Cohesity Basics – Configuring An External Target For Cloud Archive

I’ve been working in the lab with Pure Storage’s ObjectEngine and thought it might be nice to document the process to set it up as an external target for use with Cohesity’s Cloud Archive capability. I’ve written in the past about Cloud Tier and Cloud Archive, but in that article I focused more on the Cloud Tier capability. I don’t want to sound too pretentious, but I’ll quote myself from the other article: “With Cloud Archive you can send copies of snapshots up to the cloud to keep as a copy separate to the backup data you might have replicated to a secondary appliance. This is useful if you have some requirement to keep a monthly or six-monthly copy somewhere for compliance reasons.”

I would like to be clear that this process hasn’t been blessed or vetted by Pure Storage or Cohesity. I imagine they are working on delivering a validated solution at some stage, as they have with Veeam and Commvault. So don’t go out and jam this in production and complain to me when Pure or Cohesity tell you it’s wrong.

There are a couple of ways you can configure an external target via the Cohesity UI. In this example, I’ll do it from the dashboard, rather than during the protection job configuration. Click on Protection and select External Target.

You’ll then be presented with the New Target configuration dialogue.

In this example, I’m calling my external target PureOE, and setting its purpose as Archival (as opposed to Tiering).

The Type of target is “S3 Compatible”.

Once you select that, you’ll be asked for a bunch of S3-type information, including Bucket Name and Access Key ID. This assumes you’ve already created the bucket and configured appropriate security on the ObjectEngine side of things.

Enter the required information. I’ve de-selected compression and source side deduplication, as I’m wanting that the data reduction to be done by the ObjectEngine. I’ve also disabled encryption, as I’m guessing this will have an impact on the ObjectEngine as well. I need to confirm that with my friends at Pure. I’m using the fully qualified domain name of the ObjectEngine as the endpoint here as well.

Once you click on Register, you’ll be presented with a summary of the configuration.

You’re then right to use this as an external target for Archival parts of protection jobs within your Cohesity environment. Once you’ve run a few protection jobs, you should start to see files within the test bucket on the ObjectEngine. Don’t forget that, as fas as I’m aware, it’s still very difficult (impossible?) to remove external targets from the the Cohesity Data Platform, so don’t get too carried away with configuring a bunch of different test targets thinking that you can remove them later.

Scale Computing Announces HE500 Range

Scale Computing recently announced its “HC3 Edge Platform“. I had a chance to talk to Alan Conboy about it, and thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.

 

The Announcement

The HE500 series has been introduced to provide smaller customers and edge infrastructure environments with components that better meet the sizing and pricing requirements of those environments. There are a few different flavours of nodes, with every node offering E-2100 Intel CPUs, 32 – 64GB RAM, and dual power supplies. There are a couple of minor differences with regards to other configuration options.

  • HE500 – 4x 1,2,4 or 8TB HDD, 4x 1GbE, 4x 10GbE
  • HE550 – 1x 480GB or 960GB SSD, 3x 1,2, or 4TB HDD, 4x 1GbE, 4x 10GbE
  • HE550F – 4 x 240GB, 480GB, 960GB SSD, 4x 1GbE, 4x 10GbE
  • HE500T – 4x 1,2,4 or 8TB HDD, 8 x HDD 4TB, 8TB, 2x 1GbE
  • HE550TF – 4 x 240GB, 480GB, 960GB SSD, 2x 1GbE

The “T” version comes in a tower form factor, and offers 1GbE connectivity. Everything runs on Scale’s HC3 platform, and offers all of the features and support you expect with that platform. In terms of scalability, you can run up to 8 nodes in a cluster.

 

Thoughts And Further Reading

In the past I’ve made mention of Scale Computing and Lenovo’s partnership, and the edge infrastructure approach is also something that lends itself well to this arrangement. If you don’t necessarily want to buy Scale-badged gear, you’ll see that the models on offer look a lot like the SR250 and ST250 models from Lenovo. In my opinion, the appeal of Scale’s hyper-converged infrastructure story has always been the software platform that sits on the hardware, rather than the specifications of the nodes they sell. That said, these kinds of offerings play an important role in the market, as they give potential customers simple options to deliver solutions at a very competitive price point. Scale tell me that an entry-level 3-node cluster comes in at about US $16K, with additional nodes costing approximately $5K. Conboy described it as “[l]owering the barrier to entry, reducing the form factor, but getting access to the entire stack”.

Combine some of these smaller solutions with various reference architectures and you’ve got a pretty powerful offering that can be deployed in edge sites for a small initial outlay. People often deploy compute at the edge because they have to, not because they necessarily want to. Anything that can be done to make operations and support simpler is a good thing. Scale Computing are focused on delivering an integrated stack that meets those requirements in a lightweight form factor. I’ll be interested to see how the market reacts to this announcement. For more information on the HC3 Edge offering, you can grab a copy of the data sheet here, and the press release is available here. There’s a joint Lenovo – Scale Computing case study that can be found here.

Random Short Take #16

Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I recently found interesting. You might find them interesting too. Episode 16 – please enjoy these semi-irregular updates.

  • Scale Computing has been doing a bit in the healthcare sector lately – you can read news about that here.
  • This was a nice roundup of the news from Apple’s recent WWDC from Six Colors. Hat tip to Stephen Foskett for the link. Speaking of WWDC news, you may have been wondering what happened to all of your purchased content with the imminent demise of iTunes on macOS. It’s still a little fuzzy, but this article attempts to shed some light on things. Spoiler: you should be okay (for the moment).
  • There’s a great post on the Dropbox Tech Blog from James Cowling discussing the mission versus the system.
  • The more things change, the more they remain the same. For years I had a Windows PC running Media Center and recording TV. I used IceTV as the XMLTV-based program guide provider. I then started to mess about with some HDHomeRun devices and the PC died and I went back to a traditional DVR arrangement. Plex now has DVR capabilities and it has been doing a reasonable job with guide data (and recording in general), but they’ve decided it’s all a bit too hard to curate guides and want users (at least in Australia) to use XMLTV-based guides instead. So I’m back to using IceTV with Plex. They’re offering a free trial at the moment for Plex users, and setup instructions are here. No, I don’t get paid if you click on the links.
  • Speaking of axe-throwing, the Cohesity team in Queensland is organising a social event for Friday 21st June from 2 – 4 pm at Maniax Axe Throwing in Newstead. You can get in contact with Casey if you’d like to register.
  • VeeamON Forum Australia is coming up soon. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sydney on July 24th and should be a great event. You can find out more information and register for it here. The Vanguards are also planning something cool, so hopefully we’ll see you there.
  • Speaking of Veeam, Anthony Spiteri recently published his longest title in the Virtualization is Life! catalogue – Orchestration Of NSX By Terraform For Cloud Connect Replication With vCloud Director. It’s a great article, and worth checking out.
  • There’s a lot of talk and slideware devoted to digital transformation, and a lot of it is rubbish. But I found this article from Chin-Fah to be particularly insightful.

Tech Field Day – I’ll Be At Tech Field Day 19

Here’s some good news for you. I’ll be heading to the US in late June for my first Tech Field Day event – Tech Field Day 19 (as opposed to the Storage Field Day events I’ve attended previously). If you haven’t heard of the very excellent Tech Field Day events, you should check them out. I’m looking forward to a little time travel and spending time with some really smart people for a few days. It’s also worth checking back on the Tech Field Day 19 website during the event (June 26 – 28) as there’ll be video streaming and updated links to additional content. You can also see the list of delegates and event-related articles that have been published.

I think it’s a great line-up of both delegates and presenting companies this time around. (If more companies are added to the agenda I’ll update this).

I’d like to publicly thank in advance the nice folks from Tech Field Day who’ve seen fit to have me back, as well as my employer for letting me take time off to attend these events. Also big thanks to the companies presenting. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Seriously.

Cohesity Basics – Excluding VMs Using Tags – Real World Example

I’ve written before about using VM tags with Cohesity to exclude VMs from a backup. I wanted to write up a quick article using a real world example in the test lab. In this instance, we had someone deploying 200 VMs over a weekend to test a vendor’s storage array with a particular workload. The problem was that I had Cohesity set to automatically protect any new VMs that are deployed in the lab. This wasn’t a problem from a scalability perspective. Rather, the problem was that we were backing up a bunch of test data that didn’t dedupe well and didn’t need to be protected by what are ultimately finite resources.

As I pointed out in the other article, creating tags for VMs and using them as a way to exclude workloads from Cohesity is not a new concept, and is fairly easy to do. You can also apply the tags in bulk using the vSphere Web Client if you need to. But a quicker way to do it (and something that can be done post-deployment) is to use PowerCLI to search for VMs with a particular naming convention and apply the tags to those.

Firstly, you’ll need to log in to your vCenter.

PowerCLI C:\> Connect-VIServer vCenter

In this example, the test VMs are deployed with the prefix “PSV”, so this makes it easy enough to search for them.

PowerCLI C:\> get-vm | where {$_.name -like "PSV*"} | New-TagAssignment -Tag "COH-NoBackup"

This assumes that the tag already exists on the vCenter side of things, and you have sufficient permissions to apply tags to VMs. You can check your work with the following command.

PowerCLI C:\> get-vm | where {$_.name -like "PSV*"} | Get-TagAssignment

One thing to note. If you’ve updated the tags of a bunch of VMs in your vCenter environment, you may notice that the objects aren’t immediately excluded from the Protection Job on the Cohesity side of things. The reason for this is that, by default, Cohesity only refreshes vCenter source data every 4 hours. One way to force the update is to manually refresh the source vCenter in Cohesity. To do this, go to Protection -> Sources. Click on the ellipsis on the right-hand side of your vCenter source you’d like to refresh, and select Refresh.

You’ll then see that the tagged VMs are excluded in the Protection Job. Hat tip to my colleague Mike for his help with PowerCLI. And hat tip to my other colleague Mike for causing the problem in the first place.

Brisbane VMUG – July 2019

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The July edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting will be held on Tuesday 23rd July at Fishburners from 4 – 6pm. It’s sponsored by Pivotal and promises to be a great afternoon.

Here’s the agenda:

  • VMUG Intro
  • VMware and Pivotal Presentation: Rapid and automated deployment of Kubernetes with VMware and Pivotal
  • Q&A
  • Refreshments and drinks.

Pivotal have gone to great lengths to make sure this will be a fun and informative session and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about what they’re doing. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.

Zerto – News From ZertoCON 2019

Zerto recently held their annual user conference (ZertoCON) in Nashville, TN. I had the opportunity to talk to Rob Strechay about some of the key announcements coming out of the event and thought I’d cover them here.

 

Key Announcements

Licensing

You can now acquire Zerto either as a perpetual license or via a subscription. There’s previously been some concept of subscription pricing with Zerto, with customers having rented via managed service providers, but this is the first time it’s being offered directly to customers. Strechay noted that Zerto is “[n]ot trying to move to a subscription-only model”, but they are keen to give customers further flexibility in how they consume the product. Note that the subscription pricing also includes maintenance and support.

7.5 Is Just Around The Corner

If it feels like 7.0 was only just delivered, that’s because it was (in April). But 7.5 is already just around the corner. They’re looking to add a bunch of features, including:

  • Deeper integration with StoreOnce from HPE using Catalyst-based API, leveraging source-side deduplication
  • Qualification of Azure’s Data Box
  • Cloud mobility – in 7.0 they started down the path with Azure. Zerto Cloud Appliances now autoscale within Azure.

Azure Integration

There’s a lot more focus on Azure in 7.5, and Zerto are working on

  • Managed failback / managed disks in Azure
  • Integration with Azure Active Directory
  • Adding encryption at rest in AWS, and doing some IAM integration
  • Automated driver injection on the fly as you recover into AWS (with Red Hat)

Resource Planner

Building on their previous analytics work, you’ll also be able to (shortly) download Zerto Virtual Manager. This talks to vCenter and can gather data and help customers plan their VMware to VMware (or to Azure / AWS) migrations.

VAIO

Zerto has now completed the initial certification to use VMware’s vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering (VAIO) and they’ll be leveraging these in 7.5. Strechay said they’ll probably have both versions in the product for a little while.

 

Thoughts And Further Reading

I’d spoken with Strechay previously about Zerto’s plans to compete against the “traditional” data protection vendors, and asked him what the customer response has been to Zerto’s ambitions (and execution). He said that, as they’re already off-siting data (as part of the 3-2-1 data protection philosophy), how hard is it to take it to the next level? He said a number of customers were very motivated to use long term retention, and wanted to move on from their existing backup vendors. I’ve waxed lyrical in the past about what I thought some of the key differences were between periodic data protection, disaster recovery, and disaster avoidance were. That doesn’t mean that companies like Zerto aren’t doing a pretty decent job of blurring the lines between the types of solution they offer, particularly with the data mobility capabilities built in to their offerings. I think there’s a lot of scope with Zerto to move into spaces that they’ve previously only been peripherally involved in. It makes sense that they’d focus on data mobility and off-site data protection capabilities. There’s a good story developing with their cloud integration, and it seems like they’ll just continue to add features and capabilities to the product. I really like that they’re not afraid to make promises on upcoming releases and have (thus far) been able to deliver on them.

The news about VAIO certification is pretty big, and it might remove some of the pressure that potential customers have faced previously about adopting protection solutions that weren’t entirely blessed by VMware.

I’m looking forward to see what Zerto ends up delivering with 7.5, and I’m really enjoying the progress they’re making with both their on-premises and public cloud focused solutions. You can read Zerto’s press release here, and Andrea Mauro published a comprehensive overview here.

Pure Storage – ObjectEngine and Commvault Integration

I’ve been working with Pure Storage’s ObjectEngine in our lab recently, and wanted to share a few screenshots from the Commvault configuration bit, as it had me stumped for a little while. This is a quick one, but hopefully it will help those of you out there who are trying to get it working. I’m assuming you’ve already created your bucket and user in the ObjectEngine environment, and you have the details of your OE environment at hand.

The first step is to add a Cloud Storage Library to your Libraries configuration.

You’ll need to provide a name, and select the type as Amazon S3. You’ll see in this example that I’m using the fully qualified domain name as the Service Host.

At this point you should be able to click on Detect to detect the bucket you’ll use to store data in. For some reason though, I kept getting an error when I did this.

The trick is to put http:// in front of the FQDN. Note that this doesn’t work with https://.

Now when you click on Detect, you’ll see the Bucket that you’ve configured on the OE environment (assuming you haven’t fat-fingered your credentials).

And that’s it. You can then go on and configure your storage polices and SubClient policies as required.

Random Short Take #15

Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I recently found interesting. You might find them interesting too. Episode 15 – it could become a regular thing. Maybe every other week? Fortnightly even.

OT: How I Became A Curmudgeonly NBA Fan And Learned To Love It

As this year’s NBA Finals approach, I thought I’d get some thoughts down on some of the things that have started to irk me as a longtime NBA fan. TLDR: if you’re not into the NBA, this article might not be for you. And if you are an NBA fan, you’re probably still better off heading over to The Ringer for in-depth analysis from people who actually know what they’re talking about. I promise I’ll get back to the normal stuff soon, I just needed to get this off my chest.

 

Background

I’m in my early 40s now, and have never played a game of professional basketball. I’ve played amateur basketball for about 25 years. I still play competitively, but I’m “rec league” level at best. Sure, we have uniforms, and there are scorers and referees involved, but it’s not at a level that anyone would willingly watch. Sometimes I apologise to the referees because it’s so ugly. It’s very much pay to play, not the other way around. Like a number of amateurs, I’m a big fan of the professional leagues, and enjoy watching basketball from all over the world. I particularly enjoy watching NBA games. If there’s a game on League Pass, and I have some free time, I’ll invariably watch it. I’m a Lakers lifer, but I’ve happily jumped on the Warriors bandwagon for the last five years (and I’ll be there until at least the LeBron thing is done). But that’s not why I’ve burst into print today.

I’m really just an out of shape couch potato with a lot of opinions that don’t mean anything to anyone. But I’m sharing this with you because I want to know if it’s just me, or are other people feeling this way? There are 15 things here that make me cranky about the NBA fan experience at the moment. Give yourself a score between 1 and 5 for each one and see how you go. I’m coming in pretty hot at 75. And before you get too worked up about some of my hot takes, I’m just having a little fun. And keep in mind that most of this would probably be better debated over a beer rather than the Internet.

 

On Offense

Offensive Shove Off

As you move up the levels in competitive basketball, you’ll start to notice that the defence is a lot more physical. Hand-checking has been a problem for years, but it was heavily curtailed by the NBA in the early 2000s. A lot of the defence played at high levels is man-to-man, and screens are an important part of getting a player free to get off shots. As a result of various rule changes and the NBA’s focus on freedom of movement, players on offence have experienced some improved scoring conditions. But there are still plenty of times where a defensive player is close enough to the offensive player that the offensive player feels the use of a push off is warranted to introduce some separation between themselves and the defender. I can’t help but feel that these shoves are overlooked by the referees more often than not, but like a lot of lazy pundits, I have little empirical data to back that up. It’s usually hard to see when two players are so close to each other, but there have been a few times when I’ve seen a player dribbling the ball with one hand while his other hand is pushing the defensive player out of the way. I’ve played in a few pickup games where players were doing this, and it becomes really hard to stop them from getting to their spot. Did Michael Jordan push off Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals? I don’t think so, but plenty of people in Utah think he did. It’s so hard to tell. But I’m more perturbed by the more obvious stuff that seems to get missed.

Gathering Steps

The NBA (and basketball associations in general) have been pretty clear about what constitutes a travelling violation for some time, but it feels like the NBA referees don’t call them very often. How many times have you seen LeBron or Giannis take 3 steps to launch for a fan-pleasing dunk? James Harden has taken the use of the gathering step to a whole other level though, and uses it to ridiculous effect on his step back 3-point shots. The Houston Chronicle published an article on why it’s a legal move (of course they did), but I still like to think of it as a travel. Mainly because I have twenty year old referees telling me my jump stop and pivot is a travel. And I’m just generally curmudgeonly when the rules of the game are changed to appeal to the casual fan. But it is worth keeping in mind that the NBA is a bit different to the rest of the world. There’s also a really good video by some NBA referees that attempts to explain the “Euro step” (and travelling in general) that’s worth watching. In the NBA the golden rule is two steps after the gather.

Illegal Screening

A screen is pretty useful thing in basketball that can enable an offensive player to get an advantage by using a team mate to screen off a defensive player. To set a screen, you need to plant both feet and not move any part of your body. So you can’t push your hip out to pick off the defensive player, nor can drop your shoulder into them as they run past you. Yet the number of times players do this in games, and then complain to the referees about the call against them, annoys me no end. Sure, I get that the defensive player can’t run through you to chase their opposing player, but you just need to watch the replay to see that you moved. Just set your feet, or get a grown-up to do it for you.

Chris Paul Flailing

I am a big fan of Chris Paul (the point guard for the Houston Rockets). I love his pass-first mentality and the way he can control the tempo of the game. His mid-range game is really notable (particularly in this era of dunks and 3-point shots), and he will no doubt be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at the appropriate time. But Chris Paul’s on-court shenanigans (including a well-documented habit of flopping) make it hard to watch him for more than a few minutes at a time. As I’ve gotten older (more mature?) I’ve come to understand that you can sometimes trick a referee into thinking that you’ve been fouled by an opposing player. But I think there should be a difference between playing up the contact a little bit and giving an Academy Award worthy performance. At one stage it seemed like the NBA was cracking down on flopping, but we still have this kind of thing going on.

Lane Violations

When you take a free throw in basketball, the rebounders (in the key) can’t move into the lane until the ball has left the hand of the shooter. The players outside shouldn’t cross the three-point line until the ball has hit the rim. And the shooter shouldn’t step across the free-throw line until the ball has entered the basket and the shot has been made. Most of the time, lane violations are called on defensive players looking to block out the offensive players. But there seem to be a lot of shooters actively crossing the line before the ball has entered the basket. Go watch LeBron shoot free throws. He does it a lot, and he crosses that line a lot too.

Carry Ball

Palming is a big problem in the NBA. Watch some of these guys dribble and you’ll see that they let the ball rest in their hands briefly before they continue, and the hand is not allowed to go underneath the ball while touching it during a dribble. That’s a carry, and is usually called as violation in the lower levels of the sport. In the NBA we call it “amazing handles”. It gives the offensive player a significant advantage when they can palm the ball. It’s a big problem in the sport, and it feels like we all just look the other way when it happens.

 

The Clothes Make The Man

Naming

Generational titles (eg Jr, III, etc) seem to have become really popular in the NBA this year. You know who needs a generational title on their jersey? Tim Hardaway Jr. Because I’d buy one of Senior’s jerseys, but probably not one from younger Tim. But for some reason, everyone who’s ever gotten a whiff of one of these is now running with Jr, III, etc on their jersey. Is this a cultural thing in the US? I must admit that I’m ignorant about the significance of it. In any case, it annoys me and I don’t know why. There’s a broader discussion of patronymic naming here that might be interesting too, and sheds some light on the various ways it’s done throughout the world.

Headbands

Why are “ninja headbands” a thing now? This is one of the sure indicators that I’ve become a curmudgeonly NBA fan. Clearly, they solve a different problem to the traditional sweatband. That is, they’re more hair tie than sweat prevention device. But I don’t see why you can’t just use the sweatband. Gracious me, when did I get so old?

Shoes

We’ve come a long way since Nike was paying Michael Jordan’s sneaker fines. In 2015 things started to loosen up significantly, and this season the NBA dispensed with the sneaker policy entirely. That means that, even if your team’s colours are red and black, for example, you can run on the court with some iridescent orange shoes and the NBA will keep quiet about it. I don’t want to be the guy who’s stifling creativity on the court, but I swear it looks more like a C-grade social team put the uniform together, rather than a team of professionals.

Uniforms

I’m the first to admit that the variety of replica uniforms you can buy is great. There are now heaps of ways that you can show off that you’re a fan of this team or that, and it does make a refreshing change from the light or dark thing that dominated the NBA for so long. That said, it used to be accepted that the home team wore a light colour and the away team wore a dark colour. The good thing about this is that you could quickly tell which team was playing at home just with a glance at the television screen. Now I have to take a second look, usually at the floor they’re playing on, to get an idea where they are. Shouldn’t I just know where they are? Why do I care? I don’t know, but it bothers me.

Russell Westbrook As Fashion Icon

Do a search on Google for “russell westbrook fashion” and dig in to the images part of the search. I defy you to show me a picture of him wearing anything that could be described as fashionable. I just don’t get it. And GQ should know better, surely? I don’t blame Russell though, he’s just clearly getting some poor advice (and encouragement) from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

 

Miscellany

Joel Embiid

Talk as much smack as you want when you’re healthy and competing in the NBA Finals.

Players-Only Commentary

Some players don’t like to stay away from the game when they’re done with playing, so they get into commentary. Usually they’re paired up with a more senior broadcaster to start with. And it’s mostly fine. Some ex-players are better at it than others. There’s been a new development in commentary for NBA games though, with the introduction of “players only” commentary teams in the last few years. Instead of the former player being paired with the professional commentator, you get three guys who’ve played before as the commentary team (and one doing sideline reporting). It’s not that great to listen to, and I think they need to re-think the concept. I love the idea of players offering insights into the game, and people like Jalen Rose do an excellent job of that. But players only really makes me appreciate the skills of people like Mike Breen (Bang!) and Marv Albert (Yes!). Of course, if we switched it up a bit, and insisted on Bill Walton being the anchor on every game call, I might be persuaded to persist with this format. And no, I don’t just want my commentary from old white guys. People like Mark Jackson and Reggie Miller are fine too.

Statistical Near-Misses

Sports commentators love to talk about statistics. And basketball is a pretty good game when it comes to statistics. There are all kinds of statistics that tell you how a player and his or her team have performed. One of the kind of cool statistics is a triple-double. This is where you get double figures in three different statistical areas. Usually it’s points, assists, and rebounds, but sometimes it can be in something defensive like steals or blocks. I’ve been noticing it a lot lately when commentators have been talking about players achieving “near” triple-doubles in games (they might have been short an assist or two, for example). This kind of talk drives me nuts. Let’s talk about great statistics when the player achieves them, not when they almost achieve them. Is this the equivalent of a participation medal for everyone? I know that what the commentator is trying to do is emphasise the great game that the player has had, but surely there are better ways to do it? Like talking about how they helped the team win? the near triple-double sounds like nonsense, and belittles the achievements of those players who were able to achieve “full” triple-doubles in NBA games.

The NBA Store Has Gone Worldwide

The NBA is really good at producing and selling merchandise related to its players, teams and association. Like really good. You want a license plate holder in your favourite team’s colours, or some big flags to wave about, or a replica jersey that looks just like the one Kobe wore in the 2000 Finals? No problem. You used to be able to go to store.nba.com and find all kinds of crap covered with the logo of your favourite team. And the clearance sales were great. Each year our Christmas tree is decorated with quite a few Lakers baubles, for example, and my youngest possesses a number of Warriors shirts and trinkets from the store. But for some reason the NBA decided that if you live outside the US, you now have to use their “International” store. The good thing about this is that the postage is actually reasonable. The prices on items are so-so, but never quite as cheap as the US store, even with currency fluctuations taken into account. The bad thing is that the variety of items is extremely limited compared to the US store (I’ve been comparing via VPN), and they often don’t have stuff in stock, even when it says that it is. I’ve had a number of occasions where I’ve purchased a jersey from the international store only to have them refund my money a week later and tell me the item is out of stock. Okay then Dan, why don’t you just VPN in to the US store and ship stuff to your friend’s house like you used to? Because they block orders using overseas cards. Trust me, I’ve tried. I used to be all “shut up and take my money”, and now I literally can’t give them money. If you live in the US, you likely won’t understand what this feels like, but as a non-US resident this kind of stuff drives me nuts. It’s not quite as bad as our Netflix catalogue having about a tenth of the available titles as the US one, but it’s up there. I understand that companies sometimes want to produce things locally (and sell them for local prices) to protect local businesses. But this shop operates out of Europe. And doesn’t sell what I want. Just give me the choice!

 

Conclusion

I know it sounds like I’m just being mean to the Houston Rockets, but a lot of this stuff is NBA-wide. I understand that the sport has to evolve to retain fans and attract new ones. If you watch NBA games from the 1950s it’s a lot different to what it looks like now. Every decade looks and feels different from a fan’s perspective. I grew up on the NBA in the late eighties and early nineties. I got disenchanted with it in the early 2000s, and came back to it about ten years ago. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about the game as it’s played today. The players are super athletic, the speed of the game is amazing, and the access we have to the League via social media is unparalleled. But there’s some stuff I just don’t like about what I see.

We all struggle with change as we get older, particularly when those changes impact things that bring us joy. I’m clearly at that point in my life now where things have changed and I haven’t kept up with them. Some guys I know still don’t like the idea of the three-point line (it’s a bit flashy and takes away from the passing game). This is just my way of talking about it, getting it out there. There might even be people like you out there who struggle with this too. Maybe we can start a support group or something. In the meantime, bring on the Finals, and go Dubs!