Aug 20 2014

Show your VMs that you care by protecting them with Bitdefender

I’d like to welcome Bitdefender as a sponsor of vSphere-land and tell you a little about them.

With the rise and growth of the internet the world has become a very dangerous place where hackers and bad guys are constantly on the look out for vulnerabilities to exploit so they can steal data and cause problems for end users. Just about every electronic device these days connects to a network and the internet which exposes it to the hostile cyber-world that we live in. Protecting the data center and our end users and keeping them safe from threats is absolutely critical as data theft and malicious software can cost businesses big bucks. You don’t have to look too hard to find evidence of it, this recent news story and Data Breach report paint a grim picture.

Inside the data center server virtualization adds more potential attack vectors for hackers to exploit which makes it even more critical to properly secure the entire environment. When you implement VDI you open another can of worms as you have even more endpoints including tablets, phones and BYOD to secure. Despite your best efforts to secure your environment hackers always seem to find a way in as many vulnerabilities exist undiscovered and end users always tend to do stupid things with their devices.

What’s the answer to properly securing and protecting your virtual environment? It’s a combination of properly securing your virtual environment and client endpoints and using a security product that adds another layer of protection to your servers, VMs and all your end user computing devices. I’ve written about the importance of securing your virtual world, well now I’d like to tell you a little bit about how Bitdefender Gravity Zone can provide platform-neutral protection from malware that is specifically designed for virtualized servers and desktops. Some of the features of Bitdefender Gravity Zone include:

  • Multi-Platform Coverage – Supports just about every hypervisor available including vSphere 4.1 – 5.5, Citrix Xen, Hyper-V, Oracle VM and KVM. With vSphere it integrates “agentless” through integration with the latest VMware vShield APIs
  • Unified web console for all security services – Control Center web console manages virtual machines, physical endpoints, and mobile devices. It integrates with vCenter, XenServer, and Active Directory to synchronize inventories and manage machines and devices
  • Streamlined deployment tools – vApp like virtual appliances and self-configuring security agent optimized for inclusion in VM templates
  • Hypervisor-agnostic security – Protects Windows and Linux virtual machines on all existing hypervisors
  • De-duplicating scanning processes through multi-level caching – To minimize resources usage, known objects are not rescanned across an environment
  • Innovative modular design – Functional modules built as hardened Linux-based virtual appliances provide high protection, performance and resilience through centralized scanning and load balancing
  • Environment aware security agent – One security agent recognizes the endpoint type and self-configures with optimal features that recognize virtual and physical endpoints


So if you want to provide your virtual environment with the best protection possible, I encourage you to check out Bitdefender Gravity Zone. They have a free trial available so you can try it out in your own environment and see  first hand how it can protect your VMs and keep them safe.

Aug 09 2014

Tips and tricks for surviving and enjoying VMworld 2014

Another year, another VMworld, this will be the 11th anniversary of VMworld since the first one held in San Diego in 2004. The first VMworld only had 1,400 attendees, last year over 22,500 people attended VMworld. If you look at the graph below you can see every year is a record attendance for VMworld except for 2009 when it briefly dipped by 1500 attendees.  Will VMworld attendance climb again this year? I’m betting it will, virtualization hasn’t cooled off especially with the trend shifting to storage and network virtualization.


For me this VMworld will be number 7, my first one was in 2008 in Las Vegas. I remember that experience fondly as it was more intimate back then when it was a lot smaller. Over the years I learned many lessons about attending VMworld so I thought I’d pass that on to you:

  • Set your priorities and expectations ahead of time, VMworld has plenty to offer and you’ll get as much out of it as you put into it. Sessions are at the bottom of the priority list for me, things like networking and going through the Solutions Exchange are at the top. If you make a schedule it will be challenging to keep it as there are plenty of distractions at VMworld. Be realistic and don’t try and cram your schedule so full that you stress yourself out and are rushing to get to everything. Relax, enjoy yourself and have fun.
  • The sessions, so many to choose from, so little time, you’ll be lucky if you can attend more than a dozen of them. They’re just so much other stuff to do there its hard to find time to go to sessions. I recommend you pick a few that you really want to see and don’t sweat it if you miss some, remember they’re all recorded and you have plenty of time to see them after VMworld. I usually choose based on certain people that I want to hear speak and meet after the session. After all you can always hear the session later but you can’t meet the speaker after VMworld is over.
  • The labs, always pretty hectic to get into them but they keep getting bigger and better each year. Gone for a while now are the instructor-led labs using on-site data centers, VMware has migrated everything to the cloud and it is all self-paced. Many of the labs are available 24×7 now thanks to VMware’s Project Nee, so you don’t need to feel the urgency to take them at VMworld. Still it’s always good to get some hands on so if you have some free time be sure and take a few.
  • The parties, there are no shortage of them, my inbox always fills up with party invitations each year and trying to pick and choose which ones you want to attend can be even more challenging than picking which sessions to see. There is a pretty comprehensive list of them here. With VMworld starting a day on Sunday it opens up one more day for parties. The Welcome Reception in the Solutions Exchange is from 4-7pm on Sunday this year. There is lots of food, beer & vendors so its a good way to start the evening. Afterwards on Sunday is the annual big VMunderground warm-up party, this years it’s at City View at Metreon (4th & Mission) from 8-11pm, you have to register to get in (its a hard to get ticket) but they provide some different methods for trying to score one. This party grows every year and I think they had almost 2,000 tickets for it this year.  The official (or unofficial) VMworld tweetup and flipcup tournament is in on Monday from 7:00pm – 11:00pm at Folsom Street Foundry, more info and sign-up is available here. Tuesday seems to be the day every vendor throws a party, so pick the ones you want to go to and hop between them. Personally I’m going to try and make it to 2-3 of them including the Veeam party which is always great. Contact your vendors if you don’t have invites and they should be able to get you one. Wednesday is the big official VMworld party with The Black Keys playing this year, the party is back at Moscone/Yerna Buena Gardens this year. Finally on Wednesday evening if you are into stogies, a group of people are going to smoke them after 10:30pm at a local cigar bar, RSVP here. You can’t smoke anywhere in San Fran so if you like cigars come along.
  • The networking, that’s what VMworld is all about, don’t be a hermit and don’t be afraid to talk to people. People like Mike LaverickJason BocheScott Lowe and Duncan Epping aren’t surrounded by security guards and are down to earth guys who will talk to anyone. So go say high, introduce yourself and have a conversation, you’ll be very glad you did so afterwards. Don’t know where to find people? Well parties are a good place to start, everyone seems to gravitate there. Do yourself a favor and get on twitter if you’re not already and you’ll know in real time whats going on. You can find out more about tweeting here and blogging here, the official VMworld hashtag is #vmworld. There is also the VMworld Hang Space which is a good place to socialize and meet the bloggers. Be sure and check out VMware’s social media & community guide which has a lot of good info in it, also bookmark this page.
  • Plan your trip appropriately, you’re going to be on your feet a lot at VMworld, you better have comfortable shoes or you’re going to have real sore feet. Don’t by a pair of new spiffy shoes right before VMworld without breaking them in, you’ll regret it! Pack light if you can, you might want to being an extra bag, there are lots of prize giveaways and free swag all over the place so I can almost guarantee you’re going to go home with more than you came with. If you’re going to walk around with a back pack don’t stuff it too much, its going to get awfully heavy after wearing it a few hours. I travel light and don’t want a full laptop to lug around, I bring a netbook, iPad and smartphone and choose the one I want to carry for what I need to do at the time. Don’t forget power, especially for your phone, I carry a few battery packs so I can charge it as needed without an outlet. Jackery makes some cool ones in a few different sizes, the largest will charge tablets and multiple devices at once. Wi-fi coverage at Moscone is so-so and cell phone data in San Fran tends to be pretty bad and will probably be even worse at VMworld due to an additional 20,000 or so devices all fighting for service.
  • VMware makes a point to show off their talent at VMworld, this means those geeky developers that are normally locked up all day making the next version of vSphere are there and usually available to talk to. What better person to ask your HA question than someone who actually developed the feature. VMware has lots of other smart people there so be sure and check out the VMware booths in the Solutions Exchange to meet them. It’s not just VMware that has their smartest and brightest at the show though, most of the vendors have their best people there also so go by your favorite vendors and talk them up and get your questions answered.
  • The Solutions Exchange is like a Super Walmart, everything you can possibly need for VMware products all under one roof, take your time, stroll around and I guarantee you’ll see many cool products that you probably never knew existed. VMware has an incredibly rich ecosystem of vendors that can help solve your pain points and enhance your environment. Do make a point of spending plenty of time there, besides learning a lot you’ll leave with pockets stuffed with vendor swag. Besides the Welcome Reception on Sunday there is the Hall Crawl on Tuesday from 4-6pm where you can get free booze from certain vendors that offer it.
  • If this is your first time at VMworld or San Fran it can be a bit intimidating, especially when it comes to finding your way around. If you get there on Sunday try and pick up your badge then rather than fight the crowds on Monday. Walking around and trying to get your bearings can help, be sure and use the maps of the Moscone that are published on and in the docs you are given when you check in to see where everything is. If you need information don’t hesitate to ask someone, or even better trying tweeting it and you might get a quick answer. The more social you can be at VMworld especially if its your first time will really help you out as us virtualization folks are a friendly lot that don’t bite and are glad to help out a vComrade. Also be sure and download the VMworld mobile app for your phone or tablet.
  • See San Francisco if you can, there is lots to see in the city, know how to get around ahead of time, BART and the public transportation are great for this. Go see the sea lions at Pier 39 (watch out for the Bush Man), take a boat trip to Alcatraz, see the Muir Woods, Golden Gate or go climb Coit Tower. I have a big list of things to do in San Francisco here.
  • Know where to go after the action is over, once VMworld closes each day there are plenty of parties, after the parties are over many gather at popular spots. One such spot is the lobby bar of the Marriott Marquis hotel which is 2 blocks from the Moscone. I had many great late night conversations with others there each night after all the parties ended.

VMworld is four short days and will fly by before you know it, so be sure and make the most of it and soak up the incredible amount of knowledge that will be available both formally through labs and sessions and informally through talking to others. More than anything, enjoy the show, I hope to meet many of you there!

Aug 05 2014

An easy way to simulate a storage failure, just add thermite

I ran into Howard Marks from Deep Storage in the blogger lounge at HP Discover and while I was chatting with him he mentioned an interesting upcoming project that he was involved in that involved storage and pyrotechnics. Naturally I was intrigued, wouldn’t you be. The premise for this was to simulate a storage node failure in dramatic fashion in a clustered storage node environment and to demonstrate that despite a storage node failure the VMs running on the storage stay up and running and don’t miss a beat. To do this he setup an outdoor lab with storage nodes and hosts with one of the storage nodes being setup apart from the others with a big bucket of thermite set on top of it.


The thermite of course is the catalyst for initiating the storage node failure. If you’re not familiar with thermite it’s basically a pyrotechnic mixture of metal powder fuel and metal oxide. When thermite is ignited by heat it undergoes an exothermic oxidation-reduction reaction, this is fancy chemistry talk for a reaction that releases extreme outside heat (combustion). Unlike tannerite and other explosive components most thermite varieties are not explosive but instead burns at a extremely high temperature. When thermite burns it reaches temperatures close to 4000 degrees, which is pretty damn hot and can easily melt metals like steel which has a melting point of around 2750 degrees. Just imagine what this could do to a storage array.

So without giving too much away check out this video in the style of Mythbusters which demonstrates what happens when thermite meets storage and remember don’t try this in your data center:

Jul 26 2014

Time to get your VeeamOn

Veeam started as a small privately owned company that was founded in 2006  by Ratmir Timashev back when virtualization was still a relatively new technology. If you’re a sysadmin and have been working with virtualization for a while you probably used one of Veeam’s earliest and most well-known tools, FastSCP. FastSCP was a tool for copying VM files using the SCP (secure copy) Linux command, what made FastSCP great was it had a GUI and it copied files really fast (hence the name FastSCP).

Back in those days Veeam was a very small company that had only 10 employees in 2008. As the virtualization market started heating up and adoption in the data center started growing, a few companies recognized this opportunity and developed products to support VMware’s ESX/ESXi hypervisor. One area in particular that virtualization had a big impact on was backup & recovery as virtualization really changed the way backups needed to be done to be more efficient. It also opened up many new opportunities for doing backup & recovery differently and better.

While virtualization was still relatively new, many of the big backup vendors like Symantec hadn’t really noticed and continued to support backup & recovery in the traditional manner without taking into account the virtualization layer. A handful of start-ups did take note though and if you remember back in those days you had the big 3 of virtualization backup, Veeam Backup & Replication, VizionCore vRanger and PHD Virtual Backup.

Competition was fierce between those 3 for years but eventually one company rose to the top, Veeam. Why did Veeam do so well? From my perspective as a longtime industry veteran they did many smart things:

  • They moved fast and were not afraid to take chances, they recognized opportunities and trends early on and took advantage of them. When a new vSphere feature or API was available they pounced on it right way and it and incorporated into their product quickly.
  • They were the most innovative company in the backup space by far, they recognized some cool things you could do by taking advantage of the virtualization architecture and came out with some cool and very useful features like SureBackup and Instant Recovery.
  • They embraced the community in a big way and continue to do so, they have forged great relationships with many influential bloggers and industry people. Veeam has been a long time sponsor of mine and many other blogs I appreciate their continued dedication to taking care of the blogger community.
  • They have assembled an awesome team of people. I’ve know Doug Hazelman and Rick Vanover for many years and they are really involved with the community. They along with the rest of the Veeam team are just some fantastic people to know and work with. They also have some super smart people working for them like Anton Gostev helping to make their products great.
  • They are very customer focused, despite their size they still have great customer service. I’ve seen Anton and Rick jump in to help customers on Twitter and in the Veeam community forums helping to answer questions and resolve issues very quickly.
  • They also throw some epic parties, the Veeam party at VMworld is THE party to get an invite too.

Today Veeam has more than 1200 employees and with 17 international offices worldwide, including regional headquarters for EMEA in Paris, France, the Americas in Columbus, Ohio, and Asia-Pacific in Sydney, Australia. They are recognized as a visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and have won many industry awards. They even have their own Wikipedia page. Well now they have their own industry conference as well, VeeamOn.

VeeamOn is being held October 6th-8th at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas. The conference will feature some well-known industry speakers and analysts from groups such as Gartner and ESG. The show will have general and technical sessions and an expo area to see products from vendors and solution providers. I looked at their technical sessions and they have a lot of great sessions listed, I love deep dive sessions and I always look for those at any conference that I attend. I noticed that there are several sessions in the catalog, one that caught my eye was a Backup Bottleneck Deep Dive session that covers the data flow process, considerations for CPU, Network, IOPS and WAN caching as well as a performance log deep dive.

Another interesting session I saw is The Ultimate Guide to Data Corruption which covers the data corruption basics: What is data corruption; Why and Where it happens. They will also feature business and partner sessions so you can choose from a great variety of content. No matter which sessions you choose you’ll probably have no problem soaking up a lot of great knowledge, tips, info, great advice and much more on backup and recovery. In addition they will also have training (you can get Veeam certified on-site!), hands-on labs with lab warz as well as user group meetings. And of course I would expect an EPIC party.

To find out more about VeeamOn, head on over to their conference site and check out all the details and of course sign up to attend so you don’t miss out on this great event!


Jul 15 2014

Infinio can solve your performance problems and help get you to VMworld


Haven’t registered for VMworld yet? Want to go but can’t afford it? Well Infinio can help get you there. There are giving away a prize package which includes a VMworld full conference pass (a $1995 value). All you have to do is click the banner above and fill out a simple form for your chance to win. They’ll be announcing the lucky winner on 7/22.

After you register you might also spend some time on their site and check out their cool software solution for storage hardware performance problems in a VMware environment. You can get a free trial version and be up and running with their Accelerator solution in under an hour.

So what are you waiting for, go register now and you’ll be entered to win:

  • One full-conference pass to VMworld 2014 in San Francisco
  • (the conference pass includes access to the VMworld party and Hall Crawl events)
  • Access to the VMunderground party
  • Cool Infinio swag
  • Other great stuff!

Note: The prize includes the conference pass only. The winner will be responsible for their own hotel, airfare, and other expenses.

Jul 15 2014

VMworld Schedule Builder is live, better hurry up and use it, also my picks


If you’re already registered for VMworld you can now build your schedule and you better hurry up as sessions on popular topics are filling up fast. There was already a waiting list for the VVols Technical Overview session the same day the schedule builder opened (yesterday). It’s worth getting on the waiting list as hopefully once they see that a session fills up so quick they will change it to a larger room or offer the session again.

There are a total of 491 sessions (and 664 speakers) listed in the session catalog which can make it challenging to find and schedule sessions that you are interested in. I usually search on keywords, speaker names or use the filters on the sidebars (i.e. Advanced Technical)  to focus in on my interests. Searching on storage brings the results down to only 120 sessions. I’ll be speaking this year at an HP session, so if you want to come and see me and learn about 3PAR All-Flash arrays for VMware register for the below session:

  • STO2540 – The Perfect Stormage: How All-Flash Storage, Quality-of-Service Controls and Extreme Availability Enables Virtualizing Tier-1 Apps with Confidence

If you want to learn more about the new VVols architecture which you’ll hear a lot about at VMworld, there are at least 13 sessions on it from various storage vendors and VMware. VSAN is still very popular despite being a focal point at VMworld last year, a search on VSAN yields 30 results. Some additional sessions I recommend are below:

  • STO1965 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive (VMware session, Full – get on the waiting list!)
  • STO2554 – Zooming In: How VMware Virtual Volumes (vVols) Will Provide Shared Storage with X-ray Vision (HP/VMware session – learn about 3PAR and VVols)
  • STO1963 – Virtual Volumes Business Overview (VMware session – the more boring side of VVols but still good)
  • BCO1916 – Site Recovery Manager and Stretched Storage: Tech Preview of a New Approach to Active-Active Data Centers (VMware session – BC/DR is changing, learn how)
  • MGT1868 – Troubleshooting Storage Devices Using vCenter Operations (VMware/customer session)
  • STP3170 – Why Storage and Memory Are Reshaping IT Efficiency (Samsung – deep dive on DDR & SSDs)
  • STO2496 – vSphere Storage Best Practices: Next-Gen Storage Technologies (EMC/Pure – don’t miss the Chad & Vaughn show)
  • TEX1985 – Lessons Learnt from a Real Life VSAN POC at Trend Micro (VMware/TrendMicro – any session with Cormac is a good one)
  • INF1273 – A Technical Deep Dive on Implementing Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) VMware 5 Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) for DoD (SAIC – I’m a security geek)
  • INF1506 – Extreme Performance Series: vCenter Performance (VMware – sounds interesting)
  • VAPP2305 – Extreme Performance Series – Understanding Applications that Require Extra TLC for Better Performance on vSphere – Deep Dive (VMware – sounds interesting)
  • TEX1505 – How to Monitor a Virtual Machine Without a Direct Network Connection (VMware – obscure topic but sounds geeky)
  • NET2733 – Rack and Roll – Networking Automation and VMware NSX (VMware – not a big networking geek but the title caught my eye)
  • INF1552 – SDDC: Buzzword to Reality. Discussions with SDDC Architects that Goes Well Beyond Markitecture (VMware – it takes a lot of people to explain what SDDC is)
  • STO2197 – Storage DRS: Deep Dive and Best Practices (VMware – no Frank or Duncan but still might be good)
  • INF1601 – Taking Reporting and Command Line Automation to the Next Level with PowerCLI (VMware/customer – you have to see the PowerCLI masters, Alan & Luc)
  • MGT1876 – Troubleshooting With vCenter Operations Manager (Live Demo) (VMware – live demos are cool but can go easily go wrong)
  • STO3098 – Virtual SAN Best Practices for Monitoring and Troubleshooting (VMware – if you’re going to use VSAN, you better know how to fix it)
  • VAPP1340 – Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way! (VMware/EMC – I spent years supporting AD and virtualizing it)
  • VAPP1204 – Virtualizing and Tuning Application Platforms with High Transactional Volume (VMware – sounds interesting)
  • SDDC2370 – Introduction to OpenStack for VMware Administrators (VMware – Scott Lowe session, has to be good)

I’m sure there are some more good ones that I’m missing. One thing is for sure trying to schedule all the sessions you like will be a challenge as there tends to be a lot of session time conflicts and then you are forced to choose between 2 (or more) good ones. Have fun scheduling and see you at VMworld!

Jul 14 2014

New VSAN technical paper and book!


There has been a ton of content available on VSAN from sources like blogs, videos, KB articles, etc. but surprisingly there have been very few technical papers (none?) from VMware on VSAN unless you want to count the What’s New in VMware VSAN paper that VMware published back in February. Well VMware has just ended their VSAN technical paper drought with a new one entitled “Understanding Data Locality in VMware Virtual SAN“. What is Data Locality you might ask, according to the paper it is:

“In computer science, “data locality”, also known, as ”locality of reference” is the behavior of computer programs according to which a workload accesses a set of data entities or storage locations within some period of time with a predictable access pattern.”

With VSAN what this means is how VSAN makes effective use of it’s caching mechanism. The paper mainly explains how read caching works in VSAN and how you can also combine it with the Content-Based Read Cache that caches from RAM which works with VMware Horizon View. I always like deep dives on technology and this paper gives you a real good understanding of one of VSAN’s best features.

Once you finish reading the paper if you are thirsting for even more VSAN knowledge be sure to check out Duncan & Cormac’s new VSAN book which is available in the Kindle edition today and in paperback form in a month.


Jul 14 2014

Want to go to VMworld? Of course you do, SimpliVity can get you there!


If you are involved with VMware technology then going to VMworld is like a kid going to Disneyland. I don’t know of anyone that wouldn’t want to go to VMworld, but unfortunately that requires money and many companies can’t afford to send people as the combination of the conference fee ($1995) and travel can almost cost as much or more than the conference fee especially with the outrageously priced hotels in San Francisco.

Well if you want to go and can’t afford to, SimpliVity might be able to get you there. SimpliVity is giving out TWO free passes to VMworld 2014, and even better each is accompanied by a travel stipend to help cover your travel expenses.  If you are one of the lucky winners, you also will have the choice to attend either VMworld 2014 venue:

San Francisco – Aug 24-28


Barcelona – October 14-16

So even if you are already going to VMworld San Francisco, you could also go to VMworld in lovely Barcelona, Spain. SimpliVity will be announcing winners Friday, July 18th and Friday, July 25th on Twitter so make sure you are following them. Head on over to this page and fill out the simple form for your chance to win!

Jun 30 2014

vSphere beta program now open to anyone, Hello again vVols

VMware has historically been pretty controlling and secretive about their beta programs for vSphere and only allowing partners and select customers to participate in it. They’ve recently started to open up though with the VSAN beta that was publicly available 6 months before the product released. Now they have opened up even more with a public beta for the next release of vSphere that includes my favorite new storage feature, Virtual Volumes. Remember VVols? You might have forgotten about it by now with all the attention on VSAN. They have been talking about VVols for years since they first announced it but the feature has never found its way into a version of vSphere.  Remember this from VMworld 2012:


And this from VMworld 2013:


Now VVols is finally coming in this next vSphere release, but before you get excited you need to make sure you have storage that supports the feature and the new VASA provider that it relies on. Chances are you won’t find many (or any) storage arrays that support it today but talk to your storage vendor and they may have their own beta program that you could be part of which will get you the chance to play with it. VMware has a beta page dedicated to VVols and they have HP, Dell and NetApp listed as partners that have beta builds for storage that supports VVols. Read more about the VVols public beta here.

Note that they have not publicly given this next release a version number, the announcement refers to it as vSphere Beta, but I’m sure you can guess to what that might be considering that we are at vSphere 5.5 right now. Of course there are some rules to participating in the beta, pretty much the same rule as the first rule of Fight Club. So head on over to the beta site, sign-up and agree to the NDA and you’ll be enjoying the vSphere beta before you know it. I’m happy to see VVols finally getting some love from VMware and I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing a lot about it an VMworld this year.

Sign up and join the vSphere Beta Program today at:

VMware vSphere Beta Program Ground Rules

  • You agree to receive program communications (e.g. emails, webinar invitations, contest invitations etc.).
  • You agree to use the Beta community for general feedback and questions. For specific issues, log a Support Request for assistance. Requests will receive an acknowledgment within 24 hours, but there is no pre-determined SLA for issue resolution.
  • VMware will attempt to respond to feedback, comments, questions and issues posted to the Beta community, but there is no guarantee of a response.
  • Your Beta program participation may make you eligible for contests or incentives conducted by VMware to encourage Beta software testing. Details of any contests or incentives will be posted in the private Beta community.
  • Any version numbers used in this Beta are placeholders. VMware does not commit to including the features provided in this Beta in any specific released version.

VMware vSphere Beta Program Confidentiality Rules

Once you joined the private Beta Community, you are a trusted advisor, and VMware expects all the participants to treat this Beta Program as strictly confidential. This information shared within the private Beta community is covered under the VMware Master Software Beta Test Agreement that your organization has previously accepted, or that you will accept upon entry into the program.

You may:

  • Speak with other participants of the Beta Program about this program
  • Post on the protected, private discussion forums
  • Speak with your server vendor about this program, so long as you disclose that you are under an NDA and so long as they are also under an NDA with VMware

You may NOT:

  • Discuss this program publicly
  • Discuss this program privately with any other people not listed above.

Jun 24 2014

Who the top virtualization bloggers work for

When you are recognized as a top blogger you often get noticed by companies looking to hire the best people. Years ago there were many independent top bloggers but over the years many have been snatched up by companies eager to bring on good talent to their team. I was curious to see who the current top bloggers work for so I went through the list of the current top 50 bloggers and trying to identify their employers from twitter, their websites and LinkedIn. Here’s what I found out:

Note: I define independent bloggers as not working for VMware or any hardware/software vendors, independent bloggers are mainly customers or VARs.

The Top 10 bloggers

  • VMware – 6
  • Independent – 2
  • PernixData – 1
  • EMC – 1

VMware has snatched up most of the best bloggers, very few independents

The Top 25 bloggers

  • Independent – 7
  • VMware – 6
  • Nutanix – 5
  • PernixData – 1
  • EMC – 2
  • HP – 1
  • VCE – 1
  • Dell – 1
  • NetApp – 1

Nutanix went and scooped up many of the bloggers that are in the top 25, the big storage companies have few top 25 bloggers

The Top 26-50 bloggers

  • Independent – 13
  • VMware – 5
  • Pure Storage – 2
  • Nutanix – 1
  • PernixData – 1
  • HP – 1
  • Cisco – 1
  • Veeam – 1

Lots of independents here as bloggers are starting to make names for themselves and climbing up the top 50, good number of VMware bloggers as well

The Complete Top 50 bloggers

  • Independent – 20
  • VMware – 11
  • Nutanix – 6
  • Pure Storage – 2
  • PernixData – 2
  • EMC – 2
  • HP – 2
  • Cisco – 1
  • Veeam – 1
  • VCE – 1
  • Dell – 1
  • NetApp – 1

Almost half of the top 50 are Independent bloggers, most of them are in the 26-50 spots, VMware has 9 bloggers in the top 28 spots, Nutanix has the most top bloggers after that

Jun 23 2014

Did you ever wonder how things work with storage in vSphere?

I’ve always been obsessed fascinated with how everything and anything works, I have a very curious mind and it’s never enough for me to simply accept that things work, I need to know how they work as well. I’m always doing deep dive into technologies to get a very thorough understanding exactly what is going on behind the scenes. The benefit of this is twofold, first if I know all the deep details on something, I can speak to it much more effectively if I have to explain it to someone else. This can greatly help when you are doing presentations as the better you know your content, the more effective you will be presenting it. Secondly it helps immensely when troubleshooting something, if you know the inner workings of how something functions you can more easily figure out what is wrong with it or how it can be improved.

As a result I’m starting a series of posts here called Storage Demystified where I will deep dive into all sorts of storage related and vSphere related features and technologies. I’ll also be presenting on this same topic at an upcoming VMUG and for a SpiceWorks webinar so you might be able to see it live. So stay tuned as I’ll be begin posting on my new series very soon, my first topic will be on why and how SSD drives wear out, something that seems to be not very well known but I’ll do my best to explain it to you. If you have anything you’d like to know more about let me know and I’ll try and include it.

Jun 18 2014

Don’t miss Web-scale Wednesday live on 6/25


Nutanix is hosting an online event called Web-scale Wednesday on 6/25 with a great line-up of speakers. You can watch it live beginning at 9:00am PST or on-demand. Not sure what web-scale means or why it’s trending? Check out this Gartner press release which explains what it is and why it will be in 50 percent of global enterprises by 2017.

They have a good line-up of companies and speakers represented including Twitter, The Register, Veeam, Dell, Citrix and Stu Miniman from Wikibon will also be there.

So click the above image and fill out the short form to register and also snag a free “I was web-scale before it was cool” t-shirt.

Agenda (PDT)
9:00AM-9:30AM Keynote Address
9:30AM-10:00AM Analyst Session: The Coming Disruption to Datacenter Strategies
10:00AM-10:45AM Tech Expert Panel: Designing and Building Web-scale Systems
10:45AM-11:05AM Industry Perspective: Convergence and Web-scale IT
11:05AM-11:30AM Industry Perspective: Rethinking Infrastructure for Web-scale IT
11:05AM-12:00PM TweetUp: Twitter Chat on Web-scale IT, Trends and Impact
11:30AM-12:00PM Enterprise Perspective: Making the Move to Web-Scale

May 12 2014

Gaining confidence to be an effective public speaker

Mike Laverick sent me an email the other day to try and help him promote the VMUG Feed Forward program which is designed to help encourage new members in the community to step up and participate in VMUG events. I was a VMUG leader for several years and one of the challenges is to find people to speak at the events and share their experiences and knowledge. Sure you always get the vendors that will speak at events as they pay to sponsor it but it is also nice to get customers and people who are not paying to be at the event to give their own unique viewpoints.

The challenge with this is many people have a fear of public speaking, if you could talk to them one-on-one they could probably do a great job of saying what they have to but in a larger group setting many people become uncomfortable. The Feed Forward program tries to mentor and help those who might be reluctant to speak at VMUGs to encourage them to step up and provide them with the advice and confidence they need to be successful at it. Some people are naturals at public speaking but I think for most of us we really have to work hard at it to be good. I thought I’d offer some advice based on my own personal experiences with public speaking that might help others that struggle with it or are just getting started.

It’s OK to be scared

I never had really done any type of public speaking at all before I started getting into virtualization. I really never had the desire to do it but sometimes opportunities come up and I’m not one to pass them up no matter how much I might not like it. My first opportunity came about 7 years ago, I was a regular contributor to Tech Target’s Search VMware site and they wanted me to do a webinar for them. Despite never having done one I said yes and started preparing the content. A webinar is a bit easier to deliver as you do not have a public audience in front of you and this one was being recorded only and would be played back later. The day of the webinar I was nervous, anxious and a bit scared leading up to the webinar time, once it started I settled down a bit. It didn’t go as smooth as I would of liked but I made it through it OK. To this day I tend to be a bit nervous before any type of public speaking but as soon as it starts it all falls away and once I get rolling I’m as comfortable as can be.

Know your content

I can’t stress this one enough, if you know your content and know it well you will be just fine, if you don’t know the content then will you will struggle and fumble it. I guarantee the more comfortable and knowledgeable that you are on the material that you are presenting will make a big difference in how smooth you deliver it.

Practice makes perfect

Most of the time I’ll do a dry run, just me speaking out loud going through the whole presentation as if I was delivering it live. By doing this you get a better feel for how the presentation will flow and also see what material might not work right or may need fixing.

Don’t expect to be good at it overnight

It took years and dozens of speaking engagements before I was really comfortable with doing it. You won’t notice yourself getting better at it overnight, it’s something that just takes time as you keep doing it. I guarantee you will get better over time, it may take years but you’ll slowly get better and better at it until one day you realize that you’re quite good at it and even better you enjoy it.

Listen to yourself afterwards

If you want to improve you need to listen and critique yourself, you may have certain speech habits that you are unaware of that may turn off your listeners. Things like saying Right or OK all the time or stumbling and filling in with Umm. Once you realize that you are doing it and how often you are doing it you can try and mentally prevent yourself from doing it next time you speak.

Watch your speed

Some people talk real slow others talk real fast when they are speaking, I tend to talk fast which can make it harder for people to follow what I’m saying. I mentally have to tell myself to slow down a bit when I’m speaking to make sure people can keep up. Once you get going it’s easy to forget this, as a visual reminder write SLOW DOWN on a sticky note and put it in front of you to remind yourself.

Read your reviews

Nobody likes to hear negativity and criticism about themselves but sometimes it’s the only way you can get better. Many events like VMworld and webinars will gather feedback after the session. It can hurt to read it sometimes but it can be very constructive to get the opinions of the people that you are speaking to understand what you need to do better. Don’t take the feedback too personally, sometimes you might get people that are jerks but do your best to see yourself from the audience viewpoint and learn from it.

Don’t be intimidated

It’s easy to get intimidated if you are new to it and you have someone like Duncan Epping or Scott Lowe in the audience watching you. Try and block it out so you don’t get too nervous and start stumbling, it might not be easy but if you fixate on it you’ll get even more nervous.

Engage the audience

I don’t do this as often as I should but engaging the audience can help give you confidence and makes it more enjoyable for them. Build mental break points into your presentation where you stop and ask the audience a question on a specific topic and have them respond verbally or via a show of hands. Doing this can make you more comfortable as you are interacting and becoming closer to them.

Move around

Instead of hiding behind a podium the whole time try walking around a bit in front of or towards the audience, again this gets you closer to the audience and moving around may make you feel more comfortable.

Get help

Having a co-speaker can make it easier as it takes part of the spotlight off you and it allows you to interact in a more comfortable manner. Try and mentor with someone that who is an experienced speaker and can give you advice and feedback.

Hope this helps anyone looking to get into speaking or who is trying to get better at it, if I can help in any way just let me know. If anyone else has any speaking tips feel free to sound off in the comments. You can find out more about the VMUG Feed Forward program here.

May 12 2014

New webinar: Top 10 Tips for Surviving in a Virtualized World

I’m doing a webinar for SolarWinds this week, the info on it is below and I hope to see you there…

The role of the virtualization admin is changing. While their responsibilities to operate and manage the virtual environment continue to grow, they are also becoming the convergence point for other IT teams in the virtualized IT data center. In practical terms, this means that in addition to managing all the changes that occur in the virtual environment they now have to deal with application owners, storage specialists, business owners, database administrators and business leaders.  This will require improved visibility into the extended virtual environment along with innovative management & monitoring approaches. Eric Siebert, virtualization blogger and VMware vExpert, will provide his Top 10 Virtualization Management Survival Tips to help you not only survive but thrive at the center of the of the new virtualized IT world. Join us Wednesday, May 14th @ 1 PM CDT. Spots are limited so save your spot today!


May 12 2014

Time to vote again…

Not for top blog though, the VMworld 2014 session public voting has opened and I’d appreciate your consideration for my sessions. Last year I presented my “Top 10 Thing you MUST know about Storage for vSphere” session which was well attended. I’d thought I’d up the ante this year and submitted one called “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Storage for vSphere That You Should Know”, my other session is in a deep dive format going into a lot of technical detail on storage for vSphere. I also was able to persuade Vaughn to add me to his All-Flash Storage panel to represent HP. If you find my sessions interesting, please give me a green thumb in the voting. You can easily filter my sessions by putting Siebert in the keyword field when on the public voting website.

50 Things You Didn’t Know About Storage for vSphere That You Should Know

Storage is an absolutely critical part of a vSphere environment and is one area that you can’t afford to not know that well. If you start making assumptions and un-educated guesses about the storage for your vSphere environment it will come back to haunt you. Having a solid understanding of the role storage plays in a virtual environment is the key to being successful with vSphere. This technical session will help educate attendees on a wide variety of important storage related topics for vSphere. Come join Eric Siebert, a noted author, blogger & 6 time VMware vExpert with over 9 years experience with VMware virtualization and learn 50 things about storage for vSphere that you probably did not know.

This session will flow in a fast-paced format that will cover 50 quick tips, tidbits, stats and facts on many different technical & educational topics related to storage for vSphere environments. We’ll include a lot of fun facts and focus on things you probably didn’t know about storage for vSphere that you probably wish you knew. You’ll learn one new thing every minute in this session and walk away armed with all sorts of useful (and possibly some useless) information to enhance your storage knowledge so you impress your friends and co-workers.

Storage Demystified: Uncovering the Inner Workings of Everyday vSphere Storage Technologies

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes when you do a Storage vMotion? Why disk blocks are zeroed? How VM snapshots work? What the different types of virtual disks are? How the UNMAP process works? Why SSDs wear out? How storage acceleration technologies work? We all work with vSphere on a daily basis but many of us don’t really understand the “magic” behind vSphere storage technologies. Aren’t you a little curious? We take for granted that these features work but understanding how they work can enable you to make better decisions when working with them. Knowing what actually goes on behind the scenes can also help when troubleshooting storage related issues.

The goal of this session is simple: Demystify the world of storage in vSphere and do it in a simple, clear-cut way that anyone can understand. We will take a dive deep into some of the storage technologies and features that are part of vSphere, illustrate the processes and steps that happen when you use certain features, and explain the technology in an easy to understand manner. We will also cover a lot of fun facts you probably never knew about storage for vSphere. Come and learn from a VMware vExpert with over 9 years hands-on experience with VMware virtualization and walk away with a much clearer and deeper understanding of how storage stuff works in vSphere.


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