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
 

Jacob-James_Newcastle-Upon-Tyne_United-Kingdom_1

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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Mar 162012
 

Well after a mental few weeks I have finally got the time to sit in front of the laptop and write up my VFD round up. I had planned to do a daily write up like Rodney Haywood but, like many of the other delegates, by the end of the day I was excused.

The 2 days consisted of 07:15 kick off and 19:00 ish finish. I am not so proud to say that the days were draining, especially battling the Jetlag. The conversation and tech that was on show was enough to keep me going however and it was highly stimulating throughout.

NOTE: I would just like to say a massive thanks to Steve Foskett and Matt Simmons for putting on and organising the event, they did a top job and even though Steve couldn’t make it was still a great event. I met some top guys in their field and also made one or two friends I will be keeping in touch with.

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the MR Foskett shrine

Day 0:

I arrived at the hotel about midday and battled the jetlag and avoided going for a nap. All the delegates meet up in the hotel and then went on to a restaurant for a get to know you session. I knew Mike Laverick from the London VMUG and VMworld attendances so it was good to have a someone to talk to, especially as Mike seems to know everyone anyway so its good way to get introduced. Prior to flying out all the delegates were asked to bring a present for everyone that represented their home town. While everyone else brought clever and cool presents my SAFC key ring seemed a little underwhelming although it was a good way to get a little background on each of the guys.

Day 1:

Everyone was keen to get going and first up was Symantec, bit before dive into that I need to mention our mode of transportation.

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As you can see we went in relative style. Smile

Symantec

We arrived at the Symantec offices first thing on Thursday and after a little breakfast were put straight to work. The day was split between Netbackup and Backup Exec. I must confess I was a little suppressed that this was all Symantec chose to cover on the day and not here application streaming or anti-virus technology, which for a virtualisation crowd may have been more apt.

Netbackup:

The Netbackup presentation also covered some of the more high level tech that fits into both products. V-Ray seemed interesting as it could give visibility into the types of data being backed up within a VM while also providing Unified protection, file & application recovery, deduplication and automated tearing. This did however remind me somewhat of the Veeam ONE ‘Solution’ stack.

To be honest there were only a few moments where I thought the product line may be superior, for a virtual environment, than some of the other on the market.

Once cool thing which caught my attention was in the Next release Netbackup will have vCD integration – Symantec will release a multi tenant restore capability for VMware vCloud environments. Also I thought that the upcoming backup performance analyser will be a useful feature.

OST – open storage technology. – so they can backup to cloud. – Netbackup records where it is in the cloud (they have control over it in the cloud).

Accelerator – uses netbackup special client – does the catalogue process on the media server rather than the client. – NBU backup takes over 1 hour. Accelerator reduces that to 50 seconds (change block tracking in the VM its self)

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netbackup appliances: NetBackup 5220 & NetBackup 5020 (5220 shown in pic)

BACKUPEXEC

Backup Exec is getting a facelift. The new GUI looks very good and provides alot of information to the backup admin.

Other cool things:

Its getting a VC plugin.

The Netbackup section of the presentation took considerably longer that the backup exec which you may expect. However one thing that would become obvious (especially for those who watched the stream) was the death by powerpoint that we were subjected to. I lost count at over 70 slides so by the end of our 4 hours at Symantec my attention had defiantly wandered.

 

ZERTO

Its fair to say everyone was blown away with Zerto. They covered pretty much what was in their 2.0 release (which was not out yet).

So Zerto were started by the guys who build recoverpoint and then sold it to EMC, so I think there background has the right foundations.

Heres the main bits I picked up:

  • Zerto 2.0 – Cloud BC/DR Platform
  • DR as a service (private cloud to public cloud)
  • Zerto – across the WAN for private to public cloud
  • REPLICATION IS IN THE WRONG PLACE – move replication from storage to hypervisor
  • Moving to the virtualisation stack was the same thing happened to network etc (1kv)
  • VMware support only, road mapped for other hypervisors.
  • Shifting block by block – not snapshots (vmware or storage vendor) built-in wan compression & throttling – target has a journal based any point in time recovery – no snapshot.
  • Application Protection – Virtual Protection Group
  • consistently protecting the group of VMs
  • Automation – Failover, Failback, Recovery
  • RTO = Mins
  • Automated recovery – with IP re-config and custom scripts
  • True multisite multi-tenancy support different storage, different VMware versions (licencing), shared inf.
  • Zerto accessed through a  plugin in VC.

 

Xangati

Last vendor of the day was Xangati, I already knew a little about them from the VMworld show and the VMworld labs.

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  • cross silo, COLLECT – servers, network, storage, End Points.
  • Monitoring needs to be live & continuous
  • javaapplet for the dashboard
  • direct integration with View and Citrix
    • I though this was very important with the likes of VXI.
  • end user interrogation based on the user directly

DAY 2

Purestorage

First I have to say my storage knowledge is not the best however even I could recognise that these guys knew there blocks Smile

The first thing that struck me was the level of backing

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Its fair to say that they have some very smart and powerful people behind them with some fairly but purse string. So that grabbed me that people that know what they are talking about want in on Purestorage.

The did a good ‘apples to oranges’ comparison of the traditional Tiered based storage and there Flash answer. This got the delegates asking well what about ‘Apples for Apples’. Purestorage are differentiated by their “

purity operating environment”.

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Ill drill into Purestorage a little more in focused post but its safe to say I liked what capabilities it could offer and the for a reasonable price point. We will see if it comes to anything in the real world as its still in Beta at the moment so they are still on the starting blocks but they could make some serious headway.

Pivot 3

So Pivot 3 offer a rebadged Dell 2U server with some cool technology that allows you to aggregate the shared storage across the local storage of up to 8 servers. It uses a virtual appliance to aggregate the storage and does some funky stuff with the RAID (essentially presents one raid array across the servers). The also have some cool way of deploying VMware View in under an hour from unpacking the box. They even brought a server in the box and had a guy building it out while the presentation went on they we all connected to the image at the end of the presentation.

What did I think about that? well I didn’t get what they were trying to achieve. Yes SANless VDI is nice and I got that part but I think that this product being so targeted at SMB and being so specific, I just struggle to see the long term value in the architecture. It will not be long until VMware develop View enough to have SANless or even Diskless VDI so I struggle with it a little.

Don’t get me wrong though I am sure it will be a good fit for some education and other customers but I see it as a short term VDI bandwagon follower that has limited long term aspirations.

DAY 3

Mike managed to persuade Vaughn Stewart to let me go along to a comedy club. It was great and here’s a pic of me and Bobcat Goldthwait.

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Check out what the other delegates thought.

Delegate List

Delegates are selected by the Field Day Delegate community. For more information on our selection process, please see our page about becoming a Field Day Delegate.


Edward Haletky
The Virtualization Practice
@Texiwill


Rodney Haywood
Musings of Rodos
@Rodos


Bill Hill
Virtual Bill
@Virtual_Bill


Mike Laverick
RTFM Education
@Mike_Laverick


Dwayne Lessner
IT Blood Pressure
@Dlink7


Scott Lowe
TechRepublic
Virtualization Admin
@OtherScottLowe


Roger Lund
vRoger
vBrainstorm
@RogerLund


Robert Novak
RSTS11
@Gallifreyan


Brandon Riley
Virtual Insanity
@BrandonJRiley


Todd Scalzott
Don’t Call Me Scott
@TScalzott


Rick Schlander
Virtualization with VMware Technology
@VMRick


Chris Wahl
Wahl Network
@ChrisWahl

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Feb 162012
 

Well the vExpert 2011 is coming to an end and the 2012 application process is about to get under way. There was a delay in the award of the 2011 vExperts so I still feel fresh to the whole program so it seems a little odd that the applications have come around again so soon, although it makes total sense its done now and not drawn out into mid 2012.

2012 sees the program chance a little:

This year, we have created three different paths to becoming a vExpert, yet as in the years prior, there will remain a single vExpert designation. As always, the common theme for the established and the new vExpert paths will be going above and beyond your day job to help others be successful with VMware solutions.

Evangelist Path
The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path.

Customer Path
The Customer Path is for internal evangelists and community leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have contributed to success stories, customer references, or public interviews and talks, or were active community contributors, such as VMUG leaders.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path
The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements.

With the program growing, our goal still remains the same: to honour individuals who go above and beyond their everyday job requirements to share their technical knowledge and expertise with others; to help enable these individuals to make an even greater impact in the world; and to keep a high standard of vExpert recipients.

For me personally I have been pretty active in the community since my vExpert. I did my first chinwag with Mike Laverick and will be attending my first TechFeildDay for Virtualisation over in San Jose next week. Along with the usual Blogging, twitter, VMUGS (when i can) etc. Fingers crossed I can be involved in the 2012 program also.

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