July 6th Citrix UK User Group Meeting – A Rimmary

I’ve known the committee members (Neil Spellings, Andy Wood and Jim Moyle) for a long time but with my prior volunteer role as a UK VMUG leader, it never felt ‘right’ that I should attend a Citrix User Group. So I was excited to attend the meeting in London on 6th July to a) learn but b) to see how it was on the “dark” side 🙂

My client, Liquidware Labs, is a platinum sponsor of the UK CUG, but is also a founding sponsor of the CUGC launched at Synergy in 2015. I’ve long harped on to anyone that would listen to me at Citrix – I specifically recall a discussion at IPExpo back in 2013 with Julian Wood, Andy Wood and the then NE Marketing Director Nick McGrath – that a user group needs the support and focus from the vendor to be successful. The UK Citrix User Group has been running for a number of years prior to a formal CUGC being launched. Support required isn’t necessarily financial, but does need to be supported by key technical team members. So it was great to see Simon Frost and Craig Hinchliffe in attendance. And it was great to witness a formal Citrix User group first hand!

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Andy Wood opened proceedings with a welcome and thanks to sponsors, of which there are 3 Platinum, 4 Gold and 4 Silver. As mentioned prior, Liquidware Labs is a Platinum sponsor and one of my other (previous) clients, PernixData is Gold. However, due to the current “situation”, PernixData was not in attendance 🙁

It was funny to hear Andy mention that they’d stolen  borrowed [updated as per comment below] “another VMUG idea”, tipping a nod to me, of a quiz (aka passport to prizes) to encourage members to visit each sponsors’ stands to garner the answer to company specific questions to then be entered into a prize draw for a very nice wireless Bose speaker, sponsored by AppSense. Interestingly – given they were recently acquired by LANDesk – their question was “What company was AppSense born out of?”!!

Then we had an overview of the Citrix announcements at the recently held Citrix Synergy, delivered by a customer, Dave Holborn of Aviva and a partner, Chris Marks of Esteem. As I’d watched the live stream of the keynotes, there wasn’t anything new, but I liked the way Dave and Chris made the session interactive by asking the audience what they thought about the announcements. This produced some great dialogue and, frankly, they needed more than their allocated 45 minutes.

Next up was Andrew Innes from Citrix talking about Federated Domain Logon: Flexible Auth for Windows Delivery in XenApp 7.9. Following Andrew was a sponsor 15 minutes presentation from UniPrint. After a coffee break, Dan Bolton and Jim Moyle presented a community session on Numecent’s JukeBox, now named CloudPaging – an app delivery application. Then followed a CTA (Citrix Technology Advocate) session on the Mysteries of FTA’s by James Rankin. The last session prior to lunch was the 15-minute sponsor session from Peter von Oven of Liquidware Labs, talking about User Login Process.

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After the community was fed, thanks to Liquidware Labs, I had to leave.

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It was a great first time meeting for me, informative and interactive and also great to catch up with some old and new friends; Yuri Pasea, Roger Baskerville, Ian Jones, Steve McElfatrick and Sharon Munday in the “old” camp and Rachel Berry of NVIDIA and Jane Cassell from TFL in the “new”.

If you’re a Citrix user and don’t know about this user group, you should sign up and attend for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, that was the week (and a bit) that was!

There are 5 things that occurred in the past 10 days that have really shocked and, in some instances, saddened me.

  • Nutanix “wheel” debacle
  • Brexit outcome
  • Euro championship outcome
  • Top vBlog 2016
  • Rumours of Nutanix’s acquisition of PernixData

Let’s start with the 2nd one; I don’t ever discuss politics or religion on social media and, frankly, the EU referendum wasn’t about polictics, albeit the politicians did a fab job of completely effing it up! Demonstrating, along the way, that they’re all lying toe rags. I won’t delve deeper into my personal thoughts as I think my tweet summed up my thoughts!

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Status: Sad. Right, that’s that one out of the way.

The 1st one; this is the second time Nutanix has been accused of being sexist.


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The first time was 2 years ago with their competitive marketing campaign, nixvblock,that contained a series of videos of “Vicky Block” demonstrating some eclectic dress sense and mental issues. This was the first time Nutanix fielded a woman to post a blog to apologize, however, this post seems to have disappeared from their website, albeit Laura is no longer with Nutanix.

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Frankly, the outcome of both situations elevated Nutanix’s visibility, Howard Ting apologized on twitter and Julie O’Brien appeared on The Current Status podcast, so all will blow over. My view, in general, is men are wired – emotionally – different to women, we should all be seen as people in tech, a homogenous tech world wouldn’t be much fun and times change, we need to move with the times.

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Status: Sad.

The 3rd one; What a bunch of wankers! When we really need our boys to step up and lift the nation after the turmoil of BREXIT, they proved they’re an over paid bunch of individuals who cannot play as a team. Nuff said. Status: Sad.

The 4th point; I am so incredibly chuffed to have my Rimmergram blog even listed on Eric Siebert’s Top vBlog list. To have been voted 181 and received 29 votes is just thrilling, I am ecstatic beyond belief. Thank you to all that voted for my blog. STATUS: Shocked but in a good way!

Finally, number 5. The El Reg post is, at time of posting, just a conjecture. However, I have been informed PernixData no longer requires my services. This makes me truly sad, I’ve loved working with the team, totally believe in the technology and have met some awesome people as part of my role and have thoroughly enjoyed managing the PernixPro program over the past few months. I am sure the real facts and details will emerge during the coming days/weeks of the future of the company. STATUS: definitely both shocked and sad.

So, what a turbulent week, I’m pleased it’s Saturday – off to ride the horse now!

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Crowdsourced Consultancy #FTW!

WhatMatrix® – the crowdsourced consultancy community platform – has announced 6 new comparison categories have been published, 8 new category consultants and vendor endorsement for its disruptive IT comparison website. The number of viewers of the site has grown exponentially since launching in December, indicating that IT professionals are looking for insightful, unbiased and independent information.

The website provides free and intuitive access to an increasing number of “always on-line” comparisons, enabling businesses to make IT purchase decisions, create solution proposals and perform technical product research. The platform also provides vendors with a ground-breaking way to increase brand visibility and articulate product value.

Since December 2015, WhatMatrix has published 6 new comparisons:
• New: Software Defined Storage and Hyperconverged Systems
• Cloud Storage Gateways
• Disaster Recovery for Virtual Environments
• Cloud Management Platforms
• Backup in Virtual Environments
• Virtualization Platforms

New and recent category consultants include Marius Sandbu,  Ajay Walia, Ajay Nabh, Viktor van den Berg, Herman Rutten, Ephraim Baron, Jan Hosek and Roman Macek.

Further new comparisons are in the pipeline for publishing in the coming weeks include
• All Flash Arrays, Application Delivery Controllers
• Enterprise Mobility Management / Unified Device Management
• Software Defined Networking

In addition to the category updates, the WhatMatrix platform was also updated with significant functionality & usability enhancements, including community driven curation and the ability to generate an evaluation report. New features coming soon include generation of custom reports, review and rating of products and the customization of evaluation criteria based on viewers’ use cases.

This unique community platform is gathering momentum and is becoming recognised as a “go-to-place” for unbiased information.  Only recently, they were mentioned on Reddit, which is a testament to the great work the category consultants do.

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VeeamON Forum, London – a Rimmary

I’ve been fortunate to attend some interesting industry events recently and this was my very first VeeamON Forum. On entering the venue, prior to the keynotes starting, the first thing that hit me was the ‘buzz’, there was a really vibrant atmosphere. The first people I bumped into were 2 UKVMUG attendees, Craig Dalrymple and Nick Furnell. They were chatting with someone I’d conversed with for a long time over twitter and spoken to on Skype for a PernixData customer story, but never met. It was awesome to finally meet IRL Anthony Spiteri, in attendance all the way from Australia! Throughout the morning I met many more PernixPros, including Rasmus Haslund, Liselotte Foverskov, Olafur Helgi, Barry Coombs and Karel Novak.

The breadth of countries represented at this event in London is a testament to the strength of Veeam in its customer and partner base. I also bumped into a few European VMUG leaders, namely Fred Hofer, Joep Piscar and Javier Larrea. Veeam has its own evangelist/advocacy program called Veeam Vanguard and many of the aforementioned are also VeeamVanguards, who had their own meeting the day prior. After the morning keynotes, they were called together for an official photo, with the program owner Mr Rick Vanover!

 

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The keynotes were interesting and focused on Digital Transformation as the ‘theme’ and were well balanced in terms of content. It was interesting to hear about the floating, 100% virtualized datacenter from Richard Agnew in his Availability for the Modern Enterprise keynote. He also shared some impressive growth numbers for Veeam:

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His quote of the day, for me, was in talking about the shift in IT – that it is no longer the small organization scared of the large, it is the slow scared of the agile – he said “No CEO wants to be Uber’d.” 🙂

 

I found the IDC presentation informative with Archana Venkatraman, senior researcher for Storage and Datacenter at IDC. Key takeaways for me were IDC’s view of “thrivers and survivors”, along with the 1st platform being mainframe, the 2nd platform client/server and now the 3rd platform is really the Internet of Things. Archana also shared some interesting stats on priorities and spends:

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She summarized with data protection tools need to be agnostic and compatible with heterogeneous environments.

Next was the customer panel – always great to hear from the peeps ‘at the coal face’. The panel consisted of a diverse section of industries; transport, finance law and education. Bob Eadie trumped everyone with having been at Bedford School for 45 years, he said he arrived in 1971 at the same time as the first computer! His statement that IT is pupil-led in his school and that IT can make or break a student’s career was quite sobering.

Let the customers do the talking!

Let the customers do the talking!

I then enjoyed catching up over lunch with Julian Wood and Liselotte. I also bumped into Iain Radford of Telefonica, who I’d not seen since VMworld Barcelona a few years ago. He very kindly took this photo of me and Liselotte 🙂

 

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The VeeamOn Forum ‘vibe’ reminded me much of the early days of VMware customer and partner events; lots of people sharing their stories, with a good element of community and happy customers and partners. A really great event, thanks for having me Veeam!

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A Basic Right to Broadband? Bullshit!

Apologies for the title, but am feeling pretty frustrated about the current situation after the Queen’s Speech!

This isn’t about the north/south divide, it’s not even about the have/have not’s, it’s about my Government not being able to deliver me a basic utility. Does this impact my human rights, I wonder? The government has pledged in the Queen’s Speech that we have a ‘right’ to 10Mbps broadband, yet, as I continually bang on about, I do not have ANY broadband – nothing, zippo, nada. The problem with any documented or legislated ‘right’ is that there are always people/groups/departments that continue to flout the implementation of said right.

I’m located 11km from the fibre optic enable telephone exchange, which, by the way, isn’t a rural location, not really. No, I am just a 10-minute drive from Junction 8/9 of the M4 – in fact pretty close to Queenie’s back garden at Windsor. Yes, I’m located in the Tory ‘heartland’ of the South and yet I can’t get broadband – why? Well, dear reader, the answer to that is simple, it is not economically viable for BT/OpenReach to lay any infrastructure to supply me a BASIC broadband service. This is due to my community consisting of approximately 20 or so houses that do not have any broadband via BT infrastructure. Thus, the spend required to poke a usable broadband connection down our copper wire would never provide a return on investment. We are rurally located enough to not have a gas supply nor be on mains drainage, so we’re already paying a premium on LPG or oil and maintaining plants to get rid of our own s&!t.

I digress, the bottom line is the Government and its ministers, Ed Vaizey in particular, Minister of State for Culture and the Digitial Economy, are using statistics that, in my opinion, are down right lies. There has been a government-funded initiative Superfast Berkshire to provide superfast broadband to Berkshire homes. I keep reading that 95% of homes and businesses are now enabled. One could argue, as a great technology journalist Peter Gothard of Computing fame continues to do so, that 10 Mbps is hardly fast! This organisation has an interactive map that demonstrates coverage. Now, if the likes of Ed Vaizey and Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for business, are viewing the stats from this map, then, bingo!, we’ve got broadband, because that’s what the green bit on the map shows!

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But this is just pure and utter bullshit, as I’m continually told by the copious BT engineers that have to attend down our line to fix the failing, old knackered wires to deliver a shitty voice connection only, we will never get broadband here with the current infrastructure. I can only assume it is these inaccuracies that enable Ed Vaizey to write an article such as this in the Telegraph this week.

I’ve been interviewed on BBC South Today and BBC Radio Berkshire about this issue, each time I re-iterate that in the 21st century a broadband connection is an every day necessity like electricity and water. Now, you will find even property details contain details of broadband speeds for the property on sale, in the same way the house’s energy rating is listed!

I, and my little community, all survive either with a 3G/4G dongle (yes even 4G coverage is spotty out here!) or with satellite broadband. The Government has made an offer to subsidise a satellite connection by up to £350, but the actual cost of installing one is close to £1,000 + VAT and getting a basic service of 8Mbps up and 2Mbps down is in the region of £50+VAT PER MONTH, so the measly offer of £350 is totally and utterly inadequate. Plus, if you’ve already invested in your own satellite because you had no option – hello! Me! – then you can’t claim the £350 retrospectively, what a surprise.

I’m doing my bit for the congested roads in Berkshire and being ‘green’ by working from home. You could argue the outlay of satellite broadband is small scale in comparison with having to rent an office. As a BT engineer once said to me – in the days that they still did site surveys – you have this wonderful, idyllic location what more do you want? I want the view AND broadband sir, that’s what I want!

On that note, I have twice been told by BT sales that between a 1Mbps and 3Mbps broadband connection is available to me. Twice I’ve ordered the connection, twice the equipment has been sent out, twice I’ve installed it and twice the blue “b” has not lit up. Twice I’ve returned the equipment and twice BT has charged me for cancelling the order! It took a lot of arguing with BT that I didn’t cancel the order, they couldn’t provide the service and thus I’ve returned the equipment. Twice it took me months to get a credit for the £120 “cancellation” fee. What a joke.

I hope the likes of Peter from Computing, The Telegraph’s campaign and Christopher Hope from The Telegraph with their continual journalistic efforts can help move this Government into action. The likes of me – your constituent, your voting public, one of the idiots that put you in power – are not making a difference other than to keep banging on about it. Perhaps one day this lone voice will be heard………..

 

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