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!

 

IMG_8990

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:

IMG_8961

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:

IMG_8962 IMG_8963 IMG_8964 IMG_8965 IMG_8966 IMG_8967 IMG_8968

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 🙂

 

IMG_8992

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!

3,489 total views, 2 views today

VMUG UK User Conference 2014 – a Rimmary, including pictures!

**Update November 26th – Recordings from the UK VMUG now available here, and a playlist here**

 

Being on the UK VMUG committee is a tad similar to organizing a party – you hope that all your guests enjoy it but you’re a little on edge and don’t fully enjoy it yourself and you breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over!  But I couldn’t be more thrilled with how this year’s UK VMUG turned out – especially when reading all the tweets about what a great day it was, great speakers, sponsors, tracks, content, etc. etc., that makes it all worthwhile!

This year’s proceedings started with our usual tradition of vCurry and vQuiz the night before.  This year vCloud Air sponsored it, so it enabled us to open up to all the community, including the sponsors.

Big and better this year, we moved to a new room too!  My fellow committee member Stuart Thompson was the most amazing quiz-master and, having created 30 questions, was thoroughly entertaining in his MC-ing.  The winning team, called vMwear, is pictured below with the committee. (photo credit Hans de Leenheer)

 Mike Laverick also announced his EVO:RAIL swag bag raffle.  Every year Mike raffles a bag containing goodies from VMworld.  This year the bag was not a VMworld bag and it contained many EVO:RAIL specific goodies, as well as pre-launch PROJECT MARVIN swag!  This year Mike collected for a great charity, National Association of Blood Bikes, and raised over £400!  And the winner was our guest speaker, Chris Wahl!

As always, we were very lucky to have Joe Baguley, EMEA CTO, VMware, as our opening keynote on the day.  Joe has the ability to be informative, entertaining and deep dive technically if required.  His support of VMUG is a great testament to the uniqueness of VMware as a company supporting its affiliated user group that I’ve not seen in any other software company that I’ve worked with and/or for.  My key take away from Joe’s keynote was his point about “Infrastructure as Code”, the next evolution for IT in moving toward the Software Defined Datacentre. Loved Joe’s shirt he was wearing too!

We were very fortunate to have an abundance of sponsors this year –  34 in total – including VMware, naturally, as our program partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are also very lucky as a committee to have Martyn Storey as our VMware representative; Martyn contributes a lot to both UK VMUG and London VMUG and helps us in many ways, such as securing VMware speakers and attending every meeting and user conference that we hold.  Veeam is also a great supporter of VMUG globally and have consistently supported the UK VMUG and this year were again our platinum sponsor AND sponsored lunch, hence why it was so much better than last year.

The mezzanine, Simon Gallagher’s brainchild, was a roaring success this year, primarily due to the awesome community members staffing it, but also because we added it to the main agenda 🙂   We were delighted to have Chris and Tim from VMware GSS, who discussed anything and everything with attendees, ranging from ESX failure to boot from USB, to query on existing SRs to licensing expiry and renewals! Mike Laverick and Lee Dilwlorth’s DR session was soooo popular they had to vacate the mezzanine area and re-convene in the room where the food and drinks were served!

We also had VMware UKs PR agency on hand, conducting interviews with key speakers and attending members.  Look out for these by following @VMware_UK on Twitter!  We also had all the sessions in the Britannia Suite (where the keynotes were held) recorded, and these will be uploaded to YouTube soon, so follow @UKVMUG on Twitter for further details as they become available.

Our guest community speaker, Chris Wahl, was our closing keynote speaker – having conducted a breakout on NSX as well as being on the community mezzanine – and gave a thought provoking, entertaining presentation that was greatly appreciated by our members.

His assimilation into the UK is, perhaps, summed up best by the tweet below!!

Alaric then announced a very special initiative, vFACTORLONDON!  We are encouraging submissions from end-user, first time speakers to submit a 10 minute lightning talk for our January 22nd 2015 meeting.  We’ll assist with providing a mentor through the excellent #FeedForward initiative created by Mike Laverick and others in the community, details of which can be found here.  To encourage you even further to submit a session, which you can do here, we’ll be giving away some amazing prizes to successful presenters, including a MacBook Air, iPad Mini, iPad Air and Amazon vouchers – what are you waiting for? Submit now!

As always, we had great prize draws from the supporting vendors and one of our London VMUG members, Ather Beg was a winner of the PernixData Virgin Driving Experience Days, he made me giggle with his tweet about winning as he missed a key word……

 Below is a screen shot of some of my favourite tweets from the day:

As always, we’ll post presentations we have to box.com/londonug and VMUG HQ will also upload them to vmug.com – details will be announced on Twitter, so make sure you’re following #UKVMUG hashtag!

Finally, a thank you to everyone involved in making this event such a success; the sponsors, the speakers, the community but especially to my fellow committee chappies, Stu, Si and Al and also the amazing team from VMUG HQ, Emily, Maria and Scott – just goes to prove that as a team you can achieve anything!  It was very kind of Emily to acknowledge us as a committee, thanking us on behalf of VMUG.

Oh, and don’t forget to put November 19th 2015 in your diary as a placeholder for next year’s event!

3,629 total views, no views today

UK VMUG User Conference – November 18th, 2014

 

With just over 3 weeks to go to the annual UK VMUG user conference we, the committee, are working hard to ensure that all VMUG members that attend have the most awesome day due to the sponsors, speakers and networking opportunities.

We are very lucky to have some great VMware, community and sponsor speakers, including Joe Baguley, Duncan Epping, Cormac Hogan, Mike Laverick, Julian Wood, Jonathan Medd, Barry Coombs, Ricky El-Qasem and industry luminaries such as Frank Denneman and Chris Wahl.  As always, we cannot stage this event without sponsors and we have a plethora of companies supporting us again this year, including Veeam as our platinum sponsor.  As well as other well known companies, we also have some new companies sponsoring the event this year, such as Sumerian and Unitrends.  I’m particularly looking forward to Joe’s keynote, entitled CTO Rant-as-a-Service!  Joe can always be relied upon for an informative, engaging and humourous keynote.

As always, Simon Gallagher has excelled in putting together some seriously good ‘hosts’ for the mezzanine community area.  Whether you want to call this ‘birds of a feather’ sessions, mezz area, or whatever else takes your fancy, this section of the agenda is a great way to quiz experts in their respective fields on issues, challenges, opportunities for your own environment.

Our tradition of vCurry the night before is kindly being sponsored by vCloud Air this year and, as such allows, us to open this night up to all that will be in attendance the night before.  However, do sign up early as we are limited on spaces………  If you have registered for the vCurry and only received a confirmation for the conference, don’t worry, as vCurry confirmations will be going out shortly.  Our own Stuart Thompson will be the quiz-master for the evening for the vQuiz.  This went down a storm last year, with some very competitive teams – I think even some of the VMware folks were surprised at the technical depth of some of the questions Stu had devised.  Expect more and better this year!  We will also be awarding some amazing prizes to the top 3 teams, so maybe swot up on all things VMware before coming?!

From a content perspective, we will have all the latest and greatest VMware news for you, including Horizon 6, VSAN, VVOLS, vSphere6, NSX, vRealize, vCloud Air and EVO:RAIL. As well as a community session from Julian Wood on a VMworld update.  Don’t forget, we’re giving away 10 prizes for access to all the VMworld 2014 content – but you have to attend to stand a chance of winning.

For those that have attended before, we will run a slightly different agenda, the exhibit hall won’t open until after the keynote and all sessions run for 40 minutes, apart from the VMware ones; they are scheduled for an hour, based on feedback from other VMUG conferences.  The agenda is being finalised with the sponsor sessions, so ensure you check regularly on the VMUG site for agenda updates.  Also for ease of information of sessions on the day, please don’t forget to download the VMUG UK User Conference app from your preferred App Store just by searching “VMUG”.  The details for the UK user conference won’t appear until a few days before the event. Or scan the QR code below:

If you’re involved in anyway with VMware implementations, you cannot afford to miss this free event, so sign up here and see you November 18th!

1,386 total views, no views today

Putting the “U” into VMUG – London July 17th Rimmary

On the hottest day of the year so far, we all assembled in the pews to listen to a number of sermons from chair, industry luminary, members and sponsors.

I loved Mike Laverick’s presentation. Mike is an ideal #feedforward mentor, as he has the skill of a true presenter – making the content applicable for the audience, captivating and engaging.  Whilst usually presenting on topics of a technical nature, Mike did a thoroughly entertaining presentation on “when did turkeys ever vote for Christmas?”, it was a thought provoking presentation about fearing and/or embracing change, with good anecdotal evidence of career challenges and opportunities.

Next we had Luca Dell’Oca, technical evangelist from Veeam.  As a committee we love the Veeam VMUG presentations, as they rarely focus on their products, but on topics that affect many companies and individuals in today’s IT world.  Luca discussed SLA Confidential and was 40 minutes into his presentation before he even mentioned Veeam – great job Luca!

We then had an NDA session for end-users only, for the partners and vendors present we held a discussion group with Martyn Storey and was well received both by the attendees and Martyn as it was frank and informal.  The conversation flowed so well, we overran by 10 minutes, thanks to all that took part.

After lunch we had our sponsor presentations, new to the London VMUG was ExtraHop and in the other session was a regular sponsor, Fusion-io.  Both presentations were well attended and the twitstream highlighted some key takeaways 🙂

 

 

Matt Northam had secured some Real Ale for some lucky members, the winning criteria was to name a real ale and tweet it.  Some of the suggestions were very creative with the winning submission – Hopper-V – from Julian Wood, who also submitted the most suggestions.  Added a great community, fun twitter element to the day!

Atlantis was demonstrating their new USX solution in the labs, and produced one of the most well attended labs to date.  We also had VMware sessions from Peter von Oven on Horizon 6 and vCOps from Matt Steiner – regular VMware presenters at VMUGs across the UK.

Final thanks and kudos goes to our 2 community speakers, Alex Galbraith and Sam McGeown – we salute you and admire your commitment to sharing your knowledge with your fellow members – great job!

 

Finally, we retired to the usual ale-house, with vBeers compliments of Bitdefender.

All presentations are now up at box.com/londonug and don’t forget the National UK User Conference, 18th November, more details here.

Thank you to everyone who signed my birthday card and for the English Champagne, Matt!!  Not sure about this pic though that Si Gallagher took, particularly as Julian Wood tweeted this was the “before” pic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, the “after” was a bit messy too!

 

1,798 total views, no views today

Forthcoming July 17th London VMUG Meeting

We’re just over 2 weeks away from our last meeting of the year in London.  As many of you might know, as a committee we also organize the yearly UK VMUG User Conference in Birmingham in November.  As such, we don’t hold a 4th quarter meeting in London, as we just don’t have that much spare time to volunteer for two events in the same quarter 🙂

You can register here for July’s meeting.  And you can find more details here for the User Conference in November.

So, back to July’s meeting, we have an awesome array of community and VMware speakers and sponsors, including an NDA session from VMware for customers.  We are very privileged to have this session and hopefully this in itself will be a very good reason to attend!

The agenda is below:

 

At the recent VMware vForum in Wembley, we staffed the VMUG booth and signed up 51 new members.  We hope to see all of you at this forthcoming meeting!

Thanks, as always, go to our sponsors; Veeam, Fusion-io, Extrahop and Atlantis Computing. Plus, Bitdefender is sponsoring vBeers, check out the post here.

 

1,157 total views, 1 views today