Vendors arm your sales people!

I had an astonishing conversation today with an ex-Citrite who mentioned that in a discussion with a Citrix salesperson they admitted to not knowing who Brian Madden is.  This, firstly, astounded me and then get me thinking that it’s not really said salesperson’s fault – why should they know if no-one’s told them?

So, this post is about arming your sales people – or any frontline, customer engaging employee – with the relevant blogs to read, tweeters to follow or, as importantly, the 3rd part eco-system vendors that help to keep their customers happy AND enable more license sales.  I add in the 3rd party eco-system vendors because said salesperson also did not know about a desktop VDI vendor that absolutely helps solve some of the bottlenecks within VDI.

These days, it is no longer good enough to know information about your own products, you should – and must – know what your competitors are up to, know how your solutions stack up against them and also be fully cognizant of any other vendors that you collaborate, or partner, with to make your own solution of more value to your potential customers.

My recommended ‘must reads’ for specific technology areas are:

Cloud – Massimo Re Ferre IT20, Richard Morrell emeacloudguy

Storage – Martin Glassborow aka Storagebod, Chris Mellor El Reg

VDI – Brian Madden, Doug Brown DABCC, Andre Leibovici

Networking – Greg Ferro

This might all seem “teaching Granny to suck eggs” and just common sense, but the example stated in the first paragraph clearly demonstrates that we DO need to tell people, versus teach, which eggs to suck!  I strongly urge HR teams to ensure that new hire induction includes this topic.

Armed with this information will certainly endear you more to your customers and prospects, but also make you a better community player.  After all, you can’t engage in a community conversation if you’re not even aware it’s taking place, can you?


Another London VMUG successfully held!

Last week’s London VMUG meeting was certainly one of the best, even if I say so myself!  But, more importantly that’s what the twitter stream was telling us; we had an amazing amount of community content, great sponsors and, of course, our guest keynote presenter, Frank Denneman, captivated the audience for nearly an hour on his talk about the use of Flash in virtual datacentres and Pernix Data, his presentation can be found here, along with all the presentations here.  I loved Erik Bussink’s tweet about meerkats, this is exactly what our audience looked like once Frank started speaking 🙂



Steve Bruck and Stu McHugh’s SSO SOS session was also really well received, as was Grant Friend and Seb Hakiel on a 4000 seat VDI deployment.  Right after this session Julian Wood hosted a VDI roundtable, and although I didn’t attend it, it was obviously a good discussion as we had to interrupt the session to ask everyone to come back in for Alaric’s closing remarks!

Another community session hosted by Sam McGeown, who was speaking for the first time on his PowerCLI tips and tricks session was also well received, his blog post is here for those that missed it.

We were also visited by the IT Hulk himself, Hans de Leenheer! It’s always good to know that so many overseas visitors love to come to our London VMUG, we’ve hosted other VMUG leaders from Spain, Norway, Denmark and the Czech Republic in the past year, so we must be doing something right….

Of course, we can’t do any of these meetings without our sponsors, so thanks again to Veeam, Atlantis Computing and Dell/Wyse.

Finally, you may have heard or taken part in our survey.  As most of you that took the survey might have realized it was our chair that created this information, but hugely amusing survey – the questions caused lots of giggles, but also gave use some interesting data (other than 9 attendees were interested in Mike Laverick!) so I thought I’d share some of the output with you:















So, that’s the last meeting in London for this year, but don’t forget to mark your diaries now for 21st November for the UK National User Conference, where we will have another awesome line up of community and user content, VMware sessions and, of course, great content from our sponsors.  Details can be found here.

Finally, three quarters of your London Steering Committee (Alaric, Simon and me) will be in attendance at VMworld San Francisco, so hope to see you there, if not, see you in November!




This Week’s London VMUG – July 4th



Having been on holiday for the past 10 days, the next meeting is already nearly upon us.  This one has been a bit more challenging in organizing speakers and sponsors than previous ones.  I think there have been so many VMware related events recently; with more VMUGs coming into play and the recent VMware Forums across Europe have sapped vendors’ resources; human and budgetary.  However, we have secured a GREAT line up for our members, with Veeam, Atlantis and Dell/Wyse as our sponsors and special guest, Frank Denneman from Pernix Data.  Of course, we also have some fabulous community content, with London stalwarts Julian Wood, Steve Bruck and Stu McHugh, along with newcomer speakers Fernando Frediani, Seb Hakiel and Sam McGeown. Our own steering committee member, Simon Gallagher, will give us his view on the recent vCHS (vCloud Hybrid Service) announcement and we have regular VMware VMUG contributor Aidan Dalgliesh with his colleague, Kamau Wanguhu, talking Simplifying DR IP Addressing With  Overlay Networks – all good stuff!

As usual, we’ll have our giveaways to chuck – sorry, I mean give to new members and am sure our sponsors will have some goodies too.

Check out the agenda for yourself below and ensure your boss will let you attend this great information and knowledge exchange/networking meeting!


In case you haven’t already registered (why not?!) you can do so here and looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday!

Great line up for April 25th – Next London VMUG

Can’t believe we’re already in April – the Easter break just flew by and now we’re gearing up for the Q2 London VMUG – busy, busy, busy!  The agenda went live just before Easter, and we’ve got a great line up of speakers, both from VMware and the community, and from our sponsors; VMTurbo, Nimble Storage, Veeam and Atlantis, who is sponsoring our labs this time. Our day starts with registration and coffee from 8.30, with the first session starting at 10am sharp.  We conclude, as usual, with vBeers at The Pavilion End.

Apart from an awesome agenda, we will also have a special guest visiting us from ‘across the pond’, Mr Shane Williford aka @coolsport00 – welcome in advance Shane!  We’re also excited to have Gregg Ferro aka @etherealmind speak, since my involvement with the London VMUG I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Gregg, so looking forward to that!  Remember to register here and if you can’t make this one, our next meeting is planned for July 4th, so put that in your diary now!


Cloud – Blah, Blah, Blah

I’ve been observing many viewpoints in the past few days on the phenomenon called “cloud”.  Many of the discussions have been around vendor specific points of view, opinions and, in some cases, arguments/debates.  I was on an analyst call earlier in the week with a client who stated that, fundamentally, cloud is just hosting – again, I’m sure many will disagree with this point of view.

I did read an interesting blog post that commented “in 1999 there were two competing business models: Application Service Providers (ASP) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).  The ASP model lost and SaaS won.” Whilst overtime SaaS won, ASP failed, in my opinion, not due to SalesForce rethinking the stack as mentioned in this article but because the bandwidth just wasn’t there to support an ASP model in 1999 that could provide a good user experience.  One could also argue that ASP evolved into SaaS – isn’t it all just terminology at the end of the day?  Well, yes, and no.  It’s a combination of terminology (marketing) and technology (product) and that’s why there will always be discussions, debates and arguments – because we all have a differing viewpoint, depending on where we stand in the industry.

Joe Baguley recently presented at the Cloud Expo, discussing IT as a Strategic Weapon and part of his presentation focused on standarisation, where he alluded to the analogy of kittens and chickens in terms of servers and data centres.  All our kittens have names and when they’re taken ill we pay a vet to take care of them, yet with chickens would could have a farm of 100,00 chickens and if one of them dies so what?  In the world of standardisation this analogy may be true, but even with standardisation you have differing levels.  What if some of my chickens are free range, others are battery hens and, god forbid, what if we have some cocks in there too! (Joe did say to me over Twitter that there will be lots of those!)



For me, the bottom line is what does all this mean to the customer.  A friend of mine, who is CEO of boutique distributor, or knowledge distributor as he defines it, Prianto UK, runs his business totally in the cloud.  His company is really growing quickly, based on providing complementary technologies to the likes of VMware and Citrix.  Due to this growth, the company recently needed to move offices.  The physical relocation didn’t take too long due to proximity of the new office from the old one, but the benefit of running his business in the cloud meant that the first employee was back up and running within only 17 minutes of leaving the old office; no servers to relocate, no new networking to be configured, no additional applications to be procured……. just ‘plug and play’.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for me that is the cloud – the ability to focus on your core business and have IT as a service that enables business agility and advantage.  Whilst the vendors can argue and debate who is bigger, better, more commercially viable etc. etc. just remember, “what works best for my customer?” should always be the focus.