IntSights Cybersecurity

Lately I have been trying to educate myself on Cybersecurity, so when I was asked to take a look at IntSights I was quite surprised at how great their product set looks and the capabilities it offers.

IntSights was founded in 2015 by former members of an elite intelligence unit in the Israel Defense Forces. Equipped with a deep understanding of how threat actors think, collaborate, and act, they set out to build a solution that enables companies to use external intelligence to change the way they protect themselves.

For more information take a look at their web site

Threat Intelligence Platform

The IntSights Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) automates the entire threat intelligence lifecycle — from data collection, processing, analysis, and enrichment all the way to collaboration and dissemination. By centralizing the collection, management, and integration of dozens of threat intelligence sources in the operational environment, teams can streamline investigation and proactively block threats.

IntSights achieve this by utilising continuous monitoring of an enterprise’s external digital profile across the clear, deep, and dark web to identify emerging threats and orchestrate proactive response.

All this is managed from a cloud console providing single pane of glass management by leveraging bidirectional integrations with enterprise SIEMS, Firewalls and other security platforms found in a typical enterprise.

Example Dashboard

The main features of this are:

  • Streamlined security Operations
  • Integrated external and internal threat protection
  • Deep investigation analysis
  • Fewer duplicate and false positives
  • Accelerated response
  • Automated threat blocking
  • Plug and play into existing security devices.
  • Improve your security posture.

For more information on Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)

IntSights Active Directory Integration

The product that caught my eye the most was IntSights Active Directory Integration

IntSights Active Directory Integration automatically validates and locks down compromised credentials.

Leaked credentials are one of the easiest ways for hackers to access corporate systems and steal sensitive data. Companies must vigilantly monitor for leaked employee credentials online, but this task is made incredibly difficult with massive credential databases being published and exchanged Organizations must be able to quickly identify, process and validate if leaked credentials are active and could be used to access corporate systems

IntSights Active Directory Integration can identify new and previous credential leaks using their leaked credentials database and continuous clear, deep, and dark web monitoring.

You can then instantly validate if credentials are active and require response. You can also automate the “Credential Reset Process” by building custom policies to instantly validate and automatically trigger credential reset notifications—locking down compromised credentials efficiently while minimizing losses in employee productivity.

Active Directory Integration Overview: How It Works

For more information on IntSights Active Directory Integration –

Please note that whilst this content was not provided by IntSights this is a sponsored post.


Runecast Less Troubleshooting, More Innovating

I recently attended an Online vRetreat hosted by Patrick Redknap where we had a presentation from Kev Johnson on the latest updates with Runecast.

I have been a huge fan of Runecast since I saw the product at a VMUG a few years ago demoed by its CEO & Co-founder Stanimir Markov.

It reminded me of the Netware Config reader that was so key to my job 25 years ago, you produced a config file from your server, ran it through the config reader and quite simply it would tell you how to update your server and configure it for best practices. You would always check your server was optimised and up to date before calling Novell for technical support. Remember this was a time before the internet when Bulletin Board System (BBS) was king. Here are some old pictures I found on the Internet.

Quite simply Runecast is all this and more, it will take your vCenter and Hosts and quite simply tell you what to do, to make sure its as healthy and secure as it could possibly be.

It will check your system against:

  • The VMware Knowledge base.
  • VMware Best Practices
  • The VMware HCL
  • Al the Major Security Compliance standards

How does this all work?

Basically, it is an appliance you install on premises, that’s right on premises no data going to the cloud here. For an appliance that does all this it’s quite small; I downloaded just a 1.4GB Ova file. Installation is so simple Next, Next, Next, simply point it at the vCenter and away it goes. I had it installed and running and was fixing issues in less than 20 minutes on my aging homelab.

This appliance then receives regular updates from Runecast, every time there are New KBs, updates to the HCL, patches released from VMware. For those companies that run air gapped environments no problem this has an Offline updater to allow you to update your systems.

Ease of Use.

Runecast has what I believe is one of the simplest dashboards to use, it’s not cluttered and you can immediately see the Key points.

  • Severity
  • Log Issues (once enabled)
  • Security Compliance
  • KBs Applicable to your environment
  • Best Practice Adoption

Simply click on a red item to drill in to the issue, it will tell you the fix and either how to implement it or what to download. Some are simple, maybe Time isn’t set up on one of your hosts, or maybe you need to update VMware tools. Attention to detail is all the way through the product, here there are helpful links to the VMware KB so you can have all the remediation information to hand.

Security Compliance

Security compliance is now a major part of Runecast and they recently added CIS to their list of security compliance standards. Here is a full list of all the standards they currently have in the application and I’m sure more will be coming over time.

Some Customers only buy Runecast for the Compliance and I can see why, when it’s this simple to check and recheck your environment against an ever-changing environment of patches, updates and changes to security standards. I managed to get my system up to 72% in Security Compliance and 76% in Best Practices after about an hours work but as you can see, I’ve still got a long way to go.

Hardware Compatibility and Upgrades

One of the other cool features in Runecast is the ability to compare your server against the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) down to the Bios versions.  Anyone who has spent time trying to identify which hardware is compatible knows that the HCL can be a world of pain. Pointing at my hotchpotch of servers tells me I’ve got some unsupported hardware in the form of my Gigabyte motherboard and the processor in my HP Microserver. Not a problem for my homelab but in a production environment this can be critical.

But you can take this a stage further and test out your hardware for future upgrades, using the handy Simulate upgrade feature.

Simply select the version you are thinking of upgrading to and hit Simulate.

Which immediately tells me that my Proliant is not supported past 6.5 U3 which is why I’ve held it back from upgrading.


So in summary I believe this tool would bring benefits to any organisation but don’t just take my word for it, simply go to where you can sign up for a free 14 day trial and evaluate it in your own environment. Remember you will be up and running in just 20 minutes.

VMware Champions what’s it all about?

Way back at VMworld 2018 I enrolled in to a program call VMware Champions. At VMworld 2019 (Barcelona) I became the top champion at the event, which resulted in me winning some great prizes along the way as well as Champion of the Month for November.

So what’s it all about and is it for me? Well if you’re a customer of VMware then I would say yes! In return VMware are looking for customers to become Customer references.

VMware say:

Champions is a community created for you, our most valued customers. Join a select group of VMware customers exploring the unlimited possibilities of software to shape the future of digital business and achieve results in innovative ways.

How does it work. Naturally there is a website or app based on the AdvocateHub application.

VMware post a challenge in the form of an article or new product for you to read and digest, then simply answer a few questions, which ultimately leads to points. The more you are able to engage with the VMware Champions team, the more points you can earn. If your answers match what they are looking for then you may be selected to become a reference in say a blog post or case study. They will put you in contact with someone who can take your story and turn it in to a professional article. Only when both of you are happy it will be released. Some champions have been published in the Radius publication that you may have seen online.

What do points make? Well, prizes as the saying goes. You can save up your points and cash them in for anything from baseball caps to a ticket to VMworld (entry only). Just by signing in each day you can collect daily bonus points, and of course you then get to see any new tasks that have been created for you to complete.

My prize from VMworld included an awesome longboard signed by Pat Gelsinger himself.

So if you are a VMware Customer and would like to see your company featured by Champions then you can sign up here

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.

VMworld Barcelona 2017 Day 2

Iam creating the future

Day 2 started as always with the ‘Big Keynote’, I was lucky enough to be seated on the front row (thanks to my bloggers pass) and was able to see all the action close up.

The keynote started with Jean-Pierre Brulard welcoming everyone to VMworld2017 and then he handed over to Pat Gelsinger who presented the main address.

There were less ‘Big’ announcements at this VMworld, more a few smaller ones:


  • VMware HCX Technologies which delivers secure hybrid cloud for seamless app mobility between vSphere versions, on-premises or in the cloud. For more information see here.

vmware dell ibm

  • A partnership between VMware, IBM and Dell in the Cloud space. Whilst VMware and IBM have collaborated before it was odd knowing that Dell were prepared to work with IBM at such a level but the truth will out as they say.

vmware cloud verified1

  • VMware Cloud Verified starts with 5 companies but will be sure to grow. The first 5 companies are CenturyLink, Fujitsu, IBM Cloud, OVH, and Rackspace and I’m sure this will drive business their way but it won’t be long before more cloud partners come forward to become VMware Cloud Verified. For more information see here.

Then the coolest demo ever done at a VMworld keynote happened! I know it was cool as after the keynote everyone in the VMTN Blogging area was talking about it. Alan Renouf (Senior Product Line Manager and one of the architects of the Hackathon) came on and proceeded to get Pat to manage a Virtual datacentre using a Virtual Reality headset. He picked up a virtual machine and by dropping it in to a trash can simply deleted it. Then for the finale took a VM and VMotioned it to an AWS cloud simply by throwing it. The software is available as an open source git hub download and was unbelievably written in just a day and a half.

But don’t take my word for it you can watch the video below, the VR demo is at 48:00 minutes  and if you watch nothing else watch this and be blown away.

Then it was time to hit my sessions for the day including:

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right (VIRT1309BE) with Michael Corey and David Klee. This is a great session if you use Oracle or SQL servers and I would recommend that you watch the recording if you do. It’s available as one of the top sessions from the event here

This was followed by another HOL and some networking before it was time to get off to the evening’s entertainment at the Vexpert party.

VMworld Barcelona 2017 Day 1


Monday is traditionally ‘partner day’, where the partner organisations get special sessions on sales or technical subjects. The Solutions Exchange is not open so some people believe it is a slow day, but from my point of view it was far from it. I have heard that some people don’t turn up on day 1 which I believe is a waste of the valuable resource that is VMworld.

I set out early to catch up with friends, colleagues and bloggers in the VMTN Community area. Of course CloudCred features high on my list of things to do today so I paid Noell Grier (the CloudCred Admin) a visit on the stand. I also got to meet a couple of my CloudCred and VMUG friends Lino Telera, Andrea Mauro and Noell Grier

day1 cloudcred

Lino Telera, Noell Grier, Andrea Mauro and me.

It was then time to start the Expert led Hands-On Labs (HOL) that I had booked. VMworld run HOLs all the time but the Expert lead ones are something special, a combination of a clasroom like enviroment, with the guys who wrote the HOL leading you through it. I started with the VMware NSX – Getting Started Workshop and then vRealize Automation 7 – Getting Started Workshop.

I think it’s important to spend time looking at technologies that you don’t use but are curious about and VMworld is the ideal environment to do that.

After that It was time for a bit more networking in the VMTN lounge, I was keen to meet up with Elsa Mayer who is VMware’s new Blog Manager who is launching a number of Blogger programs here at VMWorld.

I finished the day off with a self-passed HOL on Horizon to keep my place on the Cloudcred leader board only 5th must try harder!

ccleaderboard day 1

I was lucky enough to get an invite to the VMUG Member party and spent the evening with colleagues from the London VMUG and was able to meet Brad Tompkins (VMUG CEO) and Lori Donaldson (Marketing Director)