#UKVMUG – Curry – Beer – Sessions – Weddings

| 20/11/2015 | Tags: , , ,

vmug-userconThis was my second UKVMUG and it was my first vCurry evening! so I was really looking forward to getting up to the event and seeing everyone.

The vCurry event was excellent and it was a great chance to enjoy good food in great company. Had the chance to meet with many people I would not normally get the chance to see, Frank @fbuechsel and Brad @VMUG_CEO to name a couple! To top off a really great evening we (my table/team) won the vQuiz which was organised and conducted by Stuart @Virtual_Stu (thanks Stuart!), a big thank you to Matt @Twickersmatt for the beers (one of the prizes).


Needless to say for me that was a great way to start the conference.


In response to @h0bbel: The "vCommunity"

| 04/04/2015 | Tags: , , , , ,

This is not my normal sort of post – don’t worry, normal service will resume shortly.

I read Christian’s comments on the vCommunity – or lack of it – yesterday and although some things resonate with me, and a lot of other people, I don’t quite agree. I want to be clear this is a response to Christian and not an argument, I respect Christian as someone who does contribute to the vCommunity.

I think that there is a strong "vCommunity" – but I don’t think you will see much of it by following some twitter "superstars".

Christian says:

As clickbait replaces journalism, hyperbole and FUD seems to be replacing what used to be based on technical merit.

And this is something that I agree with…there are a lot of "big names" on twitter and on their blogs who are using their large audience to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). I’ve seen so many running battles over this kind of nonsense recently that I 100% understand why Christian would feel like he does.

As a side note to those working for vendors who engage in this online FUD/counter-FUD – for customer or an independent it leaves people feeling stone cold towards you and your product if your best marketing is to undermine the opposition. Either your product sells on its own merit, or it does not. Give your customers enough credit not to patronise them by engaging in this.

Christian points to Anthony Burke‘s post Remember your Technical Integrity – which again I agree with and would endorse. He also says

…changing your personality, well probably not as healthy. Also, it probably shows that your previous “personality” wasn’t real either. Again, not so healthy

Again, I agree with Christian.

Where I disagree with Christian is here:

we are not collectively working towards anything but our own self indulgence or self worth, or whatever might seem to be the best “move” at any given time

and here

I won’t kid myself into thinking that I can influence this trend in any way, shape or form

Let me explain why.

Let’s take for example the VMUGs – I know for a fact that the people who run the London and South West VMUGs are not doing it for themselves, for personal profile or for any other reason than to build a community. I know them personally and I they are not self promoting. They help people connect, they help people develop – and they don’t get paid for organising these events which take a lot of time and effort to produce. The awesome thing about VMUGs is that it’s in people’s common interest to be involved.

How about blogs? Well, true, some people do use their blogs to spread FUD, or counter-FUD and it’s ugly. Some blogs are about profile. But how many others are just about getting info out there? Take this blog you are reading right now – I have spent countless hours writing articles for this blog, hours of my own personal time. It’s not going to make me rich, it’s not going to make me famous. The number of people making money off of their tech blogs that exceeds the time they put into it, is very small.

Even on twitter there’s a lot to be said for the community – if I tweet out a question on the #vExpert or #VCDX tags I am almost guaranteed to get an answer from people trying to help. You could argue that it’s not altruistic, and they are just trying to prove what they know…but what do I care if they are? I asked for help, they helped me – for free. It’s true, you can’t say that ALL VCDXs, or ALL vExperts contribute in this way, but I’d be willing to bet that the majority do. I have just submitted for VCDX and I can testify to the number of current VCDXs who have helped – and there’s a decent study group of people, working together for

Finally, the question of influence. We all influence everything we are involved in just by being involved – it is our choice as to whether that influence is positive or negative. The old adage "don’t feed the trolls" can apply just as much to FUD – the more you respond with righteous indignation, the more people will see it. Give back to the community, go meet some awesome people at VMUGs, write a blog post that is just about the tech because it might help someone out in future. Contribute on twitter to helping people solve their problems – pay it forward!

I know the frustration that Christian feels, but I also know that he does contribute to the community in these ways – he’s helped me before and I hope that I’ve helped him at some point.

Thanks for reading – and for contributing to a great community.


Why should you go to a VMUG?

| 27/01/2015 | Tags: , ,

VMUG logoHaving been a VMUG member for several years and now a VMUG leader I have seen the value of being a VMUG member and attending the meetings/events/conferences continue to increase.

So why do I think you should you go?

If you are using VMware technologies/products in your workplace or you are regularly consulting on said VMware products, the VMUG events are in my opinion invaluable.

It simply doesn’t matter what experience/knowledge you have of the products, whether you are very new to virtualization or an old hand I  guarantee you will come away from any VMUG meeting having learned something useful or dare I say been a great source/help to others whom you have met and networked with.

Each VMUG meeting is usually broken down into sessions, some of them vendor specific (but still relating to virtualization) while others are community led.

Community Sessions

Community led sessions are a fantastic opportunity to see how your peers are using VMware (or related) products in the real world. They are always very well informed, unbiased and in some cases very frank! More often than not you will be able to gleam those really useful nuggets of information you were hoping for which will help you should you ever need to look at or deploy any given product. There isn’t any sales fluff you are quite literally hearing it from guys who have carried out installs, deployments, tackled issues and problems and in some cases have come up with ingenious ways to get the most from the product.


#UKVMUG 2014

| 19/11/2014 | Tags: , ,

Yesterday (in case you missed it) was the fourth annual UK national VMUG at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. It was my second year attending and I continue to be blown away with the quality and value available at this event.

There’s a huge amount of content packed into this one-day event, so I’ll try and summarise my day…

vCurry and vQuiz

The vCurry event was hosted on Monday night and is a great way to chill out after a long drive up to the midlands. It’s always well attended and there are always familiar faces from the London VMUG there. Also there is the now legendary vQuiz, hosted by Stuart Thompson (@virtual_stu) which is great for a laugh or two and makes a good ice breaker if you’re there on your own. Oh, and free curry and a free beer or two…what’s not to like?

Keynote – Joe Baguley

imageJoe is a very well known face at VMUGs, it’s a good sign of the value placed on the community by VMware that the CTO for EMEA is a regular keynote speaker at events big and small. Joe was talking about the evolution of IT from refresh cycles that take 18 months, to cycles that take days, or in some cases minutes. There was a sharp intake of breath in the room as he told us that the “infrastructure guy” role is on it’s way out, to be replaced with operators of the “datacentre OS”. I also noted the correct use of “on-premises” rather than the infuriating “on-premise”.



Simple, Scalable Virtual Platform for your VMs with Nutanix and vSphere

I have to admit, I picked this vendor session out of those available to heckle my ex-colleagues Darren Woollard (@dawoo) and Seb Hakiel (@sebhakiel) as they explained the Nutanix platform. I’m pretty sure the mental image of Darren dressed in a french maid’s outfit is something I cannot get rid of, no matter how much bleach I pour into my eyeballs. Grudgingly, I have to say it was a good presentation and presented a positive message of “this is what our product can do” and avoided any kind of competitor bashing.



Side-Session 3: VMware NSX

This was the session I ran in the mezzanine area – unfortunately it was in direct competition with some of the biggest name speakers of the day – Mike Laverick, Duncan Epping, Cormac Hogan and Chris Wahl all had sessions at this time, and Chris’s session was also about NSX. In comparison coming to chat with me (and a poorly titled session) was not an attractive offering! Still, I appreciated my colleague Ather and the one chap who came! We ended up talking a lot about the VCP-NV exam and doing a run through the blueprint, so hopefully that was valuable for those there!

Lunch and the Sponsor Mingle

As usual, lunch was provided and allowed a chance to mill about the sponsor area checking out the various vendor offerings. I had a few good chats with various companies and there are some interesting products that hopefully I might get my hands on in the near future.

Side-Session 3: Designing Real-World vCO Workflows for vRealize Automation Center

This very well attended mezzanine session was run by my colleague and all round legend Jonathan Medd (@jonathanmedd) and was a great overview of how to go about capturing and planning for real world workflow development. This stuff is very topical and right up my street, so it was great to be involved in the discussions and contribute where I could.



Side-Session 2: Networking Deep-Dive Discussion Group

Another mezzanine session, this time run by double-VCDX Chris Wahl (@chriswahl) with a good group of guys talking around the design and real world implementation of NSX. I really enjoyed this discussion which allowed me to indulge in some networking talk, as well as share some experience with deploying NSX – but mostly it was great to listen to Chris and learn from the master!

I also had a great chat with Chris after the session as I was keen to hear his thoughts on the VCIX-NV exam – especially as I’m preparing for that exam myself. I was very grateful for the chat and really found Chris to be a genuine and helpful guy – another great measure of the community around VMware that the well known guys will still chat and help out anyone!

Closing Keynote: Stop being a minesweeper

The closing keynote was from Chris Wahl, and if Joe’s keynote provided the “bad news” for infrastructure admins, Chris’s provided the “good news” of how to move forward and keep adding value for your employer and to your career. I felt like he was sometimes describing the journey I’ve taken over the last few years from being the admin who refuses to waste time on repetitive tasks and deciding to learn to automate those mind numbing processes. I’ve also worked with the guy who’ll sit for a month doing repetitive tasks because he’ll “get it done” and it means he’s busy without being taxed. For me, that’s a fast road to being redundant!


Get involved!

After all my summary posts about VMUG events, I always like to express why I think you should get involved – if the great content I talked about above wasn’t enough for you!

The London VMUG will be running an X-Factor style competition for any NEW community speaker, with some awesome prizes up for grabs. All you need to do is sign up to do a 10 minute lightning talk at the London VMUG and you could win a Macbook Air! More than that though, you’ll realise that it’s not actually scary to talk to your peers, that actually you do know a lot of stuff and it’s even quite fun and very rewarding to give back to the community! Head over to and get involved!

…and finally!

The very last thing to say is a massive thank you to the UK VMUG organisers (especially Jane (@rimmergram), Stu (@virtual_stu), Alaric (@alaricdavies) and Simon (@vinf_net)) for the awesome event which seems to get better every year, and to the community itself, which makes these events so good to attend. The mezzanine area was absolutely buzzing with amazing discussion sessions, and I lost count of the number of people I had great conversations with during the day.

The London VMUG meets again on the 22nd January 2015 – see you there!

Another fantastic South West UK VMUG

| 08/06/2014 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

vmug_logoOn the 3rd of June we had our second South West UK VMUG and I am pleased to say it went superbly well.

As before we held it at the Mshed facilities in Bristol.

We had a great day with many sessions from sponsors,vendors and community speakers alike!

Big thanks go to our speakers that day who were..

  • Justin Rohan – @justinrohan – Nimble Storage – Sponsor
  • James Smith – @james55smith – PernixData – Sponsor
  • Julian Regel – @jr_on_the_cloud – Community session on vCD
  • Adam Bohle – @adambohle – VMware – vCAC session
  • Jonathan Medd – @jonathanmedd – Community session on PowerCLI/Automation
  • Richard Munro – @RikMunro – VMware – vCHS Session

One of the South West UK VMUG leaders Barry Coombs took a fantastic time lapse video of the day which can be viewed on his blog site.

Here are a few shots from the day





























#LonVMUG 15th May – another great VMUG!

VMware User GroupYesterday saw another fantastic London VMUG with lots of quality sessions and opportunities to network with peers and friends. The committee seem to do a fantastic job every time and this one was no exception, so thanks to Alaric Davies, Jane Rimmer, Stuart Thompson and Simon Gallagher!

One of the best things for me about the VMUG is the chance to chat with some of the smartest and most influential people in the VMware world – a trip to the coffee table provided a great opportunity to “chew the vfat” with two of the VMUG’s biggest characters, Mike Laverick and Ricky El-Qasem – all before any sessions had started.

The first session of the day, after the obligatory coffee and biscuits, was presented by Itzik Reich of EMC’s ExtremIO talking about the all-flash offering. For a non-native English speaker I was thoroughly impressed with how he engaged with the audience and spoke. My main take-away was that you can’t treat flash in the same way as magnetic disk – it’s not just a faster version of the traditional spinning platter but requires a whole new approach as to how it’s used and managed. That may sound obvious but I think a lot of solutions treat flash as such, imposing magnetic disk concepts like RAID which don’t make the best use. Flash != magnetic disk, don’t treat it the same! (more…)

Online VMware Forum – my thoughts

| 08/05/2014 | Tags: , ,

VMware Online ForumThis was the second online event I have attended in the last few months, the first being the VMUG Virtual event back in January. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about that event was being able to chat  to many well known and familiar faces from the wider community.

In this recent event there was a lot of focus on the various offerings from VMware  with a good deal of focus on VSAN, NSX, Horizon and vCHS but certainly not neglecting their other offerings.

The live video streams were great and even offered audio translations as they took place.

I really did like the way the website is laid out to give it that intended virtual conference feel.








South West UK VMUG ready to launch! – 18th February

| 28/01/2014 | Tags: ,

So what is VMUG?vmug-logo

The VMware User Group (VMUG) is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to maximize members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events.

Presently there are five VMUGs in the UK including the latest addition – South West UK VMUG – @swukvmug

Why am I involved and why should you come along?

I had been using VMware products for over 3 years and after joining twitter it was very clear to me the VMware user community was very friendly and also very helpful, it was there I learned about VMUG so the chance to meet and greet other users like myself and of course learn from the “rockstars” was to good an opportunity to pass up, after attending several meetings I was completely sold.

VMUG meetings are a great place to meet like minded IT professionals who share a passion for VMware technologies, often you can meet bloggers and experts and will get to hear updates from what is new at VMware and other related virtualization technologies.

Lets not also forget that there is free food! and free vBeers afterwards (courtesy of 10Zig!)

I have heard enough Sign me up! (more…)

New VMUG Launched – South West VMUG UK

| 11/09/2013 | Tags: ,


South West VMware User Group: The Facts, The Figures, And The Events

The South West VMware User Group launches in the UK, bringing the best of VMware and the user community to The West, South West and South Wales.

The leadership team is pleased to announce the South West VMware User Group (VMUG). Meeting in Bristol at the crossroads to the South West, The West Country, South Wales and the Midlands, meetings will begin early in 2014, to bring together virtualization customers, end users and enthusiasts in an informal social setting for discussion, learning and engagement.

Social Media

We are on Twitter, so please engage with us @SWVMUG or #SWVMUG. We also have a local presence on, where we will post meeting details and where you can register for a free account to sign-up for our up-coming meetings.

First Meeting

For our first meeting, we have some grand plans to open with a bang!

  • Mystery guest ‘VMware Rockstar’ keynote speaker.
  • Prizes and giveaways.
  • VMware session.
  • Sponsor session.
  • Community homelab session.
  • Local vBeers afterwards.

Regular announcements and updates will be posted on our Twitter account: @SWVMUG.


We are already planning our first meeting, but in the meantime we plan an online webinar on Tuesday 29th October with a VMworld highlight wrap-up, plus interviews about the forth-coming UKVMUG and an overview of plans for the first South West VMUG meeting. To view the webinar live (or play back the recording), checkout this link on Google Hangouts:

South West VMUG Webinar event at Google Hangouts:


Can’t wait till 2014 for our first meeting? Why not come to the national UKVMUG where all the members of the SWVMUG leadership team will be available to discuss the new group, what we have to offer, and how SWVMUG can enhance your VM experience. Look out for us in special RED t-shirts!

Can’t even wait till October? Join us for a Bristol vBeers! For details, follow @SWVMUG, the committee members or check for scheduling. We look forward to meeting you!


The Leadership Team of the new SWVMUG comprises: