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Welcome to the new VMware vSphere Blog! This will be the central place to check for news, commentary, links to new resources, and other information about VMware vSphere. Feedback about what you'd like to see here is always welcome. Your host and editor will be Mike Adams.

To kick off this shiny new blog, we wanted to start a discussion, and we thought it would be fun to combine it with a contest — to add a bit of bragging rights and put some skin in the game. And since vSphere is the most comprehensive business virtualization platform on the planet, we thought one contest wasn't enough, so we decided to have seven. The contest will be held in two week cycles, with each cycle focusing on a different feature of vSphere. During each cycle, we will discuss the feature here on this blog and point to other blogs in the discussion. At the end of each cycle, we'll announce a winner and feature them here.

Contest Overview – In the past, a key benefit of virtualization was the ROI from server consolidation. With vSphere 4, you can now take advantage of the breadth of features to abstract your physical infrastructure and create a dynamic, flexible infrastructure, with a return on investment that goes far beyond simple server consolidation using features like Fault Tolerance, Dynamic Resource Scheduling, vShield Zones, the vNetwork Distributed Switch, and Storage vMotion. The ease of use, power, and flexibility of these features are found only with VMware vSphere.

For this contest, we're looking for bloggers to discuss novel technical or business ROI topics, not just
repetitions of a marketing message. Examples
of good topics are hands-on stories about your data center or lab experiences, technical evaluations, tutorials, use case stories, or other insights into the feature you've gained
while working with it. Our criteria include technical
correctness, value to the community, creativity, and "interestingness" — is this something you would link
to from your blog.

A short post in many cases can be more interesting than a longer
post, and they do say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we hope
that everybody will have time to contribute, even if you're heads down
in your data center that week.

Virtual Lab Time. Since we know that not everyone has had a chance to check out all the new features of vSphere, we are also offering free lab access to bloggers who are participating in the contest. Contact Mike Adams (madams@vmware.com) to schedule some time to remotely connect to our virtual lab.

Schedule. Here is the planned schedule for the rest of the year. (We reserve the right to switch things around if necessary, and we're open to other topics after that, so let us know if you have other ideas.)

  • Fault Tolerance (9/14-9/25)
  • vNetwork Distributed Switch (9/28-10/09)
  • Data Recovery (10/12-10/23)
  • Thin Provisioning (10/26-11/06)
  • vShield Zones (11/09-11/20)
  • ESXi (11/30-12/11)
  • Tier 1 Apps (12/14-12/28)

Rules

  1. During the two week period, post a blog entry about the feature we're focusing on according to the criteria outlined above.
  2. You may add a disclaimer that you are blogging for the contest.
  3. You may link to or republish older, already-published blog entries for the contest, but some additional new content must be added.
  4. You may blog multiple times in the two-week period, and each entry will be considered for the contest. If you create a multi-part entry, consider having one overview post that links to all the other pieces.
  5. Blogging is often about dialog. You may respond to or build upon another blogger's post in your entry, but only your original contribution will be considered for the contest. You may revise or correct entries if needed throughout the cycle, and only the final form of the entry will be considered.
  6. The contest is open to all countries, but VMware employees are not eligible.
  7. If you blog anonymously for work reasons, you must let us know who you
    are so that we know where to send the prize, but we are happy to award the
    prize publicly to your pseudonym.
  8. Entry eligibility ends on the close of business Friday Pacific time of the 2nd week of each cycle.
  9. Send a note to vmtn@vmware.com to submit your entry for consideration. Your email will not be used for marketing purposes.
  10. A panel of 5 at VMware (John Troyer – Head of VMware Communities, Mike Adams – Blogger editor for vSphere and Product Marketing Manager for vSphere, John Gilmartin – Director of Product Marketing for vSphere, Tim Stephan – Senior Director of Competitive Marketing, and the technical marketing lead for the specific product) will judge the winning entry in each two week cycle. The winning blog entry wins a $100 AMEX gift card and will be featured on the vSphere Blog. All decisions are final. 
  11. Official contest rules can be found here

Link to Fault Tolerance Overview First Contest Cycle: Fault Tolerance.

We're kicking things off with Fault Tolerance. Over the next two weeks, we'll be blogging, tweeting, and linking to various Fault Tolerance resources. We think FT is a ground-breaking capability that lets you add continuous availability to a new class of business-critical workloads. 

What do you think? Let the games begin!

– Mike Adams, John Troyer, and the vSphere team