It’s official, after four years at VMware I am leaving to pursue a new adventure. VMware was the first time for me to work in a large company (or in fact, any company I didn’t start myself). Martin Casado originally persuaded me to work for him as the CTO for the NSBU and it was a blast to see NSX go from a < $200m run rate to a > $1b run rate. Martin had also built an incredible team that drove Networking Virtualization into the market and changed the enterprise networking space for good.
At VMworld 2015 we did a simple but for VMware groundbreaking demo of NSX working with Amazon Web Services. It was controversial as VMware had its own cloud “vCloud Air” and we were working with a competitor. But the demo showed that VMware could create value on top the hyperscale clouds and together with VMC it became the starting point of what today are the VMware Cloud Services. Launching them during the Day 1 Keynote at VMworld in 2016 in front of a live audience of over 10,000 people was an amazing experience.
VMware’s Cloud Services have come a long way since. VMware Cloud on AWS turned out to be a big success and last year we acquired CloudHealth and Heptio as additional pillars for our cloud portfolio. Amazon is now a strategic partner. With Joe Kinsella and Joe Beda VMware now has two superb CTO’s that are thought leaders in the cloud and container space, and with Milin Desai a great GM to drive the integration. When I joined VMware, it was a data center company. Today it is a cloud company. I am tremendously proud to have helped drive this transition.
It’s been a privilege to work with Pat and see him steer VMware with a steady hand through complex times (and being named #1 tech exec for it) and working for Raghu and Rajiv was a master class in technology strategy and operations. I had a great time at VMware, and I am tremendously grateful for it.
N619TP is back from the Caribbean and safely parked on the ramp at Palo Alto Airport. It has been an amazing experience and I am still digesting the learning from it. For the detailed write up check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
The approximate routing for the return trip is shown above. Total length of the trip is about 6,600 nautical miles (7,500 miles or 12,200 km). The flight had 14 segments, 6 to Punta Cana and 8 back. Heading west will take you more time because of headwinds (up to 40 knots) and customs when entering the US. Longest segment was 5.2 hours from Nassau to Punta Cana. Picking a route far south was the right choice as it kept us out of clouds with icing.
We expected that this would be the most interesting day of the trip, and it didn’t disappoint. The weather forecast indicated strong headwinds. This meant our original speed and route fuel would have been below the minimums we felt comfortable with. There are a few things you can do about this. Flying at higher altitudes reduces fuel usage, but anything above 12,500 feet requires us to be on Oxygen which I usually try to avoid. We can change the route, which puts us more over water. We can reduce power which gives us more endurance as long as the headwinds don’t increase. Or we can add a fuel stop which means either stopping in the Turks & Caicos (a UK territory) or an additional stop in the Dominican Republic and clearing customs without the support of our handler. We decided on a more direct route (flying more over water) and cruising at 65% power.
Today was a short segment from Orlando to Nassau, Bahamas. It was also my first international flight and first long overwater flight. Both involves preparation. For any flight leaving the US, you need to file an eAPIS declaration with the DHS listing passengers and crew. This all happens electronically and once you have signed up for the account is fairly quick. We filed 24 hours before and received authorization within an hour. For overwater flights in small planes, life vests for passengers and crew are mandatory. We are also carrying a life raft and satellite phone and the plane has a radio, an ELT, a satellite phone and the CAPS parachute system. Together, that gives us good odds even if we have to ditch.
Tuesday morning we headed to the airport, and had the fastest IFR departure of my life. San Antonio is enabled for PDC which means we received both our IFR clearance as well as the ATIS electronically in the Uber on the way to the airport. Million Air had already pulled up the plane. Thanks to PDC we didn’t have to call Clearance Delivery (we already had it). Taxi instructions were to the runway next to our ramp and tower gave us an immediate takeoff clearance. PDC is definitely the future, I wish they had this in Palo Alto.
To end the year, I am planning to do something slightly crazy. The idea is to fly our Cirrus SR22 (pictured below) to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and back. It’s a round trip time of 7,400 miles, by far the longest trip I have ever taken as a pilot. It’s also the most complex one due to flying in multiple countries, border crossings, customs, international airport operations. To keep me safe, Mark Erwin (my CFI) is coming along as co-pilot and as we are flying over water we are also bringing a life raft and a satellite phone.
We have been running an Ark Survival Evolved dedicated server for a while, and it has been a blast. We had up to 12 people playing on it, most of them friends (and some parents) of our kids.
We originally hosted the server on an Amazon Web Services instance, but recently moved it to Google’s managed Kubernetes service GKE. It works great and the deployment was very easy. If you want to do the same, below is how it works.
Today it was announced that HP intends to acquire Voltage Security. Assuming it closes as planned, it will be a great exit that I am very proud of. Voltage over the past 12 years (it was founded in 2002) has risen from its humble beginnings when we founded it at Stanford has risen to becoming the market leader in innovative encryption technology and is used by over a thousand enterprise customers around the world.
For our computers at home we have a small network based on a standard wireless dual radio N/G router with 4x 1Gb Ethernet ports. However wireless performance in my office which is about 30 feet away from the router is poor (maybe 2Mb/s). We fixed this by creating a Ethernet over Power Line network (using the Netgear XAVB101) which works fine for most applications.
The one area that didn’t work well was transferring large files from and to our Network Attaches Storage (a 1 TB Buffalo LS-WTGL, predecessor to this model). Transfer speed from my MacBook Pro maxed out around 20 Mb/s. In other words filling the 1TB drive would take about 4.5 days. That’s a bit slow. How to fix it after the break.
In a recent post on Miles Davis’ blog he reports the latest statistics of the wireless network of the Stanford Computer Science Department. The numbers are interesting to say the least. The Laptop market is split equally between Mac OS X and Windows. Both however are crushed by the iPhone which is also the fastest growing segment. Android which had not yet made a dent on last month’s statistics is slowly creeping up.
Mac OS X
For complete statistics visit his blog post here. Stanford is far from typical network. However it sometimes is a good leading indicator of things to come. That phones are becoming a major category on wireless networks (and eventually the majority) seems like a safe bet. How quickly it happened is amazing though. It has been 2.5 years since the iPhone was introduced).