I am very chuffed to have become a VMware vExpert for the 6th time this year! Last year I wrote a post about how awesome the programme is, so I won’t bore you with that this year! If you want to read it, you can find it here:
For example, I’ve made loads of great friends, gotten to speak at a number of events, and even had the chance to become a Tech Field Day delegate, traveling to the US several times to visit a load of tech companies and startups, whilst learning from some seriously clever people. What I’ve put into the community I have easily received back tenfold, and I am massively grateful to be part of it.
Do it! Do it now!…
If you have the time to put into it, I highly recommend anyone takes the time to share and hopefully become part of the community.
Here are a few examples from my entry this year, which might hopefully give people some ideas as to the kinds of things which you could do too!
Member of a panel at a VMUG
Presented a short 15-minute talk at a VMUG
Ran a “roundtable” session at a VMUG (for around 30 people)
Started a new podcast with some other VMUG members and vExperts around homelabbing and tech news (http://opentechcast.com)
Posted a blog a week (in the past I have aimed to do one a month and built it up over time)
The entry bar to becoming a vExpert is not massively high; you certainly don’t have to do all of the above, or even any of the above! That said, if you are not currently a vExpert, and you can achieve just a couple of these kinds of items, you could be well on the way to becoming one too!
As with every year, the final day of VMworld was a pretty subdued atmosphere. In the main this is due to the number of people who head home early, combined with the those left looking distinctly hungover from the VMworld party on Wednesday night! Fortunately I remained reasonably coherent all night, other than in the act of losing my voice somewhat due to the volume, (Yes, I am turning into a grumpy old man who likes his virtual slippers by the fireside) and the inevitable VMworld lurgy, which in my case kicked in during rather than after the event!
The morning was largely spent shooting the breeze, chewing the fat, grinding our axes and many other classic metaphors, with the guys in the bloggers area. Needless to say we set the world to rights, defined the product strategy VMware should be taking for the next 20 years, and redefined the UK tax system so that it was fairer for all involved… ahem
I managed to squeeze in a couple more sessions over lunch time, including a great group discussion on NSX and vCD integration led by Ray Budavari and Wade Holmes. The vast majority of people in the room came from service providers, and of those only one was using NSX without vCD, so it appears that there is life in the old dog yet!
NSX & vCD
One of the interesting points from the session is that it looks as though the different editions of NSX will eventually be rationalised. vSphere will likely be the “favourite child” of NSX, getting new features first etc, but multi-hypervisor support will continue to be a feature in the future. Probably quite reassuring if you have already made a significant investment in the technology, though upgrades are likely to be a bit of a concern as they bring together the different Code Streams (groan).
After that I managed to catch up with the inimitable Alastair Cooke, key member of the #vBrownbag posse, who gave me some excellent advice for my upcoming trip to Storage Field Day 8. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Alastair. He was a massive help in passing my VCAP-DCD4 back in the day, so if you don’t already subscribe to his excellent blog, I highly recommend you check it out!
After that it was time to hop on the shuttle bus and had for the airport for my flight home…
Another VMworld Europe comes and goes, and much like the US edition there weren’t a huge number of life-changing announcements to write home about. Of the things which were in play however, Cloud Native Apps were most definitely front and centre! VIC is a great option for those organisations looking to get their feet wet in the container space, whilst being assured of the security that comes with being backed by the support resources of a company like VMware.
If you’re a software vendor or enterprise with some chunky legacy custom applications and you are considering going down the CNA route, just remember you don’t need to boil the ocean! Instead of spending the next 3 years cloudifying™ and microservicing™ your app for some major release, think about starting small.
Target new application functionality to be built with microservices at the core.
Find the performance bottlenecks in the existing application and rewrite that code to be able to scale out in a microservice architecture.
Think about how deep you want to go with your new microservice architecture? Design it at a business function/task level, which can be improved and iterated over time.
Consider for each microservice, what you would want to happen if that service fails. For example if your search services fail, customers can still access content. This is fine for most sites, but it wouldn’t work for Google, so make sure you drill down on your requirements! One example of this is that if the recommendation engine in Netflix fails for some reason, users will still get a default list of recommendations, rather than a big fat error message!
Don’t forget about security! Microservices are awesome, but they introduce a whole new level of complexity…
Above all, always bear in mind Baguley’s law (see below)!
For those customers wanting to scale beyond the 10k container limit imposed by vCenter itself, Photon will be an option too, though I have a sneaking suspicion that customers of that scale may look at doing something a little more open/custom anyway.
When it comes to VMware’s other applications you can definitely see some decent forward momentum, particularly in products which have been bought in and integrated, such as vRA and NSX. In many cases I think the migration processes to the newer versions are all a bit too “rip and replace unless you have a 100% vanilla install”, but as the products mature further I think this will become less of an issue. It will definitely cause a few customers some pain in the short term though, especially if they just went out and spent thousands on PSO to implement the current version, only to have to redo half the work to upgrade! I guess you could continue to hold off until a later version if you want to reduce hassle, but if you never set a foot on the path you’ll never actually reach your destination!
It was great to catch up with many old and new faces at the event, especially at the vExpert event and in the bloggers area. It’s funny how you feel you kind of know people pretty well before you’ve even met them, if only via your 140 character interactions, so when you’re actually face to face for the first time it’s like catching up with old friends!
Until next year…
A Few Links
I was kindly invited to do a wee interview for VMworld TV by Eric Sloof at the vExpert party on Monday night. If you want to take a look, the link is below. I won’t embed it as the thumbnail image looks like I’m having some kind of embolism! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8CXTxvtb-I
I know it has now become something of a tradition to post how far you walked during the week, so here are my stats. I would caveat however that I am not a lazy bar steward, I’m 6’7″ tall, so I don’t need to take as many steps as other people! 🙂
It now becomes obvious why everyone says bring comfortable shoes! 🙂
Quote of the Week
This undoubtedly goes to VMware CTO Joe Baguley, during the CNA Panel session on Day three:
Baguley's Law: Every conversation about IT ends with "It’s a people/process problem, not a technology problem" #VMworld#CNA5379
I’ve had a blog / homepage on and off for years, but from pretty much day one I treated it a bit like an old suit; out of date, only brought out once in a while, given a quick clean and tidy up, then put back in the cupboard for another year or so.
Last January, I started studying for my VCP5 and VCAP-DCD4 exam. The latter was actually the most studying I have done for any exam I’ve ever sat (including my degree exams, by quite some way if I’m honest!). Along the way I realised just how many different sources of information I was using. Having used some amazing resources from guys such as Gregg Robertson, Simon Long and Paul McSharry, I thought it might be worth publishing the list I had compiled to save others time in scrabbling about for resources on Google etc.
As time went on, the blog just kind of grew almost by itself and I found myself posting as often as my studying, my new job role and my family life allow! (Not as often as I’d like though… I have quite a few half written / researched posts which need some time to finish up and get out there, even as I write!)
Just 18 months later, I have been very fortunate enough to be named among this year’s VMware vExpert awardees. To say I was chuffed would be an understatement, and I can’t thank John Troyer and the team enough!
As if the title was not reward enough in and of itself, vExperts get access to a host of additional resources and opportunities. These can only help to increase my knowledge and spur me on to create and publish more (hopefully) useful content over the coming months. In the mean time I will be digging straight into the amazing free training from Trainsignal, while waiting patiently for my vExpert polo courtesy of the very kind folks at Tintri, which I look forward to wearing to my next London VMUG along with the other 20+ #LonVMUG vExperts!
If you’re thinking about becoming a blogger, I say just give it a go and see where it takes you. In my case I’ve learned loads, met a tonne of great people in the virtualisation community and beyond, and maybe even helped my career into the bargain!
Thanks again to VMware, all the great vendors who support the VMware and vExpert communities, and most importantly to all the other vExperts who spend their free time producing superb content for the rest of us to consume! 🙂