TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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#AWS #ReInvent Day 0

Yesterday was Day 0 of AWS ReInvent for me, I have always wanted to attend ReInvent due to my deep interestes in AWS and being the Solution Lead for AWS in EMEA for Dell EMC.

 

The day started out almost midnight time Vegas time as I flew in from the UK early to try do a day flight to make the ~10 hour flight more bearable. It certainly did make it easier to stay awake on the plane as by the time I landed it was only 8pm UK time. I proceeded to drops my bags off at my hotel and then met up with a number of the London VMUG crew who I have known for a number of years for some drinks and chatting and also to register and collect my badge and hoodie for the conference. I did like that they let you try on the hoodies beforehand so get an idea of sizing’s as American sizing’s can be huge for us from Europe

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I had signed up for the AWS Tatonka challenge which is a chicken wing eating competition but was also going for the Guinness world record for the number of people participating in a chicken eating competition in one sitting. We had around 340 people and myself, Julian Woof, Chris Porter and George Short all managed to get ourselves into the competition and participating. They gave us numbers, explained the rules to not void the world record attempt and then we got our plates of chicken wings (which were fairly spicy)

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The LonVMUG Crew ready to eat some chicken wings

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Meeting the AWSCloud Ninja

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The Tatonka challenge also allowed us into the Midnight Madness party and first announcement’s session early which was highly beneficial as they supposedly only let in around 6000 people although i don;t thin that many in the end attended. I’m actually unsure if we broke the record as by the time they had done all the calculations the announcements on stage had started with the first one being the launch of Hiber Global and their partnership with AWS and their IoT nework. Next was the announcement of AWS RoboMaker and their opening of the code so anyone can use the code to program robots. Certainly an interesting announcement and one I need to read up more on. There are a number of sessions for RoboMaker although none were showing in the ReInvent planner last night when i looked to register for one.

I for one welcome our Robot overlords Smile

I then made my way home as it was by that time 9am UK time and I had essentially done an all nighter albeit a very nerdy all nighter. Today I hope to do a number of sessions largely around data migrations and financial services opportunities and capabilities within AWS linked largely to my daily work and the work Dell Technologies customers are coming to us to ask for help on.

Gregg


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#UKVMUG 2017

I was again very fortunate to attend the UKVMUG today. I have been a supported of the London VMUG for a number of years although due to work commitments and billable work obviously winning out I haven’t managed to attend as many as I would like. For this year I was also able to attend my first vCurry which for those who don;t know is a curry (who would have guessed) and a typically British quiz night but with a technology slant to it.

vCurry

The vCurry was really great and was held inside the motorcycle museum in Solihull next to where the UKVMUG is. It was great to see many faces from the community and even some #vBrownbag crew in Rebecca Fitzhugh who I presented a session with today and Emad Younis . The quiz was really good fun with loads of amusing question like some of the below around some of the famous VMware faces and their unknown previous job (just one is true)

 

My table/team won which was nice and there were loads of good laughs during the evening followed by some drinks and chatting to people.

The UKVMUG

I arrived fairly early for registration and then chatted to a few old colleagues and some people from the community around IoT and my growing interest in the area especially with Dell Technologies having a play in the space.

The day started with a welcome from Simon Gallagher and then moved onto the keynote by VMware EMEA CTO Joe Baguley. As usual Joe’s keynote was really interesting and shows where the industry might be going and focused on edge computing which as I mentioned earlier fit right into what I am currently learning around Dell’s IQT offerings. I wrote about my perspectives around it a few months ago here if interested. Joe also covered the need for not just understanding IT like we do day to day but also OT now that these edge devices are in the domain of OT people who have been using very specialised and critical systems to do their day to day job.

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Joe also covered how there is now becoming a need for not just the normal data centres but now micro and nano data centres

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Next I went and chatted to a number of the sponsors to learn what they are offering and to see how their offerings might fit for my customers or for some how their offerings are a competitor to Dell EMC. I also chatted to the UKVMUG crew who are also the London VMUG crew. If you want to attend a UKVMUG or even better want to present then please do reach out as they have their next meeting very soon:

  • Thursday 18th January
  • Thursday 22nd March
  • Thursday 14th Jun

After lunch I attended the Virtual Design Master session by Chris Porter, Gareth Edwards and Kyle Jenner which was really interesting and seeing as I managed to watch the recordings of this years one it was great to see and hear what the guys learnt from the whole process.

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Next was mine and Rebecca’s session around “How failing the VCDX made me a better architect”. The session went really well and we had some good questions and discussions afterwards with a few people coming up and declaring they are aiming to submit and defend for VCDX. I’m planning to maybe do a vBrownbag for mine and Rebecca’s session so I don’t want to cover it here but one point from our session was something I mentioned in my VCDX passing posting around the videos I used to watch which had Eric Thomas speaking in them about how badly do you want it and about giving up after my first failure. The full piece of this speech I found fairly recently which is here and is something I watch often and I would highly recommend. I also finished his book this past week and again highly recommend it. This quote over my desk is one of my favourites of his

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After my session I spoke to a few people about IoT pieces as well as VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware HCX and then made my way home to miss traffic. The day was really great and as always I really enjoyed presenting and certainly need to up my game and try present more at VMUG’s ,on the vBrownbag and hopefully Dell EMC world and VMworld next year

 

Gregg


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Finally I made it to a #UKVMUG

Yesterday I finally made it to my first #UKVMUG. They have been running for five years but each time they have happened I’ve been unable to attend either due to having attended VMworld so also attending UKVMUG would be pushing my luck or I couldn’t motivate a day not billing time to a customer. This year I didn’t attend any VMworld’s so made sure I booked out the day to attend and I’m really glad I did.

My day started a bit later than most attendees as I had to drop off my daughter at nursery as it opened and then drive the 93 miles to the Birmingham motorcycle museum where the UKVMUG was being held. I unfortunately missed the keynote by EMEA CTO Joe Bagueley as well as my mention alongside colleague Sam McGeown for our achieving of our VCDX’s and the award of shirts until our vouchers for the official VCDX shirts come through.  Thanks to Alaric and the rest of the UKVMUG crew for printing this for me =0)

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I then spoke to quite a few fellow London VMUG attendees as well as peers from twitter and was very very appreciative of all the VCDX congratulations from so many of them.

I then attended a discussion by Zerto all around their offering and what has been released in their new version. A really great product and very interesting alternative to VMware SRM and vSphere Replication.

I then attended a session by two current and one ex Xtravirt employees around finding the silver lining in vCAC/vRA projects and the sharing of their war stories. Certainly some really great advice from the guys and the most important bit of advice around integrating tests and error reporting into your vCO/vRO workflows from the beginning.

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It was then lunch time where again I spoke to a number of current and ex colleagues as well as fellow London VMUG regulars as well as fellow vBrownbag host (albeit he is on a sabbatical from it at present) Josh Atwell. Mike Laverick then did his swag bag raffle that he does every year in aid of charity which this year had raised £470 and the winner was Sean Killen.

CULIUtUVEAAghtA

After some talking shop with some vendors I made my way to the “VMware’s Virtual SAN: A technical Deep Dive and Product Roadmap buy Christos Karamanolis and Lee Dilworth. the session was very interesting and Christos certainly gave in-depth explanations around VSAN, I just wish they had spent more time on the roadmap and new features in the releases due in Q1 next year.

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Next was a session by Frank Buechsel who is one of my fellow EMEA vBrownbag co-hosts who presented all around vRealize Automation-Lessons Learned. To say Frank didn’t sound like a big fan of vRA and the sheer complexity of getting a production setup working (tell me about it I’ve spent the last year of my life doing this) would be an understatement and I actually asked him at the end if he had anything nice to say about vRA which he did say it is a brilliant product but the errors are far too vague and the start-up and shutdown orders of a distributed installation are a nightmare.

Doing the closing keynote was then the illustrious John Troyer. It was a brilliant keynote all around how to try architect your IT career and how you need to keep learning new skills as the skills you have now will most likely be replaced/redundant in less than ten years. Poor John did seem to be suffering from a cold and jet lag but gave great advice. It was also great to hear a mention of the vBrownbag in his discussion. Thanks for that John 🙂

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Then it was the aptly named “The Red Wedding” ( G.o.T SPOLIER ALERT!! ) section of the day where Jane Rimmer, Alaric and Stuart all announced they would be stepping down as leaders of the London VMUG and UKVMUG after 25 years of service between them to allocate more time to their jobs and hobbies. These three have been amazing in building the community and dedicating so much of their time to the user group. Simon Gallagher hasn’t stepped down so that’s one consolation from it.If you think you could dedicate the time and are interested in becoming a leader then there is a survey available to complete as part of the process. this closes next Thursday so get your interest in ASAP.

Last but not least Pietro Piutti was generous enough to bring me over a few bottles of beer from the only certified trappist brewery in Rome. Not sure about the eucalyptus they add but man it was good. Not a Westvleteren 8 but it still got 4.75 out of 5 on untappd 😀

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It was a brilliant day and I certainly will be aiming to attend again next year even though I plan to attend the US VMworld next year also.

 

Gregg


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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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London VMUG January 2013

A very quick posting (I do seem to say that a lot recently i promise i have longer ones in store) to remind people to get registered for the first London VMware User Group of 2013. As I’ve blogged about before I really enjoy going to the event whenever work and life allows me to get in. Also I’ll be presenting Smile Yep exactly a year after having broken my London VMUG cherry I will be presenting for the third time and this time I will be talking about the VMware Advanced exams: Why I think they are worth the effort and what I have learnt from them/my experiences (you can see this is a working title and that I have so much i want to put in the title is far too long at present)

 

You can register for the event on the VMUG website here and if my presentation doesn’t sound like your cup of tea then there are loads of other sessions running (at most points three at once in three separate rooms). Once the day has finished and you have absorbed as much as you can then you are welcomed and encouraged to join like minded vNerds at the vBeers afterwards where you can share a beer (or cold drink) and chat shop or anything else with fellow VMware nerds.

 

I hope to see you there and come say hi and introduce yourself if you have come along

 

Gregg


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London VMUG May 2012

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)  is happening THIS Thursday the 17th of May. Also my fellow vExpert, partner in crime and Xtravirt colleague Darren Woollard is presenting which should be an incentive for anyone to go just to heckle him Smile

If you haven’t registered I would highly recommend you do so ASAP . You can register for the event here and there will also be a large contingent of my fellow Xtravirt colleagues attending as well and should be easily recognisable due to them all wearing the shirt shown below (one each obviously Winking smile )

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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 27

 

Yep I’ve decided to start trying to build up my All Things Virtual postings so as to try help myself keep up to date on the latest news happening in the virtualisation arena and also help people like myself who don’t have the time during the day/work week to keep up to date on the latest blog postings,news and articles. I’ve only listed the past few week’s worth of blog postings that have caught my interest and for future All Things Virtual I’m planning on doing it fortnightly/monthly.

First on my list is a reminder to all that the “applications” for the VMware vExpert title are still open. there are now three paths for the title which I blogged about in my VMware vExpert 2012 nominations and applications are open blog posting. You can find the application form and all the information also on the vExpert communities page here

Next was the results of Eric Sieberts yearly Top Virtualisation Blog poll. I was very honoured to be included in the voting this year for the first time and came in at 103rd which I’m really pleased about Smile. A massively congratulations to all the top 10 and top 25 blogs and it’s amazing to see that 1 in 10 of the blogs in the votes were from the London VMware User Group #LonVMUG crew.

The mad rush for the VCP5 upgrade before the end of February cut off date is in full swing. Almost all my colleagues at Xtravirt have done theirs in the past week and almost every day loads and loads of the people I follow on twitter are posting about their passing of the exam. For those that have decided to bypass the cut off date due to possibly already having done the what’s new course or are happy to do the what’s new course there is a massive amount of top resources out there for you to use. I’ve tried to list them all on my VCP5 page. Cody Bunch’s VCP5 Brownbag series is now in full swing with videos of all the objectives listed by Cody in his VCP5 Brownbag Playlist posting.

Talking of certifications there were four new VCDX’s announced, so a massive and envious congratulations to Tom Arentsen @tomarentsen,Mike Brown @vmikebrown, Matthew Meyer @mattdmeyer and Hugo Phan @hugophan. Hugo did a very helpful blog posting all about his 5 simple steps to the VCDX certification . His steps do seem very manageable and are great for those people out there feeling up for the challenge. One of the people who has already thrown his hat in the ring is fellow vExpert and top blogger Christian Mohn who announced his intent in his blog posting here . Good luck Christian, maybe now that my new role with Xtravirt is gaining me some serious design exposure and experience I may join you in attempting the VCDX if i can find the time to do what I couldn’t do for VCAP4 and gain both my VCAP5-DCA and DCD. I’ll keep you all posted on my decision Smile

Next is a posting by Gabrie van Zanten all about the Auto Deploy GUI VMware fling. Gabrie does a great walkthrough of how to use the tool and how it makes your life much easier. I’m currently planning to use the tool in my testing of Auto Deploy in my home lab and hopefully it’s as good as he describes

As I’ve mentioned loads of times in my VCAP4,VCP5 and VCAP5 study resources pages, the trainsignal videos are an amazing learning resource in my opinion and are as good if not better than attending the respective courses. TrainSignal have recently released the VMware View 5 Essentials Training videos. The videos are described by Trainsignal as  “Virtualisation experts Brian Knudtson and Lane Leverett guide you from VDI basics, through app virtualization and more. Learn how to get your View environment up and running and reduce costs for your end-user desktops”. I’m currently started to use these videos in my attempt to strengthen my VDI skills and hopefully if all goes to plan try obtain my VCP5-DT.

Talking about VMware View and the VCP5-DT, the VMware View 5 Install Configure and Manage course was released in early January and Eric Sloof posted all about it in his posting here. The course looks really good and maybe if I am given the opportunity i may be able to attend it and give a good overview for anyone thinking about attending the course.

Lastly, a massive thanks to John Troyer and Alex Maier for the vExpert gift and Certificate. I’ve already started using my bag as my main bag and geekingly added my vExpert and blogger badges from the past two VMworld’s also (yep I’m sad)

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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.

clip_image001

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

407fefe6-2a76-102d-855f-000e0cc30319

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:

image

Gregg