Azure NetApp Files Performance with Azure Kubernetes Service

In April of 2018, I was delegate for Cloud Field Day 3. One of the presenters was NetApp, and they showed off a few different services they had under development in the cloud space. In a previous post I went over the services in some detail, so I won’t regurgitate all that now. One of the services that was still in private preview at the time was NetApp Files for Azure. The idea was relatively simple, NetApp would place their hardware in Azure datacenters and configure the hardware to support multi-tenancy and provisioning through the Azure Resource Manager. That solution is now generally available, and I was curious how it would perform in comparison with the other storage options for the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). In this post I will detail out my testing methodology, the performance results, and some thoughts on which storage makes the most sense for different workload types.

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Goals for 2019

I don’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions. Or at least, I don’t believe in making the type of New Year’s Resolutions that you might typically think of. A grandiose resolution to achieve an overly ambitious goal in an unrealistic time-frame. Whether it’s resolving to start working out five days a week when you don’t work out at all, or losing 100 lbs. and keeping it off, or finally reading War & Peace. Those are all laudable goals, but setting your sights too high tends to end in failure. As in all things, moderation is key. I think it’s important to have a high-level goal, along with smaller milestones, and achievable tasks.

Let’s take running a marathon as an example. The high-level goal is to run a marathon. But if you just leave your house and try to run without any kind of plan or milestones, you’re probably going to stick with that plan for about a week. You have to set milestones, like being able to run a 5k in one month, a 10k in three months, a half-marathon in six months, etc. Then break those milestones into smaller goals, like run three times a week for the first month. Each of the activities, each run per se, is a task that has a purpose. In week 1 you might set a goal of running for 30 minutes each day, regardless of distance or speed. Breaking a monumental goal, like running a marathon, into something simple – running for 30 minutes – makes the entire process feel realistic. And each time you achieve your tiny goal, you get a sense of accomplishment. And if you track those accomplishments over the course of the high-level goal, you’ll be able to see real progress. Seeing that progress is a true motivator! How do I know? In 2012 I ran my first marathon, and this is exactly how I did it.

All of this is a VERY long-winded way of saying that I don’t believe in typical New Year’s Resolutions. I believe in setting goals, no matter what time of year it is, and creating a realistic plan to achieve those goals. That being said, the end of the year is an especially good time to reflect on what you accomplished in the previous year, and what goals you have in-flight for the next year. Having a well-defined moment in time to pursue internal reflection is necessary to staying on track or updating your plans to accommodate changes to your situation, and I don’t see any reason not to use the changing of the calendar year as such. The following items are goals that I have for 2019. Most of these goals are based on something that is already in-flight – remember, I don’t wait until January 1 to start a new project. I am going to try to provide some actionable tasks for each goal as well as metrics for success. Away we go!

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Innovate or Die? Three Ways to Cloud Enablement

Last week I participated in Cloud Field Day 3. If you’re not familiar with Cloud Field Day, then I would highly recommend checking out the post from my fellow delegate Nick Janetakis detailing his experience. It’s a thorough and well thought-out post describing what Cloud Field Day is, and why you might be interested.

As I watched each vendor present, I kept coming back to the same set of questions. The focus of this post is one of those. How can companies use the cloud to innovate their current product portfolio? There was a stark difference between those organizations that had embraced the cloud as an enabler of new solutions and those who had instead approached cloud like a check box on a list of things organizations should be doing. Broadly, I think the innovative companies – or the innovative branch of the company – fell into three broad categories.

  1. Those that were “born in the cloud”
  2. Those that purchased an innovative startup
  3. Those that created a center of excellence to embrace innovation

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