Tag Archives: Toronto VMUG

Friday Shorts – .net AJAX Autocomplete with no webservices, youcanthavethisforapassword, Education VMUGS and more

Alright, here we go, week 2 of this series of posts…enjoy 🙂

Using the AJAX Autocomplete in .net without engaging web services

I’ve found a new appreciation for the autocomplete functionality that languages such as ColdFusion provide out of the box. In a .net project I have been working on I simply wanted to have a textbox where the end user could begin typing in a students name and have the application make suggestions based on what they were typing and what was stored in one of my database tables. Easy enough right? No! You see, most of my googling resulted in setting up webservices to serve the data to the textbox. All in all it seemed pretty ugly. In the end I figured out how to avoid the webservices call altogether following a great article on aspsnippets.com. Obviously you need to tweek to get the results you want, but it all works in the end…trust me!

Seriouisly Microsoft – Only 16 character passwords

I seen a tweet from John Troyer this week which eventually lead me to this article. Now it seems kind of ridiculous to me! What’s the logic in only letting people have a 16 character password? Now my password is a lot less than that and I probably wouldn’t have one any bigger than that but still…It just doesn’t make sense why they would limit a password length – why lessen your security? And what have they done with those users that are already over 16 characters. The section on whether or not they have only hashed the first 16 characters of your password is interesting and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the way they went. Either way, it’s a great article, have a read and see if you are as dumbfounded as me…

Vertical based VMUGS

In an effort to share knowledge, learn from our peers and just plain ol’ get together we are now, along with a handful of other public school districts are getting together to share ideas, fixes, scripts, etc with each other. So this is planned for a few times a year and based on certain common types of technologies that we all work with, VMware being one of them. That got me to thinking. I love the structure of the VMUGs and I find them extremely valuable on a personal and a business level. However, implementing something into an educational environment vs almost any other environment is a completely different type of beast! There’s a slew of requirements and constraints associated with education. I’d love to see a series of VMUGs or learning sessions or whatever they could be called be held based on business vertical. Off the top of my head you could have Education, Healthcare, Government, etc…. Not saying we need one per quarter, but a couple per year would be cool…ah well, a man can dream…

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….



It all starts with a user group

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.

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 – 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.