#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.


#UKVMUG Ravello Home Lab Winner!

| | Tags: , , , ,

First of all, thank you to everyone who came along to my session at the UKVMUG yesterday, it was great to see so many people at a round table discussion, sorry for those that had to stand! I hope that it was helpful and maybe a few of you will be building some awesome labs in the cloud!

Ravello very kindly sponsored a free home lab, equivalent to the vExpert 1000 hours account as a prize for my session at the UKVMUG yesterday. Using a high tech random number generator and an Excel spread sheet the winner was picked, so without further ado, congratulations go to…

Chris Good

I’ve passed Chris’ details onto my contact at Ravello who will be setting him up with his account – enjoy your lab!

Once again, thank you to everyone who came and participated in the session, I very much enjoyed it, and thank you to Ravello for sponsoring the home lab!


Photo credit: Oliver Happy (@OliverH4ppy)

Disclaimer: I am a Ravello user and I receive a free vExpert 1000h account from Ravello – however I am not paid to endorse them, and I have no official affiliation with them – I just think it’s cool tech!

#VMworld2015 – Days 3 and 4


I had lined up several sessions so I was quick to get along to my first session – Operational Remediation with vRealize Operations… Tying it All Together – #MGT5735. The session was excellent and gave a great overview and introduction to what is possible with remediation in vROps 6.1. Big thanks to Chima Njaka for this session.



#VMworld2015 – Day 2

| 14/10/2015 | Tags: , , , ,

The first full day of VMworld after PEX was a busy one.vmworld2015-logo

After the keynote (highlights were the docker announcements) I was on “booth babe” duty at the VMUG lounge. It was great to meet so many folk who were existing VMUG members and leaders as well as prospective new members. If you are at VMworld this year you should definitely stop by!

IMAG0043 IMAG0044

After lunch I hit the solutions exchange to catch up with a few vendors whom I had a few queries for also took the time to collect the #vExpert hoodie from @simplivity and the #vExpert tile from Tegile (thank you!) Suffice to say it was very busy and naturally noisy but judging by the many happy faces of people with various items of “swag” under their arms things were going well!


The only session I was booked in for was the “5 functions of software defined availability” presented by Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping, naturally the session was excellent but perhaps wrongly I was hoping for more of a deep dive on the content as a good deal of the content seemed to be geared to folk who were new to the subject matter, if naught else it was an excellent refresher.

After the session I had the pleasure to meet Steve Flanders @smflanders who had just wrapped up his vbrownbag session on Log insight so it was great to not only listen about but also discuss the product.

To finish the day I headed out to Goucho’s with my fellow blogger @sammcgeown here at Definit for a beer and a good meal!

All in all today was excellent and tomorrow promises to be even busier!

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!

My first VMworld..

| 22/10/2014 | Tags: , , , ,


As this was my first VMworld I am not ashamed to say I was really stoked about attending, many of my peers have attended in the past and were going to attend.

I flew in on the Sunday evening so that I could register early on Monday for partner day, however I did miss the chance to attend what turned out to be a very popular and very full Rockstar event on the Sunday evening.

The first thing that struck me was the size of the venue in short it was huge and even with VMworld running the conference center had room to spare. Registration was a simple affair the staff were very helpful when i had a few queries regarding my pass, being the nerd I am I was keen to collect my rucksack and make good use of it.











I then made my way directly to the bloggers area and the HOL which did not disappoint, I immediately ran into a few familiar faces from twitter and this became a running theme all week, it really was fantastic to finally get the chance to meet so many ‘tweeps’.














A few of us (courtesy of VMUG) were given a tour of the HOL area with great explanations from lab team leads on how and why they ran them and the history of how it came to be. It was also quite cool to note that 1 of the two datacenters running the labs was using EVO:RAIL.


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