London VMUG Meeting March 22 – a Rimmary

The agenda looked excellent for this meeting last week, and it did not disappoint! Apart from looking forward to the sessions, I was also looking forward to catching up with some community folks I’d not seen in a while. It was great to see Michelle Laverick in attendance, as well as catching up with Rynardt Spies, who is now with Rubrik and Matt Northam, now back at the VMware homestead. Ed Morgan conducted the Rubrik gold sponsorship presentation and braved the demo gods by conducting a demo without an offering. They revolted a little with a small part of his demo not working, but overall, it was a solid overview of Rubrik and its functionality.

Next came the VMware plenary session, VMC on AWS. I missed the start of it, so not sure of the presenters name, but he started out by admitting he didn’t know what plenary meant and had to look it up! There wasn’t anything new in the presentation in my view; the London datacenters have been announced previously, but it’s good to be reminded.

After the break I attended Dean Lewis’ 5.5 -> 6.5 upgrade, despite tweeting earlier in the week that Emad Younis had blogged about this very subject. Dean’s preso can be found here https://www.dropbox.com/s/8kysomlqprzu7hb/LonVMUG%20-%20upgrade%205.5%20to%206.5.pptx?dl=0 and contains some excellent advice, guidance and, best of all, the gotchas!

After lunch it was the silver sponsors sessions, as I’d not heard of Apstra, I opted to attend this one. They provide ‘intent based network management’, which all sounds rather jolly! Their AOS – Appstra Operating System – allows you build and operate data centre networks in minutes rather than months, allegedly. They work across all the major providers; Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Cumulus, etc. and they also provide preventative analytics. I would say their solution is definitely worth looking at for simplification of your DC network.

Next, I attended Kev Johnson’s GDPR presentation and it was REALLY informative – and funny too – and created a great dialogue between the audience. I’ve read some of the legislation but Kev summarised it really well and gave me lots to think about, both from a professional as well as a personal PoV. I’ll never remember the correct acronym now that Kev said this is what it stands for!

 

 

 

 

 

Saving the best ‘til last, during the closing remarks chair Simon Gallagher let us know about the exciting new venue for this year’s UK VMUG UsesrCon – The National Space Centre in Leicester!! An awesome nerdy location so put 12th (vCurry) and 13th December in your diaries now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onward for a few vBeers/vWines at the Old Bank of England pub and spending some quality chitchat time with Alaric Davies, Matt and Michelle – a fab end to a great day!

If you’re interested in submitting a session for London VMUG, please go to http://tinyurl.com.VMUG-CFP and remember there is never an uninteresting project! Next meeting is 14th June, so plenty of time to get your submission in.

Finally, for Chris Lewis’ VSAN session he had received some t-shirts, unfortunately by the time I got to them there were only small and 2XL left. Simon said they’d fit my horse, so thereby laid down a challenge, which I duly accepted, below is the outcome 🙂

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!

Third Annual UK VMUG User Conference – November 21st, 2013

This year’s event was another roaring success – thanks to all the contributing factors; speakers from VMware, sponsors and the community, the attendees, the sponsors, VMUG HQ and the UK VMUG Steering Committee.  This event continues to grow, from 331 attendees in 2011, to 375 in 2012 to this year’s amazing 458.  The only downside is that registration/attendee ratio continues to have a 25-30% drop out – not just in the UK but globally across VMUG events and conferences, all I can say is #UKVMUGBOO.

As usual the event was preceded by the traditional vCurry, as always sponsored by Veeam.  However, this year had a different twist with the inclusion of a vQuiz, MC’d by our very own committee member Stuart Thompson.   The vGeeks team were the winners of the highly sought after trophy of a box of aptly named Celebrations!

 

 

Stu did an amazing job of providing some great questions – which am sure many folks struggled to answer – well do you know the answer to this?

“When using Network I/O control, how many different 802.1p priority tags are available for assignment?

Bonus point – Name each of the default traffic types available.”*

The day started with the usual entertaining intro from Alaric Davies, our UK and London VMUG Chair, who introduced the UKVMUGYAY and UKVMUGBOO hashtags to win access codes to VMworld content as well as offering people the chance to win a 6 month subscription to Plural Sight’s complete online training catalogue by tweeting “I deserve to win because…”.

Alaric also asked the audience who had not been to a VMUG before, and it was great to see around 30% of the audience was a first time attendee!  This intro was followed by an extremely informative and well received keynote from VMware EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley.  In usual tradition, Unicorns, Chickens and Kittens all played a part 🙂

Prior to, and throughout the day, Nick Dyer and Nimble Storage were the most supportive sponsors tweeting, thank you! Unfortunately, both Duncan Epping and Scott Lowe were unable to attend on the day, but Dan Watson did a great job of presenting NSX to a packed room and Martyn Storey chaired a panel session with Mike Laverick, Mark Stockham, Joe Baguley and our own Simon Gallagher.  I believe, however, the most popular session of the day was Cormac Hogan’s on VSAN – the room was heaving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another very popular element was the community mezzanine, organized by committee member, Simon Gallagher – a big thanks from all of us to the participating community.

Alongside the main focus of ensuring the USER is the main focus in VMUG, we also had an additional community element of the traditional MOvember charity, Matt Northam announced on this blog his £100 to the best Mo at UK VMUG, and the winner of his donation was Mr Steve Bruck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were lots of prize winners during the day:

Plus Mike Laverick raffled his VMworld SwagBag, raising over £350 for UNICEF, with Rynardt Spies being the lucky winner!

 

 

 

The day closed with a really engaging closing keynote from Greg Ferro entitled the Duck Deficiency – you really had to be there to get the meaning, but my takeaway was summed up by this tweet Processes do not solve a problem – in many cases they create them.  Look hard at your issues – do you have an influx of snails or not enough ducks?

Alaric wrapped up the proceedings with the prize giving from the sponsors and passport to prizes.  Finally, Joe’s tweet really summed up the day for me and for those that do want to be there next year, put November 20th 2014 in your diary as the tentative date for 2014!

* the answer is: 7, bonus : FT, Management, vMotion, iSCSI, VM, NFS, vSphere Replication

VMware Expert 2013 – My journey and thoughts

 

In case you’ve not seen the Twitter stream on #vExpert 2013 awardees, the list is here: http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2013/05/vexpert-2013-awardees-announced.html

I’m honoured to be awarded the accolade of vExpert for the third year running.  I was originally nominated back in 2010 by Tom Howarth and Mike Laverick mainly for my contributions to the London VMUG.  As a volunteer co-leader and steering committee member (along with Alaric Davies, Stuart Thompson and Simon Gallagher) I spend a vast amount of my personal time ensuring the community has a great experience as a member of the London VMUG and, for our sins, we also arrange the UK National User Conference.  Anyone else involved in being a VMUG leader knows the amount of time it takes to not just stage the meetings, but to arrange speakers and sponsorship, liaise with VMUG HQ on the invites, keep the VMUG workspace updated with relevant content, posting the presentations, etc. etc.  So receiving the recognition of our efforts as VMUG leaders by being awarded the vExpert accolade means so much for me personally, perhaps more than most in the community.  Why?  Well, I’ve worked for and with VMware since the early 2000’s and, while I call myself a technologist (or as Mike likes to say techknowlogist!), I am not an uber-techie like, I’d say, the other 579 vExperts.  I’m also in another minority – female!  So combining these two minority factors makes me even more proud to be a vExpert 🙂

But, sadly, the negative comments are creeping into my vExpert Twitter stream this morning about higher numbers devaluing the program, changing the selection criteria, the comments go on.  For me the bottom line is this, if you don’t see the value, don’t nominate yourself.  This is about community and as the community grows it is logical that the number of vExperts should grow. The number of awardees this year is only 580, a very small percentage of the overall VMware customer base, let alone the user base.  Should the vExpert award change to reflect ‘competencies’ such as, in my case, a VMUG ‘badge’? Yes, I think probably this evolution would make sense.  But that is for John Troyer and VMware to decide, and I know they will listen to the community, but let’s make the comments constructive guys, not bitching and whingeing.

In conclusion, congrats to all the vExpert 2013 awardees, you will get out of this community what you put in.  This is still THE best community in my opinion in today’s tech world – enjoy!