Today was the annual Toronto VMUG UserCon. I believe it is the largest VMUG event in the Southern Ontario area. This year I opted to stay over in Toronto last night for two reasons:
- What is typically a 1-hour drive would be closer to 3 during rush hour and
- I was asked to co-host the Veeam session, so I didn’t want to be late.
It also turned out to be a great decision given how bad the weather was.
The morning keynote was presented by Nick Marshall (one of the authors of Mastering vSphere 6). He started with updates on newly released products (vSAN 6.2, vROPS / vRealize, and NSX 6.2). After the update, Nick jumped right into his keynote titled ‘Building Your IT Career’.
He covered his humble beginnings (working out of his garage in a small city) to how he was sucked into the vCommunity. The catalyst was a single tweet about Duncan Epping’s vSphere 5 Clustering book. Shortly after, he was voluntold to turn vBrownBag into a podcast. He then became an author, and eventually found his way to working for VMware in California. He had some great points to apply to your career (passion, sacrifice, show it off, ask, goals vs. journey, be nice, fail, and work). I won’t go into details, but he summed things up with ‘If life turns out exactly like you expect, it will be boring’. That ended the keynote and put us into our first break.
After the break, I was up for my turn. Rick Vanover was presenting ‘Real-World Problems solved With Veeam From A User Perspective’. I was the user in this instance. Rick carried most of the load and I chimed in once in a while. My chiming was usually referencing to how I used a feature or what impact it had on my environment. It went quite well and hopefully served as a good prep for my inaugural SWOVUG meeting next week. It was great to have folks come up after the session with questions – I’m always up for a chat.
I ended up skipping some sessions, partly due to work commitments, and partly due to my aversion to most vendor sessions. The Zerto session was good though. They had an actual engineer presenting who was throwing best practices out. These best practices weren’t Zerto specific, but could be applied to any environment. Vendor agnostic information goes a long way in my books. It shows that they know what they are talking about and likely do care that you get the best solution for your environment.
At lunch, there was a VCDX panel with four VCDXs (Tim Antonowicz, James Wirth, Joe Silvagi, and Eiad Al-Aqqad). The audience had some great questions as it was an interactive session. It was a great opportunity to tap a unique skill set that most of us mere mortals will never know. Questions ranged from technical in nature, to questions about the test and general advice.
Back this year was the Demo Zone in the Solutions Exchange. Daemon Behr gave a great presentation on risk management. After he finished Infinio and Tegile took turns presenting. I really like the feel of this – it tends to be more intimate than a full blown vendor session. Due to the time limit, it also forces vendors to keep their presentation on point.
The day was capped off with vBeers sponsored by the vSphere Operations Manager team. There were also various raffle draws. I was not a winner, this time, likely because I didn’t enter anything. Oh well.
This was a great VMUG that broke the previous attendance record (over 600 folks, out of 800+ that registered) – pretty good considering the weather. I’ll be remembering this VMUG for a while as it was my first time presenting. I was also able to connect with a lot of folks that I either met through Twitter or at VMWorld.
What was great:
- Meeting new folks
- Good selection of vendors
- Double clips on the name badge (not prone to turn around)
- Tuque (nice Canadian twist)
- Free vBeers!
What I heard grumblings about:
- Lunch time (12:40)
- Disappearing coffee / beverages in the morning.
Thanks again to the TO VMUG leaders who put on a great show.