My ramblings about all things technical


#VCDX Mentor Rallying Call

First off let me give you a bit of background as it does apply to this posting and my reason as to me posting this.

As you may or may not be aware the VCDX certification team decided to remind people of the current policy (even though it seems some people only have heard about it recently) that VCDX panellists are not allowed to help potential candidates with reviews, mocks or mentoring. For this I have had numerous heated discussions with Chris Colotti who I must apologise to as my frustration at some of it he received and he is honestly trying to make it better and in actual fact my frustration is grossly misdirected.


It is in fact directed at the lack of mentors who are willing to help grow the VCDX community and help out people who are at varying stages of the process. Now I do want to say there are  VCDX who are amazing at giving back ( good friend VCDX133 is one of these but there are MANY like him who have also been doing it for years) but like I know this community has proven so many times before I am asking current VCDX to give back even if you didn’t have it during your preparations and am sending out a rallying call to all VCDX to become a mentor.


There are currently 186 VCDX holders with some even being double VCDX, but at my last count there are only 32 people listed on the VCDX directory who are open to being a mentor for those looking to obtain this illustrious  certification. Yet there are at my last count 53 people listed as panellists and this is where I am asking current VCDX to think about becoming a mentor. Disclaimer I am fully aware VCDX holders also have full time jobs, family and it is something you have to realistically be honest if you have the time to help that person you are mentoring to help them think about their design and open their mind to see their design in a whole new holistic way /Disclaimer


I was asked by Chris that when I get my VCDX will I try help build the VCDX community and I certainly will by not becoming a panellist (if I was asked, although at present they are trying to keep it to VMware employees) and becoming a mentor to help people looking to obtain the accreditation. Now there have been a few blog postings about the fact that just because you got the VCDX it doesn’t mean you’ll get that promotion or mean you’ll instantly get an architect role which I think is really valid but the amount I have learnt and continue to learn in my second attempt at the VCDX is certainly preparing me in my role as a senior consultant and on other projects as an architect (Ray come join Xtravirt and I’m sure we have architect roles for a double VCDX Smile ). Also from the number of people i have spoken to who have been mentors or helped people with reviews that have said it has helped them become a better architect it really can be a win win situation.

So if there are any VCDX reading this or you know of a VCDX who isn’t listed as a mentor nor a panellist then please think about becoming a mentor/get them to think about being a mentor and let us disprove those who say the VCDX can’t have a large community structure around it like Matt Cowger rightly feels it should.

vcdx mentor

Lastly Chris is talking about a “cool off” period for those who don’t want to be a panellist anymore and would rather give back to the community and be a mentor to keep the community strong. So keep an eye/ear out for that if you do want to answer my battle cry and be a mentor.


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Win 3 vSphere Home Labs from VMTurbo

5.1(250x250)As part of the release of VMTurbo’s Operations Manager v5.1 product they are giving away not one not two but three home labs to winners (one each) who sign up for their 5.1 release in-depth webinar on the 19th of February! I was fortunate enough to join a bloggers webinar about the announcement which I will be posting a blog posting about soon. But I bet if you are like me you want to know the specs of the home labs! Well here it is:

  • Intel NUC with Intel Core i5-4250U
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (2x8G) 204-Pin DDR3 Memory
  • SAMSUNG 840 EVO 250GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive
  • Synology DS415+ Diskless System DiskStation 4-Bay NAS
  • 2x Dell 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Hard Drive
  • Cisco SG300-10 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch
  • Rosewill 7ft. Cat 6 Network Cable

I could certainly do with that in my home lab  and if you aren’t a customer of VMTurbo and you want a free 30-day trial then sign up here.


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vExpert 2015 – Honoured

Late yesterday (well in the UK it was late) the 2015 vExpert list was released. I am truly honoured to have obtained it for the fifth year running (2011-2015).

For those who don’t know what this means and think it is just another certification I have done (I admit I do sit a large amount of exams) below is a brief description of the award and what it is for:

The VMware vExpert Award is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. vExperts are book authors, bloggers, VMUG leaders, tool builders, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others. These vExperts have gone above and beyond their day jobs to share their technical expertise and communicate the value of VMware and virtualization to their colleagues and community.

What did you do last year to get it?

As the vExpert designation is given for the work you did in the previous year, when people ask how they can become one or what did I do to be selected it is always around half a year behind what people should have been trying do to be in contention to be selected. For me I did some of the following:

–  VMware Communities Moderator

–  Co-hosts of the EMEA vBrownbag podcast

–  Co-host of the vBrownbag VMworld TechTalks and the Opening Acts.

–  Blog often from this blog on VMware matters and announcements. Specifically around VMware exams and study resources for the exams and my attempt at VCDX.

–  Beta tester of numerous VMware products

–  Active member of the VMware Communities

–  Active member of the London VMUG

I did all these things I love doing them and I’m passionate about the technology not because I wanted to become a vExpert though and I would recommend doing it for the right reasons and not because you want to get something out of it.

Massive Thanks

A massive amount of thanks to Corey Romero and his team who run the vExpert program and for feeling I was worthy of the designation. Also congratulations to all the other  vExperts!! There are a number of newcomers and as many returning vExperts so it is great to share this designation with so many passionate and amazingly friendly people.

 Xtravirt Taking the Lions Share

Lastly I would like to congratulate all my Xtravirt colleagues who obtained the vExpert designation this year for a total of twelve of us namely:

  • Curtis Brown
  • Jason Meers
  • Jim Griffiths
  • Jonathan Medd
  • Michael Poore
  • Michael Rudloff
  • Paul Davey
  • Sam McGeown
  • Sean Duffy
  • Simon Eady
  • Steve Dunne
  • Me Smile

Even though we sadly had Darren Woollard, Seb Hakiel and Ather Beg all decide to try something new we still kept out high numbers and for a company of under 50 people with under thirty being consultants this is certainly something i’m impressed with and proud to be a part of and should earn us the highest percentage per number of employees accolade again. If you want to join Xtravirt and work with 12 vExperts doing cutting edge virtualisation work then drop me a dm on twitter on @greggrobertson5 and I can put you in contact with the right people.


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Four Ways a BC/DR Plan Can Help Your SMB

A very quick blog posting about a series of posts I have been doing for VMware SMB around four ways a BC/DR plan can help your SMB. It is a four part blog series as the name obviously suggests and the first three postings have now been published which I have linked to below:

I’ve also written a whitepaper for VMware SMB around the need for SMBs to rethink their virtualization infrastructure and to elaborate on a number of the features and solutions that are now available to SMB customers. Download the whitepaper to learn how these solutions can help your business and your customers.

Also keep an eye out on the VMware SMB blog for the fourth part of the series.


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VCDX Defences 2015

A very quick posting to alert people that the defence dates additional to PEX for 2015 have been released.

Defences will be held simultaneously at Frimley (UK), Palo Alto (US) and Singapore (Asia) in June and October with more dates possibly created if there is additional demand.

I am personally looking at doing my second attempt for the June defences in Frimley and listed all the resources I’m using for my second attempt which I have been making my way through since late November 2014.

The EMEA #vBrownbag are also running a VCDX series which should be beneficial for those people thinking of defending or just wanting to know more about the certification.

Good luck to all of those looking to defend this year and let me know if you are defending as there is a VCDX study group running already for PEX and one slowly starting for the June defences.



EMEA #vBrownbag VCDX Series

Let me first wish everyone reading this a very successful 2015, I have a substantial amount of things I’m planning to do/accomplish this year and one of these is to get my VCDX and so this series is certainly going to help with this.

As the name alludes to, the EMEA vBrownbag of which I am one of the three hosts is going to be starting a VCDX series all around the VCDX to try help people along every section of the journey to obtaining the certification. I know all the things I am looking to get out of the series but despite me wanting to make it focus just on the things I want to do/know I wanted to get out a posting asking people what they would like us to cover. As I’m sure you are aware there are NDA’s attached to the certification but I am certain we can keep to these and have cleared this idea with the powers that be within VMware who are happy for us to do and will be participating at points also. Below are the rough plans for the series which we can run as long as there is content and people are interested. If you can please write in the comments section what you would like to see then we can start getting the ball rolling.

EMEA vBrownbag VCDX Series

  • January 20th (Confirmed) – VCDX Q&A Panel

A panel of a number of current VCDX and the VMware VCDX program manager where those burning questions you have about the VCDX can be asked. People need to come with questions for this.

  • February 10th (Tentative) – VCDX Design Scenario Mock Panel

We will do one or even two VCDX Design Scenario Mock Panels where a pre-agreed volunteer will do a VCDX Design Scenario Mock with a set panel just like the real defence and then will analyse what the panelists feel they did right and wrong.

  • February 17th (Confirmed) – What is required in a VCDX submission?

For this the name describes it all. We will go through what is required in a VCDX submission by following the VCDX blueprint and showing the depth and breadth of documentation that you should be submitting to be invited to defend your VCDX design.

  • March 3rd (Confirmed)  –The Art of IT Infrastructure Design -Part 1

The authors of The Art of IT Infrastructure Design book will be covering their new book and what it entails and how it is a valuable resource for those looking to obtain the VCDX.

  • March 10th (Confirmed)  –The Art of IT Infrastructure Design -Part 2

The authors of The Art of IT Infrastructure Design book will be covering their new book and what it entails and how it is a valuable resource for those looking to obtain the VCDX.

  • March 17th ( Confirmed) – VCDX Bootcamp Session with John Arrasjid, Mostafa Khalil, Chris McCain, and Mark Gabryjelski 

A VCDX Bootcamp session will be run by John Arrasjid, Mostafa Khalil, Chris McCain, and Mark Gabryjelski.

As I said this is to help those thinking about doing the VCDX or even those who are already on the path towards it to get the information and knowledge they are looking for so let us know your thoughts on the tentative schedule and what other things you would like to see. Also don’t forget you can sign up for the EMEA #vBrownbag via this link.

Lastly a shameless plug of if anyone is interested in knowing all the resources I’m personally going through for my second VCDX attempt you can see them here.


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vRealize Automation 6.x Resources

Seeing as my vCAC 6.0 Resources page gained quite a fair amount of traffic and after several requests from people for me to update that list to include 6.1 resources I thought I would create a new posting to cover the new naming and for future releases.

Product Landing Page:

Release Notes and Product Documentation:

Compatibility Matrix:

Installation and configuration blogs:

Jonathan Frappier has done a brilliant series all about the installation in a sixteen part series

Grant Orchard is just a guru around all things vRA, there are too many blog postings to mention so I have opted to rather just point to his own sections.

Reference Architecture Guide:

Distributed Installation

Sam McGeown has done a series around the distributed installation of vCAC 6.0. The method is exactly the same for version 6.1

Preetam Zare has also done postings based on a distributed installation in a two part series.

VMware have also created a deployment guide for VMware vCenter SSO 5.5 with vRealize 6.1

VMware have also created a installation guide for configuring vRealize 6.1 with an F5 load balancer for high availability


Automation of the Installation

Day 2 Automation

Jonathan Medd as created a brilliant series of postings around vCAC tenant creation

Top orchestration blogs

vRealize extensibility is heavily reliant on the usage of vRealize Orchestrator so the below blogs are great sources on how to learn and use vRO to enable this extensibility.

Orchestrator Videos

VMware Hands On Labs


VMwareTV have posted 30 videos covering vRealize features


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