VMworld Europe

So, after my ‘bah humbug’ post about not attending VMworld San Francisco, thanks to VMUG, I shall be at VMworld Barcelona!  Having watched both keynote sessions at San Fran, am keen to see what has been saved back for Barcelona and, as always, am looking forward to connecting with the community. I will be in the hang space and on the VMUG booth, so look forward to catching up next month!

What’s the next best thing to VMworld?

With my Twitter feed starting to go into warp factor 10 with VMworld tweets, there are many of us unable to/not going, for various reasons. For those of us lucky to be bestowed vExpert status, we’ll get access to the sessions post-VMworld, but what about others unable to attend?

Well, have I got news for you! Sign up to attend your closest VMUG UserCon, that’s what. With many of the distinguished speakers also presenting at UserCons after both VMworld SFO and VMworld BCN, you’ll get a similar ‘warm fuzzy feeling’, as well as some awesome content, along with some super prizes and swag, along with the great networking – it really is the next best thing and a whole lot cheaper, as it’s free to attend :-

As part of the UK VMUG UserCon committee, I’m going to share a little insight with you for our event in November. Firstly, the amazing vCurry returns the night before the UserCon, with the vCloud Air team sponsoring it again. My fellow committee member, the esteemed Stuart Thompson, is already planning this year’s vQuiz. So if you’re around the night before, when registering check the vCurry tick box and come along and join this fun, free event. Due to space limitations, though, please do only register if you absolutely able to make it – don’t take away the chance for one of your peers to attend by having a place allocated and then not using it – thank you!

Secondly, we will have 2 amazing keynote speakers. We’re thrilled to welcome back Joe Baguley, EMEA CTO, for the fifth year running as our opening keynote. Joe has been a tremendous supporter of the UK VMUG and our regional groups – as well as many other European groups – and has been with us since our very first UserCon in 2011, when his title was ‘just’ Chief Cloud Technologist! For our closing keynote, we’re honoured to announce John Troyer will be joining us. Since leaving VMware John has been continuing to create and promote community, with TechReckoning and continuing to attend VMworld and other leading industry events. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what John will share with us.

As always, we can’t hold these events free for members without the support of our sponsors. As we’re a little ways out from the event, none have yet been publicised but you can be sure of the continued support of the ‘usual suspects’ along with some interesting new kids on the block.

Finally, we’re planning something BIG in regards to prizes. Can’t share any more than that, other than to stand a chance of winning “it” you will have to be there to win, which means staying right til the end. But with such awesome content, why wouldn’t you want to?!

Although the official notification hasn’t yet gone out to members from VMUG HQ you can already register here, see you in November!

Why I’m not going to VMworld this year

I’ve been a regular attendee at VMworld either in US or Europe since the very first one in 2004. I missed 2005 but have been every year since to one or the other and sometimes both. In the majority of cases I was there with a client, so doing booth duty and having my expenses paid by them. I didn’t have client sponsorship during the 10th anniversary year, 2013 and, as it was a special year, funded myself – with the grateful thanks of a pass from VMUG. It was a very memorable event for many reasons for me, one of which was meeting with the ‘brains the size of planets’ leadership team at PernixData and, of course, John Troyer was still heading up the vExpert/Community team. I attended just Barcelona last year – again under my ‘own steam’ – and, to be honest, I felt there was something missing, but just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then today, I read this post from Eric Siebert and it kind of fell into place for me why VMworld is no longer a “must attend” for me. When someone of the technical calibre like Eric is compelled to write such a researched post on the bands of not just VMworld, but other tech conferences in our space, it hit home that VMworld is now just too big and too impersonal. Really? You care so much about the bands and why VMware isn’t spending more money on a recognisable name? I think that’s just sad. The money shouldn’t be spent on big band names – that’s not what this conference is about. It’s about informing, educating, sharing. That’s why Troyer originally set up the vExpert program. That too has morphed into something different with his departure. Maybe I don’t like change? Maybe I don’t value VMware, VMworld and vExpert as I used to because I’VE changed? Who knows…. But change happens and it should happen for the better, not worse. Call me ‘bah humbug’ if you like, but in talking to a couple of other VMworld vets, I know I’m not alone in my thinking. VMworld is now a ‘grown up’ conference, it’s no longer a bunch of techies networking. No, it’s now about what band is playing – or not as in the case of Eric’s post.

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!

Event Mania

Yes, we’ve entered that manic time of year, the IT event silly season!  This week sees IP Expo opening its doors for the first time at the ExCeL – personally I loved going to this event at Earls Court because it was an easy drive in for me; the ExCeL is the back and beyond of East London 🙁 But it’s going to be a great event! Tim Berners-Lee is the opening keynote and I’m really looking forward to that.  I shall be with my client, PernixData, on their stand E17 in the VMware partner zone.  PernixData has just announced the new version of its flagship product, PernixData FVP software, and will be demonstrating new features, such as Distributed Fault Tolerant Memroy, Adaptive network compression and much more. Watch a demo and you can enter the prize draw to win a Google Chromecast 4 times during each day, and 2 x driving experiences for 2 lucky people being drawn at 16.00 each day.  For in-depth details of version 2.0 of FVP software, I recommend reading Frank Denneman’s blog

Then on Sunday 12th, I shall be flying over to Barcelona for VMworld Europe. I, unfortunately, did not make it to the August event in San Francisco this year so am really looking forward to being in Barcelona to hear the latest news not just from VMware but from the eco-system vendors and to meet up with new and old friends.  As always, there is a plethora of community gatherings and, as a VMUG leader, I’m really looking forward to all the VMUG events and you will find me most days on the VMUG booth, so stop by and say hi.  I also intend to spend time in the hangspace, always a great place to catch up IRL with my tweeps 🙂  I will also be attending the vRockstar party on the Sunday night, what a great way to start proceedings.  I will also be spending some time with 2 of my clients that will be in the solutions exchange, Liquidware Labs, booth #141 and PernixData, booth #314.

I will be attending the first VMwomen event to be held at VMworld Europe, for any other female attendees wishing to attend, you can register for it in the schedule builder by searching for VMWOMEN (session ID and session title). Add the session to your personal schedule– select ‘Scheduling Options’ 
– select ‘+’ value next to day/time listing.

The final “big” event for me this year will be the annual UK VMUG User Conference.  Being on the committee this event takes a considerable amount of personal time, but is all worth it as, even leading up to the event, we’re getting tweets about the amazing line up of speakers and sponsors we’ve secured and I know this is going to be an awesome event.  This is our 4th year of running this user conference, in conjunction with VMUG HQ, and as it’s held in central England, at the National Motorcycle Museum, we get a lot of attendees that don’t usually attend a regular VMUG meeting.  If that sounds like you, register here and come along and have an informative, educational day for free!  We’ve got lots of prizes, including 10 prizes to access VMworld content, great industry speakers including VMware’s EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley and industry expert Chris Wahl as well as community and birds of a feather sessions that you just don’t want to miss.

Post November 18th I am planning to take a holiday!