Juiced: #VMworld Essential Power Plan, Survivability & Disaster Avoidance!

In preparing for VMworld 2012, this year I invested in a few essential items. I wanted to ensure I was productive and had a good time.
Having a solid plan for powering up and staying “juiced” is especially important at an event like VMworld where in addition to the entire program for session descriptions and locations being online, the primary means of communicating is via Twitter, be it #hashtags, dms or from the normal stream of goings on, if your connected device dies, it means you’ll be missing out on some great opportunities.

As my “conference survival kit” began coming together from Amazon fulfillment, I tweeted out what I had in the works and several followers asked for my review of the devices. So, it’s a little late, but here ya go.

The compact mobile power pack by NewTrent (IMP120D) is a 12,000mAh rechargeable external batter with two USB ports. This device gave me the confidence to head out from the hotel for a full (18-20 hour) day without having to consider how/where/when I was going to locate a wall charger and spend time pluggin’ in. For years now, I’ve been sporting two batteries for easy swap out, but even while rocking two extended batteries and a clunky wall charger in your back pocket, those last few hours of an evening can be nail biting when you’re trying to find the after-after party meetup or figure out where the heck you are so that you can hail a ride back to your hotel.

New Trent IMP120D iCarrier 12000mAh Heavy Duty 2A/1A Dual USB Ports External Battery Pack

Things I considered when selecting an external battery charger:
Form factor: size matters as does shape.
— While no featherweight the compact form fits pants pockets well. It’s un-attached meaning it didn’t add bulk to my device(s) or require any type of stand.
Price – convenience has its price but within reason.
— I wasn’t willing to spend >$99
Capacity( mAmp) – how many more hours of runtime would it add
— I found I could easily get 3 full charges of my phone (from 10% to full in ~20 mins). This was plenty, plus I had a second batt on standby in case.
Output: You faster is better when charging over USB.
— For tablets & smartphones a trickle charge can’t keep up with usage, leaving you drained. For fast charges I used the 5V 2.1A USB and occasionally connected a second device (bluetooth) to the 5V 1A output.

Another item that made it’s way into the survival kit was a compact travel powerstrip made by TrippLite, the TRAVELER3USB.
This gem was recommended by @jfranconi (who has reportedly been “Kicking the crap out of one for months as a PSO roadwarrior for VMware.

Down low on this baby is: Tripp Lite TRAVELER3USB Notebook Surge Protector USB Charger 3 Outlet 540 Joule
3 triple prong outlets spaced to accommodate even bulky “brick” plugs
2 USB ports for charging accessories ( I did find hey would only trickle charge (500mA per port) So a tablet or smartphone to charge adequately may take overnight)
Small & light with a short cord that wraps into a space carved out in the housing, excellent design for keeping it out of the way when packing.
I also always throw into my bag a 2-prong plug adapter in case I’m faced with an old school wall outlet or worse, at the end of a cheap extension cord.

One other purchase I made that I continue to appreciate: HUSH PUPPIES!
Yeah, they’re back…or they never left… or whatever, but I’ll say this: they’re comfy and the hold up!
Those 3-4 days of 18+ hours include plenty of walking and standing. Solid footwear is critical to your Disaster Avoidance and Survivability!

Any how, those are just a few items I’m glad I invested in and I thought you may be interested to know how they worked out.

What tech items always go along with you when travelling for work or fun?

Let me know in your comments, Partner Exchange is coming up quick, I may need some optimal travel equip for Las Vegas!


24 hours in Atlanta – VMware User Group @ATLVMUG #ATLVMUG

The Atlanta VMUG Annual User Conference was plugged as a large event attended by an engaged and well informed community and it did not disappoint!

I’ve regularly attended local and regional VMUG events since 2008. Initially as a user, later as a speaker and lately as a volunteer on the leadership advisory committee. Atlanta’s Annual User Conference was my first time attending a VMUG as a sponsor. My employer is a VMware partner and we had a table/booth along with a square on the stamp-o-mania passport booth hopping game sheet, of which there were two, count ’em two, each with an opportunity to score a $500 MasterCard gift card. Not to shabby.

The event was held at the Georgia World Congress Center If there is one thing I learned during my short stay (<24 hours) it was, Atlanta goes BIG when they VMUG. Not only were there gobs of users in attendance, the vendors were keenly aware of this and showed up in full force. Our table was #62 of nearly 80 that were there.

VMUG badge flag

I’ve attended VMUGs in various capacities since 2008

As a customer I have always appreciated VMUGs and vForums as for me they feel less intense in the sense that the schedule purposely has gaps for mingling time and the format is generally open so impromptu conversations are easy to pick up. This creates a vibe that is less “edgy” and ensures that a trip down a row of booths will not feel like a carnival in which everyone is gaming for you attention. As a partner now, I appreciated the fact that the vast majority of people I interacted with at our booth did not seem to be in a hurry or stand-offish. I saw a great many actually taking the time to visit each booth and find out what each particular vendor does. Nearly everyone appeared genuinely engaged in a manner that was both mutually respectful and  collegial.   We as vendors have solutions or services to offer and the user community is generally receptive to learning about the options that are available to them. The back and forth with customer inquiries as to how specific technical or operational challenges are addressed demonstrated a well informed population with the skills and knowledge to assess the myriad of hot technologies coming down the pipe for VMware customers.

As this was just an overnight, out and back trip, I didn’t get a chance to explore Atlanta outside of my hotel and the venue, but I hope to return sometime soon to do just that.

My return flight home was scheduled to depart ATL at 830 EST… corresponding exactly with #vBrownBag start time… I did not want to miss this week’s presenter, as it was announced CTO @herrod would be joining, making it an extra special. Fortunately my flight was delayed a bit (#WhoSaysThat?) and thanks to the wonders of @gogoinflight once on board I was able to tune in to finish out the entire session. #Winning!

Proximal Data VP biz dev Rich Pappas at Atlanta VMUG

Our VP of  biz dev at Atlanta VMUG booth

Kyle VMUG - I'm comin outa the booooooth

I’m comin’ outta the booooooth!

@SanDiegoVMUG all day event VMworld 2012 briefing, including labs @MarriottDelMar


[update 11/19] Presentation materials have been posted to http://www.vmug.com/sandiego (acct. req’d)

The San Diego’s VMware User Group all day event on Tues. 10/30 was hosted at the San Diego Marriott in Del Mar. The overall theme for this meeting was “VMworld 2012 Recap”

Especially for those users who did not attend this year’s VMworld, this was an opportunity to briefed on the latest announcements and technology trends that came out of this year’s conference.

Attendance at the all day events is normally double the regular member meetings, so there was a good showing.

The local VMUG leadership team did a great job putting together this event. Many thanks to  Christian Boddaert, Chris Catano and Lawrence Dee for their hard work and dedication to maintaining the local user group and to  Nth Generation for cosponsoring this event and providing hands on labs.

An especially well attended session was:

  • Comparing VMware vSphere 5.1 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V  Both platforms offer major enhancements; find out what Nth Labs tests have revealed!

View from the back of the room captured by Matt Weiner @VMwareVTSP

If you are a local San Diego VMware user and don’t already attend SDVMUG, please consider joining us!

The VMware User Group is an independent, global, customer-led organization consisting of more than 75,000 members worldwide.

Joining is easy, it’s FREE (as in beer). Membership is completely voluntary with no fees or complicated joining process. Sign up, show up and start benefiting from the wealth of knowledge and support provided by your fellow professional VMware community members.

There are a number of ways to get involved and there are varying levels of commitment.

For the latest info and access to presentation content:

For a glimpse at the format and topics covered, take a look at the agenda from the full day event below:

9:00 – 9:30a – Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:30 – 10:30a
– Welcome & Introductions
– IT Trends for the next 1-5 Years
– VMworld Highlights
– vSphere 5.1 for Virtualizing Business Critical Applications
10:30 – 10:40a BREAK
10:30 – 3:30p Hands-on Labs by Nth Generation
Up to 100 45–min Lab Sessions, First Come First Serve –See “Lab Descriptions” below
10:40 – 12:00p
– Cloud Readiness – Strategy, Governance & Security Considerations
– VMware Cloud Management
– vCenter Operations + Demo
– Site Recovery Manager
– VMware Horizon
– Drawing
12:00 – 1:30pm LUNCH & PARTNER EXPO
1:30 – 2:40p
– vSphere 5.1 vs. Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
– VMware Cloud Infrastructure
– vCloud Networking and Security
– vCloud Director + Demo
– HP Converged Solutions for VMware
o *New* HP Insight Control for vCenter server (Servers, Storage & Network Mgmt)
o *New* HP CloudSystem Matrix integration with vCloud Director (“AutoFlex”)
o *New* ProLiant Gen8 servers, new Advanced Technologies, DL980
o *New* “Flat SAN” with 3PAR Utility Storage & BladeSystem
2:40 – 2:50p BREAK
2:50 – 4:00p
– PaloAlto Networks – Security Solutions for the Physical and Virtual Data Center
– DataCore – Software Defined Storage for the Software Defined Data Center
– CommVault – A Better Way to Protect Virtualized Environments
– Quantum – Protecting and Preserving Data Across Physical, Virtual, and Cloud Environments
– Drawing

4:00 – 5:30p – PARTNER EXPO

Labs Sessions
-Software Defined Datacenter *
-vCD Infrastructure Resiliency
-vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1
-vCloud Networking and Security Suite *
-vSphere Distributed Switch Features
-VMware Infrastructure Navigator 1.1
-vCM for vSphere 5.4.1
-vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 *
-Site Recovery Manager 5.0
-vSphere 5 Storage Enhancements
-vSphere Auto Deploy
-vSphere Web Client (5.0)
-vCM 5.4 OS Provisioning
-vFabric Application Director
-View 5 Persona Mgt
-View5.1 Pool Management *

* Strongly Recommended



What Would You Say, You Do Here?

I talk to the engineers…

I began working for a Startup Software Vendor in February of 2012. When making the decision to join a startup, one of the key considerations for me was the role I would play.

In addition to a desire to be challenged I wanted to be certain in my role I would have the opportunity to contribute significantly to the success of our company.

As the case may be at most start-ups, roles and titles tend to be fairly fluid.

On any given day it’s likely I might wear five or six hats.

I regularly spend time as our internal infrastructure manager for both production and test/dev hardware and software. This includes managing storage arrays from multiple vendors, physical servers, internal FLASH and SSD storage components, networking equipment along with myriad of VMware infrastructure to support development and operations. This part of the job is similar to what I’ve done for various past employers.

What’s new and exciting for me… and admittedly a challenge that I’m enjoying are the new areas I get to work in.

In addition to “IT SysAdmin” duties, I do a fair amount of research for our development team. This usually involves accelerated deep-dive technical learning followed by quick and dirty deployment of what are often complex solutions for validation of our own product’s compatibility or to simulate a particular use case or end-user environment. It is just as likely that I’ll completely tear down this new implementation once validated as it is that it may become the platform upon which another project hinges. In this area I’m strengthening my automation and scripting abilities to rapidly and consistently deploy modular components in repeatable process.

I talk to the customers…

Working with our Salesforce team I review leads and send out a new evaluation entitlements to potential customers and decision makers.
Often I will interact with these same customers as a Sales Engineer on scheduled pre-sales call or webinar.
Again if these current and prospective customers require support I will field those inquiries.

The role I most enjoy is when I get to put on my Customer Advocate and Product Management hat. As a virtualization specialist and domain expert on VMware I get to shape our product, including contributing to high level design decisions, UI/UX, architecture, deployment and maintainability.

You see, in addition to handling the technical logistics

“…I have people skills!”

( If you didn’t catch the Office Space references throughout this post, please watch this clip. It may help explain how I’m not quite as crazy as you might otherwise think… Then again it may confirm my lunacy 🙂 )

BTW: if you haven’t watched Office Space (as any good geek has), fear not the cure is immediately available for streaming on Netflix. I know, awesome huh!


Everybody’s doin’ the fish yeah! yeah! yeah!

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, is the title of the fourth book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The title is referenced by @Mike_Laverick in his blog post announcing he’d be joining @VMware, ending his independent run as RTFM-uk (even as that site was purchased by TechTarget in 2010). Besides following his chinwags and reading his books, I met Mike in 2009 when he came to San Diego VMUG to talk SRM. At the same event I spoke on behalf of my then employer about our experience deploying Teradici endpoint devices as part of our VDI deployment using VMware View.

We’ve all had chance to read more than a handful of such “Dear John” blog posts recently. It’s the nature our industry, call it “vendor gobble” or churn or just good people rising to the opportunity and making the leap. Regardless of how you label it, the community is constantly in flux, as folks change employers/roles, blogs go stale, slow down or change focus, as do podcasts and other contributions by community members. As some members step away from their “duties” it opens ups space for others who are able to pick up the torch and run a bit, hopefully filling the void and keeping the whole group moving forward.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d introduce this, my blog with another Fish reference…

Everybody’s doin’ the fish yeah! yeah! yeah!
It’s not so bad being trendy everyone who looks like me is my friend!

Those lines come from the track, Trendy, by the 90’s ska band Reel Big Fish — (Give the video below a listen as you read the rest of this post.)

The references to trendiness in the song’s lyrics are presented in an ironic tone, as is the topic of “selling out” in another of their tracks that I mention below. In many ways, I have felt that beginning YAVB, “yet another virtualization blog” is something trendy. There are already so many great blogs and other resources out there.

At this year’s VMworld US  in San Francisco during the Ask the Experts vBloggers discussion session(# VSP1504 ) the question of, “What motivates you to blog?” came up.
The panel consisted of 5 of (arguably) the most prominent voices in virtualization blogoSphere:
Scott Lowe , EMC Corporation
Frank Denneman , VMware, Inc.
Chad Sakac , EMC Corporation
Duncan Epping , VMware, Inc.
Rick Scherer , EMC Corporation

Chad jokingly threw out that it’s actually a “Napoleon power trip thing” for him (We all knew he was totally joking! Yeah, totally… 😉 )

Scott Lowe addressed the topic of potentially being labeled as a “Sell out” when one goes from being wholly on the user/customer side to becoming a vendor/partner.

There were other points of discussion that I won’t rehash here, but just the fact that we have access to such a great panel at a conference like VMworld says mountains about the VMware community, who we are and what we do. Some of these guys are considered “Rock Starts” by many (ok, most) and yet they are some of the most approachable and open people I’ve met. This sense of contribution to the community comes through on their blogs and that’s what keeps people coming back as readers.

Why Fish here?

everybody does it… and they wonder why don’t you!

So, me not wanting to be “trendy,” I also don’t want you to think that I’m a hipster either… Blogging was not something I wanted to do until I felt I was able to really make a valuable contribution to the community. I’d like to use this space to share my own experience as an IT professional, discussing my own journey of joining, being embraced by and now (hopefully in some way) contributing to the Virtualization Community.
That said, what’s going to be said here… we’ll see, hopefully some good stuff. That’s what I can tell you for now.

In the meantime, I invite you to…

Sell out with me… and everything’s gonna be all right!

How about you, Why do you blog? Are you one of those stale blogs, why haven’t you been back? Let me know in the comments…

You made it this far, enjoy some Ska & remember when we were all younger and wiser.