Archive for the ‘Sysadmin & Geek Culture’ Category

NLVMUG2018 – Speaking on NSX microsegmentation and a community panel discussion #vexpert

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Its always exiting to speak publicly and this year I am setting my bar higher by participating in 2 sessions.

First up is a panel discussion that I was very happy to be invited to by Francisco Perez van der Oord, one of the directors of ITQ. We will have a 45 min flow of topics around SDDC, NSX, Cloud, etc, and the general trends of technology as they impact vSphere admins. We titled the session “vSphere – .. and then what next?”  Never participated in a panel discussion on stage before, so that will be an interesting experience. The other participants are, imo, giants in the dutch VMware community: Joep Piscaer of OGD/Jumbo and Viktor van den Berg of PQR, and I feel quite humbled being on stage with them.
https://nlvmugusercon2018.sched.com/event/E1wh/sddc-cmp-and-nsx-discussions-with-the-community

 

My second session is my own talk, 20 minutes, on NSX Microsegmentation in practice. This is a condensed version of the talk I gave at the Infosecurity conference last year.
In it I cover some practical tips about using NSX Microsegmentation, do’s and dont’s, and common Gotcha’s
Its actually quite tough to get all the essentials into 20 mins or so, so it will be dense and fast-paced (as usual for me).

https://nlvmugusercon2018.sched.com/event/E1wy/micro-segmentatie-in-de-praktijk

Nervous, but really looking forward to the day. I love the VMUG concept and I love networking and seeing all the community in the flesh again (as apposed to only on Slack/Twitter)

LinkedIn embeds:

 

VMware Technical Support Summit 2017, Global Support Services, Cork

Friday, May 26th, 2017

 

Last week myself and Erwin had the opportunity to attend the VMware Technical Support Summit in Cork, Ireland.
This is a 2 day event hosted by GSS which is technically oriented. Many interesting sessions by some of the best GSS technical talent, and various breakout sessions to get near one-on-one time with engineers and product leaders.

 

As you can see by the schedule below, it was a wide array of product fields and the technical depth varied between good and amazing.

I was especially blown away by Valentin Bondzio’s talk about CPU accounting in the hypervisor. Technically extremely interesting!
He dove extremely deeply into CPU metrics and what ‘idle’ and ‘use’ really mean from an architecture point of view, and how hyperthreading changes the game.
This was especially gratifying as I have worked with him on a case for over a year that tackles exactly that aspect of hypervisor performance.

The team that support Airwatch gave a very interesting talk that was relevant to a project I am working on.  So afterwards I grabbed all 4 of them into a conference room at the hotel, to discuss our VDI and mobile management design ideas. Extremely valuable opportunity as I bet I will be talking to these guys more in the future!

They also very graciously dropped me and Erwin of at our Hotel afterwards, and then drove us to the city center, where VMware hosted drinks and dinner with live music, which was quite entertaining.

Another talk I was looking forward to was that of Cormac Hogan, and Mark Fitzgerald, senior director of support Cork, presented him with some gifts for just plan being around a long time 😉

 

I had gently badgered various VMware contacts about seeing if we could get a visit of the actual VMware campus, and eventually Mark Fitzgerald himself very graciously drove us over to the VMware office campus and gave us a a personal guided tour of all the GSS offices, which was a great great experience.

We got to meet every Cork GSS team and even visited the test lab including the folks who run that. It was great to put voices and names to faces and to get a real sense of the environment that these engineers work in. Sometimes support engineers are faceless and nameless, but VMware seems to breath a very human and supportive culture that was much in evidence throughout the campus.

 

 

I would much like to thank the entire VMware Cork team and all the GSS engineers for putting on a great summit. And a special thank you to Danka for showing up in the middle of her time-off, just to say hi. Much love to VMware’s best escalation manager!

 

 

Podcast Listen List May 2017

Monday, May 1st, 2017

The last 18 months I have started listening to podcasts again in a regular fashion. Way way back on this blog, I used to blog about them, and even participated in several,including the long-gone InTheTrenches sysadmin podcast.

The last year or so, my interests have also diversified into the cloud-native space, and my listening choice also reflects this.

Here is the list I currently enjoy, but I am adding more every few weeks.
When the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast is recorded, I am often there live on the chat.  Same goes the vBrownbag EMEA shows.

http://packetpushers.net/podcast/
Where Too Much Technology Would Be Barely Enough
A podcast network consisting of 6 shows mostly around networking.

http://www.thecloudcast.net/
Aaron Delp and Brian Gracely host this award-winning weekly podcast to discuss the technology and organizational changes that are driving the convergence of today’s Data Centers and Cloud Computing. Topics include Cloud Computing | AWS | Azure | GCP | Serverless | DevOps | AppDev | SaaS | IoT. Guests are industry thought-leaders and leaders of companies changing the IT industry.

https://changelog.com/
A weekly podcast that covers the technology and people of open source. It’s about the code, the people, and the community. This show features in-depth interviews with the best and brightest software engineers, hackers, leaders, and innovators. Hosts Adam Stacoviak and Jerod Santo face their imposter syndrome so you don’t have to.

https://twit.tv/shows/this-week-in-enterprise-tech
This Week in Enterprise Tech explores the complex, cutting edge world of enterprise technology. Hosted by Father Robert Ballecer, TWiET features IT professionals explaining the ins and outs of enterprise solutions.

http://www.vmwarevideos.com/vchat
Covering Virtualization and Cloud Computing News, How-To, Events, and Interviews
Our new vChat is a video webcast/podcast and a joint effort between three vExperts – Simon Seagrave of TechHead.co.uk, Eric Siebert of vSphere-Land.com, and David Davis of VMwareVideos.com. The vChat is sponsored by Train Signal – the leader in VMware video training.

The Virtually Speaking Podcast (official VMware podcast)
iTunes and Soundcloud.
The Virtually Speaking Podcast is a weekly technical podcast dedicated to discussing VMware topics related to storage and availability. Each week Pete Flecha (@vPedroArrow) and John Nicholson (@Lost_Signal) bring in various subject matter experts from VMware and within the industry to discuss their respective areas of expertise. If you’re new to the Virtually Speaking Podcast check out all episodes on vSpeakingPodcast.com. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Vmware Communities Roundtable
http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=19367
VMware experts talk about virtualization live every Wednesday at noon CA time. Virtualization news and tech mixed with a “Late Night at VMworld” informality. Join us!

https://vbrownbag.com/
https://vbrownbag.com/vbrownbag-episodes/
Our topics range from certification, emerging tech, and business process. These series provide our listeners with information needed to help them not only pass exams, but learn how to implement new technologies to advance their careers.

https://blog.docker.com/tag/dockercast/

Dockercast is the official Docker Podcast which covers a wide range of topics including products, projects and contributions from active community members and partners with our host, Docker’s very own – John Willis. John Willis (@botchagalupe) is the Director of Ecosystem development for Docker

http://www.spreaker.com/show/explorevm-podcast
Join host Paul Woodward Jr (ExploreVM) as he explores technologies around data centers, cloud computing, automation, networking, and all things nerdy!

http://www.opentechcast.com/
A new technology podcast covering industry news, product reviews, education, certification and homelab advice and discussion

https://intechwetrustpodcast.com/
Five of your favourite community members like calling each other on a weekly base and record their rants on Datacenter News. Although we all are already quite opinionated people, we still love to hear your voice as well through our LinkedIN discussions or enlarge the rant on our Facebook Page.

 

vExpert 2017

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Its been a very interesting year so far, career wise. Late last year I figured I had a good shot at the vExpert status. I had written some in-depth blog posts, covered a lot of ground with GSS and even discovered some unique bugs (some of which I have yet to blog about), and tweeted a fair bit. But last years highlight was definitely speaking at the VMWare summer school in Utrecht,  on our experiences with Metro-Cluster. I reached out to over 15 VMware employees across GSS, PSO and the NSBU and every one was willing to sponsor me, which was very nice 🙂

Having gotten to know some vExperts over the last year, one theme that kept drawing my attention was the exclusive Slack community they are given access too. Yes all the free stuff is nice of course, and you can see many a blog post commenting on that it should not all ‘be about the swag‘, but I can honestly say I don’t care all that much for that. For me its the networking that is by far the most interesting opportunity. And being somewhere lightly on the ‘spectrum’ and generally shy around people, a chat-room seemed more or less a perfect way to connect to other people with high-quality knowledge. And so it indeed has proven to be!
I was slightly worried that with over 1500 vExperts being selected this year (some people are none to happy about this), the chat would be a constant buzz of activity. Which could be good, or bad. But its actually relatively quiet most of the time. At least so far. To give you an idea, there are only about 550 people that are ‘in’ the main vExpert channel. But many of the other channels have far less participants.. vSAN: 200, NSX: 238, AWS: 100 :p  Of those, 80% are lurkers… its just like IRC 😀

I have already had some very interesting discussions, and it was nice to see that even while feeling like a complete amateur amid all the ‘big names’ that frequent that chat, I still have actual valuable field experience to bring to the table, especially in regard to aspects of NSX.  When the ‘Crème de la crème’ of the VMware community has next to no experience with, say, NSX load-balancing, then even lowly me can add value. And that makes me a lot less shy about participating!

Generally though, once you are part of the VMware community, and especially if you are a vExpert, that community  aspect of it really starts to become important. Seeing what people are talking and posting and tweeting about, being on the inside-track of a lot of those talks, mingling with thought-leaders and VMware product owners, pushes you to become even more involved. One place where this has really ignited in me, is podcasts. I used to listed to podcasts a lot. But for the last few months that interest has revived, and its revolving around the VMware community. I now even try to take the time to attend the live recordings of several. I will dedicated a separate post about my favorite podcasts to follow.

Ok, lets talk about swag anyway :p
The most interesting things in this lineup are a year free Pluralsight subscription, 35% off VMware Press titles and advanced previews and webinars about unreleased or upcoming technology. (for a complete list of the kind of benefits, this post is good) Certain companies like Rubrik, Pluralsight and Veeam really put an effort into supporting vExperts and offer software, training and other goodies for free. It seems like you get a lot of extra benefit from visiting VMworld, not just from a ‘stuff’ perspective, but mainly from a networking angle.  But unfortunately it is by no means certain I can attend every year.

As for Pluralsight, their catalog is intimidating. I am looking to get more into Docker and associated things like Kubernetes. So these will be the first things I will look to. For example Getting Started with Docker ( https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/docker-getting-started ), which is a course given by @nigelpoulton who has also produced a short book  on Docker I highly recommend!

It seems that once you get into the vExpert community, it seems pretty straightforward to stay in it, year after year, as the momentum of participation carries you forward. Whether it be through blog posts or speaking at events, I have a feeling such things will tend to become a natural and expected part of being at ‘this level’. Lets hope I can keep it up. Well, speaking for the first time this year at the NLVMUG should certainly help 😉

 

$60 is too much for an IT education book

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

This year I need to refresh my VMware VCP cert, so I have started to look around for educational materials to help with this.

image

I decided several years ago that I would never again buy any IT book in physical form, if that book ran the risk of being outdated quickly. This is especially true for product-specific books. My reasoning is: buying a physical book that has a limited shelf life is wasteful. And it is usually the case that eBook versions are cheaper. Finally, when I study, I tend to do so when the opportunity and motivation arises which could be anywhere at any time. Often when I travel. So I benefit from a flexible digital format that will follow me around my various devices.

VMware refreshes their core vsphere product every few years, so here is a prime example of the kind of subject I would not buy a physical book for.

It’s slightly shocking to me to see how expensive a ‘Mastering vSphere’ book now is.  My main issue is that this book has a utility that is severely limited in time. I would have far less trouble dishing this kind of amount out for books that I could proudly put on my shelf the rest of my life. This amount is so off putting, I will forgo purchasing this book this time around, and will seek other means of getting my coverage of the product. But this is a real shame. I like these books, and I appreciate the effort put into then. But these prices are just not worth it.