Category Archives: General

Tribalism in IT… Why It is in our nature to not all get along!

When I was a boy, I started following the Essendon Australian Rules Football club…I was drawn to their colours and I was also drawn to the fact they had just completed back to back premierships. Since then, I have been engaged in running battles with my father, family and friends…all who support different AFL sides. I chose my tribe early on in life and that has resulted in battle lines being drawn every since.

People, by nature are tribal creatures…most of us strive to belong to groups that carry similar values, shared beliefs and also, the most primal desires of all…the feeling of belonging, security and safety. People form tribes… they always have… they always will. We all fight for our tribes and in what we believe in. Whether it be Coke or Pepsi, Burger King or McDonalds, Nike or Reebok, Apple or Samsung… the list goes on!

Work Tribes:

When it comes to work, tribalism becomes even more apparent. Even within work places we see tribes form between departments and even within the same groups… each tribe with their own agenda…their own political motives… but ultimately each person in their respective tribes wants to see that tribe succeed.

I watched a TED Talk a long while back around Tribal Leadership… it’s worth a watch for those that want to understand how people tick when it comes to tribalism. David Logan suggests that there are 5 Stages of Tribal culture… most of the population fall into stages two, three or four with the majority falling in Stage 3:

Stage Three: Tribal members are selfish at this stage. They are in it for themselves, and they are extremely averse to collaboration. Their attitude is “I’m great . . . and you’re not.”

Each stage has it’s own description but ultimately when it comes to Work Tribes, we are very good at taking that attitude of, I am great and you are not. Your software sucks…mine is better. We outperform your storage array.. etc etc

Vendor Wars, FUD, Trolling and the Notion of Can’t we all Get Along?

Anyone who operates in and around IT vendors knows of instances where things have been posted on social media that escalates to popcorn worthy viewing. Trolling is also something that happens quiet often and I will be the first to admit that I have been involved at times and also witnessed petulant behaviour that has a lot to do with protecting ones tribe.

We all walk a fine line when it comes to supporting our tribes… and for those who are passionate by nature, the line can sometimes be easily crossed. I have observed those who claim to be non tribal, less passionate and see themselves as neutral observers when it comes to trolling, arguments or FUD throwing. These are the people that will ironically join the argument while standing on their soapboxes and shout… “Why can’t we all get along!” … themselves showing Stage 1 or 2 tribal characteristics.

When it comes to defending our tribes… the tribes that put food on the table for our families… the tribes that help us achieve a sense of belonging and accomplishment in life … the tribes who we currently root for 100%… it should not be of surprise to anyone that competitive behaviour exists. There are always lines that are crossed, but that is one hundred percent due to the belief in our own tribes and the desire for them to survive and prosper.

I’m not excusing any behavior. I’m not condoning some of the stuff I have seen, or been a part of… but what I am trying to say is that as long as people exist, we will form tribes… it’s a very reptilian instinct that makes us want to defend our patches.

I know this is controversial to some… and that some people don’t like or condone the behaviour that we see sometimes, but the reality of the world in which we live in… especially in the IT vendor space… is that tribes will be at war… and people will do what they need to do to win. It’s not always desirable and sometimes the level of FUD is amazingly mind blowing. However, the one thing to remember… and the irony that is obviously apparent in the world of IT is that people change tribes often… people who where once your enemy are now your tribe members… this is something that needs consideration as we are always ultimately accountable for our actions.

At the end of the day, it is almost impossible for everyone to play nice…We are… and always have been tribal!

For those interested… the TED Talk by David Logan is embedded below:

Infrastructure as Code vs RESTful APIs …Terraform and Everything in Between!

While I was a little late to the game in understanding the power of Infrastructure as Code, I’ve spent a lot of the last twelve months working with Terraform specifically to help deploy and manage various types of my lab and cloud based infrastructure. Appreciating how IaC can fundamentally change the way in which you deploy and configure infrastructure, workloads and applications is not an easy thing to grasp…there can be a steep learning curve and lots of tools to choose from.

In terms of a definition as to what is IaC:

Infrastructure as code (IaC) is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. The IT infrastructure managed by this comprises both physical equipment such as bare-metal servers as well as virtual machines and associated configuration resources. The definitions may be in a version control system. It can use either scripts or declarative definitions, rather than manual processes, but the term is more often used to promote declarative approaches.

As represented above, there are many tools that are in the IaC space and everyone will gravitate towards their own favourite. The post where I borrowed that graphic from actually does a great job or talking about the differences and also why Terraform has become my standout for IT admins and why Hashicorp is on the up. I love how the article talks about the main differences between each one and specifically the part around the Procedural vs Declarative comparison where it states that declarative approach is where “you write code that specifies your desired end state, and the IcC tool itself is responsible for figuring out how to achieve that state.”

You Don’t Need to Know APIs to Survive!:

The statement above is fairly controversial… especially for those that have been preaching about IT professionals having to code in order to remain viable. A lot of that mindshare is centred around the API and the DevOps world…but not everyone needs to be a DevOp! IT is all about trying to solve problems and achieve outcomes… it doesn’t matter how you solve it… as long as the problem/outcome is solved/attained. Being as efficient as possible is also important when achieving that outcome.

My background prior to working with IaC tools like Terraform was working with and actioning outcomes directly against RESTFul APIs. I spent a lot of time specifically with vCloud Director and NSX APIs in order to help productise services in my last two roles so I feel like I know my way around a cURL command or Postman window. Let me point out that there is nothing wrong with having knowledge of APIs and that it is important for IT Professionals to understand the fundamentals of APIs and how they are accessed and used for programatic management of infrastructure and for creating applications.

I’m also not understating the skill that is involved in being able to understand and manipulate APIs directly and also being able to take those resources and create automated provisioning or actual applications that interact directly with APIs and create an outcome of their own. Remembering though that everyones skill set and level is different, and no one should feel any less an IT practitioner if they can’t code at a perceived higher level.

How IaC Tools Bridge the Gap:

In my VMUG UserCon session last month in Melbourne and Sydney I went through the Veeam SDDC Deployment Toolkit that was built with various IaC tooling (Terraform and Chef) as well as PowerShell, PowerCLI and some Bash Scripting. Ultimately putting all that together got us to a point where we could declaratively deploy a fully configured Veeam Backup & Replication server and fully configure it ready for action on any vSphere platform.

That aside, the other main point of the session was taking the audience through a very quick Terraform 101 introduction and demo. In both cities, I asked the crowd how much time they spent working with APIs to do “stuff” on their infrastructure… in both cities there was almost no one that raised their hands. After I went through the basic Terraform demo where I provisioned and then modified a VM from scratch I asked the audience if something like this would help them in their day to day roles… in both cities almost everyone put their hands up.

Therein lies the power of IaC tools like Terraform. I described it to the audience as a way to code without having to know the APIs directly. Terraform Providers act as the middle man or interpreter between yourself and the infrastructure endpoints. Consider it a black box that does the complicated lifting for you… this is the essence of Infrastructure as Code!

There are some that may disagree with me (and that’s fine) but I believe that for the majority of IT professionals that haven’t gotten around yet into transitioning away from “traditional” infrastructure management, configuration and deployment, that looking at a IaC tools like Terraform can help you not only survive…but also thrive!

References:

https://blog.gruntwork.io/why-we-use-terraform-and-not-chef-puppet-ansible-saltstack-or-cloudformation-7989dad2865c

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrastructure_as_code

Cloud Field Day 5 – Recap and Videos #CFD5

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting at Cloud Field Day 5 (a Tech Field Day event). Joined by Michael Cade and David Hill, we took the delegates through Veeam’s cloud vision by showcasing current product and features in the Veeam platform including specific technology that both leverages and protects Public Cloud workloads and services. We also touched on where Veeam is at in terms of market success and also dug into how Veeam enables Service Providers to build services off our Cloud Connect technology.

First off, I would like to thank Stephen Foskett and the guys at Gestalt IT for putting together the event. Believe me there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it is impressive how the team are able to setup, tear down and setup agin in different venues while handling the delegates themselves. Also to all the delegates, it was extremely valuable being able to not only present to the group, but also have a chance to talk shop at the offical reception dinner…some great thought provoking conversations where had and I look forward to seeing where your IT journey takes you all next!

Getting back to the recap, i’ve pasted in the YouTube links to the Veeam session below. Michael Cade has a great recap here, where he gives his overview on what was presented and some thoughts about the event.

In terms of what was covered:

We tried to focus on core features relating to cloud and then show a relatable live demo to reinforce the slide decks. No smoke and mirrors when the Veeam Product Strategy Team is doing demos… they are always live!

For those that might not have been up to speed with what Veeam has done over the past couple of years it is a great opportunity to learn about what we have done innovating the Data Protection space, while also looking at the progress we have made in recent times in transitioning to a true software defined, hardware agnostic platform that offers customers absolute choice. We like to say that Veeam was born in the virtual world…but is evolving in the Cloud!

Summary:

Once again, being part of Cloud Field Day 5 was a fantastic experience, and the team executed the event well. In terms of what Veeam set out to achieve, Michael, David and myself where happy with what we where able to present and demo and we where happy with the level of questions being asked by the delegates. We are looking forward to attending Tech Field Day 20 later in the year and maybe as well as continue to show what Veeam can do today…take a look at where we are going in future releases!

References:

Cloud Field Day 5

Heading to Cloud Field Day 5 #CFD5

I’m currently on the first leg over from Perth to San Fransisco where I’ll head down to Silicon Valley to present at Cloud Field Day 5. This will be my first Tech Field Day event which some may find surprising given my involvement in and around the virtualisation community prior to joining Veeam. I often got asked why I never applied to be a delegate… to be honest I’m not able to answer that question, however I’m really looking forward to presenting with my fellow Product Strategy team members, Michael Cade and David Hill as a sponsor.

cloud field day

Veeam at Tech Field Day Cloud 5

It’s an important event for us at Veeam as we are given the #CFD stage for two hours, first up on the Wednesday morning to talk about how Veeam has evolved from a backup vendor covering vSphere and Hyper-V to one which now offers a platform that extends into the public cloud backed by an incredibly strong Cloud and Service Provider ecosystem.

There is no doubt that the backup industry is currently hot with a number of large investments made into a number of vendors, including us here at Veeam who recently had a $500 million injection for us to pursue acquisitions and increase our development capabilities. There are a number of backup vendors presenting at the CFD#5, including vendors who are not historically backup focused but now, more and more offering inbuilt protection.

For Michael, David and myself we will be focusing on reiterating what Veeam has done in leading the industry for a number of years in innovation while also looking at the progress we have made in recent times in transitioning to a true software defined, hardware agnostic platform that offers customers absolute choice.

Veeam are presenting at 8.30am (Pacific Time) Wednesday 10th April 2019

I am looking forward to presenting to all the delegates as well as those who join via the livestream.

Top vBlog 2018: Thoughts, Notable Representation and Thanks

Last week the Top vBlog for 2018 where announced based on votes cast late last year on content delivered in 2017. Similar to last year Eric Siebert continued the new voting mechanisms that delivers a more palatable outcome for all who where involved. The mix of public votes and points based on number of posts and Google Page speed works well and delivers interesting results for all those active bloggers listed on the vLaunchpad.

The one thing I wanted to highlight before taking a look at the results was to talk about the ongoing importance of this vote in the face of some strong backlash over recent years it. It was pleasing to see a number of new entrants and those that made significant jumps go on social media and talk about how humbled and excited they where to make the list. This is an important reminder to those that might be feeling a little over it and cynical of the process to understand that there are always up and comers who deserve a shot at being in the spotlight. It still means a lot to those people…so don’t spoil it for them!

The Results:

As expected, the top two spots remained the same as last year with William Lam taking out the #1 spot with Vladan Seget, Cormac Hogan, Scott Lowe and Eric Siebert himself rounding out the top 5. There was lots of movement in the top 25 and I managed to climb up into #15 spot which is again…extremely humbling and I think those that voted for me again this year.

Aussie Representation:

As with previous years I like to highlight the Aussie and Kiwi (ANZ) representation in the Top vBlog and this year is no different. We have a great blogging scene here in the VMware community and that is reflected with the quality of the bloggers listed below. Special mention to Rhys Hammond who debuted at #146 and to Jon Waite who does amazing technical deep dive posts around vCloud Director and debuted at 205.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Points Total Votes Posts 2017
VCDX133 (Rene Van Den Bedem) 10 11 1 2596 323 48
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 15 19 4 2173 251 88
Long White Virtual Clouds (Webster) 36 20 -16 1151 169 12
CloudXC (Josh Odgers) 48 29 -19 1037 167 22
Penguinpunk.net (Dan Frith) 102 106 4 744 63 114
Rhys Hammond 146 N/A N/A 546 50 21
Virtual Tassie (Matt Allford) 150 190 40 529 41 25
Kiwicloud.ninja (Jon Waite) 205 N/A N/A 413 49 12
ukotic.net (Mark Ukotic) 217 201 -16 393 29 15
Ready Set Virtual (Keiran Shelden) 254 N/A N/A 285 31 16
Veeam Representation:

My follow colleagues at Veeam made it into the list with four of us in the top 20 which is a great effort and four of the Product Strategy team are included in the top votes. Special should out to Melissa Palmer who cracked the top 10! We have a strong community feel at Veeam and it’s reflected in the quality of the blogging we generate…There was also a sizeable representation from our Veeam Vanguard’s as well.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Points Total Votes Posts 2017
vMiss (Melissa Palmer) 6 16 10 2635 326 49
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 15 19 4 2173 251 88
Jorge de la Cruz Mingo 16 30 14 1635 159 184
Notes from MWhite (Michael White) 17 31 14 1618 193 115
vZilla (Michael Cade) 29 44 15 1189 138 41
Domalab (Michele Domanico) 33 N/A N/A 1159 98 78
Virtual To The Core (Luca Dell’Oca) 45 38 -7 1045 138 32
Tim’s Tech Thoughts (Tim Smith) 110 48 -62 704 78 17
David Hill 127 107 -20 632 72 15
The Results Show:

Again a massive thank you to Eric for putting together the voting and organising the whole thing. It’s a huge undertaking and we should all be in gratitude to Eric for making it all happen.

Creating content for this community is a pleasure and has become somewhat of a personal obsession so it’s nice to get some recognition and I’m happy that what I’m able to produce is (for the most) found useful by people in the community. I’m a passionate guy in most things that I am involved in so it’s no surprise that I feel so strongly in being able to contribute to this great vCommunity…especially when it comes to my strong passion around Hosting, Cloud, Backup and DR.

The whole list and category winners can been viewed here.

VMUG UserCon – Sydney and Melbourne Events!

A few years ago I claimed that the Melbourne VMUG Usercon was the “Best Virtualisation Event Outside of VMworld!” …that was a big statement if ever there was one however, over the past couple of years I still feel like that statement holds court even though there are much bigger UserCons around the world. In fairness, both Sydney and Melbourne UserCons are solid events and even with VMUG numbers generally struggling world wide, the events are still well attended and a must for anyone working around the VMware ecosystem.

Both events happen a couple of days apart from each other on the 19th and 21st of March and both are filled with quality content, quality presenters and a great community feel.

This will be my sixth straight Melbourne UserCon and my fourth Sydney UserCon…The last couple of years I have attended with Veeam and presented a couple of times. This year Veeam has UserCon Global Sponsorship which is exciting as the Global Product Strategy team will be presenting a lot of the UserCons around the world. Both the Sydney and Melbourne Agenda’s are jam packed with virtualisation and automation goodness and it’s actually hard to attend everything of interest with schedule conflicts happening throughout the day.

…the agenda’s are listed on the sites.

As mentioned, Veeam is sponsoring both events a the Global Elite level and I’ll be presenting a session on Automation and Orchestration of Veeam and VMware featuring VMware Cloud on AWS which is an updated followup to the VMworld Session I presented last year. The Veeam SDDC Deployment Toolkit has been evolving since then and i’ll talk about what it means to leverage APIs and PowerShell to achieve automation goodness with a live demo!

Other notable sessions include:

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne next week try and get down to Sydney ICC and The Crown Casino respectively to participate, learn and contribute and hopefully we can catch up for a drink.

More Than Meets the Eye… Veeam Backup Performance

Recently I was sent a link to a video that showed an end user comparing Veeam to a competitors offering covering backup performance, restore capabilities and UI. It mainly focused on the comparison of incremental backup jobs and their completion times. It showed that the Veeam job was taking a significantly longer time to complete for the same dataset. The comparison was chalk and cheese and didn’t paint Veeam in a very good light.

Now, without knowing 100% the backend configuration that the user was testing against or the configuration of the Veeam components, storage platforms and backup jobs vs the competitors setup…the discrepancy between both job completion times was too great and something had to be amiss. This was not an apples to apples comparison.

TL:DR – I was able to cut the time to complete an incremental backup job from 24 minutes to under 4 minutes by scaling out Veeam infrastructure components and tweaking transport mode options to suit the dataset from using the default configuration settings and server setup. Lesson being to not take inferred performance at face value, there are a lot of factors that go into backup speed.

Before I continue, it’s important for me to state that I have seen Veeam perform exceptionally well under a number of different scenarios and know from my own experience at my previous roles at large service providers that it can handle 1000s of VMs and scale up to handle larger environments. That said, like any environment you need to understand how to properly scope and size backup components to suite…that includes more than just the backup server and veeam components… storage obviously plays a huge role in backup performance as does the design of the virtualisation platform as well as networking.

I haven’t set out in this post to put together a guide on how to scale Veeam…rather I have focused on trying to debunk the differential in job completion time I saw in the video. I went into my lab and started to think about how scaling Veeam components and choosing different options for backups and proxies can hugely impact the time it takes for backup jobs to complete. For the testing I used a Veeam Backup & Replication server that I had deployed with the Update 4 release and had active jobs that where in operation for more than a month.

The Veeam Backup & Replication server is on a VMware Virtual Machine running on modest 2vCPU and 8GB of RAM. Initially I had this running as an all in one Backup Server and Proxy setup. I have a SOBR repository consisting of two ReFS formatted local VMDK (underlying storage is vSAN) extents and a Capacity Tier extent going to Amazon S3. The backup job consisted of nine VMs with a footprint of about 162GB. A small dataset but one which was based of real world workloads. The job was running Forward Incremental, keeping 14 restore points running every 4 hours with a Synthetic Full running every 24 hours (initial purpose of was to demo Cloud Tier) and on average the incremental’s where taking between 23 to 25 minutes to complete.

The time to complete the incremental job was not an issue for me in the lab, but it provided a good opportunity to test out what would happen if I looked to scale out the Veeam components and tweak the default configuration settings.

Adding Proxies

As a first step I deployed three virtual proxies (2vCPU and 4GB RAM) into the environment and configured the job to use them in hot-add mode. Right away the job time decreased down by ~50% to 12 minutes. Basically, more proxies means more disks are able to be processed in parallel when in hot-add mode so it’s logical that the speed of the backup would increase.

Adding More Proxies

As a second step I deployed three more proxies into the environment and configured the job to use all six in hot-add mode. This didn’t result in a significantly faster time to what it was at three proxies, but again, this will vary depending on the amount of VMs and size of those VMs disks in a job. Again, Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with the environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that may max out requiring additional significant spend.

Change Transport Mode

Next I changed the job back to use three proxies, but this time I forced the proxies to use network mode. To read more about Transport modes, head here.

This resulted in a sub 4 minute job completion to read a similar incremental data set as the previous runs. A ~20 minute difference after just a few tweaks of the configuration!

Removing Surplus Proxies and Balancing Things Out

For the example above I introduced proxies however the right balance of proxies and network mode was the most optimal configuration for this particular job in order to lower the job completion window. In fact in my last test I was able to get the job to complete consistently around the 5 minute mark by just using the one proxy with network mode.

Conclusion:

So with that, you can see that by tweaking some settings and scaling out Veeam components I was able to bring a job completion time down by more than 20 minutes. Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with any environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that will scale out requiring additional and significant spend while also locking you in by way of restricted backup date portability. Again, this is just a quick example of what can be done with the flexibility of the Veeam platform and that what you see as a default out of the box experience (or a poorly configured/problematic environment) isn’t what should be expected for all use cases. Milage will vary…but don’t let first/misleading impressions sway you…there is always more than meets the eye!

Sources:

https://bp.veeam.expert/

What Services Providers Need to Think About in 2019 and Beyond…

We are entering interesting times in the cloud space! We should no longer be talking about the cloud as a destination and we shouldn’t be talking about how cloud can transform business…those days are over! We have entered the next level of adoption whereby the cloud as a delivery framework has become mainstream. You only have to look at what AWS announced last year at Re:Invent with its Outposts offering. The rise of automation and orchestration in mainstream IT also has meant that cloud can be consumed in a more structured and repeatable way.

To that end…where does it leave traditional Service Providers who have for years offered Infrastructure as a Service as the core of their offerings?

Last year I wrote a post on how the the VM shouldn’t  be the base unit of measurement for cloud…and even with some of the happenings since then, I remain convinced that Service Providers can continue to exist and thrive through offering value around the VM construct. Backup and DR as a service remains core to this however and there is ample thirst out there in the market for customers wanting to consume services from cloud providers that are not the giant hyper-scalers.

Almost all technology vendors are succumbing to the reality that they need to extend their own offering to include public cloud services. It is what the market is demanding…and it’s what the likes of AWS Azure, IBM and GCP are pushing for. The backup vendor space especially has had to extend technologies to consume public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Glacier or Azure Blob as targets for offsite backups. Veeam is upping the ante with our Update 4 release of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 which includes Cloud Tier to object storage and additional Direct Restore capabilities to Azure Stack and Amazon EC2.

With these additional public cloud features, Service Providers have a right to feel somewhat under threat. However we have seen this before (Office 365 for Hosted Exchange as an example) and the direction that Service Providers need to take is to continue to develop offerings based on vendor technologies and continue to add value to the relationship that they have with their clients. I wrote a long time ago when VMware first announced vCloud Air that people tend to buy based on relationship…and there is no more trusted relationship than that of the Service Provider.

With that, there is no doubting that clients will want to look at using a combination of services from a number of different providers. From where I stand, the days of clients going all in with one provider for all services are gone. This is an opportunity for Service Providers to be the broker. This isn’t a new concept and plenty of Service Providers have thought about how they themselves leverage the Public Cloud to not only augment their own backend services, but make them consumable for their clients via there own portals or systems.

With all that in mind…in my opinion, there are five main areas where Service Providers need to be looking in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Networking is central this and the most successful Service Providers have already worked this out and offer a number of different networking services. It’s imperative that Service Providers offer a way for clients to go beyond their own networks and have the option to connect out to other cloud networks. Telco’s and other carriers have built amazing technology frameworks based on APIs to consume networking in ways that mean extending a network shouldn’t be thought of as a complex undertaking anymore.
  2. Backup, Replication and Recovery is something that Service Providers have offered for a long time now, however there is more and more completion in this area today in the form of built in protection at the application and hardware level. Where providers have traditionally excelled at is a the VM level. Again, that will remain the base unit of measurement for cloud moving forward, but Service Providers need to enhance their BaaS, R/DRaaS offerings for them to remain competitive. Leveraging public cloud to gain economies of scale is one way to enhance those offerings.
  3. Gateway Services are a great way to lock in customers. Gateway services are typically those which a low effort for both the Service Provider and client alike. Take the example of Veeam’s Cloud Connect Backup. It’s a simple service to setup at both ends and works without too much hassle…but there is power for the Service Provider in the data that’s being transferred into their network. From there auxiliary services can be offered such as recovery or other business continuity services. It also leads into discussions about Replication services which can be worked into the total service offering as well.
  4. Managed Services is the one thing that the hyper-scalers can’t match Service Providers in and it’s the one thing that will keep all Service Providers relevant. I’ve mentioned already the trusted advisor thought process in the sales cycle. This is all about continuing to offer value around great vendor technologies that aims to secure the Service Provider to client relationship.
  5. Developing a Channel is central to be able to scale without the need to add resources to the business. Again, the most successful Service Providers all have Channel/Partner program in place and it’s the best way to extend that managed service, trusted provider reach. I’ve seen a number of providers not able to execute on a successful channel play due to poor execution, however if done right it’s one way to extend that reach to more clients…staying relevant in the wake of the hyper-scalers.

This isn’t a new Differentiate or Die!? message…it’s one of ensuring that Service Providers continue to evolve with the market and with industry expectation. That is the only way to thrive and survive!

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/

Top Posts 2018

2018 is done and dusted and looking back on the blog over the last twelve months I’ve not been happy with my output compared to previous years…i’ve found it a little harder to churn out content. Compared to 2017 where I managed 90 posts (including this one) this year I was down to 83. My goal has always been to put out at least two quality posts a week, however again travel comes into play and this impacts my productivity and tinkering time, which is where a lot of the content comes from…that said, I am drawing closer to the 500th blog post on Virtualization is Life! since going live in 2012.

Looking back through the statistics generated via JetPack, I’ve listed the Top 10 Blog Posts from the last 12 months. This year the VCSA, NSX, vCenter Upgrades/Migrations and Homelab posts dominating the top ten. As I posted about last year the common 503 error for the VCSA is still a trending search topic.

  1. Quick Fix: VCSA 503 Service Unavailable Error
  2. Quick Look – vSphere 6.5 Storage Space Reclamation
  3. Upgrading Windows vCenter 5.5 to 6.0 In-Place: Issues and Fixes
  4. ESXi 6.5 Storage Performance Issues and Fix
  5. Quick Fix: OVF package with compressed disks is currently not supported
  6. NSX Bytes: Updated – NSX Edge Feature and Performance Matrix
  7. HomeLab – SuperMicro 5028D-TNT4 Storage Driver Performance Issues and Fix
  8. NSX Bytes: NSX-v 6.3 Host Preparation Fails with Agent VIB module not installed
  9. Public Cloud and Infrastructure as Code…The Good and the Bad all in One Day!
  10. Released: vCloud Director 9.1 – New HTML5 Features, vCD-CLI and more!

In terms of the Top 10 new posts created in 2018, the list looks representative of my Veeam content with vCloud Director posts featuring as well as

  1. NSX Bytes: Updated – NSX Edge Feature and Performance Matrix
  2. Public Cloud and Infrastructure as Code…The Good and the Bad all in One Day!
  3. Released: vCloud Director 9.1 – New HTML5 Features, vCD-CLI and more!
  4. vSphere 6.7 Update 1 – Top New Features and Platform Supportability
  5. Configuring Service Provider Self Service Recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365
  6. Released: vCloud Director 9.5 – Full HTML5 Tenant UI, NSX-T Thoughts and More!
  7. Setting up vSAN iSCSI and using it as a Veeam Repository
  8. NSX-v 6.4.0 Released! What’s in it for Service Providers
  9. VMworld 2018 Recap Part 1 – Major Announcement Breakdown!
  10. Creating a Single Host SDDC for VMware Cloud on AWS

Again while I found it difficult to keep up the pace with previous years I fully intend to keep on pushing this blog by keeping it strong to it’s roots of vCloud Director and core VMware technologies like NSX and vSAN however I have started to branch out and talk more about automation and orchestration topics. There will be a lot of Veeam posts around product deep dives, release info and I’ll continue to generate content around what I am passionate about…and that includes all things hosting, cloud and availability!

I hope you can join me in 2019!

#LongLivevCD

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