2014 Kicks Offs With A Microsoft MVP Award Renewal!


I can start of the new year at the office tomorrow by whishing everyone a great 2014 and talking to the CEO about making sure we schedule/budget for the MVP Summit in 2014 as I just got this e-mail in:

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This is great news. Somewhere this month, a box will arrive at my house with a new ring for the award trophy and a new MVP Certificate. The trophy itself stands proudly on a cupboard in my parents living room. I might have earned the award, but they made sure I was given the little backpack with the values & the education to make that possible. And while they don’t really understand the technicalities of what I do, they think the world of it when I fly of to the USA because Microsoft likes to talk to me Smile.

While you get the MVP award for contributions over the past year to the community you must realize that being active in the community is a very rewarding endeavor in itself. No, it’s not like you can put a hard dollar amount on it, nor want to. The value is that you help out a lot of people and in return effectively crowd source your IT issues to a global community. It help other and yourself learn and grow. We constantly need to figure out a lot of things in our line of business. Studying, thinking, analyzing, designing, implementing & supporting a wide ever changing IT stack is not a one person or one team job. Sharing insights & experiences (both good and bad) with your peers helps a lot. You grow a global network of highly motivated, experienced & skilled people. A network you can leverage & consult when you need it. A network that you contribute to when you can, where you can. That’s what it’s about. The cost of participating is dwarfed by the return as many hand help make hard work easier. Good bosses & smart organizations have figured this out. During a panel discussion at Dell World Jonathan Copeland used the metaphor that it take a village to raise a kid. I added to it that one day that kid needs to leave the village and go out into the world. Being active in communities helps with both. I’ve also talked about this here.

I’m very happy with my 2014 MVP Award. I cherish the interaction with my fellow MVPs and Microsoft. The 2014 MVP Global Summit is already on my agenda. I’m grateful for the opportunities it brings and the continuous privilege of learning & sharing. See you all on line, at conferences, think tanks & community events & in Bellevue/Redmond.

DELL World 2013 – Tour Of the Acoustic & Storage Testing Labs & Presenting at the Dell TechCenter User Group


While at Dell World 2013, a group of us had the opportunity to visit the Dell offices as part of the Trends in Data Center Technology Think Tank. We saw advancements in fresh air cooling, a hot house,

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the storage lab and, new to me, the acoustic labs. Below is a picture of Chris Peterson, the acoustic Architect (he was involved in the design of the DELL VRTX, which is a unique solution and achievement in the industry). Like wise the also have thermal engineers and both of these expertises are closely related.

I will never look at acoustic / thermal engineering for servers & storage in the same way I used to and I have way more respect for the effort and a better understanding of what efforts go in to this research and why.

For some more information on the acoustic lab read this white paper Dell Enterprise Acoustics and watch these videos:

Dell thermal & acoustic engineers discussing the VRTX
Chris Peterson on Dell PowerEdge Generation 12 Server acoustics

Next to all that I attended briefings, had one to one conversations with network, storage & server managers & engineers. I had a lot of information, questions & request to share from our Microsoft MVP Community in regards to our needs & wishes for the best possible support for Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V, ODX, UNMAP, SMB Direct, SOFS, Management & cloud. I even jumped into an open source breakfast discussion on * cloud computing. Last but not least we joined fellow Rock Stars Jonathan Copeland (@VirtSecurity), Rasmus Haslund (@haslund) & Dell Tech Center’s community manager Jeff Sullivan (@JeffSullivan) to discuss what community & social media means to us.

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I also shared our experiences with Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V, DVMQ, vRSS & ODX at the Dell Tech Center User Group during Dell World 2013.

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Want to talk and demo DVMQ & vRSS? Start with the basics: RSS Smile 

To all my community buddies a very festive end of the year and a great 2014! If you want to know even more about how rewarding being part of a community can be, check out this blog Mindset of the community by Marc van Eijk (@_marcvaneijk)

TechNet Top Support Solutions From Microsoft Support Blog


As this year comes to an end I’d like to draw your attention to Microsoft’s new Top Support Solutions blog on TechNet. It was created this as part of their continuous efforts to keep the various  technical communities informed about the most relevant answers to the top questions or issues experienced with their products. They identify these top issues by analyzing the question in their forums and their other support channels.

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So if you need to find answers for your self or your customers go take a look at the "Top Solutions Content" blog. Changes are you’ll find valuable information about the Microsoft top support solutions for several of their popular products in Server and Tools. It might save you and your clients or manager a lot of time, effort and money. It’s also a great resource to make your colleagues, community, user group or clients aware of.

I’m In Austin Texas For Dell World 2013


This is the night time sky line of where I’m at right now. Austin, Texas, USA. That famous “Lone Star State” that until now I only knew from the movies & the media. Austin is an impressive city in an impressive state and, as most US experiences I’ve had, isn’t comparable with anything in my home country Belgium. That works both ways naturally and I’m lucky I get to travel a bit and see a small part of the world.image

Dell World 2013

So why am I here?  Well I’m here to attend DELL World 2013, but you got that already Smile

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That’s nice Didier but why DELL World? Well, several reasons. For one, I wanted to come and talk to as many product owners & managers, architects & strategists as I can. We’re seeing a lot of interest in new capabilities that Windows Server 2012 (R2) brought to the Microsoft ecosystem. I want to provide all the feedback I can on what I as a customer, a Microsoft MVP and technologist expect from DELL to help us make the most of those. I’m convinced DELL has everything we need but can use some guidance on what to add or enhance. It would be great to get our priorities and those of DELL aligned. Form them I expect to hear their plans, ideas, opinions and see how those match up. Dell has a cost/value leadership position when it comes to servers right now. They have a great line up of economy switches that pack a punch (PowerConnect) & some state of the art network gear with Force10. it would be nice to align these with guidance & capabilities to leverage SMB Direct and NVGRE network virtualization. Dell still has the chance to fill some gaps way better than others have. A decent Hyper-V network virtualization gateway that doesn’t cost your two first born children and can handle dozens to hundreds of virtual networks comes to mind. That and real life guidance on several SMB Direct with DCB configuration guidance. Storage wise, the MD series, Equalogic & Compellent arrays offer great value for money. But we need to address the needs & interest that SMB 3.0, Storage Spaces, RDMA has awoken and how Dell is planning to address those. I also think that OEMs need to pick up pace & change some of their priorities when it comes to providing answers to what their customers in the MSFT ecosystem ask for & need, doing that can put them in a very good position versus their competitors. But I have no illusions about my place in & impact on the universe.

Secondly, I was invited to come. As it turns out DELL has the same keen interest in talking to people who are in the trenches using their equipment to build solutions that address real life needs in a economical feasible way.  No, this is not “just” marketing. A smart vendor today communicates in many ways with existing & potential customers. Social media is a big part of that but also off line at conferences, events and both contributor and sponsor.  Feedback on how that works & is received is valuable as well for both parties. They learn what works &n doesn’t and we get the content we need. Now sure you’ll have the corporate social media types that are bound by legal & marketing constrictions but the real value lies in engaging with your customers & partners about their real technological challenges & needs.

Third is the fact that all these trends & capabilities in both the Microsoft ecosystem and in hardware world are not happening in isolation. They are happening in a world dominated by cloud computing in all it’s forms. This impact everything from the clients, servers, servers to the data centers as well as the people involved. It’s a world in which we need to balance the existing and future needs with a mixture of approaches & where no one size fits all even if the solutions come via commodity products & services. It’s a world where the hardware  & software giants are entering each others turf. That’s bound to cause some sparks Smile. Datacenter abstraction layer, Software Defined “anything” (storage, networking, …), converged infrastructure. Will they collaborate or fight?

So put these three together and here I am. My agenda is full of meetings, think tanks, panels, briefings and some down time to chat to colleagues & DELL employees alike.

Why & How?

Some time ago I was asked why I do this and why I’m even capable to do this. It takes time, money and effort.  Am I some kind of hot shot manager or visionary guru? No, not at all. Believe there’s nothing “hot” about working on a business down issue at zero dark thirty. I’m a technologist. I’m where the buck stops. I need things to work. So I deal in realities not fantasies. I don’t sell methods, processes or services people, I sell results, that’s what pays my bills long term. But I do dream and I try to turn those into realities. That’s different from just fantasy world where reality is an unwelcome guest. I’m no visionary, I’m no guru. I’m a hard working IT Pro (hence the blog title and twitter handle) who realizes all to well he’s standing on the shoulders of not just giants but of all those people who create the ecosystem in which I work. But there’s more. Being a mere technologist only gets you that far. I also give architectural & strategic advice as that’s also needed to make the correct decisions. Solutions don’t exist in isolation and need to be made in relation to trends, strategies and needs. That takes insight & vision. Those don’t come to you by only working in the data center, your desktop or in eternal meetings with the same people in the same place. My peers, employers and clients actively support this for the benefit of our business, customers, networks & communities. That’s the what, why and who that are giving me the opportunities to learn & grow both personally & professionally. People like Arlindo Alves and may others at MSFT, my fellow MVPs (Aidan Finn, Hans Vredevoort, Carsten Rachfahl, …), Florian Klaffenbach & Peter Tsai. As a person you have to grab those opportunities. If you want to be heard you need to communicate. People listen and if the discussions and subjects are interesting it becomes a two way conversation and a great learning experience. As with all networking and community endeavors you need to put in the effort to reap the rewards in the form of information, insights and knowledge you can leverage for both your own needs as well as for those in your network. That means speaking your mind. Being honest and open, even if at times you’re wrong. That’s learning. That, to me, is what being in the DELL TechCenter Rock StarDELL TechCenter Rock Star program is all about.

Learning, growing, sharing. That and a sustained effort in your own development slowly but surely makes you an “expert”. An expert that realizes all to well how much he doesn’t known & cannot possible all learn.  Luckily, to help deal with that fact, you can turn to the community.

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.

Presentation & Demos E2EVC Rome 2013


Well my E2EVC presentation has been given and it went well. Sweet experience for the 20th edition of this excellent community conference.

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Thank you to all those attendees that attended my session. I hope you enjoyed it, learned something and got a taste of experimenting with some of the perhaps lesser know features at your disposal in Windows Server 2012 R2.

A big thanks to Alex and Clare for the splendid organization of E2EVC for the twentieth time!

For more information on VMQ & vRSS go here: http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/windows-server-2012-r2-virtual-rss-vrss-in-action/
http://blogs.technet.com/b/networking/archive/2013/09/10/vmq-deep-dive-1-of-3.aspx
http://blogs.technet.com/b/networking/archive/2013/09/24/vmq-deep-dive-2-of-3.aspx
http://blogs.technet.com/b/networking/archive/2013/10/22/vmq-deep-dive-3-of-3.aspx

For a good start on SMB Direct with iWarp or RoCE go here: http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/adventures-in-rdma-the-roce-path-to-windows-server-2012-r2-smb-3-0-glory/

You can download the presentation here. The video of the session will be made available later by E2EVC so you can see the demo.

Just to make you all drool for the video to become live here’s a screenshot of what DVMQ/vRSS can achieve. Just pushing it to the limit. No, this is not “Photoshopped” I have witnesses Winking smile. That’s a W2K12R2 VM receiving 37.4Gbps of traffic. That will do or most of you I guess until 100Gbps NICs are the standard LOM on your future computing device.

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By the way some people really loved some of the drawn art I used in the presentation. For these I owe thanks to Kathy Sierra and her great blog art. It’s a shame she felt the need to go dark.

More stuff is in the work as working hard in IT never fails to deliver more good subjects, findings and results to blog about.

If you’re a managerial type and feel offended, you probably should, as you’re doing it all wrong Smile. Otherwise you would have smiled because you have a sense of humor and nodded at the mistakes of your colleagues.

E2EVC Rome 2013–Attending & Speaking


I’m attending and speaking at the E2EVC (Experts2Experts Virtualization Conference) in Rome, November 1-3.

I’ll be doing a talk on networking features in Windows Server 2012 R2 & Hyper-V. The good, the bad & the ugly. And no, no SDN talk. It’s about the other stuff.

“Session Topic: Networking Options For Virtualization in Windows Server 2012 R2
Short description: In Windows 2012 R2 there are many networking options available to optimize for both speed & redundancy. Let’s talk about some of them and see where and when they can help. The biggest problem is thinking you need  all of them or wanting all of them. Others are knowledge& complexity. Join us for a chalk & talk discussing all this. Some fellow MVPs will be there and we all have different experiences in different environments.
Presenter: Didier Van Hoye, Microsoft MVP”

It will be an interactive chalk & talk based on testing & experiences with these features & demos if the internet holds up.

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It’s a suburb non-commercial, virtualization community Event. It brings the best real life  virtualization experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. Lots of presentations, Master Classes and discussions going on both the attendees, vendors product teams & independent experts.

Now this is a conference where marketing & marchitecture is shot down fast & hard. But always in a friendly way. These people are all working in the sector and they have to keep it real. They have a business & a livelihood that depends on them delivering results, not fairy tales & management pleasing BS. These people tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear.

Look at the turnout for this event, this twitter list reads as the “Who’s Who In Virtualization”: @pcrampton, @joe_elway, @shawnbass, @ThomasMaurer, @Andrea_Mauro, @hansdeleenheer, @drtritsch, @WorkingHardInIT, @HelgeKlein, @JimMoyle, @neilspellings, @andyjmorgan, @KBaggerman, @CarlWebster, @bsonposh, @gilwood_cs, @E2EVC, @KristianNese, @_POPPELGAARD, @barryschiffer, @RemkoWeijnen, @IngmarVerheij, @WilcovanBragt, @david_obrien, @Microspecialist, @virtualfat, @LFoverskov, @virtuEs_IT, @stibakke, @granttiller, @Easi123, @ChrisJMarks, @arbeijer, @znackattack, @ShaunRitchie_UK, @Rob_Aarts, @StefanKoell, @EHouben, @crachfahl, @JeroenTielen, @plompr, @Gkunst, @drmiru, @espenbe, @marcdrinkwater, @DocsMortar, @AlBayliss, @wedelit, @pzykomAtle, @LoDani, @fborozan, @JeffWouters, @mrpickford, @smspasscode, @schose, @rvanderkruk, @TimmBrochhaus, @HansMinnee, @JZanten, @Sargola, @JaspervanWesten, @airdeca_nl, @danielBuonocore, @PeppelT, @TondeVreede, @pcortis, @ConorScolard, @CarstenDreyer, @arnaud_pain, @RoyTextor, @saschazimmer, @abstrask, @loopern, @PulseITch, @joarleithe, clarecoops9, @rfolmer, @wimoortgiesen  …

Here’s the conference agenda: http://www.e2evc.com/home/Agenda.aspx

See you there Smile and I’m looking forward to seeing my community buddies!

Join me for aTechNet Live Meeting: Hyper-V Storage Efficiencies & Optimizations in Windows Server 2012 R2


So you have been  playing with or down right seriously testing Windows Server 2012 and perhaps even Windows Server 2012 R2. That’s great. Many of you might have it running in production or are working on that. That’s even better.

Windows Server 2012 has brought us unseen capabilities & performance enhancements that make it a future proof fundament for many versions to come and it is ready for the ever accelerating pace of hardware improvements. R2 has fine tuned some points and added improvements that are stepping stones to better today and even greater in vNext. I’d like to invite you to a free TechNet Live Meeting on Hyper-V Storage Efficiencies & Optimizations in Windows Server 2012 R2 and look at some of these capabilities with me.

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As a virtualization guy two subjects are very dear to me and that is networking & storage, and this event is about a subset of the storage improvements. You might have heard about ODX and UNMAP but you have not had the change to play with it. You have read about the tremendous scalability of the IOPS in a VM and about large sector support for the next generation of hard disks drives. Well some of these we’ll demonstrate (ODX, UNMAP, Dynamically expanding VHDX performance) if the demo gods are with us. Others we’ll discuss so you’ll know where this comes into play and how you’ll benefit from them even without realizing you do. So without further delay register for the free TechNet Live Event here.

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!

Best of MMS 2013 – SCUG Belgium


Earlier this month I attended MMS2013 in Las Vegas. Today the Belgian System Center Community let’s us know about a live event “Best of MMS” they organize in order to share in-depth System center knowledge/presentations along with their impressions.

No one les than Wally Mead, the Senior Program Manager for System Center Configuration Manager who’s perhaps better know as The Godfather of Configuration Manger, will be joining the event. Wally is presenting twice along side the Belgian SCUG members, many of which belong to Microsoft Extended Experts Team (MEET) and/or are MVPs in Enterprise Client Management, Cloud & Datacenter & Virtual machine.

Grab a seat for "Best of MMS 2013” right here on Eventbrite

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You can find the (non final) agenda on the SCUGBE web site http://scug.be/events/2013/04/27/best-of-mms-19062013/. As you can see I have an early morning session at 09.15  – 10.15 on “Availability Strategies for a Resilient Private Cloud”. This provides the foundation for a high to continuous available private cloud my fellow speakers will be presenting on.

There will be opportunities to network, talk shop, learn and last but not least to win a TechEd Europe 2013 ticket in a lottery!