And then the @dropcam says to the @nest I’ll see your motion and raise you 2 degrees…

My dorky attempt at humor to say, while neither my @Dropcam nor my @Nest talk to ME (yet), they do now talk to each other 🙂

This is a quick post. I saw an update come across today for the Dropcam App.


Since it mentioned Nest and I have both devices in my home, I wanted to try out the newest integration.

Remember, Google bought Nest and then “Nest” bought Dropcam.

I’ve had both for almost 2 years so pre-Goog and I admit I was a bit skeptical at first but definitely think the integration has promise to bring much cool to the IoT table.

So, I read the release notes, updated the Dropcam app and launched it.
Sure enough a new menu item appeared.


Clicking Connect with Nest brought two pages of explanation and a Continue button:



The explanation seemed interesting. I continued to a prompt for my Nest account


Once authenticated by Nest the Dropcam App showed connected.


Disregard the kids’ toys strewn about ;P

Inside Dropcam there are new Nest Alert Schedule & Nest Camera Schedule that can be toggled on/off.



To test each feature out I enabled them both.

Switching over to my Nest App, I manually set Away.



After verifying that my Dropcam was On, I then switched the Nest back to home.



Sure enough, my Dropcam switch off on its own.


The reverse also worked, the camera turned on when I “left”.

I didn’t see any alerts in my activity feed, but I’m also using the Activities Zones feature and I have them pretty well dialed in so not many stray false alerts.

I’ve also enabled a few IFTTT Recipes with my Nest. Overall, the integration of these two “Things” feels like a good start.


My next gadget splurge may be a SmartThings hub, as I like the openness it seems to offer and already play nice with these and a few other devices I have a geek crush on. 🙂

Do you use any of these tools? What are your thoughts?


#MSTechEd 2014 Day 3 – Swimming w/MS fishes #TheKrewe #MVPs #HyperV #Storage & more…

Day 3 – Wednesday :

There were again two overlapping session covering strorage Jose Barreto, & Damnien were presenting on SDS at the same time as Eric Matthew and ___ were doing #DCIMB346 Best Practices for Deploying Storage Spaces Ballroom A

Session #DCIM-B346 Best Practices for Deploying Tiered Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 by Bryan Matthew, Chris Robinson

Since the rooms were next to each other I hit up Jose for a storage poster and made my way up to the front row of Bryan and Chris’ session.


Following the I attended PDT Deployment Toolkit by Rob Willis  Awesome. Out of completely random chance I ended up sitting next to Rob later in the evening.


Microsoft booth – Cloud & Datacenter Infrastructure Management

3pm Stop – Instructor Led Hands on Lab Time! #SCVMM & Storage. Short 45 min lab –


HP – Jeff. iLo cmdlets

Our VP of Biz Dev for Proximal Data was still in town from the Petri event we sponsored the night before. We had bite to eat together and had a few more good conversations and I was back out on the expo floor to learn about what other vendors are providing in the Hyper-V / SCVMM space.

Being Wednesday my calendar started telling me I had an event schedule for noon California time. I usually make an effort to run into the weekly live recording sessions and chat for the VMTN community podcast. This Wednesday I made a special effort, while this great Microsoft event to listen in and chat along with the VMware community as we wished John Troyer continued success in his new independent role at TechReckoning and no longer as the DeFacto VMware community connector that has brought so many of us together to grow and learn from each other as IT professionals, partners and friends. If you’re not already aware of the role that John play(s/-ed) in founding and nurturing the #vExperts, Community forums, blogs, etc, then you should listen to this episode as Mike Laverick coaxes John along through an incredible journey that John has had. If you don’t care to listen or can’t make the time, I’ll just summarize for you: John Troyer is the Wizard of Oz. That is all!


I spoke with several hardware storage appliance manufacturers about their integration with Microsoft’s various administration and orchestration tools. Most either already have or are working to release an SMI-S provider to integrate with SCVMM for provisioning and management of their storage resources, which is a nice thing to have as it offers one stop shopping for creation of VMs, LUNs, shares, etc. as well as bringing to the table additional entry points for automation tools to access all components of the virtualization stack over an industry standard interface. What I did not see much of were VMM client add-ins. I was hoping to see some vendors plugging into the VMM client itself to bubble up performance monitoring and statistics tracking from their underlying systems within the context of the Virtual Machine Manager. Most of the interfaces I saw on display were not embedded into the ‘single pane of glass’ but rather delivered via a separate interface in either a web browser or from an installable management application run on a desktop next to the VMM client. One vendor that I consider to be very advanced in the area of VM aware statistics and performance monitoring is Tintrí. I visited their booth to speak with them about what they currently offer for Microsoft virtualization. They do have an SMI-S provider already and are working on additional integration with SCVMM. It happened that while I was talking with them, the Microsoft PM for SCVMM was at their booth chatting with Tintri’s director of engineering. We discussed the potential integration points and areas within the VMM Client where it would make sense to bubble up the rich info that is already available via the Tintri web interface. In talking with the Microsoft PM I showed him the add-in that we have developed for Proximal Data’s AutoCache for Hyper-V and also asked the PM about some challenges with specific areas where we’d like to do a bit more but there doesn’t appear to be consideration within the SDK that is available and supported by Microsoft. One such item I will share with you in hopes that you may also echo this sentiment if it is something you’d like to see. The add-in mechanims that handles extenion registration cannot currenlty be automated. Meaning that although you may delivert the zip file necessary for the the Client to add the add-in, this cannot be worked into an MSI installation precedure. Channel 9 prezi clearly states that this is not possible and I’ve not been able to locate documentation of a method for doing it. This represents another post-installation task that a user has to perform following installation. I would love it if the setup could simply do the add-in registration as part of the installer.


#MSTechEd 2014 Day 4 – Swimming with the MS fishes #TheKrewe #MVPs #HyperV #Storage & more…

MSTechEd Day 4: Thursday – Final day

In the morning there were not many session that interested me. I did find a session on by  Ben Day @PluralSight instructor covering SCRUM, QA, UAT & Test/Dev Release practices as they relate to development tools. Remember now, I am not a developer, but I do sit next to one. Working at a startup, individual roles or titles are less relevant that is the actual fundamental key to shipping a product, Do The Work. For myself this means that in addition to customer and partner engagement, a large component of my energy goes into taking the feedback I capture and doing Product (Solution) Design. Our developers already practice test-based coding in which as a feature is designed, prototyped and integrated into the product, iterative testing is performed in parallel at each stage to ensure that there are no unintended interactions as various moving pieces are stitched together. Significant components of traditional QA might be ‘boring’ to some people but it is nonetheless critically important to delivering a reliable product that hits the mark on DWYSYWD. This is why as much as possible, the ‘boring’ stuff should be automated to focus on the ‘fun’ stuff. Functional and Exploratory testing can be more fun at least for me, I enjoy putting on my chaos monkey hat and swinging through the buttons and screens, clicking and poking my cursor where it should be and feeding bad parameters to commanlines who didn’t want to see me doing that. Overall I strive to make my contributions to the product release cycle align with the principles of Jez Humble’s book Continuous Delivery.

Back to the conference though…. The remainder of Thursday I decided to invest more time in the Hands On Labs.

Fail. – Step 1. NTP sync problem between the VMs & hosts involved in this lab environment. Essentially there are a minimum of two VMs and two or more physical hosts involved in the lab setup. These are broken down as follows: a Domain Controller VM and a SystemCenter Virtual Machine Manager VM, the physical servers running Hyper-V hosts (2 in the lab I did)  and then a File Server which could be a single server or multiple in a cluster.


#MSTechEd 2014 Day 2 – Swimming with the MS fishes #TheKrewe #MVPs #HyperV #Storage & more…

Hopefully with these posts you gain some insight into what I saw as a first time attendee of Microsoft’s TechEd conference. I’m new to this community, so please steer me toward any additional resources, people or streams that I should plug into so I have the optimal conference experience at my next TechEd.

I covered my first day of TechEd in one post. As the pace of the event picked up, I realized I would have to summarize each of the following three days in a followup post to be edited later. That ended up being done on the plane home and it was a giant wall of words that I knew had to be broken up into chunks.. That’s what I have now had time to do. Here is my second day. [UPDATE: I’ve since posted Day 3, and Day 4.]

Before jumping into Tuesday, let’s finish up Monday night. I attended an appropriately Texan, cowboy themed event followed by dinner with a few people I know that work for a leading hyper-converged infrastructure solution that  like Proximal Data’s AutoCache now has a generally available product that supports the ‘big three’ virtualization platforms, Hyper-V, VMware and KVM. Despite arriving late to the restaurant, the manger and even one of the owners came over to our table to let us know we should feel welcome to stay as late as we liked. The meal was delicious and conversation was paired perfectly.

MSTechEd Day 2 – Tuesday:

On the second day of TechEd my focus was on storage, storage, and storage. I made it a priority to attend breakout sessions related to this and sought out community members and SMEs I had researched beforehand.

Being fairly new to the Microsoft approach to virtualization, I specifically focused on storage because, as has been the trend ever since virtualization became a ‘thing’, with storage there is always a ton to take into consideration when designing a solution that offers services that are scaleable and performant.

In Philip Moss’ session on Monday’s entitled Service Provider Datacenter Architecture  #DCIM-B211

In the morning I found my way to the solution expo, where I met Jose Barreto in the MS booth. Chatting with Jose I realized I had found my ‘spot’ at the show. The next few hours flew by with some great convos with Microsoft customers and partners that came to chat with Product Managers and MVPs including, Philip March, Aidin Finn among others.

In the afternoon, there were actually two session at the same time that I wanted to attend.

As it turned out, DCIMB335 Microsoft Storage in Production… FAILED! …Well, I mean the session was cancelled.Since I had been debating over which of two conflicting session to attend, I’m actually glad in a way that the decision was made for me.

The Dell Maximizing Storage Efficiency with Dell and Microsoft Storage Spaces  session #DCIM-397 was another great prezi, including a ton of live demonstrations driven by clear, well scripted demos that you could tell had been thought out and planned to make it easy to know what you should be looking at.  I’ve seen ( & admittedly, likely presented myself) some demos in which it’s not immediately clear where or what on the screen you should be paying attention to as the presenter… click, click, click, oops, well, ummm, mumbles…  over here and then over here and here and well back there… and the audience is left asking, where? huh? This was definitely high quality session. The two Dell presenters were solid in their knowledge and made a point to complement each other perfectly while answering questions and taking us through at a nice pace, not rushed but not kindergartner speed either. Following the prezi I chatted with both of the presenters about the various product offerings they have in the enterprise storage and virtualization space and how/where the JBOD enclosures, controllers and rack mount servers all fit into Dell’s “Fluid Storage Architecture”. It was a great conversation that we took back to their booth and continued there on the expo floor. Having been a customer of theirs I attended several Storage Forum events and so I got to say hello to many friends working the booth.

On Tuesday evening my company, Proximal Data sponsored drinks together with Veeam  at an Authors Meet & Greet for Petri IT Knowledgebase. This event was held at Andalucia a nearby Spanish Tapas bar and restaurant where in addition to great spirits and delicious food we had an excellent mix of attendees including IT Pro end-users, customers, along with several service providers who are involved in delivery and implementation of Microsoft-based cloud and virtualized solutions, many of whom are recognized as MVPs and also contribute to the community in other ways, including as authors for Petri. In attendance were — List names — Damian Phynn, Aidin Finn,,

Drinks, turned into dinner which turned into moving next door to House of Blues where I caught up with a number of friends and community members from the industry, many of whom have ‘moved around’ lately. It was great to catch up on who’s working where and what they’re up to. The music being performed by jam session volunteers was fun and plenty of drinks and light snacks made for a great close of what was another exhausting but invigorating day at TechEd.

End Day 2 #BackToTheHotel…

Using HP iLO Scripting Tools for Windows #PowerShell MT @GetScripting podcast @PowerScripting

PS:> Get-Podcast |? {($_.Name -eq “Get-Scripting” -or $_.Name -eq “PowerScripting”)} | % Get-HPiLO | Format-Audio


Have you ever looked for an item that you set down somewhere and you just can’t find it despite a good thorough search? Then later (once you’ve given up), you practically trip on that very item or it just comes and hits you right in the head! Serendipity is quite a thing!

A lot of the cool tools (i.e. solutions to challenges) come to me in a similar way. Often times via an unexpected tweet, podcast, webinar or a face to face encounter I discover a ‘new to me’ resource that can be leveraged to accomplish a particular task that I’ve been mulling over.

It happened again the other night on the way home after some late night vBrownBag LATAM prep work. I was catching up on my holiday backlog of podcasts. As I drove I listened to Episode 37 (Jingle Bells edition) of the Get-Scripting Podcast hosted by AlanRenouf and JonathanMedd.

[Update]: In the time between when I drafted this post and when I am publishing it, the same topic was also discussed on another podcast that I listen to. Not only was it mentioned in Episode 259 of the PowerScripting Podcast hosted by Jonathan Walz and Hal Rottenberg, the guest was in fact the creator of the tool, Jeff Galloway from HP (bonus: the first segment of this episode captures some awesome DSC tech chat).

Jeff along with his intern developed and released the HP Scripting Tools for Windows PowerShell Configuration cmdlets for iLO3 and iLO4 available for download at

A bit of  quick Googling showed that @ShayLevy has posted some notes along with a link to the  21-page user guide and @RuddyVCP wrote a post about the same topic. (Surely there are others, see note at end).

So, what problems does this solve?
Earlier in the week I had a customer ask if I knew of some way to perform a particular configuration task on HP servers that currently required they perform a host powercycle to boot from a utility ISO. Since it was a VMware ESXi host I suggested the use of HP’s provided esxcli extensions, though they do require you to either have installed the vendor specific custom ESXi ISO (Do you BTW?) or add the individual VIBs to the host, which can be done via interactive installation of the offline bundle(s) or slipped into your own custom built image. With the tools in place, one could even use the Get-EsxCLI() ‘trick’ to interact with the HP utility from PowerShell/PowerCLI, if that’s how you roll. Regardless, it required something the customer didn’t already have in place and would have to add to each host in order to use it.

Hearing about these new HP iLO Scripting Tools for Windows PowerShell made me think that this customer could potentially leverage them to perform the task they needed to do without having to install anything on their hosts.

These HP Cmdlets open up a lot of possibilities and makes them readily accessible from within a familiar PowerShell environment. There are 110 Cmdlets including a number of Get-properties, based on the results one which one could then take another action such as; Set-x, Reset-x, Start, Clear, Disable, Mount, etc.

What can it do?

A very simple example would be to search for servers with iLO on a particular subnet or IP range and then retrieve the status of each.

In a Test/Dev lab with several G7 and G8 servers this simple script was a quick way to check the status of all of them in one quick pass.

$iloIP=Find-HPiLO $iLoSubnet|Select IP
Get-HPiLOVMStatus -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass|Select Hostname, Status_Message

get ilo status

What else can it do?

Another simple workflow might be to discover iLO, Mount an ISO, set onetime boot media, and then issue a power on or reset to initiate an OS installation.

$iloIP=Find-HPiLO $iLoSubnet|Select IP
$isourl =”http://webserver.lab/dir/provstart.iso

Dismount-HPiLOVirtualMedia -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass -Device CDROM
Mount-HPiLOVirtualMedia -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass -Device CDROM -ImageURL $isourl

Get-HPiLOOneTimeBootOrder -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass | Select BOOT_TYPE
-Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass -Device “CDROM”

Get-HPiLOHostPower -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass
Set-HPiLOHostPower -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass -HostPower “Yes”

Dismount-HPiLOVirtualMedia -Server $iloIP -user $usr -pass $pass -Device CDROM

Although we are not necessarily using the Host Power off ( i.e. “No”) option in this example, it may prudent to observer that there is a note in the user guide that explains:
“Whether a server turns off or not when using Set-HPiLOHostPower depends on the operating system power button setting and state of the system. The operating system may ignore a power off request using this command.
To force power off, use the Set-HPiLOVirtualPowerButton cmdlet with parameter –PressType HOLD.

Tying these pieces together, these steps could be integrated as part of a bare-metal deployment in which, your boot media were used to kick off a (fully automated) OS install process.

What’s holding you back? 

How might you use these tools in your environment?
Let others know by leaving a comment, tweet or blog post, I’ll gladly add a link to it right here.

Some final notes:

You may have noticed above that rather than piping the results of a find-hpilo into get-hpilo cmdlet I had to use a variable. This is because for some reason the object(s) returned from the find cmdlt are somehow not consumable by get-hpilo so instead I grabbed the IP(s) and used that in place. This is something that  @RuddyVCP noted in his post about the same topic. Mr. Ruddy also pointed out that he hopes (as do I) that HP plans on leveraging the standard PowerShell credential parameters in a future release instead of forcing a username/password with each use of the cmdlet. In the Power-Scripting interview, Jeff stated that his manner of handling credentials was a design decision that was made in consideration of the fact that iLO can actually perform its own authentication against LDAP / Active Directory. Supporting both would be ideal.

Regardless of these small issues, these new HP supported PowerShell cmdlets are much easier and every bit as powerful as using the HP RIBCL for scripting iLO operations from Windows OS. Don’t believe me? Have a look here: (Makes you want to hug Jeff & his intern, doesn’t it!).

I won’t spoil the entire podcast episode for you, but if you do give it a listen you’ll hear about a few additional enhancements to be released in version 1.1, hopefully coming out in early March. When it does, I’ll do my best to get another post out or update this one.

PowerShell or PowerCLI Fanboy?

If you are, then you might have noticed the logos I cobbled into the image above. Thank Alan for providing these cool logos to the community in full res downloadable format on his website.

If you didn’t catch the inline links above, I can’t recommend these podcasts enough:

I bought an iphone, changed religions & switched political parties

…not really! I only did one of those crazy things…. I bought my first ever iPhone. A single check-in at the Apple store this evening drew shock, concern and confusion from close friends and family.

@kylemurley WHAT?!? Is this the twilight zone?!? Is it true? 📱

— Kendra Murley (@KennaMurley) October 3, 2013

screenshot text bonk

others asked if I was feeling alright and even where they’d failed me…

Screenshot fb - failed sick darkside

Still others jeered my conformity. Going with the pack?

Screenshot lemming

Discussing OSes, religion or politics is generally not polite conversation.

While I won’t go as far as to categorize myself as a ‘fervent’ supporter or naysayer against any one platform in particular, I do like openness, flexibility and options. That’s not generally been my impression of what Apple offers it’s users. I am however open to finding out for myself.

After the ancient days of Nokia being a thing, my smartphones were Palm, then Winmo and finally Anroid. Until now.

Generally I have had a true love hate relationship with my devices. I love the fact that they offer the potential to connect nearly any standard peripheral (keyboard, mouse, sd card, etc) and run applications from independent developers which may or may not go through all the proper channels. I understand this is a ‘risk’ and have been willing to take it. I also understand that this may be (okay, likely is) what leads to my experience eventually degrading to a point where at times I’d nearly love to throw it against the wall and watch it shatter, but resist the urge because it is such a precious resource and provides my window to the world.

This had become especially true of my latest device. I’d grown tired of  sluggishness, instability and constant need to power up (I’ve always carried multiple swappable batteries).

The full truth is my contract was up, and I was eligible for a new device and in fact I actually received a reimbursement check from my carrier that covered nearly half the cost.  So, I went for it. Sooner or later I may come to loath this latest device just as much, or even more than previously coveted gadgets, time will tell.  (heck Win8 may push me even further down this path… though, I am typing this on a chromebook)

Anyhow  I certainly have lots to learn and explore.

Already in just the few hours since picking up the device I’m finding things I need to adjust to. I discussed with my ‘genius’ at the Apple store methods of managing my apps that does’t require an ‘app’ being installed and running on another device (iTunes/AppStore). Couldn’t I just just browse a website (like playstore) and ‘push’ apps to my phone since I’ll be signed in using the Apple id credentials I created? (which I entered no less than 5 times during out of box device setup).

I also already experience my first lockup, requiring a soft reset when I tested the Lightning Digital AV adapter that I purchased. Plugged it in, display popped up, rotated the screen and… then it become unresponsive. Unplugged the dongle, still nothing, futzed with all the buttons til I found the soft reset or maybe it just rebooted on its own. Donno?

Enough about that though, I don’t want this to be me ‘venting’ about all the things I don’t like about the new platform. It’s going to be different… and hopefully better… Besides, others’ responses will be “Well, why would you wanna do that” anyway… Am I right? 😉

The biggest positive thus far is I have a new, reliable device that connects to my various networks. Now I need to make sure I can be productive working on it.

As for apps there are many I want to explore but for now I need to quickly load the essentials, webex, go2mtg, gmail, gvoice, gmaps, skype, 4sq, fb, etc.

A concern I still have is streaming music, which is a big part of my daily experience of the world. I need to find a replacement for Grooveshark mobile app that allows music streaming while outside of the US and gives me offline access to songs. I said streaming, I have no interest in ‘owning’ or storing media files.

Wow, if you’re still reading, you should probably go buy yourself a new phone or something… I’m off to go play with mine.

Hey, still here? Okay, fine. Here’s a question for you, respond in the comments: Did you switch from Android to iOS? What have you found were the most valuable lessons/tools that helped you make the leap?

Juiced: #VMworld Essential Power Plan, Survivability & Disaster Avoidance!

In preparing for VMworld 2012, this year I invested in a few essential items. I wanted to ensure I was productive and had a good time.
Having a solid plan for powering up and staying “juiced” is especially important at an event like VMworld where in addition to the entire program for session descriptions and locations being online, the primary means of communicating is via Twitter, be it #hashtags, dms or from the normal stream of goings on, if your connected device dies, it means you’ll be missing out on some great opportunities.

As my “conference survival kit” began coming together from Amazon fulfillment, I tweeted out what I had in the works and several followers asked for my review of the devices. So, it’s a little late, but here ya go.

The compact mobile power pack by NewTrent (IMP120D) is a 12,000mAh rechargeable external batter with two USB ports. This device gave me the confidence to head out from the hotel for a full (18-20 hour) day without having to consider how/where/when I was going to locate a wall charger and spend time pluggin’ in. For years now, I’ve been sporting two batteries for easy swap out, but even while rocking two extended batteries and a clunky wall charger in your back pocket, those last few hours of an evening can be nail biting when you’re trying to find the after-after party meetup or figure out where the heck you are so that you can hail a ride back to your hotel.

New Trent IMP120D iCarrier 12000mAh Heavy Duty 2A/1A Dual USB Ports External Battery Pack

Things I considered when selecting an external battery charger:
Form factor: size matters as does shape.
— While no featherweight the compact form fits pants pockets well. It’s un-attached meaning it didn’t add bulk to my device(s) or require any type of stand.
Price – convenience has its price but within reason.
— I wasn’t willing to spend >$99
Capacity( mAmp) – how many more hours of runtime would it add
— I found I could easily get 3 full charges of my phone (from 10% to full in ~20 mins). This was plenty, plus I had a second batt on standby in case.
Output: You faster is better when charging over USB.
— For tablets & smartphones a trickle charge can’t keep up with usage, leaving you drained. For fast charges I used the 5V 2.1A USB and occasionally connected a second device (bluetooth) to the 5V 1A output.

Another item that made it’s way into the survival kit was a compact travel powerstrip made by TrippLite, the TRAVELER3USB.
This gem was recommended by @jfranconi (who has reportedly been “Kicking the crap out of one for months as a PSO roadwarrior for VMware.

Down low on this baby is: Tripp Lite TRAVELER3USB Notebook Surge Protector USB Charger 3 Outlet 540 Joule
3 triple prong outlets spaced to accommodate even bulky “brick” plugs
2 USB ports for charging accessories ( I did find hey would only trickle charge (500mA per port) So a tablet or smartphone to charge adequately may take overnight)
Small & light with a short cord that wraps into a space carved out in the housing, excellent design for keeping it out of the way when packing.
I also always throw into my bag a 2-prong plug adapter in case I’m faced with an old school wall outlet or worse, at the end of a cheap extension cord.

One other purchase I made that I continue to appreciate: HUSH PUPPIES!
Yeah, they’re back…or they never left… or whatever, but I’ll say this: they’re comfy and the hold up!
Those 3-4 days of 18+ hours include plenty of walking and standing. Solid footwear is critical to your Disaster Avoidance and Survivability!

Any how, those are just a few items I’m glad I invested in and I thought you may be interested to know how they worked out.

What tech items always go along with you when travelling for work or fun?

Let me know in your comments, Partner Exchange is coming up quick, I may need some optimal travel equip for Las Vegas!