Symantec vExpert Briefing Day 29th March 2012

Symantec, I am so sorry.

There, my apology is out there. Now I ought to explain it…

Back in March I responded to a thread on the vExpert forum about a briefing day that Symantec were planning to host at the headquarters in Mountain View. (I’m actually a former Symantec employee – via an acquisition – but that’s not exactly relevant.) Fortunately I was working in the Bay Area at the time and, as I was due to fly back the following day, my workload was light enough to allow me to attend. What follows is a description, or review, of the day. Obviously I should have posted this about 5 months ago (hence the apology) but things got a little busy around then and this has been sitting in my Drafts since then.

Now you know and it’s time for me to get back to my brief review of the day…

The day was organised by Jordan Pusey (@JordanPusey), an Alliance Marketing Manager for Symantec. He coordinated getting everyone there. The criteria that had been set was that the vExperts had to be US based and, except for me, they were. I was one of six vExperts and we were more than outnumbered by people from Symantec! 🙂 Present were:

  • Shane Williford (@coolsport00) – A virtualisation guru on Experts Exchange
  • Bilal Hashmi (@hashmibilal) – Author of cloud-buddy.com
  • James Bowling (@vSential) – Author of vSential.com
  • Chris Nakagaki (@zsoldier) – Author of zsoldier.com
  • Ryan Makamson (@virt_pimp) – VMUG leader

And on the Symantec side there were numerous people whose names I didn’t catch (another apology to Symantec) as well as:

  • Kristine Mitchell (@kmitchel) – NetBackup Product Marketing Manager
  • Renee Carlisle (@SymRenRPM) – NetBackup Product Manager
  • Abdul Rasheed (@AbdulRasheed127) – Technical Marketer
  • Sean Doherty (@SeanDinfo) – CTO of Symantec’s Enterprise Security Group (and a fellow Brit)
So, what was the day all about? Well this was the outline plan that we were given:
Time Topic Speaker
12:00 – 12:30 Reception/Lunch Dale Zabriskie, Symantec Evangelist
12:30 – 1:15 Virtualization Security Todd Zambrovitz, Sr. Product Marketing Mgr, VirtualizationColin Gibbens, Principle Product Manager, Information and Security Group
1:15 – 2:00 Virtualization Security discussion Dale Zabriskie, Moderator
2:00 – 2:30 Break
2:30 – 3:30 V-Ray and Virtual Backup George Winter, Staff Technical Product Manager, Backup
3:30 – 4:30 Virtual Backup Discussion Dale Zabriskie, Moderator
4:30 – 5:30 ApplicationHA Desmond Chan, Sr. Product Manager, Storage and Availability Group
5:30 – 7:00 Dinner with the vExperts

On the face of it I was slightly worried that this might have been a bit of a sales-oriented day but I need not have been concerned. Right from the outset the purpose of the topics was set out. Basically Symantec wanted to talk about their products and solutions in the context of how such technologies were being used day-to-day. So, taking backup as an example, they wanted to understand what challenges we perceived there were in the virtual infrastructure backup space. Yes, we talked about the various pros and cons of their products but as people who use such technologies and implement them. Essentially you could say that we were helping them fine tune their products a bit through some very interesting discussions.

Besides backups, we talked for quite some time about virtualisation security, anti-virus and HA. There was quite a long discussion about the merits and demerits of agentless anti-virus that I made quite a few notes on.

So what did I get out of it? Well, I wasn’t paid to be there. I ought to get that out of the way straight off. Aside from meeting some very well switched on people at a major vendor, I met 5 other very knowledgable and opinionated vExperts and I got to talk about technology with them all. That for me is what I wanted.

I did take away several thoughts that I won’t share now but that might become the subjects of future posts (when I get the time to research them and write it all up). Oh, and I also walked away with a portable battery that helped power my iPad on the flight back 🙂

It was a great day, I enjoyed it a lot and I’m grateful to Symantec for inviting me along.


Poore the vSoup

Between recent visits to the San Francisco area I was lucky enough to join Chris Dearden (@chrisdearden), Christian Mohn (@h0bbel) and Ed Czerwin (@eczerwin) for a recording of the vSoup podcast. In truth, it was 3rd time lucky as being 8 (or 9) hours behind and on a fairly manic schedule didn’t lend itself too well to planning anything with anybody.

I have to say that it was great fun and I’d love to do it again sometime when the subject of conversation won’t be abnormally large shower heads. At some point in the proceedings I did manage to slip in a plug to the vSpecialist VCDX practice event – that we’ve yet to organise properly – but what with work commitments and new jobs it’s taken a back seat for a few weeks. We might have to see if we can dovetail with Christian’s new VCDX initiative

Visit the vSoup site or download from iTunes…


Why I Do IT…

There are times in everyone’s life when you can’t remember how you ended up doing what you’re doing or sometimes why you continue to do it.

I have these moments occasionally, I freely admit it. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share what really started my lifelong association with computers. Flashback to the 80s… Continue Reading


Top 10 Virtualisation Blogs

It’s been over a year since the last poll was held to determine which were the top 10 virtualisation blogs on the internet. At the time this one was written only by me and wasn’t even registered with vsphere-land.com for the vote.

A lot can change in 12 months. Jeremy now co-authors the blog with me and has written plenty of brilliant articles. We’re also registered on vsphere-land.com (Eric Siebert’s site) and it’s voting time once more.

The world is full of award ceremonies and polls, each important to those involved. The thing to remember about blogging is that people don’t often get paid for it. Many of the sites don’t carry any sponsorship and with all of them the considerable effort to keep writing comes from passion and interest in the subject. A little positive feedback from readers makes a big difference.

So if you can spare 2 or 3 minutes of your time to vote for your favourite virtualisation bloggers, I know they’d appreciate it. Cheers!



VMTN Miniwag with Mike Laverick

Article by Michael Poore (@mpoore)

You could be forgiven for thinking that by now Mike Laverick’s campaign to get VMware to reinstate their VMTN subscription must have reached saturation point. Even though the software giant has sat up and taken notice – real notice – Mike’s not letting up yet.

The latest effort in what is dubbed the “VMTN Subscription Movement” (Twitter: #VMTNSubscriptionMovement) is a series of “miniwags” (a shorter version of Mike’s “Chinwag” podcast), brief video clips of people discussing the VMTN Subscription that Mike is posting on YouTube.

Knowing Mike from the London VMUG, I volunteered to do a slot and I’ve somehow ended up being the first miniwagger – his guinea pig if you like.

Here’s the clip (eagle-eyed viewers might just about make out a PowerCLI poster above my left shoulder):

In addition to doing this I popped up briefly on the Veeam Podcast with Rick Vanover a few weeks ago and participated in a short discussion with several other vExperts and the man at VMware charged with looking into resurrecting the VMTN Subscription.

You’d think by now that I’d be used to hearing the sound of my own voice. It’s still weird though.


Here’s To The Next 10 Years!

I was listening to Joe Baguley‘s keynote speech at the UKVMUG the other week and it made me think – which of course was the point.

The central topic of his presentation (or at least how I saw it) was to explain where IT is going in the future. There are hints-a-plenty already present in VMware’s current product set and upcoming releases but Joe painted the picture of a future where users aren’t tied to desktop computers (and, as a consequence, desks) but are free to use a plethora of devices to access corporate data and applications stored somewhere off in the clouds.

All of this is not because CIOs and CEOs want to go in this direction but because they are being driven that way by their users. These are users who are increasingly growing up in a world where computers and technology are not just prevalent but as much a part of everyday life as food and sleep are.

That’s my short interpretation of it anyway, others may disagree with it.

Joe described a direction (it’s not a destination as the goalposts will surely move further away before we are ever in reach of them) and I have no problem with it. My children will probably grow up more familiar with handheld devices than the chunky boxes that surround me at present and they are the future workforce that will shape IT; knowingly or not.

The standout thought that I had whilst sitting there listening though was something that had been on my mind for some time but that I had yet to find words for. Simply put, my thought was that in IT no vendor can afford to stand still. If they don’t keep innovating and driving forwards in the same sort of direction I mentioned above then the likes of VMware, Oracle, Sun, RedHat, Ubuntu, Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. will become a choice and not an assumption or foregone conclusion when it comes to IT.

What do I mean by that?

Take desktop computers as an example. Whereas a high proportion of home computers sold in the last 10 years have run Windows based Operating Systems, in the next 10 years that figure will have changed because other companies have innovated more in that space that Microsoft are perceived to have done. People are increasingly using tablet devices or smartphones instead of desktops and Microsoft have a smaller presence in that market. In 10 years’ time may people may not know or care what an Operating System is.

The same thing applies to people. I can’t sit on my laurels assuming that people companies are going to keep using the same technologies in their datacentres. Companies will eventually follow the trends in technology, adapt to the demands of their workforce and head in the same direction as their users because IT is increasingly being driven by consumers and users and not so much by those at the top of the corporate ladder.

I welcome and embrace the changes that will come in the next 10 years.


What’s happening with P2V?

Recently Quest Software announced the End of Life (EOL) of vConverter. They will stop selling it at the end of this month and stop offering support a year after that. Here’s a copy of the announcement to partners:


So, is there a new product on the horizon or are Quest seeing / foreseeing a decline in the market for P2V? It’s a legitimate entry point into virtualisation although whenever possible I’d recommend re-platforming applications or migrating data instead of using P2V as you get a clean, optimised server out of it.

Time will tell, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to PlateSpin, vCenter Converter etc.


Quest buys vKernel

There’s no doubt about it, Quest have made a lot of acquisitions. I’ve previously worked for a company that was acquired a few years ago (although admittedly it happened after I had left).

I’m still trying to work out how significant this purchase is. Quest undoubtedly have a big presence and their ownership of vKernel will probably help the latter out. I’m going to re-familiarise myself with both companys’ products lines as I’m interested to see if there are any overlaps or where the possible gaps are.

See vKernel’s announcement of the acquisition here.