Storage Field Day 2: Next Week!

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to do THIS kind of disclaimer!

Next week, I’m going to embark on a fun journey known as Storage Field Day 2! Sure, I spent most of last year helping Stephen Foskett organize and run them (and heck, I even got to emcee a Virtualization Field Day!), but this will be different because I’m coming back as a delegate!

As a loyal blog reader, you’ll no doubt be exposed to the things that I’m checking out and find interesting. If you follow me on twitter, then you’ll get to experience them in real-time. God help you.

So, I’ve got that whole “Blog With Integrity” badge thing going on, and I want to take this time to give you the lowdown on how things are arranged, financially speaking.

Gestalt IT, the company who runs Tech Field Day directly pays for my travel arrangements and my lodging during the event. I do not receive money for attending Tech Field Day.

The companies who present at Tech Field Day pay Gestalt IT to be there. They don’t pay us. We aren’t there to be cheerleaders, we’re there to critically evaluate and investigate. They obviously want us to say nice things, but they understand that we will be honest. If I say something is cool, it’s because I think it’s cool – it’s not because someone asked me to say that it’s cool.

Because this is a good marketing opportunity for the companies taking part, they usually shower us with gifts that you would be able to get if you went to their booth at a tradeshow. Shirts, pens, pads of paper, flash drives, and so on. I’m not going to break it down per company unless someone goes above and beyond the norm. You can consider it a safe bet that, if we visit a company’s headquarters, we have a flash drive with that company’s logo.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I’m not going to say nice things about someone just because they give me a 2GB flash drive when I can go to a store and buy a 32GB USB 3.0 drive for $30. I appreciate that people give us flash drives, because they usually hold things like marketing material, white papers, slide decks, and so on, but it doesn’t curry favor. It gives me reference material.

So anyway, there you go. I’ll be in San Jose for almost all of next week. Sorry for the volume of tweets you’ll see. You will be able to follow along live, too, because we’ll be streaming at, so make sure to keep up with what we’re doing. Twitter hashtag is #SFD2.

Interview with SolarWinds on Thwack

I got a chance to sit down the other day with Jennifer Kuvlesky from Solar Winds as part of a new feature they’re starting, called the IT Blog Spotlight. I was happy to be their second interview, right behind my good friend Tom Hollingsworth.

Jennifer did a heroic job of condensing down our 35+ minute interview into something readable. We talked about why I went into blogging, how it has affected my professional career, how great it is to hear from my reader, and more.

You can read the entire thing at Thwack.

As a disclaimer, Solar Winds does buy advertising on this blog. That had absolutely nothing to do with the interview. I’ve been to the Solar Winds HQ in Austin because of my affiliation with Tech Field Day, and while I genuinely like the company and the people I’ve met there, I don’t use the software, so I can’t advocate for or against it. I just want to be up front with you, so that you understand there’s no shenanigans going on.

Hurricane Sandy Prep Steps

(A reader has taken the time to translate this post into Russian)

As I write, here’s the current landfall forecast for Hurricane Sandy:

As you can see, it’s a decently sized hurricane that’s projected to make landfall somewhere between the Research Triangle in North Carolina and Boston, MA. The center of that range is the northeastern corridor that has places like Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City, New Jersey, and an absolute TON of datacenters.

What you should be doing RIGHT NOW if you have anything hosted in this area:

    1. Verify that your offsite backups are good

If they aren’t, ship some today before the overnight cutoff is reached if you have good ones.

    1. Re-read your disaster recovery plans

Refresh yourself on what needs to happen if the site goes down, what the recovery procedures are, and make sure to remind anyone else involved in the infrastructure recovery to reread the document, too. Make sure everyone’s contact information is up to date in the disaster recovery plans. (Thanks Joe Kern!)

    1. Test your backup generator

I’ve had a backup generator fail during a big storm, and it wasn’t fun. I used the downtime to my advantage, but I’d rather have not failed in the first place. It would also be a great time to call your diesel supplier and to make sure everything is ok there, so that you can reach out to someone else if need be.

    1. If you’re hosted in AWS East, (re)test spinning up instances in other regions

Here’s a guide from ServerWatch on migrating to another region. The recent outages reiterate the need to treat cloud infrastructures exactly the same way you treat your physical infrastructure: If you wouldn’t just have one datacenter location, don’t have just one cloud location.

This isn’t doom and gloom stuff – all of these are things that you should be doing anyway, but sometimes they slip until it’s too late. Don’t let it be too late, do them today.

Also, if this doesn’t affect you at all, and you have a macabre streak, you might be interested in taking part in Ben Cotton’s Hurricane Sandy Landfall Contest.