Search Results for: vExpert

vExpert 2019 – Why The vCommunity is Still Important to me.

Overnight, applications for the 2019 VMware vExperts where opened up and as per usual it’s created a flurry of activity on social media channels and well as private communications such as the vExpert Slack. There is no doubting that IT professionals still hold the vExpert award in high regard…though it’s also true that others have bemoaned (included myself at times) an apparent decline of its relevance over the past few years. That said it still generates lots of interest and the program is still going strong more than a decade since its inception in 2009.

The team running the program within VMware are no doubt looking to re-invigorate the program by emphasising the importance of being thorough in the 2019 application and to not do the bare minimum when it comes to filling out the application. The Application Blog Post clearly sets out what is required for a successful application in any of the qualification paths and there is even an example application that has been created.

Getting back to the title of the post and why the vExpert Award is still important for me…I think back over the years as to what the program has allowed me to achieve both directly and indirectly. Directly, it’s allowed me to network with a brilliant core group of like minded experts and with that allowed me to expand my own personal reach around the vCommunity. It’s also allowed me to grow as an IT Professional through the interactions with others in the program which has enabled me to expand my skills and knowledge on VMware technologies and beyond.

In additional to that, as I work in the vendor space these days and help with an advocacy program of our own…I’ve come to realise the importance that grass roots communities play in the overall health of vendors. When you take your eye off the rank and file, the coal face…whatever you want to call it…there is a danger that your brand will suffer. That is to say, never underestimate the power of the vCommunity as major influences.

And for the knockers…Those that have been in the program for a long time should try to understand that there are others that might have had failed applications, or others that are just learning about what being in a vCommunity is all about and are applying for the first time. Just because one may feel a sense of entitlement due to longevity in the program there are others that are desperate to get in and reap the rewards and for this, I still see the program as being absolutely critical to those that work in and around VMware technologies.

VMware technology is still very much relevant and therefore the communities that are built around those technologies much remain viable as places where members can interact, share, contribute and grow as IT professionals.

To that end, being a member of the vExpert program remains critical to me as I continue my career as an IT professional…have you thought about what it means to you?

References: 

https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2019/01/07/vexpert-2019-applications-are-open/

vExpert 2018 – The Value Remains!

After a longer than expected deliberation period the vExpert class of 2018 was announced late last Friday (US Time).  I’ve been a vExpert since 2012 with 2018 marking my seventh year in the program. I’ve written a lot about the program over the past three or four years since it’s “perceived” value started to go downhill. I’ve criticised parts of the program around the relative ease at which some people where accepted and also on the apparent inability for numbers to be better managed.

However, make no mistake I am still a believer in the value of the vExpert and more importantly I have come to realise over the past few years (solidified over the past couple of months) that apart from the advocacy component that’s critical to the programs existence…people continue to hold the program in extremely high regard.

There are a large number of vExpert’s who expect entry year after year, and rightly so. In truth there are a large number that legitimately demand membership. But there are others who have struggled to be accepted year after year and for who, acceptance into the program represents a significant achievement.

That is to say that while many established vExpert’s assume entry there are a number of people that desire entry. This is an important indicator on the strength of the program and the continued high regard the vExpert program should still be held in.  It’s easy to criticise from the inside, however that can’t be allowed to tarnish the reputation of program externally.

This is a great program and one that is valued by the majority of those who actively participate. VMware still commands a loyal community base and the vExpert’s lead from the front in this regard. Remembering that it’s all about the advocacy!

Well done again to the team behind the scenes…The new website is testament to the program moving forward. The vExpert team are critical the success of the program and having been part of the much smaller Veeam Vanguard program, I have a lot of respect for the effort that goes into sorting through two thousand odd applications and renewals.

And finally, well done to those first time vExpert’s! Welcome aboard!

——-

For those wondering, here are the official benefits of the program:

  • Invite to our private #Slack channel
  • vExpert certificate signed by our CEO Pat Gelsinger.
  • Private forums on communities.vmware.com.
  • Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc for one year
  • Access to a private directory for networking, etc.
  • Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners.
  • Private webinars with VMware partners as well as NFRs.
  • Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams).
  • 365-day eval licenses for most products for home lab / cloud providers.
  • Private pre-launch briefings via our blogger briefing pre-VMworld (subject to admission by product teams)
  • Blogger early access program for vSphere and some other products.
  • Featured in a public vExpert online directory.
  • Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels.
  • Yearly vExpert parties at both VMworld US and VMworld Europe events.
  • Identification as a vExpert at both VMworld US and VMworld EU.

Awarded vExpert Cloud – A New vExpert Sub Program

Last week Corey Romero announced the inaugural members of the vExpert Cloud sub-program. This is the third vExpert sub-program following the vSAN and NSX programs announced last year. There are 135 initial vExpert Cloud members who have been awarded the title. As it so happens I am now a member of all three which reflects on the focus I’ve had and still have around VMware’s cloud, storage and networking products leading up to and after my move to Veeam last year.

Even with my move, that hasn’t stopped me working around these VMware vertices as Veeam works closely with VMware to offer supportability and integration with vCloud Director as well as being certified with vSAN for data protection. And more recently as it pertains specifically to the vExpert Cloud program, we are going to be supporting vCloud
Director in v10 of Backup & Replication for Cloud Connect Replication and also at VMworld 2017 we where announced as a launch partner for data protection for VMware Cloud on AWS.

For those wondering what does it take to be a part of the vExpert Cloud program:

We are looking for vExperts who are evangelizing VMware Cloud and delivering on the principles of the multi-cloud world being the new normal. Specificity we are looking for community activities which follow the same format as the vExpert program (blogs, books, videos, public speaking, VMUG Leadership, conference sessions speaking and so on).

And in terms of the focus of the vExpert Cloud program:

The program is focused on VMware Cloud influencer activities, VMware, AWS and other cloud environments and use of the products and services in way that delivers the VMware Cloud reality of consistency across multi-cloud environments.

Again, thank you to Corey and team for the award and I look forward to continuing to spread the community messaging around Cloud, NSX and vSAN.

vExpert’s of 2017 – Listen Up! It’s about the Advocacy

Overnight Cory Romero announced the intake of the 2017 VMware vExperts. As a now six time returning vExpert it would be easy for me to sit back enjoy a perceived sense of entitlement that comes with being a vExpert…but times have changed. The award has changed and the way people feel about the program has changed…when I first become a vExpert back in 2012 there was approximately 300 world wide…fast forward to 2017 and there are now 1463 give or take which is an increase of about 100 from 2016.

Over the past few years there are always comments and questions around the swelling of the numbers and how there should be a more stringent approval and acceptance structure. I myself shared those thoughts in previous posts…however my opinions around this have changed mainly because I have come to understand what the vExpert program (and other vendor programs) are all about and where myself, and VMware can achieve maximum value.

The vExpert program is designed to aid in your success and help amplify your internal and or external personal brands and channels. So whether you are a external evangelist or a internal champion we want to be sure you have the resources needed for the program so you can be more successful. Make no mistake that this program exists to help VMware push it’s products and services through the advocacy of the people in the group. The reward is given to those who in previous 12 months have shown themselves to be active in that advocacy. That doesn’t always mean that you need to be an active blogger or present at events, but it does mean that in your day to day role within the IT Industry you should be championing VMware as a company and break that down to champion VMware products that you use or sell.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in looking at and advocating other vendor technologies (many others hold multiple program memberships) but as Corey mentioned, the criteria used to have achieved the award implies that those activities need to be VMware focused.

Once you have the title it’s important to understand that there is a responsibility associated with it…it’s not just about the free gear though as I have stated before you should accept that as a perk of being part of the program and you shouldn’t feel like a “vendor whore” for accepting that shirt or coffee mug. Going back to responsibility, what I mean by that is that you should wear the badge proudly…understand that you have taken the time to apply/reapply for the award because you believed yourself worth of filling the selection criteria and use the award as a stepping stone to improve on the activities that got you there the year before.

Don’t rest on your laurels and expect the award to come to you every year…the vExpert team put a lot load of effort into keeping the program running and as a group we get significant exposure and opportunity from VMware and their partners…make it count and don’t waste it! Make sure you engage with others in the community through Twitter, LinkedIn or the Slack vExpert Channel or get down to your local VMUG or VMware event and engage directly.

NOTE: Content First Posted in 2016

vExpert Pivot: NSX and VSAN Program Announcements

This week the VMware vExpert team officially lifted the lid on two new subprograms that focus on NSX and VSAN. The announcements signal a positive move for the vExpert program that had come under some criticism over the past two or so years around the fact that the program had lost some of it’s initial value. As I’ve mentioned previously the program is unmistakably an advocacy program first and foremost and those who are part of the vExpert group should be active contributors in championing VMware technologies as well as being active in their spheres of influence.

Corey and the rest of the team have responded to the calls for change by introducing vExpert Specialties now more in line to what Microsoft does with it’s MVP Program. The first specializations are focused on VMware’s core focus products of NSX and VSAN…these programs are built on the base vExpert program and the group is chosen from existing vExperts who have shown and demonstrated contribution to each technology. The VSAN announcement blog articulates the criteria perfectly.

This group of individuals have passion and enthusiasm for technology, but more importantly, have demonstrated significant activity and evangelism around VSAN.

With that, I am extremely proud to be part of both the inaugural NSX and VSAN vExpert program. It’s some reward and acknowledgment for the content I have created and contributed to for both technologies since their release. Substance is important when it comes to awarding community contribution and as I look through the list I see nothing but substance and quality in the groups.

Again, this is a great move by the vExpert team and I’m looking forward to it reinvigorating the program. I’ve pasted linked below to my core NSX and VSAN content…I’m especially proud of the NSX Bytes series which continues to do well in terms of people still seeking out the content. More recently I have done a bit of work around VSAN and upgrading VSAN from Hybrid to All Flash series was well received. Feel free to browse the content below and look forward to catching up with everyone at VMworld US.

References:

http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2016/08/vexpert-nsx-2016-award-announcement.html

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2016/08/18/announcing-vsan-vexperts/

Another vExpert Post – Listen Up! It’s about the Advocacy

Last Friday Cory Romero announced the first intake of the 2016 VMware vExperts. As a five time returning vExpert it would be easy for me to sit back enjoy a perceived sense of entitlement that comes with being a vExpert…but times have changed. The award has changed and the way people feel about the program has changed…when I first become a vExpert back in 2012 there was approximately 300 world wide…fast forward to 2016 and there are now 1360 give or take.

Over the past few years there are always comments and questions around the swelling of the numbers and how there should be a more stringent approval and acceptance structure. I myself shared those thoughts in previous posts…however my opinions around this have changed mainly because I have come to understand what the vExpert program (and other vendor programs) are all about and where myself, and VMware can achieve maximum value.

The vExpert program is designed to aid in your success and help amplify your internal and or external personal brands and channels. So whether you are a external evangelist or a internal champion we want to be sure you have the resources needed for the program so you can be more successful. Make no mistake that this program exists to help VMware push it’s products and services through the advocacy of the people in the group. The reward is given to those who in previous 12 months have shown themselves to be active in that advocacy. That doesn’t always mean that you need to be an active blogger or present at events, but it does mean that in your day to day role within the IT Industry you should be championing VMware as a company and break that down to champion VMware products that you use or sell.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in looking at and advocating other vendor technologies (I am a Veeam VanGaurd and PernixPro as an example) but as Corey mentioned in his email quoted above, the criteria used to have achieved the award implies that those activities need to be VMware focused.

Once you have the title it’s important to understand that there is a responsibility associated with it…it’s not just about the free gear though as I have stated before you should accept that as a perk of being part of the program and you shouldn’t feel like a “vendor whore” for accepting that shirt or coffee mug. Going back to responsibility, what I mean by that is that you should wear the badge proudly…understand that you have taken the time to apply/reapply for the award because you believed yourself worth of filling the selection criteria and use the award as a stepping stone to improve on the activities that got you there the year before.

Don’t rest on your laurels and expect the award to come to you every year…the vExpert team put a lot load of effort into keeping the program running and as a group we get significant exposure and opportunity from VMware and their partners…make it count and don’t waste it! Make sure you engage with others in the community through Twitter, LinkedIn or the Slack vExpert Channel or get down to your local VMUG or VMware event and engage directly.

vExpert On and Advocate!

vExpert VMworld Reception and Program Thoughts

Last week at VMworld we had the annual vExpert Reception…this year the party was held at the very swanky Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange building. From looking around the room I counted at least a couple hundred vExperts which is a fantastic turnout given the spread of the 1300 vExperts around the world.

The agenda was split into four presentations including Cory Romero with an update on the program and also some futures on where VMware want to take the program…we also had updated from VMware’s Digital Marketing lead, NSX Certification Program Manger Chris McCain, a VCDX Program Update (did you know all VCDX’s are automatically vExperts now) and the night was capped off with a very personable presentation from Pat Gelsinger.

Pat didn’t talk vision as he did in the Tuesday Keynote…he kept the talk very casual and talked about his experiences around getting excited about hearing about the first vMotion while working at Intel and the potential use cases around that. For him, it’s all about the technology and he expressed in no uncertain terms that as people who work in and around the IT world…

We all get turned on by cool tech!

And while that got a truthfully embarrassing reaction from the crowd it speaks volumes as to a big part of why programs like the vExpert Program exist. No one should be part of a program like this if they don’t get off on technology. Passion translates to action…and VMware (and other vendors that run similar programs) understands that there is huge power in bringing together like minded people to help push and champion their products.

Interestingly, after I posted this to Twitter during the presentations I had a number of replies from Michael Stump (sidenote: Michael has a great Blog here) echoing his previous thoughts that the vExpert program is a marketing tool for VMware which he couldn’t partake in anymore…and while I respect his choice I completely disagree with his rational. There is no confusion in my head (and in others I have spoken to or that have commented) that being part of these vendor programs means we need to “whore” ourselves off a little…for the most we graciously receive the free gifts from vExpert Vendor Partners and we troll the Solutions Exchange looking for our free battery packs, speakers and apparel.

We should not feel guilty about receiving these gifts but we must also understand that they do come with a small price…However the fact that we are passionate and all get off on technology means that in accepting these gifts we are doing exactly what the program is designed for…that is to help promote VMware and their partners…and in turn great tech!

Now, if vExperts choose to take the gifts and run that’s totally up to the individual…but this program gives back as much as you put in…the true value of the community isn’t the gifts and awesomely good food at the reception party…it’s the community aspect that it breeds. For me I have made many new friends and contacts in the industry that I wouldn’t have thought possible without the program..in that I have been able to extend my technical knowledge and it has also served as a distribution point for the content I create and in that I believe that I can give back to the vExpert Community.

Embrace the program as it continues to grow! It won’t be around forever!

vExpert 2015: Passion and Community

I’m honoured to be recognized as a VMware vExpert for 2015…this is my 4th year as a vExpert and without doubt the passion that drives this community remains as impressive as ever. There are now over 1000 vExperts worldwide and while I have questioned the swelling of the vExpert numbers over the past couple of years I believe that the community is as strong as ever and the nomination/vetting process undertaken by the team at VMware ensures all those that get the badge…earn it. There are tens of thousands VMware IT Professionals worldwide…to be 1 of 1000 is very unique!

About 10 months ago I renamed by blog to Virtualization is Life! and reflected on how my career path had shifted from traditional hosting and moved more towards virtualization…a direction driven out of what I was able to achieve over the past couple of years which I contribute in a large part to becoming a vExpert in 2012

Over the last 12 months I’ve been able to increase the frequency of posts on this site and I was lucky enough to present at the Melbourne and Sydney VMUG User Conferences as well as a TechTalk community session at VMWorld 2014. I also continue to champion VMware products through my role as Lead Architect at ZettaGrid…all while staying engaged and entertained on Twitter where the vExpert community is strong.

I wanted to point out a blog post and shout out to Dan McGee who I met at a partner dinner at VMworld last year. We happened to sit across from one another during the dinner and engaged in some general chit chat…I was humbled to hear that Dan knew of my blog as was a keen follower on Twitter…once Dan told me his Twitter handle I recognised the work he had been doing for his local VMUG. As he mentioned in the post he was the guy on stage during the vExpert Gameshow where he got to sit down next to VMware Legends…this community lets us engage with industry leaders and there was no better example of what Dan was able to do that afternoon at VMworld.

Finally I call on all vExperts to be passionate about virtualization…engage with work and industry peers and always look to serve the community…we collectively do some pretty amazing things with pretty amazing technology…we are privileged…and we should feel privileged to be in a position to share, teach and learn with others.

vExpert 2013

Almost exactly 12 months ago to the day I kicked off this site with this article describing my journey in virtualization leading up to my first vExpert 2012 Award. 27 posts and 1 year later I’m humbled again to be awarded with vExpert status for 2013.

The VMware community is unbelievably strong and it’s safe to say that over the past 12 months I’ve made a lot of new friends and been involved in lots of special forums and events as well as being continually amazed by the power of virutalization by way of delivering VMware products and services to clients and being able to get hands on with upcoming product releases.

This is a community award… and in that most of the people awarded the vExpert badge are people that go over and above to share their passion and love of the technology they work with on a daily basis…for the most part the sharing and evangalisation of that knowledge is done in addition to their day jobs…the title of my blog is “Hosting is Life” and in many ways that exemplifies the dedication that this kinda of award entails.

Special thanks to John Troyer for putting this together and VMware for the award…and a special mention to the Australian vExpert list that has more than tripled from last year.

Full List Here: http://t.co/QGZtGudVol

UPDATE:There has been debate/confusion on the credibility of the vExpert class of 2013…the numbers have swelled by about 100 from the 2012 class and with that a couple people are questioning the value of the award. From reading in between the Tweet’s being fired off yesterday it seems that there where about 850 applicants for this years awards so the question of everyone being accepted isn’t valid…however there is danger in the credibility of the award being diluted in the future if tighter selection criteria is not put into place…one the one hand, it’s great to see the numbers swelling because it means that there are more people active in support of VMware in the community, but VMware may need to put a greater emphasis around keeping the numbers tight.


vExpert 2012 – My Journey in Virtualization so far…

If you had asked me 2 years ago that I’d be writing as a VMware vExpert I would have thought you were crazy. At that stage my only exposure to VMware was on a co-lo server I was hosting for a mates start-up back in 2008. It was ESXi 3.5 back then and, compared to Hyper-V R2, it seemed fairly run of the mill…a clunky foreign interface to someone who lived in Microsoft MMC’s and all I was dealing with was VM related errors…with no HA!

I’m a Microsoft guy…I am still happy to point that out. My passion in Hosting was born of IIS, MSSQL, MSCRM, Exchange and SharePoint. I also work on Linux based systems for PHP/MySQL hosting, DNS and POP3 mail. Without a decent medium it was near on impossible to get a look in at an MVP award, but I have always been strong in evangelization of the systems I work with day in and day out. A strong advocate of partner hosted services I have always been one to rise up and speak against the public cloud offerings Microsoft (and others) have pushed hard in the vein attempts to play catch-up with Google. Public Cloud offerings such as Office365, have been largely built upon the momentum partners built up over the 2000’s in being able to deliver services such as Hosted Exchange and MSCRM when they were not built for multi-tenancy from the ground up the partner community drove early adoption and made it viable for slogans such as “To the Cloud” (shudder) possible…more to come on this later in the post.

I started out testing in lab environments on old 486/Pentium systems that I could put together from spare parts in the office…while I was able to get some decent labs up, space was always at a premium and performance was limited. From there, I remember getting my hands on Virtual PC from Microsoft and started to load up lab machine on that…I remember it taking a whole day to load up Windows 2003, so the experience was frustrating to say the least…even so, the seed had been sewn. From there Virtual PC 2005 was released and, from a viability point of view, we were in business. The first VM we put into production was a BlackBerry server (a positive example of Microsoft trying to play catch up and kill of a competitor) which run nicely in an environment, that was 100% physical at the time. At Tech-Ed 2005, we first got introduced to Hyper-V. Michael Kleef at the time was running an advance beta build for his presentation demo’s and I was blown away at being able to run multiple VM’s on a single platform, with a single console. At this time I didn’t even know about VMware existence other than reading articles on Hyper-V’s challenge to the incumbent.

Before moving over to Accord/Anittel in later 2009 I had put together a robust Hyper-V cluster, from which we were hosting multiple Windows VM’s…mainly for staging purposes, but as time went on, I added MSCRM and IIS frontends. Cluster Share Volumes introduced in SP2 of Windows 2008 added live migration and all of a sudden the platform was complete. By this stage I knew about VMware as a competing product and I was up to speed with the arguments for and against. My first few months in the new job I got used to working on an ESX4.0 platform, but to be honest, my first experiences where not great…Windows Server 2008 R2 locked up randomly due to an issue with VMware Tool (later fixed in a patch) and I was hearing client issues all over the place…and our own ESX hosts where crashing at times… but I was learning the ins and outs of vSphere and was being shown features such as vMotion and Storage vMotion as well as seeing the efficiencies of how ESX deals with host to VM memory.

The big turning point in my move towards VMware was while working on a client project that involved a Hyper-V Cluster build. The client had been swayed on price and decided to go with Hyper-V with VMM 2010 over VMware Essentials. While the project went well, a glaring design flaw was exposed when the site experienced a long power outage…when both Windows Hosts came back up, the Cluster had no way of firing up, due to DNS not being available as it was on a VM hosted by the cluster…after nearly 8 hours of trying to bring up the cluster, it was pure luck that the old Physical Domain controller was still available, so with that powered back on and on the network I was able to bring up the cluster and all was well. While some of you might say, it’s obvious you needed a DC that was separate to the cluster…be it physical or a VM outside of the Hyper-V cluster, it certainly made be sit up and notice ESX in a new light…that just doesn’t happen with VMware.

Since then I’ve been able to work on Anittel’s multi-site ESX Cluster backed by a strong MPLS network which has stretched from Perth to Sydney and about to head up for Brisbane…being able to live migrate a VM from Perth to Sydney still blows me away. From a hosting point of view I’ve been able to host some very high profile websites on both Windows and Linux and offer geographic redundancy and high availability…VMware’s ability to scale out VM’s with ease makes hosting high load websites a breeze and through working on developing Anittel’s vCloud platform I’ve been involved in some large projects that have allowed me to speak at events across Australia on the power of the cloud as a hosting platform for load testing and running seasonal sites. Through my Twitter feed I’ve been able to post and contribute to the massive social network…there is no better resource for information.

For me, being able to work on vCloud has been an excellent journey that’s allowed me to get truly passionate about the power of virtualization, and while I still feel the platform is still a couple versions away from being mature enough to truly be game changing It’s allowed me to get involved with VMware at the partner level via the VSPP program and in certifying Anittel as a vCloud Powered Partner (http://vcloud.vmware.com) In this I’ve picked up the biggest difference between Microsoft and VMware…VMware is all about the partners…their slogan of the past 12 months has been “Your Cloud” which is an empowering push for partners to deliver services via a partner ecosystem as opposed to Microsoft’s push to their own Public Cloud…be it Office365 or Azure. And you only need to look at Microsoft’s licensing restrictions for VDI to show their current mentality to partner hosting.

With products such as Project Octopus and AppBlast, VMware are further empowering partners to build upon the vSphere platform to delivery cutting edge technology…and while I am still nowhere ready to leave Exchange as my email platform of choice, it won’t be long until Zimbra gets enough legs to challenge. At this stage, VMware don’t want to host their own public cloud…let’s hope it stays that way so they can continue to focus on delivering a solid platform for virtualization on which solid apps can be built upon.

Being awarded a vExpert for 2012 is a great honour and being part of a special group of industry peers is very satisfying for someone who has come full circle when it comes to my journey with Virtualization. One of the unique aspects of this award is that it’s not tied to a certification…which is a good thing for me J While I am aiming to sit my VCP 5 at some stage this year, you can’t beat hands on experiencing, being thrown in the deep end and gaining knowledge via online and social means. Point in case, I’ve learnt as much as I care to about iSCSI storage in ESX due to some massive performance issues experienced at the present time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way…I love technology and all that it brings.

Thanks to VMware and the local Australian Partner Team for the honour and I hope to continue to evangelize and contribute to the community.

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