Who moved my VMware C# Client?

Years ago I was handed a rack of HP servers, a small EMC storage array, and a few CDs with something called ESX 2 on them. I was told I could use this software to put several virtual servers on the handful of physical servers I had available to me. There was a limited web client, available, most of my time was spent on the command line over SSH. The documentation was limited, I spent most of my time writing procedures for the company I was at, quickly earning my self a promotion, and a new role as a storage engineer.

Today VMware is announcing that the next release of the vSphere product line will deprecate the C# client in favor of the web client. As I have gone through this process, both as a vExpert and a VMware employee, there have been many questions. During our pre-announcement call with the product team at VMware, there were a number of concerns voiced about what will work on day 1 and what this does to the customers who have come to rely on performance. Rather than focus on the actual changes, most of which are still to be determined, it seemed more helpful to talk about the future of managing systems, and the future of operations.

george

When I started working on server administration, the number of systems one admin might manage was pretty low, maybe less than a dozen. With the advent of virtualization and cloud native applications, devops and no-ops, administrators are managing farms of servers, most of them virtual. We often hear about pets vs. cattle, the concept that most of our servers are moving from being pets, something we care for as a part of our family, to cattle, something we use to make money, if one of our cattle have a problem, we don’t spend too much time on it, we have many others, we can just make more.

Whether it is a VMware product, Openstack, or another management tool, abstracting deployment and management of systems is becoming more mainstream, and more cost effective. In this model, a management client is far less important than APIs and the full stack management they can enable. For the few use cases where the client is needed, the web client will continue to improve, but the true value is these improvements will drive new APIs and new tools developed for managing systems. While change is never easy, a longer term view both where we came from, and where we are going with the interfaces reminds us this is a necessary change, and less impactful than it may seem at first glance.

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Who moved my VMware C# Client?

Automating my home: Sprinkler Automation

rachio

When I first heard about sprinkler automation, I couldn’t conceive of a reason to invest more into a system that was pretty much hands off.  Our house has 5 zones mostly covering the backyard, and as pretty simple.  What finally sold me on the idea was my wife asking me to go into the garage to hit the rain delay when I was getting dressed for work one morning.  I started thinking about how silly it was that I had to go to all that effort just to shut down the sprinkler system for a day due to weather.  The final straw though was when I tried to change the programming.  I had thought my old home thermostat was painful to program, this made me want to give up on watering all together.

Doing a little research, I found out that our local water district will pay a substantial rebate for automated sprinkler systems.  I dug into why this was, and what the potential savings might be.  I found some systems with external sensors in ground to monitor the ground saturation, but the reviews on those were a bit troubling.  Many reviews stated they required constant recalibration, and it seemed the technology might be a little immature at this point.  For the most part, the mid range systems I was looking at all used local public weather station data to determine if they needed to run.  The interfaces were designed for smartphone users, very user friendly, and designed for family use.

Based on rebates, and ease of use, I took the plunge with the Rachio 2.  Setup was pretty simple, wiring it up was the toughest, just because I had a hard time getting the wires to seat.  Not any fault of the product, but my hands are too big to handle the low voltage wiring.  Joining the wireless was great, although I did typo my wifi password a couple times, but again, my own fault.  The configuration of zones was flawless, it walked me through the process, testing each zone, and then labeling it with a friendly name.  I was even able to take pictures of each zone and load them in.

As a bonus I was able to share the system with my wife.  Rather than logging in with a single account, I can give her access, and if I ever have a landscaper to keep up my yard, I can give them limited access to adjust as needed.  A small thing but pretty amazing they went to that level of detail.  Another nice touch is, it notifies me when it is watering, and it lets me know when it makes adjustments due to changing weather conditions.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier, and I would recommend if your water district offers a rebate, it is a no brainer.  Little improvements and quality of life gadgets like the Rachio 2 help manage our house, even when we aren’t there, and keep me from going out to the garage when I am half asleep to find the rain delay button.