Sep 242013

Its fair to say its been a while since I have posed anything on my blog.

As im sure many of you will know, sometimes real life gets in the way of these types of pursuits. As a result I was not awarded vExpert 2013 Sad smile

However, this will be changing!! I have decided to make time and get back into the community as much as I can. VMUGs are an awesome way of not only gaining some useful information but are a great incentive to be active in the community, and you meet some cool peeps.

On the 3rd of October I will be speaking at the North East VMUG for the first time. As I have been revising for some certs recently I thought VMware certification would be a good topic to cover.

VMware certification has come along way since I first became a VCP (way back in 2008 now,im getting old) and with the latest announcements around the new Associate qualifications there is a wealth of levels you can now cover.

As im pursuing my VCDX currently (fairly early in the process) I thought it might also be fun to have a little interactive session with the audience, a mini defense task perhaps. The person I think did best job will get a copy of John Arrasjids (and others) VCDX Boot Camp book.

As you can see the line up is awesome (well, ignoring me obviously), so im sure it will time well spent.

  • Joe Baguley, VMware – Keynote
  • David Owen – Training & Certification
  • Andrew Wood, Atlantis Computing – Delivering on the VDI Reality
  • Dan Watson, VMware – NSX
  • vBeers: We will adjourn at 5pm and reconvene at The Bridge Hotel for vBeers and a buffet courtesy of SITS Group

If you are North East based and can make the 3rd please do come along.

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Mar 162012

Well after a mental few weeks I have finally got the time to sit in front of the laptop and write up my VFD round up. I had planned to do a daily write up like Rodney Haywood but, like many of the other delegates, by the end of the day I was excused.

The 2 days consisted of 07:15 kick off and 19:00 ish finish. I am not so proud to say that the days were draining, especially battling the Jetlag. The conversation and tech that was on show was enough to keep me going however and it was highly stimulating throughout.

NOTE: I would just like to say a massive thanks to Steve Foskett and Matt Simmons for putting on and organising the event, they did a top job and even though Steve couldn’t make it was still a great event. I met some top guys in their field and also made one or two friends I will be keeping in touch with.


the MR Foskett shrine

Day 0:

I arrived at the hotel about midday and battled the jetlag and avoided going for a nap. All the delegates meet up in the hotel and then went on to a restaurant for a get to know you session. I knew Mike Laverick from the London VMUG and VMworld attendances so it was good to have a someone to talk to, especially as Mike seems to know everyone anyway so its good way to get introduced. Prior to flying out all the delegates were asked to bring a present for everyone that represented their home town. While everyone else brought clever and cool presents my SAFC key ring seemed a little underwhelming although it was a good way to get a little background on each of the guys.

Day 1:

Everyone was keen to get going and first up was Symantec, bit before dive into that I need to mention our mode of transportation.


As you can see we went in relative style. Smile


We arrived at the Symantec offices first thing on Thursday and after a little breakfast were put straight to work. The day was split between Netbackup and Backup Exec. I must confess I was a little suppressed that this was all Symantec chose to cover on the day and not here application streaming or anti-virus technology, which for a virtualisation crowd may have been more apt.


The Netbackup presentation also covered some of the more high level tech that fits into both products. V-Ray seemed interesting as it could give visibility into the types of data being backed up within a VM while also providing Unified protection, file & application recovery, deduplication and automated tearing. This did however remind me somewhat of the Veeam ONE ‘Solution’ stack.

To be honest there were only a few moments where I thought the product line may be superior, for a virtual environment, than some of the other on the market.

Once cool thing which caught my attention was in the Next release Netbackup will have vCD integration – Symantec will release a multi tenant restore capability for VMware vCloud environments. Also I thought that the upcoming backup performance analyser will be a useful feature.

OST – open storage technology. – so they can backup to cloud. – Netbackup records where it is in the cloud (they have control over it in the cloud).

Accelerator – uses netbackup special client – does the catalogue process on the media server rather than the client. – NBU backup takes over 1 hour. Accelerator reduces that to 50 seconds (change block tracking in the VM its self)


netbackup appliances: NetBackup 5220 & NetBackup 5020 (5220 shown in pic)


Backup Exec is getting a facelift. The new GUI looks very good and provides alot of information to the backup admin.

Other cool things:

Its getting a VC plugin.

The Netbackup section of the presentation took considerably longer that the backup exec which you may expect. However one thing that would become obvious (especially for those who watched the stream) was the death by powerpoint that we were subjected to. I lost count at over 70 slides so by the end of our 4 hours at Symantec my attention had defiantly wandered.



Its fair to say everyone was blown away with Zerto. They covered pretty much what was in their 2.0 release (which was not out yet).

So Zerto were started by the guys who build recoverpoint and then sold it to EMC, so I think there background has the right foundations.

Heres the main bits I picked up:

  • Zerto 2.0 – Cloud BC/DR Platform
  • DR as a service (private cloud to public cloud)
  • Zerto – across the WAN for private to public cloud
  • REPLICATION IS IN THE WRONG PLACE – move replication from storage to hypervisor
  • Moving to the virtualisation stack was the same thing happened to network etc (1kv)
  • VMware support only, road mapped for other hypervisors.
  • Shifting block by block – not snapshots (vmware or storage vendor) built-in wan compression & throttling – target has a journal based any point in time recovery – no snapshot.
  • Application Protection – Virtual Protection Group
  • consistently protecting the group of VMs
  • Automation – Failover, Failback, Recovery
  • RTO = Mins
  • Automated recovery – with IP re-config and custom scripts
  • True multisite multi-tenancy support different storage, different VMware versions (licencing), shared inf.
  • Zerto accessed through a  plugin in VC.



Last vendor of the day was Xangati, I already knew a little about them from the VMworld show and the VMworld labs.


  • cross silo, COLLECT – servers, network, storage, End Points.
  • Monitoring needs to be live & continuous
  • javaapplet for the dashboard
  • direct integration with View and Citrix
    • I though this was very important with the likes of VXI.
  • end user interrogation based on the user directly



First I have to say my storage knowledge is not the best however even I could recognise that these guys knew there blocks Smile

The first thing that struck me was the level of backing


Its fair to say that they have some very smart and powerful people behind them with some fairly but purse string. So that grabbed me that people that know what they are talking about want in on Purestorage.

The did a good ‘apples to oranges’ comparison of the traditional Tiered based storage and there Flash answer. This got the delegates asking well what about ‘Apples for Apples’. Purestorage are differentiated by their “

purity operating environment”.


Ill drill into Purestorage a little more in focused post but its safe to say I liked what capabilities it could offer and the for a reasonable price point. We will see if it comes to anything in the real world as its still in Beta at the moment so they are still on the starting blocks but they could make some serious headway.

Pivot 3

So Pivot 3 offer a rebadged Dell 2U server with some cool technology that allows you to aggregate the shared storage across the local storage of up to 8 servers. It uses a virtual appliance to aggregate the storage and does some funky stuff with the RAID (essentially presents one raid array across the servers). The also have some cool way of deploying VMware View in under an hour from unpacking the box. They even brought a server in the box and had a guy building it out while the presentation went on they we all connected to the image at the end of the presentation.

What did I think about that? well I didn’t get what they were trying to achieve. Yes SANless VDI is nice and I got that part but I think that this product being so targeted at SMB and being so specific, I just struggle to see the long term value in the architecture. It will not be long until VMware develop View enough to have SANless or even Diskless VDI so I struggle with it a little.

Don’t get me wrong though I am sure it will be a good fit for some education and other customers but I see it as a short term VDI bandwagon follower that has limited long term aspirations.


Mike managed to persuade Vaughn Stewart to let me go along to a comedy club. It was great and here’s a pic of me and Bobcat Goldthwait.


Check out what the other delegates thought.

Delegate List

Delegates are selected by the Field Day Delegate community. For more information on our selection process, please see our page about becoming a Field Day Delegate.

Edward Haletky
The Virtualization Practice

Rodney Haywood
Musings of Rodos

Bill Hill
Virtual Bill

Mike Laverick
RTFM Education

Dwayne Lessner
IT Blood Pressure

Scott Lowe
Virtualization Admin

Roger Lund

Robert Novak

Brandon Riley
Virtual Insanity

Todd Scalzott
Don’t Call Me Scott

Rick Schlander
Virtualization with VMware Technology

Chris Wahl
Wahl Network

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Feb 102012

I’m honoured to have been selected to attend the Gestalt IT Virtualisation Field Day of in Silicon Valley. This is my first time to this event, so even though I have followed the Tech Field Days before, I am looking forward to getting my stuck into what will be a long but rewarding few days.

If you have not seen the Tech Field Day events before here’s the official line


Tech Field Day will return to Silicon Valley in February, 2012! This unique event brings together innovative IT product vendors and independent thought leaders, allowing them to get to know one another. It is a forum for engagement, education, hands-on experience, and feedback.

Presenter List

Presenters are currently being lined up, but here is the most up to date list:

I have some exposure to Symantec with a few of it products and I had saw the pretty amazing Xangati VDI monitoring product at VMworld. Xerto and Truebit will require a little pre-research.

Make sure you keep an eye on #TechFieldDay and follow @TechFieldDay.

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Jan 242012

This years Virtualisation Top 100 Blogs voting sees nominated for the first time.

As ever there are some very talented guys blogging away and its great for me to have my name on the board. I have not been as prolific as I would have liked recently but it has still been a great year for my blog seeing numbers of hits double and triple along with my first sponsorship from Veeam and PHD Virtual.

While I would love for you to vote for make sure you do go through the voting process as for any blogger to get onto the top 100 is a great achievement. Although we all know (Duncan Epping – @DuncanYB) will win yet again. Winking smile

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Dec 162011

I’m often asked what virtualisation knowledge level people should have to attend one of the VMware user groups. The answer is ANYONE can attend, from just someone that has a interest in virtualisation and wants to broaden there knowledge to your seasoned virtualisation specialist. To be honest you will get something out of the day even if you are just a general techy and have never seen virtualisation before.

The great thing about the London VMUG is that it has now become a mature event and can attract some pretty famous names in the community, and its free Smile.

I highly recommend you attend if you can.

Register Here


Thursday, 26 January 2012
10:00 – 17:15
Networking Reception


London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
33 Queen Street
London, EC4R 1AP



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Nov 162011

As ever I’m always keen on promoting VMware in my home area of the North East. Even though I live pretty much as far away as its possible to be in the UK from my beloved Sunderland I still like to keep my finger on the pulse.

The North East is about to get its first VMUG on December 6th at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club (just outside of Sunderland).


  • VMware – The Story so Far
  • The Future of Virtualisation Technologies
  • Open Forum
  • AOB

Register Here

While this is not up there with the mini VMworld agenda of the last UKVMUG it gives the opportunity to guys in the field of virtualisation to come and ask question of VMware employees and get technical updates.

The networking opportunities are always great at these events so if you are in the North East then you should try and get to this event.


There’s also a Twitter account to follow: @NorthEastVMUG

I doubt Ill be able to get up there and attend myself but ill be up soon so keep an eye out for a vBeers event.

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Aug 302011

Day 2 of VMworld 2011 started with Dr Steve Herrod taking the stage for his keynote. In my opinion todays keynote was allot better than yesterdays in content.

So what did we learn? Yesterday I was left a little disappointed that we didn’t really learn anything new. Today put that right with some great announcements and demos.

VMware are trying to change the way they look at virtualised infrastructure and adopt a service and people centric approach. This came across when Steve mentioned focusing on the ‘services and not the servers’.

“Its all about the applications and the data”, I couldn’t agree more on this one. But what have VMware done over and above there existing portfolio?

View 5:

With View 5’s View Persona Management VMware are truly subscribing to addressing the user rather than the desktop.

The 3D graphics enablement take the virtual desktop even closer to the traditional PC.

Advancements made to the PCoIP protocol make the old complaints about the protocol much harder to justify.

For me the biggest and most long awaited from View (at least for me) is the UC integration. This apparently is much improved and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it to see how this really works.

Project ThinApp Factory:

Some changes to the way the app streaming (ThinApp) in the form of ‘Project ThinApp Factory’ in which a catalogue of apps is created.


Horizon application manager is a portal to access the apps. Thin app factory and horizon will be aligned (windows apps and mobile apps will be added to the horizon capabilities in the future) this will enable the ability to assign apps to users regardless of device.

Horizon mobile – separate device to your mobile  – LG and now Samsung on horizon mobile but more to come. Gives IT more control over the handset device.

How do we get the data out of the desktops:

Project Octopus (click the link to register for the beta) – Offers a dropbox type service but internal to the company. Good security controls with AD integration. It can be provided through private and public cloud. This seems to fill an obvious business need that no large company has yet addressed.

Real world communications:

Socialcast (a recent VMware acquisition) could be a Cisco Quad competitor but I must confess it looked very good and would have may uses in any workplace.

Consuming Apps (Appblast):

Appblast can open windows applications without a VDI session. Appblast can open applications of any sort to any device that supports HTML5. This could be a potential game changer, the ability to open Microsoft Office apps (among many others) on devices like an iPad without having to launch a VDI session is going to be very powerful.

iPad vSphere Client Update:

A new vsphere ipad client was announced. This now supports doing vMotions and looked to be becoming a very powerful tool.

Talking a little bit more about vSphere:

“innovation is great but has to be accessible” – vSphere GO (is a web based admin tool, gives them a dummies admin portal) and VSA – VMware Storage Appliance (no HA, vmotion and DRS, very good for low end market using local drives).

Steve said he wants to make every application to work on vSphere instead of hearing the old ‘not all apps can be virtualised’.

VXLAN and others:

Networking – Virtual Extendable LAN (VXLAN) can layer 2 into layer 3 (Mac on IP). This can help significantly with cloud bursting in hybrid clouds.

Availability – SRM 5 Now has vSphere replication giveing the ability to replicate between different arrays agnostically arrays. SRM 5 can now do automated fail back. Interestingly vCloud partners are allowing disaster recover to the cloud. (could be a great use case for cloud in the first place for customers)

Security – nosy neighbour scenario – vSheild Endpoint, protecting what’s in the VM – vSheild app, firewalling and port rules – Vsheild edge, load balancing and vpn.

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Aug 292011

Its fair to say compared to my pervious experience with VMworld’s in Europe that Las Vegas 2011 is on a massive scale.

Being a blogger means I get an amazing seat for the keynote and facilities for the keynote speech from Paul Maritz. Its been a big year for VMware and I’m hoping that the excitement is not over just yet with maybe a new announcement or two.


Hopefully you you will get a summary of the main points from the keynote.



Its fair to say VMware have upped the game on their keynote promo vids this year. A very futuristic almost matrixy feel to it.


(pic of Paul on the big screen)

Labs overview:

  • pure public cloud lab model expecting over 200k VMs created.
  • World VMUG users now 60,000 strong

Some other interesting points:

  • VMworld 2012 is in San Fran Aug 27-30, for me this is great as I have heard nothing but good things about San Fran. Vegas is great though Winking smile
  • More than half of all servers being deployed today are VMs. This is a big milestone in the Virtualisation world.
  • A new VM born every 6 seconds.
  • 20 millions VMs currently running around the world.
  • At any point in time there are more VMs being vmotioned than planes in flight around the world.
  • There are over 68000 VCPs. Last I heard this was 30k so this is a big jump. It makes me a feel a little less special.

Unfolding the Cloud era:

  • “the next major round of integration between enterprise IT and consumer driven change”, “we will re-define IT over the coming decade”. Both very bold statements but I cant help but agree this is where IT is going. Working for a solutions provider I can see this at the cole face and while it is a little while away I think it is where things are going.
  • Billions of new users and devices coming into play, in 3 years less than 20% will be PCs and mainly dominated by other devices. 5 years ago this would have been a radical thought but with the consumer market changing the way they consume applications it makes a PC look archaic.
  • New programming frameworks and datafabrics are key to the future of cloud.
  • Invest in new and renewed applications. Stu Radnidge hit on this in a recent London VMUG and for me this is the biggest hurdle to cloud computing. Getting developers to change their mentality is difficult but shoots seem to be breaking though.
  • Existing client applications are going to be around for a long time, virtualisation enable this as it can be applied in a non disruptive way until the applications can be re-written to cloud optimised applications.
  • Automation to allow the operational efficiency will be the next step on from the Automation of hardware. Not automating operational functions means that cloud become a non starter.
  • In 2009 Paul announced 4.0, In 2010 he announced 4.1, 2011 he announced 5.0 – vSphere 5 needed an overlapping development effort. (1 million engineering hours, 2 million QA hours, 200 new features, 2000 partner certification)
  • the VMware Cloud suite of applications are vCloud driector 1.5, vSheild 5.0, VC opetations 1.0, SRM 5.0 – the aim is for the verson numbers will match by 5.1.
  • Global Connect – Consortium of cloud companies (I mentioned this on the Live Convergence Tech Talk Podcast).
  • New product lines – VMware essentials (Datacenter in a Box using the storage appliance) and VMware Go.
    • VMware go is SaaS services fegor SMB – 100ks of people taking it up. it helps the SMBs to get fully set up after a free vSphere hypervisors.
  • Knowing what the new generation of programmers are doing enables VMware to provide what they need. vFabric – in memory database (gemfabric), datadirector – vFabric postgress. (database optimisation that will help the database vendors).
  • cloud foundry – how applications will be written in the future.
    • microclud – cloud foundry on a memory stick.

View 5.0:

  • Bandwidth Improvements
  • Client Ubiquity – view clients on almost any device
  • Integration with VoIP/UC

These are the highlights I picked up on. There were more bit mentioned in the presentations but these are the bits I found interesting. I recommend checking out he recording when it is published.

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