Tag Archives: Top vBlog

Top vBlog 2017: Notable Representation and Thanks

It feels like this year moving along at ludicrous speed so it’s no surprise that the Top vBlog for 2017 has been run and won. This year Eric Siebert changed things up by introducing new voting mechanisms to try and deliver a more palatable outcome for all who where involved…I think it worked well and delivered interesting results for all those active bloggers listed on the vLaunchpad.

Eric introduced a point system based on Google Page Speed and the number of posts in 2016 to help level the playing field and make it less of a perceived popularity contest. Introducing tangible metrics to make up a portion of the total ranking points was an interesting move and seemed to work well. If nothing else it made people (myself included) more aware around the dark art of web page speed optimization…and this has meant a better browsing experience for those visiting Top vBlog sites.

The Results:

As expected, with Duncan Epping bowing out of the race William Lam deservedly took out the #1 spot with Vladan Seget, Cormac Hogan, Chris Wahl and Scott Lowe rounding out the top 5. There was lots of movement in the top 25 and I managed to sneak into the top 20 at #19 which is extremely humbling.

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.

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 Matt Allford who debuted at #190 …watch out for him to climb up the list over the next few years!

Blog Rank Prev +/- Total Points Total Votes Voting Points #1 Votes # 2016 posts Post Pts PS % PS Pts
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 19 44 25 1420 165 1042 15 123 246 66% 132
Long White Virtual Clouds (Michael Webster) 20 13 -7 1374 201 1228 7 17 34 56% 112
CloudXC (Josh Odgers) 29 17 -12 1166 144 930 7 53 106 65% 130
Penguinpunk.net (Dan Frith) 106 78 -28 545 48 317 4 46 92 68% 136
Virtual 10 (Manny Sidhu) 115 82 -33 520 44 268 0 32 64 94% 188
Proudest Monkey (Grant Orchard) 127 93 -34 501 53 341 0 11 22 69% 138
Demitasse (Alastair Cooke) 140 168 28 467 42 261 0 33 66 70% 140
Pragmatic IO (Brett Sinclair) 174 153 -21 418 29 222 6 12 24 86% 172
Virtual Tassie (Matt Allford) 190 NEW NEW 392 29 170 1 23 46 88% 176
ukotic.net (Mark Ukotic) 201 179 -22 369 24 159 6 14 28 91% 182
Virtual Notions (Derek Hennessy) 266 298 32 253 21 121 0 25 50 41% 82
Veeam Representation:

My follow colleagues at Veeam made it into the list and all below made the top 50!

Blog Rank Prev +/- Total Points Total Votes Voting Points #1 Votes # 2016 posts Post Pts PS % PS Pts
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 19 44 25 1420 165 1042 15 123 246 66% 132
Notes from MWhite (Michael White) 31 38 7 1080 108 642 2 132 264 87% 174
Virtual To The Core (Luca Dell’Oca) 38 41 3 927 111 695 2 36 72 80% 160
vZilla (Michael Cade) 44 120 76 871 109 645 9 27 54 86% 172
Tim’s Tech Thoughts (Tim Smith) 48 100 52 837 92 583 5 32 64 95% 190
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.

The whole list and category winners can been viewed here.

 

Top vBlog 2017 – Last week to Vote!

While I had resisted the temptation to put out a blog on this years Top vBlog voting I thought with the voting coming to an end it was worth giving it a shout just in case there are some of you who hadn’t had the chance to vote or didn’t know about the Top vBlog vLaunchPad list created and maintained by Eric Siebert of vShere-Land.

This year’s voting has a slightly different format with the total vote being determined by the following:

  • 60% – public voting – general voting – anyone can vote – votes are tallied and weighted for points based on voting rankings as done in past years
  • 20% – private judges scoring – chosen judges who will grade a select group of blogs based on several factors, combined rankings will equal points
  • 10% – number of posts in a year – how much effort a blogger has put into writing posts over the course of a year based on Andreas hard work adding this up each year (aggregator’s excluded)
  • 10% – Google PageSpeed score – how well a blogger has done to build and optimize their site as scored by Google’s PageSpeed tools

As Eric mentions the vBlog voting should be based on blog content based around longevity, length, frequency and quality of the posts. There is an amazing amount of great content that gets created daily by this community and all things aside, this Top vBlog vote goes someway to recognizing the hard work most bloggers put into the creation of content for the community. Special mention to Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman for pulling out of the voting this year to give others a shot at moving up the ranks…it’s a classy move!

Good luck to all those who are listed and for those who haven’t voted yet click on the link below to cast your vote. If you feel inclined and enjoy my content around vCloud Director, Availability, NSX, vSAN and Cloud and Hosting in general…It would be an honor to have you consider anthonyspiteri.net in your Top 12 and also in the Independent Blogger category.

http://topvblog2017.questionpro.com

Thanks again to Eric Siebert.

References:

http://vsphere-land.com/news/voting-now-open-for-top-vblog-2017.html

http://vsphere-land.com/news/coming-soon-top-vblog-2017-with-a-new-scoring-method.html

Top Posts 2016

2016 is pretty much done and dusted and it’s been an good year for Virtualization is Life! There was a more modest 70% increase in site visits this year compared to 2015 and a 2600% increase in visits since I began blogging in 2012. In 2016 I managed to produce 124 posts (including this one) which was slightly up on the 110 I produced in 2015 and in doing so passed 300 total blogs since I started here. I was fairly consistent in getting out at least eight blogs per month with June being my most prolific month with sixteen blog posts published.

Looking back through the statistics generate via JetPack, I’ve listed the Top 10 Blog Posts from the last 12 months. This year the opinion pieces seemed to be of interest to my readers and there is still vCloud Director and NSX representation in the top ten with my Veeam articles doing well. Again it was interesting to see that two of the most generic (older posts) and certainly basic posts took out two of the top three spots. It shows that bloggers should not be afraid of blogging around simple topics as there is an audience that will appreciate the content and get value out of the post.

  1. NSX Edge vs vShield Edge: Part 1 – Feature and Performance Matrix
  2. Quick Post: E1000 vs VMXNET3
  3. vSphere 6.0 vCenter Server Appliance: Upgrading from 5.x
  4. ESXi Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  5. Nutanix Buying PernixData: My Critical Analysis
  6. New NSX License Tier Thoughts and Transformers
  7. CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!
  8. Veeam 9 Released: Top New Features
  9. Veeam’s Next Big Thing – Veeam has Arrived!
  10. vCloud Director 8: New Features And A New UI Addition…

I was honoured to have this blog voted #44 in the TopvBlog2016 and even with all the controversy around the voting I still hold that as a significant outcome of which I am very proud and I’d like to thank the readers and supporters of this blog for voting for me! And thanks must also go to my site sponsors who are all listed on the right hand side of this page.

With me moving across to vendor land it’s going to be interesting to see if I can keep up the variety of posts as I “narrow” down my core focus…however 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. I have the Home lab and the drive to continue to produce content around the things I am passionate about…and that includes all things hosting and cloud now with a touch of availability 🙂

Stay tuned for an even bigger 2017!

#LongLivevCD

The Anatomy of a vBlog Part 1: Building a Blogging Platform

Earlier this week my good friend Matt Crape sent out a Tweet lamenting the fact that he was having issues uploading media to WordPress…shortly after that tweet went out Matt wasn’t short of Twitter and Slack vCommunity advice (follow the Twitter conversation below) and there where a number of options presented to Matt on how best to host his blogging site Matt That IT Guy.

Over the years I have seen that same question of “which platform is best” pop up a fair bit and thought it a perfect opportunity to dissect the anatomy of Virtualization is Life!. The answer to the specific question as to which blogging platform is best doesn’t have a wrong or right answer and like most things in life the platform that you use to host your blog is dependent on your own requirements and resources. For me, I’ve always believed in eating my own dog food and I’ve always liked total end to end control of sites that I run. So while, what I’m about to talk about worked for me…you might like to look at alternative options but feel free to borrow on my example as I do feel it gives bloggers full flexibility and control.

Brief History:

Virtualization is Life! started out as Hosting is Life! back in April of 2012 and I choose WordPress at the time mainly due to it’s relatively simple installation and ease of use. The site was hosted on a Windows Hosting Platform that I had built at Anittel, utilizing WebsitePanel on IIS7.5, running FastCGI to serve the PHP content. Server backend was hosted on a VMware ESX Cluster out of the Anittel Sydney Zones. The cost of running this site was approximately $10 US per month.

Tip: At this stage the site was effectively on a shared hosting platform which is a great way to start off as the costs should be low and maintenance and uptime should be included in the hosters SLA.

Migration to Zettagrid:

When I started at Zettagrid, I had a whole new class of virtual infrastructure at my hands and decided to migrate the blog to one of Zettagrid’s Virtual DataCenter products where I provisioned a vCloud Director vDC and created a vApp with a fresh Ubuntu VM inside. The migration from a Windows based system to Linux went smoother than I thought and I only had a few issues with some character maps after restoring the folder structure and database.

The VM it’s self is configured with the following hardware specs:

  • 2 vCPU (5GHz)
  • 4GB vRAM
  • 20GB Storage

As you can see above the actual usage pulled from vCloud Director shows you how little resource a VM with a single WordPress instance uses. That storage number actually represents the expanded size of a thin provisioned disk…actual used on the file system is less than 3GB, and that is with four and a half years and about 290 posts worth of media and database content  I’ll go through site optimizations in Part 2, but in reality the amount of resources required to get you started is small…though you have to consider the occasional burst in traffic and work in a buffer as I have done with my VM above.

The cost of running this Virtual Datacenter in Zettagrid is approx $120 US per month.

TipEven though I am using a vCloud Director vDC, given the small resource requirements initially needed a VPS or instance based service might be a better bet. Azure/AWS/Google all offer instance based VM instances, but a better bet might be a more boutique provider like DigitalOcean.

Networking and Security:

From a networking point of view I use the vShield/NSX Edge that is part of vCloud Director as my Gateway device. This handles all my DHCP, NAT and Firewall rules and is able to handle the site traffic with ease. If you want to look at what capabilities the vShield/NSX Edges can do, check out my NSX Edge vs vShield Series. Both the basic vShield Edges and NSX Edges have decent Load Balancing features that can be used in high availability situations if required.

As shown below I configured the Gateway rules from the Zettagrid MyAccount Page but could have used the vCloud Director UI. For a WordPress site, the following services should be configured at a minimum.

  • Web (HTTP)
  • Secure Web (HTTPS)
  • FTP (Locked down to only accept connections from specific IPs)
  • SSH (Locked down to only accept connections from specific IPs)

OS and Web Platform Details:

As mentioned above I choose Ubuntu as my OS of choice to run Wordpress though any Linux flavour would have done the trick. Choosing Linux over Windows obviously means you save on the Microsoft SPLA costs associated with hosting a Windows based OS…the savings should be around $20-$50 US a month right there. A Linux distro is a personal choice so as long as you can install the following modules it doesn’t really matter which one you use.

  • SSH
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Apache
  • HTOP

The only thing I would suggest is that you use a long term support distro as you don’t want to be stuck on a build that can’t be upgraded or patched to protect against vulnerability and exploits. Essentially I am running a traditional LAMP stack, which is Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP built on a minimal install of Ubuntu with only SSH enabled. The upkeep and management of the OS and LAMP stack is not much and I would estimate that I have spent about five to ten hours a year since deploying the original server dealing with updates and maintenance. Apache as a web server still performs well enough for a single blog site, though I know many that made the switch to NGINX and use the LEMP Stack.

The last package on this list is a personal favorite of mine…HTOP is an interactive process viewer for Unix systems that can be installed with a quick apt-get install htop command. As shown below it has a detailed interface and is much better than trying to work through standard top.

TipIf you don’t want to deal with installing the OS or installing and configuring the LAMP packages, you can download a number of ready made appliances that contain the LAMP stack. Turnkey Linux offers a number of appliances that can be deployed in OVA format and have a ready made LAMP appliance as well as a ready made WordPress appliance.

That covers off the hosting and platform components of this blog…In Part 2 I will go through my WordPress install in a little more detail and look at themes and plugins as well as talk about how best to optimize a blogging site with the help of free caching and geo-distribution platforms.

References and Guides:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/server

http://howtoubuntu.org/how-to-install-lamp-on-ubuntu

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-install-linux-nginx-mysql-php-lemp-stack-in-ubuntu-16-04

Top vBlog 2016: Aussie (vMafia) Representation

The Top vBlog for 2016 Results where announced a couple of nights ago and Australia had an ok representation this year, though the number of active bloggers on the list has decreased from last year. There where 321 blogs listed at vSphere-Land.com. I know of a lot more bloggers locally so if you have a chance head over and register your site on the list ready for next year’s revamp.

http://vsphere-land.com/news/top-vblog-2016-full-results.html

I’ve pulled out the Aussie Blogs and listed them below…Those with the Rank highlighted in Red are contributors to the @aussvMafia site with myself, Craig Waters, Rene Van Den Bedem and @JoshOdgers taking out a Top 50 spots this year. Those not familiar with Aussie vMafia, head here and take advantage of one of the best aggregation sites focused on VMware Vitualization going round. Great to also see three new blogs appear in the list as well.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Votes Total Points #1 Votes
CloudXC (Josh Odgers) 17 15 -2 189 1342 24
VCDX133 (Rene Van Den Bedem) 19 37 18 167 1284 24
Craig Waters 37 58 21 75 579 4
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 44 105 61 77 544 14
Penguinpunk.net (Dan Frith) 78 229 151 52 320 2
Virtual 10 (Manny Sidhu) 82 246 164 41 303 7
Proudest Monkey (Grant Orchard) 93 98 5 45 278 1
Pragmatic IO (Brett Sinclair) 153 224 71 30 199 4
Musings of Rodos (Rodney Haywood) 214 319 105 20 140 0

Virtualization is Life! managed to jump up 61 places from last year to #44 which is a great feeling and humble reward for the work I put into this site. It also shows that there is strong interest in vCloud Director, NSX and the vCloud Air Network in general. The list of bloggers that are ranked higher (and lower) shows the extraordinary power of community generated content. There is quality throughout!

Thanks again to Eric Siebert for taking his time to go through the process and organise the voting and all the good and bad that goes with that…and thanks to all that voted!

#TopvBlog2016 #LongLivevCD

ps. Please let me know if I’ve left anyone off the list..I worked through the list in quick time so might have left someone out.

Top vBlog 2016 – Still Time to Vote

While I have resisted temptation to post a blog on this years Top vBlog voting I thought with a couple of days to go it was worth giving it a shout just in case there where some of you who hadn’t had the chance to vote or didn’t know about the Top vBlog vLaunchPad list organised and maintained by Eric Siebert of vShere-Land.

As Eric mentions the vBlog voting should be based on blog content based around longevity, length, frequency and quality of the posts. There is such great content creators out there in the VMware community and the 300+ lists of active bloggers is testament to the effort and passion shown by members of the community.

As has been the case in previous years, there has been talk of this being a popularity contest and there has even been some other comments around gender participation this year which is disappointing to have around what should be a legitimate way to help recognize the vBlog community. In my opinion the best way to vote was described by @Virten shown below.

Export Browser History…
Filer URLs…
Calculate Sums..
Filter out non VMware related sites..

How to vote for Top vBlog 2016 @vsphere-land.com

However you do it, or have done it good luck to all those who are listed and for those who haven’t voted yet click on the link below to cast your vote. If you feel inclined and enjoy my content around vCloud Director, NSX, VSAN and Cloud and Hosting in general…It would be an honor to have you consider anthonyspiteri.net in your Top 12 and also in the Independent Blogger category.

http://sgiz.mobi/s3/TopvBlog2016 

Thanks again to Eric Siebert.