Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: VMUG

How much do VMUG leaders contribute to VMUG globally

I’ve just attended the 1st annual VMware User Group Leader Summit, a day and a half event hosted at the VMware campus in Palo Alto to share best practice amongst the various groups around the world to better the organisation which was an excellent event.

The event was an impressive showing of commitment from VMware to the community in terms of the focus it has, but was more impressive was the scale of effort that the VMUG leaders put into their events – there aren’t many real rewards for being a VMUG leader other than some kudos and a pat on the back and it’s a very clear sign of people’s passion for the technology that they give this time freely.

Some leaders are self-employed or work full-time for an employer – but generally the time they give is their own personal, unpaid time as vacation time or work time that has to be made-up in personal time.

The London VMUG group of which I’m a leader in is currently going through a transition to a new team of leaders (I’m staying on but 3 leaders are stepping down after many years of service) and we’ve spent some time trying to quantify how much effort is required to run a VMUG group so we can set expectations appropriately for our new incoming leaders;

This is based on our experiences running 3 London (~100 attendees) and 1 UK national event (~600 attendees) each year.

Disclaimer this is very finger in the air analysis (and a little bit of fun) – but I do think it’s interesting to look at the opportunity cost of such activities (info on opportunity cost here) and other interesting {honest!} economics stuff here

Between the 4 of us we have 4 full-day meetings, so 4 man-days** contributed per meeting which we attend*, plus on average 2hrs of calls per month = 24hrs = 3 man-days/yr. (@8hrs/day) – so individually each leader contributes 7 man-days per year of effort to manage and run our events.

*I’ve not managed to sit through and enjoy a session at the London or UK VMUG meetings since I became a leader, because there is always something that needs doing, cats to herd, things to organise – not complaining, but – that’s the truth!

Our leadership team consists of 4 people, if we said the average group is 3 leaders (some have 7+, some have just 1!).

I don’t have access to all the details of the global VMUG chapters, but if you work on the basis that there was 1 leader invited from each active VMUG globally to the summit, there were 93 leaders in-attendance so let’s base our numbers on 93 ‘active’ groups – although I appreciate there are probably more as not everyone would be able to attend.

if we said an average of 3 leaders per ‘active’ group, each contributing 7 man-days per annum that’s 1,953 man-days per annum contributed by leaders to the VMUG community events. (3 x (4+3) ) x 93 = 1,953 man-days

Given there is an average of 251 working days per year that’s 7.7 man-years

Now, to make this more interesting, if we said the average salary of a VMware administrator was $80k USD (sort-of based on this article, and assuming that an VMUG leader will generally have more than 2 years of experience under their belt and will generally be in a senior-type role, the majority of VMUG leaders are in the US and salaries outside the US will obviously differ, but most VMUGs exist in well-developed 1st-word countries, rather than 2nd/3rd world emerging countries)

That would mean a VMUG leader globally earns an average of $318 per day before tax, multiply that out by the number of man-days given per year, that represents an opportunity cost that the VMUG leaders contribute to the VMware community & VMware itself of…..(drum-roll)

$622,470.12 USD.

Not too shabby 🙂 VMware, I hope you appreciate it 🙂

Anyways – just a bit of fun and not to be taken too seriously, but do go and hug a VMUG leader at your next meeting… (ok, don’t do that!)



**Yes, there are also many women who are VMUG leaders.. but man-days is an accepted term, and it’s shorter to type than person-years, apologies if it offends, it’s not meant to!


Do you want to know what VMware has planned for its next release?

Then you need to come to the London VMUG on July 17th (in London, UK), we are very lucky to be one of the few VMUGs that are able to deliver NDA content to VMware customers.

As this is NDA type content There are some caveats as to who can attend  – as listed below, but for those that aren’t eligible we have something else planned that will definitely be of interest.

And, we also have the usual array of awesome COMMUNITY, VMware and sponsor technical content. e.g no sales spin, no men in shiny suits and bonus schemes, real. interesting. relevant. technical content for YOU (ok, and me too!).

Sign up and view the full agenda here:

As I’m sure you understand VMware closely guard their roadmap and NDA content, we are very lucky to be able to deliver it at a VMUG, but there are some rules to prevent NDA material being leaked. If this happens VMware won’t be willing to help us deliver this content in future – so it’s in your interest to help safeguard the content – please respect this and the community spirit VMUG represents. You will have to sign a one-way personal NDA prior to being allowed entry to the NDA session.

All official VMware partners can request the content via their account manager at VMware, but to help make it clear we’ve put together an FAQ as follows.

  • I am an employee of a commercial or public sector organisation and we buy VMware products, or plan to, can I go the NDA session? Yes.
  • I’m a contractor and I work for a customer/consultancy, can I go to the NDA session? Yes
  • I work for a storage/network/server vendor, and am a VMware partner can I go to the NDA session? No. but you can request a private session via your VMware partner manager.
  • I work for a software vendor, and we are a VMware partner; can I go to the NDA session? No, but you can request a private session via your VMware partner manager.
  • I work for a reseller/consultancy who are a VMware partner, can I go the NDA session? No, but you can request a private session via your VMware partner manager.
  • I work for a cloud/managed/hosting service provider and we are VMware partners, can I go to the NDA session? No, but you can request a private session via your VMware partner manager.

This list isn’t exhaustive, if in-doubt of your status, bring a business card on the day andVMware can make a call, but please don’t be disappointed if we can’t admit you; we have an interesting update on VMware’s vision and strategy.

Is your local VMUG your launchpad to a VMworld session?

My main role in helping to run the UK & London VMware User Group (VMUG) is finding, arranging, press-ganging and cajoling people into giving sessions at one of our quarterly VMUG meetings – I look for primarily for solid, interesting content, especially if it’s “outside of the box” and secondly a professional speaker – I don’t care who you are or if the last presentation you delivered was when you played the carrot in the cub scout christmas play aged 8 (yes, that was me – before you ask!).


You’ll get a lot out of presenting at a VMUG – even if you’re nervous, or new to presenting we can help to coach you through to a successful session and VMUG audiences, even helping you to find a co-presenter to help you out – the #FeedForward initiative is also a massive supporter of YOU and the audience are ALWAYS friendly and like-minded.


You don’t have to be captain of a datacentre the size of the starship enterprise to have something interesting to say, my 1st VMUG presentation 5 years ago was on my 2-host lab environment, and ever since I’ve iterated that vTARDIS presentation and delivered sessions on it at VMworld and VMUGs and other conferences around the world (Melbourne, Copenhagen, Chicago) and it even won the VMworld best of show award –  it’s been a hugely rewarding and enjoyable experience and I would encourage you all – no matter how timid or insignificant you think your experiences are to get in touch with your local VMUG and volunteer to do a presentation – VMUGs are about community and content – and we (the UK/LDN committee) work VERY hard to ensure the right balance between VMware, sponsor and COMMUNITY content.


In recent London VMUG’s we’ve started doing a slot for lightning-talks where you deliver a short, sharp & to-the-point 5-15min presentation on a topic of your choosing, these are a great way to jump-start your presenting career locally, and maybe even globally as they’re much less daunting than a normal 45-60min slot and are an excellent way to dip your toe in the water, there are also panel & round-table discussions that are a good way to get involved.


Being able to present, articulate a point and hold a confident discussion on a topic is a critical career skill if you want to stand out from the crowd, or keep your seat in a world of increasing off-shoring and out-sourcing.


So, in short get in touch (details on about page), present something, go LARGE by submitting your talk for VMworld via the call for papers process –  Let’s be realistic, VMworld sessions are traditionally hard to get accepted for unless you’re a sponsor or a well recognised name and there is a LOT of competition, on the other hand VMUGs sometimes struggle to find people willing to present, a lot of those recognised names started their vSpeaking career by getting involved at a local VMUG first – you do the maths, literally what have you got to lose?


BTW Next London VMUG meeting (#LonVMUG on twitter) is 15th May 2014.

Even More Community Content at UKVMUG!!

For the 2nd annual UK VMware User Group Conference this Thursday not only have we secured the cream of the crop of VMware, sponsor and community speakers (main agenda here) but we’re also running what I like to call (for lack of a better name) The Community Mezzanine

These sessions will be held on the Mezzanine level at the back of the sponsor solutions exchange area, we have very limited availability and access will be on a first-come-first-served basis. The current topics and sessions are as follows;

Type Run by.. Topic
BoF Discussion Group (8-10 people) Scott Lowe “How do i build a stretched cluster, and do I need one?”
BoF Discussion Group
(8-10 people)
Simon Long “VDI – Real world experiences”
BoF Discussion Group
(8-10 people)
Scott Lowe/Mike Laverick “How do you do disaster recovery, and what would you like to do?”
Design Whiteboard
(8-10 people)
Darren Woollard Come and join an interactive design white-boarding session, bring your ideas, questions and requirements.
Mock VCDX Panel
(8-10 people)
Simon Gallagher A chance to participate in a friendly format and dry-run your VCDX defence presentation in front of your peers, offer to defend for a chance to sit on the panel and become an unofficial mock VCDX panelist.
Automation Station
(Drop-in hands-on format)
Jon Medd, Alan Renouf, William Lam Ever wondered how to automate something? PowerCLI and all things PowerShell, come and try and hands-on, informal drop-in where you can get some help, ask questions and try it out for yourself.
Staffed by the cream of the crop of automation specialists and authors (Lam, Renouf, Medd)

The timings for these sessions are currently as follows (we may need to make some adjustments on the day so check the board by the mezzanine area).

10:00 – 10:45 am

vSphere Design Whiteboard Session
Darren Woollard

“How do I build a stretched cluster + do I need one?”
Scott Lowe

Automation Station
PowerCLI Drop-in hands-on

10:45 – 11:15 am Break

11:15 – 12:00 pm


“How do you do Disaster Recovery, and what would you like to to?”
Scott Lowe & Mike Laverick

Automation Station
PowerCLI Drop-in hands-on

12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00pm – 1:45 pm

vSphere Design Whiteboard session
Darren Woollard

Mock VCDX Defence Panel
Simon Gallagher

Automation Station
PowerCLI Drop-in hands-on

1:45 – 2:15 pm Break

2:15 – 3:00 pm

VDI – “What are your experiences?” Simon Long

Mock VCDX Defence Panel (Cont.)
Design Whiteboard /w Scott Lowe

Automation Station
PowerCLI Drop-in hands-on

3:00 – 3:15 pm Break
3:15 – 4:00 pm

Repeat of popular session

Repeat of popular session

Automation Station
PowerCLI Drop-in hands-on

4:00 – 4:15 pm Break    

Official registration is now closed for the event but we will be able to accommodate walk-in registrations if you are able to make it, hope to see you there, it’s going to be Epic!

London VMware User Group Jan 26th 2012

We (the steering committee) are pleased to announce that the agenda for the next London VMware User Group is now online and registration is open.

The full agenda is available in this handy PDF file and you can register using this link

We have a great agenda lined up with hands-on labs from Embotics (who you may remember from a previous event) and we hope you enjoy the multi-track layout.

Usual place, usual time.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Main event 10:00 – 17:15
Networking Reception 17:15

Meeting Location
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry 33 Queen Street
London, EC4R 1AP (map)

Hope to see you there!

vTARDIS 5 at a VMUG near you…

I am pleased to announce that I will be giving a session on my updated vTARDIS 5 home lab environment at two upcoming VMUGs in the UK (for more background vTARDIS 5 page here)


Dates and links for registration as follows if you want to come an see it in action, I’ll be doing plenty of demos and Q&A and minimal PowerPoint

11th October – Virtual Machine User Group, Mint Hotel, Leeds

Virtualisation user group with a multi-vendor slant, presentations from Andrew Fryer (Microsoft), Veeam and a number of independent consultants and community members

3rd November UK National VMware User Group, National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull

With sessions from Duncan Epping & Frank Denneman, Joe Baguley (VMware) , a number of independent consultants, community members, vendor sponsors

VCDX Peer defence panel  – a 1st for VMware User Groups, dry-run your VCDX defense presentation in front of a group of peers; maybe also including some former real VCDX panellists.

see this post for more information and drop me an email (details on about page) to register your interest.

Hope to see you there, if you’re interested in a repeat of these sessions at your own local VMUG drop me a line, have case can travel (in the past it’s been to BriForum Chicago and VMworld SF) Smile

Peer to Peer VCDX Defense Workshop at UK VMUG

I have an idea for a side-workshop/session at the upcoming UK VMUG in November for people that are actively following the VCDX4/5 track thus I am polling for interest via this post…

The format would be that participants get a 15-20min slot to present their design defence to a “panel” comprising of other VMUG members. including some of whom have taken (and failed) the actual defense process with a view to providing feedback and some questioning.

We don’t have any VCDX secret-sauce to share or special VMware info that you can’t find on the web, but the goal is to allow you to dry-run your presentation in-front of a friendly audience of like-minded community members before you brave it for real.

You would need to commit to come prepared with a Powerpoint version of your defence presentation, the panel won’t have seen your full design documents, and won’t be reviewing them.

I have created a poll, so if you’re interesting in participating, and will be attending the UK VMUG in November (details here) then please let me know via the poll below so I can estimate interest and seek panel members from the community.

Because we will need to arrange logistics I would ask that you only express an interest if you are planning to attend the UK VMUG and will have something to present, a significant number of no-shows will make it difficult to justify putting this on.

Please vote below (Poll is open until the end of September)

July London VMware User Group Meeting


Quick heads-up it’s not long now until the next London VMware User Group (VMUG) meeting on 14th July, I’m also pleased to announce that I have joined the steering committee and will be helping out with finding useful and content. We are always open to suggestions and VMUG is all about the User so don’t be shy, particularly if you have ideas for hands-on labs or topics you would like to see covered – leave a comment with an idea, or drop me a mail (details on my about page) – you don’t have to be running the largest infrastructure in the world or have a brain the size of a planet, bring your ideas, your woes, your experiences and share them with the community.

If you’ve never been before – now is the time to make time.

London VMUG Meeting

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meeting: 10:00 a.m. – 17:00 p.m.

Networking Reception: 17:00 p.m.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
33 Queen Street
London, EC4R 1AP
Click here for directions

Networking Reception
Pavilion End
23 Watling Street, EC4M 9BR

The London VMUG Steering Committee are delighted to invite you to our next event. Following on from the success of the new format unveiled at the May 12th VMUG, we will continue with multiple tracks and a vCOPS focused lab, along with a Genius Bar from VMware GSS to answer any burning issues you might have.  Details are below and we are grateful to our sponsors – Arista Networks, Embotics and Vision Solutions.

Please Note: If you wish to participate in the lab, you MUST bring your own laptop/client device please! You will need View 4.6 client installed (or admin rights to install it).
Plenary sessions in Capital
10:00 a.m.  – 10:15 a.m. – Welcome, Alaric Davies, Chairman
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Cloudvision for the Virtualised Environment, John Peach, Arista Networks, Sention System Architect
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Private Cloud Management Made Simple, Martin Sajkowski, Embotics, EMEA Operations & Colin Jacks Senior Solutions Specialist
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  – Break in Sponsor Expo
12:15 p.m. – 13:00 p.m.– Double-Take by Vision Solutions – Christian Willis, Technical Director: Meeting the Availability Challenges of physical, Virtual and Geographically Dispersed Systems
13:00 p.m. – 14:00 p.m.– Lunch in Sponsor Expo

Track 1                                                                                                                              

14:00 p.m. – 14:50 p.m. – vCOPS Advanced, Mark Stockham, VMware  
15:00 p.m. – 15:50 p.m. – SRM Futures, Mike Laverick                                               
16:00 p.m. – 16:50 p.m.- Cloud: Can You Compete? Mark Craddock

Track 2

14:00 p.m. – 14:50 p.m. – Thinking, Building & Scripting Globally, Julian Wood
15:00 p.m. – 15:50 p.m. – Managing IT as We Evolve to Cloud Computing, Colin Fernandez, VMware
16:00 p.m. – 16:50 p.m. -  How to Save your Time With PowerCLI, Jonathan Medd

17:00 p.m. – Close
17:00 p.m. – Onward Drinks at Pavilion End

Please note the agenda is subject to change

Thank you to our meeting sponsor:  

Register Today to join us for this free informative event.

Please note: You will need to log into the VMUG web site to register for this meeting. If you have not already obtained your VMUG login credentials, please visit the Username and/or Password Help page to request your username and password.

Next London VMware User Group is on May 12th Register NOW

The next London VMware User group is open for registration, with a rather cloudy-theme and for the 1st time ever – live labs and multiple tracks!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
33 Queen Street
London, EC4R 1AP

The London VMUG Steering Committee are delighted to invite you to our next event and to unveil a new format to our previous VMUGs taking place on Thursday, May 12, 2011.  In response to your feedback and suggestions, we will have multiple tracks, multiple sponsors and labs. Our theme for this VMUG is “Your Journey to the Cloud”  and to deliver our comprehensive agenda, the day will now start at 10am! Details are below and we are grateful to our sponsors – COLT, EMC and Quest.

Registration is open and included as part of member benefits for all VMUG members. Please note, in order to register for this meeting we ask that you sign up for a complimentary VMUG membership. Click login below to sign up today.


Plenary sessions in Capital

10.00 – 10.20 – Welcome, Alaric Davies, Chairman

10.20 – 11.00 –  presententation & demo the vCloud1 -Greg Branch, Director of Architecture, Colt and Dan Senior, Virtualisation Architect, Colt

1.00 – 11.45 – Paul Martin, Quest – Private Cloud – Build for Success by Planning for Failure, with Quest Software

11.45 – 12.15 – Break in Thames where our sponsors will be exhibiting

12.15 – 13.00 – EMC

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch in Thames where our sponsors will be exhibiting


14.00 – 14.50      Massimo re Ferre, Making sense of vShield & vCD for the “average Joe”            

15.00 – 15.50      Jason Miles, Automation in the Cloud                                                                                   

16.00 – 16.50      Mark Craddock


14.00 – 14.50      Stuart Radnidge, Rethinking Infrastructure

15.00 – 15.50      Tom Brand, Cloud topic

16.00 – 16.50      Cloud topic TBA

17.00 – Close

17.00 – Networking Reception at Pavilion End, 23 Watling Street, EC4M 9BR


These will be running simultaneously from 10:20 a.m. and you will need to register upon arrival to book your lab session.

The VMUG are providing VMware vCloud Director Labs for all UG members to get a look and feel for the product.  COLT has very kindly agreed to host the labs ontheir infrastructure in the Cloud.  COLT are a certified VMware vCloudDatacenter Services Provider and the first in EMEA to provide this service.  The COLT team along with VMware vCloud Architects have provided two types of labs to provide the best experience possible.

Lab A – Consuming Cloud resources from VMware vCloud Director
This lab is tailored to provide a user’s view of consuming compute resource from the cloud.  It provides an insight into the ability provide resources via a self-service portal deploying virtual machines via vApps within private virtual datacenters.

Lab B – Administrating VMware vCloud Director
This lab provides the administrators view of vCloud Director.  The lab contains a virtual center server, vCloud Director server and an ESX host to create compute resources within the cloud.  It provides the ability to define different compute services in the form of vApp’s which can then be published within the vCloud Catalogue.  This also enables the administrator to define different

I am running the admin-track of the cloud labs so will be on-hand to answer any queries

Click on this link to register – register now, as I’m pretty sure this one is going to “sell out” quickly

London VMware User Group VMUG Feb 10th 2011


It’s that time again, if you are in the UK – or anywhere nearby then register and get yourself over to the London VMUG.

I’m not sure if I can make this one, due to work commitments and this will be the 1st VMUG for about a year and a half where I won’t be presenting anything – so it’s safe to come out from behind the sofa! Smile

The Steering Committee are pleased to announce the next UK London VMware User Group meeting, kindly sponsored by Veeam is to be held on Thursday 10th February 2011. We hope to see you at the meeting, and afterwards for a drink or two, courtesy of VMware.

Our meeting will be held at the Thames Suite, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 33 Queen Street, London EC4R 1AP, +44 (0)20 7248 4444. The nearest tube station is Mansion House, location information is available here. Reception is from 12.30 for a prompt 1pm start, to finish around 5pm. Our agenda is below and is subject to change (but hopefully not too much!)
10.00 – 12.00      Roundtable Strategy Session with Martyn Storey and Mark Stockham; Enterprise Management – optional (spaces limited)
11:00 – 12:00      PowerCLI session with Alan Renouf – optional
12:30 – 13:00      Arrive & Refreshments
13:00 – 13:20      Welcome & News (Alaric)
13:20 – 14:00      Sponsor presentation (Veeam Systems)
14:00 – 14:30      VMware Certification – Preparing for Success (Scott Vessey)
14:30 – 15:00      Cheap Disaster Recovery using PowerShell scripts (Gabrie van Zanten
15:00 – 15:20      Refreshment break
15:30 – 16:00      Advanced vCenter Alarming and Automation (Simon Long, VMware)
16:00 – 16:30      Transatlantic Datacentre migration (Chris Dearden, JFVI)
16:30 – 16:45      Close
17:00                     Pub
If you would like to participate in Alan’s workshop, please bring a laptop, preferably with the most current PowerCLI and PowerShell binaries installed.
To register your interest in attending, please email with up to two named attendees from your organisation. If you do not receive a confirmation mail, please don’t just turn up since we will not be able to admit you to the meeting. Please separately mention if you intend attending Alan’s PowerCLI workshop at 11.00 or would like to be considered to attend the Enterprise Management roundtable strategy session at 10.00. Content from the meeting will be uploaded to, NDA permitting.

Sincerely, and with regards,

The London VMUG Steering Committee