Tag Archives: VMUG

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.

Toronto VMUG – May 7th Recap

Well, once again Angelo (twitter) did an awesome job at putting together an awesome event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on May 7th.  I'm not going to include all the slide decks as I normally do, if you want to see them you can rock on over to the Toronto VMUG website and check them out for yourself.  I will however include the last presentation of the day, which was done by Eric Wright (blog/twitter), a community member who spoke about Powershell and PowerCLI and how to apply them to your everyday experiences.  In my opinion this is what the user groups are all about, the users, the members speaking about their experiences.  I understand the need for vendors to have there time to speak, without those sponsors we couldn't have events likes this, and honestly, both vendors that were at this event (Veeam and Arista Networks) did a great job and had some great presentations, but their is nothing more valuable then listening to your peers and other people just like you talk about their experiences…

Speaking of the vendor presentations, the last two VMUGs that I have attended have had some great conversation and back and forth with the vendors during their presentations and this one was no different.  A lot of great questions being asked resulting in a lot of great answers and follow up questions.   These events are amazing when the audience is engaged as they are in Toronto.

It was nice to connect with Angelo and hear about his experiences while hosting the Silicon Valley VMUG last month.  It's always great to connect and hear the things that Angelo has planned for the future for not only the Toronto VMUG but other events he is looking to host.  He really does dedicate a lot of his time to the community and I'm happy that he was recognized as a vExpert and asked to help out with the Silicon Valley VMUG.

So hats off to Angelo and a big thanks to Eric for making it a fabulous day.  And again as always, stay connected with the Toronto VMUG by reading the blog, follow them on twitter, connect on LinkedIn and circle them on Google +.  And as promised, Eric's slide deck below….



Toronto VMUG – March 27th Recap

Once again I had the pleasure of attending a half day event hosted by Angelo Luciani and the Toronto VMUG team on March 27th.  In my opinion this was one of the most informative VMUGs that I have been to as of yet;  The sponsor presentations were great, but the real winner for me was the audience participation throughout the complete event.  It seemed more like a conversation between community members than a sales pitch from the vendors, and to top it all off, the last presentation of the day came from a community member outlining their trials and tribulations with vSphere.  Below are the slides and my notes from the event….

Angelo started the day off with a brief introduction as to how the day should play out and basically how to 'stay in touch' between meetings with the Toronto VMUG members.  I had the opportunity to sit and talk to Angelo over lunch after the event and honestly this guy is a 'model community member'  He is doing the best he can to spread the word and share resources that he has found with the rest of the VMUG members.  You can truly see he is very passionate about virtualization and that passion shines through in the presentations and conversations that he has with everyone.  A true community leader!

Next in line was VMware throwing out their take on operations management.  It's not surprise that they are promoting their newest version of vCenter Operations.  If you are currently looking for ways to monitor and manage your virtualized environment I would highly recommend checking out the latest version of vCenter Operations as it is a very robust application which will certainly save you in troubleshooting time down the road when things start behaving 'abnormally'

The first sponsored presentation was by a Canadian company named Embotics.  Embotics gave us their interpretation of Private Cloud as well as the monitoring and management tools that are bundled within it.  No wifi meant no live demo, but they did have a canned demo which took us from a virtual environment to a Private Cloud in less than 20 minutes.  They seemed like they had a good take on how to provided these services to the SMB market and this is a company that I would certainly watch.

Next, all the way from California was Eric Burgener from Virsto Storage.  The term 'tough crowd' could have certainly been derivied from this presentation alone.  A lot of questions were getting thrown at Eric from all different angles.  However, Eric handled them all well.  Throughout the presentation I didn't here once the 'I'll have to get back to you on that one' or 'Let's talk after the presentation'.  He simply either answered the question with either an explanation, or a simple, 'No we don't support that'.  Virsto also seems like a sound company focusing on virtualizing your storage SANs and helping to accelerate workloads.  The OS dependencies on Windows however seem to throw me off a bit.

Last and MOST CERTAINLY NOT least was Robert Simons,  a community member, giving his presentation 'Lessons learned running VMware in an enterprise environment   This was a great presentation as Robert gave us a brief introduction of his environment, continued to dive deep into some of the issues and problems that he has experienced as well as the lessons he has learned  throughout his journey.  No doubt in my mind that this was the best presentation of the day.  Having a community member present really does help define these VMUGs as what they are, and that's a USER group.

All in all it was a great day!  I had the opportunity to sit and have lunch with VMUG Leader Angelo Luciani and another member Eric Wright after the meeting, which was filled with great conversation and food for that matter.  As always, you can connect with the Toronto VMUG through a variety of ways; The web, on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Toronto VMUG Recap – Dec 6

Once again Angelo and the organizers of the Toronto VMUG put on a great event with some awesome sponsors and presentations.  Below is just my 2 cents on the material covered!  Angelo was up first talking about how to stay connected in between events with everything happening at the Toronto VMUG.  I would encourage everyone to pick one (or all) of the avenues to stay in touch with what is happening.  Angelo's presentation is below

Peter Creswell from TrendMicro was the first sponsor presentation. Peter went through Trends product line including their Deep Security, as well as spoke about the need to 'rethink' security as we now live in a virtual world. He talked about the importance of having a 'single pane of glass' (yes, there's the key line again!) management solution throughout the security for virtual, physical, and even cloud environments. He went on to speak about 4 security inhibitors in a virtual environment (Resource Contention, Instant-On Gaps, Inter-VM attacks, and Management Complexity) and how to overcome some of those issues (whether using Trends solutions or any solutions, it doesn't change the inhibitors). Overall I thought Peter was an excellent speaker, full of energy and hit on some key points regarding virtualization and security.

VMware was up next with Ken Werneburg all the way from Vancouver talking about SRM 5 and What's New!. Actually, I would classify this presentation more along the lines of a discussion as the room was very active back and forth with Ken. Ken hit on all the main new features of SRM 5 such as automated failback, vSphere Replication, Disaster Avoidance, etc and explained what and what isn't supported in each scenario. It was a great discussion. You can see Ken's presentation below but be warned the slide deck doesn't do the session justice as there was a great deal of interaction.

Josh Tseng was next talking about the WAN optimization, load balancing, and caching solutions that Riverbed has to offer. Josh spoke about the future of data and the ever so changing technology landscape that is forcing all employees to be "remote" in one way or another. From a product perspective, he focused mainly on Riverbeds flagship StealHead products and how to integrate hardware wan optimization solutions into the cloud era using both physical and virtual Steelhead instances. He touched on a new acquisition Riverbed has made which eventually led to the launch of their newest solution Stingray. He also explained how steelhead customers can benefit by the partnerships that riverbed has made with update repositories such as akamai tech and amazon.

Last but not least was Eugene Michenko from Cisco with his session titled Virtualization aware security and networking. Eugene spoke of the different types of workloads ( physical, virtual, and cloud ) running in todays datacentre and how the need to maintain the network visibility that we have in the physical world in the virtual and especially the multi-tenant cloud worlds is crucial. He presented the solution by delivering a somewhat technical dive into some of Cisco's products such as the nexus 1000v and protocols such as VXLAN can help companies provide just that. He talked about Cisco's new virtual security gateway, a zone based firewall can help to further segregate traffic in a virtual environment and showed how policies are created as well as the integration with vCenter. Also he touched on an offering that i didn't know existed which was some hands on labs that Cisco offers their partners and customers to access to play around with products like the 1000v. He directed everyone to get in touch with their Cisco reps to gain access. Quite a nice opportunity that i didn't know existed.

That brought us to the end of the half day event. The full day regional VMUG conference is slotted for February 7th so be sure to schedule it in your calendars as the regional events are always a great time and are now being labeled as a mini VMWorld of sorts containing very technical deep-dives and breakout sessions presented by some of the top names in the industry. You may even find a hands on lab or two there. Once again thanks to Angelo and all those who help to organize and put on these great user conferences for the GTA. And for those who weren't there or for those that were and need a reminder be sure to stay connected with your local Toronto VMUG by following @torontovmug on twitter, joining the Toronto VMUG LinkedIn Group, and subscribe to the Toronto VMUG blog.  As always, you can get more information regarding your local VMUG at www.myvmug.org or by following @myvmug on twitter. Oh, almost forgot, you can circle your Toronto VMUG on google +  now as well!!! See you in February.

Toronto vMUG – Sept 27 Recap

Although I've had plans to go to the last 3 or 4 Toronto VMUG events something has always came up which has put the 2 hour drive on the back burner.  The only one that I have made it out to was the regional VMUG which I thought was more like a mini-vmworld in a sense.  I did however make it out to the latest half day event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on September 27th and I'm glad I did.  The half day events seem to be more topic oriented, with all vendors and speakers focusing more on one functionality or product of the the VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite.  The smaller crowds give you more of a chance to talk and network with your peers in a little more intimate of a setting.  With that said, heres what went down.

The day started off with Angelo Luciani (the VMUG leader) who just did a short presentation regarding the days agenda, brief overview of upcoming meetings, the VMUG advantage program and the ways in which to stay connected in between VMUG meetings.  Those included twitter (follow @torontovmug), the Toronto VMUG LinkedIn Group, and the new blog (www.tovmug.com).
Mike from VMware was next up on the list and went through a lot of the announcements that were made at VMworld, even to the finite detail of taking interesting factoids out of Paul Maritz' keynote presentation regarding the ratio of VMs to babies and vmotions to aircraft.  Mike also took us through the releases of ESX/ESXi from 1.0 all the way up to 5.0 and explained most of the new features and performance gains from 5.0.  In addition to this, he provided a brief explanation of all the products that are making up the new VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite.

(VMware's Presentation)

Next up was one of the sponsors, Xsigo.  I can't remember the gentleman's name that was presenting but it was a very good presentation nonetheless.  Xsigo talked about how the can streamline I/O management issues with their product called I/O Director.  Basically by virtualizing the network and storage I/O with there appliances you can, in essence, provide up to 80GB worth of bandwidth to EACH of your servers.  Will you ever need that?  Who knows, I know I don't…right now, but hey, we've all seen the old computer advertisements stating you would never need more than 64K of ram, so anything is possible.  Xsigo looks like they have an interesting product line, but I'm not sure if it is something you would consider just adding to your datacentre.  I would definitely consider it upon building a new datacentre, but the investment in the HBA's, Brocades, and Network switches on the back of our blade chassis now is a little too much to just rip out and throw away.

Next was the guest speaker, Scott Lowe.  This was the highlight of the day for myself, and really, the driving factor as to why I made the trip up there.  Scott is an active blogger and is constantly contributing content and dedicating his time to the community.  I would definitly recommend checking out Scott's blog over at blog.scottlowe.org and following him on twitter.  Scott made the long haul down from Denver to Toronto to speak about stretched clusters in his Elastic vSphere presentation.  Scott spoke about all of the different types of stretched clusters you can build along with all of the different design consideration and 'gotcha's that you need to consider.  Scott took us from start to finish with all the components of a stretched cluster that need to be addressed including storage, HA, DRS, Storage DRS,  networking, and operations.  He then gave his personal speculation of what he hopes will be included in future releases of products to help customers to more easily deploy these types of cluster and to avoid the common problems that arise from them.  Personally, I've never had the need nor the dollars to build a stretched cluster, but the overall concept of 'Disaster Avoidance' is appealing to me.  The ability to command your entire datacenter workload to vmotion over to another datacenter without disruption to service is very cool and somewhat futuristic.  Scott was a vibrant speaker and had the audience engaged in ways that the other speakers did not.  Not once did Scott mention any specific vendors and/or products and in my opinion his passion for the technology gleamed throughout the entire presentation and it felt as if it was just another customer delivering the presentation.  Well done.
F5 took the stage next to speak about their BIG-IP architecture and how they can improve performance within VMs sitting behind there appliances, as well as conserve bandwidth to and from the clients accessing them.  They spoke about their plugins and integration into vCenter and how they can implement some automation in provisioning VMs on demand to respond to changes or increases in traffic volume.  They went through there model of a hybrid cloud and how their products fit into this design, as well as some of the SSO and wan acceleration features they provide.  They also touched a bit on how they can help accelerate View connection starts and restarts.  I didn't find this presentation as helpful as the rest of them, however, I'm not much of a networking/bandwidth/traffic guy.  I'm sure some of the networking guru's that attended were plenty interested, but it was almost foreign to me. 

Cisco closed the day talking about their UCS platforms and vSphere 5.  They explained very briefly on how they became a member of the top 3 blade computing companies within a very short time in the market.  The items that caught my attention from there presentation the most was how between using Cisco UCS Service Profiles, VMware Auto Deploy, and vCenter Host Profiles, you can essentially spin up hosts with little to and sometimes no manual interaction aside from pushing a power button.  And this is done in a very short period of time as well, perfect for the dynamic workloads a cloud environment require.  They also spoke briefly about VXLAN and the advantages that we will see once it is certified, as well as about their solution to migrate workloads between datacenters using the Nexus 1000V.  It was yet again another great discussion which spawned up many questions around the networking end of things and how to get your network guys involved with your virtualization initiatives.

In short, it was a great day jam packed with some great content (and a few great giveaways).  I want to thank Scott Lowe for making the trek up to the great white north and dedicating his time an knowledge to this event.  For those who are not able to attend a VMworld or a regional VMUG it really gives them the opportunity to meet, see, and learn from the 'virtualization rock stars' and bloggers.  Also I want to thank Angelo (and all the other VMUG leaders) for dedicating their time and efforts into organizing these events.  They are invaluable to me as a customer and as an end user and I know organizing sponsors, booking event locations, arranging for guest speakers and putting together agendas can be a challenging task and Angelo does a great job at doing it.  And for those who weren't there or for those that were and need a reminder be sure to stay connected with your local Toronto VMUG by following @torontovmug on twitter, joining the Toronto VMUG LinkedIn Group, and subscribe to the Toronto VMUG blog.  As always, you can get more information regarding your local VMUG at www.myvmug.org or by following @myvmug on twitter.