Tag Archives: VMUG

Spring forward to the Toronto VMUG UserCon

Ahh Spring –  Most people describe this as a time where the rain falls and cleans everything up around us – flowers blooming, grass growing – a sign of warmth to come!  In Canada though, it’s a sign of giant muddy snow piles full of gravel, salt and sand from all of the plowing and shoveling performed all Winter long – for me, it’s a muddy white dog and two little munchkins tracking muck all over the house – All that said, there is some hope for Spring this year!  March 23rd marks the date for our next Toronto VMUG UserCon – so, if you want to escape the mud and the muck come on down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this Thursday and join 600+ of your peers for some great learning, technical sessions and some awesome keynotes!  We’ve got a great one planned this year and I just wanted to highlight some of the keynotes and sponsors we have lined up for Thursday!

First up – Mr. Frank Denneman

Over the years we have been lucky enough to have some awesome keynote speakers for our UserCon – this year is no exception!  I’m super excited to hear from Frank Denneman!  If you don’t know who Frank is let me try and enlighten you a little – this man literally wrote the book on DRS – three times!   The “HA and DRS/Clustering Deepdive” books – written by Frank and his co-author Duncan Epping are honestly one of the greatest tech books ever.  It’s written in a text that is easy to read, and has literally taught me so much about HA and DRS I can’t even begin to explain it all!  Certainly a must read for any VMware admin.  Frank moved on from VMware for a little while to work with PernixData as the CTO and has just recently returned to VMware taking on the role of Senior Staff Architect within their SDDCaaS Cloud Platform Business Unit.  Frank will be giving a talk titled “A Closer Look at VMware Cloud on AWS”.  With VMware and Amazon announcing a partnership recently allowing us to consume bare-metal ESXi from within the wide range of Amazon’s data centers this will most certainly be an interesting keynote explaining just how it works – and what we can expect from it in terms of unified management between our on-premises and AWS infrastructure.

The Breakouts and Panels!

After Frank the morning breakout sessions will then kick off – here we will have sessions from a variety of partners and vendors whom provide everything from hardware to storage to back up to monitoring.  You will see all of the familiar names here with 30 minute breakout sessions covering off their technologies.  Take a look at our sponsors below – without these companies these events wouldn’t be possible!    A round of sessions from VMware follows a couple of rounds of sessions from third-party vendors, then, lunch, and an aspiring/VCDX panel talk where you can be sure to get some in-depth answers to any questions you may have about design, architecture, or every day management of your VMware infrastructure.

Drinks, Food, and DiscoPosse’s

After lunch we have another couple of rounds of breakout sessions by VMware and our sponsors – with a reception following immediately thereafter.  vSphere with Operations Management will sponsor our networking reception, complete with drinks and appetizers – a perfect way to end what I’m sure will be a jam-packed day!  That said, what’s a beer without entertainment right?  We are super happy to have our own VMUG co-leader Eric Wright (@discoposse) giving our closing keynote for the day!  Think of this a little like the technology version of CBC’s Hometown Heroes segment that they offer on Hockey Night in Canada!  Eric, our own hometown hero will deliver a jam packed hour of all things VMware and Terraform, showing us just how easy it is to start automating our infrastructure with the open source software!  I got a sneak peek of this at our last local VMUG meeting and this is something you won’t want to miss!

Free Stuff!

Then, yes, of course, Giveaways!  We have some pretty cool prizes this year including cold hard cash (VISA gift cards), GoPro’s, and the ever popular grand prize of a complete vSphere Homelab!   This is on top of all the great giveaway’s we see from our sponsors!

So if you aren’t busy this Thursday, register now & drop in – we’d love to see you there!  Even if you are busy, cancel everything and come on down!  Can’t make it?  Follow along via Twitter with the hashtag #tovmug and hey, we have more meetings coming up as well to help you all get the Toronto VMUG experience.  Our Q2 meeting is May 31st sponsored by Veeam and Mid-Range and our Q3 meeting is tentative for September 19th with sponsors Zerto and Tanium (still in development) – come and check us out.  As always, stay connected.  You can follow us on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, watch our website, or become a member of the Toronto VMUG Community in order to stay up to date on all things tovmug!  See you Thursday!


Don’t delay!  Register now for the March 23rd Toronto VMUG UserCon!


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!

Not to be bragidocious – but the Stanley Cup will be at the Toronto VMUG!

Toronto VMUG LogoWhile all my American friends gather to vote on their next president us fellow Canadians, more specifically Torontonians will be gathering for a syrup drinking, poutine eating, Coffee Crisp devouring, Snow Tire installing VMUG of VMUGs!  Well, to be honest there won’t be any poutine or Coffee Crisp (provided by us) , nor will we be installing snow tires (It’s November folks, should’ve had them on for a few months by now) – but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is syrup close by (there usually is)!  What I can guarantee though is a Toronto VMUG – an epic one – at the Hockey Hall of Fame!

For anyone attending the Toronto VMUG on a regular basis this will be a bit of a change of venue for us.  Normally meetings are held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre however logistics and price kind of moved us in another direction this go around.  In the end we chose the Tim Hortons Theatre (I know, more Canadianisms) at the legendary Hockey Hall of Fame.  To answer your next question, yes, it’s that special time of year when the Stanley Cup will be present.  And your next question, yes, all attendees will gain free access into the exhibits (extra free if you are a Habs fan).

hhof-building hhof-display hhof-display2 hhof-gretzky hhof-habs hhof-orr hhof-players hhof-stanley

What’s happening on November 8th?


First up we have a couple of great sponsors covering our costs for this event – Datrium and Cohesity will be on the docket to show us what they have in terms of products and solutions – so a big thanks to them for coming out!  From what I’ve seen of their presentation outlines I think we are in for a non-markety, tech loving treat from these guys!  For those that don’t know Datrium provides a very unique take on how to do production storage while Cohesity has a strong play in the secondary storage market.  So we should have you covered for the day in terms of all your tiers of storage!  Be sure to visit their sites to learn more!

We also have Mr. Matt Crape (Twitter / Blog) coming all the way from Southwest Ontario to talk to us about Disaster Recovery.  Again, I’ve saw Matt’s DR talk during the #vBrownbag Tech Talks at VMworld this year and we are also in for a treat with this one!  So thanks to Matt for making the hike into the craziness that is downtown Toronto!

Datrium has offered up an Apple Watch to one lucky attendee and we have a slew of other great giveaways and swag for this local meeting!

So – if any of this sparks an interest be sure to sign up for the November 8th Toronto VMUG (edit: we may be at capacity, but if you really really want to come I’m sure we could find a spot for yah!).  So, come on out – be part of the self-proclaimed “First VMUG w/ the Stanley Cup”, enjoy some great tech deepdives and community networking, win some prizes and check out the Hockey Hall of Fame and be sure to get your picture with Lord Stanley!

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!

The Software Defined VMUG Advantage

vmugI’ve been a VMUG Advantage member going on three years now so I’ve experienced first hand some of the great value that it brings along with it.  Basically, if you plan on attending VMworld and doing a couple of exams or training courses throughout the year the VMUG Advantage discounts offered more than pay for the program fees.  The full VMUG Advantage beneiftis can be seen here, but for laziness sake, here’s a quick outline of the “biggies”.

  • $100 discount on VMworld
  • 20% off VMware delivered classes
  • 20% off VMware certifications
  • Access to all VMworld online content
  • 50% off VMware Workstation/Fusion
  • Discounts on VMware Learning Zone, VMware On-Demand, Lab Connect and more.

With that said, those that can’t attend VMworld or are not planning on taking any VMware training or exams might find themselves scratching their heads wondering what real value the VMUG Advantage program can bring to them.  And honestly, before now their wasn’t a whole lot.

Enter EVALExperience

New in 2015 VMUG Advantage subscribers will now have access to EVALExperience!  EVALExpereince provides subscribers with exclusive access to certain pieces of VMware software, coupled with a 365 day non-production NFR license.  Basically, VMUG Advantage subscribers will be able to download and use nine different pieces of VMware software in their home labs in order to explore new features, gain hands on experience and further educate themselves on the offerings.  So what’s included?  Well, it’s not a simple lightweight set of software – there is some expensive sweet applications included (shown below) that should be able to keep you busy for the year


VMware vCenter Server 5 Standalone. VMware vSphere w/ Operations Management (Enterprise Plus), VMware vCloud Suite Standard, VMware vRealize Operations Insight, VMware vRealize Operations 6 Enterprise, VMware vRealize Log Insight, VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon, VMware Horizon Advanced, VMware Virtual SAN

To me, EVALExperience is a solution to a couple of gripes within the community.  First, it adds that extra value to those VMUG Advantage subscribers that don’t attend VMworld, or don’t take any official training or certifications.  IMO the ability to evaluate and download software for longer than the usual 60 day trial period is well worth the $200 price tag of VMUG Advantage.  Secondly, it provides somewhat of a replacement to the VMTN that VMware used to offer.  The VMTN which offered a similar type solution of downloading and using NFR licenses of VMware’s products was put to rest a number of years back.  The community for a while now have been trying to get VMware to reinstate the VMTN – this to me, along with teaming up with VMUG, answers those screams about the VMTN.

So, if you are already a VMUG Advantage subscriber you should have received an email outlining how you can gain access, if you aren’t, go and sign up here.  More info on the EVALExperience program can also be found here.  For now, a big thanks to VMUG and Happy Testing!!!

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!