Tag Archives | community

VMware Socialcast – vSamurai.com Community

socialcast

As I listen to the VMware Communities Roundtable podcast that I missed this past week, I decided to experiment and create a Socialcast community for my blog. The service has recently become free for up to 50 users, so I figured I’d give it a shot in an informal test.

I currently use Socialcast within NetApp as well as in a couple VMware communities of which I am a member. It’s a valuable tool for social interaction and I would like to see how I can leverage it to encourage more interaction in/around my blog.

Since I am running my own Zimbra server as well, I would be more than willing to create you an account in my vsamurai.com domain (a requirement for Socialcast) so that you can be added as a Socialcast community member. You can even use it to try out Zimbra, if you like.

Check it out over here!

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Another Take on the VMTN Subscription

I’ve been thinking a lot about the potential return of the VMTN subscription in the past week, since the original post by Mike Laverick over at RTFM and the VMware Communities as well as tweets in the #VMTNSubscriptionMovement hash tag on Twitter.

Background

I cannot stress how instrumental having access to VMware’s enterprise products was for me, especially back in 2005 when my exposure to VMware was limited to the Workstation product. At the time, I worked at a software company and we used Workstation as well as ESX/GSX for development and QA. It’s not to say that I didn’t know about the other products, but my “hands on” experience was limited.

At that point in my career I was trying to find a way to move up in IT, from a position in Technical Support, then Infrastructure and finally to my current position in Technical Marketing at NetApp. I latched onto VMware as a way to move up the ladder and I’d like to say that I knew virtualization was going to “change everything” (if not the future of IT, then my own future), so I ran with it.

This first exposure led to a small implementation of ESX to replace some legacy application servers at my next company. I was able to POC the product to management thru access obtained via the VMTN subscription and they later implemented it in production.

Finally, that production-level exposure led me to an administration and architecture position at my last company, where I did nothing but VMware and storage… and the rest is history.

Ideas

The blog posts and discussion of late have been around possibly limiting the products that can be accessed, either based on certification level or product category or what have you. I think these limitations are possibly necessary, however probably don’t go far enough or approach the problem with our best interests as well as the interests of VMware in mind.

I see it this way…

The typical target audience for the VMTN is the home/work lab user or developer who needs access to a multi-tier or multi-host environment to be able to test the entire suite of VMware’s product offerings. The number of hosts we may have access to, I would argue, varies considerably as do the number of hosts required in order to set up certain products, however we still require additional host/socket licenses even if we are running nested ESXi on Workstation/Fusion. The need for those licenses doesn’t change, unless we want to rebuild every 60 days.

On the flip side, this audience doesn’t care about deploying hundreds upon hundreds of actual VMs into which usable applications are installed. This typically isn’t necessary for a normal demo or POC. I would state that VMware View would be the potential exception. The point is that ~20 VMs would probably be sufficient for almost every VMTN-targeted lab environment.

This would serve to dissuade companies from misusing the licenses as production licenses, as the value to them is the scalability of the viable VMs and not the infrastructure underneath. They would draw little benefit from doing this.

Proposal

To balance the community’s wants with VMware’s needs, I would recommend that they look at limiting the number of VMs that can be deployed in a VMTN-licensed environment. Perhaps this can be done similarly to how vShield and vCloud Director are broken up into 100 VM license packs. The ability exists for VMware to reduce this number and/or add this limitation into the other core products. Perhaps this will need to be adjusted based on the product type and use cases for the typical POC or demo. This could be combined with a limit on the number or length of time a set of VMs can be powered on concurrently.

In addition, VMware could enable the licenses to expire on the anniversary of the VMTN subscription date, unless the subscription is renewed and kept up-to-date (not something that is currently enforced by Microsoft’s TechNet). To go a step further, VMware could audit the usage of the licenses once a year (before the anniversary date) to ascertain whether the licenses are being used appropriately and to gather metrics on the success or failure of POCs of the various products that they are trying to sell. This is ultimately where VMware can judge the value of and investment in the VMTN program and whether to continue it or gauge where improvements can be made.

The benefit from the subscriber side could be that we would be given access to an increasing number of products based on our certification level as well as access to BETA software or other exclusive benefits at the higher certification tiers, for example. This could be combined with discounts or free subscriptions given that we keep our certifications up-to-date or in the case of the vExpert, if we are awarded in consecutive years, to be determined by VMware. This would not only encourage more individuals to pursue the higher levels of certification but would also re-enforce knowledge of the products as one increases their skill level.

vSamurai’s Take

I believe that the combination of limitations on VMs as well as the flexibility in how the licenses are discounted and bundled addresses the concerns of both the community and covers VMware from potential lost revenue. In addition, a mechanism to ensure that the installs linked to a user’s subscription is up-to-date and not misused should ensure compliance. I see this as win-win for VMware and the community. If VMware has the metrics to prove that the program helps evangelism and “buy-in” of products in their portfolio, I believe they will put a great deal of weight behind it. If the community reaction so far is any indication, I think we are in for a real treat.

I hope that VMware takes mine and others’ ideas into consideration. I’m sure someone is watching/listening. Perhaps we will see something by VMworld 2012 or earlier.

Please voice your thoughts on these proposals. Am I totally off-base here? Do my suggestions go too far/not far enough? Let’s keep pressure on VMware and give constructive feeback to make this a truly successful program and keep moving the conversation and industry forward…

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VMworld 2010 – Wrap-up

I just finished attending my first VMworld in San Francisco, CA. It was a most rewarding and worthwhile conference on several fronts, most notably in people networking and future vision from both VMware and its ecosystem of partners and vendors. I made several contacts that will serve as a useful team to help answer questions and keep me up-to-date on the latest developments as well as problems and solutions others are seeing out in the real world. The people I met are too numerous to name but each of them had a unique perspective that I hope to draw on in the continuing evolution of virtualization and cloud computing.

VMware’s Vision

VMware made several product and acquisition announcements throughout the week that further cement their position as the dominant virtualization but more importantly cloud services player. I estimate that VMware has now further distanced themselves from the likes of Microsoft and Citrix to the point where I would say they have about a 3 year lead over either company. The announcements and their approach to cloud security and networking for cloud environments is something that I have yet to hear any realistic information about from any of the competitors (if you can even call them competitors). I guess what they do to combat the likes of VMware remains to be seen. They are leading the charge and their approach makes sense as we look to the cloud reality ahead. As Paul Maritz (President & CEO of VMware) and other executives mentioned, the cloud is happening with or without VMware. VMware has a very strong position going forward and I expect them to aggressively release products and make acquisitions that further strengthen their position in the industry.

Hands-on Labs

Another high note from the conference was the self-paced, hands-on labs. These were absolutely amazing! I only wish that the hotels around the venue had remote access to these to allow attendees to take the labs on a more convenient schedule. I felt that I had to pick and choose between going to labs and missing a breakout session that I was really interested in attending or a speaker that I wanted to meet in person and discuss his virtualization experiences and expertise. In fact, I wonder what happens to the labs in between VMworld US and VMworld Europe. It would be a great benefit to provide access to the lab environments to attendees externally so that they can really see all the new technologies and products that VMware hopes we will test, buy and then implement in the coming year. After all, IT budget season is upon us. Even better would be for VMware to practice what is preaches and create an LCaaS (LabCloud as a Service) offering that would allow attendees or any users for that matter, the ability to pay an hourly fee to access the labs any time throughout the year. Perhaps a service provider or individual can step up to the plate and offer this service as part of their portfolio.

Community

Being a new blogger and twitterer on the scene here in Japan, I was very thankful to have the opportunity to let people know that I am out there, what I stand for and what I am trying to accomplish in the community over here. Reciprocally, I hope that I can introduce the VMware community in Japan to the wealth of knowledge and great people that I encountered at VMworld. I even had the unexpected fortune of getting some ideas for my blogging, etc. that will help grow the community even further. I had the opportunity to meet all of the top global virtualization and cloud bloggers and intend to help them develop a following over here. This will only help further grow virtualization and cloud here in Japan but also help to facilitate a mutual understanding despite our language barriers. Finally, it was an absolutely joy to take part in the v0dgeball (dodge ball) competition on Thursday evening. Not only did I have a chance to talk on a more personal level to some of my idols in the virtualization and cloud world, I made some personal friendships that I hope will stand the test of time… but only time will tell.

Until next year… keep on virtualizin’ and I’ll see you in the clouds!

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