Shameless Seattle VMUG meeting plug–January 2014 edition

For all of you VMware Admins and enthusiasts in the greater Seattle area, here is a fantastic opportunity to get out of the office for a little bit, meet some new people that do the same thing you do, and learn a little something along way. First, here are the details so you can carve out time on your calendar.

Date: Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Time: 12:00pm – 4:30pm
Seattle Museum of Flight
Event Sponsors: Silver Peak & Zerto

What’s in store for this VMUG? I’m glad you asked…

Ask the Experts panel
One of the most popular sessions each year at VMworld in San Francisco is the "Ask the Experts" Q&A session. If you have attended one, you quickly figure out why. No canned slide decks, or product promoting undertones. Just real questions from the audience to a panel of highly experienced and credentialed design experts. It is always a packed house, entertaining, and informative.

In the spirit of copying a really good idea, the next Seattle VMUG meeting will be doing the same thing. Do you have some questions that you’d like to hear from the panel?  Here is your chance!  Among our panel is:

Jason Horn. Jason is a Principal Systems Engineer with Starbucks Coffee Company. He was recently awarded his VCDX (#113). (twitter / blog)

Peter Chang. Peter is a Senior Systems Engineer at PernixData. He currently is a VCAP-DCA/DCD/DTD, and vExpert for 2013. (twitter / blog)

I may also be taking part in the panel, but will focus on doing my best to moderate, and prevent any fights from breaking out. If you prefer not to raise your hand in public, but have some burning questions for our panel, please send me a note, or submit a question on the VMUG forums at:

Product Testimonials from customers
We have two great sponsors for this VMUG. Silver Peak‘s WAN optimization products and Zertos BC/DR solution have garnered a lot of attention in their respective market segments. But here is your chance to hear a little bit more on how their products have impacted real customers. Customer stories are a great way to see if solutions deliver on their promises, and help you to see if they might be a good fit for your organization.

So come on out to the next Seattle VMUG. Bring your questions for our "Ask the Experts" panel, and hear stories from real customers of Zerto and Silver Peak. And who knows. You might just win something too.

– Pete

Using the Cisco SG300-20 Layer 3 switch in a home lab

One of the goals when building up my home lab a few years ago was to emulate a simple production environment that would give me a good platform to learn and experiment with. I’m a big fan of nested labs, and use one on my laptop often. But there are times when you need real hardware to interact with. This has come up even more than I expected, as recent trends with leveraging flash on the host have resulted in me stuffing more equipment back in the hosts for testing and product evaluations.

Networking is the other area that can be helpful to have equipment that at least tries to mimic what you’d see in a production environment. Yet the options for networking in a home lab have typically been limited for a variety of reasons.

  • The real equipment is far too expensive, or too loud for most home lab needs.
  • Searching on eBay or Craigslist for a retired production unit can be risky. Some might opt for this strategy, but this can result in a power sucking, 1U noise maker that may have some dead ports on it, or worse, bricked upon arrival.
  • Consumer switches can be disappointing. Rig up a consumer switch that is lacking in features, and port count, and be left wishing you hadn’t gone this route.

I wanted a fanless, full Layer 3 managed switch with a feature set similar to what you might find on an enterprise grade switch, but not at an enterprise grade price. I chose to go with a Cisco SG300-20. This is a 20 port, 1GbE, Layer 3 switch. With no fans, the unit draws as little as 10 watts.

Continue reading “Using the Cisco SG300-20 Layer 3 switch in a home lab”