vExperts 2012 announced

This morning while packing my stuff for a trip tomorrow, I came across the tweet that lead me to the announcement of the 2012 vExperts. It was a bit sneaky because I didn’t see it coming back this early, but hey it’s great! John, Alex and team did an awesome job for the fast turnaround.

Here is the announcement and here is the temp list of all vExperts 2012. This is a temp list because not all vExperts have been added to the list yet. So if you don’t see your name in there, don’t feel let down. It might get added soon.

Congrats to all new and returning vExperts, last year was great and seems like this year will be even better. Last year the total count for vExperts was 281, lets see how many more were added to the list. The more the merrier.

Symantec and vExpert event in Mountain View, CA

A few days ago I got the opportunity to meet a few fellow vExperts in an event hosted by @Symantec at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. @JordanPusey was awesome in getting all the travel arrangements setup (not to mention he also helped me when I missed my flight back).

The event was way more than what I expected it to be. I was thinking this may end up being a sales event but it turned out to be a million times better. Basically Symantec showed us a few of their upcoming and recently released products and the meeting was more like a round table conference on what we (vExperts) feel about the products and what can Symantec do to make it perfect. Talk about a company taking their products seriously. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. And no, I am not saying this because Symantec paid me to say all this, they are not even the sponsors of my blog (all though I would not mind that, just saying). It’s very promising to know that a company this size is interested in meeting folks from the field who use their products and are interested in their input to come up with better solutions.

Among all the Symantec staff, some of whom I was able to find on twitter are, @JordanPusey,  @kmitchel,  @SymRenRPM@dhuskiss (via phone), @AbdulRasheed127. These are all great people and there were many more there but like I said these are the only folks I was able to find on twitter. If you are interested in finding what Symantec has been up to, I suggest you follow these guys.

Now I am not exactly sure about the level of secrecy we are supposed to maintain from the discussions in the meeting.  So I will try and respect that and try to not give out more information than what I am supposed to. Some of the discussions were around Symantec’s security products and things like agent-less anti-virus kept coming up over and over. We got to see the awesome Net Backup overhaul that was quite impressive (new GUI as well but we didn’t get to see that). Ability to restore both file level and image level from a single backup thats made is always appreciated by the storage admins. Dynamic Multi-Pathing software that’s supported on over 1000 models that is both OS and storage system agnostic – really awesome due to its integration with vCenter. Oh did I mention the Net Backup vCenter integration as well? Yeah thats totally awesome as well. Lastly, there were also a small discussion about Application HA that I have personally never been too impressed with. But hey, its there.

This was a very small tiny summary of what went on between an awesome lunch and an incredible dinner. Now let’s get to the fun part. It was a total of 6 vExperts who were present in the meeting. I met all of them for the first time ever and they were all like any other vExpert; hard headed and had no clue of what they were talking about. Ok just kidding, as always it was a pleasure to meet the fellow vExperts and all of them were awesome that made the whole event totally worth it in spite of me missing my flight back. In fact I missed my flight because I stayed up really late talking to two of these great guys.

So who were the vExperts that were present? Here are their twitter handles followed by my personal opinion of them. The opinions are suppose to be a fun thing so please don’t take it personally. I know most vExperts have a thick skin but still…

@mpoore – a true gentleman from across the Atlantic

@vSential – brother from another mother, we had so much in common that it just got down right creepy

@virt_pimp – kickass jack of all trades from Idaho who loves his @TintriInc appliance (and why wouldn’t he). He also got me in touch with @Wyse_Lytle from Wyse. Did I ever mention how important it is to have contacts 😀

@zsoldier who does it all. Engages in an intense discussion, while he is responding to comments on VMTN followed by a workout when the rest us are just relaxing.

@coolsport00 Well dressed and means business, has a sophisticated sense of humor. Glad that I finally got to meet him after missing out on the opportunity in Vegas last year.

And lastly it was me. All in all we had an awesome time, got to meet some awesome people and had an opportunity to see some fabulous stuff Symantec has been and will be working on.

 

Become a vExpert!

So today FedEx made be very happy. I received a package with some great vExpert goodies (messenger bag, travel tag and the awesome certificate). Thank you John, Alex and the rest of the awesome folks at VMware who helped send this over to my doorstep.

Now I know most of you must be saying so what’s the big deal? Well it is a big freaking deal. Because that not all you get. Over the course of the year you are spoiled completely with things like:

  • License of all kinds (vSphere, View, vShield, vCloud SRM etc)
  • Access to Beta programs (imagine running vSphere 5 before it got released, seeing vCOM in action)
  • Access to new solutions that are in the making
  • Access to some secrets that could put your life at risk (ok just kidding, but some good pre-release info etc)
  • Conferences of all kind..
  • Access to an awesome vExpert community (remember being surrounded by smart people is an awesome thing)
  • Opportunity to speak with people who love to hear your feedback which means you could in fact have an influence on some next major solution/release
  • Cool corner at VMworld/PEX for you to hangout with the gurus
  • And a few more things that I don’t think I am allowed to talk about (just to be clear, it’s all good)

Basically its everything that I mentioned and a whole lot more, in theory you will not be able to consume all that is offered because if you do so your spouse will begin to hate you and your kids will forget your face. So there, if you ever wanted to get a deep dive and an opportunity to make a difference, here is your chance. Not to mention you also get to be called a vExpert which is pretty awesome as well. But in all seriousness it’s more about having the opportunity to enhance your skills and introduce yourself to all kinds solutions that you didn’t even know existed. See how the industry is changing and how you can position your organization so that you look like a rockstar every single day. IT is all about learning till the last day, and with the vExpert program the learning never ends.

Enough said, so how exactly do you become a vExpert? You will have to go on a 1000 mile run followed by some rock climbing, grab the bucket of water from the top the mountain and bring it down without spilling anything on a bike that’s lit on fire.. ok seriously it’s very simple and straight forward. And trust me the application process has become even simpler (no, I am not saying anyone will get accepted, you just don’t have to fill out a bunch of stuff like one had to in the past). The standards are still high, if you are deserving, the panel will see it and you will make it.

What is the vExpert program and what’s the criteria to become one?

to honour individuals who go above and beyond their everyday job requirements to share their technical knowledge and expertise with others; to help enable these individuals to make an even greater impact in the world; and to keep a high standard of vExpert recipients

If  you think that you fit the bill, go to the address here vmware.com/go/vexpert2012  and see what path you qualify for and apply. Hurry up, the applications are only open until March 15th 2012. Sometime’s the hardest part is taking the first step 🙂

Edit: After receiving some comments on Twitter, I just want to clarify something, the stuff I got was for last year. The vExperts 2012 are not announced yet and you can still apply until March 15th 2012. Obviously vExperts 2012 will not be announced until some time after March 15th.

First Day at VMworld 2011

So after all the hype, my first day at VMworld was awesome, and the even hasn’t really completely started yet. I was one of the lucky people who decided to show up at the Venetian ahead of time, 9 AM to be exact. After looking around and checking out the area I figured I should try and at least get registered before my vExpert meeting at 3 PM. So around noon I went ahead and registered for VMworld 2011. I gladly accepted my goodies (backpack, t-shirt a bunch of vendor advertising etc etc). I didn’t realize what I have accomplished. Soon the lines very over half a mile long. So I went ahead to a get a feel for the floor plan to get an idea where I will be spending the rest of the week.

A little after 3 the vExpert meeting started and John Troyer got everybody’s attention with an extremely high pitched whistle. He is a true Rockstar! The meeting was great and really set to the tone for what to expect in the coming days along with some insight on the future roadmap for virtualization and cloud. I was requested to not discuss it in detail, so I will save that for when it becomes official. But I will absolutely point out that it is awesome. Christoper K. was also present in the meeting and he was very easy to spot with his cat ears. He pointed out that tomorrow he will be showing up with his official cat ears. So for those of you who will be in Vegas, be on the look out. Christoper K. raised some very interesting and valid questions. Some of the discussions that went on during the meeting are really a very good reason why everyone must try to be a part of the vExpert program. You learn so much just by being around smart people. Eric Siebert had some very valuable pointers for bloggers and folks in the social media. As always, his top 10 list was very entertaining. Stephen Foskett is an awesome person who also provided a very good reason why I adore the vExpert community as much as I do. I also met Mike Tellinghuisen  who is based in MN not too far from where I live. Can’t believe I had to fly this far to meet him. Another reason to stay active in the local VMug activities.

Lastly, after sending a few tweets back and forth to Duncan Epping, I finally saw him walk into the meeting area. Once the meeting ended, he was busy talking with everyone who wanted to have a word. Why not right? After all he is Awesome! Even though he was running late for a meeting, he had a quick conversation with me and the picture below just made my day (the quality sort of sucks because of my stupid iPhone). VMworld 2011 has officially kicked off. Don’t forget business cards!

Oh by the way, my VMworld badge printing quality sort of sucks. My name has already started to rub off. Kinda disappointing 🙁

 

VMworld Virgin Tips by vExperts

So it’s finally happening or at least it seems that way (Thanks to John Troyer and my boss). All the planets have lined up and it looks like I will finally be attending my very first VMworld conference in Vegas this year. I have been trying to attend this conference for some time now and it just didn’t happen. Now that my flight is booked, I started to look around for some tips for VMworld virgins like myself. To my surprise I didn’t find a lot of information. So I asked the vExpert community for any suggestions that would prove to be beneficial for first time attendees, and like always I got awesome feedback. In hopes to help out someone who might also be attending for the first time, I figured it will be best if I summarize the feedback I got. Of course, after attending the conference if I find out that anything needs to be altered below, I will certainly update this post. Calvin Z., Chris D.David M.VMroyalmbletschincaldwelrrcardona2k and Christoper K. were among the few who responded promptly.

Your priority should be as follow:

  • Networking
  • Sessions and labs (that seem most beneficial)
  • Vendor booths (thats where all the free stuff is :D)

Although VMworld is an awesome place for one to get introduced to new topics and tools. The sessions and labs at VMworld are priceless but most of the sessions will become available online and can be viewed later. The labs, well thanks to VMware you can always create your own labs. Dont get me wrong, labs and sessions are still very important and be sure to sign up for labs and sessions that you think will be most beneficial to you. However, VMworld provides a platform for one to build/expand their network and this conference should certainly be used for that as much as possible. Here you will not only get to see some really awesome tools but also the even more smart people who designed the tools we use everyday. This is your chance to reach out to them, introduce yourself and get a conversation going.. pick their brains.. Most bloggers that are followed will also be here and if you have been following a blogger for sometime now, here is you opportunity to finally meet them and ask them questions. By the way did I mention that Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman will have the opening session at VMworld US 2011. The topic will be “Clustering QA” and I will be damned if I miss that.

Try to be approachable and feel free to engage in conversations with others. The sooner the better, dont wait till the last day. This year VMworld requires you to signup for sessions and labs prior to the conference. The good thing is that you wont have to stand in line like before. So based on the feedback I received, the best thing that you can do for yourself is signup for all the sessions that you think will be beneficial to you, and when the time comes to attend nobody will hold a gun to your head if you fail to show up. However, it will be best if you only signup for sessions that interests you or else you might fill up a session for no reason and waste seats that could have served a purpose otherwise.

VMworld provides great opportunities for some excellent labs and this might be a good place for you to familiarize with new products or products you haven’t used before. These hands-on labs can be beneficial for everyone and there is always something for everyone. But again, don’t get lost in the coolness of the labs and sessions, make sure you use this opportunity to expand your network with some extremely smart people that will certainly show up there. There is no need for me to stress upon the importance of a good network in IT. VMroyal from VMTN said:

I always find it very helpful to walk around Sunday and get the lay of the land.  That way, come Monday you know where everything is and aren’t scrambling trying to figure all of that out.  Sunday is also a great day to walk around and meet people, as there won’t be as many people there and the environment is a bit less hectic.

Lastly, vendors from all conners will also be at VMworld marketing their products. Use some time walk across the hallway and see if there is anything you like. You never know, you might come across something that might make you look like superman in front of your boss. Moreover, Christoper K. pointed out the opportunities to win things at VMworld and a lot of free stuff that is given away by vendors. If you are like me, there is no need to expand on how cool geeky free stuff can be. Again, while you are signing up for things that you could potentially win, don’t forget to exchange business cards.

From what I have heard, just like other conferences, wifi may or may not be as good as one may like. If you are looking into carrying around your laptop for live blogging or whatever reason be sure to be independent for your internet connectivity. If the conference wifi does not work to your likings, you might be carrying extra weight for no reason. Also like Christoper K. pointed out:

This is Vegas.  A very safe, and secure city (I do not say that in jest…)  casino employs their own security staff, you have Homeland security on the streets, the LVPD, and who knows what other number of things.  However, things do/will get lost.   You don’t want to lose your laptop or have it get snatched when some trespassing thief decides to grab your loose bag.

So if you don’t need your laptop, don’t carry the extra weight. You can always get a really cool EMC or Netapp notepad to take notes with a vKernel pen :). It has been suggested to me that a small video camera may also be a good alternative to talking notes.

This is basically what I have to help you get started for the conference of your life. As always, these are just suggestions and you don’t necessarily have to strictly follow them. I figured they will be useful to someone who is attending VMworld for the first time like myself. I will try to keep this post updated if I receive any new information thats worth adding. I also plan to share my experience of VMworld US 2011. Hopefully if you reading this, I will see you in about a month 🙂