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


Voting Open for 2015 Top Virtualization Blogs


Yes, it’s that time of year again!  it’s time for Eric Siebert’s annual Top vBlog voting contest presented by vSphere-land.com.  Thanks a lot to Eric who puts in a lot of work making sure all the blogs are listed and in the correct categories.  Then he has to collect all the votes, calculate and publish the results.

Infinio is the proud sponsor this year and with over 300 blogs devoted to virtualization it can be a real challenge trying to figure out who to vote for.   Just like last year blogs are put into categories and you can vote for the top blogs in each category.  Here are the categories for this year :

  • Best New Blog (Blog started in 2014)
  • Best Storage Blog (Majority of posts storage related)
  • Best VDI/End-User Computing Blog (Majority of posts VDI/EUC related)
  • Best Scripting Blogger (Majority of posts Scripting related)
  • Best Independent Blogger (Can’t work for VMware or a hardware/software vendor)
  • Best News & Information Website (No blogs)
  • Best Podcast

Put some thought into what blog your are going to vote for.  It is not a popularity contest.  Voting should be based on several factors including # of posts in 2014, length,  and quality.  If you feel my site meets these criteria, please vote for my site.
vote-button1-300x298Go ahead and cast your vote before the cut-off date of early March.



VMworld 2014 Tuesday Recap

Hang Space

I started off the morning by watching the General Session from the hang space.  Since I knew there will not be any special effects going on, it is always more comfortable watching the session from the hang space.  It is also easier to use my tablet in the hang space so I can take good notes.

VMware CTO Ben Fathi takes the stage to start the keynote, and goes through a recap of yesterday’s announcements:

  • EVO and EVO:RAIL
  • vCloud Air rebranding and the availability of new services
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO),
  • vCloud Suite 5.8
  • vSphere 6.0 beta
  • VSAN beta

He also re-emphasizes that VMware’s SDDC vision is an architecture, one built on the “power of AND.” vCloud Suite (and vCloud Air) is a manifestation of the SDDC vision/architecture. VMware’s SDDC vision/architecture delivers the power of “AND.”

Next on stage was VMware EVP for End-User Computing Sanjay Poonen discussing the company’s three-pillar approach to its software-defined datacenter, which centers on desktop, mobile and content creation

Kevin Ichhpuran from SAP comes on stage and talks about SAP and VMware partner for a mobile environment.  He also talks about Pre-integrated solutions that lowers TCO and faster integration time.

End User Computer CTO Kit Colbert took the stage next and discussed Project Fargo and how it will allow IT to clone VMs in seconds and will boost speeds 30 times faster than competing container services.   VMware is calling this approach “just in time” desktop.

Next to the stage was Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president of the Software-Defined Data Center.  He discussed VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure appliance EVO Rail & EVO Rack.  

The presentation came to a close when Simone Brunozzi, VP and chief technologist for the Hybrid Cloud division demoed vCenter Operations Manager & the new vSphere Web Client.

If you missed it you can watch the full session on VMworld TV

I attended the following sessions :

  • INF3472-GD – HOL environment with Doug Baer
  • SDDC2370 – Why OpenStack runs best with the vCloud Suite

There were a couple other sessions I was scheduled to attend, but I had some scheduling conflicts that prevented me from going. 


tech talks


I spent some time in the Hang Space and watched some Community Tech Talks.  If you missed any of them, they recorded them.  You can watch them on the vBrownbag Youtube page.

In the afternoon I went to the solutions exchange to attend the Hall Crawl.  There is always good food and free drinks.

Hall Crawl


After the Hall Crawl fellow coworkers & I went to Harris’ The San Francisco Steakhouse .  It’s good to getaway from the hustle and bustle and have a good dinner.


PernixData Party

After dinner we attended the PernixData party.  It was at the Minna Gallery.  They had some acrobatic women swing around on this pole.  In the other room there was someone performing sword swallowing.  Plan for the evening was to hop to a couple different parties, but I ended up staying at this one all night.  I am glad that I ended up staying because not too long before the party ended I had the opportunity to meet and talk with PernixData CTO Satyam Vaghani.  He was a very down to earth guy and easy to talk to.  I wish more CEO & CTO’s were at parties they sponsor so they can talk with their customers.

It was a very busy day.  It seemed even busier than yesterday, but I can’t wait for the VMworld party tomorrow night. 




VMworld 2014 Monday Recap






General Session Wait

First thing on Mondays schedule was to attend the General Session.  I physically attended the General Session.  I usually like to watch the first one in person and then watch the other two in the hang space.  There is always a long wait to get in, but if you get there early enough you are able to get a good seat.



General Session Monday

Robin Matlock kicked off today’s general session with a speech about challenges and in particular the challenges in building the Golden Gate Bridge.  She also stated that there was over 22,000 people from 85 countries at VMworld this year.   Next Robin talked about the GiveBack initiative where VMware donates up to $250.000.  Attendees construct their own paper airplane and generate donations based on the distance flown.  Lastly she talked about VMwares acquisition of AirWatch & CloudVolumes. 


General Session Pat Gelsinger


After Robin finished the screen exploded and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger walked on stage.  Here a just a few announcements that Pat talked about.

  • Partnerships with Google and Docker, leading to one platform for any app
  • VMware vCloud Suite 5.8
  • vSphere 6.0 Beta
  • Virtual Volumes (Vvol) and vSAN 2.0 Beta
  • Rebranding and bundeling the operations and automation suites to the vRealize suite
  • VMware EVO Rack & EVO:Rail
  • VMware joins OPC (Open Compute Project)
  • A VMware Open Stack integration (now in Beta)


Bill Fathers General Manager VMware vCloud Air was next on stage talking about vCloud Air (New name for vCloud Services) and the increase of VMs running in the public cloud.


Last up was Carl Eschenbach President and COO of VMware stating that everyone should rise above the silos and keep automating and innovating to keep business happy and have more time to increase efficiency, security and flexibility. There were three customer cases on stage: MedTronic, MIT Media and Ford. 


After the General Session I attended 3 Group discussion sessions.

  • INF3469-GD – vCenter Server and SSO with Justin King
  • STO3425-GD – vSphere Storage:Meet the experts
  • INF3471-GD – vSphere Upgrades with Kyle Gleed

I love attended Group Discussion sessions because they are usually limited to 50 people and there is not set schedule that the presenter has to follow.  It is more of a Q&A type of format.

I had two other sessions scheduled for the day, but I just didn’t have the energy to go to 2 more sessions.

Solutions Exchange


I also spent some time in the solutions exchange talking to vendors.  The high light of my day was a closed door meeting with PernixData sales team and Frank Denneman.  We talked about challenges we are having with storage in our environment and he talked about how PernixData could solve some of our issues.


Giants Game

In the evening we decided to relax and  get away from the conference by attending the SF Giants game.  They played the Colorado Rockies.  It was a good game, but the Giants lost.

After the game we decided to attend the Xangati party at Bourbon & Branch.  It is always a place I love to visit when I am in San Francisco, so I was excited when I received an invite to a party at Bourbon & Branch.

Overall it was a busy day, but it was productive, fun and I learned a lot.




VMworld Day 1 Recap

On Sunday at around 3:20 AM I woke up to my room shaking.  Took me a few minutes to realize what was going on, but there was a 6.1 earthquake.   The epicenter was in Sonoma, so there was little damage in San Francisco where I was staying at.

VMworld Earthquake



At 9 am I was scheduled to take VCAP-DCD 550.  I was not able to go back to sleep after waking up from the earthquake, so it gave me a chance to look over some study materials. I have never taken an exam at VMworld, so I was not sure how the experience was.  I checked in, sat my bad on the table in the back of the room and started taking my exam.  It is a total different experience than taking an exam at a PearsonVue Professional Center.   They don’t asked you to pull out your pockets, roll up your sleeves and pants to make sure you are hiding anything.  The other thing that is different is that it is one big open room and everyone sits at an open table.  There are no cubes or rooms to separate people.  It is very distracting.  Also, there were people constantly opening and closing the door and it would make lot’s of noise.  After all that I started my exam and everything was going well until I got to the master design scenario question.  It took me about 25-30 minutes to complete it all.  Then I clicked next to go to the next question and the exam engine CRASHED!  So the proctor had me move to another machine.  Same thing happened.  So John Hall the exam creator came over & determined that the machines they were using had the wrong version of flash on them.  So they gave me a voucher to take the exam at another time.  I was very frustrated that I had spent 4 hours in the exam center and


After leaving the exam center I went to the VMunderground Opening Acts .

VMunderground Opening Acts


There were six panel sessions.  It was great to be able to attended  them.  The moderators did a great job of fueling discussion & answering questions.


Last event of the day was the very popular VMunderground Party.  This year the party was at the City View in the Metreon.  It is the best venue it has been in since VMworld has been in San Francisco.  Great view of the city and plenty of room.   There was good food & drinks.




Even though my exam did not turn out the way I expected, the first day went well.  I am looking forward to the rest of the week at VMworld.




VMware vSphere Design Workshop V5

This week I had to the opportunity to attend the VMware vSphere Design Workshop V5.  I don’t get the opportunity to attend training very often, so I was grateful for the opportunity. There is usually no travel budget when training is offered, so I had to take this class online.



The instructor for the class was Brett Guarino.  Besides being a VCI he is also a consultant.  Having an instructor with current operational experience is very helpful.  This was his first time teaching the class online.  I thought he did a good job of presenting the material and answering questions.  I felt he even went above and beyond and helped students fix audio & microphone issues they were having with Adobe connect.  Brett had taken and passed the VCAP5-DCD, so he was able to give us some good insight into the exam.  It is always a crap shoot on what instructor you are going to get, but I would have no problem taking a class again with Brett as an instructor.


Online Classroom Environment

The online class uses Adobe Connect to present the class to everyone.  If you have never seen or used Adobe Connect before, there is a good demo on YouTube.  I feel it is a good online collaboration tool for online class presentation and group discussion.  Days before you attend the class you are sent an email so you can connect the environment and make sure your audio & speakers are working.  For some reason many students still were not ready the first day and some students could never get their microphone working.  I wondered if they were intimidated and used that as an excuse.



The class is 5.x so it is supposed to cover all versions of vSphere 5, but I felt there was some material that could have been updated.  Most of the information in the class is a few years old, but most of the concepts are still relevant.  Everything that is talked about in the class is pre 5.5.  Nothing has been updated with 5.5 material.

In each lab after we presented our designs and discussed them, we would go over the VMware answer.  In some cases it was unclear and ambiguous why VMware chose the design/answer they did.  There were no requirements that justified the design/answer they chose.

I felt there was too much discussion about features and should have been more discussion about how features should be used in a design.  I also wished there was more discussion on design scenarios.


Final Thoughts

If I had to pay for this class on my own, I would have been a little disappointed.  I really thought some of the material could have been updated with new more relevant material.

When the instructor puts you into groups to work on a labs, there was not as much discussion going on as I thought there should be.  Usually 1 or two people talked the most and did most of the design work.  I wish the instructor would have asked us to complete the labs on our own and then everyone could present their own design.  I think this would have fueled more discussion.

Not sure it if would have been the same in a physical class room, but it would be easier too see what there body language is.  I feel that it would be easier to collaborate and generate more discussion than the online class.

One objective for this class was to validate many things I learned while studying for the VCAP5-DCD.  I think I accomplished that goal, but I am not sure if I can say that I am a lot more ready to take the exam after taking this class.

I would wait for this class to be updated or wait for V6 if you are thinking about taking this class.


Week 2 VMUG Challange

I am participating in the VMUG 5 week challange – http://www.vmug.com/sharevmug

Week 2 VMUG Challange is to explain how VMware Education/Certifications have helped you advance your career.

A few years ago I had to opportunity to take the VMware vSphere 4.1 Install, Configure and Manage Class.  After taking the class I passed the VCP for exam.  Passing the exam gave me the confidence to apply for a Systems Engineer position that was focused on virtualization.

After being in that position a few months I was able to take the vSphere 4 Advanced Fast track.  This gave me the knowledge and confidence to pass the VCAP5-DCA exam.

Every time I take a class and pass and exam I feel more comfortable and confident in the work that I perform.  I am constantly striving to learn more and studying for VCAP5-DCD.


Patch released for vSphere 5.5 U1 NFS APD problem!

Back in April VMware identified an issue when running ESXi 5.5 Update 1, the ESXi host intermittently loses connectivity to NFS storage and an All Paths Down (APD) condition to NFS volumes is observed.

You can read more details about the problem at http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2076392

VMware announced today (11 June 2014) that the issue has been resolved.  Download and details are at : http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2076392

Top Virtualization Blogs for 2014 is now open

Every year Eric Siebert (Twitter: @ericsiebert) of vsphere-land.com hosts the runs the survey of the top virtualization blogs.

The survey to select the top virtualization blogs for 2014 is now open. You can vote here.

This will be the first year that this blog will be participating in the poll. If you like what you have seen so far, feel free to vote for my blog in the every category I am listed in.