Tag Archives: vBlog

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.

Top vBlog 2018 – Last few Days 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.

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.

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. Even though i’ve slowed down a little this year, if you feel inclined and enjoy my content around Veeam, vCloud Director, Availability, NSX, vSAN and Cloud and Hosting in general…It would be an honour to have you consider anthonyspiteri.net in your Top 12

https://topvblog.questionpro.com/

Thanks again to Eric Siebert.

References:

http://vsphere-land.com/news/voting-now-open-for-top-vblog-2018.html 

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 – 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.