Why I Cancelled GoDaddy…

“It’s just not right that so many things don’t work when they should. I don’t think that will change for a long time.” – Steve Wozniak

After a ten-year plus relationship with GoDaddy, I’ve closed my account. It felt good as GoDaddy of today isn’t what GoDaddy was ten years ago.  I argue the service has been getting worse as time as gone on, just like Network Solutions.  These companies might be forgetting what got them there in the first place.  Here are my reasons and my next steps.

Why GoDaddy Worked

  1. Lost cost. Very competitive pricing.
  2. Good technical support. I did have a couple of problems and their support was great.  Even restored my DotNetNuke website back to a functional level.  Gave them mad kudos’ for that.
  3. Great DNS Management. I argue the simplest in the business.

Why I Said No to GoDaddy

  1.  My hosted WordPress site was painfully slow using the Economy hosting. Every time I publish, the website would go offline and timeout for 3-5 minutes. Every time. Call up GoDaddy and support would say I am on shared services. If I need more speed, need to upgrade. The speed issue exacerbated module and version upgrades. The last straw was a failed JetPack upgrade due to timeouts. No more.
  2. GoDaddy’s management site is slow. I’d log into my portal and it clocks transitioning between screens. Constant pop ups with new products and ads, but getting to the guts has slowed way down from ten years ago. Super annoying to embed in the management interfaces. Not good.
  3. No support for free SSL. I’ve been talking to them about this for a long time. There are many competitive offers out there offering a free SSL cert for a single WordPress site. If you’re a singular blogger or small business, why not a free SSL cert? No support for Let’s Encrypt. In fact, they’ve designed their system to prevent it without hacking their system. Not supporting these technologies may seem like protecting their turf. I argue it’s an example of legacy companies not getting with modern times. Fail.
  4. On and on sales phone calls. GoDaddy would call me and try to up sell me on products, many I didn’t need.  When I talked about my slow website and lack of support for Let’s Encrypt, the sales guy started dodging.  I’d hang up and get another call a week later, resuming the up sell. Finally, had to tell them to stop calling me. Sales pressure tactics when you’re not trying to fix your product or ease my pain means you don’t care about me.  Bottom line.

And I had to call to cancel. Digital transformation not apparently in effect at Godaddy. I was genuinely worried I would be pressured just like a gym membership. Alas, “Joel” took my call and walked me through. I asked for a refund for my remaining months and got it.  A+ Joel.  I might come back.

Where Did I Go?

I transitioned to Dreamhost. Performance has been far better, although they need to work on their management tools. User interface needs much work. But, it’s very nice to functional without wait times for the same money.

One More Thing…

Colleagues have pointed me to NameSilo as an inexpensive domain name registrar. I’ve been using them for a few domains and really like their interface and pricing.

\\ JMM

Cautionary Tale: Not all security vendors are above board…

The pen test we do through Nessus is passive, our goal is to identify and report the vulnerabilities we find and allow you to close the holes and harden your systems. A majority of vendors find passive pen test results sufficient but some require active pen test results. We don’t do active pen testing because of the risk and liabilities involved. – Recent Communication From A  Security Vendor

Who shall remain nameless.  There is a difference between penetration tests and security vulnerability scans.  The two do not meet.  Neither does an admission of a passive pen test or an annual security vulnerability scan being acceptable to the majority.  I’ve never heard those words in the same sentence.

This kind of misinformation to score the deal is ugly.  Not only is it a risk to the organization writing the check, but it’s your reputation on the line for signing the deal.  Only good security people will see through this…

\\ JMM

My Top 5 Issues With IssueTrak

IssueTrak is a fairly basic ticketing system currently in use at LANVERA.  Although development efforts surrounded IssueTrak giving it a level of criticality to the business, we found ourselves painted into a corner with this solution.  We cannot upgrade without risk of breaking our applications.  That is on us.

However, my biggest concern was the product wasn’t designed with ITIL or any ITSM framework in mind, in my opinion.  And I wasn’t sure it ever would be with their track record of mostly bug fixes and focus on non-service management features.

As a result, in September 2017 I met with IssueTrak’s leadership to discuss the roadmap of IssueTrak .  Here is the deck I prepared for that meeting.


The conversation was mostly positive and there was a healthy agreement that the product wasn’t developed with these use cases in mind.  I hope the product continues to mature and grow as competition in the ITSM space is healthy in the SMB space.

\\ JMM

yED Graph Editor – Diagramming Dynamo

yEd is a powerful desktop application that can be used to quickly and effectively generate high-quality diagrams.
Create diagrams manually, or import your external data for analysis. Our automatic layout algorithms arrange even large data sets with just the press of a button.

I’ve just recently sat in an meeting with application development talking roadmap and architecture and was curious what tool they used diagramming their workflows and service dependencies.  When the manager mentioned this tool, I was suprised to hear it wasn’t Visio.

yEd is freely available and runs on all major platforms: Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac OS X.

https://www.yworks.com/products/yed

\\ JMM

SMB and ITSM: Framework

Everybody says they want to be free. Take the train off the tracks and it’s free, but it can’t go anywhere.”

Zig Ziglar

Organizations require structure to operate, but most often end up creating silo towers with no connecting switch-track to communicate or change direction. Following a framework in exactness is limiting — but adapting a framework is not. There is no one-size-fits-all; that it’s a framework means you have the ability to lay the tracks any way you like. If, in the future, you decide to make an offshoot to a new destination, then you have the ability to do so with the guidance the framework provides.

ITSM is a continuous journey, not a project that ends on the ‘go live’ date. And if truth be known, there is no end to a project until all the chickens come home to roost (but that’s another blog). Count on this: There will always be other destinations to visit that will require you to lay tracks to get there.

From:  http://www.bmc.com/blogs/itsm-best-practices-quoting-itsm-isnt-enough/

Re-posting as we shift focus to ITSM.  I found this article on BMC’s website and felt it’s right on.

\\JMM

Microsoft Kills Mobile…

Joe Belfiore @joebelfiore – Oct 8
Actually, a huge, huge majority of our Windows/Office (and Xbox) users are mixed-ecosystem. MOST people have a different phone than “PC”

Ingo @LaktoseIgnoranz
Replying to @joebelfiore
When people switch to iOS or Android they will switch ecosystems, too. No more need for Microsoft then. That’ll be your next big problem.

It has never been a more confusing… frustrating… no infuriating time for Microsoft developers and professionals. Twenty years of evangelizing the technologies, investing in the products, moving organizations, friends, and family, and for a time enjoying the benefits of a homogeneous ecosystem. Yet, this year, a constant barrage of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Microsoft strategy from Microsoft pundits, talking heads, industry leaders, and peers.

The Microsoft code strategy has been under attack for decades, yet Microsoft appears to be succumbing to Linux via Android. It’s absolutely no secret Microsoft is heavily invested in Android. It’s disturbing to see this manifesting in Microsoft stores proudly selling Samsung Galaxy phones promoting the Office productivity suite.

Shifting away from Windows mobile is a questionable strategy. Our next phone now requires me to have a Google or Apple account with similar cloud strategies. A Microsoft failure to deliver on either of those platforms will speed a demise due to the lack of a unified endpoint platform. This is an uncomfortable gamble shifting from OS platforms to applications/cloud platforms. Untrue? No Windows mobile or universal app developers will continue to diminish the OS, folks. Why would consumers pay for this platform?

We are very different companies [from Apple and Google] …We are a tool creator … not a luxury good manufacturer. We are about creating technologies so that others can build. [With] Surface, we created a premium product … every OEM should create a lower-priced model. We want to democratize things. – CEO Satya Nadella

I would never believed I would have seen or heard in my Microsoft career at a Microsoft store, the sales person actively telling groups of people in the store, “Microsoft technologies are actually better on Android.” I am equally shocked to read a recent Joe Belfiore tweet, “Go download Edge from Google Play”.

Solution: Return to your roots and focus.

  1. Compete with Linux on their own ground. How? Open source the base Windows OS.
  2. Tier the OS based on function to support business. “Windows Basic” should align to Linux features and functions. “Windows Enterprise Desktop” for endpoints needing business features. “Windows Enterprise Server” for the server.
  3. Give away Visual Studio and continue to train people through MVA.
  4. Get out of the hardware business. Support your partners and OEMs.

Make Windows attractive again to both consumers, businesses, and developers!

\\ JMM

Technology: Faster, Cheaper, Or Better

“Technology is only valuable if it results in faster, cheaper, or better. If not, it just sucks up time and money that could be put to better use somewhere else.” – Jeff Haden, INC. Magazine

This quote is timely as we are actively investigating VMWARE’s virtual networking technology NSX.  Remarkably, the technology is capable and connected deeply with our strategic DevOps philosophy.

However, my struggle is NSX’s cost.  Sans discussing the specifics of our pricing, the math roughly equates to $2000 per server for 3 years.

Organizations with a small technology footprint, is NSX valuable enough for faster, cheaper, or better results?

\\ JMM

Splunk = Business Intelligence…

“Splunk is an established tool to measure anything in all areas of the business. NOT just IT.  We must consider it as we look at the need for business intelligence measuring across the business.” – Jonathan Merrill @ LANVERA, June 16, 2017

Splunk was born in 2003 being a disrupting tool set for measuring machine data, easily and accessible.  My colleagues ysed to call it the Google of log data.  At first, it’s focus was the easy target, IT.  Today, it’targeting all areas of the business with demos showing sales & marketing measuring, facilities, business operations, even finance.  Indeed, it’s come along way.

Sitting in our product demo, it’s clear this tool has surpassed IT.  Dashboards, reporting, alerting.  How many times this tool could have redefined the war room experience versus the man hours waste of silo’d IT?

My last thought goes to the hundreds of hours spent data gathering for reporting KPI.  Tirelessly pulling manual data from multiple sources for TPS purposes.  This tool could have replaced all those spreadsheets for all those powerpoints in minutes.

The power of BI.

PS.  Yes, I use Splunk.  I dump my Unifi network syslogs into Splunk using the free version.  I track firewall threats geographically and email reports weekly.  Now if I could just figure how to track my kids usage…

\\ JMM

What A Next Generation Network Monitoring Solution Looks Like…

Many vendors tout “Next Generation Monitoring” solution, yet upon looking, looks like what I’ve seen for many years.  Having had a few tough discussions with sales people, the next generation moniker is quickly becoming a sales tag line and nothing really disruptive to the market.  In today’s market, considering DevOps and SDN, tools are far more important today for doing more with less people.

If you’re selling a network monitoring solution and feel your solution is next generation, please read.

Core Requirements

Business Intelligence Driven

  • Meaningful, amazing, action compelling reporting. Most canned reports are lame and don’t add value.  Give IT Managers and System Engineers reports that are incredibly insightful.
  • Create fear… Show people how bad performance of the physical network, Active Directory, Exchange, and SQL environment is… Shock or affirm me.

AI-Driven Discovery, Identification, and Monitoring

  • Manually defining hosts and services is so 1980s… NGNM tools discover what is out there, where it is, and give visibility to what should be monitored.  Unleash the tool and let it do the work.
  • Leverage AI to determine what things are. Manufacturer recognition, SNMP and WMI. Profiling works. Apply the concept here.
  • Leverage the cloud by providing the database centrally. Don’t make me track down SNMP Mibs.
  • Go beyond hosts and MIBs. Monitor IP Addressing (IPAM), Storage platforms, and cloud services.

Business Views, System Views, And 360 Views

  • Include the physical datacenter. 2D/3D model of the datacenter, what’s in the cabinets, etc. Take what is discovered and place it in this vide.
  • System views. Dynamically create core infrastructure views: LAN and WLAN. But also Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, Replication, SQL, SharePoint, etc. Identify unknown servers and services, forcing Engineers to get involved and document what is out there.
  • Business views are good ways to see how systems interoperate, but affect the whole. WAN goes down, this is what it effects. Especially important when LAN meets Cloud services.

Intelligent Configuration Change Management

  • If your scanning anyway, alert on changes to the environment. The tool needs to be able to fire alerts when they see a change from point A to point B.
  • Connect to Change Management systems, like ServiceNow or ServiceDesk.

Workflow Automation

  • Alerts trigger actions.  Open a ticket.  Run a script.  Stop and restart a service.
  • Virtualization automation.  UCS automation.
  • Or offer to plug into MS SCCM or VMWARE Orchestrator.

User Experience (UX)

  • Clean, object based, tablet friendly user interface. Tabbed interfaces are great, if done smartly and intuitively.
  • Use tried and true web UI navigation, such as breadcrumbs. Should take no more than 3 clicks to get to pertinent data.
  • Dashboards and core technology modules should be modular, configurable, and reset-able.
  • Adding URL’s or jump offs by host. NGNM says, “This server is running Splunk and here is the jump off.”

Documentation Repository

  • Documenting systems is a major problem in the majority of IT shops. The NGNM should begin to leverage what it is gathering and offer to put together the documentation.
  • Provisioning documentation and configuration snapshots (Check outhttp://sydiproject.com/ to see a starting point).  NOC should be able to leap off the site to where the docs are.
  • Change Management “changes” should be reflected in documentation.
  • Give me something I can print. PDF preferable. Something I can give auditors.

Education & Community

  • How do people spin up on the NGNM? Wiki is good, but there are better ways to educate and sell value.  For example, YOUTUBE.  Show me how to win.
  • An active community full of ideas, helping each other, examining use cases, and growing the influence based on wins.  Include me into a community of people wanting to win.

\\ JMM