Day 1 - Monday June 21, 2010
Day 2 - Tuesday June 22, 2010
- 8am - "Network Forensics and Analysis: Inside the Filth of Network Communications" by Laura Chappell
Laura Chappell kicked off HP Tech 2010 with the first of the sessions titled "Network Forensics and Analysis: Inside the Filth of Network Communications" by bringing one of our favorite tools in to the spotlight it deserves, Wireshark (formerly Ethereal). Starting off the session, Chappell gave a little history of Wireshark, explained the development lifecycle, and recapped events from SharkFest which was held at Standford the week before. Background aside we dived right in to some of the standard uses of Wireshark: troubleshooting, learning, monitoring, and security analysis.
I am a little embarrassed to say that Chappell showed us a feature in Wireshark that I wish I knew 6 years ago, the "Edit Color Filter" ability. Color filters allow you to define those nice and powerful filters you normally would, except instead of only showing the packets that match it, Wireshark will color code the packets as you wish. Example: Create a filter for FTP traffic to your file servers. And add a filter for telnet traffic to your network equipment red. Both of these are protocols you should have retired years ago and don't want on your network. Now, scrolling through the packet capture you can easily see unencrypted traffic that is popping up on your network.
A way to one up the color filter is to create profiles. With a profile any setting/preference you configure with the profile selected is saved. You can then switch between profiles to quickly work on the problem at hand. IE. one for viewing protocols that send everything in the clear, another for showing relationships, and even another for finding that user with all the spyware.
Chappell stressed her experiences over the years that stuck out for quickly coming to the resolution desired:
Websites she recommended:
- Define color rules - See everything through new eyes
- Make profiles - Quickly switch between rules and settings
- Build baselines - to find outliers of the norm
- Breaches interrupt: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability
High Technology Crime Investigation Association
Net Optics (Network tap devices)
Two factor phone authentication (check out their whitepapers)
Wi-Spy / SSIDer Wireless analyzing tools
- 4pm - Opening Keynote
Opening Keynote kicked off with dancers, live music, and a magical ball. We were quickly introduced to HP's themes for the year, Innovate, Transform, and Converge; all the while break dancers contorted their bodies into shapes and movements interpreting each theme. We were then instructed to don our provided 3D glasses and shown a carefully crafted high-tech PowerPoint with crystals and letters that almost hit you in the face. Fortunately, I was in the middle of the second row from the stage, but I don't expect that all of the 5,400 attendees had quite the view as I. As the lights came back on we were greeted by entertainer Jake Johannsen. After some half chuckling jokes, which only included one StarTrek reference, we were introduced to Rich Geraffo, the Senior Vice President and Managing Director Enterprise Business of HP.
Geraffo quickly started dripping with enthusiasm that can only come from a high paid salary with the self deception that everything he said was true. He calmed down in to his groove shortly thereafter, which was more genuine and then put in to words what most of us in industry are thinking by coining the term 'innovation gridlock'. He explained that many organizations are facing the problem of spending 70%+ of their budgets on supporting legacy systems and 30%- on new[er] solutions. The only way, according to Geraffo, that we can move forward out of the rut is to partner up (both with HP and others), think big, deliver tangible value, master the "AND," and become flexible while staying market focused and optimized. (Don't ask about the AND, it was never explained).
Gerrafo left the stage in applause and next Jake Johannsen introduced us to Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO and founder of DreamWorks Animation. Katzenberg introduced us to the culture and drive behind DreamWorks by taking us on a video and picture history tour of DreamWorks. Along the way he explained the challenges each of their movies experienced and how technology provided by HP defined the CG animation industry and became the enabler within their company. DreamWorks' needs, according to Katzenberg, helped HP boost their market share in the Linux markets and now are the leader of Linux based deployed systems and tools in the x86 market. He introduced us to his major discovery, in that "Change is the only constant." In our field, it most certainly is.
Katzenberg left the stage after showing sneak peeks of Toy Story 3, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Megamind. Followed by Johannsen's comic relief was an introduction to Brocade's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Ian Whiting. As the title might suggest, Whiting is a salesman, and his presentation was another well poised sales pitch to five thousand people. Whiting was able to tie in to HP's themes by quickly discussing Brocade's plan to assist customers in finding simplicity, virtualizing, and to economize. His final topic is one I am still curious as to what these large corporations really mean but they all stress is: following open standards.
Whiting, an Englishman, made a few soccer jokes and then passed the baton back to Johannsen, who quickly forwarded it to the anchor leg: comedian Jim Gaffigan. Obviously under the affect of jet lag, Jim got off to a slow start but soon moved into his tried and true jokes about hotels, working out, weird people, and HP's themes.
Overall, the opening keynote was a decent kick start for the week. Though lacking in real presenters, the message was clear: HP and their partners are committed to make money from us all by working on innovating, transforming, and converging technology.
- 6pm - Welcome Reception
With most of the attendees sporting their $2,000 HP backpacks we all headed in to the Expo center and were greeted with beer, chicken, sushi, deserts and tons of... tired and face stuffing vendors. Everyone under the Las Vegas sun (except IBM, Dell and Apple) had a booth or wall. Unfortunately there is not much to report except for kudos to Samsung for being the only booth I could find where the workers had words in their mouths and not food. They were showing off their DDR3 RAM chips, SSD technology, and display systems.
Day 3 - Wednesday June 23, 2010
- 8:30am to 10:30am - Keynote
Starting off with some great music from the band (name still unknown) we were introduced to the main theme for the day; "converge." Jake Johannsan then took the floor with a comedic video recap of the day before and some fairly good jokes about the economy and Obama Stimulus plan.
First up was someone that should have been the opening day speaker; David Donatelli, the Executive Vice President and General Management of, HP Servers and Networking. He of course stuck to the theme of convergence of infrastructure with storage, servers, network, and management tools. But his communication skills were above that of the opening speakers and it was enjoyable to hear him discuss new technologies that were announces right then and there: Superdome 2, G7 ProLiants, 2TB capable G7 460's, the fastest growing SAN storage solution: P4000 series, HP StoreOnce (dedupe technology with a new name), D2D4312, a 12 TB all-on-one backup solution, and Bladesystem Matrix for cloud computing management and deployment. Donatelli brought on the stage Nigel Cook, a Senior Architect from HP to show off the primary capabilities of Matrix, but much was left to be had, and we were instructed to find out more at the Expo Center.
Bob Mugulia from Microsoft, discussed M$'s cloud computing initiative, "Azure" with the help of one of their engineers. He stressed their partnership with Citrix to deploy Windows & and virtual desktop solutions rapidly. He claims that the "public cloud" and security go hand in hand, not to mention the benefits of scaling out, performance, and multiple global locations to deploy applications that should draw clients to use Microsoft's solutions with their Visio like software deployment through System Center Datacenter Edition.
Our regular entertainer, Jake Johannsan, lived up to his name with several jokes about props that HP brought to the floor and then introduced Diane Bryant, Vice President and CIO of Intel to the stage with more cheers than the other male presenters. Bryant stressed Intel's commitment to growth, productivity, efficiency, and continuity through solutions like Intel SSD's and their vPro enabled processors. She also discussed security of cloud computer and the future, mentioning that "security breaches are inevitable" and the only way to minimize their impact is through tier trust levels and proper cloud computing deployment.
After everyone lifted their jaws off the ground and scratched their brains a little, Jeff Benck, COO and Executive VP of Emulex changed pace by actually describing how his company could debunk the myths of converged infrastructure and deliver a "cable once" solution with some "secret sauce" for use with 10Gb Ethernet for use with FCoE, flexible pipes, fewer mezzanine cards, and no rip and replace. Emulex's promise seems more of a pipe dream than reality. As, after the keynote I went to Emulex's booth to seek out an expert in their converged infrastructure who claimed that I would only need to plug in my 4GB FC SAN connections to their Flex fabric, which would automatically convert traffic to FCoE and see a substantial improvement in performance. Um. Right.
- 11am to 12pm - "Best Practices for a Healthy VMware Environment"
You would think that with a title of "Best Practices for..." that the session would spread lesions learned and some advice on how to deploy the related topic. Instead we were given a 10 minute PowerPoint of an HP product called HealthAnalyzer that would include a "3 week analysis time" to figure out if we had out VMware hosts configured the same. Yup, that is why we have host profiles and the host summary tab. Ever person throughout the day that I met that was at this session was very upset of the lack of information and deceivement that was delivered right before lunch.
- 2pm to 3pm - Linux SIG meeting
The Linux Special Interest Group got to a late start as the HP SIG leader showed up about 4 minutes before the allotted end of the session was reached. We discussed various problems as Linux related OS's we faced with HP hardware, primarily hardware troubleshooting and the lack of HP representatives that were knowledgeable in non-Windows based environments. It was good to hear about other datacenters running 80%+ of their system on Linux based OS's as sometimes it is hard to keep in mind that there is hope out there after all.
- 3:30pm to 4:30pm - Enterprise Architecture: Alignment of Business and IT
To switch things up quite a bit I attended a business strategy related meeting (yes, at a tech conference) hosted by Fred Cummins. After one got over his monotone voice it was quite obvious of his message: document and prove ways that IT brings value to the (your) organization. It was hard to follow his presentation, but his recommendations included: clearly defining service requirements, setting up accountability and control, don't ignore the design of the business, and defining the tasks, events, decisions, collaboration, and record keeping processes within your company.
- 5pm to 6pm - Obstacles in Virtualization Security
The final presentation of the day was very specialized and was given by King Won of www.gigamon.com. He explained a problem most organizations have but do not really address and that is how to truly access all communication channels on the network between any system on your networks. Gigamon's in house solution is by creating a DAN, or Data Access Network, which is put simply a read only copy of all traffic sent to Gigamon appliances that forward traffic based on rules to your various appliances, such as performance monitoring, IDS, and web scanner. Through a new version they plan to support IPS (no longer read only) but their solution does make sense and it is surprising to not see more of their appliances in production environments. Instead of purchasing several IDS's, SPAM firewalls, etc that would be connected through each edge network device, Gigamon has developed and appliance that can work with network taps (Ethernet or FC) that direct traffic to your monitoring devices; thus cutting down on the number of network appliances you will need to purchase. I look forward to Gigamon's future strategy.
Day 4 - Thursday June 24, 2010
- 8am to 9am - HP's Virtual Desktop Architectures
Missed because of work.
- 9:30am to 10:30am - HPC clusters with HP ProLiant Servers
Missed because of work.
- 2pm to 3pm - Best Practices and Performance Study of Blades
One of the most technical talks held at the conference and hosted by Logan Sankaran, a Senior Performance Specialist from HP. He brought up many points that you might think about but either do not have time to test or may overlook. In a world where we have to get more out of less Logan really made sense in his presentation. Have you taken in to account the architecture of the cache on CPU's (shared level 2 or 3 cache?), or do you have turbo mode and hyper threading enabled on Intel processors? What compiler was used for the applications you are running? Were the options you used optimal for your situation? Always, always, check the details. Logan also had benchmarks that showed the current Intel proc's work best with RAM amounts divisible by 3 and AMD proc's by 4. Don't always think that more cores means better performance, especially with the use of HyperThreading.
- 3:30pm to 5:30pm - Keynote
Our host, Jake Johannsen, followed an introduction from our dancer Charlie and his magical ball. Apparently the theme for the day was innovation! Jake dropped several jokes on the economy, global warming, and things the speakers said that made no sense whatsoever.
Ann Livermore was supposed to be our first speaker but she was having some health issues which forced the HP Vice President of Software, Tom Hogan to cover for her. Tom discussed HP's plan to fully embrace the cloud through solutions such as Bladesystem Matrix, MagCloud, and SNAPfish. Though the only one we have seen in action is Matrix. He stressed innovation through the major problems of technology: information explosion, rigid infrastructure, and aging applications and systems. Not only is the amount of data we have to manage exploding at an unprecedented rate, but the amount of distribution points is growing as well; IE cell phones, laptops, desktops, etc.
One of the talks I was looking forward to was next, Tod Nielson, COO of VMware stepped on stage with a nice amount of applause. Soon though, it was all for naut. Nielson explained VMware's 8 year alliance with HP and their continued determination to own the cloud. The best thing about this talk was the guy sitting in front of me dropped his iPad. Massive crack down the middle of the screen and the colors were bleeding. Nielson did mention that the "great thing" about clouds is their ability for pooling resources, self service, control, interoperability, and zero touch solutions.
SAP attempted to steal the show with a few video introductions and their stressing of a 20 year partnership between them and HP. Sanjay Poonen, the General Manager of Worldwide sales with SAP was actually a very good presenter, but his content and message was just more of the same. Embrace the cloud, data amounts are exploding, it is time to innovate, and SAP solutions are now available in the cloud and also with HP Integrity Systems.
I thought that after Sanjoy the keynote was open, but thankfully I was wrong. Our final speaker was Prith Banerjee, Senior Vice President of research at HP Labs. I was already familiar with most of HP's research, such as the memristor, sensor technology, optic communication, and storage densities. Though Banerjee was legitimately enthusiastic and well spoken. I would love to have Jesse Schelle and Banerjee in the same room for a day. HP's theme innovation was carried to the extreme by Banerjee, especially with the way he is pushing HP Labs: pushing the limits in the amount of data we can store, how fast we can process it, share it, and the efficiency of the systems running the applications for it all. He also discussed a project called "Central Nervous System for the Earth" (CENSE), where HP wants to using millions (billions?) of different types of sensors to improve our lives. What could we do, Banerjee asks, if we had sensors every 10 meters on all of our highways detecting traffic vibrations? How much more energy could we harness by deploying new sensor technologies to pinpoint oil reserves. Weather? Building integrity? Ocean and lake temperatures? The possibilities are endless if HP is able to create a way to cheaply deploy self powered sensors. Not to mentioned that the adoption of memristors would be able to knock our several components on computers and by having one memory location for all data on a system, could be a total game changer.
- 8:30pm to 11:30pm - THE Party!
Roger Daltrey and the Goo Goo Dolls. What more be said besides 3 hours of great music entertainment and free beer?
- 8:30am to 10:00am - Acceleraete Windows 7 migrations with VMware View
VMware knows that the key to their success is to hop on every new operating system and make sure they make it easier to use and manager through their infrastructure than on bare metal. Much is the case with Windows 7 and VMware's virtual desktop solution, View. Betty Junod from VMware sales held the talks of a 15 minute lecture. Betty recommended before virtualizing operating systems to actually virtualize application first, with VMware ThinApp, then if it is still a requirement to virtualize the desktops. When virtualizing anything new, be sure to test application compatibility, vendor support, every component (printing, graphics, etc), data migration, and user feasibility.
- 12pm to 1:30pm - Optimizing Infrastructure
The last day was a push from HP to make sure everyone in technology knows that soon IAAS is the next big acronym for us to throw around: Infrastructure as a service. Kfir Godrich of HP summed up HP's conference by putting every buzzword together in one long sentence, which point my mind exploded and I couldn't write it down, but after he calmed down he did bring out some good points that should already be common sense for everyone but with "the way things are" it is likely that we lose sight of every goal except money. He stressed that "if you can't measure it, you can't make a decision." He reminded us of Prith Banerjee's talk from the day before and how the memristor and sea of sensors was going to change the world; allowing us to make better decisions and provide more information. How we needed to be more environmentally conscious and lower our reliance on copper. Virtualize! Cloud computing! Bring efficiency to productivity. Know what to build how big to build it, where to put it, how to optimize it, and document it.
- 2pm to 4pm - High Density Datacenters
The last session attended was fully packed and it appeared that Kurt Bosch of SHI International was rather flattered. (Though I don't think he knew that all the other sessions were canceled or already over). Kurt went over a history of the datacenter, showed the kind of life-cycle things have gone through over the years. Mainframes, to servers, to PC's, back to servers, and now the cloud ("mainframe"). He also showed how over the years there has been a life-cycle of each "big thing," like it usually goes BOOM! and the product is everywhere, then businesses and people slow down and consolidate, then expansion occurs but in an optimized state, then the next big thing comes along and the circle starts all over. He discussed the actual design of datacenters, location of the datacenter and the components in the building, what kind of servers to buy, their proximity to other components, how storage has been a big game changer (SAN, iSCSI, NAS, etc). How Ethernet has been a game changer (GigE, 10GigE, next 40GigE, FCoE, VoIP, etc). He also 'defined' design as being simple, innovative, useful, aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest, durable, covers detail, and economical.
HP Tech 2010 was a nice break from work, most of the time. Not to mention my first time in Vegas it was a great way to go out West. Unfortunately, my final thoughts on the conference seem to mirror those of many other attendees. The first being, there was just not that much there. The economy might be "tough" but when you are in fabulous Las Vegas, shouldn't you try to showboat a little? There was no pizzaz, no spunk, nothing eye catching, nothing with the wow factor, it was just OK. Another big problem was organization; my first day no one knew where my session was. Other days sessions opened late, or the speaker would show up late and give their excuse as they couldn't find the place, rooms where not labeled well. the list goes on. The last point is, at least 75% of the attendees were very technical people for the most part. Yet, the norms for the sessions and keynotes was salesmen and manager speak. People would get up and leave events because within 30 seconds you could tell if the speaker was tech savy, or just sent from the sales department. Rather disappointing. I learned more from discussions with other attendees than I did from the sessions.
And that really was the high point of the event, and I supposed of most events like this: meeting other people from around the world and sharing your knowledge with each other.
I met a group of sys admins from a hospital center in Kansas and discussed how they provide security yet ease of use to optimize time and accuracy for doctors and nurses. Another two fellows from (I think) Switzerland that explained how they manage over 4 Petabytes of SAN storage for their company. Several folks from the special interest groups also put my mind at ease, as I thought most of the problems I had managing my datacenter were just me, but infact tons of people were in the same boat. Somewhat comforting but still frustrating and in some sense, sad.
Seeing some of the newer technologies up close and personal before buying it was nice. Also hearing first hand the roadmaps of the infrastructure products. Overall I feel the entire experience was positive and I would go again if it was paid for by another party. Next time though I would go with a little lower expectations and maybe then I'd be blown away.
Written by Eric Wamsley
Posted: September 5th, 2010 4:20pm