About Marc Crawford

Big geek who loves technology

2017 St Louis VMUG USERCON


It’s that time of year again. The 2017 St Louis VMUG USERCON is just around the corner.  We are excited with the team at VMUG HQ that we worked with us to make this event happen.

Lots of reasons to attend the event –

  • Partner breakout sessions
  • VMware educational sessions
  • Exhibitor area with VMware partners
  • Opportunities to connect with VMware users just like you! Swap stories, insights, and tips.
  • Complimentary breakfast and lunch
  • All day 100% free event
  • Prizes and giveaways

If you have not registered yet, there is a contest for those who preregister for a chance to win an $100 Amazon gift card. – Register Here

Location :

The USERCON is at at a new location this year – Renaissance St. Louis | 9801 Natural Bridge Road | St. Louis, MO 63134. The event starts at 7:30 am and runs until 5 pm.  The new location should address some of the space issues we had the previous years.

Keynote Speakers :

Scott Lowe –

Scott has been working in IT for more than 20 years and is currently an Engineering Architect for VMware. He specializes in the integration of solutions and technologies across differing vendor platforms and is a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Scott is the author of the best-selling book, Mastering vSphere 5.

Keith Townsend –

Keith is an IT Architect with 18 years of experience helping organizations achieve their mission through optimized IT infrastructures. Keith has written for several award-winning properties that include TechTarget.com and TechRepublic.com.

Agenda :

The agenda is live and there are a lot of technical sessions that are not just marketing fluff.  VMUG and VMware takes attendee feedback from previous events to make sure the content that is being presented is what attendees are asking for,

VMUG Service Project :

This year the St Louis VMUG leaders decided to give back to the local community.  We are asking attendees to bring non perishable food items.  Attendees that bring a non perishable food item will receive a ticket and a chance to win a 4K Roku.  All food will be donated to the Collinsville Il Food Pantry.  A list of food they are in need of is on their website.

Sponsors :

The event does not happen without great support from vendors.  Here is not final list of some of the vendors that will be at the event.  Please be sure to thank them for their support.



Prizes :

1St Prize is a Microsoft Surface Pro 4

0316171838-1 (1)

2nd Prize is an LG 38″ UltraWide Monitor


3rd Prize is a HOME LAB!


This home lab even comes with a VMUG Advantage subscription so you have access to the VMUG EVALEXPERIENCE

We are excited for the event this year and can’t wait to see everyone!  Don’t forget to register!




2016 St Louis VMUG USERCON is coming


It’s that time of year again.  The 2016 St Louis VMUG USERCON planning is almost completed.  The agenda should be live soon and home lab prize purchases will be made soon.

The USERCON is at the same location as last year – Hyatt Regency St Louis 315 Chestnut Street St. Louis, MO 63102 .  The event starts at 8 am and runs until 5 pm.

We have two awesome keynote speakers this year –

  • Satyam Vaghani – PernixData CTO and co-founder
  • Stephen Foskett – Organizes Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services

Lots of reasons to attend the event –

  • Partner breakout sessions
  • VMware educational sessions
  • Exhibitor area with VMware partners
  • Opportunities to connect with VMware users just like you! Swap stories, insights, and tips.
  • Complimentary breakfast and lunch
  • All day 100% free event
  • Prizes and giveaways

We are always trying to put the USER back in usergroup. So if you are interested in speaking on a topic or sharing your experience with a product, please let me know at marc dot techguy at gmail dot com

Click here to register for the event and learn more details about the event.

Register for the event before March 3 to be entered for a chance to win a pair of Beats Pro Over-Ear Headphone

vExpert 2016 – Honored to be selected


I am honored to be selected as part of the 2016 vExpert program.  You can check out the announcement on the VMTN blog.  This is my second year to be selected as a vExpert.

What did I do last year to achieve vExpert 2016?

  • St Louis VMUG Leader
  • Involved with everything to make the 2015 St Louis VMUG USERCON a success
  • Active member of the VMware Communities
  • Beta tester of numerous VMware products
  • Worked the VMUG booth at VMworld & Virtual Events
  • Blogged about VMware products and announcements
  • Participated in Opening Act vExpert Daily at VMworld

Huge thanks to Corey Ramero and and his team for all the hard work they do running the program.

Congratulations to all the other vExperts!

If you don’t know what the vExpert program is you can check out this blog to learn more : http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2015/11/vexpert-2016-applications-are-now-open.html




2015 VMUG Leader Summit Recap


I had the honor of attending the VMUG Leader summit on Dec 2 – 4th.  The summit was held at VMware HQ in Palo Alto.  There were 91 local VMUG leaders that attended the event.  Having so many VMUG leaders in one location was very valuable. I want to thank VMware VMUG HQ staff for coordinating the event and thank VMware for hosting this awesome event.

The purpose of the summit was to share ideas and learn additional methods to enhancing local VMUG’s.

There was a jam packed schedule of events.  I arrived Wednesday and there was a reception that evening.  It gave all the leaders a great opportunity to hang out and meet other leaders.

On Thurs we had a jam packed day.  To start off the General Session Brad Tompkins (VMUG CEO) welcomed everyone and let us know what was going to happen that day. He also announced that VMUG will have a European office starting in 2016.  Next Mariano Maluf (VMUG Board President) talked about what was going on with the VMUG organization.  Last, Guido Appenzeller (CTSO for NSXBU at VMware) gave a presentation on NSX.

Next we were broken up into groups and attended different breakout sessions.  There were four different sessions that we attended throughout the day :

  • Architecting Your Leadership Group for Success
  • Deep Dive into Local Group Meetings
  • Virtually Everywhere – Getting Your Group Noticed
  • Integrating into the VMUG Community

These sessions were designed to give us the tools and information to better run our local VMUG’s.  These sessions also initiated a lot of discussion about what worked and what was not working at each leaders local groups.  It was great to hear other leaders share their experiences.

After two of the breakouts we had lunch and then Kit Colbert (VP & CTO of Cloud Native Apps at VMware) gave the afternoon keynote on Software Defined Everything.  It was really focused around DevOps.  Kit is a great speaker and did a great job presenting.

After the Keynote we attended another breakout session.  After the breakout session was over, local group leaders who have a UserCon attended a session on “Making the Most of Your VMUG UserCon.”

Surprisingly it was raining off & on Thursday, but we were given a tour of the Vmware campus after the UserCon session.  The VMware campus is huge and very beautiful.  VMware is a very green company, so everything was designed with that thought in mind.1204151205b

The campus tour was awesome, but we had one more breakout session to attend.  After that breakout session we walked across the VMware campus for a “VMware Demo Showcase”.  VMware engineers from different product groups had demos setup for us to watch and ask questions.  About half way through the Demo Showcase we had a huge surprise.  Pat Gelsinger stopped by with one of his good friends Michael Dell.  Michael talked for a few minutes and then him and Pat had to leave.  It was a highlight of the day for me.IMG_20151203_181230

The Demo Showcase was great, but it was late in the day and I was tired, so after we went back to the hotel, I did not stay at the reception for very long.  There was a lot of food and drinks.

Friday was only scheduled for half a day.  We had a great breakfast that morning – lots of BACON!  The morning was kicked off with a panel discussion from four VMUG leaders about what they had learned from the summit.  I was honored to have been asked to be on the panel.1204150835

Pat Gelsiner returned Friday for the last General session.  He spoke about different VMware topics and then answered some questions from different leaders.

The last keynote for the summit was presented by  Dr Don McMillian on  “Effective Communication in the Information Age”.  I did not realize Dr McMillian was a comedian.  I do not remember the last time I laughed that hard.  He is extremely funny and if you ever have the opportunity to see him you will not be disappointed. .  You can check out some of his work at his website – http://www.technicallyfunny.com/

Robin Matlock (CMO at Vmware) stopped by and spoke briefly about some marketing initives going on at VMware and then answered a few questions.

Brad Tompkins closed the summit by inspiring all the leaders to take what we learned and apply it to our local groups.

Overall, I thought the VMUG Leader Summit was a huge success.  I learned a lot from all the sessions and I learned even more from all the discussions going on between different leaders.

Check out all the  Pictures from my VMUG Leader Summit trip.

Bitdefender Gravityzone with vShield using Ravello

Being a VMware vExpert, I decided to use the free 1,000 CPU hours per month to run VMware ESXi labs or VMware workloads in AWS or Google cloud to test out the newest version of Bitdefender Gravityzone on VMware vSphere 6.  If you are not a VMware vExpert Ravello still provides a free trial period.

Click Here to check out more information about Bitdefender and download a free trial.

The first thing I did to get started was to add the Autolab 2.6 Final blueprint to my library and setup and application.  You can check out these links on how to setup Autolab on Ravello :

Once you have Autolab setup on Ravello, your blueprint will look like this :rav02


I did not want my DC & VC exposed publicly, so I removed public RDP access and added a WIN 7 VM as a jump box.  I also added three more ESXi hosts to my blueprint.blueprint


Once the NAS, DC, VC & WIN701 VM’s were built, I modified the PXE boot menu so I could build more than 3 ESXi hosts.  You just have the modify the .cfg files in the TFTP-ROOT dir on the DC.menu


After I had all the ESXi hosts were built and added to the cluster, it was time to install and setup VMware vShield since I was going to be testing agent-less AV.  This site has good instructions on where to download and how to install vShield.  Once you have vShield installed and endpoint installed on all the hosts, vShield should look like this.bd06


Now that vShield is deployed and all setup it is now time to deploy Bitdefender Gravityzone.  You can learn more about Bitdefender and download a free trial from their website.  You can download the installation guide and follow it to install and setup Gravityzone.  Once you have Gravityzone installed, then you can deploy the security appliances to each ESXi host.  In the picture below you can see I have the security appliance applied on each ESXi host and they have their own special icon.bd05


After vShield and Bitdefender was installed, I installed a Windows 7 VM on one of the ESXi hosts.  It takes a little longer to install because it is nested on an ESXi host that is nested on Ravello, but it works.  After Windows 7 is installed, I installed VMware Tools.  For agent-less AV to work, you need to enable Guest Introspection.introspection


Now that everything is installed, it’s time to test it out.  You can go to the eicar website and download the eicar.com file.  I always save the file as eicar.txt.  I then open it and it should be blank.bd07


Then you can log into Gravityzone and go to the dashboard.  It should show that it resolved an issue on one VM.bd08


Bitdefender is a good solution for virtualized environments.  You can use vShield agentless solution and deploy security appliances on each host or you can deploy the Bitdefender agent on each VM and have one security appliance that all the scanning is offloaded to.

Ravello made all this testing a lot easier since I did not have to setup any hardware, but my free 1000 hours did run out faster than I thought.  I will need to keep a closer eye on the number of hours I use each day.

Collection of VMworld Conference Tips

vmworld 2015

VMworld 2015 is just around the corner.  This will be my 4th year attending.  It is not too late to sign up. Click here to sign up.

There are a lot of posts out there with lots of tips, so I am going to list a few that I have not seen list.

  1. Do not use your work email address to sign up for VMworld.  Very difficult to get the email address associated with your account changed.
  2. Do things at VMworld that you can not do after VMworld is over
  3. Have Fun.  Don’t fill your day with attending sessions.
  4. Create a separate calendar just for VMworld schedule.  I used gmail and it is very easy to create a separate calendar that overlays on top of your regular calendar.

Below is a collection of VMworld Conference Tips posts by some great bloggers.  Check them out.

VMworld Tips for 2015 By Joseph Griffiths


VMworld 2015 Conference Tips By Sean Massey


VMworld 2015 – Maximise your Experience by vcdx133


Do’s and Don’ts at VMworld by Alex Muetstege


Top VMworld tips for vNewbies By David Davis


Tips and tricks for surviving and enjoying VMworld By Eric Siebert


VMworld Tips, Tricks and Prize winning VMworld By Christopher Kusek


vRanger 7.2 Upgrade Error

vRanger 7.2 was released back in June.  A couple weeks ago I decided to perform the upgrade in our production environment.  I was upgrading from vRanger 7.1 to 7.2.  I started the installer and this is the error I received.


It appeared as if the installer did not see there was an older version already installed.  I did a little research on Google and did not find anything related, so I opened a ticket with tech support.  Immediately the  technician new what the issue was.  He had me continue and finish the install.  After the install finished and the services started I opened vRanger and nothing was in there.  The tech had me open the SQL server vRanger was connect to and confirmed that the install had created a new database.

New Database

This was a known bug, but the kb for the fix was internal to Dell only.

The tech left the window open when fixing the issue, so I took a screen capture of what he did to fix this issue.

Tech Support Help

After running the commands above and restarting the services, I opened vRanger and everything appeared.

I then went back into the SQL server and deleted the new database the installer had created.

My VMworld 2015 Session Picks


Every year I post a list of sessions I scheduled to attend at VMworld.  I learned many years ago that when attending VMworld I need to *do* things at VMworld that I can’t *do* after the conference is over.  That is why I always try to attend as many group discussion sessions as I can.  I also try to attend as many expert led workshops as I can.  Breakout sessions are all recorded, so they can be watched after VMworld is over.  If there is a breakout session that you want ask questions to the presenter, then that is a good session to add to your schdule.  You can connect and complete Hands on labs after VMworld is over.

Here is a list of sessions I am scheduled to attend :

Chris Whal & Duncan Epping both have great list of session picks.

Please vote for my VMworld 2015 session

CALL FOR PAPERS PUBLIC SESSION VOTING IS NOW OPEN!  Login with your VMworld account and search for session 4548.


Please consider voting for my session if you like the topic and outline.  This is my first year submitting a session for VMworld.  A small percentage of sessions are selected based on community voting.  It would be awesome to have my session selected.