Virtualization Field Day 4 – Austin, I am IN you!


I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be a part of a group of IT folks that have been able to take part in a Tech Field Day, a series of industry events bringing together technology purveyors, community influencers, analysts, enthusiasts, tweeter folk and grey beards (none of these are mutually exclusive of the others). It’s a place that brings new vendors with exciting visions of technology and old vendors with shiny newness, both of which provide an exciting look at the ever changing landscape of enterprise IT.

Besides my general fondness of Stephen Foskett (and his glorious peanut brittle) and Tom Hollingsworth, I’m excited to be a part of the event from the vendor perspective, getting to attend with my friends Jesse St. Laurent and Brian Knudtson from SimpliVity to give delegates (and viewers) a deeper look into how we do Hyperconverged Infrastructure and what’s possible when you do deduplication and compression in real time in-line.

But where the real action takes place is the delegates. The industry folks (admins, engineers, bloggers, analysts, friends) that come to these Field Days are the linchpin to its success and to its enjoyment. Most of the people going I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a while and meeting in person previously, and some I’ve only interacted with online and am thrilled to finally meet in person.

Amit Panchal @AmitPanchal76
Amy Manley @WyrdGirl
Christopher Kusek @cxi
Emad Younis @Emad_Younis
James Green @JDGreen
Jeff Wilson @Agnostic_Node1
Julian Wood @Julian_Wood
Justin Warren @JPWarren
Larry Smith @MrLESmithJr
Marco Broeken @MBroeken
Matt Simmons @StandaloneSA
Mike Preston @MWPreston

This current event (Virtualization Field Day 4) will be held in Austin, TX January 14-16 and focuses on technologies and people that enable and push the virtualized datacenter forward. You can follow along with the events with the live stream on the TFD site and on twitter with the #VFD4 hashtag.

HP Tech Day 2012

This week I’m excited to be flying to Ft. Collins Colorado for an HP Tech Day that will be hosting independent bloggers to take a look at the LeftHand and 3Par products as well as their VMware integration. I’ve been to a couple demos, read a couple papers and have had some conversations with people about these products, so what makes this trip special is that we get some good ol’ fashion hands-on-lab experience. There’s a chasm of a difference between seeing the product in a slide deck and being able to kick the tires yourself.

I’m also excited to meet a group of new bloggers/storage-geeks. I’ve met a few of the guys at different events (Tech Field Day, VMWorld, Hp Cloud Tech Day, etc.) and on twitter and I’m excited to meet the rest:

Alastair Cooke, @DemitasseNZ,
Brian Knudtson, @bknudtson,
Ray Lucchesi, @raylucchesi,
Howard Marks, @DeepStorageNet,
John Obeto, @johnobeto,
Justin Paul, @recklessop,
Jeffery Powers, @geekazine,
Derek Schauland, @webjunkie,
Rick Schlander, @vmrick,
Justin Vashisht, @3cVguy,

The crew will be hosted by HP Storage Guru and all around good guy Calvin Zito (@HPStorageGuy).

As is all the rage for conferences and other intimate gatherings, a live stream of the event will be attempted. Keep an eye out on twitter for the hash tag #HPTechDay and/or #HPCI for the latest information and buzz about the event.

Can’t wait.

HP Cloud Tech Day

I had the privilege of attending an HP Cloud Tech Day this past week in Houston, organized by Ivy Communications. Tom, Chris and Halley did a great job gathering some pretty cool and smart bloggers and thinkers to hear about and give feedback on HP’s cloud offerings and aspirations. The list of attendees were:

Patrick Pushor

Christopher White

Rich Miller

Phillip Sellers

Phillip Jaenke

Bob Stein

John Obeto

Chris Wahl

Frank Owen

Michael Letschin

Ofir Nachmani

I highly recommend you check out their stuff. Super smart guys. A great mix, too, of sys admins, cloud evangelists, service providers, etc. I’ll follow up with some specific posts about the topics we covered while I was there, but here’s what we covered in day 1: HP Enterprise Business Cloud Strategy, HP View of Cloud Futures, Hyperscale for Cloud, Inner Workings and Building of a CloudSystem Infrastructure, Performance Optimized Datacenter Overview and Tour. Overall I was quite impressed. My regret is that I could only attend one full day. I will be following the rest of the action on Twitter (hash tag #hpci) and on (live video, twitter feed and chat).

How I Feel After Tech Field Day 7

Full. From great conversations, vendor product information, BBQ and cakeballs. Tech Field Day 7 was quite the event. I was able to meet a few people whom I’ve either followed on twitter or read their blogs for a while who have been influential in my development as an infrastructure professional. I also met others I was not familiar with who have already informed my thinking, and I can only assume that they will continue to be a great resource of experience and knowledge.

Speaking of the delegates, I want to thank Stephen Fosket and Matt Simmons for gathering such a great and diverse group of infrastructure professionals. Also, as one of the younger delegates, both in terms of age and experience, I want to thank the delegates for listening and taking the time to explore topics that were new for me.

I’m fortunate to be able to head straight to vacation right after TFD. Rather than head back to the crazy of work, I’ll (hopefully) be able to better process what just happened in Austin. As I think back through the presentations and conversations, there’s a lot of processing to do.

Contact Sharing at VMWorld

Connecting with new people and exchanging contacts at VMWorld is a crucial component of the conference (or any other conference, for that matter). I’ve networked with many people over my admittedly short conference going history, and the value of being able to easily contact colleagues in the field post-conference is only outdone by their willingness to help out.

It can be a terrifying experience to go these conferences and try to ask questions of these experts because no one wants to show that they may not know exactly what they’re doing. Once you do that and have the experience of not being treated like an idiot or as a lesser admin, you’ll see that it doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know. What matters is that we all are in this together, to help our respective constituents use technology to their greatest benefit. Someone will always have made a design decision that you never thought of. Some one will have tested and re-tested theories and made mistakes for you so that you don’t have to. This enables you try new designs, theories, technology based on other’s work and the field (and our knowledge) advances that much quicker. The more we all, as operators of these technologies. cooperate in community, the better we admins, consultants, integrators, vendors and the industry as a whole become. This includes everyone from the newbies to the seasoned vets.

That all being said, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to not only get your information, but to save it. 2 weeks before VMWorld last year, I lost all of my business cards in an office move. I didn’t have time to get any made up through my employer, but I needed something. What I came up with was a QR Code picture shortcut on my Droid. So when someone wanted my contact info and they, too, had a smart phone, they could just scan my QR code and my contact information would be automatically entered into their address book. It was a huge success! 

This year, I’m going to have both a QR code and Microsoft Tag on the back of my business cards as well as shortcuts on my Droid. I’m adding the Tag because it can hold so much more information in the vcard than the QR code can. I would suggest you consider enhancing your contact info before your business card becomes a soggy wad in the bottom of the Bellagio fountain. 



Tech Field Day 7 – Austin, TX

Just got word Tuesday that I’ll have the honor to be a delegate for Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day 7 focusing on Datacenter IT Infrastructure. The event seeks to bring together some of the industries great thinkers, authors, bloggers, influencers and vendors to engage each other. You can read more about the Tech Field Day at their site to get an idea of what these guys are about. 

As excited as I am to get some pretty good face time with a few great vendors, I’m stoked about being able to meet some people in the IT community whom I’ve admired for quite a while. These are guys whose resources I’ve been reading for a while for a good deal of information as I’ve built up my knowledge and experience specifically in the virtualization and storage arenas. They are, in my mind, rock stars in the Datacenter IT world. I’m humbled to be brought in as a newer member of this event along side some veterans. The complete list of delegates is:

The event this time will be in Austin, Texas on August 11th and 12th. The sponsors are Dell (it’s Austin, after all), Veeam, SolarWinds and Symantec. All vendors that I either currently use or have used in the past. Looking forward to our discussions, hands on experience and feedback with them.

You can follow all the madness on Twitter with the #techfieldday hash tag, by following the delegates from the official Tech Field Day 7 List or keeping up with the TFD7 Links page.

Thank you to Stephen Fosket and Matt Simmons for organizing this and to the vendors for their sponsorship and belief that this type of interaction with the community is worthwhile.