Toronto VMUG UserCon – February 25, 2016. Community, eh!

It’s that time of year again.  No, not winter time, that’s just a coincidence.  The truth is that nobody will be cold on February 25th as they gather in the warm embrace of one of the greatest technology communities on the Eastern seaboard.


First of all, we have a very exciting and full lineup of great sessions at the event that you can see here, including tons of great partner sessions, VMware sessions, and even one of our very own Virtual Design Master alumni, Daemon Behr giving a really cool community session!

nick-marshallThe keynote will be with Nick Marshall, who I’ve been lucky enough to watch at a couple of other VMUG events.  Nick is both an amazing technologist as well as an all around awesome dude, so it’s always great to welcome strong community supporters like Nick whenever we can.

There is a VCDX panel, so you can have a super cool, interactive chat with a panel of VMware Certified Design Experts on your certification journey, or anything at all related to advanced architecture and more!


You can add this to your calendar in one-click here:


The full site is here to register and get all of the details, so sign up soon and you can be a part of this great community as we gather, learn, and grow together.

Make sure to say hello to the VMUG team and swing by the Turbonomic booth to say a hearty hello to my team on site in the Expo Hall!

Also, you can follow the Toronto VMUG happenings on Twitter @TorontoVMUG and watch the #TOVMUG hashtag as we get close, and during the day of the event.



Virtual Design Master Live! – #vDM at the Toronto VMUG February 26th

It’s a proud moment when we get to make announcements, and particularly proud for me as I further expand on something we have been tweeting about.  You may have seen the buzz around the upcoming VMUG Super Conference in Toronto on February 26th.


We are building up a lot of plans for the Virtual Design Master, now in its third full season.  This is a new year, and an entirely new set of events.  We are ramping up to the full season which will take place in summer of 2015 on track with the usual schedule.  What is different with this year is that we are also adding some new excitement to it beginning with the Toronto VMUG on February 26th.

2 Whiteboards and Lots of Learning

The focus of the Virtual Design Master Live keynote event happening in Toronto is on the process to think like a Virtual Design Master.  One of the reasons that we created vDM to begin with was to highlight the great work being done in the community, and to share the learning with a wide audience to help everyone grow our skills together.

The keynote session will be comprised of Angelo Luciani, Melissa Palmer, and me leading an interactive session to talk about how to get from a blank page to a functional design.


Bringing the best of the audience while helping to guide the process will be very exciting, and we hope to also bring attendees up to help out with the process first hand.  The fun of this process is the interaction with everyone at the event!

It’s an anything goes build-as-you-go process.  That is the beauty of the Virtual Design Master.  We give the requirements, and the constraints, that’s all.



Well, there will be 😉

Make sure to watch in the coming days as we have even more Virtual Design Master news! Trust me that this is a big announcement and we are only days away from it.

In the mean time, it’s also a good time to think about the full season 3 ahead…

Want to be a part of sponsoring Virtual Design Master Season 3?

Since we are talking about Virtual Design Master, it is a great time to begin some planning for you too!  If you would like to be a part of the Virtual Design Master Season 3 series as a sponsor supporter, it is as simple is filling out this handy form and we can begin the process to get you involved in vDM Season 3.

For potential sponsors, fill out this simple form and we will respond to you directly via email from the team members and you can be a part of the biggest, most exciting season yet!

Toronto VMUG Half-Day Session – Rocking the Community with PernixData

We had a big day planned for the Toronto VMUG community for the half-day session and it was above and beyond my expectations. Community was the theme in every way as we

Kicking it off with Angelo Luciani

Angelo Luciani led us out with a preview of some VMware content including the public beta for vSphere. Remember, vSphere betas are like fight club: the first rule of vSphere betas is that nobody talks about the vSphere beta. While it may seem daunting to be under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), it is a lot of fun to participate in beta programs, and you can help shape the next iteration of VMware’s flagship products. To sign up for the vSphere beta program you can click here.


He also chatted about the exciting work that is happening at the Virtual Design Master event this year. Make sure to check out the Virtual Design Master because we are ramping up in a big way now as Challenge 3 is about to be announced on Thursday July 24th at 9:00 PM Eastern live at

Community Presentation – Joel Gibson

Joel is one of our community members, and also a competitor in this year’s Virtual Design Master competition. What is also great about Joel is that he was one of the folks who made use of the mentoring program to put the User in User Group that was run last year by a number of VMUG members and bloggers. A very cool idea that lead to the Feed Forward program in VMUG this year.


Joel did a very interactive troubleshooting session with the audience as he highlighted some issues that he has run into both in his lab and at the office. What made it great was the very interactive nature. Joel has a great relaxed presentation style and encouraged questions and tips from the audience.

Feedback was great on the session and we are proud to have Joel among our membership.

PernixData – Re-think Storage Performance

For this event we were very excited host PernixData with a presentation by Andy Daniel (@vNephologist) on the flagship PernixData FVP offering. Now in their second year since launch, the product is at version 1.5 and I predict some great things coming from the PernixData team.

The presentation was also very interactive, and triggered lots of questions and comments that lead to a great conversation between Andy and the audience. This is precisely the kind of presentation that makes our VMUG attendees happy to be here, and to come back for.


Andy was also in town with Kirk Arrowood and it is always great to chat with them on what’s happening at PernixData, and in the industry at large.

We also were proud to be able to finalize the addition of PernixData as a supporter of the Virtual Design Master competition. Andy and Kirk were excited about the event, and once again they showed how community oriented the are both personally and professionally.

Community Presentation – Mike Preston

If you don’t already follow Mike online (@mwpreston on Twitter, then I encourage you to do so now. Mike is a great presenter, and has been a great help in the leadership at the Toronto VMUG. I’m pleased to count Mike among my friends, and I know I can always lean on him for some great tips on vCenter Orchestrator among many other VMware and virtualization technologies.


Mike gave a great presentation on the value of community, and how he has used community and online social media resources and blogs to help him in his career. Again, the theme of community was strong and was greatly appreciated by the audience.

Community Presentation – Eric Wright…hey, that’s me!

This was a fun chance to be able to reprise my presentation which I gave at the Cloud Expo in New York recently on behalf of Pluralsight to go along with my Introduction to OpenStack course.

I really love giving this presentation and it was fun to share with the Toronto VMUG group about OpenStack, open source technologies, and the opportunities to work with VMware and OpenStack.


And yes, I was wearing socks with clouds on them.


All of the presentations are available at Angelo Luciani’s site here.

Thanks to all the great members, community presenters, and to the VMUG organization for continuing to create an environment for us to deliver great content to our members with a distinct community focus which is unmatched by other events.

What a day! The full-day Toronto VMUG on February 27th

This year is my first time as a co-leader of the Toronto VMUG for a full-day event along with Angelo Luciani, Mike Preston, and Ryan Goff. We pulled together in a big way along with the fabulous team at VMUG headquarters.

The event was made even more accessible thanks to our friends at Turbonomic, who sponsored free parking at the venue for those who had to drive down.

vCHS goodness with Michael Roy

It started off with with a bang thanks to a great morning keynote by Michael Roy, Technical Marketing Manager from VMware in the vCloud Hybrid Service team. Michael did a super job of introducing the vCHS initiative to our audience, and it was timed well along with the recent announcement of the launch of the first European data center!

It’s particularly nice to have Michael in town as we have chatted on vCHS before at VMworld 2013 and he is a Canadian living in San Francisco so that gets extra points. Plus, be sure to check out his upcoming book Instant Getting Started with VMware Fusion:

A visit from Chris Wahl!

We were lucky enough with this event to have Chris Wahl of here to give a presentation about orchestration, process improvement and overall awesomeness titled “Stop Being a Minesweeper”. Chris is a dynamic speaker, and we had lots of time to chat on everything in technology throughout the day which was a special treat.

You may recall that Chris was one of our judges for Virtual Design Master Season 1.


Make sure to keep your eyes out for Chris’ upcoming book Networking for VMware Administrators co-authored with Steven Pantol. It’s available for pre-order now!

Excitement in the air with VSAN and NSX

It should be no surprise that there was a lot of focus on two of the popular offerings from VMware with VSAN (Currently in Beta) and Network Virtualization with NSX. While it is often feared that the products are targeted to the large scale customer and service provider, there was a lot of buzz among the attendees from businesses large and small.

The whole agenda is available here to give you an idea of the great partner vendor and VMware presentations that where there:

VMUG Expert Panel and the Big Lab Giveaway

To top off this exciting day, we had an “Ask the Expert” panel featuring Chris Wahl, Michael Roy, Toronto VMUG’s own Mike Preston, and yours truly!


There were some great questions from the audience, and we received lots of great feedback about the event content while we where there also which was a sign of a well designed VMUG event day.

Record numbers this year

Thanks to the incredible community that is here in Toronto and surrounding area, we had a record number of registrations and attendees for the event. At the last count we had over 500 registered on site as was evident by the standing room only for the keynote session in the morning.

This was the ultimate nod to how important this community is, and we couldn’t be more pleased with all of the interaction and networking that took place during the event. Vendors were able to spend lots of time with our attendees and the feedback on the presentations was very positive.

Toronto’s first vBeers with Veeam

Another fun part of the event was a vBeers party at 5:00 sponsored by our friends Veeam at the Baton Rouge restaurant next to the Toronto Convention Centre. There were a large amount of attendees who came over with us and spent a couple of hours chatting on the day, plus everything in technology and lots of great networking was happening. This was the perfect end to a community event.

I’ll close by giving a heartfelt thank you to all of you for the work you do to make these events happen, and to give us the inspiration to make each one better than the last!