Monday, February 17, 2014

Whiteboarding Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Director

No, not water boarding. Although remind me to tell you the story of a customer that had their datacenter running under the jailhouse. Didn't turn out so good when an inmate stuffed the toilet and the sewage pipes burst, which were running directly OVER the racks ..... mmmmmmm, hopefully you're not reading this at lunch :-)

Lately I've been doing #SlideFree presentations, using a whiteboard followed by a demo.

If you're reading this in March, April, or May of 2014 - Click and register for more upcoming events.

I challenge you to do the same. When I worked at IBM, my last gig was in the Executive Briefing Center. I was mentored by a guy named Ron .. Ron Jeremy, Ron Burgandy ? .... heck I can't remember his last name. Anyway, he told me something I'll never forget. He said,
"Scott, these people are going to remember maybe 5% of what you told them. What they will remember is, did they believe you, and did they like you. If they like you and believe you, we're half way there. So stop putting so much damn stuff on your slides!"
Ron was right. Every preliminary presentation I've done with customers that includes too much detail, fails miserably. They end up being more confused than when I started.

Here's links to two recent whiteboarding sessions I recorded. If we haven't had a chance to meet in person, this is how I typically present the topics of Cisco UCS and Cisco UCS Director. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Read all about it! HP charges - Cisco UCS updates remain FREE

It was an interesting night last night. I'm sitting in my normal poker game downtown. Between hands I always "check the streams" to see what's happening in the world. I look down and don't see pocket AA, but I do see a tweet that HP is going to start charging their server customers for firmware updates! Whoa, seriously, how can I not jump all over this. Being in the x86 server world my whole life, it was just a given that shit breaks and you can always go to the vendor's support site and download a fix. Support contract or not.

It's just the world we live in. When I worked at IBM, a wise man told me, "All hardware eventually fails ... and all software eventually works" ... if you deliver that line with perfect timing, you always get smiles. We all know this, we have to patch, maintain, fix all the time. We simply go to the Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Cisco, etc support sites and download the updates we need.

Well apparently not anymore for HP. This is good for us (Cisco) as most customers evaluate a new purchase when their support contracts run out. Well the one's in my segment sometimes push it a little longer. But now they are forced to renew contracts or look to a new vendor. It's good for me, so hell yeah I sent a tweet pointing this fact out.

I knew I would get a few replies to the tweet of the nature, "But yeah, Cisco has contracts, entitlements, SmartNet, etc that have to be in place to download your software". You're likely coming from the router/switch world of Cisco, in which that statement is absolutely true.

It is NOT TRUE FOR CISCO UCS. You can use any ID that you registered fresh off the street to download Cisco UCS firmware and software updates. 

Now I wouldn't be a proper geek if i didn't prove it. You have to show your work. Which is a problem with the other interesting thing that popped up in the streams last night. Go read Tony's great post on the report that shows how awesome FC is compared to FCoE. Seriously great read, you don't want to have this man pick apart your technical "marketing" whitepaper.

So here's my work.

First, create a gmail account from a computer on a public network.
 Next, create a free account.

Check that I don't have Service Contracts Associated.

Check I have no serial numbers attached to my account

Download any Cisco UCS updates I need

Anything I can't DL is marked with a "lock" icon - Router, switch, etc
Lock icon highlighted

All my freshly downloaded Cisco UCS updates - no registration, free account, wide open.