Last week I returned from Tech Field Day 20 in Silicon Valley. One of the themes was data visualization: how can you make data easy to consume with handy visualization techniques. The first presentation of week was by SolarWinds, showing the various data visualization products they’ve integrated in the Orion platform since 2014. And it goes quite a bit further than just throwing in a switch for a dark theme and changing an icon left and right, like Apple latest iOS. One of the challenges is that current IT infrastructure is very dynamic. If your monitoring tool can’t cope with this, it will be out of date and useless. Lets explore how SolarWinds solves this.
I’ve owned my Honda VTR 1000 SP2 for about 11 years now, since 2008. Back in 2010, after a bumpy and extended trip in the Swiss Alps and Italian Dolomites, one of my front forks started leaking a bit. I took out the forks, a race shop serviced them, and that was that: brilliant ride quality. 2 years later though, the left leg started slightly leaking again. Not a lot, but you could see a slight oily film on the inner leg. I brought it away for another service, they checked it and replaced the seals again. Fast forward another 3 years and.. yep.
At that point, I was slightly fed up with spending €150 for a seal service every 2-3 years. And more importantly, taking the forks out of the bike every 2-3 years. I looked up how difficult it was to do a Honda VTR 1000 SP2 front fork service myself. Turns out, there’s a bunch of things you can do wrong and wreck, but it’s not rocket science! Queue a DIY front fork service!
I keep track of the fuel consumption of most my vehicles. It’s a habit that I inherited from my dad, and it’s a habit that’s reinforced by a life in IT. Fuel consumption stats give you some insight in how your motor is running, how much a vehicle costs per kilometer, what the impact of fuel types and prices is on range, etc. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I also track my Honda VTR 1000 SP2 fuel consumption. Initially I jotted everything down in an Excel sheet (together with maintenance costs). That’s a bit 90’s style though; and I’ve recently exported everything into Spritmonitor.de. It’s a German website that I stumbled onto recently while researching real-world fuel consumption for a future new car. Compared to the manufacturer fuel specs, SpritMonitor offers much more realistic fuel consumption statistics.
I am going to Tech Field Day 20! And I can wholeheartedly say that I am looking forward to it. I you exclude the brief TFDx with VMware NSX last year, this will be my first, full-length, non-storage Field Day. For the last 10-ish years I’ve been focusing on storage, backup, data replication & disaster recovery. But I actually started out in the hypervisor corner of IT. And my entire career I’ve been shoving my nose into other IT fields and product suites. It’s one of the advantages of working for a (back then) smaller VAR, and keeps life interesting. Tech Field Day 20 will be the perfect opportunity to find out how outdated my knowledge is on those non-storage fronts.
Dell EMC uses Secure Remote Services (SRS, formerly known as ESRS) to enhance the tech support experience for their products. There’s two sides to this support: connect home, and connect in. Connect home is your device itself dialing back home to Dell EMC to report various things such as errors, automatic support uploads, etc. If either of this results in a Service Request at Dell EMC, a engineer can then use SRS to dial in / connect in and have a look at the faulty system. The latter saves you from having to host a Webex session.
Dell EMC likes to have all Dell EMC systems connected to SRS, again for two reasons. First of all, it reduces the time spent by engineers in troubleshooting an issue. If an engineer can dial in himself, without having to negotiate a Webex session with the customer, that means more SRs per engineer per day and lower support costs for Dell EMC. Secondly, it will result in faster incident resolution, and thus a happier customer. The support engineer can look up the state of a defective drive independently, and order new parts while the customer is sleeping. Win-win!