Heading To TechEd North America 2014


Good times ahead as today I’m making my way over to the USA (Houston Texas) or TechEd 2014 North America. I’m in good company of a few of my colleagues and I have a great number of my buddies & industry relations inbound as well.

Time for some serious education, networking & passionate discussions on the state of the industry with people form all over the globe.  I’ll also make good use of my time over there to meet up with the people in my network that are US based.

I’ll be spending time in cloud/hybrid/virtualization tracks and focus on networking and identity. That’s starts off very well with a pre conference track hybrid identity on Sunday by john Craddock, a true scholar!

Network!

No need to bring SFP+ or RJ45, don’t worry. Next to sessions & labs don’t forget to connect with others. The ability to network with peers and industry experts is a great benefit of this conference so make the best of it. There are few events with this concentration of expertise & talent, tap into that resource.

To help all you shy people out there Aidan Finn has launched the The TechEd North America 2014 Hyper-V Amigo Selfie Game. You can read all about it over here and if you play, best of luck!

On Route

But first we need to get there. As I learned during visit of the Boeing factory in Seattle “If it’s not Boeing, I ‘m not going” Winking smile. No worries it appears they’re using a 777?

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So I’m getting out of the village, into the world so tunnel visions and blinders can be avoided. See you all there.

DELL Enterprise Forum EMEA 2014 in Frankfurt


As you might have noticed on Twitter I was in Frankfurt last week to attend DELL Enterprise Forum EMEA 2014. It was a great conference and very worthwhile going to. It was a week of multi way communication between vendor, marketing, engineering, partners and customers. I learned a lot. And I gave a lot of feedback. As a Dell TechCenter Rockstar and a Microsoft MVP in Hyper-V I can build bridges to make sure both worlds understand each other better and we, the customers get their needs served better.

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I’m happy I managed to go and I have some people to thank for me being able to grab this opportunity:

  • I cleared the time with my employer. This is great, this is a win win situation and I invested weekend time & extra hours for both my employer and myself.
  • I got an invite for the customer storage council where we learned a lot and got ample of opportunity to give honest and constructive feedback directly to the people that need to hear it! Awesome.
  • The DELL TechCenter Rockstar program invited me very generously to come over at zero cost for the Enterprise Forum. Which is great and helped my employer  and myself out. So, thank you so much for helping me attend. Does this color my judgment? 100%  pure objectivity does not exist but the ones who know me also know I communicate openly and directly. Look, I’ve never written positive reviews for money or kickbacks. I do not have sponsoring on my blog, even if that could help pay for conferences, travel expenses or lab equipment. Some say I should but for now I don’t. I speak my mind and I have been a long term DELL customer for some very good reasons. They deliver the best value for money with great support in a better way and model than others out there. I was sharing this info way before I became a Rockstar and they know that I tell the good, the bad and the ugly. They can handle it and know how to leverage feedback better than many out there.
  • Stijn Depril ( @sdepril, http://www.stijnsthoughts.be/), Technical Datacenter Sales at RealDolmen gave me a ride to Frankfurt and back home. Very nice of him and a big thank you for doing so.  He didn’t have to and I’m not a customer of them. Thank buddy, I appreciate it and it was interesting ton learn the partners view on things during the drive there and back. Techies will always be checking out gear …

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What did all this result in? Loads of discussion, learning and sharing about storage, networking, compute, cloud, futures and community in IT. It was an 18 hour per day technology fest in a very nice and well arranged fashion.

I was able to meet up with community members, twitter buddies, DELL Employees and peers from all over EMEA and share experiences, learn together, talk shop, provide feedback and left with a better understanding of the complexities and realities they deal with on their side.

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It has been time very well spent. I applaud DELL to make their engineers and product managers available for this event. I thank them for allowing us this amount of access to their brains from breakfast till the moment we say goodnight after a night cap. Well done, thank you for listening and I hope to continue the discussion. It’s great to be a DELL TechCenter Rockstar and work in this industry during this interesting times. To all the people I met again or for the first time, it was a great week of many interesting conversations!

For some more pictures and movies visit the Dell Enterprise Forum EMEA 2014 from Germany photo album on Flickr

Attending The Global MVP Summit 2013 (November 18-21)


We have Windows 8.1 running on our desktops & laptops and meanwhile Windows Server 2012 R2 is crunching numbers in our (virtualized) data centers. So it’s time to grab one of those magnificent British Airways Boeing 747 aircraft seats once again and make my way to SEATAC. No rest for the wicked. BAS7400066

Yup, but for now I’ve parked myself in LHR whilst waiting for my flight. Soon I’ll be in the air again for the long haul to the USA. I’m off to Washington State, Seattle to be exact, and from there to Bellevue/Redmond. You might have guessed where I am going already, indeed to the Microsoft campus. I’m attending the Global MVP Summit 2013, November Edition. image

Apart from that magnificent educational & networking opportunity I will spend a lot of the “free” time discussing technology, visions & strategies with my peers and Microsoft employees. I’d like to thank the latter for their patience with me when bugging them with questions Smile. To my buddies, acquaintances & connections, I’ll see you soon. We have a lot to learn & discuss. That’s one of the reasons I’m off a bit earlier. It helps with the jet lag but it also gives me time to meet up with friends and acquaintances I’ve made in the Puget Sound area and talk shop. This helps to keep in touch with what’s happening over the world and to understand where their priorities are, what’s keeping them occupied. While I’m a firm believer in remote and teleworking there is value in getting your boots on the ground every now and then. It prevents tunnel vision and helps avoiding  teleology in our views while enhancing early detection of small trend changes to whole sale tectonic shifts. This is not to be confused with thinking you have a crystal ball or anything.

To my readers & community members I’d like to extend the invitation to pass along feedback to Microsoft. They do listen. So leave a comment, send me a mail (contact via Blog) or ping me on Twitter.

In case you don’t know, everything discussed at the MVP Summit is under NDA, even for MVPs of another expertise. So basically bar some tweets to find our where other MVPs I’ll be going dark.

If You Can, You Should Attend TechEd 2013 Europe


It’s that time of the year again, when TechEd is coming closer. I’m attending the European Edition in Madrid, Spain. But I can guarantee you I will be on line a lot during the USA edition as well. At be attending the USA edition this year if I could but work, time and budget wise I can’t make that happen. This isn’t because the European edition is less, absolutely not. The reason is that at MMS2013 in Las Vegas last month we got the heads up that Microsoft will start talking publicly about the new version of Windows and I’m game for that. Windows Server 2012 is the best Windows version ever but I know what I’d like to see in there to make it even better. I’m kind of curious if anyone at MSFT follows my thinking on this subject. I hope so!

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So yes I’m a TechEd advocate, you bet! If you want to know why, read my blog post here on http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/why-i-find-value-in-a-conference/.

Come and learn amongst your peers, network with them and industry experts. To become competent and gain expertise you are going to have to get out there and expose your ideas, insights and thinking to your peers around the globe. That’s how it works. To those who dismiss quality conferences like this I can only say that you are wrong. To those who claim it’s a paid holiday I can only say that to a liar all other men are liars and to a thief all other men are thieves.  Enough said. Invest in knowledge and competence development, it will pay of better than some extra thousands of € in the bank!

So if you can please join me and attend TechEd. It’s a blast and a tremendous learning experience. I never ever miss attending TechEd, not even at times it wasn’t easy for me to do so. You can register here. I hope to see you there!

Traveling To MMS 2013


Well I’ll be traveling towards MMS 2013. A big thank you, by the way, to the team back home for keeping an eye on things while reading the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Guide.

I’m attending this conference for the great networking opportunities and to establish the role System Center will have in our future. Many thousands of us will be attending MMS 2013 in Las Vegas (Nevada, USA) once again for that very same reason. I’m travelling over LHR to LAS with the help of British Airways as one of their Boeing 747s does the job quite adequately.

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System Center 2012 SP1 has been released with full support for Windows Server 2012 whilst Windows 8 is gaining traction and the BYOD & Hybrid trends are ever increasing the challenges for management & support. Meanwhile we’re faced with ever bigger challenges keeping up with Private, Hybrid & Public cloud efforts and trends while maintaining our “legacy” systems.

I’m looking forward to discuss some serious issues we’re dealing with in managing an ever increasing varied ecosystem. Things are moving fast in technology. This means we need to adapt and move even faster with the flow.My friends, colleagues, fellow MEET members & MVPs, business partners, Microsoft employees I’m looking forward to meeting up at the Summit in Mandalay Bay!

Next to the sessions I have meetings lined up with vendors, friends & colleagues from around the globe as we optimize our time when we can meet face to face to talk shop and provide feedback. If you can’t attend follow some of the action here at MMS 2013 Live!

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If you  read my blog or follow me on twitter and are attending be sue to let us know so we can meet & greet.

Heading Towards The 2013 Global MVP Summit


Hello people, I’m making my way to Seattle at the moment to attend the 2013 Global MVP Summit. I’m really looking forward to this as I have a lot of feedback and questions on using Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V in real live. That and the fact that we’ll get to discuss all this amongst each other and with the product teams. There are not many opportunities where you get to meet up with so many enthusiastic subject matter experts from all over the world.

Last month I checked my Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) papers and made sure my passport was valid.  So after packing my bag it’s now traveling time as I need to get myself to SEATAC. One of these below works just fine for that purpose I know from experience. While awaiting boarding time I’ve parked myself in LHR. If it’s anything like last year this could be considered a long-haul MVP flight Smile.

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I’m eager to meet up with friends and acquaintances again to talk shop and some fun. So Hyper-V, Cluster, Storage, Network PMs … my fellow MVPs and I are on our way. See you all very soon!

I’m Attending The 2013 MVP Global Summit


Well, that time of the year is getting closer again. It’s something different, unique and somewhat exclusive. It’s the 2013 MVP Global Summit!

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For this summit MVPs from all over the world converge on Bellevue/Redmond near Seattle. The summit takes place on and around the Microsoft campus. To discuss their favorite & most important MSFT technologies in depth amongst each other and with Microsoft staff.

I have the good fortune of being able to attend again this year. I have to express my thanks to our top management for this Smile. This is very valuable to both me and my employers. It’s also fun to discuss the technology you work with amongst so many like minded people in the same business. The amount of knowledge sharing, insights and ideas around Redmond creates a stimulating buzz and I loved every moment of it last year. I met many great professionals and interesting people with whom, from breakfast till after dinner drinks, we had a truckload of interesting discussions. It’s a bit of a geek fest.

So I’m looking forward to all this and also to meeting up again with some MSFT employees and professionals from the Seattle area I got to know last time.

The MVP summit is also a good time to pass feedback from others on to Microsoft as well. You’re not in the drivers seat when it comes to the direction Windows and Hyper-V will take. However, you cannot have your opinions taken into consideration unless you let them be be heard. So, please feel free to share any remarks, feedback, feature requests you’d like to the virtualization, cluster, storage, file share, network, etc. product teams to know. You can post them in the comments for all to see. To shy to post it publicly? You can send me a e-mail via the contact form on my blog or direct message me via @workinghardinit on twitter.

Now the entire summit is under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) but that doesn’t mean it’s a pure diplomatic mission. We all love the technology, that is for sure, but we also  pass along the bad and the ugly next to the good. It’s not marketing or indoctrination,if it was MVPs would not spend the time an money to attend.

That’s where the words “independent” and real world” comes into play. We’re not a bunch of fan boys. The communication is both ways and I think that make this event extra valuable to both parties. I’m looking forward to the 2013 MVP Summit and I have a lot of feedback and questions based on using Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V in real live.

Microsoft Management Summit 2013 Registration opens on December 3rd, 2012


Just as a heads up to all people planning to attend the Microsoft Management Summit 2013 (MMS 2013) this blog is to let you know that registrations open on December 3rd 2012.

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So, I’d keep an eye out for the MMS 2013 site and register as soon as you get the opportunity. This event has the tendency to sell out fast.

I’m Presenting at the Technical Experts Conference 2012 Europe


I’ll be speaking at the Technical Experts Conference 2012 Europe in Barcelona on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and it’s storage and network related improvements and promising new features. Some of you might know that I’m a Microsoft MVP in the Virtual Machine Expertise (i.e. Hyper-V), but these sessions are not marketing or vapor ware. Being an MVP is about sharing knowledge and experiences with you. I’m are early adopter in production from the day the RTM bits became available and we’re already reaping the benefits of those features, so it’s more than just lab work and theory.

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I won’t be there alone, as my friends, colleagues and fellow MVPs Aidan Finn (@joe_elway), Carsten Rachfahl (@hypervserver) and Hans Vredevoort (@hvredevoort) will be there as well to present and share their knowledge, which is extensive, I assure you. It’s great to have the chance to come together again and talk about our technology passions.

You can find an overview of the session agenda here

So I hope you can join us for an interesting conference and interactive event where we can discuss your challenges and ways to address them. Trust me when I say that talking to other customers and technologist is a great way to learn, understand the needs and find opportunities. We learn a lot from presenting and talking to you. I’ve attended a lot of conferences in my career now and I still find them valuable. The return on investment for my employers has been great. Motivated and skilled employees can save a business 10 fold the cost spent to keep them that way.

Haven’t heard of TEC  before?

Neither did I before a couple of years, but by good fortune I had the opportunity to attend as a delegate and found it very worth while in both content and networking opportunities. As it turns out The Experts Conference Europe 2012 (TEC) has been running for over a decade now and it delivers level 400 sessions on core Microsoft technologies. It focuses on Active Directory and Identity, Exchange, Virtualization and User Workspace Management.

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TEC Europe is held at the Hotel Rey Carlos in Barcelona from 22-24 October 2012. Quest , as an alliance partner of Microsoft, welcomes program management, product management, development staff from Redmond and a number of field team members to the event every year to support the training requirements of its users. This means two things: It’s a valuable event and, I admit, I’m honored to be invited to speak at this event.

Budgets are tight

A great tip. Quest is offering a discount rate of 850 Euro to delegates who register by 21 September! You can get a discount code for registration by sending an email to TEC2012@quest.com

Attending the Dell Tech Summit EMEA


As you read this I’m preparing to get on my way to the DELL Tech Summit in Lisbon, Portugal for a few days. I’ll be discussing the needs we have from them as customers (and their competition actually for that matter) when it comes to hardware in the Microsoft landscape in the era of Windows Server 2012.

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I’m very happy and eager to tell them what, in my humble opinion, they are doing wrong and what they are doing right and even what they are not doing at all Smile  I believe in giving feedback and interaction with vendors. Not that I have any illusion of self importance as to the impact of my voice on the grand scheme of things but if I don’t speak up nothing changes either. As Intel and Microsoft are there as well,  this makes for a good selection of the partners involved. So here I go:

  1. More information on storage features, specifications and roadmaps
  2. Faster information on storage features, specifications and roadmaps
    • Some of these are in regards to Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012 (Storage Pools & Spaces, SMI-S, ODX, UNMAP, RDMA/SMB3.0 …) and some are more generic like easier & better SAN/Cluster failovers capabilities, ease of use, number of SCSI 3 persistent reservations, etc.
  3. How to address the IOPS lag in the technology evolution. Their views versus my ideas on how to tackle them until we get better solutions.
  4. Plans, if any, for Cluster In a Box (CiB) building blocks for Windows Server 2012 Private Cloud solutions.
  5. When does convergence make sense and when not cost/benefit wise (and at what level). I’d like a bit more insight into what DELLs vision is and how they’ll execute that. What will new storage options mean to that converged network, i.e. SMB 3.0, Multichannel & RDMA capable NICs. Now convergence always seems tied to one tech/protocol (VOIP in the past, FCoE at the moment) and it shouldn’t, plenty of other needs for loads of bandwidth (Live migration, Storage Live Migration, Shared Nothing Live Migration, CSV redirected mode, …).

Now while it’s important to listen to you customers, this is not easy if you want to do it right, far from it. For one we’re all over the place as a group. This is always the case unless you cater to a specialized niche market. But DELL serves both consumers and enterprises form 1 person shops to fortune 500 companies in all fields of human endeavor. That makes for nice cocktail of views and opinions I suspect.

Even more importantly than listening is processing what you hear from your customers. Do you ignore, react, or take it away as more or less valuable information. Information on which to act or not, to use in decision making, and perhaps even in executing those decisions. And let’s face it without execution decisions are pretty academic exercises. In the end management is in control and for all the feedback, advise, research that gathered and done, they are at the steering wheel and they are responsible for the results.

One thing that I do know from my fellow MVPs and the community is that for the past 12 months any vendor who would address those questions with a good plan and communications would be a top favorite while selecting hardware at many customers for a lot of projects.