT. Off site. Airgapped. Immutable.
  • Airwatch can protect remote employees. Play offense by being proactive, shrink the attack surface.
  • User most vulnerable. If compromised, have to limit access at endpoint.
  • Have to know what normal looks like. What indicators of compromise exist on a machine. Analogy of house and security cameras. You have to know when someone gets in.
  • New approach to move beyond signature based. Heuristic. Machine learning. Etc. look at behavior and/or what’s under the covers (i.e. The code) attributes of the code.

Not a lot of new content, but it’s nice to hear that the Dell EMC Technologies are thinking about this and how they can all work together.

Breakout session – DevOps & Itil

Last session of the day before I head off to a networking event. I saved a little bit of laptop juice especially for this session. You don’t have to spend long on this blog to understand that I love this topic. See my posts on The Phoenix Project, Get Out of ITThe Order of the Phoenix – The Prequel, etc to see my love. Perhaps I need to get a new infatuation point.

Finally! Someone agrees with me, Stanley Kubrik does make for engaging metaphors! No, well yes, but no I mean that Itil and DevOps can (and should) co-exist. I love that @md_schneider & @bverkley start this off with definitions. One of the biggest points of confusion around these topics is a lack of a common language. I won’t hash out the details again, just visit previous links for more details. 

Interesting that the talk starts on with a chat about Agile, Kanban and their practices have to be reflected in their principles and practices and vice-versa. DevOps is the principle and ITIL is the practice. I love it.

The principles of DevOps are Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and sharing. DevOps is not a tool, it’s a mindset and these values should be reflected in your practices (ITIL).

Culture is hard. Referenced heavily, gotta add this one to the reading list. Problems with DevOps are often due to conflicts within your organization and their culture. If more managers understood this, you’d see a lot more silo’s getting broken down.

“Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.” – Conway’s Law. Whoa.

Automation is to DevOps as telescopes are to astronomy. It’s a tool. It’s not the thing. You need to attack the hard stuff, but don’t start there. Start with creating, it’s lower risk. Make it an iterative process. Create->Verify->Package->Release->Configure->Monitor and then you’ve covered the whole DevOps tool chain.

“Automate the lifecycle”

laptop’s… dying…


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