Tinker Twins – IT4287 - Why tinkering matters
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Tinker Twins – IT4287 - Why tinkering matters

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Why should you care about enterprise IT support? HP Master Technologists Chris and Greg Tinker have worked in the trenches for years supporting the world's largest mission-critical enterprise IT ...

Why should you care about enterprise IT support? HP Master Technologists Chris and Greg Tinker have worked in the trenches for years supporting the world's largest mission-critical enterprise IT customers and solving some of their most dangerous and costly problems. Identical twins Chris and Greg Tinker are HP Master Technologists with over 3 decades' worth of in-the-field technical enterprise IT problem solving experience between them. Join them to see how there’s much more to these efforts than it seems and how what they do -- and why they do it -- matters.

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  • UP INTRO MUSIC: Greg and Chris walk onstage from different sides, to meet in the middle. (Applause)Greg: Wow! Thank you all so much! Good afternoon everyone! - It’s great to see everyone here at HP Discover. I’m Greg Tinker, an HP Master Technologist. Chris: And I’m Chris Tinker, also a Master Technologist with HP. Together we are known as…
  • Together:Just -- the Tinker Twins.
  • Greg: So – Let’s jump right into this! We are going to discuss a real world scenario, this morning.What do 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars have in common? Chris: Like the old saying goes “Time is Money”.Greg: Absolutely! Chris: With the adaptation of converged infrastructure within the enterprise IT landscape, the modus operandi of supporting dedicated technology stacks presents certain challenges. Primarily, these challenges deal with the tight integration of the different technology stacks that comprise the IT solution -- and this impacts the ability to support the solution end-to-end. I’m sure you know what I mean. For instance, have you ever heard, “It’s not the network, it must be the server. It’s not the application must be the storage. It must be…” Well, you can fill in that blank yourselves!Greg: HP has innovated the way we approach technology support. – Your enterprise technology landscape has changed and HP’s technology support has also evolved to keep pace with your IT environment. The lines use to be clear. – Storage, Server, Network, OS and Applications. -- Today, with rapid advances in the technology landscape, complex solutions are blurring the lines that previously separated between the technology stacks.
  • Chris: HP Technology Support has established teams comprised of technologists who possess a myriad of advanced skills in many technologies. (Gesture to Greg) Greg and I are two such individuals. We both hold the title HP Master Technologist, and we have had the pleasure of working with some of the best technologists in the industry – our colleagues at HP - some of whom are in the audience today. Most of the time, our introduction to customers is at the onset of an IT mission-critical incident. Of course this may not be the friendliest of first encounters. Remember – We make our livings by debugging production impacting events. -- It’s our job to demonstrate to each customer that the decision to select HP as your trusted partner was the right move when you signed the contract, and it continues to be the right move as we work to bring an issue to resolution.Greg: Let’s go back a bit, and take just a moment to describe what a Master Technologist is. (Looking at Chris)
  • Chris: Sure, Greg. -- (To audience) Imagine the pressure of making a single keystroke -- where the consequences of your actions determine the actual production status. A kernel poke – if you will.
  • Chris (continues):This is what life is like in the fast lane for an HP Master Technologist. Though the title is highly sought after by many advanced technologists, it is only awarded after a rigorous review-board process. Each candidate must demonstrate a breadth and depth of technical knowledge and experience that spans today’s technology landscape; each must possess the expertise to execute on these technologies at an advanced level.
  • Greg: As you might imagine, most Master Technologists are coders, developers/debuggers and have a variety of skills in programming languages, as well as experience in publishing -- white papers, blog-posts and articles in areas of their expertise— just as Chris and I do. Chris and I are also charter members of The HP Expert Program, and we’ve become both pioneers and evangelists for the program which recognizes top technical talents, and introduces those individuals to HP customers via HP.comAdditionally, I should add that Chris and I work on a global engineering team within HP Technology Services. Our team is product-agnostic, covering HP and 3rd party products. Our primary focus is on restoring our customers’ business operations – while re-building their confidence - in the technical powerhouse that is Hewlett Packard. In fact, as we said earlier in this presentation, we’re going to walk you through a real-life situation: a day in the life of the Tinker Twins as we are called upon to resolve a high-profile production issue. Chris: But --we should also tell you that our whole team is charged with recovering technically catastrophic, business-impacting IT events, and we are only two Master Technologists among HP Technology Support Services’ deep bench. HP support team capabilities range from account support managers to code developers, and cover all aspects of technology within the enterprise. Our combined expertise spans the full gamut of IT knowledge and proficiencies, from specialized IT design to technology development. And did I already mention this? HP Technology Services has the full power to engage all that is HP! 
  • Greg: So let’s get back to our story. Remember 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars?Just Imagine how you and your management staff would react when—Yes, I do mean “when” – because it is just a matter of time before Murphy’s Law will strike! Think about how you and your team will react when your business is impacted by an application that resides on an enterprise system. Or, perhaps your application resides on a high performance compute cluster. In any case, what would you do if your critical system encountered an I/O stall exceeding 42 seconds? Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, it is if you’re in a strict government-regulated industry. The fines can be immense, and believe me, those fines add-up quickly. Chris: Isolating the problem could take hours in itself, and that’s if you are fortunate; we have known it to take days to isolate. Then the technologist has to determine ways to rectify or mitigate the condition by providing a work around. In order to accomplish this feat, vigilance and knowledge of the business implications are a minimum requirement.
  • Chris: Isolating an issue like this is in our wheel-house. As corporations implement converged infrastructure technologies – a simple stall, such as the one that Greg just mentioned -- can morph into a huge issue due to the density of today’s IT landscape. Where do you start when the problem could be spawned by the application or database, volume managers, Filesystem, Files within filesystem, disk array, transport layer (Fiber Channel, GigEther, etc.), memory buses, NUMA architecture, or CPU affinity, spinlocks … (pointing to audience member in front row) Have I dazzled you yet? These are just a few possible problem areas within the technology stack!
  • Greg: When you need help, does your business partner have the deep technical bench to discover, analyze and implement a fix in an expedited fashion? If HP is your technical bench, the answer is absolutely YES. Chris: Yes, indeed! You are correct Greg!
  • Today’s IT is all about convergence and consolidation to achieve an improved total cost of ownership, where historically the technology would be silo’d to align with the hardware or software or even business unit. With the convergence of technologies and an ever-denser consolidation of application and hardware, the technologist is becoming even more critical in the business continuity equation. This is due to the potential – and severe - impact if a single event impacts multiple technologies. Again, the question you have to ask yourself is “How will you and your team react when your business encounters an IT road block -- and there is no detour”?Greg: Right you are, Chris! You know, when we were first approached about presenting at the Innovation Theatre here at Discover 2013, we were – of course – very honored.Chris: Well, It was a bit overwhelming at first: I mean -- what we do -- we do because we love our work. We really are committed to the success of our customers, and – we love to solve the most challenging IT problems that are thrown our way. Greg: [Laughing/to Chris ] No, no, Chris you mean “referred “our way? (To audience) Ever since we were kids we have learned by “tinkering”.Chris: Pun intended. (laughter)
  • Greg: Yes, our name suits us. We literally got our hands dirty in the daily activities of our family’s farm. We spent hours working on engineering projects inspired by our father –which involved numerous mechanical and constructional engineering projects: learning how to mig, tig, and arc weld by age 7. By age 10 we got our hands on our first computer -- “Tandy 1000” – which we dismantled and reassembled right after our folks brought it home.Our parents always wondered why the keys stuck!
  • Chris: Today, we still tinker around, getting our hands dirty in the figurative sense. We are routinely engaged to resolve some of the most complex IT challenges that face HP customers. Many of these issues are mission-critical, and require a rapid response to isolate and mitigate problems to stabilize the IT environment. We are painfully aware that our client’s reputations could be at stake – and the financial implications could be enormous. Say -- Remember 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars?Greg: Very true, Chris. In addition, as technologists we are entrusted to acquire and fully understand the intricacies and inter-dependencies of today’s technology, and how best to align that technology with business objectives. – We must keep in mind, at all times that technology is tempered by business realities.Chris: So very true Greg.
  • Greg: Let’s take a moment to acknowledge and talk about our Company, HP, and the values that have formed so much of what we do for customers every day. The HP Way is well known in the business world; these were the operating principles that Dave and Bill followed as they built their company. Chris: The HP Way has become part of our HP DNA, and we leverage those strengths and attributes in every client engagement. Managing to these principals is particularly significant when we are called upon to resolve a costly and potentially disastrous situation. But we always have a desire to make a difference and are driven to achieve meaningful results for our customers. We firmly believe in the power of our people at HP -- and the importance of strong customer relationships.
  • Greg: In addition to our technical acumen, that last point could be the most important. We are called upon, not only to solve the technical issues, but to assure the customer that HP is here – on-the-ground-within-hours – to solve their problem and restore confidence in their HP Solution. Chris: As your trusted advisor, your partner -- We are as just as committed to your success as you are.Greg: Exactly!
  • Now continuing with our story – Remember that 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars?Just imagine the pressure that a technologist is under as we arrive at a customer site, and enter a room filled with irate engineers and execs who have just encountered an IT failure that is costing them major financial penalties.Chris: Well – let’s just say it’s not a pretty picture; we are definitely in the hot-seat. It is critical for us to re-assure the customer that HP – we - are with them until their problem is resolved.Greg: In our story – the IT issue was still ongoing, at random intervals, when we arrived --with no root cause insight. Chris: This is where another skill comes in and that is “communication”. Marrying technical skills with “soft” skills helps us build confidence with our customers and HP colleagues alike. At the risk of being less than humble, our contribution to customer success is measured, not only by customer and colleague feedback, but also by the fact that clients, colleagues and HP executives, time and time again, ask for “The Tinker Twins” by name. This is how we make it matter.Greg: Exactly Chris.
  • So before I - or one of our team-mates – arrive onsite—have you ever wondered what we might have been doing? We could have been writing code or signing legal documents for our latest patent – yes both of those apply to us - but in this particular case, I was spending time with my family at our local lake. Little did I know that this huge IT crisis was developing with a multinational client of HP… It was Saturday morning, and I was relaxing with the family… 
  • Greg: As we previously explained, the customer experienced a 42 second stall comprised of multiple smaller stalls. The first, 28-second enterprise application stall took place just after 11 AM Saturday morning. The application is critical to their business and to their clients -- which averages just over 72K transactions per second. That stall meant that approximately 2 million transactions were compromised. Chris:Ca-ching! Today, it’s very easy to make headlines with bad news: social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or editorials in on-line publications can cause a bad-news story to spread like wildfire. Corporate reputations can be negatively impacted within minutes. Greg: So, there we were: The situation was quickly escalating, and by 6 PM another stall, lasting 14 seconds this time, transpired.  HP Technology Support was engaged at the highest escalation/elevation levels – I was 32,000 feet in the air en-route!  (chuckle)Seriously --The customer’s contractual agreements with their end-users were being impacted, and remedies were starting to accumulate into the millions of dollars due to missed service-level agreements.Chris: Now, I am an expert at pouring Drano down my sink, but all of us (pointing to the audience) at one point or another, has encountered a situation which requires a true professional!! – YOU know what I’m talking about!Greg: (laughing) Good one Chris! Yes, in every walk of life – there are those who are passionate about their profession and take great pride in their work.Chris: And it is very important to know who the experts are, and when to engage them. That’s critical to safeguarding your business – or in my case– knowing when to hire the professional plumber!Greg: LOL, yes indeed Chris -- But we digress… The situation, as you might imagine, got far worse before it got better. We – HP – were engaged at all levels of the engineering branch - -from field reps to developers. The expertise we called upon spanned OS developers, driver developers at each level of the IO stack, and application developers in the user space.The team quickly came together, led by yours truly, (pointing to self) and we partnered – collaborated -- to leverage the full technical breadth and depth of HP. This was truly a powerhouse team effort!
  • Chris: 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars? (point to screen with thumb over shoulder) Yeah. We keep coming back to that. (chuckling)(Seriously) Now let me ask you again: How deep is your technical bench? Chris: Technology is continuously advancing on every front – from datacenter technology that requires cooling and power delivery, to IT solution designs surrounding modularity, to parallelized workloads leveraging the converged infrastructure architecture.The reach of a single IT issue can span 100’s – perhaps 1000’s of OS instances. The breadth and depth of the technical support bench has become a much more critical asset.This is where the statement” I don’t know” is no longer an option.Greg: By early the Monday morning, 1 AM to be exact, we had isolated the root cause of the system stall. It turned out that it was a customer-configurable attribute that sanitized huge sums of space with a scrubber operation that had never been used before. The operation only scrubbed the boot device where boot/root/swap/dump resids. As a result of this parameter, a large scale buffer flush operation stalled the O.S. Boot disk I/O sub-system.Yes. -- Extremely rare, and difficult to isolate. Chris: So this is just one example of a worldwide enterprise IT environment where our customer depends on HP to come to the rescue in times of crisis. 
  • I’m proud to say that we, at HP, have the end-to-end technical expertise to isolate, mitigate and resolve the world’s most complex technical issues in a timely fashion. Greg: That’s a great source of pride for us here at Hewlett Packard.Chris: And it is why what we do matters to us. To HP.
  • And most importantly – to YOU -- our customers. (together).Thanks very much for joining us today. – Please enjoy the rest of your Discover 2013 experience – and reach out, come down and talk with us!

Tinker Twins – IT4287 - Why tinkering matters Tinker Twins – IT4287 - Why tinkering matters Presentation Transcript

  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Why what we do everyday matters Tinkering around with HP’s Tinker Twins Master Technologists Greg & Chris Tinker | June 13 2013
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.3
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.5
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.6
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.7
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.8
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.9
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.10
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.11
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.12
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.13
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.14
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.15
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.16
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.18
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.19
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. 42 seconds and $3.2 million dollars
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.21
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.22
  • © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Thank you