My Recommendations on Passing the AWS Associate Exams

I get asked on a regular basis what do I do to learn AWS? How do I get started? How did I study for the exams? Here is a list of what I did:

Getting Started

My 1st step towards AWS Certification started with A Cloud Guru.  I knew several folks that had used them for studying so that is where I started.  I started with the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Course.  This was a great course to start with.

Soon after that I began reading all of the AWS Whitepapers.  The AWS Well-Architect Framework and AWS Cloud Adoption Framework are critical to your AWS certified journey.  This is where AWS really made me see how they lead in innovation.

Technical Training

Signing up for a personal AWS account and utilizing the Free Tier option is critical. Getting hands on as much as possible was that best way for myself to learn.

Soon after starting the Free Tier I discover a site called “Linux Academy”.  I must give them the most credit for passing the exam.  There is so much to talk about with Linux Academy.  Not only do they have great courses, there are hands on labs, learning activities and cloud servers you can use.  There is so much content that is not just AWS, but other Public Clouds, Automation and Linux courses.

Practice Exams

Take practice exams to prove your knowledge, not as a test dump to pass a certification.  A Cloud Guru, Linux Academy and AWS have practice exam you can take.

Final Thoughts

Making the change to Public Cloud is a challenge that comes with great rewards.  The key is grasping AWS methodologies and understanding that the cloud is really about your applications and data.

Resource Links

New Career, Same Place, Exciting Times!!

It has been a slow year for blogging this year, so it is time to start it back up!  I want to start off with a career update.  VMworld 2017 was an eye-opening experience for me.  I finally saw the paradigm shift that so many have talked about over the years, Public Cloud.  At that point I started down the path of really trying to learn Public Cloud and DevOps.  Started diving into AWS and Automation.

For 10 years I was an engineer around Storage, VMware, Backups, Disaster Recovery, etc… Now, 1 year after my VMworld experience, I am a Public Cloud Architect!  It is a big change, but a change that was necessary for many reasons.  My goal now with this blog is to help engineers with the same career challenges, make the transition to Public Cloud and Automation.  I also plan on diving into AWS with posts on solutions that I am building to help customers.  Going forward this blog will be all Cloud!!

Introducing PowerMax

Below is a summary of the session I did on VMAX at Dell Technologies World.  Introducing PowerMax!!

  • PowerMax, NVMe driven storage array
  • 10M IOPs, 150GB/sec
  • 16m snaps
  • Compression, dedupe, D@RE
  • 6x9s uptime
  • PowerMax 2000 and PowerMax 8000
    • 7M IOPS and 10M IOPs
    • 1PBe and 4PBe
    • 64 FC/iSCSI and 256 FC/FICON/iSCSI
  • Dual Ported Active/Active
  • 48 CPU cores and 72 CPU Cores
  • 7TB NVMe Drives
  • True NDU, No impact to hosts for upgrades
  • Service levels: Diamond, Silver, Bronze
  • SnapVX, Protect Point
    • 256 snaps and 1024 linked
    • Protect against accidental deletion
  • SRDF
    • Synch, Metro and Async
    • Online device expansion
    • ORS interoperability
    • SRDF Metro: Add, Remove, and Move devices
  • Non-Disruptive Migrations
    • Free
  • Enhanced Mainframe data services
  • ProtectPoint integration to DataDomain
  • Unisphere for PowerMax 9.0
    • HTML5 Based
  • eNAS capabilities
  • 3:1 Average Inline Data Reduction
  • 2019 introduce Real-time machine learning
  • Machine Learning engine
  • NVMe protocol used
  • 3D XPoint drives coming in 2019
  • NVMe + SCM in 2019

VxRack FLEX: Introduction and What’s New

Below is a summary of the session I did on VxRack Flex at Dell Technologies World.

  • ScaleIO is now VxRack Flex OS
  • Choice of Hyper-visor/bare metal
  • High performance for applications and databases
  • Server SAN / 2-layer architecture
  • Multi-hypervisor / Bare Metal
  • 14th Generation adds 2.3x IOPs, 250% more bandwidth
  • Management and Monitoring
    • VxFlex OS, VMware vCenter, Vision Intelligent Operations, ESRS
  • Data Protection with DPS Suite, Avamar and Netowrker with Data Domain and RP4VMs


  • Dell PowerEdge 14th Gen
  • Nexus 9K ToR
  • 9K access switch
  • 3k management
  • VxRack Controller
  • Completely redundant
  • R640 and R740XD options


  • VxFlex OS (Formely ScaleIO)
  • Choice of hypervisor

Rubrik Polaris

Today Rubrik has announced a new platform called Rubrik Polaris.  What is Rubrik Polaris? Rubrik Polaris is a consumable resource that you tap into, rather than a pile of infrastructure that you setup and manage.  Essentially it is a SaaS solution that runs in the public cloud with the ability to connect into all your Rubrik instances, see all the data as well as search the data, creating a unified solution for Cloud Data Management.  Polaris is just the platform, the goodies comes in the form of modules.

Rubrik Polaris GPS

The first module for Polaris is Polaris GPS. Some of the major features are:

  • Command and Control – Command and Control all of you CDM instances, globally
  • Monitor for Compliance – You can leverage alerts to dig into issues
  • Open and documented RESTful APIs – Automate and orchestrate all of Rubrik from a single entry point with the visibility of a global data footprint
  • Create and Enforce Business SLAs – Create and enforce SLAs based on geography, installation, compliance needs, planned growth, data migrations, etc

I look forward to learning more about the future development of modules for Polaris.  Rubrik continues to be an innovator in Cloud Data Management!!

NetApp HCI. Ready for NEXT. Enterprise-Scale Hyper Converged Infrastructure

Below is a summary of the session “NetApp HCI. Ready for NEXT. Enterprise-Scale Hyper Converged Infrastructure.”  This is an interesting product and I look forward to learning more.

NetApp HCI Architecture

  • Integrated Data Services
  • Data Fabric Services
  • 3rd party services
  • VMware vCenter
  • Solidfire Element OS
  • VMware ESXi

NetApp HCI Appliance

  • Chassis or nodes
  • 4 nodes per chassis
  • Compute or storage nodes
  • Minimum
    • 2 chassis, 6 nodes
    • 4 storage, 2 compute
    • 2 expansion slots

Provides Granular Control at VM Level with and without VVOLS.  Scale Compute and storage independently.

Compute Node

  • 3 different sizes
    • 16 – 36 cores for VMware
    • 384GB -768 GB memory
    • 4x 10/25 GbE and 2x 1Gbe for networking

Storage Node

  • 3 different sizes
    • 8 – 18 cores
    • 1x240GB MLC boot device
    • 4x 10/25 GbE and 2x 1Gbe for networking
    • SSD 6x480GB, 6x960GB, 6×1.92TB

NetApp Deployment Engine

  • Rack and Stack to Ready for VMs
  • HCI plugin to vCenter
  • Lightweight management VM
  • Proactive support with Active IQ

Storage Deployment via API.

Checkbox in the UI which shows the commands and can be exported.

NetApp ONTAP Select

  • vNAS on NetApp HCI
  • leverage single platform for block access and NAS File
  • Dynamically add capacity

VMworld 2017 Day 1 Summary

This is my 1st ever VMworld and Day 1 was a doozy… Lots of things happening and it seems like the day goes by in no time.  Below is some of the areas I targeted day 1.

General Session

Start of the day!! A lot of good stuff with announcements on new products and partnerships.  VMware is ramping up their security portfolio as well and partnerships with AWS.

Solutions Expo

A great place of networking with Vendors, Partners and Customers.  The show floor is massive with tons of vendors here giving presentations and demo of what their products bring to the table.  I spent a good amount of time interacting and learning. I spent a lot of time around Data Protection as well as the Storage Vendors. Did I also mention drawings and Swag!!


Sessions are all day and a wide variety from NSX to Cloud to coding to SDDC.  Lots going on with these. I targeted the SDDC around ScaleIO and VSAN.  Great opportunity to learn from some of the great minds in the business as well as the product owners

Events in the Evening

There is a lot of events (parties) in the evening.  To name a few: Netapp, Zerto, Veeam Cloud.  These are always a great way to network and relax from a long day.