My First VMUG Community Presentation

LonVMUG_Logo

This Thursday 9th May is the second London VMUG gathering of the year, and probably the most significant VMUG I have attended to date. Why? Well because someone managed to talk me in to presenting a community session for the first time.

As someone who doesn’t have to present for my job I thought I would be nervous, and I’m sure I will have some major last minute nerves, but bizarrely I’m quite excited to be doing this.

My chosen subject to present on is ‘Everything You Want to Know About Smart Meters, but Were Afraid to Ask’. I hope to provide the audience with a real world application of Smart Meters in a context that everyone can immediately relate to and explain the infrastructure required to provide us all with the services that we take for granted.

The event is being sponsored by Cohesity, OVH and Unitrends. so a big thank you to them.

cohesity         ovh-blue     unitrends

The agenda is out and I’m up at 15:00 so by 15:45 my worst fears will be over as will my presentation!

201905AgendaSo if you can make it to the VMUG I hope to see you there. To find out more about the event and register go to here.

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vRetreat and Cohesity

Vretreat

It was a clear, crisp February day a week ago when I attended my first vRetreat. These events are arranged by fellow vExpert Patrick Redknap, with this event being sponsored by Cohesity and held at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club.

So, Cohesity – what’s it all about. The day started with an introduction on Cohesity from Stuart Gilks, Systems Engineering Director. Stuart started with the statement that 80% of organisations have backup issues, which I can well believe. I always say as a system admin that we get burnt by backup and antivirus which ever products you use, a simple fault can suck your entire day. 

The core product at the heart of the Cohesity suite of products is DataProtect. DataProtect is more than just a backup and recovery product though. It can handle all the traditional backup needs so Deduplication, Compression, Replication and Encryption. But more than that it can handle almost any workload both on premise or in the cloud using their Multicloud products. That’s any hypervisor, any application, any storage and now any cloud. 

Cohesity data Protect

Stuart says they are seeing a decline in NAS usage which I suspect matches the way companies now don’t replace NAS or SAN storage but move it to S3 storage from AWS, Azure and Google. 

To read more about Dataprotect visit here  or watch this video. 

We know Cohesity does a great job on backups but it’s the file and objects services where it really starts to make a difference, using products like MapR to perform analytics on the metadata. After all, you take the time to back it up so you already have a rich set of metadata to drill in to. Stuart even demonstrated how the analytics could detect changes of patterns in the data being backed up, so seeing a sharp increase in encrypted files where previously there were none could indicate a ransomware attack and with automation it simply restores the files from before they were infected. The demo was pretty cool and if you want to see more about the ransomware detection check out their blog page on it here and be sure to watch the video as well. 

Cohesity have also just released their latest version 6.2 which now includes a number of new and improved features which you can see below. Currently they are releasing a new version every few months which shows their commitment to development.

Cohesity release highlights2

They have also announced a new OEM partnership with HPE which I think speaks volumes in a world where HP have been acquiring businesses of interest. This partnership will fill a hole in the HPE portfolio and bring HPE Apollo and Proliant servers to the Cohesity product set.

cohesity appliance

If you’re in the market for a new backup product with some excellent additions and features Cohesity may be well worth a look.

All Views expressed on this site are my own personal opinion and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.

VMworld 2018 Day 1 – good day, bad night

Well today started like any other Day 1 at VMworld, It was great to wander round the hall and catch up with old friends, it wasn’t long before I had met most of the community people I like to hang out with. The list is endless but, Anna Lawler, Eric Nielsen, Angelo Luciani and Noell Grier to name but a few, apart from the entire UK vExpert and London VMUG community who appear to be 100% here.

I managed to get some Labs completed In the HOL area including the new lightening Labs; these are a great way to start a lab off. The concept is that you can start and finish a lab in 30 minutes, I did the lab SPL-1988-01-EMT Enterprise Blockchain getting started, and this is basically a 30 minutes introduction and walk through of the VMware Blockchain application, and worked really well.

At this point Gareth Edwards turned up with a suitcase of vExpert special order Polo shirts for most of the UK vExpert’s. Just one of the reasons why Gareth has been recognised as a vExpert Pro. One of just two in the UK.

garethpolos.

It was at this point that we decided to head off back to our apartment and prepare for an evening at the VMworld Rubrik sponsored Cocktail party.

However despite all my preparation’s and heightened awareness as I entered the Metro train at LCollblanc to Verdaguer (L5 line) a team of pickpockets skillfully blocked my path on to the train, grabbed my rucksack which stopped my movement and then made it off with my wallet. Luckily for me I had split my cash and plastic over two wallets so I didn’t lose that much. However I was with 3 of my colleagues and all of us were taken in by this distraction technique that ended up with my wallet going. So please be extra vigilant when out and about especially when using public transport.

After getting back to the apartment and blocking the cards that were taken, I did head off to the police station that google suggested. However it was shut when I got there. So decided that at 21:00 to head off to the Rubrik party and drown my sorrows whilst I was there.rubrik

I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day as we start VMworld off with a keynote from Pat Gelsinger and Ray O Farrell on Technology Superpowers.

So remember people let’s be careful out there.

VMworld 2018 T-1

Just a quick post to say #VMworld 2018 starts tomorrow, Barcelona is filling up with VMware shirts from all over the globe, I arrived earlier today and decided to stop by the Fira and register. There is a new type of badge this year, with no pocket for a map or raffle tickets!  So there better be lots of maps around the venue.

img_20181104_170818906_hdr

This year I managed to get a ticket to the famous pre event party the #vRockstar party. This was my first year to attend however I missed out on a legendary tshirt, better luck next year then. A huge thanks to @PatrickRedknap for arranging this event. As you can see it’s a very popular event and it’s the ideal way to start the networking off.

Tomorrow it’s a slow start for me as its traditionally the partner day so I’m going to be spending some time attending Hands on Labs (Hopefully an expert lead one or two) as well as hanging out at the #cloudcred booth with my now good friend @NoellGrier, and the #VMTN and bloggers area, so please come by and say Hi (We Don’t Bite)

vExpert 2018 Award Announcement

VMW-LOGO-vEXPERT-2018-k

Well after an incredibly tense time, mainly due to the time difference between the US and the UK, I woke up last Saturday morning to find I had received the email saying I was awarded vExpert 2018. This is my third year as a vExpert and I’m thrilled and honoured to receive it. It’s even more special when VMware released the following stats and I discovered that there are 144 vExpert’s here in the UK so I’m a member of a very small club indeed!

vExpert Stats

There was a delay on the result this year and for some reason I had the feeling that I wasn’t going to make it. Last year was a hard year for me in my personal life, and when it came to VMworld I was a bit disillusioned. Firstly after the Mandalay Bay shootings I lost my desire to go to Vegas, secondly when I was at VMworld in Barcelona I had my pocked picked just before I came home and it left me feeling vulnerable.

However spring is the time for new starts, and I intend to start by embracing my third vExpert with the honour and respect it deserves. So more blogging, cloudcred, studying and VMUG is in order. My passion for all things VMware is growing again and I’m thinking about which VMworld I would like to attend subject to any sponsorship and my finances. It’s going well so far:

  • I have earnt my 10th VCA Digital Business Transformation, two weeks ago
  • I’m currently studying to get through my foundation exam towards my VCP
  • Next week I will be attending the 2nd London VMUG meeting of the year.

To find out more about the program see the official announcement here.

 

VMware Certified Associate – Digital Business Transformation VCA-DBT

Last week I passed the new VMware Certified Associate – Digital Business Transformation. This is a new VCA from VMware as they very kindly retired all the VCA6 qualifications as of the 31 December 2017. Retired is an interesting word, retired means you can’t take it, but VCA’s currently don’t expire like VCP’s.

There were several reasons I wanted to take this exam, one of them is that I’ve passed all the VCA’s since they came in to existence back in  2013 I believe. This one makes my 10th VCA.

  • VMware Certified Associate – Data Center Virtualization (VCA-DCV)
  • VMware Certified Associate – Network Virtualization (VCA-NV)
  • VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)
  • VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM)
  • VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV)
  • VMware Certified Associate 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCA6-DTM)
  • VMware Certified Associate 6 – Hybrid Cloud (VCA6-HC)
  • VMware Certified Associate 6 – Network Virtualization (VCA6-NV)
  • VMware Certified Associate 6 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCA6-CMA)
  • VMware Certified Associate – Digital Business Transformation (VCA-DBT)

Additionally for passing the exam you will get a badge issued to you from Acclaim, my profile can be seen here.

There is no course requirement, but VMware recommends viewing the free VCA-DBT training course available in the VMware Learning Zone. The previous VMware eLearning courses were more like a conventional training course, with a number of pages to click through with both slides and a narrator.

fundamental training

Old style VMware eLearning

The VMware Learning Zone offers a web site with a modern look and feel where you can sign up and take courses. Some are free such as the VCA and fundamentals courses, others you can purchases such as certification or exam prep courses. I’m sure this will be the place where all VMware training is done in future. The learning zone has a gamification feel to it with a dashboard and leader-board to track your progress and encourage you to watch more.

VCA-dashboard1VCA-dashboard2

When it comes to the VCA-DBT training it is made of a number of modules with different experts talking about their subjects, more like a webinar. The course in my mind has a slightly disjointed feel to it, and has the look that someone has reused a few videos that were already produced, however the subject matter is also quite wide and varied with 72 modules covering:

  • Horizon View
  • ThinApp
  • Virtual SAN
  • vSphere
  • Design Principles
  • Daas and Horizon Cloud
  • App Volumes
  • VMware Identity Manager
  • VMware User Environment Manager
  • VMware Cloud foundation
  • VMware NSX
  • VRealize Suite

VCA-course1

New learning Zone here is Andrew Klopp discussing Thinapp

However one of the plus points is that each module is fairly short, the longest was about 20 minutes, and each module matches an exam blueprint which is the VMware way. The full course took me about 5 hours to get through, but unlike the other VCA’s It’s not always about memorising the course but applying the knowledge you have to the exam questions.

I must admit that If had just taken this course as someone new to VMware I don’t think I would have been able to answer all the questions in the exam on say NSX. But without taking the course I would have struggled with some of the questions on vRealize Business which I don’t use and in fact hadn’t heard of.

For those wanting to take this VCA exam, there is no practise exam available, however there are some sample questions available in the Blueprint which should be a good indicator of how prepared you are.

The exam is non proctored so it can be taken online from home. With 50 questions in 135 minutes time shouldn’t be a problem. The exam costs $125 or £102 +vat, but don’t forget if you’re a VMUG advantage holder you can get a discount of 20% on exams. I was able to get a 70% discount from completing the Stanly VCP6 course recently, another one of the bonuses for taking this course, making the final cost just £36.72.

If you want more information then the latest exam blueprint is available here and you can find out more about the VCA-DBT here.

VMworld Barcelona 2017 Day 3

I am challenging

Day 3 in previous years has the second keynote hosted again by Pat Gelsinger and I was all set to get to my seat when the keynote was over shadowed by the awesome announcement from the OpenTechCast team. They had missed the party last night to spend the night editing a special interview with no other than Pat Gelsinger.

I downloaded it and listened to it on the way over to the Gran Via and I have to say it’s a great interview in which Pat talks openly and honestly about his family, his life, and career and what it means to be the CEO of VMware.

There was lots of congratulating of Alex Galbraith, Amit Panchal, Kev Johnson and Ather Beg at the bloggers area on how they had not only secured the interview but kept it secret, Pretty soon it  went viral on twitter. I can only recommend you listen to this and sign up to the rest of the podcasts.

So I kind of missed the big keynote and ended up having to watch it in the bloggers area on the big screen. It started with a QA session with Pat Gelsinger, Sanjay Poonen and Ray O’Farrell and then went on to demo a number of the new announcements in more detail.

Then my day became crazy with sessions, book signings, prize gatherings and then more sessions.

What’s Next for vSphere? [SER3154SE]

VMware Cloud on AWS: A Technical Deep Dive [LHC2384BE] hosted by Frank Denneman and Ray Budavari.

There was just enough time to dash off to the Rubik Stand where Frank and Niels Hagoort were signing their new book “Host Resources Deep Dive” that is taking the community by storm. A big Thanks to Rubik for printing 1000 copies as well. If you haven’t got a copy then pop over to your local book store and get it now.

Then it was time for the Cloudcred Hands on Labs prize giving and I had been hitting the labs quite hard having completed all the badges. I was lucky enough to Win DevOps labs badge prize of a Roku 4K Streaming Device. It was also great to meet the other winners Gilad Brown and my fellow london VMUG member Amit Panchal was also a winner.

HOL expert badgeHOL overall badgeHOL DEVopsHOL home badge

For the final session of the day and in a packed room it was time for vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive: Part 2 [SER1872BE] again with Frank and Neils. This was a fantastic insight to the brains behind the book and whilst I can admit to not understanding all the content, the more you read the book and watch the presentations it does start to sink in.

Then it was time for a well-earned rest and the VMworld europe customer appreciation party 2017 which this year featured the Kaiser Chiefs who put on a fantastic concert. Thanks again to VMware for a great night.