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!