VMworld 2019 Sessions and looking forward

It’s been well over a year since I last posted anything on my blog, but since moving into the Networking and Security Business Unit at VMware and my girls getting older, I’ve been focusing on other commitments.  That being said, I have been compiling a list of things that I plan to start working on and blogging over the next several months to bring new content back to the blog.  Stay tuned, I have a massive list that I want to get posted.

Now for a bit of shameless self-promotion of my own sessions as well as ones from my peers. 🙂

We’re now just a few short weeks away from VMworld US 2019.  There are well over 200 different sessions for security including Breakout Sessions, Deep Dives, Self-Paced and Expert-led Hands-on labs, Meet the Expert, and many more.  Discussing with my peers, their sessions are filling up so if you haven’t signed up for all of your sessions take a look at the ones below and get them scheduled.

Below are the sessions that I will be presenting with one of my customers, CHRISTUS Health, my partner in EUC crime, Graeme Gordon, and last but not least my deep dive on NSX-T Guest Introspection (Endpoint Protection) that came out recently with the NSX-T 2.4 release.

SPEAKERS – Geoff Wilmington, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMware

Thursday, August 29, 09:00 AM – 10:00 AM

SPEAKERS – Graeme Gordon, Senior Staff EUC Architect, VMware and Geoff Wilmington, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMware

Tuesday, August 27, 05:00 PM – 06:00 PM

SPEAKERS – Brandon Rivera, Enterprise Infrastructure Architect, CHRISTUS Health and Geoff Wilmington, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMware

Monday, August 26, 02:30 PM – 03:30 PM

If you’re looking for other VMware security product related deep dive sessions, take a look at these from some of my peers that I highly recommend you attend.  These folks are all amazing presenters and their content is top-notch.

SPEAKERS – Stijn Vanveerdeghem, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMware

Wednesday, August 28, 03:30 PM – 04:30 PM

SPEAKERS – Ganapathi Bhat, Sr Technical Product Manager, VMware

Wednesday, August 28, 09:30 AM – 10:30 AM

SPEAKERS – Anthony Burke, Solutions Architect, VMware and Dale Coghlan, Staff Solution Architect, VMware

Wednesday, August 28, 08:00 AM – 09:00 AM

SPEAKERS – Kevin Berger, Director, Security Engineering, VMware and Chris Corde, Senior Director of Product Management, VMware

Wednesday, August 28, 01:00 PM – 02:00 PM

Last but not least, you’re definitely going to want to check out this session.  I won’t go into too many details, but Ray has some seriously cool stuff to show off.

SPEAKERS – Ray Budavari, Senior Staff Technical Product Manager, VMware

Wednesday, August 28, 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM

If we’ve never met, please don’t hesitate to come up and say ‘Hi’.


What a year…

Yes I know there’s still a month left in the year.  To say this year was a great year would be a complete understatement. I made some hard promises to myself this year, and I’m really amazed where things have come and where they are going.

On the professional front –

I dug into Twitter and got involved. Apparently people think what I have to say is worthy enough to listen to. I do try and use Twitter to actually purvey worthy to read information and support for the community. There are the occasional ‘what beer I’m drinking’ tweets as well. Because beer is important.

I continued to blog as much as possible. Getting involved in Twitter and being inspired by the people around me caused my blog hits to skyrocket. They’re no top 50 blog types of numbers but I’m proud that my blog has been helpful, or least it appears that way, so I’m very happy that my efforts are finding their way to someone.

I decided to toss my hat into the Virtual Design Master competition. You can read more about that over in this thread, but it was nothing short of an amazing experience overall. It was well thought out, well executed, and just plain fun. I met some really great people in the competition and was fortunate enough to meet a few of them in person as well. I keep in touch with them frequently.

I started going to my VMUG meetings and treating them like normal business meetings. Doing this I made sure that VMUGs were used to learn and network with my peers and grow. Making them as important as a business meeting, it meant that I would make them mandatory to attend.

I was elected to the vExpert 2014 group. This was my first entry to the group and I was very surprised to see that I was brought in my first go around. It was great validation that what I was doing was recognized as helpful to a community that I wanted to be a part of. I’m proud to be involved in that program. It has led to talking on the vCommunity Roundtable about my VSAN homelab which was an awesome experience.

I made PernixPro this last go-around. This is a company that is doing some amazing things and if what I think they’re ultimate goal is comes to fruition, they’re going to floor the industry. Their product speaks for itself, and it works really really well. Really great people in all the areas of their organization. I’m glad they found my contributions useful and invited me. Looking forward to see what they’ll do next.

On the personal front –

My wife and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this year. If I said it was easy, I would be lying, but she has supported me and stood by through everything and that’s saying a lot. I’m a lucky guy and I can’t wait to share another 8 (and then that’s enough I think) with her. Love ya baby!

My daughter celebrated her first birthday. No one can explain how much you’ll love a child until you actually have one. There’s really nothing like it and I wouldn’t change it ever. Every day it’s just amazing to watch what happens when she learns something new or does something and makes us laugh.

On December 30th, or before that maybe, my wife will be giving birth to our new daughter. We’re both really looking forward to meeting her and my oldest is ready as well. It’s yet another milestone for our little family and we’re both really excited, although I’m probably going to have to arm myself for when they start dating.

Last but definitely not least –

On December 15th I will be joining VMware as a Senior Systems Engineer for Healthcare. The decision to leave was very tough for me. I’ve been working with two of the same guys for 10 and 5 year respectively. You get used to how people work and when you find that great collaboration, you accomplish great things and it becomes difficult to move on.  These people are my family away from my family and not just people I know or work with. But just like anyone you know that’s genuinely concerned about you as a person, they embraced my decision and they know it’s the right move and support me. You can’t ask for a better way to resign than when they truly wish you well.

As a job, this is a change for me professionally to move to the pre-sales side of the house. I have lived on the customer side for my entire career.  Having talked with my family and friends about it, I’m ready to take that next career step and this is going to be a really fun ride. VMware is a great organization and I’m extremely lucky and humbled to be invited to become part of that. I’m really looking forward to working with our products more in depth and seeing the future of the products from the inside; all while helping solve my customer’s toughest business challenges.

This has been an amazing year on all fronts. Thanks to everyone that’s been a part of the journey.  I’m a very fortunate guy and while it’s nice to reminisce on 2014, I’m really looking forward to what’s in store for 2015.

VCP-NV Blueprint Breakdown

I spent the last few weeks breaking down the VCP-NV v1.0 blueprint as best as I could. I wanted to share it with the community and hopefully it will help someone else out.

The blueprint is pretty extensive for a VCP level exam, but there are several sections that mirror other sections in other blueprints. The tools provided in the blueprint document are very close to everything you would need to break it down. I found that some of the tools simply weren’t good enough to provide proper information. So I added links to them at the bottom of this post. I spent countless hours in the VMware Hands-on-Labs running through the NSX interface and CLI. I probably loaded HOL-SDC-1303 over 50 times all together. Bottom line, if you don’t have direct access to NSX, other than deployment those HOLs will pretty much provide you with anything you need to do in the VCP-NV blueprint. I suggest going through those labs multiple times.

All in all, this is hopefully helpful to you in your studies. I’ll update things as I catch them as wrong or lacking in the document.

You can find the breakdown here

Helpful sites –




Helpful HOL training –




Virtual Design Master – My Experience

It started in early July and finishes around mid-August. The Virtual Design Master competition reached its second season this year and I was fortunate enough to be a participant.

I started to inquire about vDM, a zombie apocalypse-based IT reality show, back when I noticed Eric Wright, Angelo Luciani, and Melissa Palmer were discussing it on Twitter. I went back through the first season’s videos and I was a bit skeptical on whether my skills were up to snuff to be able to compete. Previous until the competition, I had only done two designs before. Both of them at my current organization. Eventually I’d like to pursue the VCDX-DCV certification, so I figured no time like the present to learn how to defend a design and see where I was with coming up with a design along those lines. This looked like a good opportunity to find out just what I was in for. I didn’t realize just how tough that would be.

Challenge 1 – 3-Tier Manufacturing Application, Orchestration, Earth to the Moon

The first challenge was immediately into the fire. It was extremely open-ended and covered orchestration, something I’d never done before. We had basically 4 days to put it all together (a 3-tied manufacturing application), present and defend our designs. I put my head down and started digging into documentation and research. I looked over things like the vCAT documentation, manufacturing application technologies and architectures as well as researched new vendors. The vCAT documentation is amazing. It helped me ensure that I was covering all the necessary aspects of a design. I even enlisted my wife to logic check some of my decisions. She actually enjoyed it from what I could tell. On days I could, I was getting up at 4:00AM and working on the documentation and design well into the evening. The competitors I was up against were no slouches and I knew it would take serious efforts to make it past round 1. For the first challenge I’m sure I spent upwards of 30 hours on it total.

Challenge 1 – Submission and Defense

Submission was rough. I’d not slept much trying to put in as much time as I could while juggling family and work life. I managed to turn in what I consider a quality product given the amount of time to perform the task. After submission it was very surreal. I had this feeling of ‘shouldn’t I be doing something’ all the time after I poured so much into the last task. Lots of pressure and loads of adrenaline and caffeine. Judgment night came quickly and we were being judged by several extremely well-known and highly intelligent people. I had never been a part of a Google Hangout that was live before so it was a bit daunting. I have to say the judging was a great experience. They weren’t as abusive as I thought they would be and they provided great feedback. It was an amazing feeling to realize that the effort exuded was well received. The judges were gracious enough to let me pass on to the second round.

Challenge 2 – Revise and Scale, IPv6 on the Moon

The second challenge involved taking a previous competitors design and using it, scaling it down and following requirements such as only using IPv6. It was really difficult because we had to learn another person’s design, break it down and scale it down to still be able to run the same thing from Challenge 1 on it. That wasn’t the most difficult part of the challenge. Going through every bit of documentation and looking for IPv6 support or dual-stack support was a giant pain. If any vendors read this, please for the love…update your docs. IPv6 is coming, you have zero excuses right now.  For this challenge I would say I spent about 30 hours on it.

Challenge 2 – Submission and Defense

Another rough submission but managed to finish it out. I was very happy with the result. I went back and forth between blades and rack mount systems and was asked why I went rack mount instead. In the end and regardless of how rare a chassis failure might be, in this situation it was the right call for my design. Brian Kirsch seemed to agree as well and I managed to make it another round.

Challenge 3 – VMware, KVM, and OpenStack…oh my

After the Challenge 2 defense, we got another bomb. Basically, learn OpenStack in 4 days. What I didn’t understand was that I needed to actually ‘build’ an OpenStack environment. My daughter’s first birthday and family in town took priority and I was only able to start working on Sunday afternoon until the submission deadline. More up at 4am working and I went back to designing and when I finally realized my error, it was too late. I spent the remaining time making sure all my documentation was as good as I could get it. I wanted to showcase what I’d learned over the past few days. I wanted to design what I thought was a highly available OpenStack deployment and I wished I would have been able to actually get it all configured and tested.  With this challenge I know I spent over 30 hours on it total.

Challenge 3 – Submission and Defense

I was really dreading the defense night. I was pretty sunk after realizing that I didn’t get the challenge completely finished up. When it was my turn to present I donned the flame retardant suit and dug in waiting to hear ‘what were you thinking’. These comments never came actually and the judges really liked my design. The worst comment was ‘how could I not complete the requirements’. I was still very happy that they provided great feedback and it was nice to hear that what I had prepared was good work. However, it was not enough to push me on to the next round and I was cut. I didn’t have any problems with it though. I didn’t complete the requirements and this isn’t Chopped where you can leave a basket item off the plate.

Final Thoughts

If you’re even contemplating getting involved, don’t think about it too much just do it. If you can spare the time you should absolutely get involved. As you can see I spent over 90 hours working on it over the course of three challenges.  I think that’s probably low given what others have said, but it was worth it.  It’s an amazing challenge and will test not only your skills but your mental toughness. Can you pull it together and finish the challenge even when you’re tired and it seems like your head is swimming? You will be tested to that degree. I can say that I’m better after being a part of the competition. The competitors pushed each other every challenge to up the ante and it was a great ride. Thanks to everyone who worked on the competition, the competitors, the sponsors, the judges, and especially the community. It was great to see others already wanting to get in on Season 3 of the competition. I think those comments alone speak volumes about what this competition can do for the community.

If you want to know more about the competition and you want to see my submissions as well as the other competitors, visit http://www.virtualdesignmaster.com/






Life, et al

Seriously, I know I’ve been neglecting the study guide for the NCDA however some life things have come up that are way more important.  Also work really picked up at the end of the year with our remote office configurations being put in.  So while I’m not posting anything NCDA related, I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my family and new daughter as well as working many cut-over weekends.  I’ll be picking it backup soon though as it shouldn’t have taken me this long to get through the material and go take the test.  Blogging is like another full-time job…

The move: Blogger to WordPress

I made the move to WordPress from Blogger.  I wasn’t happy with how little Blogger had in the way of options.  I’ve used WordPress before and it was a better choice. I extremely dislike the way that Blogger formats my posts.  I do the majority of my posting in Word and then copy/paste it in.  If I had bullets, it would completely jack them up.  It was much more work to go back and fix them.  So as it stands, here I am on this site for the time being.  We’ll see how it turns out.  Eventually I’d like to host my own from a server at my house.  We’ll see when I get around to that.  So please, bear with me as I find a theme and layout I like.  You’ll probably notice it changing a few times here and there.

New blog and new focus

I’ve tried doing this blog thing a few times.  I’d catch fire and put out stuff fairly quickly.  I’d suddenly change focus or find I didn’t have time to put in the effort that it took to keep a technology blog up and running with any currency.  Clearly I’m going to try and reverse that course and try and keep up. My current responsibilities include engineering VMware and NetApp solutions for our organization.  Given that I’m already certified VCP5, I’m shifting focus on fully learning all the technologies associated with NetApp.  With that in mind, I have decided to head down the certification path to help structure my learning of our NetApp purchases and all that they’re capable of.  The best structure that I’ve found for most technologies is to look at their certification path.  Certifications can be great at helping provide a blueprint of the best way to learn and apply technologies. 
NetApp has a few certificationsfor their products.  They range from Professional level to Specialist. 
  New blog and new focus
What this means to me is to look at the NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator, NCDA, NS0-154certification.  The exam covers several areas and they can each get very deep.  There is a study guide for the NS0-154 exam located here.  I plan on using it to help as my blueprint to structure the learning process on each topic.  Depending on workload and how well I can learn the material on my own, I may consider taking the NCDA training.  Once you purchase a NetApp product you’re provided quite a bit of free training materials on their web-based learning center.   You have to have a NOW account to access the site. 
Perhaps the biggest learning tool that I will be taking advantage of, and one that I’ve already been using quite a bit, is the ONTAP Simulator.   The simulator requires a NOW login as well and is only available to customers and partners.   This simulator allows you to run a virtual storage device that comes with a shelf of disk, the ONTAP software and nearly all the abilities of an actual piece of hardware with the exception of NVRAM and Fibre Channel.  I’ll be doing another post that goes into my lab configuration as well as getting the full benefit from the ONTAP simulator should you have access to it.