Sep 302011

The VMware VMTM blog had been running a series of vExpert spotlight posts doing a quick bio of this years vExperts and how & why they got into virtualisation and the community.

Today this spotlight is on me.

If you want to know a little more about me and how I got to where I am today then check out this VMTN Blog post

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Jul 032011

After a little bit of teasing from the vExpert team, I was included in the 2nd batch of emails informing me of my acceptance into the VMware vExpert 2011 program.

We’re pleased to designate you as a vExpert 2011 as recognition of your contributions to the VMware, virtualization, and cloud computing communities. You’ve done work above and beyond, and we’re delighted to communicate more closely, to share resources, and to offer other opportunities for greater interaction throughout the year as we continue to grow knowledge and success in the community of IT professionals. Welcome to the vExpert 2011 Program!

Its a great feeling to be included in this elite group and I plan to work hard to maintain and increase my involvement in the Virtualisation community.

Id just like to thank the people that nominated me ( along with John Troyer and the vExpert panel.

Its also great so see so many guys from the London VMUG getting recognised, allot of people made a huge effort this year and its well deserved.

What is a vExpert?

Some good lists to follow if you want to see what other vExperts are up to:!/maishsk/vmware-vexpert-2011!/GreggRobertson5/vmware-vexperts-2011

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Apr 122011

Its that time of year again and the vExpert applications and nomination forms are out for all to see. The vExpert covers the activities over 2010.

This year it would be great to see more guys from the UK get this accreditation. I think that the amount of people participating in the UK virtualisation communities and going above and beyond there job role has now hit a new high over in the UK in 2010 and its time that is recognised.

If you feel that 2010 was a great year for yourself and you gave more than is generally expected to the virtualisation communities then put yourself forward. They need you to fill in an information form about yourself so that VMware can judge you worthy or not.

You can also nominate people for the award. While I don’t think the amount of nominations for one person will make a difference the content will, so be sure to give good reasons why you want that person the be a vExpert.

On that note………..

Please feel free to nominate myself. Winking smile

Personally it has been a great year for me regarding my contributions to the communities and I feel I have contributed significantly in 2010 with podcasts, videos, whitepapers, blogging, reviews etc. I aim to do better in 2011 but it would be amazing if you put my name forward with a nomination for 2010.

(email: [email protected])

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Jan 262011

Firstly I should point out I’m not an exchange guy. In fact I have only installed and maintained it on a –200 user platform, and that was Exchange 2003. So when I was asked to review TrainSignals Exchange 2010 training I found myself being the perfect candidate to give an impartial view. In addition I have not done many video based courses like this so being able to compare this training to a on site instructor led course gave me the opportunity to choose if I should follow this path in the future.

The training package comes in DVD format and contains 3 disks. Split over 40 lessons the subject range across ‘System requirements and Prerequisites’, Understanding and Managing Databases’ to ‘Anit-Virus and Anti Spam Features’. The initial overview and setup I found to be more than enough to be able to grasp what was expected of the training and also what was expected of myself i.e. setting up my lab environment. While I am a relative Exchange newbie it did strike me that someone with some experience may find it more tedious to sit through every section or slide so the ability to fast-forward or skip sections is a huge advantage over an instructor led course.

Just like an instructor led course there is a powerpoint presentation and an instructor that guides you through the training. There are even instructor notes should you want to retrain someone using the TrainSignal slides. The instructor ‘Peter Bruzzese’ explained the concepts very well and I thought managed to get his point over excellently. However even when you did miss a piece or didn’t understand the first time you can always role it back to the point you lost him.

I found that being able to put them onto my iPad (or equivalent) meant I could still see my screen that I was working on and watch the demos and powerpoints. These files are on the additional content DVD (DVD 3) and it is very easy to follow and even tells you how to get the files into iTunes.

I do a few recommendations regarding the instillation:

  • I would of liked the option of the command line instillation as well as the GUI. (or at least point us to the Technet article on how to do it).
  • Patching the server prier to use was skimmed over and is key to passing the instillation pre-requisites.
  • When errors in the instillation did occur (for me anyway) there were no “and a few common instillation issues are” section. This left me having to pause the training why I troubleshot the issues.

I appreciate it is not possible to account for every error or misconfiguration that a user will come across or cause however this would have been a ‘nice to have’.

All in all this was a fantastic training course that you can manage at your own pace to really understand the subject. The only issues I could find were personal to me (as i did not set up my lab correctly in the first place). This type of education, for me, is much preferred to the self-paced books that are out there. As I am Dyslexic it can often take time and multiple re-reads of a book to understand it but with this method and the standard TrainSignal have produced enables me to learn at heighted pace and level of data absorption.

TrainSignal provide a wide range of courses including Microsoft and VMware and if they are to the same standard as this one they are sure to be excellent. Get the pirchase details here and also check out and follow the on twitter.

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