Like most of you I’ve been attending VMUGs for quite a while now and over the last few years I’ve helping out by co-leading the Toronto chapter. Each and every one I attend I always get some value out of it – whether it’s from presenting sponsors, talking with peers, or just creepily listening to conversations from the corner – one of the challenges we seem to have is getting the “conversation” going – getting those customers and community members sitting in the audience to voice their opinion or even at times get up and do a presentation on something. For our last meeting I reached out to Matt Crape (@MattThatITGuy) to see if he might be interested in presenting – Matt was quick to simply say yes – yes, but on one condition – do I want to come and present at his Veeam User Group? So, with that a deal was cut and I headed out this morning to my first Veeam User Group.
Veeam User Group – VMUG with out the ‘M’
Matt runs the Southwest Ontario Veeam User Group (SWOVUG) – I’ve seen the tweets and blogs around the SWOVUG events taking place, and have always wanted to attend but something always seemed to get in the way – for those that know me I’m a huge Veeam user and fan – so these events are right up my alley. So, I did the early morning thing again, battled the dreaded Toronto traffic and headed up to Mississauga for the day to check it out.
The layout of the meeting is somewhat similar to a VMUG meeting we have – two companies kindly supported the event; HPE and Mid-Range – and in return got the chance to speak. HPE started with a short but good talk around their products that integrate with Veeam; mainly 3PAR, StoreOnce and StoreVirtual. They also touched on HP OneView and the fact that they are laser focused on providing API entry points into all their products.
I’m glad HPE didn’t go too deep into the 3PAR integrations as I was up next and my talking points were around just that. I simply outlined how my day job is benefiting from those said integrations; more specifically the Backup from Storage Snapshot, Restore from Storage Snapshot and On-Demand Sandbox for Storage Snapshots features.
After a quick, but super tasty lunch (Insert Justin Warren disclaimer post here) Mid-Range took the stage Mid-Range is a local Veeam Cloud Connect partner offering DRaaS and a ton of other services around that. Mid-Range did more than simply talk about the services they provide – they more-so went into the challenges and roadblocks of consuming disaster recovery as a service, then touched briefly on how Veeam and themselves could help solve some of those…
Finally to cap the day off we had David Sayavong, a local Veeam SE take the stage to talk to us about “What’s new in version 9.5?”. David’s presentation was not just him up there flipping through slides of features, but more of a conversation around certain features such as ReFS integration and how all of the new Veeam Agents will come into play. Just a fun fact for the day – the audience was asked who had already upgraded to 9.5 – and honestly around 1/3 of the room raised their hands. That’s 33% that have already upgraded to a product that just GA’ed only 7 days ago – talk about instilling confidence in your customers.
Anyways I wanted to breifly outline the day for those that may be thinking of attending like I was, but haven’t yet set aside the time to do so.
But there’s more…
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that there is always struggles with getting people to “speak up” – this didn’t seem to be the case at the Veeam User Group. I’m not sure what it was but conversations seemed to be flying all over the place – for instance, after I was done talking about the integration with 3PAR there was a big conversation that started around Ransomware and security. Each presentation seemed more like a round table discussion than a sales pitch. It truly was a great day with lots of interaction from the both the presenting companies and the audience – everything you want from user group.
The user group intrigued me – and maybe some day I’ll through my name in to try and get something started up on “my side of Toronto” – it’s Canada right – there’s only a handful of IT guys here so everything east of Toronto is mine For more information about the Veeam User Groups keep an eye out on the Veeam Events page and @veeamug on Twitter! And to keep track of the SWOVUG dates I suggest following @MattThatITGuy and watching the swovug.ca site! Good job Matt and team on a great day for all!