I've been meaning to write this post for some time now and with my recent nomination of a vExpert I thought the timing was finally right.    The basis was really to just to share my experiences with VMware, its' community, and the knowledge, connections and friendships that I have gained from all of the above and how it all really started with a user group, the VMware User Group.

I began my journey with virtualization back in 2008 after I had taken a promotion at work and was kind of thrown into it.  This was back in the 3.x days and ever since that first vMotion that I seen I can say I was most certainly hooked.  I had some experiences with the community, more specifically the VMTN forums along with attending the odd vForum, but as with anything you really don't get the most out of anything until you develop a passion for the technology.

And that was exactly what happened, with the upgrade to vSphere I found myself managing this virtual environment more and more and really starting to dedicate a lot of my free time reading documentation, whitepapers, following industry experts and their blogs and really starting to dig deep into all that is VMware.

2010 was the year that I started to attend my local VMUG chapter in Toronto on a regular basis, and this is really where my journey began.  December of 2010 brought the full day regional VMUG where I saw a presentation on vCenter Operations, a technology which was still in beta after the Integrien acquisition.  After seeing the power in this product I followed up with Martin, the product manager for the product and landed myself and my company a spot on the beta crew.  I did my best to provide Martin and his team with the most information i could in regards to the product and how we were using it in a production environment and in response to that received a ticket to VMworld.

Now I knew VMworld was going to be big and epic, but never could I have prepared myself for what was to come.  A week full of community events, tweetups, meetups, parties, sessions….it was unbelievalbe really.  One of the tweetups that I attended was hosted by John Troyer and basically just talked about how to start up your own technical blog.  This was something that I had pondered for the years leading up to that day, but never really acted on.  After VMworld I decided I would give it a go…and I think its been a successful venture so far.

So, after the blog was up and going it was really all about building my brand.  I landed some sponsors, ended up on the Veeam Community Podcast for an episode, and ultimately, just last week was named a vExpert for 2012.

So, I guess that's enough rambling for now, but the main takeaway from this post I guess would be to get out to your local VMUGs and engage into conversation with the community.  I mean, I ended up a vExpert, wrote a couple of VCP certifications, started a blog which I now know I love maintaining, and really, it all started with a user group.