Archive for 25th January 2014

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide Competition

The VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide (with DVD) by Paul McSharry

Well here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… a chance to win a signed copy of Paul McSharry’s VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide!

If you haven’t already heard of it, I recently did a review of it here.

To summarise, I can whole heartedly recommend the book, not only as a key component in your VCAP5-DCD study, but as an excellent reference resource for designing vSphere infrastructures out “in the wild”.

To enter the competition, simply retweet the following:

 

One runner up will also receive a copy of VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop by Paul O’Doherty.

That’s it!

Thanks to Paul McSharry (@pmcsharry) for providing the VCAP5 book, and London VMUG (@LonVMUG) for the VMware View book!

The obligatory Competition Terms:

1. You don’t have to follow me on twitter and this will make no difference on whether you are in the draw or not, but feel free to follow me if you like! 🙂
2. Winners twitter handles will be drawn from a hat by my 3 year old daughter on Sunday 23rd February 2014 and will be notified by twitter within 48 hours
3. Winners to provide postal details for sending of the prize after the competition (I will get this out within the week if you send me your details quite quickly, but please allow up to 30 days for delivery, especially if you are not in the EU!)
4. This is only for a bit of fun, so I obviously wont use your details for anything other than sending you the book. I will not spam you, etc.
5. Although I will be paying the postage of the book out of my own pocket, I am happy to open it up world wide, so don’t worry about your location before entering (though if you’re in an Antarctic research post, I am happy to deliver the book by hand if you can fund my travel!)
6. One entry per person only please (no fake twitter accounts!)
7. No cash alternative is available, remember this is just a private competition for a bit of fun, I am not a multinational corporation with loadsa money! 🙂
8. If for some reason a winner chooses not to accept either the primary or runner up prize, a replacement name will be drawn at random via the child+hat methodology as before

 

I Presented at a VMUG and Survived… you can too!

Sitting on the train on my return from another awesome London VMUG event, and I thought I would jot down a few thoughts about the day, and the prep for it.

Firstly I want to say a big thank you to Mike Laverick. He and a number of other key VMware community members (Duncan Epping, Scott Lowe, Hans De Leenheer) have recently started a new programme they call #FeedForward. As the name suggests its all about helping others, specifically people who have not previously presented at a VMUG. As part of the process, the mentor (Mike) initially provided feedback to the mentee (me) on my slides. Once I had them ready to go, I then did a practice session over Skype / phone with Mike where he gave me some valuable feedback and suggestions where the presentation could be tweaked, and some ideas for content I hadn’t even thought of.

The benefits to me were two-fold. Having that second pair of eyes on my slides and presentation from someone who does this day in day out gave me confidence that the content was up to par. Then having a practice run in a zero-pressure environment where the audience understands the subject matter and gives you constructive feedback is absolutely invaluable! I would have asked my wife but having her fall asleep mid presentation through boredom would not have done my confidence any good… (She is definitely not into tech!) 🙂

Just before I got up I was a wee bit nervous, but much like a wedding speech, its worth remembering that the VMUG audience at a community session really want the speaker to succeed. It’s unlikely you will find a more friendly and willing audience in almost any other situation.

I was meant to be presenting a 10 minute lightning talk, but even in practice runs at home I was coming in a little over time, even skipping some bits of the content which were less important. On the day one of the other presenters (Simon Gallagher – VMUG leader and Lego aficionado) had toothache, so myself, Frank and Erik actually had a bit of leeway on timings. Being a bit of a gab anyway my presentation was about 15 mins. This did teach me one valuable lesson; even if you plan your presentation to the minute in advance, things never quite work out that way! You are likely to be asked questions, stopped mid flow, projectors turn themselves off and start smelling a bit smokey etc… the best thing to do is plan a shorter presentation as you will undoubtedly use all the time! On the same vein, when it comes to slides less is most definitely more. I had 14 slides and in hindsight, I was never going to get through them all in 10 minutes!

One other tip which Duncan Epping gave recently and I definitely agree with is to practice your presentation a few times through in advance, but don’t over-practice and end up being too robotic. Everyone has their own style but I like to use the slides as a talking point and guide, rather than planning word-for-word what I’m going to say.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience in the end and one I would highly recommend. I have had a great deal of help, support and learning from the community over the past few years, and its only right I should try to give something back.

Should you be considering whether to put your name forward to present at a VMUG in future (or indeed you are being politely but firmly press ganged by your local VMUG leaders… *cough* Alaric! *cough*) then I would definitely recommend you grab the opportunity with both hands, and post a tweet to #FeedForward on twitter if you want a little bit of extra support.

For more info on #FeedForward, see Mike’s blog post here:
http://www.mikelaverick.com/2013/11/feedforward-mentoring-vmug-presenters/

You can also grab a copy of my presentation here:
Alex Galbraith – LonVMUG Presentation 23-01-2014

Come along for my first VMUG Presentation! #LonVMUG 23rd Jan 2014

Its that time of year again, when we all look forward to the imminent arrival of our local VMUG. In my case it’s the Spring London VMUG being held next Thursday the 23rd January 2014, at 33 Queen Street, London, EC4R 1AP. Unusually (and slightly nerve wracking-ly) for me this time, I am actually going to be presenting!

For those of you who haven’t previously attended, a VMUG is a great place to:

  • Meet and swap ideas with like minded virtualisation professionals and put real faces to all thee people you already know from the Twitters!
  • See some great presentations from other community members on both technology and experiences, such as LEGO’s recent data centre migration.
  • Attend vendor presentations on new and existing technologies / products, which this month includes technical heavyweight Frank Denneman talking about PernixData’s Flash Virtualization Platform.

My session will be a 10 minute lightning talk on my experiences with my Intel NUC Nanolab. I was a little nervous about it, right up until I found out I am going to be following Frank Denneman on stage, so now I’m bricking it! I would probably describe the situation as being like watching a Rolling Stones gig, then some random school kid wanders on stage with a tired old Squier Strat and vaguely bangs out a tune, but I’ll do my best!

Of course, after the VMUG it is tradition for us all to pop along to a local watering hole to set the virtualisation and tech worlds to rights, over a few vBeers. If you can spare the time these are great things to attend.

However you look at it VMUGs are great FREE events, organised in their spare time by some very generous people. If you can get the time out of the office, and make it to the venue you won’t be disappointed!

If you see me at the London VMUG or the subsequent vBeers, don’t hesitate to come and say hi; you cant miss me, I’m 6’7″! 🙂

Register here: London VMUG

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide – Book Review

The VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide (with DVD) by Paul McSharry

Written by Consultant, VMware Certified Trainer and vExpert Paul McSharry, the VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide is an excellent resource for solidifying and testing your knowledge in advance of sitting the actual exam, as well as a useful reminder guide for your day to day role in design.

As I mentioned in my VCAP5-DCD Exam Prep Resources article, I saw my study as being split into two distinct areas, Holistic Design and Technical Design. For me, this book falls very much into the former category, mainly covering the process and methodology for producing a design.

The main chapters are:

  1. Introduction to Technical Design
  2. Creating a Design
  3. Thoughts on Good Choices for Virtualization and Design
  4. Developing a Design on Paper and Delivering It Physically
  5. Virtual Machine Design
  6. Project Execution
  7. Tips for Passing the Exam

I was fortunate enough to attend the official VMware Design workshop (for v4) run by Paul a couple of years ago and his personality and teaching style really come through in the book. For me the strongest positives in the book are:

  • Great use of real life examples and case studies throughout the book
  • Plenty of great practice questions at the start and end of each chapter as well as the included practice exams. For me this was one of the most valuable features of the book as it helped me build confidence in my knowledge and highlighted areas for improvement.
  • Many tips / suggestions of processes and activities to use in your real design engagements, my favourite or which is to spin up an internal wordpress site or similar and use that to disseminate project information to stakeholders and users.

The only minor tweak I would like to have seen would be in the practice questions, where there are some questions which require multiple answers. In the real exam, VMware generally specify the number of answers to select [e.g. Select three of five answers]. This would have been good in Paul’s test questions too.

The print version of the book also comes with a DVD that includes test exams, another great resource, especially when genuine (not brain dump!) tests are not common and can be quite expensive. I did not have time to go through these tests prior to my exam, so cannot reasonably comment on their quality, but based on the sample questions in the book I would suggest they should be of a good standard.

The book is available from all the usual outlets including in both hardback (with DVD) and Kindle formats.

To summarise, I can whole heartedly recommend this book, not only as a key component in your VCAP5-DCD study, but as an excellent reference resource for designing vSphere infrastructures out “in the wild”.

Finally, keep an eye on my blog later HERE I will be providing an opportunity for one lucky person to win a signed copy of this book!

Disclaimer: I was kindly provided a copy of the book by Paul, however there was no expectation or requirement to review or publicise the book.

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