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Seemingly Dark (Song)

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Bass Guitar

I recently bought myself a second hand Bass Guitar (in the picture).

Sharing the first song featuring its sound. Very much advised to use a decent amplifier and set of woofers to appreciate it – not your laptop speakers.

 

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Ballad (Song)

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Sure, not the most original name… maybe you can suggest one ;-)
This one is featuring myself playing a few different guitar parts and even the electric violin I just recently bought.

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Operations Manager 2012 SP1 CTP2 is out, and my TechED NA talk (MGT302)

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

As you might have already heard, this has been an amazing week at TechEd North America: System Center 2012 has been voted as the Best Microsoft Product at TechEd, and we have released the Community Technology Preview (CTP2) of all System Center 2012 SP1 components.

I wrote a (quick) list of the changes in Operations Manager CTP2 in this other blog post and many of those are related to APM (formerly AVIcode technology). I have also demoed some of these changes in my session on thursday – you can watch the recording here. I think one of the most-awaited change is support for monitoring Windows Services written in .NET – but there is more than that!

In the talk I also covered a bit of Java monitoring (which is the same as in 2012, no changes in SP1) and my colleague  Åke Pettersson talked about Synthetic Transactions, and how to bring all together (synthetic and APM) in a single new dashboard (also shipping in SP1 CTP2) that gives you a 360 degrees view of your applications. The CTP2 documentation covers both the changes to APM as well as how to light up this new dashboard.

When it comes to synthetics  – I know you have been using them from your own agents/watcher nodes – but to have a complete picture from the outside in (or last mile), we have now also announced the Beta of Global Service Monitoring (it was even featured in the Keynote!) – where essentially we extend your OpsMgr infrastructure to the cloud, and allow you to upload your tests to our Azure-based service and we will run those tests against your Internet-facing applications from our watcher nodes in various datacenters around the globe and feed back the data to your OpsMgr infrastructure, so that you can see how your application is available and responding from those locations. You can sign up for the consumer preview of GSM from the connect site.

Enjoy your beta testing! (Isn’t that what weekends are for, geeks?)

Il Sole (Song)

Monday, May 28th, 2012

So, after having been hectic with the move and adapting to a new country/job/life, I finally managed to reconnect and reconfigure my musical equipment and play some music again. I have a few tracks I have been composing… this one is remake of something I had written many years ago (almost 15, in fact). To say the truth, it really has very little music in common with the original one (whose score/files have been long lost) but it bears the same overall "atmosphere" to me, and I reused (part of) the original lyrics.

I hope you like it.

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The memory remains

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

The memory remains

This was my granddad's typewriter – a very heavy Olivetti Editor – that I used to observe with great interest (almost fascination) when I was a kid. My granddad used to write official letters on it and do some administration work in his not-so-late years but after he went with pension. When I was a little kid, it was some sort of "sacred" device we had at home, belonging to the grown-up, serious world – nothing to play with, covered with austerity. It was easy to get the paper jammed in it, the ink ribbon tangled up, the letterheads stuck, if not used with care.

And yet I was granted the privilege to use it, as my granddad had a lot of patience with me – and he let me learn to type on it, years before home and personal computers began to be readily available to us: I remember him helping me out to "publish" my "books" (like: unique copies of two/three pages fantasy stories I had invented myself when I was about 7 or 8 years old). Those don't even exist anymore, if not in my memory.

When my grandpa and grandma died, my mum and her brother started looking at their things – had to see the house they were living in, kept some objects, sold others, donated other ones… as it happens in those situations.

Nobody really wanted this, and it is a pretty useless piece of technology in these days of smartphones and tablet and devices… but I kept it for a while, until we relocated to the USA, at least (and I would not even know where to keep it today)…

With it, a piece of my history was finished off and it left me with spinning thoughts in my mind, like those you get after finishing a book or a good movie that made you think… and you are not quite sure that story really is finished.

APM in OpsMgr 2012: for Dev and for Ops

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

I recently wrote a couple of technical posts about the object model we have chosen for APM in OpsMgr 2012 and how to author granular alerting rules for APM in XML. That’s more the type of post that pertains on the momteam blog.

This one you are reading now, instead, is more “philosophical” than technical – I think that, going forward, I’ll keep more of this distinction by posting my rants here on my personal blog, as they are only partially related to the products and more about my point of view on things. The reasons explained below are just those that I perceive and what drives me – I don’t mean in any way to be speaking on behalf of my company, our strategists or product planners.

I have heard statements from customers such as “AVIcode is a developer tool” or “APM is for QA/Test environments – if you need it in production you have not done your QA work well”and similar statements. People asked why we did bring together the two, for example, on the TechNet forums. Sure, it can be useful to employ such a tool also in a development and QA/test environment… but why not in production? With frequent deployments that the agile business demands, change control alone can’t slow down the business and sometimes bad things happen anyway – so we need solid monitoring to keep an eye on the behavior and performance on the system, exposed in a way that can quickly pinpoint where issues might be – be them in the infrastructure or in the code – in a way that enables people to efficiently triage and resolve them. Sergey points out how APM in OpsMgr 2012 is much easier to setup, simpler to configure and cheaper to maintain than the standalone AVIcode product ever was, and hints at the fact that a comprehensive solution encompassing both “traditional” systems management approach as well as Application Performance Monitoring is a good one. It is a good one, in its simplest form, because we have a simplified, unified and more cost-effective infrastructure. It is a good one – I add – because we can extract a lot of useful information from within the applications, only when those are running; when they are down altogether, APM is not very useful on its own, when it is not complemented by “traditional” OS and platform checks: before I wonder if my application is slow, I’d better ask “is IIS actually up and running? is my application running at all?”. Operations Manager has been historically very good, with its management packs, in answering those questions. APM adds the deep application perspective to it, to provide rich data that Developers and Operations need to have an overall picture of what is going on in their systems and applications.

In my opinion, in this world of continuous services improvement and cloud services, IT management is tearing down the walls between what traditionally has been two separate worlds of “Operations” (Ops) teams and Development (Dev) teams. So, while people ask why we brought what was more of a Developer tool into a pure System Management tool, it is clear to me that those areas are converging, and even other vendors who start from the opposite approach (APM) eventually go “back to the basics” and begin implementing server-level systems management such as showing disk space and CPU utilization, meaning that, whatever your starting point was or has been, everybody wants and feels the need to bring those two worlds and disciplines together.

This line of thoughts has even been given a name: “DevOps”.

What is this DevOps things anyway is one famous post that can be found on the web, where Stephen Nelson-Smith writes:

[…] On most projects I’ve worked on, the project team is split into developers, testers, release managers and sysadmins working in separate silos. From a process perspective this is dreadfully wasteful. It can also lead to a 'lob it over the wall' philosophy – problems are passed between business analysts, developers, QA specialists and sysadmins […] The Devops movement is built around a group of people who believe that the application of a combination of appropriate technology and attitude can revolutionize the world of software development and delivery […] these people understand the key point – we’re all on the same side! All of us – developers, testers, managers, DBAs, network technicians, and sysadmins – are all trying to achieve the same thing: the delivery of great quality, reliable software that delivers business benefit to those who commissioned it. […]

DevOps – the war is over if you want it is a presentation by Patrick Debois which I also encourage you to check out, as it is also very evocative thru images:

The War is over if you want it

DevOps – 6 steps for improved collaboration

[…] The DevOps movement is a modern push from the software industry to instill better interaction and productivity between development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). Instead of throwing applications “over the fence” blindly to operations, a fluid and much more effective DevOps process inserts transparency, efficiency and ownership into the art of developing, releasing and the production use of critical applications. It also binds the two traditionally siloed teams together. […]

Last but not least, 10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr (another presentation from a conference) is a real-world example of a large scale web site (Flickr) and how those practices are adopted.

When it comes to the DevOps ideas and concepts within Microsoft products, for what I can see, some customers really “get“ it, and would like to see more in this sense. For example I found this interesting blog post by James Dawson:

[…] The bulk of my work revolves around the Microsoft platform and to put it bluntly it is very much a second class citizen in terms of the available tooling.

Now I’ve fanned the flames, let me put some context around that. I don’t mean that as a criticism, in fact I view the status quo as an entirely natural result given where the movement grew out of and, to be frank, the mindset of the typical Microsoft IT shop. In a Microsoft environment there tends to be far greater reliance on big vendor products, whereas in the Linux/BSD world it is far more common to integrate a series of discrete tools into a complete tool chain that meets the needs for a given scenario. […]

I think James is right when saying this: he “gets” it, but we also have a vast user base of more “traditional” enterprise customers where the concepts have not been digested and understood yet. When it comes to traditional enterprises, what sometimes happens is well explained in this other article by Paul Krill:

[…] To protect the infrastructure, IT ops can put in place processes that seem almost draconian, causing developers to complain that these processes slow them down, says Glenn O'Donnell, an analyst at Forrester Research. Indeed, processes such as ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) that provide a standardized way of doing things, such as handling change management, can become twisted into bureaucracy for its own sake. But sometimes, people "take a good idea too far, and that happens with ITIL, too." […]

And I think that is exactly one of the reasons why, even if many of our teams “get” it, we need to talk more of the DevOps culture in those places where it hasn’t arrived yet, so that these integrated products are more successful and can help them solve problems – because some of these customers haven’t yet realized that it takes a culture shift before these new tools can be adopted. DevOps does not have critical mass today, but could have it tomorrow. Even Gartner says:

[…] by 2015, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers into a mainstream strategy employed by 20% of the Global 2000 organizations”. […]

So, back to suggesting that Microsoft produces more of this “goodness”, James again writes:

[…] I want to see the values espoused by DevOps spread far and wide, including the quietest backwaters of corporate IT, where Windows, Office and IE 6 reign supreme. To that end, the Microsoft infrastructure community needs to take a similar approach as the .NET community did and start bringing some of the goodness that we see in the Linux world to the Microsoft platform in a way that facilitates adoption for all and actually takes advantage of the platform’s innate richness and strengths. […]

So do I. And, for what I can tell, we are actually trying to bridge gaps and push the culture shift – integrating APM in OpsMgr is definitely an effort in this direction. But it might take some time. Is it too an “utopian” a vision? I don’t think it is; I think we can get there. But it will take some time. As this other article was saying:

[…] The DevOps approach is so radical it will take some time to cross the chasm, and indeed it will be actively resisted by many organizations where it threatens traditional delivery models and organizational structures. […]

Let’s get Dev and Ops talking to each other, also in the Enteprise! I am all for it.

Disclaimer

The information in this weblog is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. This weblog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my own personal opinion. All code samples are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose.
THIS WORK IS NOT ENDORSED AND NOT EVEN CHECKED, AUTHORIZED, SCRUTINIZED NOR APPROVED BY MY EMPLOYER, AND IT ONLY REPRESENT SOMETHING WHICH I'VE DONE IN MY FREE TIME. NO GUARANTEE WHATSOEVER IS GIVEN ON THIS. THE AUTHOR SHALL NOT BE MADE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE YOU MIGHT INCUR WHEN USING THIS INFORMATION. If you want to see the official info from my employer about the topic above, go to http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/cloud/default.aspx

A month in a new life

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Hey, I have just realized that I have been in my new PM role for a month already – time flies!

If you are one of my OpsMgr readers, in case you haven’t noticed, I have been silent here but I have published a post on the momteam blog – check it out: http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2011/08/12/application-performance-monitoring-in-opsmgr-2012-beta.aspx

If you are one of those few readers interested in following what I do, instead – I can tell you that I am loving the new job. Lot to do, of course, and that also applies to  the private sphere – did you know that relocating to another continent takes some energy and effort? – but we are settling in nicely and things are going very smooth overall.

I have been chosen; Farewell my friends…

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I have been in Premier Field Engineering for nearly 7 years (it was not even called PFE when I joined – it was just "another type of support"…) and I have to admit that it has been a fun, fun ride: I worked with awesome people and managed to make a difference with our products and services for many customers – directly working with some of those customers, as well as indirectly thru the OpsMgr Health Check program – the service I led for the last 3+ years, which nowadays gets delivered hundreds of times a year around the globe by my other fellow PFEs.

But it is time to move on: I have decided to go thru a big life change for me and my family, and I won't be working as a Premier Field Engineer anymore as of next week.

But don't panic – I am staying at Microsoft!

I have actually never been closer to Microsoft than now: we are packing and moving to Seattle the coming weekend, and on July 18th I will start working as a Program Manager in the Operations Manager product team, in Redmond. I am hoping this will enable me to make a difference with even more customers.

Exciting times ahead – wish me luck!

 

That said – PFE is hiring! If you are interested in working for Microsoft – we have open positions (including my vacant position in Italy) for almost all the Microsoft technologies. Simply visit http://careers.microsoft.com and search on “PFE”.

As for the OpsMgr Health Check, don't you worry: it will continue being improved – I left it in the hands of some capable colleagues: Bruno Gabrielli, Stefan Stranger and Tim McFadden – and they have a plan and commitment to update it to OpsMgr 2012.

Let’s play these three cards!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

What does the population need, in order not to think to their day to day reality?

  1. a Romantic Fairy Tale http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/
  2. a new Saint http://www.giovannipaoloii.va/
  3. an Evil Guy to defeat http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/05/02/osama-bin-laden-dead
     

Three cards have been played in a single weekend.

Welcome back to the Middle Ages, or welcome to Dreamworld.

Tarots

[Note: To give due credits, this was posted by my friend Valentina in Italian at http://www.bastet.it/intheskywithdiamonds/2011/05/02/e-giochiamoci-queste-tre-carte/ - I thought it was worth spreading it a bit more and I asked her permission to translate it and republish it here]

If not now, when?

Monday, February 14th, 2011

If not now, when?

The great majority of women In Italy is working both inside and outside home, they produce wealth, they look for a job ( one out of two succeeds), they study and make sacrifices to assert themselves in the chosen profession, they take care of their relations and look after children, husbands and aged parents.
Quite a few are engaged in public issues, in parties, in trade unions, in enterprises, in organisations and in voluntary services with the aim that the society they are living in might become richer, more civilized and welcoming. They have consideration and respect for themselves and for liberty and dignity achieved by the women who built our democratic nation, worth to be mentioned on occasion of the 150 th Celebration of Italian Unity.
This rich and important life experience is being deleted by the image of women constantly and indecently represented as bare objects of sexual exchange, in newspapers, advertisements and television programs. This in no longer bearable.
A wide-spread attitude offers to young people the idea of reaching glamorous goals and easy money by giving up their beauty and intelligence to the one in power , who is willing to pay back with public funds and positions.
This way of thinking and the consequent behaviours are polluting social life and the models of civil ethic and religious awareness. Inadvertently we crossed the bounds of decency.
The model of man-woman relation exhibited by one of the highest State Authorities deeply affects our lifestyles and culture justifying detrimental behaviour to women’s dignity and to the institutions.
Those who want to keep silence, support, justify and reduce the ongoing events to private matters, should take responsibility also in front of the international community.
We are asking all women, without any distinction, to protect the value of our dignity and we are telling to men: If not now, when? It’s time to proof friendship to women.

senonoraquando13febbraio2011.wordpress.com/