I remember the first VMUG that I ever attended. It was a little daunting as I didn’t know what to expect, who I’d meet or whether I would appear amateurish compared to everyone else there. I recall being waved into … [More]
By Michael Poore 42 0
I remember the first VMUG that I ever attended. It was a little daunting as I didn't know what to expect, who I'd meet or whether I would appear amateurish compared to everyone else there. I recall being waved into a room that I'm now very familiar with by a very enthusiastic man who turned out to be already well known to the community that I was joining. Since that day I've tried to attend VMUGs regularly and through those meetings I've contributed to, and gained from, a network of people who possess a vast wealth of knowledge and experience. Fast-forward to 2014 and I've gone from a regular attendee of VMUGs to being an organiser of them along with co-leaders Jeremy Bowman, Barry Coombs and Simon Eady. This month saw the first ever South West UK VMUG, which was held in Bristol at the mShed. Compared to a few years ago, when there wasn't enough interest or awareness to warrant a South West chapter, the support and participation that was shown during the planning and execution of this first event was instrumental in making it the success that it was. Additionally, as my work and Xtravirt are a significant part of my life, the support that they have provided allows me to explore and develop professionally and it is a testament to their people-based philosophy. Being the first one, striking the right balance between hosting an interesting and engaging event and trying to do too much, too quickly was important. As such, we opted to make this first meeting a half-day event and selected a theme to focus content around. The participation of several key industry sponsors (Nutanix, 10Zig and Veeam) helped significantly by allowing us to hire a suitable venue and also by providing some relevant content to add to presentations from VMware. For many of the attendees, this was their first VMUG. The majority of them were from the local Bristol and Bath area with a few coming from further afield. Most of the people that I talked with were in operational roles within VMware customer organisations with a few coming from resellers or other software / hardware vendors. For future events, we're hoping to extend our reach down into Devon and across to Wales a bit more and build up a following of repeat attendees. We had originally planned for the first ever presentation to be delivered by VMware's EMEA CTO, Joe Baguely, but a change in his schedule had forced us to move things around a little. Peter von Oven from VMware stepped into the breach however with a detailed tour of End User Computing. He was followed up by an excellent technical and architectural overview of Nutanix's converged infrastructure. In a combined vendor and community presentation, Nathan Prisk from Falmouth University gave an excellent presentation about his VDI rollout project, the challenges faced, the benefits gained and a story about how the recent stormy weather had tripped up data centre power systems in an unexpected way. Joe Baguely arrived in the nick of time from his event with Lotus F1 in Oxfordshire to deliver a very well received and, as usual, very engaging and thought provoking talk that involved only a single PowerPoint slide. In hindsight, closing with this presentation was very effective and rounded the day off brilliantly before we decamped to the nearby Piano and Pitcher bar. Our planning for the second event (provisionally 3rd June 2014, also at the mShed in Bristol) was well underway several weeks ago. I look forward to it and hope that it will be as successful as our first one.