My first VMUG experience – London July 4th 2013

This post maybe a few days late but I have been a bit busy. In fact the past 3-4 weeks have been busy and as such I must have 6 posts waiting in the pipeline to be published, mostly around View and Mirage.

Last Thursday (4th July 2013) I went to my first VMUG. I have been to a fair few events over the years from various vendors but they all pale in comparison to the VMUG. For those that don’t know what a VMUG is, you can go to their website here and join up for free. Yes that’s right, it’s totally free.

You can sign up to be a VMUG advantage member and receive some good discounts on Certification exams, Software and VMworld for example, but it’s totally optional and there is no special treatment at the events that I could see. That said if you do plan on taking any of the VMware certs I would consider signing up, especially as they have a free VCP exam voucher offer (Expires July 15th 2013)

The event that I attended was a mixture of sponsor and community based sessions with an awesome keynote from Frank Denneman. There are a number sessions that run in parallel so you will have to make some choices up front as to which sessions you would like to attend (think mini VMworld). Sponsor sessions were scheduled apart from the community sessions which I had no problem with, as without them this event would not be free. So go along and hear what they have to say, you never know it might be something interesting πŸ™‚

The sponsors for this event were Atlantic Ilio, DellWyse and Veeam.

The day starts out with registration where I was greated by a young lady named Jame Rimmer (@Rimmergram) I had listened to jane on a number of Podcasts so it was really nice to finally get the chance to say hello. You are then left to roam the floor and speak with the event sponsors, or chat with friends. Being a newbie I went off to see if there was anyone else who I may have known. I got chatting with a great guy called Arther, after discussing storage and DR we were told to head off to the first session.

The first session was by Veeam, where they discussed some of the new features of version 7 and discussed the replication feature. From what I can see Version 7 has some really nice features, one of which was the ability to utilise tape and having the ability to create lab sandbox were both exciting for me.

This was followed by Franks keynote where he discussed flash storage in the Enterprise and how his new company PernixData had a solution to combat some of the weaknesses. In essence the Pernix data solution is software that sits in the VMware Hypervisor as a module, it allows an Admin to virtualise local server-side flash and present that to hosts. The FVP (Flash Virtualisation Platform) can then replicate data over the vMotion network (how cool!) 1GB is supported before you ask, but as always, 10Gb is better πŸ˜‰

After that I choose to sit in on the SSO SOS session by Steve Bruck and Stu McHugh. Both of these guys are well-known in the community and have their own podcast call vNews. Check it out as it’s really handy if you don’t have time to keep up with all the goings on. The session was great and we were encouraged to join in, which I did on several occasions. At first I felt like a heckler, however I soon felt right at home and the whole session felt more like a chat over a beer rather than a typical seminar presentation. After that session I hung around to speak with Steve and Stu but I ended up in another conversation with two of the attendees. Thais where I met fellow geek Ross, we proceeded to chat over lunch where I introduced him to Arther.

In fact the three of us are now in contact and have already been sharing some problems. Two great guys πŸ™‚

I also managed to grab five minutes with Steve and Stu where we talked a little more on SSO and I spoke to Stu about podcasting and how much time they spend to do that as its something I would love to start in the future.

After lunch we had the presentation from Atlantic Computing, this is some seriously cool tech if you are doing VDI. Which we are. Basically its like having an extra tier of rapid storage that backed by RAM. So for example you give the Ilio appliance 128GB of RAM and it will present back a 150GB NFS data store for you. Thats right you get interest! Being low latency RAM is blisteringly quick and as such the performance gains seen from the appliance were staggering. Both Ross and myself were really interested in this technology.

My next session was the lessons learned from a 4000 seat VDI deployment presented by Seb Hakiel and Grant Friend. It was great to hear two guys stand up and not only discuss the technology but also talk about the business and politics of this type of project. They also drilled home two key points, which I totally agree with. It’s all about the user and business process.

The last session of the day was delivered from TWO VCDX’s Aiden Dalgliesh and Kamau Wanguhu! These guys were discussing overlay networks and DR with vCloud Director. I must admit that some of the networking was a bit over my head but none the less I picked up a few tips around vCD and how to interface with the REST API, which could come in handy for a future project.

There was a final session from Alaric (@AlericDavies) who rounded up the day with some cool stats on vExperts and the VMUG survey, oh and there were some nicegive aways too πŸ™‚

The day ended with a trip to the pub for a vBeers. My first vBeers no less and what a cracker. I got the opportunity to discuss Twitter and its merits with Jane (Thanks Jane for the tips, I have a post in the pipeline about Social Media)

I also spoke with Alaric about the journey to becoming a presenter as again this is something that I think I could do, and to top it off I spoke with Mr Simon Long about F5 load balancing with VMware View, again thanks for the advice Simon! I only wish I had more time to have another beer and continue the conversations.

In closing if you have not been and you can make the time then get yourself along and see what it’s all about. If your willing to walk up to someone and say hello they are likely to respond and it’s those networking conversations where the hidden value of the VMUG really lies. Even if you just attend the sessions I think you will get a lot from the day but as my dad always says to me its notΒ  only about what you know but who you know too πŸ™‚

Thanks to all the London Vmug comittee for putting on a great day and I will hopefully be seeing you all again in November for the annual VMUG conference.

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