Meet NPX 017 – David Quinney

  • Name: David Quinney
  • NPX Number:017
  • Employer: Nutanix
  • Blog URL: www.cloudypolitics.com
  • Twitter: @quinney_david
  • Virtualisation background: I started out with with Microsoft virtualization before VMware, first with Virtual Server 2005 on Windows Server 2003 and then Hyper-V around 2009 when I was working for a large managed service provider based in New Zealand. I then switched to the customer side managing a large four site VMware Environment initially based on ESXi 4.1, then did a stint as a consultant in VMware Professional Services designing large scale ESXi deployments. Since I have been working for Nutanix the last two years I have added Nutanix AHV to my list of hypervisor experience.
  • Storage Background:Primarily Hitachi array’s, EMC VMAX and some exposure to metro storage with EMC VPLEX. However, since Nutanix has solved the storage management problem from day one of it’s release so I don’t see any use for me or anyone else worrying about SAN fabrics, LUN’S and Storage array’s anymore:).
  • Hyper Converged Infrastructure background: I was first introduced to Nutanix as a customer back in late 2013 when I was working as an IT architect for a bank. We had a lot of complexities around managing and provisioning LUN’S and performing manual storage migrations every few years when a new array was up for renewal, which gave our team not much time to focus on new IT initiatives. Our datagrowth was constantly growing so it seemed we were more in the SAN management business than actually helping the business. This made me realize that the traditional three tier model of seperated compute, storage and networking with seperate teams, vendors and operational silos managing all these moving parts is not scalable and introduces additional risk with vendor finger-pointing if something goes wrong. HCI with all the traditional three-tier hardware functions collapsed into a single software appliance is the solution to this problem.
  • Future of HCI and other emerging technologies:Nutanix is the leader of HCI infrastructure, but HCI is just the beginning to reduce IT complexity so staff can continue to focus on business requirements instead of just keeping the lights on. Stage one was solving the storage complexity issue which Nutanix did back in 2011 since the product launched, and since this time it has solved the complexity around managing virtualization with Native virtualization (AHV), Managing multiple public clouds with Nutanix Calm, Network Microsegmentation with Nutanix Flow, and now public cloud security/governance and optimization with Nutanix Beam. Whilst pretty much all large enterprises have a cloud strategy in mind to move most workloads to public cloud, there are still applications out there that are better suited to be run on-premises due to factors such as security and performance. Nutanix realised that it needed to pivot from a Hyperconverged Infrastructure company to a software company to manage on-premises infrastructure in the same way companies manage workloads on public clouds with the same set of operational tools and procedures, which until now has been a very complex challenge.
  • Value of NPX: NPX is a unique certification as it focuses not only on designing and defending multiple hypervisors in front of a design panel, but also the operational procedures required and organizational transformation to ensure businesses can extract the most value from their Nutanix investment. Having the NPX certification provides the certification holder validation that they have the required skillset to comfortably gather the correct requirements and constraints from customers to design and deliver solutions that minimizes risk without unnecessary complexity.
  • What made you go for NPX:I started out working on VMware’s premier VCDX certification, however when I started working for Nutanix I decided to switch my focus to NPX instead. As I work as a Consultant in Nutanix Professional Services, architecting Nutanix solutions in design workshops is a large part of my job. For my submission I had a complex design for a customer I was working on that had requirements and constraints in-place that required the use of both AHV, ESXi and Hyper-V as part of the design along with Oracle, MS-SQL, Nutanix Calm, and Acropolis File Services. Whilst a design of this scale is not required for the NPX certification as the documentation requirements is just one hypervisor, having three Hypervisors in my design really helped me think in a structured way of how logical, hypervisor-agnostic design decisions affect downstream physical design decisions.Having the NPX certification also helps provide credibility with my customers, and vastly helped improve my documentation and delivery skillset to ensure my customers understand the how and why key design decisions were made as part of their Nutanix deployment.
  • Advise to people looking into the NPX track:NPX is a tough and long process, so to make it easier I would suggest applying the requirements and methodology from the NPX blueprint to any upcoming Nutanix design you may have from day one. This will ensure you successfully gather design requirements that match all the NPX blueprint items.
    In my case, this also allowed me to work on my NPX documentation during working hours as the documentation was part of a customer deliverable. Ensure your documentation is extensive and includes design decisions with alternatives so the NPX panelists understand your thought process.
    You are scored how closely your documentation matches the blueprint, so the more up to spec it is the more points you will have prior to your defense. Make sure your design powerpoint presentation also follows the NPX blueprint.
    Also, find a mentor plus get a study group together and do multiple mocks of both the design scenarios and the troubleshooting sessions. Rene Van Den Bedem (NPX-008) has some great articles on his blog covering both the design and troubleshooting scenarios. Design and Troubleshooting.
    Finally, stay focused, but have fun during the process to ensure you don’t burn out!