Tag Archives: Community

Quick Thought: VMUG is now part of DTUC

I awoke this morning to the news that an announcement was made at DELL|EMC World that VMUG had been rolled into a the recently formed Dell Technologies User Community (DTUC – doesn’t quiet roll off the tongue now does it?) …I also awoke to a lot of VMware community backlash on Twitter not only in response to the news but also in the way in which it was not communicated to the existing local VMUG leadership and steering committee members.

From the reaction i’ve seen, most people are fairly ticked off with the fact that almost everybody found out about this through public channels…mainly Twitter. It’s worth watching the video below to get an overview of the changes from the VMUG President and CEO as it does go some way to clarifying the what’s what of the announcement.

Just to clarify, VMUG is not changing it’s name to DTUC.

https://dtusercommunity.com

My Take:

I think everybody knew that VMUG was in trouble from an organisational standpoint with a lot of changes during the first few months of 2017 and some interesting moves around the removing of Nutanix staff from leadership role. So this news isn’t a total surprise however for me, the one key ingredient that VMUG offered is now well and truly in danger of being wiped away…and that is it’s relative independence.

The VMUG community was born out of the technology ecosystem that grew around VMware’s success in the virtualization market and it meant that all of VMware’s technology and alliance partners where given a seat at the table in terms of event sponsorship and presentations. It was a place equally where smaller startup’s could come and talk about their new technology solutions and where the more established vendors could talk around why there where still cool and relevant.

Now, with DELL|EMC plus VMware product portfolio my fear is that finding sponsors will become even more of a challenge as it has been worldwide for the last 12 to 18 months. This is an interesting move but again, but not a surprising one given what I’ve seen with my involvement in VMUG over the past two years. It’s not all doom and gloom though as I feel the VMUG UserCons are still brilliant events as was the case with the recent ones held in Sydney and Melbourne.

Time will tell how this plays out, but there is one thing I believe the wider VMware community doesn’t want to see drop off or disappear…and that is the community it’s self!

It’s ok to steal… VMUG UserCon Key Take Aways

Last week I attended the Sydney and Melbourne VMUG UserCons and apart from sitting in on some great sessions I came away from both events with a renewed sense of community spirit and enjoyed catching up with industry peers and good friends that I don’t see often enough. While the VMUG is generally struggling a little around the world at this point in time, kudos goes to both Sydney and Melbourne chapter leaders and steering committee in being able to bring out a superstar bunch of presenters (see panel below)…there might not be a better VMUG lineup anywhere in the world this year!

There was a heavy automation focus this year…which in truth was the same as last years events however last years messaging was more around the theory of _change or die_ this year there was more around the practical. This was a welcome change because, while it’s all well and good to beat the change messaging into people…actually taking them through real world examples and demo’s tends to get people more excited and keen to dive into automation as they get a sense of how to apply it to their every day jobs.

In the VMware community, there are not better examples of automation excellence than Alan Renouf and William Lam and their closing keynote sessions where they went through and deployed a fully functional SDDC vSphere environment on a single ESXi host from a USB Key was brilliant and hopefully will be repeated at other VMUGs and VMworld. This project was born out of last years VMworld Hackerthon’s and ended up being a really fun and informative presentation that showed off the power of automation along with the benefits of what undertaking an automation project can deliver.

“Its not stealing, its sharing” 

During the presentation Alan Renouf shared this slide which got many laughs and resonated well with myself in that apart from my very early failed uni days, I don’t think I have ever created a bit of code or written a script from scratch. There is somewhat of a stigma attached with “borrowing” or “stealing” code used to modify or create scripts within the IT community. There might also be some shame associated in admitting that a bit of code wasn’t 100% created by someone from scratch…I’ve seen this before and I’ve personally been taken to task when presenting some of the scripts that I’ve modified for purpose during my last few roles.

What Alan is pointing out there is that it’s totally ok to stand on the shoulders of giants and borrow from what’s out there in the public domain…if code is published online via someones personal blog or put up on GitHub then it’s fair game. There is no shame in being efficient…no shame in not having to start from scratch and certainly no shame in claiming success after any mods have been done… Own it!

Conclusion and Event Wrap Up:

Overall the 2017 Sydney and Melbourne UserCons where an excellent event and on a personal note I enjoyed being able to attend with Veeam as the Platinum Sponsor and present session on our vSAN/VVOL/SPBM support and introduce our Windows and Linux Agents to the crowd. The Melbourne crowd was especially engaged and asked lots of great questions around our agent story and where looking forward to the release of Veeam Agent for Windows.

Again the networking with industry peers and customers is invaluable and there was a great sense of community once again. The UserCon events are of a high quality and my thanks goes out to the leaders of both Sydney and Melbourne for working hard to organise these events. And which one was better? …I won’t go there but those that listened to my comment during our Sponsor giveaways at the end of the event knows how I really feel.

Until next year UserCon!

VMUG UserCon – Sydney and Melbourne Events are Huge This Year!

Last year 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, fast forward a year and credit goes to the VMUG steering committee’s of both Sydney and Melbourne as it seems they have bettered themselves this time around for the 2017 editions. Both events happen a couple of days apart from each other on the 21st and 23rd of March and both are filled with quality content, quality presenters and a great community feel.

This will be my fourth Melbourne UserCon and my second Sydney UserCon…The last couple of years I have attended the event in Melbourne I have taken away a lot of great technical and non-technical knowledge back home with me and with keynote speakers the likes of no less than Duncan Epping and Amy Lewis together with other industry superstars William LamAlan Renouf, Emad Younis, Josh Atwell and other great local presenters I expect the same for the 2017 editions.

With what is the strongest lineup in the Usercon’s history, it promises to be a worthwhile event to attend…if you haven’t already registered head to the registration pages below and sign up.

Both the Sydney and Melbourne Agenda’s are jam packed with virtualisation goodness and it’s actually hard to attend everything of interest with schedule conflicts happening throughout the day…the agenda’s are not yet 100% completed on the sites but make you check back later in the week to get details on who is presenting what and when.

Veeam is sponsoring both events as Platinum level sponsors and I’ll be presenting a session on Availability made easy for your vSphere infrastructure where I’ll go through some tips and tricks about getting the most out of Veeam and vSphere as well as talk about how we extend availability into the cloud.

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

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

Vendor Wars: Tribes In IT…Get Used To it!

In the last couple of weeks there had been murmurings within the VMUG Leadership Group that Nutanix was about to be banned from sponsoring events worldwide. This was confirmed this week and in addition to that ban, no current Nutanix employee can be a Leader of a VMUG chapter, though I’m not sure if this carries through to the steering committee. There has been mixed reaction online depending on which side of the fence you sit and while the action undertaken is drastic it should come as no surprise…I don’t mean that to suggest that the constant back and forth between Nutanix and VMware that has been ongoing for a number of years now was to blame, because without question that contributed to the decision. What I mean by saying that we should build a bridge is that it’s human nature to form tribes and when we form tribes we have division.

We all root for our respective teams, whether that be sporting, political or in business…and more importantly, we will always side with the team or tribe that benefits us the most. With that in mind it shouldn’t come as a shock when we see such passionate debates specifically in the IT Vendor world. It’s been going on since the inception of the industry however we have seen an amplification since social media has made it both easier for one to show their true colours and for arguments to be played out in public forums.

Being part of a tribe is human nature…we can’t change the way we are programmed and tribes will form in every aspect of life. Even within smaller social circles micro-tribes form and divisions are played out. There is a great TED talk around tribal leadership in business and it’s worth a watch as it made me realize that there can’t be respectful common ground when it comes to tribes being at war.

I have seen the calls for us in the IT community to be respectful and not enter into tit for tat insults and FUD propagation however our industry by definition is disruptive…our industry also has a lot of money behind it with startups and established vendors promising lucrative incentive based payouts if or when a company goes public or is acquired. When you have money involved with tribalism the effect is magnified because not only are people rooting for their own teams, but they are playing all in for possible financial success…Because of that there is very little chance of impartiality…No matter what anyone says to the contrary.

So while we all get annoyed from time to time when we witness vendor bias or arrogance or more specifically in the case of the VMUG ban, the Nutanix vs VMware tribal battles we should accept that it’s a way of life. Things will not change and nor should you believe that mutual respect will be reached…we will always have a favorite and we will always show bias towards one brand, one vendor…one tribe.

HomeLab – SuperMicro 5028D-TNT4 Unboxing and First Thoughts

While I was at Zettagrid I was lucky enough to have access to a couple of lab environments that where sourced from retired production components and I was able to build up a lab that could satisfy the requirements of R&D, Operations and the Development team. By the time I left Zettagrid we had a lab that most people envied and I took advantage of it in terms of having a number of NestedESXi instances to use as my own lab instances but also, we had an environment that ensured new products could be developed without impacting production while having multiple layers of NestedESXi instances to test new builds and betas.

With me leaving Zettagrid for Veeam, I lost access to the lab and even though I would have access to a nice shiny new lab within Veeam I thought it was time to bite the bullet and go about sourcing a homelab of my own. The main reasons for this was to have something local that I could tinker with which would allow me to continue playing with the VMware vCloud suite as well as continue to look out for new products allowing me to engage and continue to create content.

What I Wanted:

For me, my requirements where simple; I needed a server that was powerful enough to run at least two NestedESXi lab stacks, which meant 128GB of RAM and enough CPU cores to handle approx. twenty to thirty VMs. At the same time I needed to not not blow the budget and spend thousands upon thousands, lastly I needed to make sure that the power bill was not going to spiral out of control…as a supplementary requirement, I didn’t want a noisy beast in my home office. I also wasn’t concerned with any external networking gear as everything would be self contained in the NestedESXi virtual switching layer.

What I Got:

To be honest, the search didn’t take that long mainly thanks to a couple of Homelab Channels that I am a member of in the vExpert and Homelabs-AU Slack Groups. Given my requirements it quickly came down to the SYS-5028D-TN4T Xeon D-1541 Mini-tower or the SYS-5028D-TN4T-12C Xeon D-1567 Mini-tower. Paul Braren at TinkerTry goes through in depth why the Xeon D processors in these SuperMicro Super Servers are so well suited to homelabs so I won’t repeat what’s been written already but for me the combination of a low power CPU (45w) that still has either 8 or 12 cores that’s packaged up in such a small form factor meant that my only issue was trying to find a supplier that would ship the unit to Australia for a reasonable price.

Digicor came to the party and I was able to source a great deal with Krishnan from their Perth office. There are not too many SuperMicro dealers in Australia, and there was a lot of risk in getting the gear shipped from the USA or Europe and the cost of shipping plus import duties meant that going local was the only option. For those that are in Australia, looking for SuperMicro Homelab gear, please email/DM me and I can get you in touch with the guys at Digicor.

What’s Inside:

I decided to go for the 8 core CPU mainly because I knew that my physical to virtual CPU ratio wasn’t going to exceed the processing power that it had to offer and as mentioned I went straight to 128GB of RAM to ensure I could squeeze a couple of NestedESXi instances on the host.

https://www.supermicro.com/products/system/midtower/5028/sys-5028d-tn4t.cfm

  • Intel® Xeon® processor D-1540, Single socket FCBGA 1667; 8-Core, 45W
  • 128GB ECC RDIMM DDR4 2400MHz Samsung UDIMM in 4 sockets
  • 4x 3.5 Hot-swap drive bays; 2x 2.5 fixed drive bays
  • Dual 10GbE LAN and Intel® i350-AM2 dual port GbE LAN
  • 1x PCI-E 3.0 x16 (LP), 1x M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4, M Key 2242/2280
  • 250W Flex ATX Multi-output Bronze Power Supply

In addition to what comes with the Super Server bundle I purchased 2x Samsung EVO 850 512GB SSDs for initial primary storage and also got the SanDisk Ultra Fit CZ43 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive to install ESXi onto as well as a 128GB Flash Drive for extra storage.

Unboxing Pics:

Small package, that hardly weighs anything…not surprising given the size of the case.

Nicely packaged on the inside.

Came with a US and AU kettle cord which was great.

The RAM came separately boxed and well wrapped in anti-static bags.

You can see a size comparison with my 13″ MBP in the background.

The back is all fan, but that doesn’t mean this is a loud system. In fact I can barely hear it purring in the background as I sit and type less than a meter away from it.

One great feature is the IPMI Remote Management which is a brilliant and convenient edition for a HomeLab server…the network port is seen top left. On the right are the 2x10Gig and 2x1Gig network ports.

The X10SDV-TLN4F motherboard is well suited to this case and you can see how low profile the CPU fan is.

Installing the RAM wasn’t too difficult even through there isn’t a lot of room to work with inside the case.

Finally, taking a look at the HotSwap drive bays…I had to buy a 3.5 to 2.5 inch adapter to fit in the SSDs, however I did find that the lock in ports could hold the weight of the EVO’s with ease.

BIOS and Initialization’s boot screens

Overall First Thoughts:

This is a brilliant bit of kit and it’s perfect for anyone wanting to do NestedESXi at home without worrying about the RAM limits of NUCs or the noise and power draw of more traditional servers like the R710’s that seem to make their way out of datacenters and into homelabs. The 128GB of RAM means that unless you really want to go fully physical you should be able to nest most products and keep everything nicely contained within the ESXi Host compute, storage and networking.

Thanks again to Krishnan at Digicor for supplying the equipment and to Paul Braren for all the hard work he does up at TinkerTry. Special mention also to my work colleague, Michael White who was able to give me first hand experience of the Super Servers and help make it a no brainer to get the 5028D-TNT4.

I’ll follow this post up with a more detailed a look at how I went about installing ESXi and how the NestedESXi labs look like and what sort of performance I’m getting out the the system.

More 5028D Goodness:

 

vForumAU 2016 Recap: Best Event In Years!

Last week I was in Sydney for the 2016 edition of vForumAU…I’ve been coming to vForumAU since 2011 and this years event was probably up there with the best that I have attended in that time. For the past couple of years the event has had to shift venues due to the Sydney Exhibition Center being knocked down and rebuilt and in that time the it’s been at Luna Park and Star City Casino…both of which presented their own challenges for VMware, sponsors and attendees. This years event was held at The Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park which offered a perfect venue for the event and helped deliver on what was a great vForumAU.

Adding to the venue was the calibre of speakers that VMware ANZ was able to bring out for this years event…in fact it was the best lineup that I’ve seen or heard of outside of VMworld. We had Pat Gelsinger, Kit Colbert, Paul Strong and Bruce Davie to add to the local VMware talent and given that this event fell after both VMworld US and Europe, I felt that the content was more complete in terms of announcements, products and overall strategy and vision.

I heard Pat deliver the keynote at VMworld US a few months back and the deck was largely the same, however I felt he delivered the message better and talked to the key points around VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy a lot more concisely and with a lot more tact in terms of ensure that vCloud Air Network providers where still very much in the reckoning for VMware’s future strategy around Hybrid cloud. There is no doubt that the partnership’s with AWS and IBM has caused some unease in the vCAN but every key slide had vCAN representation which was pleasing to see.

The Cross Cloud Foundation is something also that still sits uneasily with a lot of vCAN Providers but I have to admit that the tech preview of the Cross Cloud Platform was very very slick and shows how much VMware has changed tact when it comes to playing with other public clouds. There is no doubt that Cloud is the new Hardware and VMware want to be there to manage it and offer it’s customers tools that do the same. Hybrid cloud is here to stay, and they hyper-scalers certainly have a share…however on-premises and partner hosted IaaS will remain significant and relevant for the next 10-15 years.

Moving on from Pat’s keynote there was a super session Technical Keynote that was held after lunch that featured 20-30 minutes on every new product enhancement or release that has been announced of late. From vSphere 6.5 to VSAN 6.5 and a look at NSX futures as well as VMware’s container platforms this was a brilliant couple of hours of presentations. Highlights for me was Paul Strong talking VSAN, Kit Colbert going over the various Photon platforms and Bruce Davie talking around NSX extensibility into AWS. Of note was Bruce Davie (who also presented at the main keynote) who I have come to seriously admire as a speaker over the past couple of years.

The Sponsors hall has a very VMworld feel to it this year which elements of VMworld brought to the event such as VMVillage, special lounges for All Access Pass visitors and probably the best food that I’ve experienced at a vForumAU by way of specialised food trucks bringing a wide array of foods to enjoy. Though the first day wasn’t as well received by exhibitors (AAP attendees pay for sessions, not so much visiting sponsors) in talking with some people on the booths, the second day was very busy and the venue and location had everything to do with that. Again well done do the VMware events team for bringing the event to The Royal Hall of Industries.

Finishing off this recap, once again there was great spirit and community around both sponsors and the attendees to which the venue offered a great chance to catch up socially with people from the VMware community and that fact shouldn’t be lost on the benefit of attending such an event. And while I didn’t attend the offical party I heard that it went really well and was highly entertaining with a lot of food!

Well done to VMware ANZ for putting on a great event!


As a side note, I also attended my final VMware vChampion event on the Wednesday morning where Kit Colbert facilitated an open discussion on containerised platforms and the new continuous integration and continuous deployment methodologies that are creeping their ways into mainstream IT. Again, thanks to the vChampion team!

VMware vChampion Farewell!

About four years ago I was invited to join a program called the VMware vChampions…this program is run and operated by the VMware ANZ Channel and Marketing teams and is an invite only advocacy group who’s members are made up exclusively from VMware’s top partners and service providers in the ANZ region. The numbers have varied over the past couple of years, but at any one time there are about 30-40 vChampions in the group.

With my new role at Veeam I have had to leave the program and this week at #vForumAU will be my last as a member of the group. Before I sign off I wanted to openly thank the people who have made the program such instrumental not only from a personal work point of view, but also from the point of view of enhancing my engagement with the wider VMware community. Probably of most importance, superseding both work and community benefits the program has allowed me to develop friendships with those I have come to meet through the program…some of those people I now consider some of my closest friends.

The program helped take me to my first VMworld in 2012 which is still one of the highlights of my career and an experience that included an VMware Executive Brief at the VMware campus and an introduction to the global VMware community. At vForumAU that same year, the vChampion’s where briefed by then CTO Steve Herrod. The following year at PEX ANZ I was able to work towards landing a dream role at Zettagrid and also establish friendships that are still going strong today. Later that year at vForumAU the vChampions had a whole day event that included a discussion with Martin Casado just shortly after Nicira had been acquired by VMware…the inspiring talk by Martin was, again a career highlight and lit of flame under me that got me into Network Virtualization and deeper into automation.

Over the last couple of years the vChampion program scaled back it’s activities and bi-annual meetings become once a year get togethers however the team was still able to secure guest speakers such as Sanjay Poonen and Kit Colbert. In an amongst the speakers the group was given insider NDA access and product roadmaps…and there in lies the true value of the group for VMware and in equipping the vChampion’s with knowledge and updates the group is equipped to go back to their companies and advocated VMware technologies to the rest of their peers and hopefully also spoke out in the community about VMware technologies.

All in all the value that the program has added to my career can not be understated and I would like to thank, Katrina Jones, Anthony Segren, John Donovan, Rhody Burton and Eugene Geaher for allowing me to be part of such a brilliant program. Also a special mention to Grant Orchard and Greg Mulholland for being the vChampion Champions within VMware and for always being there to help organise and support the vChampions.

Thanks guys and I hope the program can continue to deliver!

vForumAU 2016: vBrownBag TechTalks

With vForumAU 2016 less than a week away it’s time to talk about what the vBrownBag crew will be up to next week in Sydney. If you don’t know what the vBrownBag TechTalks head here for an overview…but in a nutshell the crew offer the technical community a platform to present on topics that are more social than sales and marketing and allow those that participate a public platform from which to interact with the community.

The Sydney vForumAU edition still has a few slots available so if you are going over to vForumAU next week and want to get something off your chest that the VMware community might find informative…head to the site below and register.

Below is a snapshot of the talks that will feature next week:

  • Matt Allford – Using Vester Project to Enforce vSphere Configuration
  • Frank Yoo – What is RESTFul API and How to use it
  • David Lloyd – Building an Elastic Bare Metal Service
  • Luis Concistre – Microsegmentation VMware Horizon and NSX
  • Brett Johnson – Disaster Planning and What’s new in vSphere 6.5

TechTalks at vForum Sydney

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:

vExpert NSX 2016 Award Announcement

Announcing the 2016 VSAN vExperts

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