Just started my next adventure in infrastructure IT at Pivot3 as an HCI Solutions Architect!

Posted by Paul Braren on Jun 17 2019 (updated on Jun 24 2019) in
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  • Pivot3
  • VMware
  • It's a special kind of awesome when you find a company who needs your strengths. Even better when there's meaningful work to be done that will likely have an even greater positive impact that my prior roles, coupled with an opportunity for career advancement.

    NVMe, baby!

    Yes, I've mentioned NVMe 2,090 times so far at TinkerTry. That's a lot, even for a site with over a thousand articles. Why? Because SATA and even SAS tend to be pretty crummy in single-user single-disk environments that are common in home labs which are increasingly often becoming mini home datacenter clusters. The limitations of ancient SAS and SATA standards largely vanish when moving to NVMe, see also my baseline tests back in 2015 here, followed by ESXi tests and thermal torture tests imaged with my FLIR thermal camera. Yes, I'm a performance enthusiast who doesn't enjoy waiting when I'm trying to get things done, and it's great to finally see NVMe being leverage for cache and sometimes even for capacity in the datacenter. So my search for my next HCI role didn't take very long, after first also taking a long hard look at working at VMware & HCI resellers.

    So why Pivot3?


    Any job search has numerous factors to weigh when considering potential employers. You can bet I did my homework on the technology before signing-on to work at Pivot3, a company with a few hundred employees. A pretty big contrast with my prior employers, with ~24,000 at VMware and ~400,000 at IBM!

    Pivot3 is an HCI company from before it was called HCI. Their Virtual SAN technology manages to be incredibly space efficient and failure tolerant even with as few as 3 nodes. A company who fully leverages the benefit of leading edge storage such as NVMe for real time applications such as 4K video stream capture, where dropping frames or downtime are never acceptable. Take that further. What happens when you take one of those 3 nodes down? The customer can continue to expect no dropped frames. That technology got my attention. And I'll get to live demo these capabilities to prospects. Hey, live demos are my jam, cool!

    Yes, I like fast stuff that works well. I also like to make a positive impact. This role is in the Federal Sector.

    I've tended toward jobs with managers I know well. After finding out about this role via LinkedIn, I later learned that I happen to already know the hiring manager quite well, it's Noel Nguyen, who I've already worked for! While it was over a year ago when she was my second line manager, and she already knows what makes me tick, and I already know I can trust her. Trust is everything.

    Returning to my roots with bigger customers

    I'm glad to have another chance to apply my experience with risk reduction in datacenters and secure facilities. My role will be to architect complete solutions that meet prospective customers' business requirements.

    Works with several OEMs

    Flexibility and choice can be good, but somebody needs to help match the need with the solution. That's me!
    From pivot3.com:

    Available as Turnkey Appliances or Software-only on Your Preferred Hardware Platforms


    I've worked with iSCSI storage before, including a datacenter consolidation project for a Fortune 50 company. I moved hundreds of physical servers to a new vSphere cluster of HP and IBM servers, built upon a LeftHand Networks iSCSI storage solution. Pivot3 can present its HCI storage as an
    iSCSI target to both virtual and physical servers. See also Pivot3 expands into data protection with iSCSI SAN storage system.

    NVMe pass through

    This is what NVMe passthrough actually looks like. Yeah, I know, I'm such a nerd.

    Pivot3 uses NVMe pass through. See also my article How to configure VMware ESXi 6.7 or later for VMDirectPath I/O pass-through of any NVMe SSD, such as Windows 10 1809 installed directly on an Intel 900P booted in an EFI VM.

    I'm just getting started at Pivot3 and I have a lot to learn these first weeks here. It's exciting to have a fresh start, and with this post I can rest easy that nobody is left in the dark about where I'm at these days.

    Closing thoughts

    As I promised back in 2017, my web site isn't going to become a pulpit to preach the benefits of the stuff my day job company makes. From time-to-time I'll keep trying the underlying technology and sharing how that goes. I realize people don't visit TinkerTry to read articles like this one. They want technical advice on running a home lab efficiently and effectively. None of that changes going forward. My tag line "TinkerTry IT @ home - Efficient virtualization, storage, backup and more" has remained the same since 2013, and I continue to get a huge thrill out of sharing my technical tips with others.

    But first, time to update my LinkedIn profile...

    Jun 18 2019 Update

    Added iSCSI, sector, and NVMe passthrough details to the article above.

    Jun 29 2019 Update

    My new job has me doing some hands-on install & configure of VMware vCenter + hardware and associated training to go with it, which are right up my alley.

    See also at TinkerTry


    See also

    More about Pivot3

    Their story is right at pivot3.com/about, here's an excerpt:

    Pivot3 was founded by several industry veterans of Compaq, VMware, and Adaptec with a vision to simplify the datacenter by collapsing storage, compute and network resources onto a powerful, easy-to-deploy solution that would reduce cost, operational risks, and ease overall system management.


    • VMware Solution Exchange - Pivot3

      Pivot3 was founded in 2003 on the idea that today’s stack of virtual servers, shared storage and networks could be radically simplified and unified through software innovation to dramatically increase scale-out performance while driving down complexity and cost. The founders of Pivot3 applied their virtualization and storage RAID expertise to develop the patented vSTAC (Virtual Storage and Compute) operating system that runs on x86 commodity hardware and embeds server virtualization deep into the shared storage layer. Today, the company has over 500 customers across the globe who rely on purpose-built Pivot3 appliances for high-capacity video surveillance and high-IOP virtual desktop environments. The company is the leading supplier of IP SANs to the video surveillance market and most recently became the first partner certified in VMware’s Rapid Desktop Program for virtual desktops. Customers rely on Pivot3 for simplicity, scalability and savings. The company has won numerous awards and was most recently selected by the Wall Street Journal for the prestigious “2011 Next Big Thing” category.