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Monthly Archives: September 2011

vExpert Spotlight: Christian Mohn

Twitter Handle: h0bbel 

Blog URL:  vNinja.net

Current Employer: Seatrans AS 

How did you get into IT in the first place?

I'm actually not sure I got into IT, but IT got into me way back when my dad brought home our first Commodore C64 and I've been playing with computers of all sorts ever since. As far as professional IT goes, I got my first real paying job in 1997 when I joined Telenor as a technician doing grunt work like replacing hard drives and client installations for Norway's biggest bank. I quickly moved on to working with servers and more complex solutions. I've been focusing on server and data-center technologies ever since. I spent a couple of years for a few different consulting companies, until I "settled" at Seatrans where I currently work as the Network Manager with responsibility for our shore based infrastructure.  

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

My first brush with VMware products was in 2000 when I introduced VMware Workstation for a group of developers who instantly implemented it in their day to day testing regime. In 2002 I was introduced to VMware GSX 2.x and the extremely complex and mysterious ESX 2.0 which I truly did not understand at the time. Thankfully that has changed since then, and my real focus on VMware ESX came when I introduced VI3 at Seatrans in 2006, and it has been the main production platform since then.

I started blogging about VMware back in 2004, my previous site added to VMTN in December 2006 and in 2007 my "work" was mentioned in the keynote at TSX-EMEA. Until 2010 those were the highlights of my "career" as a VMware blogger, but something seems to have accelerated when I attended VMworld Europe 2010. This is where the idea for the vSoup Podcast emerged, and it was also the first time I met up with many of the well known people in the VMware Community. VMware somehow figured out that it was time I received the vExpert award for 2011, and I'm very happy to have received it as only the second Norwegian in history.

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

To put it simply; Be passionate. Be persistent. Set some goals, and follow them through.


A week in virtualization

After VMworld is before VMworld, and John and I have been busy planning for the Copenhagen show. We will once again have a Community TV streaming channel and allow community members to use it to broadcast their own content. By the way, the content from the Vegas floor is still available, and if you did not view any of it, go check it out at livestream.com/vmwarecommunitytv

Today, we announced the launch of VMware Fusion® 4 – the best way to run Windows on a Mac. Available now at VMware.com for a promotional price of $49.99, VMware Fusion 4 makes it easier than ever for users to run Windows applications with Mac simplicity. Offering full integration into Apple OS X Lion, VMware Fusion 4 builds on our proven, award winning platform to provide an easy, fast and reliable way to run Windows applications on a Mac.

Also, we have announced the availability of VMware Workstation™ 8 today – offering the easiest way to build, share and upload virtual machines (VMs) to VMware vSphere®. With more than 50 new features, VMware Workstation 8 advances the way technical professionals can work with multiple virtual machines from their PCs or on enterprise private clouds.

VMware Workstation 8 is immediately available for purchase for $199 in the VMware store. Upgrades from VMware Workstation 6.x and 7.x are available for $99. VMware Customers who have purchased VMware Workstation 8 between Aug. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2011 are eligible for a complimentary electronic upgrade to VMware Workstation 8. For more details on VMware’s complimentary electronic upgrade program please go to vmwware.com/go/ws8tgp

Go to vmware.com/vmwarestore to buy or upgrade Fusion and Workstation.

For more news about launches and announcements, you can always go to vmware.com/company/news

On Facebook, VMware for the Public Sector has shared a photo from a cloud computing conference in London. This group has been growing pretty fast since it launched a few weeks ago. Go check it out at facebook.com/vmwarepublicsector

Also, VMware vCloud has shared a link to a short and sweet overview of the product by our very own David Hill, to read more, go to facebook.com/vmwarevcloud

Finally, check out VMware Mobile at facebook.com/vmwaremobile – they have published a link to a video by Brian Madden, in which he got a demo of Horizon Mobile for Android.

We have ten cool webinars coming up, covering a variety of topics from Desktop virtualization to Zimbra email and Oracle backup and recovery, with everything inbetween. Head on over to webcasts.vmware.com to register.

Also the VMware Forum is concluded for the United States area, but you can register for on-demand delivery. The Forum is making a stop in Ontario, Canada today, and continues on to Peru on the 20th. There will be more stops, in Montreal, Sydney, and Beijing next month. 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: Istanbul, Okanagan, Toledo, Cincinnati, Memphis, Barcelona, Central Ohio, New Jersey, Chattanooga, Rochester, Wisconsin, Omaha, Wellington, and Maryland.

The DC/Maryland vBeers group is meeting up tomorrow, and New Mexico vBeers is next week, on the 22nd. Find out more about vBeers at vbeers.org.

vExpert Spotlight: Ricky El-Qasem

Twitter Handle: @rickyelqasem 

Blog URL:  www.virtualizeplanet.com

Current Employer: Veeam 

How did you get into IT in the first place?

As a child my mother purchased me and my brother just about every home computer that were popular in the early 80s. So IT was in my blood at an early age. I started a job as a consultant/engineer about 18/19 years ago where I built/installed Novel Servers. I started at the bottom and worked my way up.

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

Before joining Veeam, I was working as a consultant and part-time trainer for a European distributor called Centia Ltd (which was later acquired by Arrow ECS).  In 2005, we were awarded the right to distribute VMware; with that came the need to deliver VMware training courses.  The management at the time started asking who would become the VMware instructor, someone who knew hardware, storage, networking, operating systems, and virtualization.  I could see all fingers were pointing at me.  I was very resistant, as I didn’t want to become a full-time trainer, but my hand was forced; I went about becoming a VMware VCI (Certified Instructor). 

Looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened to my career (Thanks Yuri & Raj).  Very quickly, I became the head of professional services, lead instructor, and VCI assessor. 

By the way, 2005 didn’t signal the start of my love for VMware.  In 2001 I’d purchased a copy of Workstation, and to this date, VMware still has proof on its support system that I was an early adopter of the technology. 

In 2007, I was approached by Rick Hoffman at Veeam to see if Centia was interested in Veeam distribution.  I had to decline, as we had rules about competitive solutions.  A year later, Rick and I had the same discussion, but things had changed, as Centia had been acquired by Arrow.  I asked Rick if Veeam needed anyone in the UK, and later that year, I joined as a Senior System’s Engineer.  At the beginning of 2010, the CEO, Ratmir Timashev, appointed me Director of Global Education Services and gave me an opportunity to develop an Education Services program for Veeam, which I’m in knees-deep doing right now.

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

Don’t sit around waiting for your employer to train you; train yourself.  Buy books and cheap CBT training, and take exams.  All this nonsense about learning by real-world experience is no match for having in-depth knowledge about your subject matter.  For example, at VMworld LA 2006, I decided to be one of the first to take the VCP3 exam.  I read the whole VI3 document library, which consisted of about nine documents (about 2500 pages), to help me pass. And as a VCI, I needed to score higher than an 85%. It’s this kind of effort that makes you an expert and will help you in the field. Finally, if you can afford it, or you can persuade your employer to buy you one, build a small lab at home.  I have a FC lab, and it is the key to my expanding knowledge in IT.


vExpert Spotlight: Bilal Hashmi

Twitter Handle: @hashmibilal

Blog URL: www.cloud-buddy.com

Current Employer: Verizon

How did you get into IT?

I was 9 years old when I realized there is nothing that I want to do when I grow up except computers. So naturally after high school, I went to college got my Bachelors in IT. While still in school (because it took forever), I accepted my first IT job (not so great btw) and for the first time in my life I made money from knowing about computers. This job was really a jack-of-all-trades kind of gig, which ran from "hey we can't connect to anything anywhere" to "call roto rooters, the toilets are not working". I am not kidding that’s exactly what happened. Technically, I may not have gotten a lot of hands-on experience there, but I did acquire some very good experience. So if your first IT job sucks, don't feel bad, we have all been there at some point.

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

I played around with VMware workstation and VMware server but never really thought too much of it besides a testing platform. I know I am retarded. Then ESX 3.5 slapped me across the head and I was stunned. Totally shocked at how cool this really is, how the businesses will benefit from this and of course how stupid I have really been. I fell in love with the product and have never looked back since. Having realized how stupid I have been, I learned another thing about myself that I can be very forgetful. So I started keeping notes about stuff that I thought was interesting.

Then one morning, I saw someone on a forum asking if a vCenter can be a VM and I was like yeah sure why not. All of sudden I had an epiphany; I am not the only dumbass in the world. So I decided to start a blog and publish what I felt was important/interesting there. This way I still get to have my notes and at the same time help the community. Of course, the idea that I have my own blog was so super cool that I just had to do it (FYI my wife hates it btw). Thanks to the blog and the activity in the super slow VMTN forum, I was rewarded with a vExpert title; thank you John Troyer. I never thought I will be selected but I guess we have to give ourselves a little bit of credit sometimes. 

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

I will ask them are you nuts? Do you not love your spouse? Do you not have a life? On a serious note, one should not run after money. One should really do what they love and have a passion for. Whatever it may be. I say if your passion is washing cars, and then do that and you will become the best car washer ever. You get in IT and you will become some IT dude. What would you rather be? The best car washer ever or some IT dude?

So if your passion is IT (and confirm 10 times that is the case), then understand what comes with it. IT is an ever-evolving place; a place that changes so drastically that you can easily go nuts if you are not passionate about it. So confirm that you’re in love with IT first. You will be required to learn new things throughout your career and deal with new challenges all the time. However, that’s what makes IT the best place to be unlike some other professions (I won't name any because I decided to be PC in this paragraph), IT will require you to be up to speed with the technology.

To put things in perspective, if you are a VMware 4.1 guru, guess what vSphere 5 is coming out now. So start setting up your lab to learn what’s new in vSphere 5. If you are a big looser like I am, I say IT will provide you enough to where you might say, “Gosh why didn't I go to law school”. That’s a joke I love my job and there is nothing else that I would do.

Your first job in IT might suck. Mine did too and we have all been there. However, slow and steady wins the race. Don't chase the moolah, chase your passion and sketch out a career path and try to achieve excellence. The money will come automatically and you will be better off in the end. 

vExpert Spotlight: Bill Hill

Blog URL: virtualbill.wordpress.com

Twitter Handle: virtual_bill

Current Employer: Logistics provider based in Portland, OR. 

How did you get into IT?

As a little kid, I knew I loved computers. However, I never really considered computers and technology as something I would want to be involved in when I grew up. I went to college thinking I wanted to be a high school Biology teacher. But, after taking my first Computer Science class, I changed my mind.

One summer, I decided to look for an internship. My internship was at my current employer. I loved it. While my education was centering around Computer Science theory and software development, there was something very appealing about IT. I went straight from college to my current company and never looked back.  

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

VMware ESX 2.0 was an important piece in career. Low budget and high expectations meant that we needed to make the most of our investments. Using ESX 2.0 allowed us to create small, purpose built VMs to provide services. Later, I used VMware Server to help stabilize some failing server components. The business saw the value and encourages us to continue using it.

About 3 years ago, I learned that Portland had a VMUG and started participating. About 1.5 years ago, I decided to get really involved in the VMware community: I became Co-leader of Portland VMUG, an active blogger, and presentations to both the VMUG and my university. Finally, I applied for vExpert and got a really nice email from John Troyer!

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

  • Always keep learning.
  • Find something in the industry to get excited about.
  • Identify a community around what you are excited about and contribute. 

VMware Community TV at VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas

This year for the first time, John and I have done something new at VMworld. We created a public-access type online streaming channel on Livecast and opened it up to the VMware community, i.e. you.

When you do things you’ve never done before, there is a lot of learning to do, and you can’t know in advance whether it will work at all. Looking back, I have to say, the Community TV idea worked, and worked amazingly well.

We were going to broadcast every day that VMworld had its doors open, from 10am to 3pm, meaning that we had to fill five slots each day. John built an online form for people to request their time slots, and a week before the event our schedule was full.

We packed our video setup in a big shipping container and off it went to the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Once there, we unpacked and set up the studio in the Community Lounge, which was in the green Hang Space, right next to the big screen with all the social media updates scrolling by.

I have to say that I have worked at more shows than I care to remember, and this one was by far the most pleasant to work at. The many live green plants and the artificial lawn created a very inviting and stress-free atmosphere, and people tended to linger in the Hang Space just to relax and have a break from an otherwise bustling show.

Our speakers truly blew me away by their punctuality and preparedness, and also their many great ideas for the hourly streaming podcast. We had interviews, product demonstrations, roundtable discussions, and everything inbetween.

In four days, we have streamed and recorded 21 videos, which were viewed by more than 8.5 thousand people. 34,000 total streams were watched for a total of almost 4,000 hours.

If you missed any (or all—gasp!) of these streaming videos, you can still catch them in our livestream.com/vmwarecommunitytv channel. Enjoy, and see you live from Copenhagen!

vExpert Spotlight: Calvin Zito

Blog URL: www.hp.com/storage/blog

Twitter handle: @HPStorageGuy

Current employer: HP

How did you get into IT in the first place?

I attended a technical university out of high school as I had an early fascination with engineering.  My first job out of college was as a field engineer working on systems and peripherals (including storage before there was RAID) for HP.  I moved from the field into the storage division in 1990 and have been there ever since.

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

I started focusing on social media in 2008 and by 2009 I was attending most of the major events.  I had just got on Twitter and attended VMworld 2009 and met John Troyer at the event.  He invited me to bring HP to a VMware Community podcast shortly after that – the number of followers who were VMware focused exploded and it was an obvious choice for me to focus a lot of what I did on VMware.  I was honored to be named a vExpert for the first time and promptly did 8 podcasts on the July 12 announcement.

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

I love what I do – being part of the technology and VMware community is something I really enjoy.  It’s also a great time to be at HP.  When I originally started blogging, I had a lot of “old school” product managers tell me that blogging was a waste of time.  I had a strong intuition that it was an important medium and along with Twitter, I stuck to it. 

That’s my biggest piece of advice – social media success doesn’t happen overnight, over the weekend, in a month, or even a year.  It really takes time, consistency and passion.  With time, consistency and passion, you can be successful at anything you set your mind to do. 

vExpert Spotlight: Chris Dearden

Twitter Handle: @chrisdearden

Blog URL: http://jfvi.co.uk , http://vsoup.net

Current Employer: Veeam of course!

How did you get into IT?

I graduated from University with a Degree in Materials Engineering in 1999 – and almost went straight into Corporate IT however ,after 4 years at University I felt I should at least give my chosen vocation a try – 12 months later I realised I’ should have stuck with my first choice & went back into IT. Started at the bottom with nightshift helpdesk. 

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

Pretty much by accident – my work colleagues knew I dabbled with Linux and wasn’t afraid of new tech – so when an ESX host started having problems I got tasked with fixing it. I fell in love with the technology and have moved onward ever since. I’ve always ended up being involved in the online community is many walks of life , both work and pleasure ( of course working with VMware it’s both 😉 ) Encouragement from peers got me into blogging and drunken conversations at VMworld got me into podcasting ! 

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

Don’t be afraid to get stuck into new things – accept that you will never know 100% of something and learn to apply old knowledge to new situations.

vExpert Spotlight: Shane Williford

Twitter Handle: @coolsport00

Blog URL: No blog per sè http://www.experts-exchange.com/M_4444420.html

Current Employer: Mazuma Credit Union

How did you get into IT?

I got into IT because I was intrigued at how PCs worked when I first saw them being placed in our office back in the early 1990s when I was in the Air Force. I wanted to know how “windows” was created, so that question was “driver” in my pursuit of computer technology ultimately. I completed my Business degree in Mgmt. Information Systems and then 5yrs later pursued MCSA/MCSE certifications to land a Systems Administrator role.

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

I started working with VMware at my current organization. It was decided that we had outgrown our virtualization solution at the time, and that it was time to expand into new & deeper horizons. Needless to say, after my VMware POC (proof of concept), I was hooked. In my current position (Sr. Systems Administrator), & due to the size of our organization, I wear many hats, but virtualization, and specifically VMware, has become my ‘niche’.

I was awarded VMware’s vExpert 2011 award due to my involvement in the VMware Zone on Experts-Exchange.com and (assumedly) my involvement on Twitter. Over the past year, I’ve spent countless hours assisting, supporting, and spreading the ‘good news’ of VMware, and its partners, to the folks who post questions on EE. If the questions that get answered are “accepted” by posters, points are awarded. I was fortunate enough to finish with the most points for the year and thus was awarded the VMware Zone Expert of the Year Award for 2010 by Experts Exchange. 

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

Lay the foundation by attending college & pursue a degree in Technology. Afterwards, get some career, hands-on experience. Be “ok” with starting towards the bottom. Do the job at the moment, and do it well, but don’t ‘settle’ for staying there. Look to the technology that interests you and pursue it. Take certification courses, as well as some personal time to learn it. Read all Guides associated with it. Find an avenue to share the knowledge (blog, experts-exchange, or the like…) that is conducive to you. Rewards & accolades will follow if you stay true to yourself.