London VMUG July 9th – A Rimmary

Despite there being a tube strike and many people unable to make it, we had one of the best London VMUG meetings for a while.  We still had around 7 new member attendees and we were pleased to host fellow VMUG leader, Eric Lee, all the way from Kansas City.  Hey if Eric managed to make it all the way from the US, a tube strike wasn’t going to stop our hardcore members from making it either!

Our first keynote was from our gold sponsor Zerto, a long standing supporter of London VMUG and Chris Snell shared with the group how to build a perfect DR Solution.


We were lucky to have Frank Denneman as our keynote speaker.  As you all know, Frank is super super technical but technology was not the focus of his presentation.  Back at our January meeting Frank presented a keynote as his company, PernixData was our gold sponsor.  Following his session then were our 4 vFACTOR community speakers.  They shared with me they felt a little intimidated have to follow Frank.  In a conversation with Frank a few months later I shared this with him and, kudos to his humility, he stated he was surprised and so offered to share his journey on public speaking at a future London meeting.  So, thank you Frank for, in this instance, being a community speaker and sharing your experiences with our members, your time was much appreciated by us, the committee, and our members.

Alaric declared “miking up the new community speaker!”

Excellent point Frank!


We then had Ben Ward from VMware discussing complementing Citrix with the new Horizon View bundle and Ricky El Qasem and David Balharrie hosting an interactive vCD missing you already session.  After a quick break, we resumed with our two silver sponsors, Shavlik and Cumulus Networks discussing comprehensive patch management and modernizing VMware networking respectively.  Alongside these sessions, our lab sponsor Sumerian conducted hands on capacity planning for the SDDC sessions. As always, we can’t do these meetings with the generosity of our sponsors, so thanks to Zerto, Shavlik, Cumulus Networks and Sumerian.

The sponsor sessions were followed by 2 of our previous vFACTOR presenters, Alec Dunn and Chris Porter talking home labs and Ravello Systems. Great job guys, thanks for putting the “u” into VMUG!!

Unfortunately, I missed a lot of the afternoon sessions because I was on a reccy for a new home for us.  Yes, after over 7 years of being at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they are closing their doors, so we need a new home for 2016 and beyond meetings.  After some intense research, I discovered TechUK – a trade association for UK technology – is based in London and have meeting facilities very similar to the LCC.  It is amazing to be able to find a venue in central London that isn’t an arm and a leg to hire and the great thing is VMware is a member of TechUK!  We are excited about our new home but sad to be leaving the LCC – Alaric in his closing remarks asked Agata from the Chambers to come and receive a round of applause for all her hard work and efforts in hosting our meetings for all these years – it was emosh!!  So our January meeting – 21st, put it in your diary – will be held at TechUK, 10 Saint Bride Street, just off Fleet Street.

We left early for a special vBeers event – superbly arranged by Alaric and Matt Northam and kindly sponsored by Nutanix, 10ZiG and Bitdefender.  It was perfect weather for sitting outside (albeit we were in the Bermondsey Industrial Estate!) drinking 9 different types of beer, noshing gourmet hotdogs – a perfect end to a perfect day.

Picture credit: Kimberly Delgado

Heading back to Waterloo was a synch, as the tube strike had finished and the roads were not too busy.

For all presentations please visit, for pics of the day visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to keep abreast of all things London VMUG!

hiviz-marketing is 10 years old!

When I decided to leave my role as Director EMEA Marketing at VMware in January 2005, I didn’t envision 10 years later that hiviz-marketing would still be going so strong!

I took the decision to “go down a gear” after having spent 2 years, as employee number 2 in Europe, building the VMware brand.  Flying all over Europe convincing partners and customers that virtualization was the way forward, building a team of local marketers and being part of a cult-like movement was invigorating, challenging and exhausting!  Having done much the same for the previous 5 ½ years at Citrix, it was time for a change.  Telling my EMEA VP that I was leaving was a bit like asking my husband for a divorce – we’d worked so closely both at VMware and previously at Citrix – it was very hard to leave him, my team and the company.  But the world of consulting beckoned and I was looking forward to spending more time with my family, dogs and horses (not necessarily in that order by the way!).  hiviz-marketing was born in February 2005 and by the end of that month I had secured my first two customers – Platform Computing and VirtualizeIT (that was subsequently sold to Virtustream).

I have been lucky, and privileged, to have worked with some amazing technology and some fantastic people.  My criteria for working with clients is 3-fold; 1. I have to believe in the technology, 2.  I have to like the people and 3. They can’t compete with another client – as a “me, myself and I” business I can never have conflicts of interest or anyone questioning my integrity.  The thing I love about what I do is that I continue to learn; when working for one company you sometimes get sucked into the corporate culture that involves drinking the kool-aid, along with the bureaucracy and politics.  In my role, I ensure I don’t get involved in that and remain objective.  By working with different companies and technology I get a much more holistic view of our industry and can offer advice and guidance with objectivity; versus the subjective view you generally get when being an employee.

The companies I work/have worked with have primarily been US start-ups entering the EMEA market and, mainly, within the VMware eco-system.  Many of them have gone on to be acquired (Vizioncore by Quest, then Dell, ScriptLogic by Quest,) some have disappeared off the radar (PanoLogic) and some continue to disrupt and provide immense value to their customer base (Liquidware Labs, Nutanix, PernixData).  I’ve witnessed many technology movements and my role as a VMUG leader also provides me exposure to many new technologies that sponsor our meetings and annual user conference.  The other clear movement is the advancements made in storage during the past 10 years.  A techie friend said to me in the late “noughties” that he didn’t see longevity for companies like Atlantis as SSDs would negate the need for their solution, which goes to show there is space for differing solutions.

With a rear view mirror, many of the disruptive innovators in those early days are now major players, with billions of dollars in revenue.  VMware is obviously the main one.  Some people today think that VMware was an easy sale, a “no brainer”, but creating a market, changing mindsets of IT managers and CIOs is an uphill and a constant challenge.  Brian Madden recently wrote an article and claimed:

“The same is true for VMware in server virtualization in the early early-to-mid 2000s. …… This stuff was obvious, it was necessary, and it sold itself.”

I HAD to post a comment on this article because this is such a typical view of someone that wasn’t involved in the hard slog and just sees the results of a successful company and puts that success down to “an easy sell” – WRONG!  Looking in the review mirror, yes it’s obvious, yes it was needed, but it took a lot of technical, sales and marketing resource to make it so!

So entering into the next decade of hiviz-marketing, as a 10th anniversary present to me, myself and I, I’ve invested in a new website, please take a look and I hope you like it.

Finally, to all my clients, past, present and future, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you – it’s been fun and I look forward to continuing to work with leading-edge, disruptive companies with the most amazing people!! I wonder what the next ten years will bring……….

Third Annual UK VMUG User Conference – November 21st, 2013

This year’s event was another roaring success – thanks to all the contributing factors; speakers from VMware, sponsors and the community, the attendees, the sponsors, VMUG HQ and the UK VMUG Steering Committee.  This event continues to grow, from 331 attendees in 2011, to 375 in 2012 to this year’s amazing 458.  The only downside is that registration/attendee ratio continues to have a 25-30% drop out – not just in the UK but globally across VMUG events and conferences, all I can say is #UKVMUGBOO.

As usual the event was preceded by the traditional vCurry, as always sponsored by Veeam.  However, this year had a different twist with the inclusion of a vQuiz, MC’d by our very own committee member Stuart Thompson.   The vGeeks team were the winners of the highly sought after trophy of a box of aptly named Celebrations!



Stu did an amazing job of providing some great questions – which am sure many folks struggled to answer – well do you know the answer to this?

“When using Network I/O control, how many different 802.1p priority tags are available for assignment?

Bonus point – Name each of the default traffic types available.”*

The day started with the usual entertaining intro from Alaric Davies, our UK and London VMUG Chair, who introduced the UKVMUGYAY and UKVMUGBOO hashtags to win access codes to VMworld content as well as offering people the chance to win a 6 month subscription to Plural Sight’s complete online training catalogue by tweeting “I deserve to win because…”.

Alaric also asked the audience who had not been to a VMUG before, and it was great to see around 30% of the audience was a first time attendee!  This intro was followed by an extremely informative and well received keynote from VMware EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley.  In usual tradition, Unicorns, Chickens and Kittens all played a part 🙂

Prior to, and throughout the day, Nick Dyer and Nimble Storage were the most supportive sponsors tweeting, thank you! Unfortunately, both Duncan Epping and Scott Lowe were unable to attend on the day, but Dan Watson did a great job of presenting NSX to a packed room and Martyn Storey chaired a panel session with Mike Laverick, Mark Stockham, Joe Baguley and our own Simon Gallagher.  I believe, however, the most popular session of the day was Cormac Hogan’s on VSAN – the room was heaving!







Another very popular element was the community mezzanine, organized by committee member, Simon Gallagher – a big thanks from all of us to the participating community.

Alongside the main focus of ensuring the USER is the main focus in VMUG, we also had an additional community element of the traditional MOvember charity, Matt Northam announced on this blog his £100 to the best Mo at UK VMUG, and the winner of his donation was Mr Steve Bruck!









There were lots of prize winners during the day:

Plus Mike Laverick raffled his VMworld SwagBag, raising over £350 for UNICEF, with Rynardt Spies being the lucky winner!




The day closed with a really engaging closing keynote from Greg Ferro entitled the Duck Deficiency – you really had to be there to get the meaning, but my takeaway was summed up by this tweet Processes do not solve a problem – in many cases they create them.  Look hard at your issues – do you have an influx of snails or not enough ducks?

Alaric wrapped up the proceedings with the prize giving from the sponsors and passport to prizes.  Finally, Joe’s tweet really summed up the day for me and for those that do want to be there next year, put November 20th 2014 in your diary as the tentative date for 2014!

* the answer is: 7, bonus : FT, Management, vMotion, iSCSI, VM, NFS, vSphere Replication

Come and win with Hairy Convergence

Guest blog from Matt Northam.

I am sure most of you have read about Converged Systems and maybe even Hyper Convergence but with this being November I am wondering how many of you have heard of Hairy Convergence, the speed of Tache!
This is the phenomenon sweeping our shores, and it happens every year around this time, where facial hairs converge around the upper lip on men’s faces.
It has come to my attention that on the 21st November, in the small village of Solihull, many men afflicted with this Hairy Convergence will be congregating (thought of using converging here but too much??).
This gave me an idea. I have had a cancer that Movember raises money to fight (and a damn fine job they do). I have sponsored the one very facially hairy Christian Mohn for Movember as well he asked first and having only seen photos of him with a full a viking worthy beard it was worth it to see him cleanly shaven on 1st November!! I want to do more and since I am fighting the convergence of hair this year I would like to sponsor more of my fellow VMUG’ers…..BUT who?
So here is the plan, I don’t have a book to give away, I struggle with ones that don’t have pictures, hell I don’t even blog. The 140 character limit of twitter is my limit…..I don’t have any fancy corporate goodies either to give away but what I do have is a bright pair of yellow trousers (yes I do Lee Dilworth!!) AND a desire to help fight these cancers Movember are winning against.
Anyone attending the UKVMUG on the 21st who comes past the Nutanix stand (yes I am an employee of Nutanix BUT this is a personal thing!) and gets a photo with me with their ‘MO’ and my yellow trousers will be entered into a draw. The best Mo will be chosen by Linda Smith of Global Knowledge (thanks for volunteering Linda) and I will then donate £100 of her majesty’s finest pounds to their Movember charity page. I am sure we can also leak the photos for comic value.
This is not a gimmick just a fun way for me to help a charity who’s fantastic work helped me personally and enabled the NHS to beat my cancer.
Also I get a great excuse to wear my bright trousers and have fun with my fellow VMUG community people. Also being at the Motorcycle museum the thought of Steve Bruck with a tache is too good a photo opportunity to miss, Village People anyone?
I am working with the amazing Jane Rimmer, (ah, thanks Matt!) who is kindly letting me guest blog, to have a Mo off against Christian and the other Nordic VMUG’ers and their Mo’s
Thanks and see you on the 21st……..
P.S. If anyone wants I have the Movember prize I won when I did it 2 years ago and it is a book all about growing and tailoring your Mo…..happy to loan out for some final grooming tips!

One situation – many different views!

In my role, I straddle many of the marketing disciplines and whilst my main skills are in channel and communications, I have an affinity with the technical community – hence, why I love my role as a VMUG leader and most of the tweeps I follow are technical.  Due to my job role and role in the community, I like to think I can see both (or all) sides of a situation.

Recently there has been much discussion over the VMware/EMC/Nutanix twitter dialogue and the resulting coverage on CRN and while I can see all sides of the story, the bottom line is you may preface your tweets, or your blogs, as “are my own, not my employers’, but if you’re tweeting “on duty” then you are a representative of your company and must ALWAYS be mindful of what you say, write or tweet.  In fact, even in your own personal time you are still susceptible to being a company representative.

When I worked at VMware and was asked by a customer “Which partner should I buy ESX from?” I’d always point them to the partner page and say “it’s up to you.”  I understand that in certain situations you can provide guidance, but in today’s social media world, sometimes you do need to keep your thoughts to yourself……

I remember a few years ago a very popular blogger questioned Gartner in a post, but, if I recall correctly, it wasn’t aggressive just challenging.  His employer was immediately approached by Gartner and the outcome was the employer requested the blogger to take the post down.  There was uproar – rightly so – in the industry and community – this was over stepping the employer’s mark.  The blogger took his whole blog down for a while but am glad to say the situation fizzled out and his blog was up and running not long after – but with the Gartner post removed 🙁

To me, this highlighted that while you are an employee of a company, no matter what you say or do, you are viewed as a representative of your company and they expect you to act accordingly – whether you agree with them or not!  Frankly, this is why I love being an independent consultant !

I’d like to refer to a recent Geek-whisperers podcast, where Amy, John and Matt discuss PR not understanding social.  They billed this as  “our most confrontational podcast yet.”  PR/Corporate Communications’ role is sometimes like herding cats – they are responsible for the company’s communications and, sometimes, the social ‘fanatics’ make their job quite difficult.  So, being on both sides of this fence, I can see both view but, for a change, I do not agree with Geek-Whispers as I believe anyone in PR/Corp Comms will think THEY have to train the social engagers, not the other way around 🙂

Back to the VMware/EMC/Nutanix twitter discussion.  There were comments from the community in blog posts and on twitter that the journalist had ‘sensationalized’ the situation.  I don’t agree with that view either.  To me, he was ‘just doing his job’ and, while many times in a face-to-face situation some peeps are quite introverted, on twitter or in blog posts they are way more vociferous and animated!  Sometimes, this can lead to CLMs (career limiting moves), so do beware dear reader!





I get asked by some of my clients about how to engage on social media and what guidelines should be put in place, what training is required, etc.  My ‘recipe” for successful social engagement is simple:

1 part positivity

1 part passion

1 part honesty

1 part knowledge

Add a dash of humility

Blend together and at all times remember: if you represent a company, you have to be “on message” and if you’re not sure what the message is, or you have any doubt in your mind, don’t tweet it, blog it, or say it!