Mystery, Intrigue and CSR

So, the mystery is how on earth are we now in March and I’ve not blogged since November?! Well, that’s easy to answer, have been soooo busy with a new client. And that’s the intrigue, they’re coming out of stealth at Cloud Field Day on 5 April, so can’t share that bit yet – they’re the ones listed as “secret company” 🙂 Now, to the corporate social responsibility part of this blog. I’ve just spoken to one of their customers today for a case study and supporting quote for the launch press release and it opened my eyes even more to the power of this technology.

While many companies endeavor to be cognizant of CSR, it’s often hard, particularly for a start up to focus on this, beyond compliance and statutory requirements at least. However, when your technology enables customers to deliver considerable CSR when deploying technology is really powerful. Imagine delivering a SaaS-type model where there is no Internet connectivity, yet being able to provide productivity applications and then sync when the Internet is available? There are many remote regions that don’t have connectivity, such as war-torn areas. There are facilities that actively remove connectivity to the outside world and yet people residing in these facilities are looking to better themselves, perhaps through online education. Imagine being able to deliver these users the same experience as those in the connected world and making them an equal ‘digital citizen’? That’s a real CSR tick in the box in my opinion.

I am so excited about this new client and the possibilities their technology will deliver but have to remain shtum for the time being. It’s been a real pleasure working with Stephen Foskett and his team to prepare for the unveiling on 5 April. Having observed other companies’ success since coming out of stealth at Tech Field day events, I know we’re in very good company, Zerto and Nutanix to name but two. Stephen is well known in our industry and watching previous live streams of vendor discussions I also know it’s a very slick operation and will give my client an inordinate amount of coverage through the delegates social media activity, both during and after the event. The delegate list is a very strong one and good to see a couple of London VMUG members participating, namely Michelle Laverick and Chris Porter and a previous London VMUG presenter too in the guise of Chris Evans!

The team asked me if I’d attend the event, which I would LOVE to go out to the Valley again as not been for a couple of years. However, I do have my other passion to take care of – no, not my other clients, well yes I do……. but for those that know me well, it’s my horses, of course 🙂

Am also cognizant that I may well be using the vExpert URL shortener for the last time with this post 🙁 vExpert announcements are due out this Friday and while I still play a part in the VMware community around VMUGs, my involvement has not been as strong as in previous years. Thus, I won’t be surprised – but still disappointed – if I’m not selected a vExpert for 2018. I am very proud of having been one continuously since 2011 and being part of the community is a very important part of my professional life, so fingers crossed…. Good luck to all nominees!!

TechnologyUG and TechUnplugged Events – a Rimmary

I recently attended the TechnologyUG in London as I’d recommended one of my clients to sponsor it.  As a previous VMUG leader, I’d never attended the TechnologyUG as I’d felt it would be a conflict of interest 🙂  Whilst I’d argue it’s not a user group in the truest sense of the term, it is a broader church than a VMUG and the attendees are reflective of this with more managerial level attendees than perhaps a VMUG.  It was interesting to see previous London VMUG speakers, Chris Kranz and Craig Kilborn, speaking at the event; talking about modern storage and Azure site recovery respectively. I maybe biased but I didn’t feel the community passion I always feel is present at a VMUG, but I highly commend the dedication of long term serving TechUG founder Gav Brining and organisational and communication skills of Mike England, TechUG COO. It was an interesting day and great dialogue with the attendees for my client, Liquidware Labs.

Peter von Oven, Director Systems Engineering, Liquidware Labs

Peter von Oven, Director Systems Engineering, Liquidware Labs

Then yesterday, May 12th, I attended the 2nd TechUnplugged event in London, organised by Enrico Signoretti.  It was a very educational day for me personally, although heavily storage biased, the opening session by Giuseppe Paternò on bridging the gap between virtualisation and cloud with OpenStack was a great learning experience for me.  Plus, I got a copy of Giuseppe’s book, Openstack Explained (which you can also download off his website.  Then followed a preso by Rick Vanover of Veeam who provided an excellent overview of protecting your data and vulnerabilities from an ‘agnostic’ view point versus banging Veeam down our throats.

Chris Mellor of The Register fame, then shared his thoughts with us on winners and losers in the storage arena.  Despite his acerbic reporting style, his presenting style was informative, interesting and humorous and he was clearly nervous at presenting to an audience!

IMG_8798 IMG_8797 IMG_8796 IMG_8795

Another London VMUG presenter, Greg Ferro of PacketPushers fame gave his usual engaging presentation style on Upgrading your WAN to Internet, 2 key takeaways for me where to look at 5G to solve my (lack of) broadband issues and also it’s cheaper to provide your employees with smartphones than implement a VoIP telephone system!

Nigel Poulton, as always, gave a great presentation on clouds and containers and did a demo of AWS and Docker deployments, against the timer for AWS deployment (2 minutes) and against Martin Glassborow eating 5 biscuits (he only got to 4). What an entertaining preso!

Nigel Poulton's demo gods offering of choccie biccies

Nigel Poulton’s demo gods offering of choccie biccies

Storagebod timer #managainstbiccies

Storagebod timer #managainstbiccies

Interspersed with the industry presentations were vendor sponsor presentations from HGST, Violin Memory, Caringo, Cohesity, who fielded their evangelist Nick Howell of fame – was great to see Nick over this side of the pond and he gave an enlightening presentation on Hyperconverged Secondary Storage – and LoadDynamix.  The vendor presentations were not really of interest to me, sorry! However, most were interesting and good speakers.  One, however, read from the slides! What a big no-no and they were proceeded to be quizzed by the audience post-presentation, mainly on “why” regarding their technology #fail.

Enrico kindly let my colleagues from WhatMatrix give a 10 minute overview of their community comparison initiative just after lunch.  I hope the exposure will lead to more contributors signing up as well as more vendors getting involved. The final industry presentation I attended was Chris Evans, another previous London VMUG speaker. Given the other industry presentations had focused on technology, Chris took a different approach of discussing real world storage and dealing with scale, operational complexity as well as users and bosses.  The key takeaway for me is highlighted below:


Was also great to catch up with old industry friends Arjam Timmerman (NL VMUG Leader and co-host of the event) Alex Galbraith, Julian Wood, Chris Dearden and Rose Ross.  An excellent networking and educational event, thanks Enrico!