Mar 032015
 

One of the great things about this tech community is how we advertise each others private blogs and other contributions. And im a huge fan of the top vBlogs on the vLaunchpad.

Ill be the first to admit i’ve not been very productive from a blogging perspective this year but hopefully the content I have posted over time will help me at least get on the board (which is all im bothered about tbh).

So please get voting over at vSphere-Land and get voting for those who go out there way to create these blogs and create great content.

As ever what a legend Eric Siebert is. Putting this together every year with increasing levels of complexity and scale means a massive amount of personal work for him so a huge THANK YOU is very justified.

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Oh any if you feel inclined to throw a vote my way id be mighty please ;-)

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Feb 162015
 

This post is slightly late I know, but crazy busy doesn’t quite cover the last few months for me.

I’m very proud to be given the honour of vExpert 2015. This is my 4th vExpert award (should be 5th but I skipped 2013) and its still a source of pride I can call myself a vExpert.

The vExpert club is not as ‘exclusive’ as it used to be and that has drawn criticism from some of the old guard and the habitual complainers that it has devalued the title. If im honest I can see their point to an extent but as vExpert isn’t an indications of ones technical ability in the field of VMware but more a contribution to the community outside their standard day job I dont feel that its detrimental to the vExpert program.

Though I do wonder to what the qualification criteria is these days as its TONS more lenient that it used to be.

The vExpert program isnt just a title though. As part of the program you get access to licensing and information that is not available to the general public. Click HERE for more information on the program and how to become a vExpert.

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Nov 032014
 

November 18th sees this years UK VMware User Group. Last year I was so impressed at the scale that the UK VMUG has grown to compared from the very first one I attended a few years back. Hats of to the leaders (who also run the London VMUG) as they do an amazing job.

I know first hand how difficult and time consuming it is for the leadership team to organise these events, added that this is their free time and I thank them so much and they deserve a shout out.

Alaric Davies
Jane Rimmer
Stuart Thompson
Simon Gallagher

The agenda, as ever, is jammed packed with sponsor/vendor sessions and community real world experiences. Please do support the community guys who are speaking as they don’t have to share their thoughts and experiences in this forum but choose to. And more often than not the real world experiences are by far the most impactful for the audience.

Out of the sessions and people Im looking forward to seeing:

  • Duncan Epping – Duncan is going over whats coming in vSphere 6.
  • Frank Denneman – If you havnt seen PernixData yet, this is the session for you. Franks a great presenter and PernixData will be a force to be reckoned with in the not so distant future.
  • Hugo Phan – Ive crossed paths with Hugo a number of times over the years and his insights into the hyper-converged will be very interesting.
  • There are also a bunch of guys running side session or small ask the expert sessions
    • Joe Bagley – VMware CTO in the “ask the CTO anything” Joes has a amazing grasp on the industry and spends his time seeing every customer under the Sun. Hes open and honest and you will get allot out of this especially if your thinking IT Transformation.
    • Lee Dilworth – Talking Availability Updates & Tech Preview. Some cool things coming in vSphere 6 (still under NDA so cant say to much).
    • Dave Hill – vCloud Air is undergoing some changes and its evolving quickly. Take the opportunity to pick his brains.
    • Jonathan Mead – Mr Script is talking vCO.
    • Chris Wahl – It wont be to often you get to attend something by this guy. Its safe to say hes clued up and his talk on Networking will be a very insightful session.
    • Simon Seagrave – GREAT to see Simon back at the User groups (ive been out of the London VMUG scene for a while) so can wait to see him.

MANY MANY more great names and presenters that you will get a unique opportunity to no only benefit from their session but also get to interact with.

Make sure register if you plan to attend and ill see you there.

OH, I almost forgot the Solution Exchange. This is just like a mini VMworld and if you need a break from your sessions or are just looking for free stuff then defiantly hit the vendors stands.

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Oct 222014
 

One thing was obvious at VMworld Europe this year, the amount of solutions based on end to end pre-defined architectures was staggering. Converged Infrastructure (CI) has never been so high on the agenda but with the announcement of EVO:RAIL CI now on the lips of everyone from C-Level execs to the Joe Admin at the coal face.

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

This was a real eye opener for me personally. I have spent the last 4 to 5 years on booths trying to explain to people what CI is and why its not just a ‘marking’ play. (though some CI is just that). To have most people come to the VCE booth this year already with the concepts behind CI in their heads and how it can benefit their business was fantastic and allowed for real solution focused conversations. This was the moment that really showed me that CI here to stay and is how companies will deploy their infrastructure in the future.

Pretty much everyone that came to the booth had a similar message from walking the floor though. “Every vendor is saying they have THE ANSWER, but not just one answer they have several, im so confused”. After walking the floor and knowing the CI and wider industry how I do, i cant say i blame them. There is so much choice that people are stuck seeing trees but missing the wood.

I came across this quote on wikipedia from The Paradox of Choice

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.

—quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004

This really does ring true with the current state of the industry IMO. CI is bad enough right now as a competitive space with different ways to cut the cake, but add in all the IaaS, PaaS, SDN, SNS, 3rd platform this and that etc that everyone and their dog are offing a layer on the cake and you have a critical mass of confusion. Even vendors that offer a single 2u CI offering are bundling in everything under the sun as standard and then some more on top as options.

How companies approach support, operate, maintenance, upgrades, patchs etc etc when faced with such complexity is without doubt the challenge. Speeds and feeds along with general capability are obviously important but even if you treat the tin as commodity those soft issues are not to be shirked and are the main concern at large enterprises and SPs, especially at the C-Level.

One of the benefits of going CI is simplicity both from a tin/software perspective but also from a high level ops view. I’m always honest with people I talk to. If, for example, you want the latest Haswell Chip the day after a Cisco GAs it then VCE and Vblock may not be for you as it undermines the values of Vblock and increases the risk. Not every version of every product from the VCE investor companies (yes Cisco is still and investor before anyone things of a cheeky comment) can be integrated as we would be testing for in an infinite loop and never release a product. So we streamline those choices while trying not to impede on that autonomy and freedom that choice brings.

The market in general is in a state of flux. No one quite knows what the future will hold. Its becoming quite obvious (to me at least) that the whole world will not be dominated by the likes of AWS and Azure anytime soon (perhaps when my son starts work it will be, he’s 6 btw). So there will undoubtedly be some natural thinning in the marketplace i feel in the near to mid future. Bets are being hedged and people are starting to make decisions but in my humble opinion companies will be struggling with Confusion, Complexity and vendor Sprawl for some time to come.

Obviously, i think im work for a company with the right approach. But this is not a sales post, just a general observation of the market and the complexity companies are facing on a day to day basis.

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Jul 212014
 

Just a quick reminder.

The North East England VMUG is on the 7th of August at the Life Center in Newcastle.

If you know your visualization stuff then you’ll know Frank Denneman. Hes presenting for PernixData, so please come along as it will be a great session. Im sure he will sign a book or 2 also if you bring them along.

http://www.vmug.com/p/cm/ld/fid=6687

Check out my NE England VMUG post for specifics around whats changed for this VMUG.

 

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Jun 062014
 

Like any good movie reboot the goal is to take it to the next level and try and wow audiences like they have never been wowed before.

August 7th sees a major reboot of the North East VMUG where we will try and do just that.

Upcoming-Movie-Reboots-Remakes

With a refreshed cast (Leadership Team) and financial backers (Sponsors) we on the leadership team truly hope that we are looking at reboot on the scale of Christian Bales Batman rather than Brandon Rouths superman. Also, just in case anyone gets confused, no that’s not me in the bottom left of the picture, but I can see what you could get confused Smile

Venue:

We have moved out of the slightly outdated digs we were previously and now have a venue fit for the task in hand.

life-science-centre

The Newcastle Centre of Life is now hour home. More specifically we have the Marlborough room with some fantastic presentation facilities.

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the room above will be half the size on the day.

Under New Management:

Unfortunately some of the established leadership team could no longer manage to commit to the demands that organizing the NEVMUG does demand. Id like to say a massive thanks to the guys who helped set up a fantastic foundation for the NEVMUG to grow to the level which it is now at and their input will be missed. With a mixture of old heads and some fresh faces the leadership team is a very exiting place to be right now with some amazing ideas some real focus on making the NE a success.

Top Sponsors & Presenters:

No VMUG would be worth attending if it wasn’t for the community presenters and sponsors taking about technology and their experiances. And to back that up, We have a OUTSTANDING line up for attendees.

Our very own NEVMUG leader Duncan Simpson will be presenting on some of his experiances. Adding him own community contribution will be James Rankin. Presenting is tough at the best of times, but presenting to a audience of you peers is nerve racking and these guys are volunteers. I need more guys like these to step up and present at a VMUG (preferably the NE) so if your reading this PLEASE get in touch and volunteer.

This time round Zerto and PernixData are sponsoring the NEVMUG.

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I’m over the moon, ecstatic and elated to announce 2 amazing presenters. From VMware we have Dave Hill talking vCloud Hybrid Services. Dave is a fellow NE guy who is now a US guy but is over for his ‘Vacation’ Winking smile but has kindly agreed to take some time out from the family and come talk to us.

Not only do we have a very well renowned blogger and community guy with Dave Hill but for those who follow the top blogs, published books and general community will know there are but a few with ‘god like’ fame. One such guy is Frank Denneman. Author of many books im sure you will have in you own person collection its fantastic he will be at the NEVMUG reboot. Now I just have to keep on  bugging Duncan Epping until he caves and attends a future NEVMUG Angry smile

download (2)download (3)

We need you – Please Register Now:

PLEASE, PLEASE register early for the VMUG. Its really important we get an idea on numbers. Even if you not sure of you can make it, do register anyway and don’t leave it until the last minute.

http://www.vmug.com/p/cm/ld/fid=6687

I look forward to see you on the 4th of August. Don’t hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions.

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May 052014
 

Thanks to the guys at vSoup for having me on the latest podcast.

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Back in the early days of vSoup I was on a couple episodes and loved every minute. Its testament to the efforts that Chris, Ed and Christian have made over the years that they achieved no 2 in the vSphere-land pole for favorite podcasts. Its great that the format is still the same and that ‘fame’ hasn’t gone to their heads Smile

Some interesting topics are covered like SFD5, FeedForward amongst other things.

Check it out here.

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Apr 082014
 

As part of the vExpert program this year a whole flurry of vendors have some NFR licenses and VIP programs going on. This is an added benefit to the 1 year licenses that VMware grant vExperts.

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I know there are some vendors with similar programs that are not listed below out there but here are the ones that caught my eye and I have applied for. Ill add some more to this post when I come across them.

solar winds visualization manager

Veeam – Up to 2 sockets of Veeam Backup and Replication

PernixData – PernixData FVP licenses.

Pluralsight – 1 years free training. How awesome is that, cant that the guys enough for this program as it comes in so handy to have this at your disposal.

Loginvsi – ive been going allot with VDI/EUC lately and Loginvsi is a pretty great tool to simulate user actions for things like load testing.

HP StoreVirtual VSA lic – Get in touch with @HPStorageGuy and he will hook you up.

Some other free bits
Tintri – Thanks to the Tintri guys for this free shirt. Maybe I should get a tattoo with my twitter handle. :-/

vExpert 30 days free vCHS – It would be awesome to have this for longer that 30 days but I do understand giving access resource to hundreds of people that ultimately will never buy any resource doesn’t make good business sense. I personally will have to choose my sign up time carefully as I would like to get the most out of my 30 days as possible. Check out Chris Colottis post for more details.

Thanks so much to the vendors who run these programs and free stuff. I know you get a lot back from these sorts of things through blogs and word of mouth but to have a more permanent license than a 60 day eval is critical to us guys and gals active in the community.

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Apr 042014
 

Naïve would be a massive understatement if I were try and inform the community that the 2014 VMware vExpert announcement has been made. But I wanted to share a few thoughts and thank a few peeps.

After some confusion (an initial rejection email) I was listed on the vExpert list. After initially having vExpert in 2011 & 12 I lost out in 2013 but im delighted to be involved again.

Some 754 vExperts made the cut this year which is a fairly big number. This prompted the inevitable “well who didn’t didnt get vExpert” comments. I can understand where that perspective comes from, but for me its great recognition for all the peeps that take time out of their day to day lives to try and get involved in what is growing and highly social community. If the criteria was narrowed to a much higher level of scrutiny then this would alienate people and only allow a small % of people to get access to the benefits that the vExpert program brings. If that means the vExpert club is it not as “exclusive” then im happy with that. There are plenty of ways to elevate your self profile if you make the effort and are good enough.

But as I mentioned above I know first hand that rejection emails were sent out. So not everyone who applied got into the program so those 754 are well deserved in my opinion.

Jeramiah Dooley (https://twitter.com/jdooley_clt) will be doing some interesting stats on the numbers over the years which he said he will post at some point.

A massive thanks to the VMware social media team and in particular Cory Romero who personally sorted the rejection error within minutes of me emailing him. And ofcourse a huge congrats to the new and returning vExperts.

p.s. There is also a slightly different aspect of the program this year in that there are quarterly applications. Q2 applications are already open, so if you have done some VMUG presos or managed to really tick some of those community spirited tasks then why not apply?

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Mar 272014
 

There has been a ton of hype over this years top virtualization blogs.

Ive had this blog for a couple of years but this is the first year that ive featured in the top blogs. vmackem.co.uk ranked at #256.

While this may not seem the highest, im actually really pleased. There were 320 blogs in the running and I would have been happy to come anywhere in the list. Ive not blogged much since I joined my current company which has been a combination of having a lot less time and trying to remain impartial and not seem like a ‘corporate blogger’ (ref to a argument I saw on twitter between Chris Evans and Duncan Epping).

While there are a ton of interesting things that have come out of today list, I wanted to highlight a few things that caught my eye.

Well done to everyone that featured in the list. The level of self sacrifice and effort that goes into this community is simply awesome and long may it continue to grow.

Last but not least this wouldn’t happen at all with out the efforts of Eric Siebert and the crew putting all this together.

Now to get my blogging cap on and try and get up the ladder for next year!!

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