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Monthly Archives: August 2011

vExpert Spotlight: Greg Schulz

Twitter Handle: @storageio

Blog URL: http://storageioblog.com

Current Employer: Founder and Sr. Advisory consultant StorageIO (www.storageio.com)

How did you get into IT in   the first place, how did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011   vExpert?

I got into IT while going to college (or university) as I needed to find something that was fun and intuitive as opposed to difficult and boring. Turns out computer science was a natural fit that lead to different jobs while still going to school in addition to tutoring roommates and friends, what a great way to get free beer ;).

From college went on to work for an electric power generating and transmission company doing business applications development, moved on into systems management, systems programming, performance and capacity planning, backup/BC and DR strategy along with server, network and storage architects roles in various industries before going to work with some vendors. Became a vExpert in 2011 following on the momentum of being a 2010 vExpert leveraging an experience of having been a customer, vendor/var, analyst and consultant involved with servers, storage, networking, hardware, software and virtualization.

Learn more here: http://countdown2storageexpo.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/qa-with-greg-schulz-founder-of-storageio/

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

Broaden your horizons, learn about the technology as well as the business and applications to which are being supported. Look at the business and understand how technology can help it. Expand your cross technology domain skills across servers, storage, networks, hardware and software. Gain experience from having worked in different roles in IT organizations as well as check out the vendor or var side as well.

Don’t be scared, try new things out and take the risk of falling down, getting beat up while gaining experience. Learn how to keep on learning from others around you, look up, down, left and right, forward and back, there is knowledge to be gained in all directions however be sure to give back. Become both a student as well as teacher, find a mentor and become a mentor.

Be approachable and talk to people instead of at them, engage in conversations, learn what you don’t know, leverage that to become an expert and thus find new areas to expand your knowledge base. Set goals and objectives and the rewards and results will follow. Want to learn more, send me a note, be happy to chat.

vExpert Spotlight: James Bowling

Blog:  http://www.vsential.com

Twitter:  @vSential

How did you get into IT in the first place, how did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

My IT venture started back in the BBS days.  For those of you who don't know what BBS's are, they were dial-in bulletin board systems.  I hosted the largest multi-node BBS in the state of Texas, running six lines on top of WildCat! BBS running in DesqView to "multitask" in DOS.  All of this by the age of 13…my journey continued on because of my love for breaking things and building them back up better.  Fast forward a few years and we get to my introduction into VMware virtualization, VMware Workstation.  If I recall, this was somewhere around end of 1999 or beginning 2000.  My love for the technology behind the product grew as the years went on.

Once VMware entered the server market I decided to start playing around with VMware to see if this was something that we could use at my company at that time.  I deployed VMware GSX Server back in 2001/2002 on a couple of hosts at my company to attempt to bring a proof-of-concept up to build a business case for my boss.  Unfortunately, we were unable to provide the business with enough to get the buy-in from upper management.  Although I couldn't get this through my boss, I could still continue to play with it.  I deployed GSX and ESX hosts so I could remain familiar with the technology throughout my career. 

Present day, I have deployed virtual infrastructures ranging from single host with a few VMs to hundreds of hosts with thousands of VMs spread globally.  I decided to follow in the footsteps of some of the people who helped me get to where I was with their articles, books, and blog posts.  To name a few, Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman, and Jason Boche…along with many others.  This brought me to create vSential.com, my virtualization blog.  I was able to share the information that I had and things that I have learned through the years.

I decided to take my endeavours a step further and speak to Junior High and High School classes to help evangelize virtualization technologies.  My reasoning for this was to bring the technology to the people who would later be taking my spot within the community.  What better of a way to spread the word and break the mould of tradition IT evangelism.  Due to my contributions to the community of virtualization, VMware bestowed upon me something that I could have only dreamed of receiving, the 2011 VMware vExpert Recognition.  Thank you VMware and thanks to all those who have supported my efforts!  I hope to continue my endeavours and reach higher grounds as my years go on.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

This is a great question.  I often speak at career days at high schools and junior highs in my area.  This is one of the things that I always have to address.  The first thing I would tell someone who wanted a job like mine is that it is hard work and constant learning.  I always tell kids that I am one of the few lucky ones that actually have a career doing what was originally my hobby, technology.  I explain to people that I have a genuine love for what I do and strive to learn daily.  If you are willing to learn, willing to listen, and open to criticism then you are a great candidate for my job!

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 34

Well it’s upon us once again, tomorrow kicks off THE big event of the year for those that enjoy the benefits of VMware software solutions.  VMworld 2011 is on, and as always it will be the best place to be for the next 5 days.  Follow the action online via Twitter or login to VMworld.com and listen to the key notes for those of you that couldn’t make it out there in person.

Duncan Epping – Using vSphere 5 auto-deploy in your home lab – I was just playing around with auto-deploy and I figured I would quickly scribble down the steps required to configure it. The documentation is okay but it often refers me back and forth in the document which makes it difficult to read at times. Here is what I did to get it working. I was in doubt if I would add screenshots, but that would make this article fairly lengthy and I am sure that most of you wouldn’t need it any way.

Eric Gray – VMware vSphere 5 outperforms Hyper-V by nearly 20% – Independent technology assessment firm, Principled Technologies, recently conducted a comprehensive performance comparison between VMware vSphere 5 and Hyper-V R2 SP1.  In a head-to-head competition, VMware ESXi once again smoked the Windows-based hypervisor in three amazing ways…

Chris Colotti – Create vApp Storage Tiers in vCloud Director – Well, by now there is many of us that have installed and played with vCloud Director and realized it is pretty cool, well at least I think so.  We have also seen it has some of its challenges, as we would with any new product.  I did want to take a moment, and try to give some ideas, NOT gospel design mind you, on how to possibly get creative with vCloud Director in order to create storage tiers for a specific vApp.

Michael White – Bulk IP Customization in SRM 5 – In SRM 5 we have a new interface to managing the IP information of protected virtual machines.  It makes it easy to change or update IP information for a virtual machine.  You can see what the SRM UI looks like here.  See below for what the new UI for editing IP addresses in SRM 5 looks like.

Kendrick Coleman – 10 Tips for Attending VMworld – The twitterstream is buzzing, press releases are being announced, and everyone is preparing their livers for the awesomeness that is going to be next week. Last year’s VMworld was my first and it is going to be hard to top, but I’m determined to make it better than ever. I wanted to throw some quick tips for those venturing out to Vegas next week. I learned most of these the hard way because it was my first major conference, but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.

vExpert Spotlight: Jane Rimmer

Name: Jane Rimmer

Twitter Handle: @Rimmergram

Current Employer: hiviz-marketing

How did you get into IT?

I started in IT in 1986 working for Sun Microsystems, and was involved in PC-NFS, TOPS peer-to-peer networking and Wabi – having previously been a Wang administrator at a telecoms company.  In those days email was all internal, no access to the outside world 🙂

I then joined Hayes Microcomputer Products, and was involved in another IT innovation– the Hayes AT Command Set, unfortunately the company went into Chapter 11 and was finally sold, but after I left and joined another company involved in a paradigm shift in computing, Citrix.

I joined when WinFrame 7 was launched, and I remember thinking “this stuff is back to the future”, very mainframe-esque. It was also a learning curve living and working through the Microsoft times of licensing MultiWin and continually combating the market’s view that Terminal Services would be the Citrix “killer”. They’ve continued to work in “co-opertition” with Microsoft and I’ve used their success in managing this relationship many times in analogous reference to questions about competitive situations.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

Onward to VMware, I joined as employee number 2 in Europe in 2002 and ESX1.5 was just released. 

Initially, it was an up-hill struggle getting traction with customers, the press, analysts and recruiting the channel, at least from an enterprise perspective. VMware Workstation was loved and adored by the developer community, but I’d be very rich for every time I was told “ESX is not production ready, it’s only OK for dev/test”. I was in complete awe the first time I saw a vMotion demo at our sales kick off meeting in Palo Alto and then VirtualCenter and Virtual SMP followed. 

I was also part of the taskforce that developed the original channel program, the VIP Network. The EMC acquisition finally put paid to rest the questions surrounding the “future” of VMware – many times I’d be speaking with a customer or an analyst and they’d love the products and demos, but they’d question the longevity of the company.  I was also responsible for launching the first TSX in Amsterdam at the request of Jeff Jennings.  At the first one we conducted a survey with the attendees to suggest a name for what would become an annual event. It was named TSX as a) a play on ESX and b) stood for Technical Solutions Exchange. It was another success that grew into bigger and better things, culminating in its demise when VMworld came to Europe. The first VMworld was held in San Diego in 2004, where we had just over 1600 attendees and I attended with some of our big customers and partners from Europe, along with some key press and analysts. I’ve attended every VMworld since (apart from the 2005 one in Vegas) on both sides of the pond and find them great events for networking, learning and creating business.

On leaving VMware in 2005, I set up my own marketing consultancy, hiviz-marketing and have worked with some very innovative technologies, helping them to increase their brand awareness and lead generation in the EMEA market.  I was honoured to be asked to join the London VMware User Group Steering Committee in 2010 and my work on the committee has led to me being awarded the illustrious vExpert award this year.  I am responsible for all social media and publicity of the London VMUG, as well as securing speakers and sponsors. We are now busy preparing for the very first UK-wide VMUG event in November this year!

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

I have been very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time and have gotten to where I am today by hard work, determination, knowing what I want and going after it – all added with a large dose of good luck.

A week in virtualization

I’m flying to Vegas this Saturday to help set up the Community Lounge. VMworld has been occupying us all here pretty much 100% for the last couple weeks, and we’re all psyched about it.

If you want to stop by and say hello, John and I will be in the hang space, which is in the same area with the Solutions Exchange, and we’ll keep the same hours as the expo.

We will open the Lounge on Monday morning, and invite our community to use the space for vMeetups and a public-access streaming community TV. The vMeetups are informal gatherings in our Lounge where you can talk about any topic relevant to VMworld, they can be booked in 30-minute increments, and we allow one talk per person or company per day. Book your meetup at vmware.com/go/vmworld-meetups

Then there’s the Community TV streaming channel. Between the hours of 10am and 2:30pm you can run your own podcast from the Lounge and stream it using our equipment. John and I will also be using the setup for our daily broadcast from the show. The schedule is pretty much booked at this point, you can see it at vmware.com/go/vmworld-community

In other news, we’ve shrank the cloud. VMware announced today the availability of the Micro Cloud Foundry, which is just like the full-size Cloud Foundry, but runs on your laptop, in a single VM. You can download the beta now from cloudfoundry.com/micro

On Facebook, VMware vCloud is inviting everyone to come check out the labs and the Cloudtalk at VMworld. To find out more, go to facebook.com/vmwarevcloud

We have two cool webinars coming up, one is an introduction to vSphere Storage Appliance, and another is an introduction to vShield 5. Head on over to webcasts.vmware.com to register.

Also the VMware Forum will be making a stop in Argentina on the 7th of September, and in Ontario, Canada, on the 14th. Find out more and register by going to vmware.com and clicking on the big grey box that says VMware Forum 2011.

The following VMUGs are going to be meeting over the next week: Turkey, Las Vegas, Orlando, Southwest Indiana, and Myrtle Beach.

The DC/Maryland vBeers group is meeting up on the 15th, you can find that vBeers meetup and others at vbeers.org.

There’s also a vBeers tweetup on Monday in Vegas, at the Cosmopolitan hotel.  For that and other tweetups head on over to vmware.com/go/vmworld-gatherings


vExpert Spotlight: Kanuj Behl

Twitter Handle: @vmwise

Blog URL: http://vmwise.com

Current Employer: Base Technologies

How did you get into IT?

I've always loved taking things apart, and have been doing it since early on.  Putting things back together, though, was a different matter.  I got into computers when I was about 13/14, and played around with many different types.  It was definitely more of a hobby than a career from my point of view.  After high school, and during college, I worked for a small training company, where I did all their cabling and fixed/built all of their pc's.  While working there, I picked up Windows NT, and went on to bigger and better things.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

I started working with VMware very early on with the original workstation product.  I tried it out on my ThinkPad 600, and while slow, it was incredible having two different OS's running at the same time on one machine.  I came to use ESX while at a financial firm back in 2005.  While getting things setup and configured was no problem, when our environment started getting larger, I needed help with some issues that would arise.  For that, I started going through VMTN, and received answers to my problems.  In return, I started posting with answers to questions myself, and in time, I started rising through the levels to where I am now.  After that, I started a little blog, and I try to post to both as and when I can.  It’s the little break away from work.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

The best advice I can give someone is to make sure you like what you do, and play with as many of the technologies as much as you can.  There's no substitute for hands-on experience.  Larger environments build on the lessons learned in small environments, so no environment is too small to get your feet wet.  Also, there are many many sites that give advice on configuration, as well as troubleshooting, aside from the VMware official documentation sets.  Read as many of them as possible.  Lastly, if you have questions, ask them.  The VMTN forums are one of the best places I’ve used to get answers to my questions. VMTN is better than just about any other product forums that I know of.  Questions are answered quickly, and more often than not, correctly.  If someone doesn’t have the answer, they’ll usually work with you to figure it out.  It’s a great community.

ESXi Quiz Show (#VSP1956) at VMworld, be there!

By now hopefully all of you who will be attending VMworld have heard about this unique event…. The ESXi Quiz Show (#VSP1956). The ESXi Quiz Show is on Monday at 13:00 and will be hosted by no one less then our own Quiz Master John Troyer.  But that is not the exciting part of this show… the exciting part is the line up:

vExpert Team – The Raging vBulls

  • Chad “Warrior-Monk” Sakac
  • Jason “vTerminator” Boche
  • Maish “vBeliever” Saidel-Keesing
  • Eric “Link Master” Siebert

vExpert Team – vPredators

  • Vaughn “Sgt NFS” Stewart
  • Tom “VDI Warrior” Howarth
  • Mike “Axel” Foley
  • Scott “VMGuru” Herold

VMware Team – vRaminators

  • Frank “distributed” Denneman
  • John “VCDX 001″ Arrasjid
  • Kit “VC Ops” Colbert
  • Massimo “Hybrid Cloud” Re Ferre

In the first round The Raging vBulls will take on the vPredators. The team that wins will take on VMware's own team of virtualization/cloud experts… the mighty vRaminators! Who will take home that Championship Trophy? I know you don't want to miss out on this, sign up today and be sure to witness the vBattle of the century!

Death to powerpoint, hail the quiz master!

vExpert Spotlight: Richard Boswell

How did you get into IT in the first place, how did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

Out of high school I joined the US Navy and trained to be a reactor operator but experienced a medical condition that precluded me from working in that capacity. I was moved to IT and came up on the Windows side but have dabbled in almost all disciplines. I started in operations working with VMware products starting with GSX in 2003 and over time transitioned through engineering to design/ architecture of highly available, highly dynamic x86-based shared infrastructures.

My company’s relationship with VMware has provided me the capability to directly interact with several of Product Managers and provide feedback on multiple occasions.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots of questions. The answers that are provided, regardless of the person, can help you learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail but learn from your (and others) failures.
  • Stray out of your work comfort zone daily.

Top 5 Planet V12N blog posts for week 33

VMworld 2011 is only a week away, so get ready for the best vendor IT tradeshow in the industry!  If you think VMware has made all our announcements with our cloud infrastructure launch (vSphere 5, vCD, vShield…) think again!  I can’t disclose any information, but just make sure you make it to the key notes for some very exciting announcements and ground breaking technologies from our executive management team.

On with the top 5!

Andre Leibovici – The biggest Linked Clone “IO” Split Study – Part 2/2 – In the first part of this article I discussed how Linked Clone tiering architecture works and how the IO is distributed across different storage tiers. For each tier and disk type I analyzed the IO impact during the creation of a Replica disk, and the customization and boot processes; including persistent disk and user profile behavior.  This study is aiming to find out how much of the IO pattern change overtime as virtual desktops gets utilized and Linked Clone disks grow in size.

Eric Sloof – Video – How to setup a vSphere 5 Port Mirror – Port mirroring is the capability on a network switch to send a copy of network packets seen on a switch port to a network monitoring device connected to another switch port. Port mirroring is also referred to as Switch Port Analyzer (SPAN) on Cisco switches. In VMware vSphere 5.0, a Distributed Switch provides a similar port mirroring capability to that available on a physical network switch. After a port mirror session is configured with a destination—a virtual machine, a vmknic or an uplink port—the Distributed Switch copies packets to the destination.

Duncan Epping – Swap to host cache aka swap to SSD? – I’ve seen multiple people mentioning this feature and saw William posting a hack on how to fool vSphere (feature is part of vSphere 5 to be clear) into thinking it has access to SSD disks while this might not be the case. One thing I noticed is that there seems to be a misunderstanding of what this swap to host cache actually is / does and that is probably due to the fact that some tend to call it swap to SSD. Yes it is true, ultimately your VM would be swapping to SSD but it is not just a swap file on SSD or better said it is NOT a regular virtual machine swap file on SSD.

Vladan Seget – The Official vSphere Licensing Advisor Tool is out – At first, when the new licensing of vSphere 5 has been announced, there was Alan Renouf’s PowerCLI script available about checking on about the vRAM compliance. It’s because the Official vSphere Licensing Advisor Tool was still under development. It was an independent company which was contracted by VMware for the development of the tool and which did not make it for the deadline.

Ivo Beerens – Upgrading to VMware ESXi 5 – It is not supported to directly upgrade ESX(i) 3.x to ESXi 5. You must first upgrade ESX(i) 3 to ESX(i) 4 before upgrading to ESXi 5. Another option is to do an fresh installation.  When upgrading to vSphere ESXi 5 there are a couple of things to think about before starting.  It is now possible to upgrade VMware ESX 4.x and ESXi 4.x to VMware ESXi 5. Prior ESXi 5 the upgrade from ESX to ESXi was not supported (fresh installation needed).

vExpert Spotlight: Gregg Robertson

This is the first in the series of the vExpert Spotlight posts, which will feature our current vExperts throughout the year. The idea belongs to Gregg Robertson, one of our vExperts, who not only came up with it, but also valiantly send out the spotlight questionnaires to all the vExperts, and has been sending the completed profiles to me almost daily since. Thank you Gregg! –@VMwareCommunity

It is with a lot of excitement that this series of postings are being published. The idea of this was because my brother in law is looking to get into the IT industry and there isn't that much stuff out there giving someone like him some tips and advice of how to get a role like the ones the vExpert’s hold. I’m a firm believer in sharing knowledge which is possibly why I was selected as a vExpert for 2011 and I thought I know I would love to get tips from a large number of the vExpert’s of how they gained their roles, advice they would give to people wanting to get into IT or those already in IT who want to get a role like the ones a number of the vExpert’s hold. So below is my entry and hopefully if a large amount of vExpert’s keep sending me their entries we can have a few of them a week.

Blog URL: http://thesaffageek.co.uk/

Twitter handle: @greggrobertson5

Current employer: EMC Consulting

How did you get into IT?

I always loved playing around with all technology and knew in high school that I wanted to get a job in IT as it was the only thing I loved doing and was really interested in. I studied for a year after high school doing the basics of A+ N+ Security+, which I loved learning so much I was, one of the top in the class (a sheer miracle in my schooling career). After that year, I decided to start working and my first job was laying networking cables through buildings and building pc’s. The money was very basic but everyone has to start somewhere.

I left that role and got a new one doing an IT asset register for a company on a three-month contract while I enrolled myself into a part time MCSE 2000 course. I finished the asset register in just over a month and started proving myself doing first line desktop support and they loved my passion and hard work so much that within three years I was the Systems Administrator of the company and had obtained my MCSE 2000 and upgraded to MCSE 2003. I left South Africa to try get into the big leagues of IT in the UK and got myself a role with Conchango who later was bought out by EMC to become their consulting arm of which I am still a part.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

One of my colleagues was looking after a VMware lab environment and whenever I could I would watch him and learn off him and asked him if I could do something to learn it as Virtualisation interested me and I really wanted to get to know it. He let me build low level VM’s and slowly but surely I learnt more and started doing more until it was a major part of my daily job due to the growing amount of environment’s we had.

I learnt all I could from my colleague, all the VMware blogs, read and tried to give answers to discussions on the VMware communities and studied and obtained my VCP 3.5 and 4. I was fortunate enough to become a vExpert this year as I made a conscience effort to try become one and so did all I could on the VMware communities, blogged as often as I could and was always trying to pass my growing knowledge on twitter. I also attend the London VMUG whenever I can.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

As mentioned, I was never in the smart class at school and never got into university but I never let that hold me back and have been working and studying as much as I can to get myself to where I am today. What I would tell someone wanting a role like mine is:

  • IT is very unique in that you can become really good at it and climb the ladder by working hard and grabbing any opportunities that are given to you even if you maybe don’t have a degree.
  • I would recommend doing a degree if you can though as it is a massive help.
  • Work hard, have a real passion for what you are doing and a real desire to learn and grow.
  • Remember everyone has to start somewhere, you will most likely not get that dream role straight away.
  • Get blogging, tweeting and on the forums as it’s the best way to learn from some of the top people in the industry as well as getting your name out there.