vExpert Podcast with Define Tomorrow

I was delighted to be invited to join the Define Tomorrow podcast with some other recently anointed vExperts. Was great chatting to them on this podcast hosted by Megan (@BizTechMeg). We were joined by:

Barry Coombes (@VirtualisedReal)

Ben Evans (@benevans101)

Mike Orth (HCIdiver)

Paul Wynne (VDIallStar)

Simon Eady (@simoneady) and

Gareth Edwards (GarethEdwards86)

Talking with everyone reminded me just how fab and diverse the vExpert community is. A number of us on the podcast have been vExperts for 9 years or more and some newbies. We discussed what being a vExpert means to us, how to get involved – of course I suggested speaking at your local VMUG – and what tips we could impart for new applicants.

Newly minted vExpert Mike Orth gave a great tip for future vExpert applications – keep a track of what you’ve done in the past year and try to measure the value of your actions so that when the time comes to produce your application you’ve got it all documented without trying to remember what you’ve achieved.

Barry ended the call by asking what will be talking about on this podcast in ten years time? Some suggested cloud, some thought IoT, others security, AI or Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality. Am sure it will be all the above, but in ten years time there’ll be tech that we’ve not even thought of today in my opinion. However, personally I predict me NOT being a vExpert as I’ll hopefully be retired then!

That’s a brief summary and I hope you enjoy listening to this community podcast!

 

 

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!!

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

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 🙂