In my field days I worked with some great companies that helped me do my job. Some of those companies really excelled in there service and support. One of those companies was Platespin. Platespin was founded in 2003 by Stephen Pollack. Based in Toronto Canada the company grew to 150 people worldwide in 2006.
In the early days of virtualization the VMware portfolio lacked some proper tooling. Building a virtual Infrastructure was exciting and fun to do but migrating physical servers to a virtual platform was challenging! In search for proper tooling I noticed Platespin PowerConvert later known as Migrate. This tool made it possible to migrate servers from the physical to the virtual platform. Second a tool to investigate if a group of Physical servers were proper candidates to migrate. This tool is called Platespin PowerRecon or Recon. Platespin Recon remotely gathers workload utilization statistics for a clear and concise picture of the application services running in the data center and how their resources are being used.
The first time I used the tools in the field was at one of the major power companies in the Netherlands. Our Job was to size and Migrate a 600 server datacenter. We had some challenges to get Recon in production and reached out to Platespin. The datacenter was located near Maastricht and help came from the UK. Platespin support send a UK based SE to Maastricht to support us. I picked up Mark Round at Airport Maastricht and was his Chauffeur for a day 😉 Within a few hours we were up and running with Recon and on our way to migrate the data center. Mark and I kept in contact for a long time. He helped me out on several projects in the Netherlands when Platespin did not had a local based SE
Boarding my 2nd flight of the day; I jumped excitedly onboard a KLM City Hopper heading from AMS – Amsterdam Schiphol flying to Airport Maastricht to meet with (who at the time) was a complete stranger called Peter.
For me, (apart from the technology) meeting new people was one of the coolest things about my job – while working for a startup company like PlateSpin. Every day was fresh, exciting, sometimes challenging – but always satisfying.
When Peter met me at the airport – I knew he was cool ! I thought to myself at the time; this was going to be fun, working together!
It seems a bit peculiar to me nowadays to say something like "Back in the ‘good old days’ of Virtualization Assessments, and Server Consolidation projects"….. when in 2013 – virtualization is an accepted commodity; and no longer the mystical / dark art that it once was.
The first project that Peter and I worked on together was so successful, it was turned into a case study and published on the PlateSpin website. So, we obviously did something good ! Eh? Peter?
Over the years at PlateSpin – I become very fond of working in the Netherlands – it was (for sure) one of the best countries for finding the best talented partners in the industry (PQR.nl); with really knowledgeable guys….(VMUG.nl) and Peter was the perfect example of such fine field talent ! A perfect balance of technical & business skills and relationship building. Many years (..and projects later) – as I reminisce about the ‘good old days’; life back then was great, and while Peter is no longer a stranger to me (..or my Chauffeur) *grin*, I made a new friend in Peter van den Bosch !
I’m thankful to Peter for his memories of our 1st ever project / meeting – and for nominating PlateSpin as a vHero Company!!!!
Currently employed as SSE EMEA for SteelEye Technology.
One of the really impressive features in Platespin Convert was the ability to migrate servers form physical to physical platforms. I was involved in a project that migrated a 125 server datacenter from old IBM servers in Den Bosch to a new Datacenter with HP hardware. I still think this was an impressive project!
Me and one of my colleagues Folker van ‘t Hoff migrated hundreds or maybe thousands of servers. In one of the projects we worked at a banking company in the Netherland. We worked evening and early morning shifts. After solving some challenges in the P2V process our production was so high that the company could not get the physical servers removed from the datacenter during day time that we migrated in the evening and morning shifts. It was hard work but also great fun.
Folker van ‘t Hoff:
Peter and myself, both consultants for PQR in the Netherlands, have migrated and assisted in migrating thousands of our customers’ servers with Platespin Migrate (previously Platespin PowerConvert). For instance in 2006 we P2V’ed more then 600 servers for a large Energy company in the Netherlands. Most other migrations were, as can be expected, also from Physical to Virtual, however we also had the odd P2P project. For instance the project where we migrated about 300 Physical HP servers in Den Bosch to Physical IBM servers in Tilburg about 30 km (18 mi) away.
In those days, we also sold a lot of V2P licenses to customers who had applications with a lack of support for virtualization, as well as to customers, scared of losing performance running their applications virtually. The latter type of customers were insisting to buy V2P licenses, unfortunately not every customer can be convinced that they may never need a product feature. In the end we rarely had customers using their V2P licenses, for most the peace of mind was worth the money.
Before VMware Capacity Planner was on the market, we had great success with Platespin (Power)Recon for Capacity Planning and Sizing of our Virtualization projects. Specifically in the early days of virtualization we did hundreds of sizings with (Power)Recon. Although we no longer use this product for VMware environments, we still use it for Hypervisor independent sizings.
Because Platespin was a pretty small company it was easy to raise feature requests. The guys at Platespin were always very accommodating, as most of these feature requests were implemented in the next available release. Which made our job a lot easier.
All in all, these projects meant hard work and many nights away from home and family. Fortunately we sometimes were lucky enough to be able to arrange an outstandingly good hotel, like this sixteenth century five star renovated farmhouse with a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, with these type of hotels we weren’t going to tell our management that there were other hotels in the vicinity.
The Platespin Company kept growing. Some point in time education became more important for the distributers en partners. The distributer in the Netherlands was CDG. The company I work for PQR and CDG worked together closely. To excel as a Platespin Partner we participated in the certification program. We did the exam and all certified as a CPSA Certified Platespin Analist.
Another example of awesome service and working with partners. A big power company in the Netherlands based in Zwolle was looking for support and advise how to P2V there servers. My schedule was full so I made an evening appointment. During this evening session I walked into some challenges during my demo. Platespin hired a local based SE a view months ago Patrick van de Veen. I had is cell phone number and give him a call. Within minutes he called me and supported me while painting his new home. Happy costumer and another great service performance.
Patrick, PQR and me worked close for 2 years in his role as Platespin Specialist.
Patrick van der Veen:
Early 2008 I joined PlateSpin as a local System Engineer supporting both our partners and end-users.
One of our dedicated partners was PQR with whom we worked on several virtualization projects where the customers had the requirement to migrate not a few but hundreds of physical servers into virtual machines.
At that time there were very few options out there to efficiently migrate that amount of servers into VM’s.
At PlateSpin we had developed a solution which actually was able to pull off a project like this with an advanced migration solution that actually turned into much more over time, as we did see customers didn’t just want to do P2V migrations but actually wanted to do anywhere to anywhere migration or even P2V protection with ongoing replication.
Peter and PQR noticed the capabilities we had at PlateSpin very early in the virtualization adoption and we worked together closely on quite a few of their projects.
But of course in such complex projects things didn’t always work as planned so with the joined forces of both PQR and PlateSpin we could develop a migration strategy for their largest accounts but also improve our software making it even more powerful for everyone to use.
Patrick van der Veen was the first EMEA Holland based System Engineer. He left the company april2010. Currently employed as senior Systems Engineer @ Varonis
Working with Platespin was fun and sometimes an adventure. Support and service were outstanding and the people I worked with were passionate to make every business deal a success.
Thank you for the Platespin adventures!
In 2008 Platespin became a part of Novell. I never really understand this acquisition but that is my personal opinion. Now the Platespin products are part of NetIQ.
The other Platespin heroes:
John Stetic: Platespin Sr. Director Products and Solutions (Co – Founder)
Currently employed as Product Management Leader at Eloqua