vExpert and an end of an era

Today, Feb 12, 2021, I am proud to announce my 11th consecutive year of being awarded the vExpert designation.

Yesterday the official announcement came out from Corey at VMware and my Twitter feed couldn’t keep up with all the #vExpert posts. I’m immensely honoured and humbled to receive the award again but also for the many friends in the community that liked my tweet, over 60 of you at the current count, thank you!

The VMware community truly is unique, I can’t count how many great folks I’ve met through it over the years and how much help and support I’ve received from it and them.

One of the advantages of being a VMUG leader was the opportunity to meet all the executives – many of whom I already knew from my time at VMware – but will always remember meeting Pat back in 2012 at the vExpert party in San Francisco. It was his first VMworld and vExpert party as VMware CEO and I was determined to let him know about the London VMUG and our community and how welcome he’d always be to visit (never happened unfortunately!) My co-leader Simon Gallagher took this picture of me accosting Pat! He doesn’t look too impressed, does he?!

Every year Pat would attend the vExpert parties and VMUG leader lunches and ALWAYS took the time to speak to as many people that he could. As his VMUG farewell video expresses, so many selfies, high fives and hugs!

Here’s one of my many selfies with him at the 2015 VMUG leader lunch – he looks slightly happier to be in my company in this picture!

Today marks the day Pat departs as VMware CEO and – although he never made it to a UK or London VMUG! – it’s a sad day for us, but I want to wish him well for his return to Intel now as their leader and to say “Thanks Pat” for being a CEO that truly recognises and understands the power of community. Au revoir Pat!

VMworld – other virtual events are available

This post follows on from one I wrote at the start of lockdown https://www.rimmergram.com/2020/04/virtual-events-a-rimmary/

During lockdown and the pandemic, I’ve attended a number of virtual events – ranging from using Zoom to a full-blown conference ‘type’ platform. My experience of all of them vary considerably but my overall thought is that you really get out of these events what you put into them, despite how good (or bad) the platform is. What I mean by this is that if you attended an IRL conference or event, and you hadn’t organised your schedule in advance or set up meetings, you’d end up wandering the halls aimlessly. Likewise, if you’ve not done your research about the focus of the event and which sessions you can dip in and out of, you might miss something important to you and/or your job role.

I admit it is harder to stay focused and engaged just looking at your computer screen, but if you’re dis-engaged then you’re going to miss out big time!

One of the first virtual events I attended was the London VMUG back in April. It was held over Zoom but was still a very interactive event and having been in lockdown for over a month, boy was it good to see some familiar faces! Just given my passion for all things VMUG, I’d rate this event a nine out of ten.

The next one was the UK Citrix User Group (UKCUG). Their first attempt at a virtual event was first on Go To Meeting, when they realised they had an attendee limitation, they switched to Zoom, but that caused a bit of a kerfuffle in getting everyone logged in but then proceeded OK but was not a great experience over all as everyone was unprepared for the interruption. However, their event outsourcer then instigated a virtual event platform and I’ve now attended two on this virtual platform, which is a great platform from CrowdComms that allows for great interaction and is a solid platform. Their autumn meeting was held just the other week and I’d rate the overall experience as an eight out of ten.

I simultaneously attended another virtual event during the CUG, it was an NHS virtual event that one of my clients, Droplet Computing, sponsored. Well, the platform was shocking! During the event I tweeted the organisers to tell them to look at another platform (CrowdComms in fact) and their response was at least an understanding they needed to change! When delegates can’t login in to sessions they want to attend, when the sound quality is poor, when presentations don’t display, it makes for a very bad experience. My rating is a harsh, but fair, one out of ten for this event.

However, I’ve saved the best to last……. VMworld. Wow! I can only imagine the hard work and effort that went on behind the scenes to make this online event so slick, so professional, so effortless. Kudos to the whole team that staged this event. The platform – despite my shitty internet – never went down, the quality was just superb. Also, being able to have a ‘private’ concert in my own home by John Legend was awesome! I couldn’t fault it, so it gets a ten out of ten.

I long for the day when we can have face to face events again, but in the meantime, if you’re looking to stage an online event, please use VMworld as your benchmark – anything less and you’ll be letting your audience/delegates down.

Stay safe and well my friends!

VMworld – EUC and Analytics Recommendations

Regrettably, I won’t be at VMworld this year, Vegas nor Barcelona 🙁 Instead I will be in Hawaii, so not a bad trade-off I guess 🙂

In advance of the events, though, I want to share with my readers news about two of my clients’ presence and activities at VMworld Vegas.

Let’s start with Liquidware. If your responsibilities include EUC/VDI in any shape or form, then Liquidware should be on your list of “must see” vendors in the Solutions Exchange. They’re on booth 1126 and will be demoing the last versions of their award winning UEM, App Layering and Visibility solutions; ProfileUnity, FlexApp and Stratusphere respectively. They’re also giving away some pretty cool t-shirts:

Prior to the show opening on Sunday, they’re hosting, in conjunction with IGEL and NVIDIA, The Inside Track – an exclusive, invite only EUC event. If you’re an EUC/VDI influencer or VIP and haven’t received your invite, ping me and I’ll get you on the guest list.

 

Liquidware has been sponsoring VMworld ever since their market entrance back in 2009! For more details, read this interview with their Founder and CEO, David Bieneman, with VMBlog.

Next up is Runecast. I’ve been working with these guys since February and the feedback from customers and the community on their Runecast Analyzer solution has been very motivating! This is their third appearance at VMworld, having launched at VMworld in 2015. Runecast will be on booth 832 and will be demonstrating the latest version of Runecast Analyzer that is due to GA just before VMworld!

If you’re a vSphere admin, Runecast Analyzer really is a #MustHave for you. Utilizing the VMware Knowledge, Best Practices and Security Hardening guidelines, Runecast Analyzer enables you to proactively protect your environment. So, if you spend too much time troubleshooting your environment, visit Runecast on booth 832 to discover how to decrease troubleshooting, increase security and help your organization to be more compliant!

Great community advocates, Runecast is sponsoring #vGolf on Sunday, organized by Anthony Spiteri. You can read more about the event here. They’re also a sponsor of the famous (infamous?!) CXIParty. Christopher Kusek has been hosting this event for many years, with a hiatus on a couple of occasions IIRC and it’s always great fun. Details can be found here.

Runecast will be giving away some fab Lego “Runecasters” on their booth, so add them to your ‘must visit’ list too.

I look forward to seeing on Twitter and VMworld bloggers’ post how everyone is getting along at VMworld and, if you’re going, enjoy!

Remember, sleep is highly overrated; you can do that when you get home!

 

 

Robot Wars, Internet Community and Going Autonomic!

Having always been a Robot Wars fan, I’ve been riveted to my TV on a Sunday evening now that it’s finally back on our screens after a 12 year hiatus. What makes it even more compelling viewing is the fact that one of the robots, Storm2, is sponsored by VMware and one of the team is from VMware, Ed Hoppitt. Unfortunately, they were defeated last Sunday, but the show was great viewing and spotted a few fleeting shots of Joe Baguley! Ed was wearing a Cloud Native Apps t-shirt in one of his interviews, so a good bit of branding! What was also interesting to me was the interview with one of the judges, Dr Lucy Rogers, when she spoke of the camaraderie between the teams and how the Internet has created a great community. Dr Lucy recommended, “Get involved, get online.” She also mentioned the Internet allows discussions to take place anywhere in the world. Which reminded me of the great community that I am part of – we’re all here for each other when needed, even if we work for competing vendors (caveat: as with most generalisations, they’re generally true, but there are some exceptions to this rule, as observed at times on Twitter 🙂 ). You can view episode 4 of Robot Wars here on BBC iPlayer.

Speaking of competing vendors, I found the news this week that VMTurbo has changed its name to Turbonomic fascinating. I worked with them a few years ago (2012-2013) to assist in raising awareness and creating demand in the UK. Although I’ve not personally used their product, I’ve seen it in action and spoken to many customers that rely on it on a daily basis. Plus, I believe their patented economic scheduling engine to be very innovative. I’ve always seen it more as a complement to VMware, but many view it as a competitor to vROps. There are overlaps, of course. However, in my opinion, the main area of competition is not specifically technology, but more budget. If $$ are limited, organisations are not necessarily going to purchase both solutions.

I think a name change has been on the cards for a while but hats off to the marketing team in executing a pretty smooth transition to the new name and the new messaging. My only critique is the new logo, but only from a nit-picky and possibly subjective perspective. When you have a list of sponsors of an event listed – with the same sized real-estate for each logo – the smaller the width of the name, the more prominent a logo looks. Given the length of the new logo, Turbonomic will not be as visible in the first instance. As this example from the Gold sponsorship list from VMworld demonstrates, but guess you could argue the green “on” is pretty prominent!

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 09.40.15

 

Since Eric Wright joined VMTurbo, oops, Turbonomic, I’ve witnessed their commitment to the community develop considerably. They also have an online community forum, Green Circle.

Turbonomic has gone from being intelligent workload management, to a software-defined control platform, to now being an Autonomic Platform. I wish them continued success under the new brand!

VMware President, Carl Eschenbach, departing VMware

When I started at VMware in 2003, Carl was heading up North American sales. The rise of his career within VMware to President and COO is a real success story in my opinion. During the span of his 14-year tenure at VMware it, and the industry at large, has morphed/evolved/changed dramatically, as has Carl’s position in the company.

What strikes a chord with me is Carl’s versatility. From the ‘humble’ beginnings of being a sales guy, he stepped into the big shoes of what was traditionally – for me anyways – Steve Herrod’s day 2 keynote at VMworld in 2013, delivering a great session, along with Kit Colbert, then a senior principal engineer now VP & CTO, Cloud-Native Apps, followed by more banter with EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley. You can read my summary post from VMworld 2013 here. I know of a few techies that might still categorize Carl in the ‘salesman’ bucket, but his understanding of technology, relating that to both customers and partners, is a huge part of having driven VMware revenues from $10M to over $6BN during his tenure.

I think his departure, along with Martin Casado’s, is a big loss for VMware. Both Carl and Martin will, apparently, remain as advisors to VMware, but their presence will be missed and, for me, particularly on the VMworld stage.

me-and-carl

Me and Carl at VMworld 2013 vExpert/VCDX party

I have very fond memories of working at VMware in the early days and Carl is a big part of those memories. He really understood the power of sales and marketing working as one team and I still have an email from him stating I’m his favorite marketing leader ever 🙂 Despite the drain on his time being president and COO at VMware, Carl always rapidly responds to my emails – whilst at VMware and ever since – not many executives do that. In fact, the only other one I know is Mark Templeton – another influential person in my virtualization career. Both great leaders and both now in new chapters of their lives. I wish them both continued success – and happiness too.