Tag Archives: Toronto VMUG

Stanley Cups, Storage, and Flash – Toronto VMUG Recap

torontovmuglogoIt was an early morning for me as I left my place around 4AM on Tuesday.  Why would one get up that early and battle the dreaded Toronto traffic?  To get downtown in time to participate in an epic Toronto VMUG at the Hockey Hall of Fame of course.  We had a jam-packed day full of some great sponsored presentations by Cohesity and Datrium as well as some solid community content coming from Matt Crape (@MattThatITGuy) and Mike Maxey from VMware  For those that couldn’t make it, this is how the day played out.

VMUG updates

We began the day with a few updates in regards to the local Toronto chapter – mostly the us, in true Canadian fashion apologizing for our lack of meeting generation over the last year.  One highlight though was the chance to officially introduce Daemon Behr (@DaemonBehr) to the leadership group.  VMUG leading is not something new to Daemon – he was the head of the Vancouver VMUG for years and we are pretty pumped to have him on board with the Toronto VMUG now – hopefully with Daemon being a part of the team we can get a little more regular with our meetings now.  And don’t forget – our next meeting, hopefully will take place in Q1 of 2017 and of course our full day UserCON will be back right smack dab in the bitter cold of winter come February 2017.

Cohesity – Simplifying secondary storage

cohesity-logoCohesity was our first presenting company of the day – and they were a great one to kick it all off!  Cohesity began with a brief history of the company – which at times can be a little stale – but not in this case.  In IT terms Cohesity is still young so it’s great to see the paths that their founders have taken to get where they are today! From there we went into a definition of the “dark data” and “secondary storage” terms that Cohesity uses within their platforms – again, it’s great to define what we are talking about before we start to talk about it – I think that really helped with audience understanding of the rest of the presentation.  Speaking of the rest of the presentation – that’s when we took a dive into Cohesity’s DataProtect and DataPlatform services, talking about architecture, design, and use of their policy based solution.  Cohesity sparked a lot of conversation and questions from our attendees, which in my mind, is the keys to a successful VMUG appearance. Cohesity had a strong presence at the VMUG as well, with at least a handful of employees attending the event.  It’s great to see a company go “all-in” in terms of resources for these meetings.  I think it really helps them to convey their message and present their solution to the attendees.  Big thanks to Cohesity for showing up and giving us a great overview!

Datrium – Open Convergence

datriumlogo_rgbNext we had Mike McLaughin from Datrium, all the way from California to talk to us about their open convergence platform and VM acceleration technologies.  However instead of just simply promoting the product Mike took us on a journey of one problem that Datrium helps to solve, directing most of his attention to the trials and tribulations of trying to support a VDI environment.  Doing so allowed a lot of attendees to directly relate what he was talking about to their environments – from there they could do the math to see just how Datrium could help them solve some of their storage latency and performance issues.  Datrium has an interesting solution which uses host side software, more specifically a vib installed on our ESXi hosts, along with some local flash host-side flash storage to handle local I/O, while streaming any persistent data to their “NetShelf” appliance.  Just as with Cohesity we had a lot of questions around Datriums platform, all of which were answered by Mike – Honestly, both presenting companies went a little over their time but I didn’t have the heart to stop them – as the questions and dialog between the attendees and presenters are some of the most important aspects of the meeting IMO.  Thanks to Datrium for travelling so far to be with us for the day at the HHOF

Matt Crape (@MattThatITGuy)

Matt Crape was kind enough to also venture through the craziness of getting to Toronto to give us his take on how to be prepared for DR and BC.  As with most customer/community presentations that we have this one was IMO opinion one of the best of the day.  Matt was able to take a very vendor-agnostic take on DR, and present his experiences in a very laid back, relating matter to us.  DR is a funny subject at times – and a lot of time people don’t take all the considerations they need to into mind when designing a solution.  Some tidbits that really stuck with me from the presentation are things like having access to fuel – sure, having a generator is great move, but in a wide-spread outage it will be pretty useless if you can’t get fuel to power it 🙂  Also, storing tapes in fire rated vaults – Matt stressed while sure, your tapes won’t catch on fire in those vaults – and yes, the vault will be in great shape after the fire – but good luck getting any data off of those tapes when you open the door and walk into a room full of melted plastic.  Big thanks to Matt for coming down and talking to us – there was a lot of dialog and back and forth between the attendees – and having a “in the trenches” experience presented is always the best way to convey information.

Mike Maxey

To close off the day we had Mike Maxey, who just happened to be flying in for the vForum the next day, come and give us an overview of some of the key components of VMware’s EUC solution.  We didn’t have a lot of time for Mike due to all the dialog from the day, but in the 30 minutes or so that Mike had he certainly hit all of the big points around how products such as Workspace One and VMware’s identity manager can help accelerate the delivery of our desktops and applications to our users.  Workspace One is a product I’ve always wanted to give a shot, and I’ve had it up and running on a few different occasions, just never could find the time to devote the resources I would like to.  After listening to Mike I certainly want to revisit my deployment and check out all it can do!  Thanks to Mike for coming all the way from Atlanta to talk to us!

So – all in all I’d say we had roughly 40 people in attendance at the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday – a good day for a VMUG considering all of the VMware madness that was going on in Toronto that day (Partner summits, vForum prep, etc).  We also piloted a solution that we may use to eventually start live streaming our meetings, Daemon has set all of this up and has some of the presentations uploaded already here.  Anyways, for me it’s off to the vForum today – so if you are going to be around certainly find me and say hi – I’ll most likely be at or close to the VMUG booth all day!   Thanks again to our presenters and all the attendees who came out – I saw a lot of familiar faces, as well as some new ones – and see you all again in January!

February 25th Toronto VMUG Agenda Finalized

1362963110-TorontoVMUG1-300x79Consider this post what you will – call it self promotion, a plea to get more registrations, an advertisement for the VMUG – it really doesn’t matter.  The truth is I’m just excited about the Toronto VMUG UserCon coming up on Feb 25th and wanted to spread the word about what we have put together on the agenda for the day.  Last years UserCon was a good one – everything went off without a hitch and honestly it will be hard one to top but I think we’ve done a pretty good job…  With that said, before you even read on I’d suggest you register below – then come back!

First up let’s start with the keynote!  We are super pumped this year to bring you Nick Marshall (blog / twitter) from VMware to deliver our morning keynote – from what I can gather Nick will be talking about IT careers and how to develop and elevate your own IT profession.  Judging by past conversations at VMUG events with attendees, and listening to where a lot of the “hallway” conversations end up I think this subject will be a GREAT fit with our Toronto VMUG attendees and I for one am very excited to hear what Nick has to say.   Although Nick works at VMware he’s done a lot of community driven work in his own time, including authoring both the Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5 and Mastering VMware vSphere 6.0 books, along with blogging, helping out with the vBrownBag podcast and playing a big role in AutoLab!  We are pretty lucky to be able to lure him away from Palo Alto and into the -20C temps currently whistling around Toronto!

Last year we had somewhat of an impromptu VCDX panel at the end of the day – although we had some people who had already left there was great discussions around pretty much every “v” topic you can think of!  This year we decided to repeat this, and at the same time move it to a more structured time – so our lunchtime keynote will consist of 4 very, very bright minds!  Tim Antonowitz (VCDX #112), James Wirth (VCDX #83), Joe Silvagi (VCDX #175), and Eiad Al-Aqqad (VCDX #89) will be on hand just after the lunch hour to talk about pretty much anything we want.  And looking at their bios I really can stress the word anything – between the four of them they have a ton of experience in hyperconvergence, storage, performance optimization, SDDC, automation, NSX, Cloud, professional development… – it just goes on and on – be sure to jot your design questions down and don’t miss this!

Our Demo Zone will be in full effect again this year with Daemon Behr (twitter) doing a customer presentation in regards to risk and design!  I always love seeing the community members present and try to encourage as many to do so as we can.  Big thanks to Daemon for stepping up and doing so…

As always we also have a slew of sponsors, vendors, and partners with some awesome content lined up for you as well.  A big thanks to those people because without them we wouldn’t be able to bring you things like toques and stickers!  This year we have presentations lined up from the likes of Brocade, Veeam, EMC, VMTurbo, Cohesity, Dell, Trend Micro, VCE, Zerto, Nutanix, Tintri, Simplivity, Vertias, and Riverbed – I’m sure you can pick a few names out of that list you recognize!  Also, we have VMware slotted for 8 sessions as well – and with the recent announcements you can bet there will be some great content to talk about.

Wait did you say toques?

toqueThe “Virtualization eh” toques will be back again this year so be on the lookout to nab yourself one of those – we will also have a drawing where one lucky attendee will take home a homelab as well as many giftcards, stickers, etc – you know, the usual swag!

So with all that said I hope to see you at the end of the month in Toronto!  As always you can keep up to date with the happenings of the Toronto VMUG by following the @TorontoVMUG account on Twitter and joining in with the #TOVMUG hashtag!

Community shines at the Toronto VMUG

1362963110-TorontoVMUG1-300x79While riding the GO train into to the Toronto VMUG yesterday I was frantically editing some presentation slides as it turned out I needed to do a little “filler” time at the meeting since we had a sponsor drop off last-minute.  The presentation was nothing big, simply a guide if you will on how to get the most from the VMware community!  Turns out it was a pretty decent topic since the whole day really revolved around community, more specifically community involvement.

First up for the day was Toronto VMUG member Joel Gibson (Blog / Twitter).  Joel gave us a great presentation titled “The four issues I encountered deploying vCenter and SRM 5.5 in a Windows environment”.  This was most definitely the best session of the day!  The engagement that Joel had with the audience had everybody participating by asking questions, offering suggestions and participating in an all out troubleshooting scenario.  By the end of the presentation everybody was voicing their own problems and trying to work through troubles within their environments.  This was a truly a “user-group” presentation.  Thanks so much Joel and I hope this isn’t the last we hear from you.

PernixData_Logo_ColorNext up was our gracious sponsor PernixData!  Pernix hit the ball out of the park (wait it’s Canada, they, uh, went roof daddy on a Vezina winning goalie ?) speaking about their flagship software FVP!  Andy Daniel (Blog / Twitter) was the speaker from Pernix and he was handling all of the questions (and there were a lot of them) from the audience like a boss!  I can’t speak enough about Pernix and how they have come to market with FVP.  I’ve not yet used the product myself but have had many close peers recommend checking them out!  Needless to say when the time comes that I need to look at accelerating my storage with SSD, I’ll probably have a look at Pernix before jumping head first into placing flash in my array!

frappierFrom there I took the stage for a brief 10-15 minute discussion about the VMware community and how to get the most from it.  It was nothing big really, just an outline of some of the great blogs to watch, podcasts to listen to, and people to follow on Twitter.  At the end I placed a challenge to everyone that wasn’t currently on Twitter to set up an account and simply watch the VMware community interact through social.  I think it would certainly be a great way for VMUG members and leadership to stay in touch in between these quarterly meetings, helping to really shape our half day and full day events into something that we really want!  After all, it’s YOUR VMUG!   To help drive home my point I showed the graphic to the left in which I simply mentioned my presentation idea to Angelo and Eric, and had a response from a great community member Jonathon Frappier (Blog / Twitter) within minutes (OK, 120 minutes) stating he had already done some work on the topic and offered it up for grabs!  This to me is the power of Twitter!

Eric Wright (Blog / Twitter) closed the day with a talk about OpenStack and the Industry Shift with Open Cloud.  Honestly, this was a “roof-daddy” of a presentation as well!  If you ever get the chance to hear Eric speak I would jump on it – He’s very engaging, very entertaining, and has sessions full of memes and honestly, he could be talking about the stock market up there and I’d be interested!  That said, he was talking about OpenStack, Open source, Open cloud and enterprise adoption of all these things.  Big ups to Eric for taking this subject to the Toronto VMUG and thanks for the “Cheeseburger Cheese” financial tip!

As always, Angelo Luciani (Blog / Twitter) gave us a great update on ways to stay engaged within our local VMUG community, VMUG news and all that jazz!  This guy runs a very tight ship when it comes to VMUG meetings and dedicates a lot of his time to help us – so thank you for that Angelo!

So, another quarterly goes by but this time leaves me pondering “Was that the best quarterly VMUG meeting I’ve ever been to?”  – That’s an easy ponder because the answer is definitely YES – I had a great time as always and thanks to everyone who took time out of their day to attend, to Pernix for the sponsorship and great presentation, and to Eric, Angelo and Josh for the great presentations!  Let’s keep this ball rolling into our October meeting!

Toronto VMUG Feb 27th full day extravaganza!




In my mind, the three tweets displayed above are a really good gauge on how our February 27th Toronto VMUG full day user conference panned out.  Throughout the day I strolled around and seen lots of people engaged in some deep conversation, whether it be about something they are having difficulty with at work or something that they had just learned about during one of the sessions.  People were collaborating, with the presenters and with each other.  In fact, during the ‘Ask The Expert’ session there were many a time when people were raising their hand not to ‘ask’ but to further comment on a question that was already answered.  All of this collaboration and discussion is in my mind the true value that anyone can get from a VMUG – and it was great to see it all come together in Toronto!

As for the day it all went off without a hitch.  Angelo Luciani ( blog/twitter ) kicked it all off with a brief intro of what was going to happen throughout the day.  From there, Mike Roy jumped right into by delivering a keynote on vCHS which was completely awesome and very well accepted by the crowd.  He went over what exactly vCHS is, how we can leverage it, and topped it all off with some awesome use cases that he has seen from being “in the trenches” with vCHS.  Props to Mike for getting the day off to a great start.

From there the sessions broke out and the vendor booths opened!  Everything from Veeam to VSAN was covered in the breakouts, which seemed to at some points be at capacity!.

Then came the highlight of the day – the lunchtime keynote with Chris Wahl ( blog/twitter ).  Chris was kind enough to come all the way from Chicago to help educate us on how to “Stop being a mine sweeper” and get automating tasks within our environment.  It was a great presentation that had everyone hanging on his every word – and judging by the tweets had Toronto thinking twice about how they are doing things inside their environments.

The conference ended with an “Ask The Expert” session that prompted a ton of discussion around VSAN, NSX, Thin Provision space reclamation, and vCO.  From there, the drawings were had, the sweet homelab was given away and everyone headed down the street for a great vBeer sponsored by Veeam (unfortunately I had to pass due to the 3 hour drive ahead).


As you can see from the tweet above, the place was packed.  503 of the 700+ registered attendees stepped through the doors making it our most attended event EVER!!!  Props to the other Co-Leaders Angelo Luciani and Eric Wright (blog/twitter) who honestly carried this event on their backs in terms of planning and organizing!  As well as a huge hats off to VMUG HQ who kept us all in line!  If you were at the event, please consider coming back to one of our local quarterly meetings where the discussions and content are just as awesomesauce as this one.  Also, to keep informed about future events and get all of the material from this one, be sure to follow @TorontoVMUG on Twitter or keep checking back to www.tovmug.com.

Holy crap the book is done – Troubleshooting vSphere Storage is available!

As some of you may now for the past, what feels like years but is probably closer to 6 months or so I have been working on a book project revolving around troubleshooting storage in a vSphere environment.  At last I'm happy to say that the book is finally published and sitting on a variety of websites (Packt, Amazon) waiting to be purchased and consumed by you 🙂 !  The book, cleverly titled 'Troubleshooting vSphere Storage' is 150 pages straight to the point exercises that a vSphere admin can take when dealing with storage visibility, contention, and capacity issues.


Early on when I was pondering the idea of doing this I had no idea about the amount of work and time commitment that writing a book would consume!  I most certainly have a new found respect for the rock stars that are putting out 500 page books out there!  It really takes a major commitment from the authors, reviewers, and editors to get everything done!  Speaking of reviewers, my technical reviewers, Angelo Luciani ( blog / twitter ), Jason Langer ( blog / twitter ), and Eric Wright ( blog / twitter ) were key to me actually finishing this project.  Their feedback was awesome and without it, well, who knows what state the book would be in. So a big thanks goes out to them for all their help!

Needless to say I'm pretty excited to have a published piece of work out there – and if it helps just one person, well, then I guess I've done what I set out to do 🙂

vExpert – What it means to me!

vmw_logo_vmware-expertThere have been a ton of vExpert posts over the last few days since the announcement of the 2013 recipients so I’m just going to throw another one into the fire!  Once again I’m stoked to be nominated as a 2013 vExpert!  I find it amazing to look at my growth over the last three years and am proud of how far I’ve come, both professionally and personally and a big part of that is a direct result of this community.

So a big thank you to VMware, John Troyer, and the rest of the community team and most importantly the community itself.  I’ve always said that my main reason for starting this blog, doing those VMworld/VMUG presentations, evangelizing technology in general is not to gain titles like vExpert (although I’ll take it, it’s pretty sweet) it was to simply give back to the community that I’ve gained so much from.

More so than the title, it’s really the retweets, the comments, the thank you emails, the suggestions, the help and the feedback that I get from all of you that makes all of this worthwhile and self fulfilling.  Also big congrats to all of the new and returning vExperts!  There is a lot of them which is super awesome!  Honestly it’s a great group of people with a lot of brain power and its’ quite humbling to have my name listed next to some of them!  Big grats also going out to my fellow Toronto VMUGers Angelo Luciani and Eric Wright – well deserved on their parts!

So once again Thank You and cheers to another vYear!