TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Infrastructure as Code

 

Recently a number of customers have been coming to Dell EMC asking for us to help them with Infrastructure as Code solutions that will allow them to use DevOps methodologies such as CI/CD to provision to multi-cloud environments such as Azure,AWS,Google Cloud and on-premises solutions. These kinds of solutions are becoming more and more prevalent in my experience and although they don’t fit for all companies the capabilities of IaC are undeniable and will allow many companies to stay relevant and allow them to go to market much quicker and in a much more automated manner.

So alike to a lot of resources I post on this blog I started collating all the learning resources I could so that I could learn all about the possibilities of IaC and the various methods it could be accomplished. I have built the below list and will be adding to it over time. Also do keep an eye out on the vBrownbag as we plan to do many more IaC sessions very soon

If you know of any more resources, then please do let me know.

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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#AWS : Solutions Architect Associate Achievement Unlocked

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This morning I sat the AWS: SAA exam and I’m pleased to say I passed it Smile.I used a plethora of resources to prepare for the exam as I have to admit that I underestimated the exam a month ago and thought I would just need a general knowledge of the features and was getting full marks on the acloud.guru practice exams but failed it by ~ 3% percent. I’m not going to list all the resources I used in my preparation as I have already listed them on my blog under my AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Study Resources page. All of the resources listed were really really good and I would highly recommend not just doing the CBT training but also do the labs and spend time using the free tier to go thorough all the features and learn what they can and can’t do. The exam is made up of sixty questions and the blueprint lists the split of the different domains as per the below table:

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As you can see from the breakdown the exam is largely about designing a highly available, cost-efficient, fault tolerant scalable system. The questions in the exam varied from relatively straight forward ones where you just had to know what a solution or service provided to more complex ones where a scenario was portrayed in the question and you had to define which 2-3 answers together enabled them to achieve their requirements. Based on my score I am taking it that the ones that required multiple answers didn’t give partial scores if you got one wrong which is akin to a lot of other IT exams so you certainly have to focus on your answers as I found even with eliminating answers I knew were wrong I was still left with a very close alternative.

For the study resources I would recommend watching the vBrownbag series as well as the CBT’s and doing lab work as there were certainly a few things mentioned in there that were directly helpful in the exam. It’s also really great in my opinion to hear about bits from others in the community using the technology.

Good luck if you are preparing for the exam, I’m tempted to keep the momentum going and now do the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam.

Gregg


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Why you should attend VMworld US

VMworld US is just around the corner (58 days to be exact) and I have been graciously allocated a bloggers pass for the conference and given backing from my company Dell EMC to attend. This will be my sixth time attending and my third time attending the US one. VMworld has something for everyone from those just learning about virtualisation to those who have been part of the industry for a number of years and are looking to those in depth sessions and discussions with the evangelists and guru’s of VMware plethora of offerings and solutions. If you haven’t yet booked your place then let me list some of the reasons I think you should attend as they are the reasons I try to attend every year:

  • On the Sunday of VMworld is Partner Exchange and TAM day where VMware partners can attend exclusive sessions talking about everything from future roadmaps for all of VMware product lines but also new solutions VMware are looking to release. The sessions are always extremely interesting and from my experience are the best chance to speak to the “rockstars” who evangelise and breath the various solutions. If you aren’t a partner or are looking  for something community driven then the vBrownbag crew along with the VMUnderground crew are again running opening acts and then the VMUnderground party in the Evening (unfortunately the party tickets are now sold out). I will be attending opening acts and have actually submitted a panel idea that I hope will be accepted.

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  • My next reason is about the community again but this time the ability to network with like minded individuals at the bloggers tables, fellow vExperts, fellow VCDX at the VCDX townhall on the Saturday before VMworld and all those I hope to meet over lunch and at the vBrownbag TechTalks who are working in collaboration with the VMTN team to run the infamous TechTalks. If you have never heard of the TechTalks then a brief overview is below:
    • Tech Talks originated at VMworld 2012 where they provided an opportunity for community members, whose presentation submissions were not accepted into the main catalogue, to present the core of  a topic.  #TechTalks are a ten minute presentation by a community member for the benefit of the community. Since almost everyone working in technology has solved problems and learned something almost everyone could present a #TechTalk.  The format can be a slide deck or simply talking, they are usually about how to solve a problem or get the most out of a product. The TechTalk is captured on video and published on the vBrownBag YouTube channel.
    • If the conference Internet connection allows, the talk is also live streamed from the show.
    • #TechTalks are for community members to reach other community members, any topic that will help other people is good.  The one thing that TechTalks are not is an opportunity to present the corporate slide deck about a great product you would like us to buy.  #TechTalks are about up skilling and education, the only marketing should be from the TechTalk sponsors who help make the whole thing happen.
  • Next are the breakout sessions, group discussions and expert panels. The content catalog is now live and it is packed with amazing sessions by some of the biggest names in the industry and those up and coming in the industry. I’m personally really looking forward to all of the VMware Cloud on AWS sessions as it bridges my existing knowledge and interest in VMware with my exponentially growing interest in AWS. The sessions are also recorded so if you can’t make it to a sessions due to a conflict then by registering for VMworld you get access to all the recorded sessions after the conference for you to watch in your own time.
  • My next reason are the VMware Hands-On Labs which cover all VMware technologies and allow you to play with the latest releases and offerings not just from VMware but also VMware partners. Alike to the sessions the hands on labs are available after the conference but I would recommend going to a few that really interest you (again I’ve allocated some walk trough’s of the VMConAWS solution) and then you can do the remaining ones after the conference. If however you really want to hit the labs hard then I know they normally give a free pass to next years VMworld to the top few people who have completed the most labs.
  • The solution exchange is my next reason as this is the perfect opportunity to speak to those vendors who are offering the latest solution that might save your business and team loads of money and or time and this is the perfect opportunity to speak to that vendor who might be offering the solution that will fix the issues your company is experiencing and take that knowledge back to your company and impress your management with how you’ve found a great solution and to prove that your going to VMworld was worth it and that they should send you again next year. I would be remise if I didn’t encourage you to go speak to Dell EMC and hear about their amazing offerings all the way through the stack as well as pre-packaged and validated solutions for SMB’s all the way to large enterprises.
  • If you are looking to obtain that next VMware certification or want to speak to the certification team about the performance of your latest VCAP-Deploy exam then there are loads of  VMware Certification opportunities. You can also book reduce cost exams at VMworld which I have personally never decided to do but loads of the community swear by it and due to the reduced cost it means if you unfortunately don’t make it then it isn’t that much of a dent to your pocket and lets you scope out the exam to better prepare for next time.
  • Last is the parties and due to the conference being in Vegas you can imagine the amount of them there are and the amount of meet ups after the parties that happen.  There are parties for everyone so if you are looking for a chilled drinks evening then there are loads of opportunities for that and if you want to party all night (save some sleep to be able to attend the conference) then there are plenty of those as well. If you haven;t got a ticket to VMUnderground on Sunday then the Welcome Reception kicks off the conference experience with food, drinks, and networking in the Solutions Exchange. There are normally loads of announcements about the parties closer to the time so keep an eye out on social media as the parties fill up fast and remember the strip is big so unless you plan to uber it then getting to three parties in a night might not be possible. The VMworld party finishes off the conference on Wednesday night, the venue hasn’t been announced as far as I’ve seen but he bands have been and teenage Gregg is super excited about it as  Blink 182 and Bleachers will be performing. Last years aprty at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was really fun and fall out boy were awesome in my opinion

If you are looking to attend then sign up here https://reg.rainfocus.com/flow/vmware/vmworldus17/reg/account?src=so_590b899c53598&cid=70134000001K6I4 and make sure to come find me and say hi as well as i encourage you to attend the TechTalks which are due to be added to the content catalog very soon.

Gregg


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#VMworld Day 0

As is customary, VMworld US starts on Sunday with the Partner Exchange events as well as an opportunity for people to register and receive their VMworld badge, bag and initial swag.

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This year I am attending as part of the vBrownbag crew and so Sunday is a big day for us as we run Opening Acts with the VMUnderground crew. This year we have also included the vBrisket crew for a nice BBQ (Braai) for lunch. The panels were very well attended and there was really good audience participation. You can watch all of the Opening Acts on the vBrownbag YouTube channel.

vBrisket was amazing with some seriously nice food where I got to chat to a number of people I only know from the twitterverse and talk some VCDX with Rebecca Fitzhugh, Mike Burkhart and Brett Guarino after thier recent VCDX attempts (NDA retaining)

I then attended the VMworld Solutions Exchange for the Welcome party sponsored by Accenture  and had an amazing preview of the work VMware can do with Business Critical Apps by Niran Chen. Make sure you go by and see the demo near the VMware booth. We also had a nerdy #beVCDX picture showing 7 VCDX among the 5 of us (seeing as Niran and Augustin are double VCDX’s). I the picture is @NiranEC @sammcgeown @amalanco @iam_andysmith and I.

7 VCDX

The VMunderground party was hosted at the nine fine irishmen bar in the NYNY casino and as per usual it was the best best party for Sunday evening (sorry VMUG I am making assumptions here)

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I ended the day not too late due to some jetlag and also needing to be spritely for the VMVillage where the vBrownbag Techtalks are being run where we live stream them as well as record them for uploading to the vBrownbag YouTube channel.

Gregg


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I CANT BELIEVE MY VMWORLD SUBMISSION WASN’T ACCEPTED!!

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Your VMworld submission wasn’t accepted and now you are wondering how can you give back to the community or prove to the boss that your coming to VMworld is also about showing your knowledge and skills to the community. Well the vBrownbag TechTalks are the place where you can fulfill this desire (I would be remiss to not mention you should also be participating in your local VMUG) .

The vBrownbag TechTalks have been growing in popularity every year and our sessions in the hang space of VMworld US and EU are always a great way to hear ten minute sessions from some of the biggest names in the industry but even better people climbing the ranks who have great content to share. The vBrownbag crew describe the TechTalks as “presentations by community members at an industry conference. They originated with our friend’s sessions not being accepted for the main conference catalog. We know we want to learn from the community so we arranged an alternative forum. TechTalks are limited to ten minutes; they deliver the very core of an idea. Keeping presentations short also means we can do a lot of sessions in a day. Most TechTalks use a slide deck, some use a whiteboard and a few brave souls do live demonstrations. TechTalks are delivered to a small live audience at the conference and then posted to YouTube.”

If you want to see what some of the sessions were like last year then you can watch them on the vBrownbag channel here . The signup form is open and normally fills fairly quickly so why not put your name down to present, it’s a great way to practice presenting and can be used as part of your proof of why you should be selected as a vExpert in 2017.

I will be attending VMworld US to help the vBrownbag crew so come by and say hi and watch some of the sessions at least if you aren’t submitting to present.

Gregg


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VCP6-CMA track on the EMEA #vBrownbag

Now that my VCDX defence is over and hopefully I’ve done enough to be awarded an illustrious number I can pick up my old responsibilities for the EMEA vBrownbag of which I am one of the hosts and decided that the VCP6-CMA track would be a great one to do.

african children dancing - Lets learn Some vRA goodness

We are going to be going through the blueprint in order so that it is easy to follow and watch as well if you are subscribed to the iTunes feed. So starting next week Tuesday at 7pm GMT (Clocks have changed in Europe so this is GMT not BST) we will be doing objective 1 and it is being covered by one of the co-hosts of the vBrownbag, Frank Buechsel. You can register for the series and future vBrownbag EMEA sessions via the following link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8540909933274906113 and can also subscribe to the vBrownbag YouTube channel.

 

If you are interested in covering an objective on the vBrownbag then please get touch as we are always looking for presenters.

 

Gregg


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#vBrownbag #VCDX Series Follow Up

As people may or may not be aware the EMEA vBrownbag of which I am a co-host have been doing a VCDX series covering a number of topics around the VCDX and preparations for attempting it. We have done three sessions and all three recordings are below:

Next week we will have John Arrasjid and Mark Gabryjelski continuing the delivery of additional infrastructure architecture design advice and recommendations from a recent presentation John delivered at the Singapore vForum where he stated all three sessions of the presentation were full.

Also a special shout out and thanks to Rene van Den Bedem aka VCDX133 for co-hosting with me and supplying so many questions as well as answers on the VCDX Panel session. Go check out his VCDX series of postings if you want some of the best VCDX material available.

Koala can't believe it - Over VCDX 50 postings Still maintains a day job and wife?

Gregg


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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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VMworld US 2014 – The Calm Before the vStorm

For several years I have been very fortunate to attend VMworld Europe either via my company paying for the trip or in the case of last year, being able to attend as part of the vBrownbag crew and I’m very pleased to say that I will be attending this years VMworld US via the welcomed sponsorships of the vBrownbag sponsors (VMTurbo , Cisco , Brocade ,Infinio and Coho Data) for the TechTalks. Due to going as part of the vBrownbag crew VMware were gracious enough to give me a bloggers pass to cover my conference entrance fee and when I am not helping with the TechTalks or the VMunderground Open Acts i plan to blogging and tweeting away. But I am not only looking forward to going just for these reasons (certainly they are amazing enough reasons) but for several others and so I thought I would put out the reasons I’m looking forward to VMworld US and why if you haven’t booked to attend yet then why I would HIGHLY encourage you to register.

Social

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I know what you are thinking and yes there certainly are some amazing parties and there are people who sadly take it as a jolly rather than experiencing the conference but the social I am referring to is social media as well as actual human interaction with like minded people. I am sure a number of people are like me where we sit behind a computer for countless hours,then sit on our phone or tablet tweeting away to people about the latest virtualisation or related technology but have never actually met these people. In fact most of the people you tweet with are actually on the opposite side of the world but their blog posting/communities response/book/podcast/webinar or twitter response to a question you posted saved you countless hours of work or helped you get that new role or certification. Well VMworld is the perfect place to meet these people and thank them for their help, get your book signed by the author or throw the book at them if they were wrong (physical violence no matter how funny it may be from afar isn’t the answer…most of the time). This also allows you to talk about how cool the new features in vSphere 6.0 are and not get that placating nod your wife/girlfriend (husband/boyfriend for those super vWoman in the community) gives you when you get excited about it. For me the interaction and friendships I have had and made from VMworld conferences have sometimes been the best part as being able to chat to the person who wrote the book on VSAN/PowerCLI/VMware Networking for example is worth the conference fee in itself.

Sessions/Labs

The sessions,labs and announcements are brilliant and the only reason I chose social first is due to it being something not that many people think about. The sessions and labs are amazing and even though you can watch almost all the sessions (breakouts aren’t recorded) and do all the labs now via  labs.hol.vmware.com ,being able to attend the sessions for the week and hear about all the great new features and how people have taken the solutions provided by VMware and met their companies or customers requirements with them without being bothered by home life or work is an amazing learning experience. The same applies to the Hands on Labs where you can take the labs and skill up on the most recent technologies or even older ones that you might not have had the time to learn up until now. There are sessions for everyone as there are sessions where they are entry level for those people just getting into VMware technologies to advanced sessions where it is VMware engineers or product teams talking about the knitty gritty of the solutions. There are also loads of panel sessions ranging from meet the vExpert bloggers panel sessions to VCDX panel sessions where you can ask questions and learn from top vBloggers and or ask all those questions about the VCDX or the pre-requisites exams from those who have done it. If you are working for a VMware partner there is a partner day where as you guessed it, it is exclusively for partners and VMware will do sessions covering all the technologies and how they are working to make it better for partners or those selling their solutions.

TechTalks

Ok I’m probably very biased but the vBrownbag crew along with the help of our sponsors run the TechTalks from the community area where people who may not have had their sessions accepted to present at VMworld (this is not a reflection on the quality I can assure you) present about numerous different topics (no sales pitches) for ten minutes and they are streamed as well as recorded. The TechTalks have been a major success with loads of people watching the live stream, a very large number of views of the recordings and we also have a very good amount of live audience watching them. The schedule for the TechTalks is due out imminently and from having seen some of the amazing names on the list it will not disappoint.

Solutions Exchange

The solutions exchange is where all the vendors including sponsors have their stalls/booths where you can talk to them about their latest release, speak to some of their top people around possibly solutions you are looking to implement or need help fixing and even go to the VMware Expert bar. The Expert bar allows you to talk to the best people for each VMware technology and hear and see what all the new solutions from VMware can do for your business. As you would expect there are loads of freebies and competitions from all the vendors and this is the place where you can hear about that new technology and then be able to drop it in a conversation with your boss to show how on the ball you really are.

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General

There are also numerous activities that fall under the general banner like the VMworld party which last year had Train and Imagine dragons performing at the AT&T Park and three years ago were the Killers. There are also a number of vendor parties, parties exclusively for VCDX/vExperts and vendor excursions (brewery tours etc.) . The parties and meet ups in the evenings are amazing and if you have some self restraint and make sure you answer your phone when the wife calls, you can have an amazing time and still get the most out of the conference during the day. These are also a really great place to make new friends and even speak to some of the top names in the industry and realise they are 9 out of ten times really humble and friendly people.

If your significant other wishes to join you then there is spousetivities run by Crystal Lowe where vWidows/ partners of conference attendees can do day excursions.

Register Now!

If you haven’t registered for VMworld then I would highly recommend doing so here as it is well worth attending and if you need to justify it to your boss then why not use the VMworld letter for that. If you are attending then I would love to meet you and have a beverage with you or just chat tech. I will most likely be wearing one of my vExpert shirts or hanging around with the vBrownbag crew.

I am also planning to blog about a number of the announcements from VMworld so keep an eye out on my blog for those Smile

Gregg