Posts Tagged ‘VMUG’

The 9/11 Post

September 10th, 2011

Snagit CaptureMy memory isn’t what it used to be but there are a few experiences in the past which remain clear in my mind.  The first time I met the person who would eventually become my wife. The birth of my daughter. The first time I saw VMware ESXi at a Minneapolis VMUG meeting.  September 10th, 2001 and of course what followed the next morning.  A lot of people have a 9/11 story.  I have mine.  Tomorrow being the 10 year anniversary, I’ll share it here as requested.

In 2001 I worked as a Systems Engineer for a large bank based out of Minneapolis, MN.  One of our datacenters was located in Columbia, MD which is situated between Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.  We were re-IP’ing the datacenter the weekend before 9/11 so I had spent the prior week on site making the final preparations for the long weekend ahead which I would also be involved in.

As I recall, it was a pretty long weekend working around the clock.  Par for the course when we had to deal with the finicky attitude of Microsoft SQL Server clusters.  We got through it and Monday morning arrived.  I would usually stick around through mid day Monday for this type of activity to make sure we were out of the woods, then fly out in the afternoon or early evening.  There were no issues to speak of but I hung out with my Maryland co-workers until the last possible minute I had to leave for the airport.  This was my normal routine.  At this point in time there was no reason to arrive at the airport two hours early.  There weren’t security checkpoints & the associated lines to deal with.  However, I had cut it way too close this time and was going to miss my flight.  I didn’t know it at the time but arriving late and missing my flight would allow me a brush with fame opportunity.

Snagit CaptureAt this time it’s probably 5:30pm EDT.  I worked with the ticketing agent to find a later flight out.  Fortunately there was a later flight, I believe it was the last out of BWI.  I checked my bag and made my way to the gate for the long wait.  The portion of the airport where my gate existed was fairly empty.  I was doing the long walk thing to one of the last gates.  As I’m walking, a young guy who had gotten off a plane is walking towards me from the opposite direction.  From a distance he’s tall and has a baseball cap on.  As we passed each other, I got a closer look.  One thought immediately entered my mind as he was walking away “He looks like Travis Pastrana (a pro motocross Suzuki rider).”  The DUH moment followed “Travis and his parents live in Maryland.”  When you eat, sleep, and breathe motocross, you follow motocross and pro riders closely. You know these things.  I spun around and called out his first name “Travis!” from 20 feet away.  We talked for about a minute.  He was a nice guy and autographed a full spread poster of him performing a lazy boy contained in a motocross magazine I happened to be carrying in my laptop bag.  Then we went on our respective ways.  I called my wife (girlfriend at the time) and told her she’d never guess who I just met.  I spent the rest of the evening smiling.  I would always remember that particular day (but not necessarily the date September 10th itself), as one of the best days in my life.  The following day would be one of the worst.

Tuesday morning I woke up and drove to work in downtown Minneapolis.  As I waited at the intersection of 11 Street to turn right onto Hennepin Avenue, the frantic reports started coming in over the radio.  For me, that’s where I was when 9/11 happened – at that intersection making a right turn, trying not to believe what I’m hearing on the radio.  The details of that event are known by all and don’t need repeating here.  I had a difficult time grasping what had happened, how they could have happened.  I thought about how close I had been to one of the sites the night before.

The following weekend I loaded up the truck to race at Mazeppa.  There was such a poor turnout due to the week’s events that the races were cancelled and for those that stuck around, we just practiced the entire day.  A small and inconsequential example of how the events 9/11 would impact the future.  By the grace of God, I didn’t lose any of my own loved ones, friends, or co-workers but when I see the faces of the innocent people who lost their lives, I can’t help but feel a connection to each of them.  I’ve watched interviews of so many who suffered the loss of family members and I absolutely cannot comprehend how they dealt with it.  I pray that those who passed on and their family members who remain receive love and comfort from God.  It will be an emotional morning at church tomorrow as we join together in a special service of remembrance.

My daughter started kindergarten last week.  I also have a three year old boy.  In time they will learn about 9/11 and will inevitably talk about it and/or ask my wife and I questions about it.  I hope that it is the type of event they will only have to learn about through history books.  Tomorrow I’ll pray for peace and hope that my children and my children’s children can grow up in a better world.

On a creepy side note, for the first part of my tenure at the bank, each time I traveled to the Columbia site, a national level tragedy occurred:

  • Columbine High School tragedy – 4/20/99
  • 9/11 tragedy – 9/11/01
  • Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy – 2/1/03

I no longer work for the bank and as such, no longer travel to this site.

Q2 2011 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

May 9th, 2011

Event: Q2 2011 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

Spring is upon us and Minnesotan’s know what that means.. Q2 Minneapolis VMUG time! 

Friday May 20th, 2011 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Jason Boche, Minneapolis area VMUG leader – Email:

1:00 – 1:30 General business, Updates, Open Floor Discussions
1:30 – 2:15 Presentation:  Jeff Whitman, Senior SE and Tony MacDonald, Senior SE, VMware, Inc.“VMware Update, vCenter Operations presentation and demo”
2:15 – 2:25 Break
2:25 – 3:10 Presentation:  Greg Schmidt, Storage Architect, Hewlett Packard, Inc.: “Leveraging HP Storage Technology in a VMware Environment
3:10 – 3:20 Break
3:20 – 4:05 Presentation:  Matt Urbanowicz, Senior Systems Engineer and Josh Verhelst, Technical Architect, N’compass, Inc.: “Do You know Your Cost to Compute?”
4:05 – 4:15 Break
4:15 – 5:00 Q & A, Door Prizes, Closing


Stick around to win great door prizes!
(Please bring business cards to enter your name in the door prize drawings)

Meeting Location, Snacks, and door prizes provided by Hewlett Packard, Inc., N’compass, Inc., and VMware, Inc.


Meeting Location:
Hilton Hotel 494 & France Ave.
3900 American Boulevard West
Bloomington, MN  55437

VMware User Group Event Registration:

VMware User Group Membership Registration (subscribe):

VMUG Advantage

May 6th, 2011

SnagIt CaptureHave you seen the new VMware User Group website?  As a VMUG member or a VMware enthusiast, you need to made aware of a limited time offer which is tied to a new exclusive offer available to VMUG members only.  I’m going to introduce the program in more detail at the May 20th Minneapolis VMUG but you need to know about this offer now because there is an opportunity to purchase the package at a discount between now and May 21, 2011.

  • VMUG Advantage (click the link & view the major benefits) is a new, exclusive offering for all VMUG members around the world.
  • VMUG Advantage provides you an opportunity to enhance your VMware experience and knowledge through specific offers for training, VMworld and product licenses for VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.
  • Be the first to experience these great offers with VMUG Advantage promotional pricing.
  • Purchase in the first 60 days (now through May 21), and save even more!
  • In a time where the term “return on investment” is more important than ever, VMUG Advantage delivers. Save upwards of USD $1,700 while increasing your knowledge and network.

Shown below is the calculated savings when purchasing now versus waiting until after 5/21:

SnagIt Capture

VMUG Advantage isn’t for everyone.  Click the earlier VMUG Advantage link and view the benefits.  Depending on your VMware spend for 2011, the discounts you achieve may more than pay for the cost of the VMUG Advantage subscription.  However, if you aren’t planning on a VMworld trip or if you don’t need the eLearning, VMUG Advantage may not be a worthwhile membership for you.  At any rate, you owe it to yourself and your budget to check it out.  There may be something in there for you.

Updated 5/8/11: Following is the list of titles in the All Access eLearning bundle:

SnagIt Capture

VMworld recap and “The Social Network” premier screening 10-1-10

September 30th, 2010

Quick (and awesome) invite for Minneapolis VMware User Group (VMUG) and virtualization community members from St. Croix Solutions – this event is being put on TOMORROW Friday October 1st:

I’d like to invite any and all members of the VMware User Group to join us on Friday for a breakfast presentation and a movie at the new Showplace Icon movie theater in St Louis Park. St Croix engineer, Bill Oyler, will recap his top 5 take-aways from VMworld and take some follow-up Q&A along with Jim Yanik from VMware. We’ll follow up the presentation with a complimentary premier screening of “The Social Network” movie. Concessions will be provided.

Schedule for Friday, October 1st:
8:00-8:30 Registration & Breakfast
8:30-10:00 “Best of VMworld” presentation, Q&A
10:00-12:00 “The Social Network” Premier Screening

More details online here:!/event.php?eid=102243959840607

VMUG members can RSVP here:

Corey Donovan
Marketing Director
St Croix Solutions

Minneapolis VMUG / Veterans Sock Drive Benefit Friday

May 18th, 2010

Friendly reminder that from 1-5pm this Friday, the Minneapolis VMware User Group will hold a quarterly meeting in Bloomington.  I expect a lot of VDI content.  The meeting details can be found here.

Hilton Minneapolis
Bloomington Ballroom Foyer A
3900 American Boulevard West
Bloomington, MN 55437

In addition…

VMware is proud to work with the Minnesota Assistance Council For Veterans (MACV) by supporting a one day SOCK DRIVE BLITZ at the VMware User Group Meeting (VMUG). 

On Friday 21 May 2010 MACV and VMware will be collecting packages of new white cotton socks (primarily men’s sizes) as part of the MACV Veterans Standdown. The socks collected will then be distributed to homeless veterans in need at the Various standdown events across Minnesota throughtout the year. 


Items Needed for donations:
Packages of new white cotton socks
(primarily men’s sizes)

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization assisting veterans (and their families) in crisis throughout Minnesota for over 18 years including those who are experiencing homelessness. MACV is the only organization of its kind in the State of Minnesota completely dedicated to serving the needs of veterans, and is nationally recognized for its model and success.

Thank You

February 27th, 2010

Once in a while, I’m a witness to acts of extraordinary kindness from a person or group of persons.  It may not occur on a regular basis, but when it does, it is something special to behold.  It happened this afternoon at the Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group (VMUG) meeting.

It started out as a fairly typical event.  I called the meeting to order, briefly went through some general business and current events in the VMware virtualization community, and then turned the meeting over to our first speakers Craig Drugge and Pavan Jhamnani of Syncsort.  I took a seat, prepared to learn about Syncsort’s data protection and rapid recovery technologies.  However that was not to be, at least not right away.  Instead, Pavan invited Michael Cardinal of ThinLaunch up on stage.  I was curious about what was transpiring since this was Syncsort’s hour and I wasn’t aware that ThinLaunch had any ties to Syncsort’s technology.

Michael took the stage with a white paper bag in hand and began speaking to the audience about a person he has known for a few years.  A person who diggs virtualization.  A person whom he’d bumped into at VMware Partner Exchange early Wednesday morning at Starbucks Mandalay Bay.  I caught on pretty quickly that he was referring to me.  Michael proceeded to announce my recent VCDX certification accomplishment.  I thought that was extremely generous of him, but there was more.  Michael asked me to come up on stage where he presented me with a gift.  This was something that he, his wife, and Bill Hinkens (Territory Manager, VMware) collaborated on.  Michael turned the bag around to reveal the VMware diamond plate artwork along with my name and VCDX #34 on it.  Inside the bag was a black VMware fleece sweater, again with my name, VCDX, and #34 on it.  I was at a loss for words.  I accpeted the gift, thanked Michael, and we took our seats. The meeting continued from its brief diversion.

The sweater, the bag, the presentation, the planning, the thought, these were all wonderful gifts from a group of people who went out of their way which I will remember for a long time.  Virtualization, for me, has built a great community of people and in many cases has yielded friendships at a professional as well as a personal level.  For that I am very thankful and each day I look forard to what the future brings.

Thank you.

VMware User Groups (VMUGs)

January 6th, 2009

Lafe Low wrote a nice article for Redmond magazine about the history, fundamentals, and benefits of IT user groups. You may not be aware of this but there are many active VMware User Groups (VMUGs) around the world that you can get involved in.

The largest VMUG event I’ve heard of is in the Netherlands where they had 600 or more attendees at their event just recently. The Dutch are coo-coo for VMware virtualization and it shows by their VCP numbers I’m told.

I lead the Minneapolis area VMUG and we meet quarterly, as do many of the other VMUGs. We had one of our largest meetings last December with 150+ people. Our numbers have been steadily growing.

Back to the user group article, many of the benefits Lafe talks about apply to VMUGs:

“Most user group members feel that face-to-face sharing is essential.”

“The best peers make the best professors.”

“The feverish pace at which new technologies are introduced and integrated into the technological landscape helps make professional-level user groups an essential element. For the new generation of IT pros coming on, the technology has gone off the scale. You have every kind of protocol thrown at you, computers are faster and growing exponentially. Tech professionals have a lot more on their plate to deal with. This incessant technological upheaval naturally leads those who have chosen IT as a profession to seek out the counsel of their peers. We’re seeing them come to user groups in swarms. Their future lies in tying to existing IT pros. There’s a population desperately searching for connectivity and knowledge and advancement for their own sake and for the sake of the industry.”

Read Lafe’s entire user group article here.

There are still many individuals and companies that do not have the understanding or adaptation of virtualization. Meeting after meeting, I see new faces attend, unsure of what this virtualization stuff is, and after the meeting they walk away with a much better understanding, and even better, the confidence they needed to reach out to others and ultimately begin their virtualization adventure.

Jean Williams heads the user group division at VMware and does a great job with the help of Kristyn Ha. I would like to point out, however, that VMUGs are run by the users, for the users. This isn’t corporate propaganda jammed down our throats with a potato masher. These are peer level meetings with a wide range of expertise, knowledge, and experience. It’s straight talk about VMware virtualization benefits, strategies and related 3rd party products, and we don’t sugar coat, overlook, or ignore VMware issues.

I strongly encourage the joining of a VMware User Group. Here are some useful links to help you get started:

VMware User Groups official home page

Become a VMware User Group member today!

No VMUG in your area? Start one!

VMware Communities (forums) – VMware User Groups

Email the VMware User Group team at VMware