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.

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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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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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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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Jan 212014
 

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Well 2014 has continued at the same momentum as the back end of 2013 for me. A slightly slower pace would be nice but as they say ‘its better to be busy than bored’.

But if like me you want to get out of the rat race for a day and come and learn some cool tech and experiences from the community then defiantly come along to the North East England VMUG.

This is my first VMUG on the leadership team and you will also get the pleasure (more likely displeasure) of my voice as MC for the day.

Also for the first time we have a round table session before the main show. For those that have attended the London VMUG these have proved hugely popular down south and having a community discussion really gives you a knowledge of where the industry is at and what innovative things people are doing. There’s no specific topic so we will just chew the fat on what is hot right now and has the communities interest.

It would be great to have a big crowd there for this event and show the North East is as eager to participate in the community as the rest of the country. There will also be some top speakers with Lee Dilworth and Hani El-Qasem speaking along with Michael Armstrong covering some great topics.

So come Join us on the 13th of March at the CastleGate for a great day.

Register HERE

Agenda:

11:00 Hot Topic Round Table: Join Us for a Roundtable Discussion on the Community’s
Hottest Topics
12:00 Registration, Food, and Drinks
12:30 VMUG Introduction
12:45 Nimble Presentation: Nimble Customer
13:30 Networking Break
13:45 VMware Presentation: vSphere 5.5 – What’s New
14:30 Networking Break
14:45 Community Presentation: “Home Labs” with Added Demo – Michael Armstrong
15:30 Networking Break
15:45 VMware Presentation: vSAN
16:45 Meeting Close and Raffle
17:00 vBeers at Bridge Hotel – Sponsored by 10Zig

A big thanks to Nimble Storage and 10Zig for sponsoring the event.

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Nov 112013
 

I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so no but the day job has gotten in the way yet again.

I’m happy to announce that I have been accepted onto the leadership team of the North East VMUG.

When Michael Armstrong (@m80armhttp://www.m80arm.co.uk/) joined VMware it left a position on the leadership team which I promptly applied for. I did think that working for VCE may cause an issue but as long as there is a customer/non-partner on the leadership team its fine for me to be involved.

As many of you might be aware (as if you know me you probably meet me there), I have been a regular attendee of VMUGs since about 2008, mainly the London VMUG (when I used to live in the warmer climate of Bournemouth). Since I moved back to the North East I have been a regular attendee of the North East England VMUG which has been gaining in popularity.

Being on the leadership team is great for me on a personal level, it allows me to combine 2 things that I’m very passionate about, the North East of England and Innovative cool technologies.

I have a few ideas that I will put to the rest of the leadership team but my main goal is to spread the word about VMware and its affiliated technologies to the North East. I get the same feeling about the North East VMUG as I did back in the early days of the London VMUG. Tons of potential and the people involved that can turn that potential into a reality.

I’m still to learn what exactly is involved but im very much looking forward to providing my services to make this VMUG the best it can be.

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Sep 242013
 

Its fair to say its been a while since I have posed anything on my blog.

As im sure many of you will know, sometimes real life gets in the way of these types of pursuits. As a result I was not awarded vExpert 2013 Sad smile

However, this will be changing!! I have decided to make time and get back into the community as much as I can. VMUGs are an awesome way of not only gaining some useful information but are a great incentive to be active in the community, and you meet some cool peeps.

On the 3rd of October I will be speaking at the North East VMUG for the first time. As I have been revising for some certs recently I thought VMware certification would be a good topic to cover.

VMware certification has come along way since I first became a VCP (way back in 2008 now,im getting old) and with the latest announcements around the new Associate qualifications there is a wealth of levels you can now cover.

As im pursuing my VCDX currently (fairly early in the process) I thought it might also be fun to have a little interactive session with the audience, a mini defense task perhaps. The person I think did best job will get a copy of John Arrasjids (and others) VCDX Boot Camp book.

As you can see the line up is awesome (well, ignoring me obviously), so im sure it will time well spent.

  • Joe Baguley, VMware – Keynote
  • David Owen – Training & Certification
  • Andrew Wood, Atlantis Computing – Delivering on the VDI Reality
  • Dan Watson, VMware – NSX
  • vBeers: We will adjourn at 5pm and reconvene at The Bridge Hotel for vBeers and a buffet courtesy of SITS Group

If you are North East based and can make the 3rd please do come along.

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Apr 302012
 

Because I’m just so kind and generous, I’ve decided to give away my VMware Workstation 8 Licence I got for passing my VCP 5. I already have a Workstation licence and although I’m sure I could find a use for it I thought that someone out there might have a greater need for it than I do.

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Whoever leaves a comment on this page on the subject of what is their favourite VMware product or feature and why (and I think is the best answer), will win the licence.

(dont write and essay, just a line or 2 will do)

UPDATE 15/05/2012:

I have selected Matts comment as the winning comment. Storage vMotion (even back in the 3.5 days) got me out of many a perils situation and with the improvements today along with Storage DRS it’s up there among my own personal favourites.

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Apr 232012
 

After allot of nail biting and bum shuffling I can announce I got into the 2012 vEXPERT program.

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It turns out that then the panel went to view my blog my hosting provider decided that it was a good idea to take it down. This resulted in an automatic deferral and with the volume of people the panel had to evaluate this resulted in me getting over looked. But Alex Maier was brilliant and when my blog was available again she got my application re-evaluated and I am in the program. Smile

The full list of this years vEXPERTS is here so be sure to check them out. I think Greg Robertson will be doing some more vEXPERT spotlights so be sure to check out the new guys on the program.

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Mar 232012
 

Happy to say I passed the VCP-510 today.

I have to say the VCP exam has become harder since the VI3 days. The VI3 was the last time I took the VCP as skipped the vSphere 4.x as it wasn’t something I needed at the time.

The broadness of the technical content that the VCP 5.x can choose to ask questions on and the level at which you need to know that contact is considerable. Since my VI3 qualification we have seen a plethora of features like vDS, storage vMotion, Storage Profiles etc, etc, etc. For the VI3 I honestly thing you could do the course read a few whitepapers and pass the exam. The VCP5 is definitely a step up, if you have little or no hands on they you will struggle to pass this exam. I have been in a more presales role for a while now so I struggled to get up to speed.

Although this is a hard exam, its a good thing it is. Far to many early VCPs back in 2008ish were claiming to be something they were not and along with the VCAPs I think its clearer now who knows their stuff.

What did I use to get up to speed:

  • vSphere 5 ICM course
    • This covered off the basics but did not cover things like ESXTOP, Auto Deploy, vDS, VASA etc etc. All of the excluded things are featured in the exam so either do the ‘Whats New’ course aswel or take the ‘Fast Track’ course. But no matter what you will be lucky to pass the exam with just attending a course. (exam prerequisites)
  • Trainsignals VMware vSphere 5 Training.
    • If you don’t get an opportunity to do the course or even if you do they this is CBT is highly recommended. The Demos alone are a fantastic way to learn especially if you don’t have access to a lab. I am doing a full write up on this CBT so ill link to it here once I’ve completed it.
  • Blog posts and link:

I’m not going to link everything I used as the above links already have some good resources in them to look at and some links to other useful pages.

WHATS NEXT: VCAP DCA or DCD I think. Would love to be among the first bunch to attempt a VCDX 5 defence but that’s just aspirational at the moment.

If you read this far down any you have your VCP-510 soon then I wish you the best of luck.

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