Things You Won’t Learn on My LinkedIn Profile

I had to do a little introduction exercise when I moved over to the marketing team as a Tech Marketing Engineer. I had to share some things you wouldn’t learn on my LinkedIn Profile with the team. I thought it was fun to walk through and worth reposting here!

I just married the woman of my dreams (Kat) who was born in Germany but moved to Florida when she was young. She says y’all with a mixed German and Southern accent and it melts my heart. When we got married we smiled so much our faces hurt. We’re both still amazed that our lives turned out this way and we get to live our dreams.

Despite my mild mannered appearance, I like to live life dangerously. In addition to the rock climbing with my wife, you can find me riding motorcycles, snowboarding, or my one true guilty pleasure, eating Chipotle on my walk to and from HQ and the SJC airport.

I’m a Tough Mudder finisher. You’ll find me out crawling through the mud once a year.


Our long term goal is to move to a walkable city (maybe in Germany or the Netherlands) and spend summer nights walking between cafes. Especially Eiscafés

Backhoe vs Internet

Fiber optics battle yet again with their arch nemesis the backhoe. Results are predictable.

Whole neighborhood out.

Let’s Encrypt – How do I Cron?

Let’s Encrypt was really easy to setup, but Cron was less so. I kept getting emails that the Let’s Encrypt renewal was failing:

2017-03-09 02:51:02,285:WARNING:letsencrypt.cli:Attempting to renew cert from /etc/letsencrypt/renewal/bbbburns.com.conf produced an unexpected error: The apache plugin is not working; there may be problems with your existing configuration.
The error was: NoInstallationError(). Skipping.
1 renew failure(s), 0 parse failure(s)

I had a cron job setup with the absolute bare minimum:

crontab -e
56 02 * * * /usr/bin/letsencrypt renew >> /var/log/le-renew.log

When I ran
/usr/bin/letsencrypt renew
at the command line, everything worked just fine. I was like, “Oh – this must be some stupid cron thing that I used to know, but never remember.”

Turns out the problem was the cron environment PATH variable. Cron didn’t have access to /usr/sbin and apparently certbot was using that for access to the apache2 binary. The fix was to change the cron to the following:

56 02 * * * /root/le-renew.sh

Then create a script that runs the renewal after the PATH variable is set correctly:

cat /root/le-renew.sh
#!/bin/bash
#Automate the LE renewal process

#Need /usr/sbin for apache2
# https://github.com/certbot/certbot/issues/1833
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/sbin

#Renew the certs and log the results
/usr/bin/letsencrypt renew >> /var/log/le-renew.log

It was a good thing I put the link to the problem right in the script, or I never would have been able to find it again to write this blog.

NOW my renewal works absolutely fine. Problem solved. Thanks Cron.

Let’s Encrypt – Easy – Free – Awesome

I recently saw a news article about StartCom being on Mozilla and Google’s naughty list. Things looked bad, and my StartCom certs were up for renewal on the blog.

I have seen articles flying around about Let’s Encrypt for a while now. The idea seemed awesome, but the website seemed so light on technical instructions that I didn’t know if it would actually work. I wanted to know EXACTLY what lines it would propose to hack into my carefully manicured Apache configuration. And by carefully manicured, I mean “strung together with stuff I copied and pasted from stack overflow“.

I couldn’t find the information I really wanted – so I just JUMPED in and started installing things and running commands. 30 seconds later, I had a fully functioning cert on my site. I was blown away. It copied my existing non-ssl vhost config and created a new vhost with SSL enabled. All I had to do was enter my email address, select the vhost to enabled SSL for, and hit GO.

I had to put in a crontab entry myself to get the auto-renewal to work but that wasn’t so bad. I would hope they improve that in the future – but cron is no big deal.

I’m interested to see if everything works when my web certs expire 90 days from now! Crazy times. I used to do this and dread it once per year because the process was so manual. Now that it’s automated – I’ll get new certs while I’m sleeping. Woohoo.

Nutanix Performance and IOPS

My colleagues Gary Little and John Williamson are starting up a blog series on Nutanix performance. Have you ever wondered how Nutanix would perform for your application? Do you wonder how Nutanix compares to a traditional SAN? Do you ever wonder what it means to have 1 hojillion IOPS? I know I do – so I thought maybe you would too.

IOPS on Nutanix

I know the blog here has turned into “All Nutanix All The Time”, but I think this performance series is worth a read. Maybe I’ll be posting more about motorcycles, security, and rock climbing in the future. (Oh, I’ve taken up indoor rock climbing) I’ve started using Keybase.io and Signal – so that could also be worth a tech post.

Check out the first Nutanix performance post here.

VMware NSX Software Defined Networking with Nutanix

Take a look at the latest Nutanix solution note, detailing VMware NSX for vSphere in a Nutanix environment. With these two technologies combined, customers can now virtualize their entire infrastructure. This solution note describes common customer use cases and advantages of NSX software defined networking. We also test two important deployment scenarios and give configuration recommendations.

Find more information on my Nutanix NEXT community blog post (upcoming) or download the full solution note.

Light Board Series: AHV Open vSwitch Networking – Part 4

We’re wrapping up our four part series on Nutanix AHV networking today with a look at the User VM Networking. Check out the Nutanix Connect Blog for full details.

We cover the difference between managed and unmanaged networks for VMs. VM networks can be rapidly created through the Prism GUI, the Acropolis CLI, or the REST API.

Cisco UC on Nutanix Webinar

I recently presented a webinar for Cisco UC on Nutanix to highlight exactly how Nutanix could save time and money, while adding features and flexibility, on your next deployment.

Take a look at the live webinar here: