TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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VMworld Day 0 – Partner Day

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VMworld officially only starts tomorrow for most attendees but for those that are partners there is partner day where VMware done a number of sessions for their partners to allow them to understand the roadmap and the solutions on the roadmap.

I flew in yesterday so that I was ready for partner day and also to attend the vRockstar party which has become an annual event on the Sunday night at the hard rock cafe before VMworld and is the only party that really happens on Sunday. I have attended for the last two years and this year they got the upper section booked out which was certainly cooler on the much more humid and hot Barcelona nights (compared to the UK in my case). The vRockstar party was sponsored by Cisco , EMC , VMUG and Nutanix which enabled us to have some champagne on arrival and then beers for the remainder of the night, so a big thanks to all the sponsors and thanks to the organisers Patrick Redknap, Marco Broeken, Robert Payne and Hans De Leenheer.

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The remainder of my day was spent chatting to fellow vExperts and bloggers at the bloggers table and providing moral support to the vBrownbag crew (Alastair had it all done before I arrived). The vBrownbag TechTalks kick off tomorrow and just like it was in San Francisco we will be streaming it live as well as recording them so please tune in and we promise to try get the audio clearer this time. If you are at the conference then come watch them as they are happening in hall 7 near the bloggers table and across from the general session hall.

My night will be spent at an exclusive VMworld drinks reception hosted by TD Azlan and then I will be attending the PernixData party held at an amazing venue on the Barcelona shorefront who are one of Xtravirt’s partners. I’m looking forward to all the announcements tomorrow and the reason i spent so much time at the bloggers table was scheduling a number of blogs around these announcements so keep an eye on my blog tomorrow.

Also don’t forget to sign up for the Xtravirt SONAR beta bit.ly/1sjutrX .


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London VMUG 4th July

The next London VMware User Group is only two weeks away and is looking to be jam packed with big names, first time presenters and sponsored labs.

The event is growing from strength to strength and I’m always amazed how many people put their hand up when it is asked who is a first time attendee. If you have not been before I would highly recommend it and the sessions are deeply informative and you get to chat to fellow Virtualisation IT workers who are doing the same kinds of work as you or maybe something you are about to do and can give you some helpful tips. It will be held at the usual local of the London’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 33 Queen Street, London, EC43 1AP.

Fellow Xtravirt colleagues of mine Seb Hakiel and Grant Friend will be doing an interactive session on the approach and pitfalls of a 4000 seat VDI deployment throughout EMEA which is a must attend in my opinion and I believe the first of many sessions these guys have in them.

The agenda for the day is:

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Which is followed by vBeers which is held at the pavilion end pub

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Map:

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So far I am planning to attend so should be a great day as always and please come say hi if you spot me at the VMUG or even vBeers.

 

Gregg


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EMEA #vBrownbag VCAP5 Presentation

Last night on the EMEA vBrownbag’s that I co-host I presented my London VMUG Presentation around the VCAP5 exams, the resources I used for them and my experiences. We had the largest turnout yet for it which is great and very promising for future sessions where hopefully the numbers will keep on growing. I have uploaded the recording to Vimeo and embedded it below. Also all the resources covered in the session and more are listed on my blog page here

EMEA vBrownbag with Gregg Robertson Covering VCAP5 Study Materials and Experiences from EMEA vBrownbag on Vimeo.

Gregg


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January 2012 London VMware User Group

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to not only attend the London VMware user Group but actually presentclip_image002. The day started pretty early and due to traffic I arrived half an hour late to the welcome and introduction from Alaric Davies so snuck into the back to not disturb and t allow me to have one or two last read through’s of my session at the end of the day.

The first session was from Symantec all about their ApplicationHA offering and then a live demo of bringing down a SQL instance on a virtual machine and how Application HA would automatically restart the service. They next demoed the product by deleting the database and showed how ApplicationHA would utilise Backup Exec to restore the database back and get it working again. A very cool product and one I’m hoping to test out in my home lab although sadly I wasn’t able to get myself an NFR licence that they were offering from their stand so hopefully I can find it and play with it.(UPDATE: Symantec saw this posting and have got in contact with me and have given me an NFR licence =0) ) Below is a video of what was shown to us on Thursday

ApplicationHA and Backup Exec Auto Recovery Demo

Next was Chris Kranz and Alex Smith presenting a session titled “would you like fries with your VM?” the session was a really great one as the guys spoke about how the landscape for IT professionals is constantly changing and how a normal server administrator was replaced quite largely by virtualisation and advancements in automation and with every release of the vSphere suite of products more and more work is being taken away from storage admins and network admins and now with cloud picking up the virtualisation admins are having to adapt or lose their roles. A very chilling reminder that if you don’t adapt in IT sooner or later you’ll be out of a job.

There was then a break where I got to meet a soon to start recruitment for Xtravirt Sean Duffy and chat about South Africa a bit with him being a Saffa too clip_image004I also talked shop with Alan Renouf, Steve Chambers, Simon Davies, Ed Grigson, Jeremy Bowman and Harry Potter look alike Jonathan Medd.

The next session I attended was the VMware View session titled “End User Computing: Today & Tomorrow” by Clive Wenman from VMware. Sadly due to connection speeds he wasn’t able to do the demo he wanted but instead gave us a good overview of the new features in VMware View 5 and ThinApp 5. We then got talking about Horizon Manager and got a nice impromptu demo of the product and how it works which was highly interesting to me and looks to be a very good product once it’s released outside the US.

After lunch I attended the NimbleStorage presentation all about their offerings and the savings their products can bring you and how it all works. for me personally there was tiny bit too much comparison to competitors products but the product does look very interesting and I might actually be getting my hands on the product in my current role so hopefully I can write up and posting or two on my thought on the product once I’ve had a good play with it clip_image006

Next was Dave Hill and Aidan Dalgleish presenting largely what Dave and Chris Collotti presented at the VMworld last year titled “Private vCloud Architecture Deep Dive”. I found this highly interesting as it was something I had hoped to attend at VMworld Europe but unfortunately due to the times they did them I was unable to attend. The session was highly interesting and gave loads of reference architectures and all the varying network pool methods and what each will enable you to do. I think the main recommendation from Dave that I think everyone needs to remember is that you need to build your vSphere environment correctly or else you vCloud environment won’t work like it should.

Now was the time of reckoning, my session was due and a number of people I chat to on twitter had made sure they were in the front row to heckle me and ask me loads of questions too. I was due to co-host the session with Scott Vessey from Global knowledge and of vmwaretraining.blogspot.com fame. My presentation was half around my VCP5 study resources page and all the resources mentioned on there that I used in my preparations for the VCP5 exam and how they helped me pass the exam and then a whole bunch of sample questions from Global Knowledge’s VCP5 Exam Preparation Workshop. Even though I started off quite nervous I think it went well and once we got to the sample questions at the end there were loads of discussions around the answers with some of the questions getting people calling out all the answers as correct even though there was actually only one correct answer. Quite few people said they enjoyed it and I think I put the fear into a large portion of the people in the audience after the sample questions and those knowing that have 31 days until the waiver period for VCP4 holders not needing to do the What’s New course to pass expires.

Afterwards we made our way to vBeers where I got to talk to loads of people (including fellow Xtravirt new starter Darren Woollard)and got some very helpful pointers on how to improve my presentation skills in my aim to hopefully present at VMworld this year. The day was a huge success in my opinion and it was great that over half the attendees were first time attendees! Thanks to the VMUG panel for setting it all up and hopefully I can attend the next one on the 17th of May (work permitting of course)

Gregg


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January 2012 London VMware Users Group (LONVMUG) and I’m presenting

Just a very quick posting to remind anyone around the south of England or who is willing to come to the south of England for it that the next London VMware User Group (LonVMUG) and the first one of 2012 is happening on Thursday the 26th of January. Also I’ll be presenting at it, the first time I’ve ever done a session at a VMUG. Mine will be around my VCP 5 Study Resources, my exam experiences and a few surprises Smile

If you haven’t registered I would highly recommend you do so ASAP as these are more often than not fully booked a week or two before the event. You can register for the event here and hopefully I’ll get to meet you there.

After the VMUG the standard vBeers will take place. If you’ve somehow never heard of vBeers before the below is just for you Smile.

vBeers

Is an informal get together of virtualisation enthusiasts and professionals to meet and discuss all things IT. It’s a great opportunity to network, learn and meet like minded people.

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The following is part quoted from Simon Seagrave’s Website :

Enjoy Talking Virtualization? Come & Socialise at vBeers!

vBeers[7]Fancy meeting up every month with other IT virtualization enthusiasts to socialise and chat over a cold beer, wine or soft-drink? If so, then vBeers is for you! This is a great opportunity to meet with other virtualization enthusiasts and professionals and enjoy discussing all things virtualization, and in fact anything else that comes up in conversation…

vBeers is open to everyone so whether you are a VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer user/fan or none of the above it really doesn’t matter as “it’s all about the virtualization”.

The London vBeers meet-up is held at the Pavilion End Pub . Details and directions below:

When & Where

The London vBeers are held on the first Thursday of every month or after a VMUG meeting starting at 6pm in the ‘pavilion end pub

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Location: The ‘pavilion end pub’, London

Address: 23 Watling Street Moorgate EC4M 9BR

Date: First Thursday of every month and after VMUG meetings

Time: 6:00pm

Map:

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Gregg


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All Things Virtual 23

 

There has been a very large amount of top news and product releases in the virtualisation community in the last month since my last All Things Virtual posting. The public voting for the VMworld sessions has opened and closed in the last month and the entries for vExpert have closed with the nominees due to be released in next two weeks ( Good luck to all who submitted and hopefully loads of the people I’m friendly with in the VMware community and London VMware User Group are selected).

  • I was able to attend the latest London VMware User Group this past month and blogged about the day and the things covered in my blog posting aptly named London VMUG . As I’ve said before if you aren’t a part of your local VMware User Group I would highly recommend it and if there isn’t one near you why not start one yourself  Smile
  • Next is the release of VMware labs latest fling ,Inventory Snapshot. Due to my lack of having time to fully play around and try the tool I would recommend  (like I will be when I have some spare time) to go to the fling site ,download the tool and rate it for yourself http://labs.vmware.com/flings/inventorysnapshot .The guide for the product is here.
  • EMC World ran from the 9th to the 12th of May and just like VMworld there was a load of vLabs available to attendees to allow them to learn and experience new products and technologies . A number of the top guys in the VMware community who are EMC vSpecialists were a part of the planning,building and managing of this environment.Chris Horn has guest posted on Chad Sakac’s blog all about it and has given a great insight into building such a large environment and the technologies they used. Well worth the read if you have some spare time.
  • One of the many people who helped with the EMC World labs was Simon Seagrave of TechHead fame and as mentioned in Chris’ blog posting Simon somehow found the time to do the latest instalment of the vChat series with David Davis of Trainsignal’s VMware vSphere Video Training fame   and Eric Siebert of vSphere-Land fame. The chat covers everything from VMworld submissions,the latest virtualisation news and bits about EMC world. If you haven’t watched any of these vChat’s before I would highly recommend them as the guys cover all the latest and greatest things coming out.
  • If you enjoy the vChat’s then I would recommend Mike Lavericks Chinwag’s video’s (the latest with guest Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame (@DuncanYB) which I found very interesting for the Ephemeral Port Groups & vCloud Director parts) and the vSoup podcasts by Chris Dearden of JFVI fame, Christian Mohn of vninja.net fame and Ed Czerwin(@eczerwin) who guest blogs on vninja.net fame. The vSoups are always entertaining and all three of the guys are amazingly passionate about the technologies and from personal experience really great guys also.
  • Speaking of Simon Seagrave and David Davis, Simon has launched a competition on his blog to win one of David’s Trainsignal videos. I’ve already got the videos myself but if you haven’t got them as yet why not apply as you’ll stand a very good chance of winning as remarkably not many people actually apply for great competitions like this.
  • I mentioned in my last All Things Virtual the release of the VMware View App for iPad . Jason Boche has very kindly opened up a test environment for people to connect to and trial the software and app through. I’ve not yet had a chance to try his offering myself but for anyone who doesn’t have access to a VMware View environment this will be a great learning  and demo tool. Jason has also co-written with Dawn Theirl (@KokopeIIi) a great posting all about the usage of Cisco Discovery Protocol in your VMware environment and goes into great depth of how it works. This posting has been extremely helpful in my understanding of the technology for my VCAP studies. Really worth a read for anyone using or thinking of using the feature with their Cisco switches.
  • Last year at VMworld US and Europe David Davis and Kendrick Coleman did a session titled  Top 10 Free Tools for vSphere Management. I was able to attend the session at VMworld Europe and it was a real eye opener to all the software available for free that can make your daily job so much easier. Kendrick has now updated his list with new tools and software in preparation for David and himself doing the session again at this years VMworld conferences if they are selected. If you haven’t seen this list, this will save you so much time trying to find the tools you need without having to beg for financial approval
  • Lately my studying for the sitting of the VCAP-DCA exam has intensified and part of one of the main objectives is HA and DRS. Both Vladan Seget and Alan Renouf have done two great postings on these technologies recently. Alan has created an HA and DRS audit script which checks that your VMware environment meets best practices as laid out in Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman’s HA and DRS book . Vladan has posted about HA Slot Sizes and how they are calculated. This posting really helped me better understand HA and how the slot sizes impact how your HA reacts and reports. As mentioned in Vladan’s posting Duncan Epping has done a brilliant HA Deepdive posting which I would recommend reading first before reading Vladan’s posting
  • Last but not least is a warning to all VMware Administrators to make sure you read what is on your screen when you are doing certain tasks and if you aren’t sure of what your doing rather research it before doing something that may cause you to lose your job. Chris Dearden alerted a number of people on twitter to the VMware communities posting and blogged about the need to read the install screens as this poor guy obviously didn’t.

Well that’s it for another fortnight/month.I hope some of the postings will help people and or those writing their VCAP exams in the coming month good luck.

Gregg


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London VMUG

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the London VMware User Group (VMUG). I’ve been unable to attend the past few due to work commitments but yesterdays theme of “Your Journey to the Cloud” couldn’t have come at a better time as we’re currently looking at VMware’s vCloud Director product and a number of the sessions and talk were centred around this product.

The day started at 10am due to the number of presentations they were able to get in and the labs that people were able to take. The labs were a first and ran two different paths. The two labs and layout were described on the VMUG page as:

The VMUG are providing VMware vCloud Director Labs for all UG members to get a look and feel for the product.  COLT has very kindly agreed to host the labs on their infrastructure in the Cloud.  COLT are a certified VMware vCloud Datacenter Services Provider and the first in EMEA to provide this service.  The COLT team along with VMware vCloud Architects have provided two types of labs to provide the best experience possible.

Lab A – Consuming Cloud resources from VMware vCloud Director
This lab is tailored to provide a user’s view of consuming compute resource from the cloud.  It provides an insight into the ability provide resources via a self-service portal deploying virtual machines via vApps within private virtual datacenters.

Lab B – Administrating VMware vCloud Director
This lab provides the administrators view of vCloud Director.  The lab contains a virtual center server, vCloud Director server and an ESX host to create compute resources within the cloud.  It provides the ability to define different compute services in the form of vApp’s which can then be published within the vCloud Catalogue.

I personally didn’t attend a lab due to my wanting to get a number of my questions around vCloud Director answered and due to my already having done all the vCloud related labs at VMworld Copenhagen and so having already done large portions of the steps within the labs. I did however hear raving reviews of the labs from fellow attendees and when I arrived there was a line of people waiting to register for the labs which shows the interest in the labs.

The day kicked off with the standard welcome from Alaric Davies and Martyn Storey detailing the layout of the day and announcing the UK National VMUG being planned for Warwick for November 3rd .We then got straight into the first presentation from COLT who were presenting and demoing all about their vCloud environment’s implementation and inner workings. Greg Branch, Director of Architecture for Colt and Dan Senior, Virtualisation Architect for Colt did the presentation and demo’s together and I was really impressed with their offering and how they have used the vCloud technologies and products to be the first in EMEA to be a VMware vCloud Datacenter Services Provider.

Next was Paul Martin (@vzpaul) from Quest Software talking about “Private Cloud – Build for Success by Planning for Failure”. Pauls presentation was all about thinking and planning for things before and during the build out of your Private Cloud. Paul did leave me with a number of thoughts and things I need to research prior to us rolling out our own private cloud and how many differing parts of your environment can impact the running of it. Credit to Paul for not doing a marketing pitch for Quest software but rather giving valid points to look out for.

We then had a very quick refreshment break and then Simon Rahilly of EMC (@NoneOneMany) did his presentation all about the cloud and how the varying technologies from EMC from the storage, to backups to disaster recovery and high availability can help you with your journey to the cloud. I personally enjoyed the presentation and it was nice to hear a bit about the release of EMC’s Project Lightning also.

Lunch was then served at the event which was a very nice change as it meant everyone stayed in the rooms and I got to meet loads of people I follow on twitter and got to talk about all the things we’re currently doing in our VMware environments and gain some very helpful tips and tricks.

We were then given the option of two different tracks, each with different speakers and topics. I personally chose track two as I’ve always enjoyed hearing from Stuart Radnidge ( @vinternals ) and was keen to listen to Massimon Re Ferre’s presentation on the same track also. Stuart’s presentation was all about Rethinking Infrastructure and the experiences he has had with deploying a private cloud within his organisation. For anyone that knows Stuart you knew this was going to be a straight talking honest presentation and he didn’t disappoint as he gain some great pointers on how the business will ask for certain things and will expect things from your cloud implementation even though you “aren’t a web start-up”.

Next was Massimo (@mreferre )  who is a VMware vCloud Architect talking about vCloud and giving an overview of all the products in the “vCloud Family” and how each of them work. His presentation was very helpful to me to better understand vCloud Director and most importantly allowed me to ask all the questions I have been needing to ask about vCloud Director. I’m pleased to say Massimo and Martyn answered all my questions Smile

Last in the track was Richard Zuber from VMware Global Support talking about support issues they have been receiving from customers using vCloud Director and the solutions they used to fix the problems. The presentation was a little dull as hearing about support calls and solutions isn’t the most exciting of things but it did show that making sure your networking is correctly administered and deployed for your vCloud implementation is very important in making sure you don’t experience problems and faults.

We were all then released to go to The Pavilion End pub for vBeers and I got to talk shop with fellow VMware Admins and met Julian Wood (@Julian_wood) of http://www.wooditwork.com fame, David Owen (@vMackem) of http://www.vmackem.co.uk fame, Simon Davies (@EV_Simon) of http://www.everything-virtual.com fame,Luke Munro (@mnrmunro) a fellow Saffa and Ed Grigson (@egrigson) of http://www.vExperienced.co.uk fame to name but a few.

It was an amazing day and I would highly recommend anyone thinking of attending to register for the next one on July  14th. Also a special thanks to Jane Rimmer (@Rimmergram) for her hard work on getting this all done and then not being able to attend due to being ill.

Gregg

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