UK VMUG UserCon November 27th

I’m so excited to be attending – and presenting – at the forthcoming UK VMUG UserCon on 27 November, with the preceding evening being the vCurry, which I am also looking forward to. I missed the event last year, so am also super excited to see the new location at the National Space Centre.

As others have already blogged about, the vCommunity is a big part of the attraction to this annual event, as well as the awesome sessions the organisers have arranged. There will be the usual VMware glitterati there in the shape of Joe Baguley, Frank Denneman, Duncan Epping and Cormac Hogan, but there are some amazing community sessions too, check out the agenda here. The agenda lists two roundtable sessions, both to be held in Breakout 7, Rocket Tower. The first one is at 2.15pm with the second one at 3.00pm. I will be hosting a session at both times; the first one is on Personal Branding, so if you’re interested in how “Brand You” can impact your career, pop along to that. The second one is a demo of the community analysis site, WhatMatrix in conjunction with a couple of the community contributors. This session is an absolute MUST ATTEND if you’re responsible for evaluating technology for your company. We’ll focus on a VMware comparison so you can see how the site works and the type of output you can obtain – all for free!

And, of course, the whole event couldn’t take place free for attendees without the sponsors, so please do make sure you go check them out.

Finally, in advance of a fab event, I’d like to thank Simon Gallagher, Dave Simpson, Linda Smith and Chris Dearden for carrying on the mantle of being the organising committee. I know how much hard work and heart ache goes into organising this annual event – I take my hat of to you all!

Looking forward to seeing many of you in less than two weeks!!

Application Layering

As a community board member of WhatMatrix, I am delighted that category consultant Rory Monaghan has updated his Application layering comparison. To promote this update, I’ve written a blog post that the WhatMatrix team has kindly linked to my blog at the end. So, this very short post is to promote the update and to reciprocate the link back to the WhatMatrix site.

Let me tell you, the category consultants that produce these independent comparisons, in their own time and it’s a LOT of work, are the epitome of community folk. They do what they do to give back to the community. Yes, there’s an element of self-promotion, but truly you should not underestimate the work involved here. Plus, the value that these comparisons provide to organisations making decisions about technology and not having to do this time extensive work themselves is unquestionable.

Please take at a look at WhatMatrix and either use their comparisons for your own benefit or, if you like what you see, promote the site to your peers as I believe we are offering something truly unique and, more importantly, of value. Oh, and I did I say it’s FREE!

Disclaimer: Liquidware, who is included in the Application Layering Comparison, is a client of my company hiviz-marketing.com

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!

SDS/HCI Terminology/Definition Debate

Yesterday was an interesting learning day for me due to a tweet I responded to from one of the WhatMatrix category consultants that sparked a Twitter debate about what really constitutes hyper converged infrastructure (HCI).

Herman Rutten, category consultant for SDS/HCI at WhatMatrix tweeted that he is working on a new Landscape Report on this sector, 18 months after the release of the first one. One of the latest vendors to be included in the comparison on WhatMatrix is Datrium. This inclusion invoked reaction from some vendor representatives that they are not HCI.

This blog is not going to deny or confirm if they are – there are better-informed people than I to have that debate with. But what I do want to state is that WhatMatrix’s comparison is entitled SDS/HCI – thus encompassing all aspects in my opinion.

WhatMatrix has been comparing the HCI vendors since October 2015 and has consistently included solutions that adhere to the following three criteria:

Rule #1: The software is designed to run on commodity server hardware and makes use of the available resources therein.

Rule #2: The solution aggregates physical storage capacity from separate systems into a single shared storage pool.

Rule #3: The solution offers a broad set of storage functionality (services) comparable to traditional hardware defined shared storage systems.

Now, whether you agree with that definition or not is the basis of the Twitter debate but ultimately all solutions are reviewed with this in mind, so at least providing a consistent approach.

I do think marketing (e.g. messaging) has confused and blurred the definition for sure, but as a summary to the whole discussion Herman tweeted the following and, yes, that is what it’s all about – choice for the customer!

The new report is scheduled for publication end of September, keep an eye out for it if you want an independent, vendor agnostic viewpoint of this burgeoning market https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/announcing-upcoming-sds-hci-landscape-report-sep-2018/.

 

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 🙂