TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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#AWS #ReInvent Day 2 & 3

I miscalculated the time the AWS keynote started (8am) yesterday so ran out of time posting my day 2 blog posting and with my laptop screen disliking me vie had to leave it in a perfect position in my hotel room so that I could at least write a blog posting so here is both day 2 and 3 recaps of AWS re:Invent.

Day 2

My day 2 started with the inaugural AWS vBreakfast. I wrote about my plans and idea to get a whole bunch of people who are part of the VMware community who are also attending re:Invent to meet up and ideally get a bit of the same kind of strong community we have around VMware now around people who did VMware bits that now do both. The breakfast was a lot of fun and the discussions both technical and on-technical were amazing and it’s one of my favourite parts about conferences as being able to hear what others are doing at work and then possibly if it’s something you have or need to do can collaborate and learn with/from that person and you both benefit. The meal was great fun and I hope it can happen every year now and grow even bigger

 

Next was the Partner keynote, unlike with other conference keynotes I’ve been to, customers are actually allowed to attend the keynote as there aren’t any partner only NDA roadmap discussions during the AWS Partner keynote but it is more about what the AWS Partner Network is doing, the growth and successes it has made. There was the announcement of a number of new competencies partners could do as well as a number of partners who had achieved certain elite competencies and what them having these meant for customers.

After the keynote I went around the expo hall and spoke to a number of vendors and bumped into fellow vBrownbag team members and VMware Cloud on AWS guru’s Emad Younis and Kyle Ruddy. We spoke about already released features of VMConAWS and credit to the guys they did not let slip one bit of day 3’s announcements. Make sure to look up their sessions at re:Invent especially after the announcements around VMConAWS.

I attended a session all about Infrastructure is Code with the AWS Cloud Development Kit which was very interesting. I did appreciate that they did the demo’s live although personally I felt some of the time the text they had to write to create the commands and scripts could have been pre-written in a text file that they could have copied across rather than us watching them typing it out word by word.

I met up with other VMware guru’s such as William Lam and Brian Graf and spoke to them about what they were doing (again no NDA’s were broken) as well as what I have been up to at Dell EMC as a Cloud Solutions Lead.

I ended the day fairly early as I knew I had to be up for the keynote on Wednesday and my tiredness from jetlag had really started to set in.

Day 3

Day 3 started with the keynote by Andy Jassy and wow what a keynote, lasting 3 hours and with people lining up several hours beforehand to get in it was amazing announcement after amazing announcement and to Andy’s credit he kept the audience’s attention for the whole three hours.

I’m not going to mention every single announcement but the ones that I was really impressed by and really need to go watch more about and learn (every day is a school day) are:

Glacier Deep Archive

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/s3-glacier-deep-archive/

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/amazon-fsx-windows/

 

Amazon Timestream

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/announcing-amazon-timestream/

Amazon QLDB

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/introducing-amazon-qldb/

 

Amazon Managed Blockchain

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/introducing-amazon-managed-blockchain/

 

 

Amazon DeepRacer and League

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/introducing-aws-deepracer/

 

 

AWS Outposts

(this is the big one I REALLY need to understand for my customers)

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2018/11/announcing-aws-outposts/

 

https://cloud.vmware.com/community/2018/11/28/vmware-cloud-aws-outposts-cloud-managed-sddc-data-center/

 

 

After the keynote I went and had some lunch and met up with Adam Post and chatted about his VCDX journey and some of my advice and lessons I learnt and then proceeded to attend a leadership session “ Cloud Adoption and the future of Financial Services” as this sits right with the projects I am working on at present and a number in the pipeline. It was a really good session and one I need to absorb a second time.

I made my way to the Expo hall again and spoke to the Dell Boomi team. It really is an awesome product and one I hope I can possibly even use with my current customer who is doing a DC migration as well as a move to HCI and PaaS.

In the evening I attended the Dell EMC, VMware and AWS party where a number of the vCommunity came along and had a good amount of chats and discussions about the days announcements.

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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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#VMwAWS #vExpert #vCommunity Meetup at #AWS ReInvent

itproawsvmware-logo2

Later this month I will be attending my first AWS ReInvent due to me being the AWS Solution Lead for the UK&I for Dell EMC. As part of my attending I am planning to try kick start a community within the AWS ecosystem that matches the awesome one that the vCommunity has around VMware and supporting technologies. Due to me being a VMware vExpert for the last 9 years and a newly appointed vExpertPro I am looking to call on this community whom are also attending the conference to get together and ideally we can build a crossover AWS and VMware community seeing as most people who have done VMware now also know AWS or are currently using it more and more due to offerings like VMConAWS.

The vBrownbag crew will be attending ReInvent for the first time so please make sure to sign up for a TechTalk and also come watch and meet some like minded people as the community around the vBrownbag is always strong and well worth knowing

So initially and the point of this posting is to find out how many of my followers/readers are attending ReInvent and to then hopefully organise a few meetups and spread the supporting nature of the VMware community into the AWS community and vice versa. So if you are attending then please put your name in the form below and your twitter handle and I will create a way for all of us to start building the VMwAWS community.


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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.

vbrownbag

  • 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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My First VMware Certification #vExpert NSX

The VMware vExpert NSX program is running a community blog series and this post is about my first VMware certification.

Why did you decide to take your first test and what was your motivation?

I had been allocated to look after the VMware 3.5 estate of my old company and decided that trying to pass the VCP3.5 was the best way for me to learn VMware. I followed this up with the VCP4 which had been released around the same time in quick succession to help me learn what was coming in the next version.

What was your journey for the first test?

The VCP3.5 was my first one but due to me doing the VCP4 almost immediately after the journey actually merged covering both which I blogged about on my blog here https://thesaffageek.co.uk/2009/12/02/vmware-certified-professional-vsphere-passed/ . VMware was very new to me then but the community was in it’s relative infancy in 2009 and twitter had a small but hard-core group that I loved being a part of and learning from some of the famous pioneers like Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman to name but a few. My preparing for the exam started off my interest and now continued link to writing up the study resources (Part 1 and Part 2 ) I used for the exams which became very popular and actually led me to getting my first vExpert the year after.

Were you nervous, how did you study?

I was very nervous as I actually mentioned in my posting for VCP4 as the technology was very new to me as I had up until that point been a Microsoft fan boy having done the MCP’s and MCSE’s and virtualisation plus what it could do was in it’s infancy (at least in my opinion then) . How i studied for it had been covered in the blog postings I mentioned earlier around the VCP4 (Part 1 and Part 2 ) and the methods I followed then I still follow largely today around using multiple techniques to learnt he material such as books, podcasts, CBT and good old lab time. I also had much more time then to read blogs announcing the latest features or what people were having issues with and how they fixed them. This interest in learning what issues people had and how they fixed them as well as trying to help people with issues drew me into the VMware communities and which led me to become Master status and being asked to become a VMware communities moderator.

How did it benefit your career as well as your community?

Immense amounts as just reading the posting around my passing the VCP4 reminds me how much I’ve learnt over the time from doing those exams as a junior IT Technician freshly “off the boat” from South Africa to a Cloud Practice Solution Lead and VCDX #205. The community involvement was what really got me excited and I made some great vFriends whom I am still very friendly with as well as countless others from VMUG’s to VMworld’s to Twitter to the communities to now being part of the vBrownbag crew that I learnt so much from in the early days. The VMware community was amazing then and even though some people have moved onto other things that ethos is still around and is something I personally try give back to the community.

Knowing what you know today, what are some of the pain points in this certification that you can share with your audience?

It varies based on the level of the VMware certification you are going for. For the VCP it is now much easier to learn about the technology as there is a sheer abundance of resources out there to learn from whereas the amount in the 3.5 days was much less although the suite of products and amount of features were much less then so I think it balances out somewhat. As with any certification it is about spending the time understanding it and for me as I’ve mentioned before I sometimes find different methods of learning it helps explain it better as sometimes reading page after page of a book can make you lose focus but a video by the vBrownbag where you hear it from someone in the community can keep your interest much more and maybe even explain it in terms you would have never thought of.

 

If you are going for the VCP6 then why not have a look at my study resources page and good luck on the journey. If you told me in those VCP3.5 days that I would be a VCDX doing enterprise level work like I am now I would have never believed you. Also with so many paths such as NV,DTM and CMA the amount of amazing technology you can learn to advance you career never mind the integrations with Openstack, AWS and Azure it’s still an exciting time to being doing virtualisation.

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)

vmunderground

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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vExpert 2016 Truly Honoured

https://thesaffageek.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/vexpert_logo_q109.jpg?w=611

The 2016 vExpert announcements have been made and for the sixth year in a row I have been honoured with the designation. If you don’t know what the vExpert is here is the definition from the vExpert site:

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.

A massive thanks to Corey and the rest of his team for selecting me, it is an amazing honour Open-mouthed smile. Also a massive congratulations to all the other people selected especially all the ones from the London VMUG and my vBrownbag brothers and sisters. You can see the list of the other vExpert 20162 awardees on the list here

Gregg