Looking forward to #VMworld EMEA 2017

Having missed last years VMworld I feel very ready for attending the EMEA VMworld in Barcelona.

I almost felt annoyed about missing last year as the big announcements really caused a stir in the community and wider afield. (VMware on AWS) The announcements from the US VMworld this year were equally exciting so I am very keen to hear what else VMware has planned to reveal in a Barcelona.

I have put a good deal of effort into planning what I will be doing and attending to maximise my time there without burnout (Veterans I hear you laughing)

This will also be the first time I get to go officially for my employer Xtravirt (previous years I have been lucky enough to self fund etc).

My focus this year on sessions will be vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, VMware on AWS and vSAN. Although where possible I also hope to cram in some NSX (Hands on Labs) as well.

Also this year I will get to finally meet my vROps Webinar Brother Sunny Dua, this is something I am looking forward to a great deal and we also plan to record a webinar while at the event so watch this space! Sadly Sunny will not be able to make it to Barcelona so I shall have to wait a little longer to meet. The next webinar has been scheduled though and there will be a guest!

Another first for me will be to attend the VMworld EMEA Hackathon on the Monday evening. Up until now I have never attended a hackathon although I am always told they are a enjoyable and a great source of learning so when I was told (er I mean encouraged) to attend by Sam McGeown I registered. I am looking forward to what promises to be a really fun event.

Aside from the social activities which are always a very high standard I am looking forward to visiting the solutions exchange and checking out the latest tech that the vendors have to offer.

Finally but not least I am really looking forward to meeting old and new faces in the vCommunity so if you are attending VMworld this year and want to say hi, ping me on twitter it would be great to meet.

VMworld 2016 – Day 2 workshops and sessions

| 31/08/2016 | Tags: , ,

vegasvRealize Automation vExperts Workshop

I attended a workshop with Jad El Zein in Barcelona last year and it was one of the best sessions I attended, especially as it was just on the news of vRA7’s release. This workshop was this year’s equivelant, but because the session included a lot of people just getting started with vRA a lot of the time was taken to explain what vRA does, so there was no real time for the more in depth details on the new features that are coming (some already announced and in Tech Preview). I certainly don’t begrudge the guys just starting the chance to hear the basics from Jad, but I think a more expert session would also be good.

vRealize Automation and NSX Design Experts Panel – #MGT9220

This design panel was hosted by Jad El Zein (I’m not stalking him, I promise) and had Cody De Arkland, Francesco Vigo and Grant Orchard on the panel. I went primarily to hear some more customer views and maybe some of the challenges that they’re facing, to compare with my customers in the UK and the solutions that were proposed. The session didn’t disappoint, with Cody taking the lions share of questions – as a customer he had a unique insight into the challenges and solutions he’d already faced. The other panelist were really knowledgeable too, so this was a really good session.

vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive – #INF8430

Having heard Frank Denneman speak before, I don’t miss a chance to listen to him when one comes up. This guy is on another level when it comes to understanding and explaining things in a really simple way, from the inner workings of flash drives to his current series on NUMA. Frank covered a lot of NUMA design considerations and the implications of things like DIMMs placement. I’d not heard Niels Hagoort speak before, and it’s definitely a tough ask to share the stage with Frank, but he did a great job covering some advanced configuration for network cards and analysis on technologies like RSS and VXLAN offload. This was a really in depth and technical session, one of the best I’ve attended.

VMware {Code}

I spent some time at the VMware {Code} booth and got to hang out with Kimberley Delgado, Luc Dekens, William Lam and Alan Renouf – it was a proper who’s who of VMware automation.

Hall crawl and vendor chat

The Solutions Exchange is full of the usual suspects, touting their toys and competitions in exchange for your valuable contact details. It has to be my least favourite part of VMworld, but I do like to take a look around the outside of the hall at the smaller and startup vendors to see what they’re offering and what’s new.

I’ve met with the guys at Velostrata before at the London VMUG and I have to say that I was hugely impressed with their cloud mobility solution. It’s still in startup phase, I thought they were still in startup phase, but they’re now at v2.0 of the product. These guys are definitely one to watch out for, I have frequently said whoever cracks proper cloud mobility first is going to be big, and these guys have the best solution I’ve seen so far! Check them out at and request an evaluation.

It was great to catch up with the guys at Pluralsight, who I’ve mentioned quite a few times on my blog. I am lucky to have access to Pluralsight via the vExpert program – it’s one of the best perks because they have such an awesome and huge catalog of teaching. If you’re not familiar with them, go and take a look and sign up for a trial, if I didn’t have access already it’s something I’d genuinely pay for myself.

#VMworld 2016 – VCAP6-DCA Deploy Exam Experience

| 29/08/2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

vegasGreetings from Day 1 of VMworld US 2016!


Every year I try and make use of the VMworld discount at the exam centre, and this year was no exception I sat the VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam, and results are still pending! Overall it’s a good exam, there was very little of the spelling and grammatical errors I’ve complained about in the past, performance was OK and the level of difficulty was good.

In terms of study, I have to confess that I didn’t really study for this exam – I’ve been using vSphere 6 since it’s first beta and I felt fairly confident in the blueprint content. There’s a tonne of stuff out there if you are studying, a quick google will find what you need. We’ll see if my confidence was misplaced when my results come through!

My exam strategy is not a new one, I complete all the questions I am 100% confident on, and write down the numbers of the questions that I’m not to circle back on if I have time at the end. I got through the first pass with about 45m remaining, and about 6 questions partially completed or not touched. At this point I went back through and used the documentation (which was pretty quick to access, top tip!) to answer the questions I felt I could complete. By the end of the allotted time I’d completed all but 2 questions, one was partially complete and the other untouched.

Overall, I think this exam is a step up from the VCAP5-DCA and is in line with the quality that seems to be coming through the pipeline now. I’ll update this page later when my results come in.

Update 15:59 29/08/2016

I just received my results and I’m pleased to say that I passed with a score of 377!


#VMworld 2016 – Day 0, #vmunderground opening acts, #beVCDX

vegasI landed in Las Vegas about 9:30PM local time on Saturday evening, having not executed my plan to sleep on the flight! I had planned to sleep on the Toronto to Vegas leg, which would have meant I could head over to the Sips and Stogies pre-event, however a very rowdy hen do a couple of rows away meant that I didn’t sleep at all, so I grabbed a taxi down to my hotel, the Excalibur, and got myself checked in.

After a relatively decent sleep I headed of to registration, which was a really slick process once I joined the right wifi network! I grabbed my VMworld 2016 bag, which contained the standard water bottle, t-shirt and half a rain forest of advertising.

I headed over to the vbrownbag opening acts which included a vBrisket BBQ and finally managed to catch up with my colleage and chief troublemaker, Gregg.

There were some fantastic panel sessions covering how to get on in your career (Gina Minks (Moderator), Sean Massey, Tom Hollingsworth, John Arrasjid, Mike Letschin, Jeramiah Dooley), what’s coming in “next gen IT” (Jody Tyrus (Moderator), Tim Carr, David Klee, Guru Chahal, Josh Coen, Matt Brender), hyperconerged infrastructure (Scott D. Lowe (Moderator), Gabriel Chapman, Marcus Puckett, Howard Marks, Tim Antonowicz, Phoummala Schmitt) and automation (James Bowling (Moderator), Luc Dekens, Eric B Lee, Jon Hildebrand, Amy ManleyKyle Ruddy). If you’re on twitter, you should be following all those guys – it’s amazing the breadth of talent the #vmunderground event attracts – not only on the panels but in the audience! (more…)

#VMworld 2016 – My session picks

| 20/07/2016 | Tags: , , ,

vegasIn my post yesterday I promised to post my VMworld session picks, so here it is! I have filled my schedule, and even added some alternate picks when there were too many good sessions to go for. My session picks are focussing around:

  • vRealize Automation
  • NSX
  • VSAN
  • PowerCLI, APIs and automation

Now, before anyone tells me I’ve picked too many and I won’t make it to all of them – I know! I can guarantee I’ll get distracted/tired/hungry and won’t make all of them, but if I could…


11:00-11:30 – Automating Your Network Services Deployments with VMware NSX and vRealize Automation [NET10011-EDU]
12:30-13:30 – Automated Deployment and Configuration of the vCenter Server Appliance [INF8260]
14:00-15:00 – Enforcing a vSphere Cluster Design with PowerCLI Automation [INF8036]
16:00-17:00 – VMs and Containers: Extending Docker to vCloud Air [HBC8563]
17:00-18:00 – A day in the life of a VSAN I/O [STO7875]


11:00-12:00 – Virtual SAN – Day 2 Operations [STO7534]
12:30-13:30 – vRealize Automation and NSX Design Experts Panel [MGT9220]
(Alt) Deep Dive into Deploying the vRealize Cloud Management Platform the VMware Validated Designs Way! [SDDC8946]
14:00-15:00 – Advanced Network Services with NSX [NET7907]
15:30-16:30 – vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive [INF8430]
17:00-18:00 – The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization [NET8193R]


08:30-09:30 – Advanced NSX Troubleshooting: Tips & Tricks for Experienced Users [NET8680]
10:00-11:00 – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the vRealize Automation API [MGT8332]
11:30-12:30 – Save Time With Everything and Anything as a Service (XXXAAS) using vRealize Automation (vRA) [MGT8085]
13:00-14:00 – PowerNSX and PyNSXv: Using PowerShell and Python for Automation and Management of VMware NSX for vSphere [NET7514]
14:30-15:30 – Evolving the vSphere API for the Modern Era [INF8255]
(Alt) Multisite Networking and Security with Cross-vCenter NSX—Part 1 [NET7854R]
16:00-17:00 – Multisite Networking and Security with Cross-vCenter NSX: Part 2 [NET7861R]

Heading to Las Vegas! #VMworld 2016

| 19/07/2016 | Tags: , , , ,

vegasI’ve been very fortunate to be able to go to VMworld Europe for the past 3 years, mainly thanks to the vExpert program and the availability of the blogger pass. This year I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get to Barcelona because of work, so I thought I’d apply for a VMworld US blogger pass – I’m very excited to have been given one! As with previous years, I’ll be blogging at least once a day with my thoughts and any useful info I’ve gleaned – I definitely don’t want to take the pass for granted!

The blogger pass is awesome, but I still need to fund my flights, hotel, and some spending money while there. I wanted to thank my blog sponsors VMTurbo and Veeam for their continued support which has made it possible to pay for these flights without costing my family. On that note, I still have one more slot for a sponsor, so if you represent someone who’d like to advertise on, get in touch!

I will be flying to Las Vegas (via Toronto?! cheap flights) on Saturday 27th, arriving late evening, and I’m staying at the Excalibur hotel. I am looking forward to comparing US and EU – just in sheer numbers the US event is far bigger and it will be fantastic to be part of such a huge gathering of people. This will be my first visit to the US, so it will be interesting seeing Las Vegas – I’m fully aware that Vegas is a crazy place and not representative of the US – but it will be fun seeing the crazy!

I’m not sure if I’ll take advantage of the cheap certifications this year – in previous years I’ve take VCIX-NV, VCP-NV and VCAP5-DCD all with great results, so it’s something I’d consider, although at this point I’m not 100% sure what exam I’d take (I’ve done a lot of betas recently!)

Obviously there are some pretty awesome sessions to be attended (I’ve not picked yet as the session planner hasn’t been published, but I’ll post here when I have) – I’ll be focussing on my normal bag:

  • vRealize Automation
  • NSX
  • VSAN
  • PowerCLI, APIs and automation

Plus I’ll also be looking to pick up any sessions on emerging technologies like Cloud Native Applications, and some of the technology previews for upcoming feature releases. Hopefully there will be some sessions like last year’s excellent vExpert vRA7 briefing.

As it’s my first VMworld US, I am open to suggestions from any veterans on what are the “must-do” activities around the conference, so far on my list…

  • I am hoping to join Anthony Spiteri (@anthonyspiteri) for an early round of golf on the Sunday morning – if you’re interested in that you can sign up here
  • The rest of Sunday I will be at #vmunderground Opening Acts, a nice warm up to the main event which has the added appeal of a BBQ lunch with the vBrisket guys!
  • I quite like a bit of Fall Out Boy, so the VMworld Party should be fun, I have to be honest that I’ve not been so much a fan of the last few acts in Barcelona!
  • I’m assuming there will be a VCDX reception, it’s always great to meet up with fellow VCDXs
  • Likewise I’m hoping there will be a vExpert event, though given the numbers of vExpert now it might be a big event!

As and when the after hours events come out they’re added to here.

Lastly, I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my fellow vExperts, VCDXs and members of the community while I’m in the US and while there are a few of my European friends and colleagues attending I’m not naturally the most outgoing of people so please come and say hi if you see me!

#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: vRealize Automation 7 Briefing Notes

vmworld2015-logoI was fortunate to attend a vExpert briefing for vRA.Next, which was announced this morning to be vRealize Automation 7. The briefing was run by Jad El-Zein (@virtualjad) along with Grant Orchard (@grantorchard), Brian Graf (@vbriangraf), Kimberly Delgado (@KCDAutomate) and Jon Schulman (@vaficionado) – if that list of names doesn’t fill you with confidence for vRA.Next, then I suggest you follow them on twitter and trust me that it’s a crack team!


#VMworld2015 – Day 2

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!