Cisco IT Blog Awards

I’m very happy to announce that this blog is a finalist in the 2018 Cisco IT Blog Awards under the category of “Most Entertaining”. Voting is open until January 4th 2019, so if you’ve felt entertained at any point this year when reading my witty articles please go to and pop in a vote for “PenguinPunk”.

And if you are not entertained, check out some of the other entrants in any case – they’re pretty ace.

Vale Satish

I don’t have a category for this. I don’t have the tags for this kind of post.

Satish Singh passed away on Monday 2nd October in Austin, TX. I’d only known him for a short time via the merging of the EMC Elect and Dell Rockstars programmes and had been lucky enough to have met him at Dell EMC World in May this year. He was a lovely guy with a great smile and oodles of enthusiasm. I am terrible at this sort of thing, but you should read Mark Browne’s post as he says a lot of what I’m feeling.

In the last little while I’ve had a number of people close to me attempt to take their lives and fortunately (in my opinion) they’ve been unsuccessful. I’ve learnt a lot about mental health issues in the past 12 months. In particular I’ve learnt that we don’t know a lot about what causes these issues but we do seem awfully quick to judge people when they ask (or don’t ask) for help. I mentioned to my wife that this was a jarring event. I was sadly used to this type of thing with family and friends, but it was strange for people I know professionally to suffer from these illnesses too. But that’s the thing, everyone is someone’s family and people are just people with all the same problems that we all have.

My ask of you is that, if you ever feel like it’s all a bit much, reach out to someone. Ask for help. Heck, you can call me, e-mail me, whatever. I’ll listen. I won’t have all of the answers, but I can listen. Because we’re all in this together. And life is most certainly not always about blinking lights and speeds and feeds and competitive marketing and all that other crap. It’s about so much more than that. And sometimes the more than that bit can become a bit too much. So if you need help, please ask. If you don’t want to talk to me, in Australia you can talk to Lifeline on 131144. In the USA you can call the Suicide Hotline1-800-273-8255.

The family of Satish have setup a memorial fund for him through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). You can donate here.

OT – Thanks For Hanging In There ( Turns 10)

I did a bit of a silly post five years ago to say thanks to people for reading the blog. Now here I am coming up on ten years of blogging and I thought I’d do another note to say thanks again new and old readers. I don’t want this to be some sort of weird humblebrag post, but I nonetheless wanted to mark the occasion in some way.


In the beginning …

My first few posts were just filler, with my first real shot at doing something useful being a post dedicated to understanding esxcfg-* commands. You can stumble down memory lane with me here. In the last ten years I’ve done over 600 posts and 30+ instructional articles of varying quality and usefulness, with people apparently being super keen to read about how to recover CX700 arrays and QNAP software RAID of all things. I think I’ve had over half a million people visit the blog in that time. Probably not that many people. Maybe it was 10000 who just turned up here a lot.


And now …

What started as a mechanism for me to keep my notes from the field has grown into something with a life of its own. As my career has progressed from support through to infrastructure delivery and into consulting and architecture, the type of posts on this blog have changed as well. There obviously aren’t as many “this is how you do this” posts as there used to be. I hope, however, that the reporting and opinionalysis is as useful. As I “celebrate” this particular milestone I’m in Las Vegas attending VMworld on a blogger’s pass. I never thought it would get to this point when I first started, and I’m super thankful to the community for the support shown to me over the years. I don’t get paid to run this blog, although I am compensated from time to time via conference attendance and travel. So it’s nice to get something back in the form of people engaging. Every time you say hi on the twitters or via the blog it’s a very fulfilling experience for me. To celebrate, I’ll be giving away some digital prizes over the next few weeks, so if you’d like to go in the draw, just leave a comment or talk to me via twitter.


The future?

I don’t know. I didn’t think it would last as long as it did but here we are. If I keep doing interesting things then I’ll keep writing about them I guess. I don’t see that I’ll be getting into video or podcasts any time soon, as it often takes me a while to get my thoughts together, but you never know.



Thanks to everyone in the community for being a supportive and friendly bunch of folks. Finally, special thanks to Paul Cunningham for his encouragement and support over the years. Without him showing me the ropes and offering advice when I needed it this thing would have died years ago. And it wouldn’t be an OT post without a random Unfinished Business stock photo at the end, would it?

OT – Top 78

Eric Siebert recently published (okay, fine, it was three weeks ago) the full results of the Top vBlog voting. I was pleased to find I’d made a jump up from last year.


I’ve previously changed my tune on asking for votes in this competition, not because I don’t think it’s a good bit of fun, but I think there’re a bunch of other bloggers you should be voting for. A few people like to huff and puff about it being a popularity contest, but if nothing else I’ve found these types of lists (and Eric’s site in general) to be extremely useful when tracking down links to things on the internet that I know I need but can’t remember how I googled them in the first place. A lot of work goes into the site, so thanks Eric, and please keep it up! Thanks also to anyone who did throw a vote my way, I do actually appreciate it.

OT – 2013 and so on

I meant to be all organised this year and have something posted on NYE about how rad 2013 was and all the cool things that I am planning to do in 2014. But I didn’t. And as I’m woefully incompetent when it comes to these style of posts, I’ll keep it short.

Here’s some of my personal highlights from 2013:

  • Got selected to the inaugural EMC Elect group of 75;
  • Got selected as a VMware vExpert for the first time;
  • Made some decent progress with the DIY Heatmaps script (that’s really all due to Mat though);
  • Passed some more accreditations;
  • Went to Europe for a nice long holiday and discovered that not speaking French in the last 20 years hasn’t helped me stay “courant”; and
  • Kept this blog going in spite of my occasional desire to kill it off.

In 2014, some things will change and some will stay the same:

  • I’m looking to contribute more to the various on-line communities;
  • I’m starting a new contract with a local SI so you’ll be seeing a few more posts “from the front”; and
  • I’m getting a bit more focused on rebuilding my home lab.

Site-wise, I find that, if nothing else, this blog has been a useful form of catharsis and I imagine it will remain that way in the foreseeable future. Stats-wise, I received a 10% increase in hits over 2012. This is due in no small part to the exposure afforded me by the nice people running EMC Elect and VMware vExpert programmes. My goal, however, is not to keep increasing stats but to publish articles that are useful. Based on the last few years, that may not be as simple as it seems.

Enough rambling. Enjoy 2014, and above all, stay healthy and don’t worry too much about all this nerdy crap we seem to get so hung up on from time to time.

OT – Brief hiatus

This is just a quick note to let my three loyal readers know that I’ll be overseas on holiday for a little while and won’t really be willing or able to blog about much. When I get back in late October I need to look for another job, so if there’s not a lot of content in the next few months I apologise in advance. Incidentally, if anyone’s in London, Paris or Holland in the next 6 weeks let me know and maybe we can catch up.

Competition – TrainSignal’s practically giving it away

I’m a big fan of TrainSignal, and have been making good use of some of the courses they have on offer. And here’s your chance to get a taste of the action with this competition. It’s pretty simple, just use the form below to send out a tweet and you’ll be in the running to win one Ultimate IT Survival Kit from the nice people at TrainSignal. Included is:

  • A Laptop Backpack;
  • Zombie Tee;
  • Mini Nerf-Gun;
  • 30-days of free IT Training;
  • And more!

Here’s a few pictures of what’s included:




The competition runs for 2 weeks from Monday 15th July 2013. Everyone is welcome to enter except, sadly, residents of the Russian Federation (sorry).

OT – Top 109 – Thank you

I apologise that I’m a bit behind at the moment, but I’d like to thank those of you who voted for me on the vSphere-land top VMware and virtualisation Blogs thing this year. I came 109th, and it’s the first time I’ve cracked the list. Wheee! Cooler for me was that I scraped into the Top 10 of “Favorite Storage Blog”. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been more focussed on storage things lately, so this makes sense. Thanks to Eric Siebert for putting it all together. Now do yourself a favour and go and check out the other blogs on the list – there’s some really solid content that’s being put out there on a daily basis.

Updated Articles page

I’ve added the pdf version of the recent CLARiiON recovery trilogy to the articles page. You can get it here.

2009 and

It was a busy year, and I don’t normally do these type of posts, but I thought I’d try to do a year in review type thing so I can look back at the end of 2010 and see what kind of promises I’ve broken. Also, the Exchange Guy will no doubt enjoy the size comparison. You can see what I mean by that here.

In any case, here’re some broad stats on the site. In 2008 the site had 14966 unique visitors according to Advanced Web Statistics 6.5 (build 1.857). But in 2009, it had 15856 unique visitors – according to Advanced Web Statistics 6.5 (build 1.857). That’s an increase of some 890 unique visitors, also known as year-on-year growth of approximately 16.82%. I think. My maths are pretty bad at the best of times, but I normally work with storage arrays, not web statistics. In any case, most of the traffic is no doubt down to me spending time editing posts and uploading articles, but it’s nice to think that it’s been relatively consistent, if not a little lower than I’d hoped. This year (2010 for those of you playing at home), will be the site’s first full year using Google analytics, so assuming I don’t stuff things up too badly, I’ll have some prettier graphs to present this time next year. That said, MYOB / smartyhost are updating the web backend shortly so I can’t make any promises that I’ll have solid stats for this year, or even a website :)

What were the top posts? Couldn’t tell you. I do, however, have some blogging-type goals for the year:

1. Blog with more focus and frequency – although this doesn’t mean I won’t throw in random youtube clips at times.

2. Work more on the promotion of the site. Not that there’s a lot of point promoting something if it lacks content.

3. Revisit the articles section and revise where necessary. Add more articles to the articles page.

On the work front, I’m architecting the move of my current employer from a single data centre to a 2+1 active / active architecture (from a storage and virtualisation perspective). There’s more blades, more CLARiiON, more MV/S, some vSphere and SRM stuff, and that blasted Cisco MDS fabric stuff is involved too. Plus a bunch of stuff I’ve probably forgotten. So I think it will be a lot of fun, and a great achievement if we actually get anything done by June this year. I expect there’ll be some moments of sheer boredom as I work my way through 100s of incremental SAN Copies and sVMotions. But I also expect there will be moments of great excitement when we flick the switch on various things and watch a bunch of visio illustrations turn into something meaningful.

Or I might just pursue my dream of blogging about the various media streaming devices on the market. Not sure yet. In any case, thanks for reading, keep on reading, tell your friends, and click on the damn Google ads.