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2013 UKVMUG Agenda

There’s now an agenda posted for next month’s UK VMUG in Birmingham. As you can see, it’s got some cracking sessions in it.

If you haven’t registered yet, or you want to check the agenda out for yourself, head over to the VMUG site.

TIME EVENT LOCATION
Wednesday, November 20,2013
7:00 -9:00 pm Pre-Reception vCurry – Veeam Bracebridge Suite
Thursday, November 21, 2013
8:00 – 8:30 am Registration | Breakfast | Mingle with Sponsors Trafalgar Foyer
8:30 – 9:00 am VMUG Welcome | Alaric Davies Britannia Suite
9:00 – 9:45 am VMware Keynote | Joe Baguley, VMware CTO EMEA Britannia Suite
9:45  10:00 Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
10:00 – 10:45 am Breakout Block #1 | Education Sessions
50% Faster VMs on the Hardware You Have!, Condusiv Bracebridge Suite
Convergence and Scalability in Your Datacenter.  Bringing Google like Infrastructure to the Enterprise, Nutanix – Jason Langone Ballacraine Suite
Splunk Waterloo Suite
Tales From the Field: Don’t Let This Happen to Your VMs, Veeam Britannia Suite
Community Session | Securing VMware Virtual Environments, Sam McGeown Kirkmichael Suite
10:45 – 11:15 am Break | Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
11:15 – 12:00 pm Breakout Block #2 | Education Sessions
VMware Virtual SAN – All You Wanted to Know, VMware – Cormac Hogan Bracebridge Suite
vCHS, VMware –  Massimo Re Ferre Ballacraine Suite
Knowledge Exchange by Duncan Epping, VMware. This session is all about exchanging knowledge and experience amongst each other, bringing the User Group back in VMUG. No death by Powerpoint, instead Duncan will coin buzzwords ranging from Flash to SSO to start the discussion. Waterloo Suite
Management Automation, VMware – Matthew Steiner Britannia Suite
Community Session | 0 Day Installation, Maish Saidel-Keesing Kirkmichael Suite
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch / Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
1:00pm – 1:45 pm Breakout Block #3 | Education Sessions
Software Defined Storage – From Desktops to Servers and Beyond, Atlantis Computing – Dan Senior Bracebridge Suite
EMC Ballacraine Suite
Evolve Your Virtual Data Center with Nimble Storage Waterloo Suite
Over-provisioning Is For Amateurs: How To Get 20-40% More Utilization Out Of Your Virtual Infrastructure, VMTurbo – Andrew Mallaband Britannia Suite
Community Session | Introduction to Overlay Networking, Greg Ferro Kirkmichael Suite
1:45 – 2:15 pm Break | Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
2:15 – 3:00 pm Breakout Block #4 | Education Sessions
VMware Horizon Workspace 1.5 – Implementation and Troubleshooting, VMware – Ray Heffer Bracebridge Suite
NSX Technical, VMware – Scott Lowe Ballacraine Suite
EUC Vision, VMware – Brian Gammage Waterloo Suite
Data In; Data Out – vCHS, VMware – Mike Laverick Britannia Suite
Community Session | PowerCLI Automation in the Enterprise: Breaking the Magician’s Code – Jonathan Medd Kirkmichael Suite
3:00 – 3:15 pm Break | Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
3:15 – 4:00 pm Breakout Block #5 | Education Sessions
Software-Defined Storage: Cloud Architectures Drive Fundamental Shifts in Storage Design, Coraid Bracebridge Suite
Dell, VMware and NVIDIA Working Together to Solve Your 3D Graphics Requirements, Dell Ballacraine Suite
Deliver Virtual Desktops That Match the Performance of SSD Laptops, Fusion-io – Adrian Booth Waterloo Suite
Discover Hybrid Storage, Tegile Software Britannia Suite
Community Session | Developing vSphere/vCloud .Net Apps for Beginners, Ricky el Qasem Kirkmichael Suite
4:00 – 4:15 pm Break | Mingle with Sponsors Imperial Suite
4:15 – 4:45 pm Closing Keynote by Greg Ferro Britannia Suite
4:45 – 5:00 pm Prize Draws and Close Britannia Suite

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Pluralsight iOS App offers offline course viewing

I swapped my TrainSignal subscription over to Pluralsight over the weekend. Following the acquisition of TrainSignal last month, integration of their courseware into Pluralsight has moved along very quickly.

As well as providing TrainSignal subscribers with access to Pluralsight’s catalog of courses, the iOS app provides a piece of functionality that I’ve been waiting for – offline viewing on my iPad. Hooray!

2013-09-05 09.36.16

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IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark

Disaster Recovery (and Business Continuity) were sometimes an afterthought even as recently as a few years ago. When I started out in IT the attitude was usually similar to that of an ostrich burying its head in the sand. Thankfully times have clearly moved on.

Yesterday a press-release was brought to my attention that I’d like to share. It concerns a new research advisory council that has been created to help provide IT professionals (and, by extension, businesses) with a reflective measure of how prepared they are to handle Disaster Recovery situations. The DRP Council, as it’s known, have launched an online survey that takes just a few minutes to complete:

drpbAs recent cyber-attacks and natural disaster events have shown, the need for IT disaster recovery preparedness has never been greater. However, research indicates that less than half of all companies have a disaster recovery plan in place, and even fewer have actually tested their plans to see if they will work as expected.

This need to uncover the value of disaster recovery planning and testing, as well as gain a better understanding of DR best practices to make preparedness more cost-effective and efficient was the driving force behind a recently created Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) CouncilFormed by IT business, government and academic leaders to address these issues, its mission is to increase DR Preparedness awareness, and improve DR practices.

The DRP Council has developed an online Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark (DRPB) Survey.  The survey is designed to give business continuity, disaster recovery, compliance audit and risk management professionals a measure of their own preparedness in recovering critical IT systems running in virtual environments.

Founding members of the DRP Council include:

  • Steve Kahan, Council Chairman, PHD Virtual
  • Dave Simpson, Sr. Analyst, 451 Group
  • Bilal Hashmi, Sr. Systems Engineer, Verizon
  • Michael Sink, Director Data Center Technologies, University of South Florida
  • Steve Lambropoulos, University of South Florida
  • Darren Hirons, Principal Systems Engineer, UK Health & Social Information Centre
  • Trystan Trenberth, CEO and Managing Director, Trenberth LTD
  • Riaan Hamman, CTO, Puleng Technologies
  • Carlos Escapa, Council Research Director , PHD Virtual
  • Anita DuBose, Council Research Director, PHD Virtual

“Users can now benchmark their own disaster recovery preparedness and find out real answers on how they would be able to get their IT systems up and running within a realistic time-frame to meet stringent business requirements,” said Steve Kahan, Chairman of the DRP Council. “Just 10 minutes of their time will provide them with some immediate feedback and a benchmark score that rates your DR preparedness with other companies that have participated.”

“I am unsure if our current best practices are the best or most efficient ways to deliver our SLA,” said Darren Hirons, Principal Systems Engineer, UK Health & Social Information Centre. “Learning about best practices through the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark could help us learn new ways to shorten the SLAs and deliver better service to our businesses.”

The DRPB survey provides a benchmarking score from 0-100 that measures the implementation of IT disaster recovery best practices. DRPB benchmarking scores parallel the grading system familiar to most students in North America whereby a score of 90-100 is an “A” or superior grade; 80-89 is a “B” or above average grade; 70-79 is a “C” or average grade and 60-69 is a “D” or unsatisfactory grade. Below 60, rates as an “F”, or failing grade.

Supporting Resources

Disaster recovery Preparedness Council:  http://drbenchmark.org/about-us/our-council/

Disaster Recovery Benchmark Test:  http://drbenchmark.org/benchmark-survey/survey-overview/

About the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council

The DRPC is an independent research group engaged in IT disaster recovery management, research, and benchmarking in order to deliver practical guidance for how to improve Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. www.drbenchmark.org

As a consultant, I don’t have anything but lab environments of my own that I can base responses on. If you manage a production environment though, I’d urge you to take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Cheers!

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Where Have I Been? Where Am I Going?

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and twitter fronts lately. Quite a lot has been happening (in no specific order):

  • I had nearly 3 weeks off for a fantastic holiday with my family starting in late May. I barely looked at twitter or email for the majority of that time except to find out if I made the list of vExperts for 2013.
  • I was involved in “a bit of a bump” that wrote off / totalled our car and have been a little distracted by insurance etc since.
  • A lot of people in my family have birthdays in June. My daughter for one – it’s not every day your eldest turns 7.
  • I decided that the time was right for a change of employer.

No, you didn’t imagine it. I am changing employer. I will shortly be joining Xtravirt (thus changing their vExpert:Employee ratio).

My time with Virtual Clarity has been brilliant. They’re fantastic people with whom I’ve learned a lot and for whom I have a great deal of respect. Thank you.

 

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Synology DS1513+ Released

DS1513+The Synology DS1512 has been a popular choice for many home labs in recent years. I hoped that the company’s raft of recent product updates would reach this model eventually. Well my wish was granted as Synology have announced the DS1513+.

There are a few modifications to note. The one that stands out the most at first glance is the doubling of LAN capability.  The DS1513+ boasts no fewer than 4 RJ45 ports. That does seem like quite a lot. It does open up some interesting possibilities though…

The full specifications for the DS1513+ can be found here.

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vOpenData – Shared Virtual Infrastructure Statistics

Whether you love or loathe VMware and their products, one area that you can’t fault is the community that’s built up around them. In that community blood, sweat, tears and a dash of brilliance have produced many amazing things. vOpenData looks like it could be one of them.

vOpenData is the brainchild of Ben Thomas and was built with William Lam and assistance from several other VMware community members. Essentially it is a public database of VMware Virtual Infrastructure statistics / configurations. Users download a script that collects some anonymous data about their infrastructure. Once uploaded and added to the database, the data contributes to a plethora of publicly available statistics.

At the time of writing there are over 50,000 VMs in the database. The average VMDK size is just over 70Gb. For me, as a techie / evangelist / consultant, this is useful information and there’s so much more there besides. Here’s a quick grab from the public dashboard:

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As a community project, its value is huge and will get even better the more people contribute data to it. Head over to the vOpenData website and find out more.

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New Book – VMware vSphere Design (2nd Edition)

Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe have been busy. I very much enjoyed the first edition of the VMware vSphere Design book and now the second edition is up on Amazon for download in Kindle format or pre-order for print copies. In this edition, there’s also a chapter on vCloud design by Kendrick Coleman.

Besides being a good read in and of itself, the first book was good to help with VCAP4-DCD preparation. I imagine that this edition will be equally useful for VCAP5-DCD preparation. I look forward to reading it. Well, I will when my copy shows up (family rule: I’m not allowed to buy anything for myself in the month of my birthday).

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Google Reader RIP, Should I Care?

Yesterday, Google announced that as of July 1st 2013 they are retiring the Google Reader service. It was one of several stories that caused some bloating of my twitter timeline as scores of people that I follow picked up on it.

My initial reaction was not a good one. I started using Google Reader only a few years ago but it has become a trusted and valuable way for me to consume information and news from the industry that I work in. Its absence will have a considerable impact on my daily activities.

Having slept on it though, I’m certainly a lot more relaxed about it. Yes, it’s going to have an impact but have Google actually just provided me with a catalyst to change the way that I consume information? I mean, I could easily just swap to using another service. Feedly, for example, even have processes in place to allow you to migrate from Google Reader (something that may have contributed to their site being incredibly slow last night after the Google announcement broke). But does Googles decision point towards a trend of moving away from RSS? What then is the alternative way of reading updates from the various sites and feeds that I have been following?

I don’t have a clear answer to any of these questions just yet but I’m going to be thinking about alternatives now. In the short term, moving my collection of feeds to another service seems to be the logical thing to do. After all, that’s one of the benefits of cloud services – portability. It will only be the work of a few minutes and I can carry on reading my RSS feeds on any of my devices beyond the end of June.

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Vote For Your Top Virtualization Blogs

voteIt’s that time again. For the last few years Eric Siebert, over at vsphere-land.com, has organised a vote giving you, the readers of virtualization blogs, the opportunity to decide which you think is the best.

Jeremy and I run this site in our spare time because we want to but if you could see you way clear to voting for us, or any of you other favourite virtualization blogs, then you have our thanks.

Just hit the “vote” button to the left to be directed to the voting page, or click here.

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TrainSignal Moves to Online Subscription Model

The first ever TrainSignal course that I “took” was David Davis’ VMware vSphere 4 training. I had heard lots about it from a few people on Twitter and several others in person and I wanted to use it to fill in a few gaps in readiness for my VCP4 exam. I’ve since been through a few other courses and they’ve all been great.

What’s changed between then and now is TrainSignal’s transition from supplying only DVDs, through adding online access to purchased course, to finally switching to a subscription only model.

It’s a move that makes a great deal of sense and it’d be worth a subscription to get access to course related to technologies that I don’t use as often. There is even an offline player but it’s currently limited to desktop computers (Windows / OSX).

One thing that I would like to see though is a way to view courses offline on mobile devices. I recently used Handbrake to transfer my copy of Scott Lowe’s Designing VMware Infrastructure to my iPad so I could work through it anywhere. At about 800Mb though, I would only want to download that ahead of time and not via 3G when on a train.

Still, good move TrainSignal. I like it.

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