February London VMUG and March Rimmary

Time flies when you’re having fun says the old adage….. or in my case, as I’ve not posted since last December, when you’ve been plagued by flu and colds 🙁 Poor excuse for not posting, but by the time I’ve done the horses, walked the dogs, checked email and then started work for my clients, I’m exhausted!

I did have a ‘window’ of not being too poorly to attend the first London VMUG of the year in early February. The agenda was a good one, with a very interesting plenary session by Ed Hoppitt of VMware.

My key takeaway from Ed’s presentation was VMware really is now a single platform to run all things – hence his hashtag #RunAllThings – irrespective of the workload. Prior to Ed was the gold sponsor Nexenta. I’ve known about them for a very long time, but never sat in on one of their presos. Their technical presenter was very good despite English not being his native language – which he apologised for many times and really didn’t need to! Key takeaway was they have a 10 TB community version for homelabbers that can be accessed here.

With the North East VMUG holding their meeting the same day, there was a little Twitter banter going on, starting with the chair’s pic of the Geordie Shore crew:

A justifiable retort 🙂

The next session I attended was Matt Evans’ WorkspaceONE presentation that focused on Windows 10 management. My final session was Igel Technology who presented some great real world use cases and conducted a live demo – kudos! I had to leave so missed Dave Ruddle presenting on blockchain, which is a shame as wanted to learn more about Gospel, his new company. Haven’t seen Dave for a while when one of his previous companies (Nimble) was sponsoring London VMUG.

I also missed the live announcement of the UK VMUG event date, but saw it on Twitter, mark your diaries now folks!

 

February melded into March and here we are starting off the event silly season! Which events are you attending? I’ve got the following in my diary

  • Citrix User Group, March 20, Manchester
  • Cloud Expo, March 12-13, ExCeL London

In contrast, I’m doing some PR work for some industry friends regarding the results of a survey they recently conducted in the high tech industry. Some fascinating results that will be made public soon. Suffice it to say, our industry does not make the most of its most expensive asset – their workforce!

Next up in my community activities is a team call with other board members and consultants of WhatMatrix, there’s been some exciting developments with the platform and new categories planned, so looking forward to catching up with everyone soon!

Finally, I’m getting more engrossed with Liquidware’s corporate and local activities due to their success and expansion. So, am looking forward to March, and, despite having a mini heatwave in the UK in February, the dull start of March is great for not being distracted by going out horse riding but knuckling down and focusing on my clients.

Have a good March everyone!

UK VMUG UserCon December 13th

Am all registered for next week’s UK VMUG – the agenda looks amazing, the location is “out of this world” and there is, of course, vCurry the night before – what more could you ask for? Well, in my case, not to have a conflict that means I’m now unable to attend 🙁

The committee has done us proud with the content and speakers this year, from VMware and sponsors but more importantly from the community. See the agenda below (borrowed from @vinf_net!):

Now, if I WERE going, I’d be attending Joe and Duncan’s keynotes, natch, and Ricky, Julian, and Chris & Gareth’s community sessions. I would also highly recommend you attend the Runecast gold session at 3pm in Breakout 3, especially as they’ve just launched the beta of their Runecast Analyzer for Horizon!

Hope you all have a great day, good luck to the entrants for the prize draw for VMworld and remember to thank the committee for all their hard work in pulling this amazing event together us VMUG members – I’ve been there and it’s a LOT of hard work. Kudos to Simon, Dave, Linda and Chris!!

 

 

 

SDS/HCI Terminology/Definition Debate

Yesterday was an interesting learning day for me due to a tweet I responded to from one of the WhatMatrix category consultants that sparked a Twitter debate about what really constitutes hyper converged infrastructure (HCI).

Herman Rutten, category consultant for SDS/HCI at WhatMatrix tweeted that he is working on a new Landscape Report on this sector, 18 months after the release of the first one. One of the latest vendors to be included in the comparison on WhatMatrix is Datrium. This inclusion invoked reaction from some vendor representatives that they are not HCI.

This blog is not going to deny or confirm if they are – there are better-informed people than I to have that debate with. But what I do want to state is that WhatMatrix’s comparison is entitled SDS/HCI – thus encompassing all aspects in my opinion.

WhatMatrix has been comparing the HCI vendors since October 2015 and has consistently included solutions that adhere to the following three criteria:

Rule #1: The software is designed to run on commodity server hardware and makes use of the available resources therein.

Rule #2: The solution aggregates physical storage capacity from separate systems into a single shared storage pool.

Rule #3: The solution offers a broad set of storage functionality (services) comparable to traditional hardware defined shared storage systems.

Now, whether you agree with that definition or not is the basis of the Twitter debate but ultimately all solutions are reviewed with this in mind, so at least providing a consistent approach.

I do think marketing (e.g. messaging) has confused and blurred the definition for sure, but as a summary to the whole discussion Herman tweeted the following and, yes, that is what it’s all about – choice for the customer!

The new report is scheduled for publication end of September, keep an eye out for it if you want an independent, vendor agnostic viewpoint of this burgeoning market https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/announcing-upcoming-sds-hci-landscape-report-sep-2018/.

 

Tech volunteering – why do it?

I was at a horse show this weekend where they had this sign up on the wall of the secretary’s office:

“Volunteers are not paid. Not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”

 This got me thinking about the aspects of volunteering I’m involved in our industry and the reasons behind why any of us volunteer.

Personally, I am involved in VMUG and WhatMatrix. As a VMUG member I am no longer a leader, but still volunteer my time in some ‘behind the scenes’ aspects, such as speaking, helping local groups secure sponsors and being on the committee for the new board selection process.

I’m also a community board member of WhatMatrix. If you’ve not heard of – or used – WhatMatrix, you don’t know what you’re missing! WhatMatrix is the independent technology comparison and analysis site. The site is the first crowdsourced-powered IT comparison community and all involved are volunteers, from the board to the category owners and contributors.

There are other communities, such as Spiceworks, “a professional network for the Information Technology industry”. Many people contribute to the Spiceworks community, while as an organization Spiceworks’ revenues are in excess of $91M. So even when an organization is making money, volunteers are still willing to contribute – for nothing.

I remember at London VMUG the chair presenting a slide for VMUG Advantage and declaring he wasn’t a sales person for VMUG or VMware, but that the deal you get from VMUG Advantage is well worth the investment. Sometimes there is a fine line between being a volunteer versus being seen as a mouthpiece for the technology you’re involved with. As long as your involvement is for the benefit of the community then you’re going to get a buzz from being involved. There is the aspect of ‘paying it forward’ by being involved and, of course, it raises one’s own visibility. I think we all want to be involved for the betterment of technology use versus being a particular vendor fanboi.

So, if you were considering being a volunteer in tech, I’d encourage it. The rewards are different for being a volunteer in a charity aspect, but the tech community is a great one and one that needs continued volunteers to – perhaps – keep the vendors honest too!

Being a community volunteer can yield a higher profile, but the biggest benefit for me has been observing my involvement being seen as a contributing factor to others’ career progression and success. Recently a tweet was posted about my VMUG involvement to encourage a VMUG member to apply for vExpert status:

For me, this epitomises the “priceless” part of the original quote in this post 🙂

 

Double Whammy Good News – Rural Broadband and vExpert Recognition

For those of you that have followed my crusade to acquire broadband for my rural hamlet, I wanted to share this exciting update!

A couple of colleagues highlighted this BBC article to me a few weeks back, London VMUG Chairman Simon Gallagher being one of them. All I can say to you Simon is, THANK YOU.

After a Twitter dialogue with EE’s customer service, they weren’t sure of their signal strength in my area so suggested I spoke to their team who could check. Long story short, they said I was right on the edge – how did they know me so well?! The edge of the signal strength I mean 🙂

They recommended ordering their router, but not the ‘shoe box’ antenna, to first determine if we could receive a decent enough signal. It was duly dispatched and arrived the following day. Installation is so simple; literally plug it into a power socket. The signal strength was OK, but placing it in the loft provided a boost, so there it remains. On average I’m getting download speeds in the region of 30Mbps and uploads of around 3Mbps – so acceptable and WAY better than my satellite broadband. I did wonder if the ‘shoe box’ antenna would provide a boost, so spoke to the antenna peeps that EE use. They said I’m getting pretty good speeds for my area and that the antenna would provide no additional signal, so not to bother. Great, a £100 saved! The cost of EE is comparable to my satellite, both £60 per month. However, I was restricted to 40GB/month on the satellite, but given I couldn’t stream anything, that wasn’t an issue! With EE I get 200GB for £60, but that is a special offer, so am hoping they won’t up the costs after the term of the contract ends.

I can now use VoIP and find that of all the options – Skype, WebEx, Go-to-Meeting, etc. – Zoom is by far the best service, highly recommend it! I’ve also subscribed to Netflix and have just binge watched The Crown. As one of my other friends that recommended looking at the EE service said the other day, “Dead chuffed for you Rimmer that you’ve finally got the Internet!” Yes, dear reader, I am now a 21st century digital citizen!

I do believe this solution to be a ‘stop gap’ though, as Superfast Berkshire has informed me that Gigaclear has been awarded the contract to provide FTTH to rural communities. Looking at Gigaclear’s website it would appear we’re scheduled to receive this sometime in 2019, so fingers crossed. I wonder what it would be like to have 100Mbps…

Then to top it all off, I’m so proud to be awarded vExpert status for the 8th year running! Wasn’t sure I’d done enough last year to be accepted again, but am humbled and delighted to retain my status. Thanks to Luciano Patrao for this logo on the vExpert Slack channel:

And finally, thank you to James Kilby for answering my question on the vExpert slack channel about how to upload an avatar to your vExpert directory profile. He recommended Gravatar and would appear it’s the only way to upload a profile pic on the new vExpert portal.