AWS Public Sector Summit 2017


I attended the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC this week. I usually do not attend so many conferences. This should be my last one for a while. I just happen to live nearby so I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to learn more about AWS.

The keynotes were not really what a typical keynote address is at a conference. They were only a few minutes of announcements and then a few customer stories each day. The biggest announcement was GovCloud East is coming in 2018. Though, a more specific time frame would have been better received.


There were a lot of break sessions to choose from. There was a session on VMware Cloud on AWS. I don’t think there was any big news and sadly still no date for GA. Here’s a few things I got out of the session. Customers will purchase this service from VMware. AWS services will be billed separate from VMware by Amazon. All AWS services can be accessed from a customer’s VMware cluster, which will be hosted at a AWS data center. ESXi will boot from a EBS volume and no root access to the host for customers. The underlying storage for the VMs will be vSAN, which is a minimum of 4 hosts. Elastic DRS will be able to bring up a new host fast. I think within minutes. However, removing a host will take more time as data needs to be moved from the disks on the host.

I attended a fascinating session hosted by Kevin Murphy, Program Executive Earth Science Data Systems at NASA. He talked about and showed some of the projects NASA has been working on and how they leverage AWS. Some of NASA’s projects pull in petabytes of data ever day from satellites. The data is available for free for every person and company in the world. Kevin demonstrated one of his projects called Worldview, which I provided a description below. I highly recommend everyone to check it out. You can add an assortment of layers with various information, such as all major fires around the world and by date.

This tool from NASA’s EOSDIS provides the capability to interactively browse global, full-resolution satellite imagery and then download the underlying data. Most of the 150+ available products are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks “right now”. This supports time-critical application areas such as wildfire management, air quality measurements, and flood monitoring. Arctic and Antarctic views of several products are also available for a “full globe” perspective. Browsing on tablet and smartphone devices is generally supported for mobile access to the imagery.

I’m sure Amazon will be looking to expand the event next year. I heard the attendance was at least 7,500 before Tuesday afternoon, which seemed to catch Amazon by surprise. Despite the crowds, I had a good time and learned a lot during my two days at the event .


My Home Setup

I think the equipment an IT professional uses in their home and the time they take at home for technology is a reflection of their dedication. Keeping up with technology is hard to do solely at work. Using various devices and software at home is one way to help broaden one’s knowledge.

The cornerstone of my home network is a box running Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition. Sophos is more than just a firewall. It can do anti-malware scanning, IPS, VPN, and many other services. I can talk a lot about my experiences with Sophos. I will write deep drive of Sophos XG Firewall in a future article.

My wired devices are connected to a 8 port gig Meraki switch, MS220-8. I use a Meraki MR33 for a 802.11ac wireless access point. Both devices are cloud managed. I was a little skeptical at first, but I can now really say that I like Meraki’s dashboard that allows management of my devices. The dashboard allows a lot of configuration to be done before a customer even receives the devices. Then the device will pull down the config once it’s connected to the network.

I do not work in networking so I enjoyed seeing a different side then I am use to at work. I am not taking advantage of all features, but I enjoy testing what I can do. A wifi guest network can be easily isolated. Also, packet capture can be easily ran from the dashboard against an AP or port of the switch.

I, of course, build my own computers and enjoy the process. Though, I’m really due for building a new one. My computer is showing it’s age with an i7 Ivy Bridge, but it still gets the job done. I use VMware workstation when I want to spin up some VMs.

Here’s a couple device a have for fun. I have a Raspberry Pi, which I currently run RetroPie on it. RetroPie is loaded with emulators and makes it easy to play some classic games. I have a Steam Link that allows me to stream games from my computer. I got it on sale for $30 and it can stream anything from my computer so even non-gamers may find a use for it.

The most odd ball set of devices I have are MoCA network adapters, ECB2500C. MoCA is fun to say and an easy way to expand a home network over existing coaxial cable. For example, I live in an apartment that already had coaxial ran to a room that I wanted a wired connection. I just added couple of the adapters to easily extend my network.

My home setup is small, but I consider it elaborate and to the point. My goal is for it to be secure and easily functional for home related devices. I am not one for having devices for the sake of having them. I like to make sure I use everything I have.


VeeamON 2017 – Part 3

This will be my last article on VeeamON 2017, which will be a mix of my thoughts from the event. I meant a lot of great people throughout the entire event. Everyone was eager to offer their ideas and help. Customers and partners traveled from all over the world and I saw some as far as Singapore. The Canadians were my favorite to hang out with!

Veeam had a nice lounge area filled with Veeam employees. Attendees could ask technical questions directly to the support staff at the event. If they didn’t know the answer or needed logs, they would give priority to a ticket once it was created.


Above is a photo of the show floor with the vendors and dining area in the back. Does not look like many attendees around, but that is because this photo was taken in between back to back breakout sessions. The back side of each vendor you see actually has an additional company behind it. There was a good mix of vendors from big names, such as Microsoft and VMware, to smaller cloud based companies.

I couldn’t miss talking about the food and parties. Veeam made sure to keep everyone busy all day and night. If all that wasn’t enough, there was always Bourbon Street for some late night fun. A lot of the food during the event was traditional New Orleans dishes and it was delicious. There was a pub crawl Wednesday night that spanned across four venues and each venue was unique. Then the Veeam party on Thursday night was amazing. The party was filled with live music, food, and drinks at a beautiful venue called Generations Hall.

I had a blast at VeeamON and I have enjoyed looking back as I wrote these articles. I’ve always been a fan of Veeam and now I am an even bigger one. If all this talk got you excited for attending next year, then you can now start making your plans. Veeam already announced VeeamON 2018, which is scheduled for May 14-16 in Chicago.