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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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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.

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vExpert 2012 Programme Announced

As you may recall, last year VMware very kindly designated me as a vExpert 2011. I couldn’t be any happier about that although at the time it fazed me for the whole day! Yesterday at VMware Partner Exchange 2012 in Las Vegas, VMware announced some of the detail about their vExpert 2012 programme.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the vExpert award is not about technical ability it’s about sharing knowledge, experience and helping to grow and encourage the VMware virtualisation community. The award is given to the most active and enthusiastic VMware users and community members each year and benefits the recipient in a number of small ways:

  • They get to use the vExpert logo
  • They get year long NFR trial licenses for much of VMware’s products set
  • They get the opportunity to join beta and early access programmes
  • They get invited to attend exclusive events at VMworld and Partner Exchange

There are other benefits too. None of them should be underestimated though. Additionally Alex Maier, the vExpert Program Manager, and John Troyer (her predecessor) both work very hard on our behalf.

The 2012 programme is going to be a little different though. It is going to be expanded to provide 3 paths to becoming a vExpert. They are (and these were shamelessly copied from the announcement in the vExpert forum):

Evangelist Path

The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist pathway.

Customer Path

The Customer Path is for internal evangelists and community leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have contributed to success stories, customer references, or public interviews and talks, or were active community contributors, such as VMUG leaders.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path

The VPN Path is for employees of VMware partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements.

Although there are 3 paths, there will only be one vExpert designation – everyone will get the same award.

So, how do you become a vExpert? The exact requirements can be found along with instructions for nominating someone (or yourself) at www.vmware.com/go/vexpert2012. Good luck.

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vExpert 2011… Surely not?

“Don’t call me Shirley!”

I love that joke but “surely not” was my response when John Troyer’s email popped into my inbox this morning.

Since that time I’ve had a veritable deluge of congratulations from all quarters. Along with the award itself that means a lot to me so this is a big public thank you to everyone really, especially John Troyer and vExpert panel.

Obviously the bar has been set now. Time to get my bottom in gear.