VxRail – One Year Later

vxrail.frontOne year ago, EMC (yes it was still EMC at the time) launched their update to the VSPEX BLUE, EMC’s take on the EVO: Rail product.  For those who don’t remember, EVO: Rail was a joint effort between VMware and several hardware vendors to release hyper converged infrastructure to the masses.  I covered the original launch here and EMC’s spin on it.  The EVO: Rail program was a success / failure depending on who you spoke to in the industry, but it did validate that HCI is here to stay and not just a passing fad.  Later on, the EVO program was retooled under a joint venture between EMC & VMware under the VCE umbrella , and last year launched the evolution of that product … VxRail!

What went well?

What's Going Well

VxRail went GA in March of 2016 and so far sales have good, especially in the mid market, especially on purpose built deployments (VDI, Databases, etc…).  Working for a partner, I can attest that HCI adoption is going strong in the market place as more and more people look to it as a possible future.  The product has undergone several major releases, which is huge for a product that was just starting to sell.  It means that they are really listening to feedback and delivering to enhance the product regularly.  It helps that VMware has been continuously driving innovation on the VSAN side (which VxRail is built on).

What needs improvement?

What's not going well

Dell EMC will be the first to admit that they didn’t expect the sales of this product (especially given the sales of the previous generation), and thus they didn’t quite bulk up the PS side to match.  Unfortunately that mean delays while the back log was churned through.  The other side was features was prioritized over serviceability, so things like the support gateway were not built in when you would have expected it was already included.  The good news is things like this have been addressed (or are being addressed soon).

So what’s next for VxRail?

VxRail 4.0

Flash Flash Flash!  Recent sales have been leaning very heavily to all flash solutions, and that will be the trend going forward with VxRail sales which will also drive development on those lines especially in NVMe and NVDIMMs.  The shift in the recent version to use Dell PowerEdge Servers has also opened up a lot of configuration options for memory and CPU.

Multiple Node Options

With offering several different types of nodes, you can right size the product for the solution and make the price a lot more attractive (this is one of the things learned from the EVO sales).

Sean’s Take

Its great to see things are finally shaping up for the EVO program and just further validates something I’ve believed for years.  Speaking as a partner, I welcome the extra options in HCI market space because it gives the customer a better chance to get what they want, and that will greatly help more people consider HCI an option for their next step in the data center journey.  It was great to speak with Chad Dunn at Tech Field Day 13 (#TFD13) earlier this month in Austin.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the videos from Dell EMC.

StorMagic SvSAN – Scalable Virtual HA Storage for the Masses

HA (High Availability) storage is nothing new to business.  You need to keep your critical apps up and running and allow it to survive failures.  But when it comes to ROBO, the game changes.  Cost becomes a major factor in any design decision, and not just licensing, but infrastructure as well.  Do you have extra physical space for a storage system?  Do you have the infrastructure, power, and cooling to support a new solution?  If you didn’t answer a resounding “YES” to all that, this is where StorMagic SvSAN can help!

 

What is StorMagic SvSAN?

 

At it’s simplest explanation, SvSAN is a virtual storage solution that can be built inside you existing virtual infrastructure and mirrors itself across multiple nodes to build a highly available solution.

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But that’s an overly simplified explanation of the product, when you start to dig deeper, you see its capable of so much more.

First of all, SvSAN is a lightweight solution.  Each node only requires a VM with 1 vCPU and 1gb of RAM.  You also only need 2 nodes to get started.  You can simply throw 2 servers with some disks in them at a small site and have a fully redundant storage solution without expanding your footprint.  If you need some higher end features such as SSD caching or automated tiering, StorMagic has an advanced license to add enterprise features to this offering.

Now that’s easy to do if you want HA all in one physical location, but what if you want to step it up and allow your solution to survive a location failure (aka a metro cluster).  Well using the witness, you can mirror the data to multiple sites and protect from an interruption of service as well as data corruption.  This witness is built with remote links in mind.  It can handle up to 3 seconds of latency and up to 20% packet loss.  In fact, you only need about 9kbs of bandwidth per mirror.  So you can setup the witness in a central location and have it manage all your remote sites over the wan.  Probably the coolest feature I found about the witness was that its so lightweight, you can run it on a Raspberry PI!  $30 and you now have the witness external from all your mirrors.

 

StorMagic at TechFieldDay 13

 

This is not StorMagic’s first trip to Tech Field day, but I had the pleasure of meeting with StorMagic at TechFieldDay 13 (#TFD13) earlier this month in Austin, Texas.  I encourage you all to check out the videos from CEO Hans O’Sullivan as well as Technical Services Director Luke Pruen http://techfieldday.com/appearance/stormagic-presents-at-tech-field-day-13/

The Future of NAS is Object Storage

For as long as I can remember, block based storage has been the way you achieve performance and reliability in your datacenter.  Almost all of the industry performance leaders tended to be block based.  Even when you add file services, it simply sits on top of this block based storage.  Now if you are a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know that i have written extensively on this subject and the latest and greatest offerings of my former employer, but there is a change coming to datacenter storage, and this change is object based!

What’s driving this change?  Simply put: Cloud.  The largest cloud based service providers all use object based storage, and as cloud becomes a bigger part of an it strategy, adopting a similar technology on-premises makes this integration easier.  Using cloud storage in the enterprise gets expensive though, so its best to be smart about how you implement it in your infrastructure.  In comes Scality RING

Scality RING

Scality RING has been an ever evolving over the past several years, starting as a data protection and replication product and evolving into a full fledged enterprise software defined storage platform.  At Storage Field Day 11 (#SFD11) I had the pleasure of meeting with them and learning about their latest version, the 6.0 release.

Scality RING 6.0

So what is RING?  RING is a feature rich software defined storage platform designed to run on commodity x86 hardware that scales up and out!  It supports NFS, SMB, and FUSE.  It also supports Amazon S3, OpenStack, and other object APIs.  On the data protection side, RING gains added resiliency through the use of erasure coding, replication, and geo-distribution.

Scality RING

RINGs architecture is based on a CHORD peer-to-peer to peer algorithm that allows it to scale out and add nodes with ease.  This architecture also allows the system to keep it’s performance at scale due to local lookup tables on each node, increasing it’s ability to do a distributed search across the system when looking for data.

CHORD Architecture

The beauty of this is that it all stitches together simply.  Got a computer running Linux with some local drives?  Good, now you have a Scality node.  So if you need to add more storage, just pick up another computer and install the software on it.  Add enough of these together, and you have a massive scale out system in the petabytes range.

My Thoughts

After seeing several options for offering on-premises scale out storage, I think Scality is one of the more robust solutions.  Its clear now, in it’s 6th major revision of it’s software, that they are listening to their customers and growing from a niche product into a full fledged enterprise workhorse.  I also found it particularly interesting that they hired several of their developers from a hackathon they did.  This ended up being so successful for them that they are doing this again.

I also want to thank Stephen Foskett of Gestalt IT and the rest of the Tech Field Day staff for putting together a great event.  If you want to see the full Scality presentation, head on over to the tech field day website.

Looking for that next great job!

keep-calm-and-let-s-find-a-new-jobSome of you may already know this, but I am no longer at EMC.  It’s been a great 5 years and I have had a blast being a part of the EMC Elect program.  Yes, I had been keeping this somewhat secret, not going public while reaching out to a few people and applying to positions listed online.  This however has taken a bit of a toll on my social presence and personal brand.  As I look around, I see a lot of great inspiration from others similar experiences within the community and I think it might be best to communicate out in hopes that it might make this process go quicker.  So I’m taking a page right from Keith Townsend’s playbook and blogging about it in hopes to attract additional opportunities.

One of my biggest struggles so far has been figuring out exactly what I want for a new role.  There are so many types of positions that I haven’t done before, but I’ve seen so many others succeed in those areas.  Presales has been a curiosity for me as well as design and implementation.  My earlier years were spent on the post sales side of the house and I’ve always thought that I could make customer’s lives easier if I applied that experience to creating new solutions.  My experience in social media marketing has given me a great appreciation for the culture and made me think I would be a good fit for Technical Marketing.

In reading over Keith’s review of his whole process, I immediately noticed a lot of similarities between his situation and mine.  Just like Keith, we were both trying to go back to a more technical role after taking 2 years in a less-technical position.  This of course can cause a disconnect as my CV may not communicate this effectively based on my recent job experience.  I know I can do the work and pick things up quickly, but having not been a Systems Engineer or Solutions Architect in a previous role might be getting me filtered out automatically when approaching this through a job board.

So I’ve turned to the community for assistance in finding the next step in my career and exploring new opportunities.  It’s hard to say exactly what I want because I believe there are so many options that I might be good for.   Since it won’t hurt, I’m going to continue to seek out new options through traditional methods, but I welcome anyone who wants to talk about my future and see if I might be a good fit for what you are looking for.  You can reach me here, on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

VSPEX Blue – Evo:Rail and more!

VSPEX Blue Today EMC announced it’s latest product, the VSPEX Blue!  This 2U hyper converged offering is based of of VMware’s EVO:Rail platform that was announced last year.  While most everyone reading this is familiar with the EVO:Rail platform, the VSPEX Blue offering expands on this to give even more to the administrator.

For those of you unfamiliar, EVO:Rail offers a simplified VMware cluster setup that lets you go from power on to provisioning virtual machines in about 15 minutes with limited interaction from the administrator.  For more information about the software and basic interface, read this blog post from Duncan Epping.

So what do you get?

On the outside, each VSPEX Blue appliance is a standard Phoenix 2U chassis that contains 4 nodes.  Each node contains 2 gigabit ethernet ports, and 4 storage drives to make it vSan compliant.  The diagram below explains in detail what to expect from a hardware perspective.

VSPEX Blue Hardware

One differentiating factor in the hardware is that this is the first EVO:Rail solution to offer both a standard and performance model.  The only difference is that the standard has 128GB of ram and the performance has 192GB.  The below slide explains what you get in each node.

VSPEX Blue Node

 

So what sets this apart from the other vendors?

That is an interesting question.  While there is a slight hardware differentiation in RAM options, the biggest differences come in the form of software.  On top of the standard VMware offering comes the VSPEX Blue Manager.  This is built into the standard EVO interface, so what you get is extra options in a familiar presentation.  A key section is the hardware manager which allows you to view the hardware status of each component in the appliance in an interface that reminds me of Unisphere.

VSPEX Blue Manager Appliance View

 

You can visualize exactly which part has failed and this makes it easy for the administrator to replace the parts themselves.  Tied with this also comes the EMC Remote support options including ESRS found on EMC’s traditional storage platforms.  You can click right from the VSPEX Blue Manager interface and get knowledge base access and live chat available to you.  EMC will be handling the support for all issues relating to the VSPEX Blue appliance and will interface with VMware as needed.  The administrator will not need to call 1 company for hardware and another for software.

The other major addition from EMC is the VSPEX Blue Marketplace.  This is a great place to click and automatically deploy additional VMware related software solutions.  When VSPEX Blue goes GA in 2 weeks, it will launch with the following options from the marketplace:

  • EMC Recoverpoint for VMs (Licensed for 15 VMs per appliance)
  • CloudArray Virtual Edition (1 TB of cache and 10TB of cloud storage)
  • vSphere Data Protection Advanced (Alowing you to backup to Avamar and Datadomain)

VSPEX Blue MarketThis is just to start, as the product evolves more offerings will be available from EMC and from partners.

My take on this offering

So after looking at all the launch partners, it’s clear that while EMC is last to market, they haven’t just been wasting their time.  This is the first appliance i’ve seen that offered something more than just the standard EVO:Rail offering and laid the groundwork for a bigger ecosystem.  Given that this is the first instance that there are 2 different hardware offerings, i can see some people saying that EMCs relationship with VMware allowed them something special.  My understanding (and i could be wrong about the specifics on this) is that this option is available to all partners, so we may see some new offerings from the existing launch partners as well.

This appliance is also a partner only sale, so EMC Sales reps won’t be selling them directly (unless you want to buy a lot of them) and they will be sourced directly from the OEM manufacturers, which means the partner will be in charge of delivery instead of EMC.

VSPEX Offerings

Finally, this offering now really shows the VSPEX offerings at all sizes.  With the internalization of VCE, EMC can now offer converged options for small, medium, and large business.  And no i’m not going to talk about that 4th option in the photo above.

 

Peeling back the layers of XtremIO: What is an X-Brick?

XtremIO_iconMany moons ago, on a stage not too far from where I work, EMC announced the future of flash and the creation of the Xtrem brand / business unit.  Today, EMC announces the latest product in the brand: XtremIO.  This all flash storage monster changes the way we think about storage and for the better.  Gone is the need for tiering and different types of RAID configurations. Rebuilds are measured in minutes, not hours. I present to you, the X-Brick!

 

What’s in the X-Brick?

imageSo the picture above shows the major breakdown of an X-Brick.  Behind the covers you have 2 controllers, 2 battery backup units, and a 25 drive DAE that accepts 2.5” drives (does that look familiar?).

 

image

In  the back you can see there is 2 of everything.  There are 2 power supplies, 2 SAS controllers, 2 iSCSI and Fiber Channel ports, and 2 InfiniBand ports for clustering.  Just like with all other EMC products, there is no single point of failure in this design (and I do like how everything gets a UPS instead of just the DAE).

 

image

 

Inside the hardware of each X-Brick are dual SPs (these are external 1U blades, unlike what you see in a VNX SP), each with dual 8 core CPUs and 256GB of RAM.  They each have a SAS 2.0 connection directly to 25 eMLC SSD drives as well as InfiniBand connectivity to other nodes in the cluster (more on this soon).  On the front end, you have 10gig iSCSI as well as 8gig FiberChannel.   This impressive platform sets the stage for even more impressive software.

 

Lets talk about clusters

At launch, the XtremIO platform can support up to 4 X-Bricks (in theory, I don’t see why more can’t be added, and maybe they will be in the future).  Each X-Brick is of a fixed size of around 10TB of storage with around 7.5TB of useable space (though I expect that total size will be increased in the near future).  In a 50/50 read/write performance test, each X-Brick topped out at about 150,000 IOPS (that number increased to around 250,000 if you are doing 100% reads).  And when you max out your cluster with 4 X-Bricks, both your storage and IOPS scale out giving you 40TB of capacity and around 600,000 real world IOPS (topping out at around 1,000,000 if your doing just reads!!!!!!).

 

image

The key to achieving all of this is in the software layer.  When data comes in, it is broken down in to 4K chunks.  Each chunk is then hashed using an SHA-1 algorithm and assigned a unique metadata fingerprint.  The chunks are then spread out across all the storage processors in the cluster to distribute the data around for faster throughput and the logical block address, fingerprint, and SSD offset are recorded in the metadata.  When new data comes in, the fingerprints are checked against the existing database to see if there is a match.  If there is, the metadata is recorded, but the write is not necessary, thus extending the life of the SSDs as well as performing an inline deduplication.  Now 256GB is not a lot of RAM to store metadata, and when full it will destage this to the SSDs.  This is where the cluster really starts to shine.

image

By utilizing the RDMA fabric between the X-Bricks.  The metadata calculation can be distributed across the entire cluster for an even load balancing.  This allows the decoupling of the user data and the meta data so that they don’t have to be on the same X-Brick and also allows you to recall any of the data in a similar fashion.  The in memory metadata of a controller is also mirrored to another controller in the cluster just in case there is a controller failure.  By being able to utilize multiple X-Bricks at the same time, you can scale out all the processing in an active/active environment and increase the total throughput of the cluster as a whole.

 

So what does it look like?

Well first off, it’s not Unisphere, but it’s own interface (the XMS management system) that is launched from the web server running on a controller as well as a robust CLI.  This video demonstration gives you a great overview.

XtremIO v2.2 GUI Demonstration

Final Thoughts

All in all, for a first round product, I think this is a great offering.  I’d like to see it scaled up higher with more storage and more X-Bricks in a cluster as I don’t think they have hit the limits of the architecture.  Be sure to watch the Launch event.  Here is a sneak peek at the cool X-Brick Coffee table (which will one day end up in my living room if I can help it)!

EMC XtremIO Launch 173

VMworld 2013 in pictures

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 331San Francisco is an amazing city (and also an expensive city).  I finally was approved for travel to this city after trying the past two years, so I wanted to make it count.  I had heard so many great things about VMworld from years past and I was looking forward to all it had to offer before, during, and after the show.  With only a few days in the city and a lot to accomplish, my adventure began on saturday.

 

Saturday night kicked off the first VMworld activity (if you don’t count booth assembly or hanging in the alumni lounge).  Simon Seagrave hosted a spectacular vBeers event to kick things off and it was packed the the point it was spilling out on to the sidewalk.  I met a lot of really cool people (including several people I follow on twitter) and I even got to try out google glass (I need to find one that fits people with glasses).

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 1 189_HDRThe next day started off with some sight seeing and a bit of a walking tour of SF.  Google maps really need to start telling me about elevation changes because some of those streets were straight up (or down depending on the direction you were going)!

 

Sunday afternoon was home to the 4th (or 5th depending on who you ask) vOdgeball tournament and this year did not disapoint.  My understanding was that this was the biggest it has been and major props to the teams competing, the refs for making quick calls, and the fans for surviving stray balls.

VMworld 2013 - Day 1 568

While team EMC was victorious in winning, the real winners was the wounded warriors program who received around $14,000 in donations.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 367That evening we witnessed the opening of the show floor.  I have to say, the EMC booth was amazing and was one of 2 double decker booths on the show floor.  It seemed like every time I was at the booth it was packed full of people and this is always a great sign.  After 3 hours of booths, beer, and food, it was time for the biggest social media meet up of the week.  I’m referring to the VMunderground party.  This year it was held at an art gallery (that was surprisingly vacant of art) and had plenty of room to talk, eat, and mingle.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 066All this has happened and the show doesn’t even start really until Monday morning.  The opening keynote delivered by former EMCer Pat Gelsinger did not disappoint.  Major announcements about the release of vSphere 5.5 which included two new features: VSAN and NSX.  VSAN is VMwares take on software defined storage and NSX is the result of the Nicira acquisition last year and completes their software defined networking portfolio.  There are plenty of great blogs out there discussing these technologies and I can’t wait to see what is done with this technology down the road.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 392VMworld 2013 - Day 2 518At the EMC booth, Chad Sakac didn’t disappoint either.  He has a way with words and seems to be able to fire up the crowd no matter where he is.  Of course it helps when you have goodies to wow people like a VMAX that has a fridge built into it.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 127Tuesday provided even more information about the new technologies announced the day before.  It was also a great day to do hands on labs.  VMware provided a huge hands on lab area, but for people wanting to try out EMC specific labs, we also brought our own booth setup to handle several labs at a time across the entire EMC portfolio.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 565Tuesday night was the vendor parties and EMC, Cisco, and Intel banded together to bring you Cloudfest!.  We took over Ghirardelli square to bring the ultimate combination of music, food, and chocolate.  As evidence by the photo to the right, this place was packed!  The bands were great and delivered some amazing covers of popular songs by Queen, The Police, and others.  I was told this was one of the best parties of the night and people were still talking about it up through the end of VMworld.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 080VMworld 2013 - Day 4 220On Wednesday, the EMC booth had a t-shirt meet up.  Everywhere you looked was a sea of EMC datacenter hero shirts (I think there were more than at EMC World).  This was the final day the show floor was open and even after 3 days of presentations, booth attendance was still very high (including some special guests like Pat dropping by).

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 249

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 279That night was the VMworld Party.  They took over AT&T park and turned it into a cVMworld 2013 - Day 4 301ounty fair!  The midway games were great however I still maintain that they were rigged since the same people kept winning (and I won nothing).  Both Train and Imagine Dragons did a great job.  This has to be one of the best customer appreciation parties I have been to and I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming years as other events step up!

 

All in all VMworld was a great event.  I met more people than I can remember (including about half of the people I follow on twitter).  I learned a lot about upcoming technology and the solutions they play.  To see the full collection of my photos (all 154 of them) I have posted them to google+.

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 342

VMworld – The EMC presence and where to find me

With VMworld getting underway in just a few hours, i thought i’d talk about EMC’s presence at the show and where you can find me.  EMC will have 2 booths this year.  We have the main booth which is 2 floors and full of awesome!  The main floor area will have a social media wall, a presentation theater, a prize wheel, and plenty of stations to learn about all that we have to offer.  The upstairs area will be an EMC Elect space for all Elect members in attendance.  Have you nominated someone (or yourself) yet?

 

The other area will be in the back corner and it is an EMC Hands on lab (Powered by vLab!) area where you can try our latest and greatest solutions in a virtual environment.  This is separate

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I urge everyone to stop by the booths and check them out, and you may even find yourself in a picture up on one of our posts!  Which brings me to where i’ll be.  This year i am acting as official EMC photographer for the event.  I will be EVERYWHERE gathering photos of all things EMC.  So be sure to attend one of our sessions or anything else listed on the vPass page and you may wind up in our photo album.  When i’m not shooting photos, you’ll find me hanging out around the EMC booth or in the VMworld hang space.  At night, you can find me at one of VMworld’s many social gatherings.

 

Speaking of social gatherings, are you going to Cloudfest?  For those of you who don’t know, Cloudfest is a customer appreciation party cosponsored by EMC, Cisco, and Intel.  It’s going to be the best party tuesday night.  For those of you who have already signed up, be sure to pick up your invitation at the EMC Booth.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, there will be more tickets given out, so talk to the booth staff and see if you can get one, or become friends with an EMC Elect member who might be able to get you in.  I hope to see everyone there.

 wpid-image003.jpg

Thats it for now, but be sure to check out the EMC VMworld vPass page to cover all things going on at this year’s show.

VMworld – Introducing the Software-Defined 7

With VMworld a week away, I wanted to start talking about the goings on at the event and how I will be contributing to the community.  This year, we have seven EMC Elect Social Champions (also known as the “Software Defined 7”) who will be attending VMworld and offering live coverage of the event.  I am honored to be one of those members this year and will be your goto contact for EMC party related information (more onthat later) as well as taking photos of the entire show.

This year, EMC has several break out sessions, as well as a large double decker booth on the show floor, hands on labs, and a customer appreciation event.  A full list of all the events can be found here.  A member of the software defined seven has volunteered to be the social champion for a break out session or event and will be your contact for any questions as well as blogging & tweeting the content from the session.  They will become the goto person for asking questions during the event wether you are attending or playing the home game.

 

For those of you who cannot attend, but want to stay up to date on all things EMC at VMworld, i encourage you to visit the Virtual Pass page on ECN where we have everything EMC is doing all in one space.  There is even a discussion thread to talk about the show (thanks to a suggestion from Luigi).

The New England VTUG – A view from the other side

For the past few years I have attended several New England VTUG/VMUG events as an independent blogger / technologist.  This year, I attended the 10th annual Summer Slam as a sponsor through my employer and it has given me a little bit different a perspective on things.  My goal this event was to promote awareness of the EMC Community Network and the EMC Elect programs and have a conversation about it.  I do believe that I achieved my goal, but I also came away with a few big takeaways for next time.

Know your environment

NE_VTUG 005For those of you who haven’t attended the New England VTUG, it is held in the high school of Brunswick, Maine.  The main vendor hall is in the gymnasium, a room with no wired internet and shared power cords.  One must be prepared because this remote location also does not lend itself very well to cellular signals (probably good for keeping the kids focused on schoolwork). The result of this is that both vendors and attendees would heavily rely on the wifi network, and after it hit full saturation, performance problems would occur.  This also meant that there was no fall back for hotspots and mifi units.  It became quite apparent that I had miscalculated when I was the only one trying to do live demos that required internet connectivity.

BRING A FAN!!!!!

NE_VTUG 018I cannot stress this enough.  It is very hot, and in the summer the AC is not on in the school (with the exception of the theater), so a fan will be your best friend.  Vendors can use this to their advantage too.  If you want to get everyone to come to your booth, give your patrons a way to cool off.  The two most popular booths were giving away smoothies for attendees (competitors too) to drink and it was much appreciated.

 

All these fans however caused another issue … with the power.  When you run several fans (and a blender) off the same circuit, you may overload it.  And we did … twice!  The NEVTUG staff was very attentive to get extra power cables run and reset the circuit breakers so that downtime was minimal.

Be Happy! Be Social!

NE_VTUG 021To be honest, the majority of the attendees I spoke with had never heard of ECN or the EMC Elect.  However when I spoke to them, many were very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea.  One of the moments that really stood out to me was when a customer indicated that he was the goto person in his organization for everything, and he often did not know the answer.  After I explained to him about the support forums on ECN, he lit up and responded “This is where I can get the answers!”  Its genuine engagement like this that makes these user group meetings worth while.

Lets do it again

I had a blast talking to customers, partners, and even a few competitors at the NEVTUG.  With news coming of a new VTUG chapter forming in Silicon Valley (and more in the works across the united states) I urge all my readers to attend one and have a great conversation.