RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

May 5, 2012  1:34 AM

vNews – Feb [The Hotel California Edition]

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

With Mike Laverick of RTFM Education and Stu McHugh of stumchugh.wordpress.com/

[Note: We recorded this months vNews using a new method, and I accidentally miss edited it. So there’s a very slight disconnect between the PPT and our chat. But not enough to spoil it… I will be more careful next month…]

Welcome to this months vNews. It’s a biggy. Yeah, I know we said that last time – but this one is bigger and larger than the last. However, size as all women know is not everything. And me & Stu are discussing about ways of making the vNews more snappy and bite-sized. There appears to be three options:

1. Cover less material

2. Mike to keep is big fat mouth shut.

3. See 1 and 2…

As ever you welcome to download the vNews PPT file for use at your VMUG. Just give credit where credit is due – and name check the source & me & Stu. All the links mentioned in the vNews are in the PPT as well. I could cut them out and put them here to click – that would save you downloading a couple of MB for a link. But to be honest that would be too much work.

This months vNews includes contributions from , Eric Sloof, Chad Sakac, Rick Sherer, and Scott Lowe. On the vendors side we have stuff from HP, Microsoft, Citrix and VMware.

Oh, Watch out for a special rendition of “Hotel California” by the Eagles by me…

April 30, 2012  8:31 AM

Carolina’s User Summit – 15th May

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Just to let everyone know that registrations are now open for the Carolina VMware User Summit. In case you don’t know it was really this VMUG and couple of the others that first got these big VMUG events started. I’ve attended every Carolina Summit since they started, but this year I’m taking a break. I think the folks down Carolina deserve a break from me – they must wonder how this funny-sounding Brit keeps popping up every year. It so happens that this year Carolina Summit falls in the same week as the London User Group. I missed the #lonvmug first meeting this year, and didn’t want to miss the 2nd as well. Plus the week after I will be in Columbus, Ohio – so travel was getting increasingly complex and ardorous.

Fortunately, I have sent my British Ambassador who acts as the UK presence when I’m otherwise engaged. He’s called Alan Renouf. And no he’s not French but from Beligium.

  • Morning Keynote presentation from Satyam Vaghani & Vinay Gaonkar
    • Two perspectives: The past and future of VMware storage
  • Afternoon Keynote presentation from Jake Howering, Cisco
    • Data Center Interconnect Strategies
  • Self-paced labs provided by Varrow
  • Instructor led labs provided by eGroup
  • Educational sessions including topics on:
    • PowerCLI 201 presented by Alan Renouf
    • vCenter Orchestrator presented by Cody Bunch
    • vCloud Director Deep Dive presented by Chris Colotti
    • vSphere and Network-Attached Storage Design Considerations presented by Scott Lowe
    • Discover your Enterprise Social Network with VMware SocialCast presented by Bryan Kuhn and Daniel Stevenson 
    • vCloud Director PowerCLI presented by Alan Renouf

Anyway to register follow the link below:


April 18, 2012  10:44 PM

London User Group – 17th May

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Registrations are now open for the London User Group on 17th May. I will be attending this user group – so hope to catch-up with everyone there!

April 18, 2012  8:47 AM

Carolina VMware Users Summit – 15th May

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Just to let everyone know that registrations are now open for the Carolina VMware User Summit. In case you don’t know it was really this VMUG and couple of the others that first got these big VMUG events started. I’ve attended every Carolina Summit since they started, but this year I’m taking a break. I think the folks down Carolina deserve a break from me – they must wonder how this funny-sounding Brit keeps popping up every year. It so happens that this year Carolina Summit falls in the same week as the London User Group. I missed the #lonvmug first meeting this year, and didn’t want to miss the 2nd as well. Plus the week after I will be in Columbus, Ohio – so travel was getting increasingly complex and ardorous. Anyway to register follow the link below:


April 18, 2012  8:41 AM

Northwest England VMUG Meeting – 2nd May

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Registrations have now opened for the first North-West England VMUG Meeting… 

April 9, 2012  8:30 AM

Looking for a VMworld Sponsor…

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Hello everyone out there in vendor-land! :-)

I’m looking for sponsor to help me make it out to this years VMworld. I can pretty much guarantee that I will get my ticket covered – as I am a vExpert; vProminent in vCommunity and I’m submitting about 3 sessions of my own this year – so hopefully one of them will be approved by the Content Team.

What I’m looking for is a vendor sponsor me to cover my expenses to the event – that’s hotel/flights for just the conference dates. If my stay is any longer I will obviously cover this out of my own pocket.

In exchange I can offer my services as a co-presenter in one of your sessions or if you prefer I can do a little booth duty. I can’t promise to wear an all-in-one silver catsuit… But I think many people would be pleased to hear that!

Although its not appropriate for the town, I might be open to appearing once more a Virtual Elvis;-)

April 1, 2012  10:13 AM

AV Testing for the Vendorwag in the Valley

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Today I spent some time getting my AV kit together ready for the “Vendorwag in the Valley” event which is just a week away.

A lot of people ask me what kit I use for recording stuff. And this youtube video gives you the details…

On the Mac I used “Call Recorder” to record the Audio/Webcam from Skype   and I use “Screenflow” to capture what goes on in a WebEX, GoToMeeting or Windows Live. That creates two video streams (one from Skype) and one from WebEx – and then they get merged together using ScreenFlow.

The Vendorwag in the Valley is going to use a similar setup except the PowerPoints (such as they are) will be on my laptop – and we will use the built-in camera on the MBP to capture the video – and either a Blue Snowball Mic or the Lapel Mics to capture the audio.

Electret Tie-Clip Microphone

iPAD Camera Connection Kit

KV Connections  iPhone 1/8 inch Electret Condenser Microphone Adapter

iPhone Stand

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at 10:13 am and is filed under ChinwagVendorwag. You can follow any responses to this ent

March 26, 2012  8:04 AM

United Airlines – Mileage Awards – A Strange and Terrible Saga…

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a bit of run in with United Airlines over the redeeming of Airmiles as part of their membership of the Star Alliance. This blogpost could quite easily turn into those “venting” posts where a member of the public uses some internet presence to under load a truckload of bile and venom. Enjoyable and fun that might be – it wouldn’t be very constructive. So being ever the constructive kind of guy I am – I’m going to use the blogpost as launch pad for why cloud-computing will inevitably fail IF… existing business processes and attitudes are addressed with the same passion as folks have installing software and hardware… Plus it gave me an opportunity in the title to name-check one of my favourite US novelists – Hunter S. Thompson… 


I’ll keep it brief. If you fly on any “Star Alliance” flight you are meant to be able to redeem your mileage points back to which ever airline you prefer to fly with. My preference is for United, and this year I took a flight to Toronto with Air Canada – to speak at the VMUG. Prior to redeeming your miles you have to wait 72 hours to expire before making an application. I was able to redeem my miles for the outbound portion of the journey without a problem. However, when I came back to United’s mileage programme page I noticed a change had been made. Under the new regime of posting through email+scanning or you can snail-mail your boarding pass and original travel documents is now the “system” of how to claim your miles. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad if I lived in the US, but I live in the UK, and it seems extraordinary that in this day in age we are required to use a system developed in the 19th century to get a job done in the 21st. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe all things that digital, leads naturally to a world where all things are good. Get me talking about how e-readers won’t kill the printed book, and you find out what I mean. Anyway, I digress.

I decide to raise this issue with customer services first, and then later I googled Jeff Smisek’s email address. In case you don’t know, Jim is the CEO of United, and he steered the merge of Continental and UA in the last year or two. You will see him on nearly every international flight, thanking you for your business. I outlined why I thought the new “system” wouldn’t scale, and added that a cynical person would think that this change was deliberate way of discouraging folks claiming the mileage points they so richly deserved. They offered to treat my situation as special case, and would allow a one-off processing of my application – so long as the documents past tested. Sadly, that’s where we hit the buffers. No matter what I scanned (jpg, tif, pdf) nothing I seemed to scan seemed to be readable by the Customer Services staff. At this point I was ready to give up.

   TIF in a PDF

Note: Above are some of the scans that UA Customer Services couldn’t open or read. Dunno about you, but they seem more than legible to me… Each one is gradually larger – as you know a good high-res scan results in better quality and larger files. All of which needs to be sent through email… My last attempt (3 of 3) was to scan as TIF, and then print to a .PDF file in the hope the folks at UA would have Acrobat Reader. I never did hear back if they could open and read the file… If you click on them they will expand to full screen view. I don’t think there’s anything personal on a boarding pass that shouldn’t be in the public domain – so I haven’t redacted the images at all. So since this attempt to get this sorted, UA now offers the ability to scan & send documents to their email address. Sadly, though its weakest link is the technology of email, scanners and image formats…




But you know, giving up isn’t really the Mike Laverick style. So as I write this I’m printing a letter, and putting in with my boarding pass, and original travel documents. I’m going to get these points if its the last thing I do. And at this rate – it may well be last thing I do..!!!

OK. That’s the strange and terrible saga dealt with. Now to the important bit. Cloud. It’s my firm belief that cloud is not a product. Indeed even last week on the Chinwag Podcast – we were joking about how we should create a new acronym ”Cloud-Repackaged-as-a-Product” (or CraaP for short). For me cloud is as much as business and IT processes being re-examined in the light of the new business challenges we face.  People want to do EVEN more, with EVEN less than we did in the previous decade. You just not going to get those efficiencies by installing yet another product, that adds yet another layer of abstraction on top of the abstraction you already enjoy with virtualization. Vendors who promise you that you can stand-up your cloud infrastructure on Tuesday of next week – are just responding to customer demand in the classic way. Got a problem? Here’s the product to fix your problem. In other words just selling more CraaP. So where does my anecdote/vent about UA fit into this?

Well, here’s how. If I was the CTO of UA I would want to know what kind of business rationale was involved? What thinking was involved when UA decided to replace its perfectly serviceable but drab web-service for redeeming airmiles, with totally unservicable, lacking scalability email+scan or postal-service? Would adding a cloud layer improve the above service in any redeemable (forgive the pun!) way? Answer NO. That’s because their service does not scale to the requirements of globalised world. That’s some ironic given that for decades, its being UA’s job to physically connect the disperate parts of the globe using jet airliners.

Now I do hope at some stage, UA CTO reads this. (Hello, Mr CTO thanks for reading my humble little bit of cyberspace) because this is important. There are plenty of very good initiatives within UA to bring new services and products to its customers. These involve innovation which I’m sure many a frequent flyer like me would welcome such as in-flight wifi and the ability to redeem your miles for products, and would say that despite the occasional snafu UA does have internal processes pretty much sorted. However, I think this case of replacing an online system with an email/scan system or even a postal system makes me (and I assume other customers) wonder how an earth were supposed to get to the cloud – if this is the way a global mileage program is managed?

The message for your business is stop doing Stupid IT. You know we all have dysfunctional processes that have not been called out – for fear of drawing attention to that dysfunction and the loss of personal prestige that it might risk. You need to stamp out these dysfunctional processes, because if you deploy private cloud – you will have the same dysfunction, but residing in CraaP at the same time….

March 17, 2012  10:08 AM

Twitter Spam/Phishing Exercise…

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Warning: There’s a bit of twitter phishing on going on. You get DM’s stating people are talking about you – don’t click takes you to spoof site asking for your twitter credentials…  Recommend you reset your twitter password ASAP…

March 16, 2012  8:39 AM

Mike + Whiteboard [UPDATED]

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

I’ve been experimenting with videos over the last couple of days. One of things I want to do is get back in front of a Whiteboard. I more or less stopped instructing about 2 years ago, and to be honest I kinda of miss being in front of a group guys with a whiteboard. The other thing I’ve noticed is how people seem to come alive when you get in front of a whiteboard. I don’t know why this is – because to be honest you can’t get more LoFi than a whiteboard and some pens!  As its been a while since I’ve been an instructor I’m a little bit rusty – and going through a couple of practise sessions has allowed me to get back in touch with my inner “instructor”. It’s nice to know that the old magic is still there! :-)

I’ve basically got three ways of doing this. The hardway and an easy way. What I’m looking for is your opinion on what works best. Now let me clear on what I mean. I don’t care if you think my presenting style sucks! Nor do I care if you think one is a better “quality” than another from a video reproduction perspective. What I’m really looking for is something untangible and not quantifiable. What “feels” best to you.

The Hard Way – involves setting up lights, camcorder, physical whiteboard and talking direct to camera… The files created are MASSIVE (in fact so massive, that if I was doing this regularly it would be quick to convert .MOD to .MOV and then upload), and take FOREVER to upload – so much so I’d have to do uploads during the late evening/early morning so as to not render my internet connection unusable… So as you might guess the “hard way” is called such, because it is!

This is SO bad, I had to pause/resumme the YouTube upload so many times, that eventually it failed. I had to pick a time when we were all unconscious in the house & not using the internet to get this file upload. In hindsight I could have re-encoded the .MOD file to something more lossy and then uploaded that – but I was aiming for as “native” quality as I could muster.

The Easy Way – involves me cranking up my iPAD, and using educreations.com – draw out my whiteboard. Personally, I like the Easy Way – the quality is top notch, you get rich deep colours which help with the diagrams – and you can embed PowerPoint (argggh!) and screen grabs into the show – also the audio recording is limited by the in-built mic on the iPAD – I’ve got a widget that does this for the iPhone, and I know there’s a widget that can be got for the iPAD as well…

I found the Apple iPAD Camera Connection Kit did allow me to connection my Blue Snowball Podcaster Mic to the iPAD. I was a surprised and relieved to find the IPAD2 did provide power to the mic from its internal battery – as I heard rumours that this hand’t been possible since IPAD1. I can’t speak for IPAD3 unless someone one wants to give me one for free! :-p  In fact looking at Blue Microphone’s website – they do actually state such a configuration is supported.]

What the “Easy Way” lacks is my ugly mug and my gestures… If I could embed a video of me into it would be no brainer. Why is that important? Well, I’m firm believer in the idea of something of the “personality” of the presenter makes a HUGE difference in presentation – and voice and whiteboard only – makes that difficult…

The Third Way: with this method I tried to marry the best of the Hard & Easy way together. It was a horrible faff. First I had to kick of two recording systems – one to capture my webcam/audio and the other to record the presentation. Once finished I had to record the screen again, to capture from educreations.com the presentation. Next I had to bring this content with the scope of my preferred video editing software (in my case Screenflow). Then I had to work pretty darn hard to get two separate videos to marry up. If I was doing this on regular basis I would have a “clapperboard” setup so I could marry the two separate videos into one. Once synch’d together I had to then upload the video to Youtube because putting the video. As you might gather there was a lot more post-production work to be done OR put another way – for every 15mins of video, there’s 45mins of post-production work.  The other thing is using Screenflow’s direct upload to Youtube – it took a long time to upload – I didn’t exactly time it but were talking about more than hour to get the video onto youtube.com. That might because I requested the highest quality – 1020p. So if you factor in the upload element – were talking somewhere around 2hrs to 15mins of video. That’s not a very good work to result ratio in my book…

During the upload period access to my remote lab is appalling – like 4sec delay between every keystoke. Imagine typing the word P-A-S-S-W-O-R-D with 4sec delay between each letter. You will get the picture…

Anyway, below is the three samples – both on the same topic – Resource Pools and Expandable Reservations – let me know what you think by leaving a comment or tweeting me @Mike_Laverick. Enjoy…




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