VMworld 2013 in pictures

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 331San Francisco is an amazing city (and also an expensive city).  I finally was approved for travel to this city after trying the past two years, so I wanted to make it count.  I had heard so many great things about VMworld from years past and I was looking forward to all it had to offer before, during, and after the show.  With only a few days in the city and a lot to accomplish, my adventure began on saturday.

 

Saturday night kicked off the first VMworld activity (if you don’t count booth assembly or hanging in the alumni lounge).  Simon Seagrave hosted a spectacular vBeers event to kick things off and it was packed the the point it was spilling out on to the sidewalk.  I met a lot of really cool people (including several people I follow on twitter) and I even got to try out google glass (I need to find one that fits people with glasses).

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 1 189_HDRThe next day started off with some sight seeing and a bit of a walking tour of SF.  Google maps really need to start telling me about elevation changes because some of those streets were straight up (or down depending on the direction you were going)!

 

Sunday afternoon was home to the 4th (or 5th depending on who you ask) vOdgeball tournament and this year did not disapoint.  My understanding was that this was the biggest it has been and major props to the teams competing, the refs for making quick calls, and the fans for surviving stray balls.

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While team EMC was victorious in winning, the real winners was the wounded warriors program who received around $14,000 in donations.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 367That evening we witnessed the opening of the show floor.  I have to say, the EMC booth was amazing and was one of 2 double decker booths on the show floor.  It seemed like every time I was at the booth it was packed full of people and this is always a great sign.  After 3 hours of booths, beer, and food, it was time for the biggest social media meet up of the week.  I’m referring to the VMunderground party.  This year it was held at an art gallery (that was surprisingly vacant of art) and had plenty of room to talk, eat, and mingle.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 066All this has happened and the show doesn’t even start really until Monday morning.  The opening keynote delivered by former EMCer Pat Gelsinger did not disappoint.  Major announcements about the release of vSphere 5.5 which included two new features: VSAN and NSX.  VSAN is VMwares take on software defined storage and NSX is the result of the Nicira acquisition last year and completes their software defined networking portfolio.  There are plenty of great blogs out there discussing these technologies and I can’t wait to see what is done with this technology down the road.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 392VMworld 2013 - Day 2 518At the EMC booth, Chad Sakac didn’t disappoint either.  He has a way with words and seems to be able to fire up the crowd no matter where he is.  Of course it helps when you have goodies to wow people like a VMAX that has a fridge built into it.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 127Tuesday provided even more information about the new technologies announced the day before.  It was also a great day to do hands on labs.  VMware provided a huge hands on lab area, but for people wanting to try out EMC specific labs, we also brought our own booth setup to handle several labs at a time across the entire EMC portfolio.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 565Tuesday night was the vendor parties and EMC, Cisco, and Intel banded together to bring you Cloudfest!.  We took over Ghirardelli square to bring the ultimate combination of music, food, and chocolate.  As evidence by the photo to the right, this place was packed!  The bands were great and delivered some amazing covers of popular songs by Queen, The Police, and others.  I was told this was one of the best parties of the night and people were still talking about it up through the end of VMworld.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 080VMworld 2013 - Day 4 220On Wednesday, the EMC booth had a t-shirt meet up.  Everywhere you looked was a sea of EMC datacenter hero shirts (I think there were more than at EMC World).  This was the final day the show floor was open and even after 3 days of presentations, booth attendance was still very high (including some special guests like Pat dropping by).

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VMworld 2013 - Day 4 279That night was the VMworld Party.  They took over AT&T park and turned it into a cVMworld 2013 - Day 4 301ounty fair!  The midway games were great however I still maintain that they were rigged since the same people kept winning (and I won nothing).  Both Train and Imagine Dragons did a great job.  This has to be one of the best customer appreciation parties I have been to and I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming years as other events step up!

 

All in all VMworld was a great event.  I met more people than I can remember (including about half of the people I follow on twitter).  I learned a lot about upcoming technology and the solutions they play.  To see the full collection of my photos (all 154 of them) I have posted them to google+.

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VMworld – The EMC presence and where to find me

With VMworld getting underway in just a few hours, i thought i’d talk about EMC’s presence at the show and where you can find me.  EMC will have 2 booths this year.  We have the main booth which is 2 floors and full of awesome!  The main floor area will have a social media wall, a presentation theater, a prize wheel, and plenty of stations to learn about all that we have to offer.  The upstairs area will be an EMC Elect space for all Elect members in attendance.  Have you nominated someone (or yourself) yet?

 

The other area will be in the back corner and it is an EMC Hands on lab (Powered by vLab!) area where you can try our latest and greatest solutions in a virtual environment.  This is separate

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I urge everyone to stop by the booths and check them out, and you may even find yourself in a picture up on one of our posts!  Which brings me to where i’ll be.  This year i am acting as official EMC photographer for the event.  I will be EVERYWHERE gathering photos of all things EMC.  So be sure to attend one of our sessions or anything else listed on the vPass page and you may wind up in our photo album.  When i’m not shooting photos, you’ll find me hanging out around the EMC booth or in the VMworld hang space.  At night, you can find me at one of VMworld’s many social gatherings.

 

Speaking of social gatherings, are you going to Cloudfest?  For those of you who don’t know, Cloudfest is a customer appreciation party cosponsored by EMC, Cisco, and Intel.  It’s going to be the best party tuesday night.  For those of you who have already signed up, be sure to pick up your invitation at the EMC Booth.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, there will be more tickets given out, so talk to the booth staff and see if you can get one, or become friends with an EMC Elect member who might be able to get you in.  I hope to see everyone there.

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Thats it for now, but be sure to check out the EMC VMworld vPass page to cover all things going on at this year’s show.

VMworld – Introducing the Software-Defined 7

With VMworld a week away, I wanted to start talking about the goings on at the event and how I will be contributing to the community.  This year, we have seven EMC Elect Social Champions (also known as the “Software Defined 7″) who will be attending VMworld and offering live coverage of the event.  I am honored to be one of those members this year and will be your goto contact for EMC party related information (more onthat later) as well as taking photos of the entire show.

This year, EMC has several break out sessions, as well as a large double decker booth on the show floor, hands on labs, and a customer appreciation event.  A full list of all the events can be found here.  A member of the software defined seven has volunteered to be the social champion for a break out session or event and will be your contact for any questions as well as blogging & tweeting the content from the session.  They will become the goto person for asking questions during the event wether you are attending or playing the home game.

 

For those of you who cannot attend, but want to stay up to date on all things EMC at VMworld, i encourage you to visit the Virtual Pass page on ECN where we have everything EMC is doing all in one space.  There is even a discussion thread to talk about the show (thanks to a suggestion from Luigi).

The New England VTUG – A view from the other side

For the past few years I have attended several New England VTUG/VMUG events as an independent blogger / technologist.  This year, I attended the 10th annual Summer Slam as a sponsor through my employer and it has given me a little bit different a perspective on things.  My goal this event was to promote awareness of the EMC Community Network and the EMC Elect programs and have a conversation about it.  I do believe that I achieved my goal, but I also came away with a few big takeaways for next time.

Know your environment

NE_VTUG 005For those of you who haven’t attended the New England VTUG, it is held in the high school of Brunswick, Maine.  The main vendor hall is in the gymnasium, a room with no wired internet and shared power cords.  One must be prepared because this remote location also does not lend itself very well to cellular signals (probably good for keeping the kids focused on schoolwork). The result of this is that both vendors and attendees would heavily rely on the wifi network, and after it hit full saturation, performance problems would occur.  This also meant that there was no fall back for hotspots and mifi units.  It became quite apparent that I had miscalculated when I was the only one trying to do live demos that required internet connectivity.

BRING A FAN!!!!!

NE_VTUG 018I cannot stress this enough.  It is very hot, and in the summer the AC is not on in the school (with the exception of the theater), so a fan will be your best friend.  Vendors can use this to their advantage too.  If you want to get everyone to come to your booth, give your patrons a way to cool off.  The two most popular booths were giving away smoothies for attendees (competitors too) to drink and it was much appreciated.

 

All these fans however caused another issue … with the power.  When you run several fans (and a blender) off the same circuit, you may overload it.  And we did … twice!  The NEVTUG staff was very attentive to get extra power cables run and reset the circuit breakers so that downtime was minimal.

Be Happy! Be Social!

NE_VTUG 021To be honest, the majority of the attendees I spoke with had never heard of ECN or the EMC Elect.  However when I spoke to them, many were very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea.  One of the moments that really stood out to me was when a customer indicated that he was the goto person in his organization for everything, and he often did not know the answer.  After I explained to him about the support forums on ECN, he lit up and responded “This is where I can get the answers!”  Its genuine engagement like this that makes these user group meetings worth while.

Lets do it again

I had a blast talking to customers, partners, and even a few competitors at the NEVTUG.  With news coming of a new VTUG chapter forming in Silicon Valley (and more in the works across the united states) I urge all my readers to attend one and have a great conversation.

Are you going to the EMC Global Partner Summit? You should!

GPS2013Calling all EMC Partners, are you attending EMC World this year? Make sure you start off by attending the Global Partner Summit going on concurrently with the show.

 

It all starts Monday morning with a special general session just for GPS attendees.  Here you will find out about all that EMC is offering to enable partners in 2013 and beyond with presentations by EMC’s executives.  The general session is then followed by 3 keynotes for resellers, service providers, and IIG specialists.  After lunch, partners will be offered a multitude of breakout sessions including regional solution provider sessions as well as informative deep dives on security, big data, and XaaS.

 

After the EMC World general session and grand opening reception, there will be a partner appreciation party from 9pm – 11pm at the TAO Nightclub in the Venetian.  Be sure to pick up your wrist band in the EMC Business Partner Lounge located on the show floor.

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Speaking of the Partner Lounge, they will be open the entire EMC World show hours on Monday – Thursday.  I encourage you to stop by as they will have staff on site showing you how to register for and leverage the EMC Community Network.  While you are there, be sure to enter their contest to win one of 3 $200 gift cards.

 

Tuesday will be another filled day.  After the EMC World General Session, there will be additional product specific break out sessions.  In the morning, you can sit in on presentations from USD, ESD, ASD, Isilon, and Flash while the afternoon will have presentations from BRS and Global Services (my former organization at EMC).  Capping off day 2 is a final presentation by VSPEX and VCE.

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Be sure to follow @EMCchannel on twitter for updates throughout the show!  If you are attending GPS2013, let me know what you think in the comments below.

EMC World 2013 – What you should see and where I will be

EMC World 2In just one weeks time, 15,000+ people will descend on Las Vegas and the Sands Convention Center for EMC World 2013.  While I can’t wait for the show to start, I wanted to highlight a few things that you may not know about, but will definitely make your show experience so much better.

EMC Square

Front and center during this year’s show is the EMC Square.  This mecca to all things social (and it may or may not be a perfect square) will house EMC TV, Silicon Angle, the EMC Backstage (more on this later) and the all new Blogger’s Space.  The Blogger’s Space (formally the Blogger’s Lounge) will be where bloggers such as myself can meet to talk, share ideas on the white boards, relay screens to watch keynotes, and of course  internet access to blog.  Inside the Blogger’s Space is a special area for EMC Elect members.  Elect members will have their own area to converse and I’m also told there will be special Elect ONLY blogger briefings during the show.  If you are a blogger and you are attending EMC World, make sure you register here.  I will be spending most of my time here and at the ECN booth, so be sure to stop by and say hello.

 

This year the social media team will unveil an all new Buzz Board.  This new interactive display will pull in tweets, Facebook posts, pictures, videos, and more about EMC World.  Simply tag things with #EMCWorld and watch them populate in near real time.

Social display

Last year we had Buzz Sessions, Quick 10 – 15 minutes sessions highlighting a multitude of topics (including one staring yours truly).  This year we decided to slow things down a bit and introduce EMC Backstage.  After every keynote, we’ve invited the speakers to come sit and answer questions.  If there was something you wanted to know more about during the keynote, now is your chance.  Simply tweet your question with the #EMCBackStage hashtag and the moderator may ask it during the session.


Hands-on Labs

The Hands-on Labs are always a highlight of the show.  It’s the best place to try out all sorts of product demos and get a real feel for things without having to play with your production system.  It’s also rumored that this year you will get a chance to try out some unreleased products through the hands on labs

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I know my friend Craig “Chappy” Chapman was looking for good music this year, so I can’t wait to hear the final playlist.  The Hands-on Labs tend to fill up fast, so your best time to participate is first thing in the morning.  There should be little to no wait then.

Nightlife

With everything that goes on during the day at EMC World, what are you going to do at night?  Well on Wednesday is the customer appreciation event.  Just like last year, there will be another big name performer.  Guest passes are already sold out, so I hope you got one if you were going to bring a friend.

 

But what are you going to do the other few nights?  That is where we have you covered.  On ECN you can find a list of all the official and unofficial meetups going on during the week.  There will be a party on Tuesday night in the Zebra Lounge for ECN Members.  This party requires a wrist band, so be sure to see me to get one.  I haven’t figure out how I’m going to award them, but I’m always wanting to meet readers of my blog.

 

Where you’ll find me

My time at EMC world will be split between taking photos (be sure to follow me on twitter as well as @EMCCorp to see them) and booth duty.  On Monday you’ll find me at the ECN Station for most of the evening.  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings will be spent at the Elect Lounge.  I will be taking photos of all the keynotes (I believe another team mate will be taking photos of the general sessions).  Outside of that I’ll be at various meetups and events.  If you want to meet up, just tweet me and I’ll tell you where I’m at!

Twitter, Tragedy, and our Finest Hour

By now I’m sure most (if not all) of you have heard about the tragic events that occurred during yesterday’s running of the Boston Marathon.  Like most of the world, I learned of the news through social media.  My twitter timeline was flooding so fast I could not keep up.  Within seconds, the world was updated with news of the explosion, 140 characters at a time.  And as the news spread, others began to chime in.

While some were quick to point fingers and call it a “terrorist attack”, the most impactful messages were those of prayer, hope, and help and they seemed to outnumber the calls for hate and retaliation by 1000:1.

One of the biggest advantages of living in this digital age was how quickly we were able to check on those we love and care about.  My employer (EMC) was a large sponsor of the race.  Not only did we have people covering the race, but we also had coworkers running in it.  It was the power of twitter and my network of friends that let me know that everyone was safe and accounted for.

For those who were running in the race who we could not reach, technology provided us with a glimmer of hope in the form of tracking the racers bibs.  My friend Matt Brender put out a message of hope directing people to check on racers they know and see where they last checked in.

The link and message he shared was picked up by many and is a perfect example of how the online community can come together to help one and other.

With facts, rumors, and educated guesses flying around, all the news agencies were quick to get the story out, and not all of them got it right.  What surprised me the most was that the most credible news updates came from the hacker collective Anonymous.  They were quick to put out the message of ongoing activity, numbers to call, and facts (instead of conjecture) as they unfolded.

As the sun started to set and the dust began to settle, the messages switched to that of hope.  A Google doc was created full of people around the area willing to help shelter anyone that had been displaced by the days events.  People were willing to open up their homes in a showing of solidarity.  If anything, yesterday made the city of Boston and the nation stronger and why I believe this was our finest hour.

Moving on towards the big picture

thebigpictureRecently I celebrated my 3 year mark with working at EMC.  In that time I went through the GSAP program (more info on my blog post of my 2 year anniversary), assisted customers in USD tech support, and most recently helped cultivate a proactive social support model for our team.  Over that time, I’ve only had to change desks once but changed managers 9 times.

 

Well I am proud to announce that as of Monday, February 11th, 2013, I will be changing desks and managers again.  I have accepted an opportunity to join EMC’s Social Media Marketing team!  This is the same great team that my friend Matt Brender joined a year ago and I am extremely excited to be working together again at EMC.

 

I’m not exactly sure what the future will hold with this job, and that is what attracted me to it.  I have been working with the team ad-hoc style for the past year already participating in brainstorming sessions for R.A.M.P and EMC Elect.  I can only imagine what projects and ideas will come in 2013 as a good amount of this job will be brainstorming and creating them.

 

While I am moving away from being dedicated to VNX, I plan to still stay heavily involved with the storage and virtualization communities and blog about new and exciting technologies as well as things I interact with as part of my new role.

My 2012 in review (and a look towards 2013)

2012I find myself on this new years eve (after digging out from 10 inches of snow) reflecting back on all that has happened this year.  Checking in with the old Google analytics website, this year I ranked in over 18,000 visits to my website.  That might not seem like much, but that’s a 3x growth over last year and I want to thank all of my readers for being a part of it!

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I think I’ve really started to find my voice for Thulin’ Around and have started to make it my own.  I’ve been leveraging the blog as I can in my role in EMC’s VNX support lab.  This would probably explain why my #1 post is still my LDAP post from 2011 (which was revisited in 2012 with a new post for the latest VNX software).

 

My employer also recognized what I do for the VNX community with my blog and listed me as part of their social media blogging core and I am honored to be in such great company as Chad Sakac and Jeramiah Dooley.

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Towards the end of the year, EMC launched a brand advocacy rewards program called EMC Elect and I was very happy to be nominated by my readers.  Having a great friend like Matthew Brender, I was able to see all that goes in to building out a project of this magnitude and I have a new found respect for the effort that is required behind the scenes.  The founding members that were selected are a great group of individuals and I believe they represent the principles and values that should be recognized as part of EMC Elect.

 

2012 was also a great year for shows and user groups for me.  I was able to travel to EMC World 2012 as part of the Ask the Expert program.  At these events, I was able to demonstrate another passion of mine, Photography.  I published 170 photos from EMC World 2012 and as more events rolled through, I continued to refine my technique and you can see a real difference in my photos from the EMC Forum Boston 2012.

 

Looking forward to 2013

So what does 2013 have in store for me?  Well I’m starting the year off with a long trip to Seattle, Washington.  There I will be assisting the Isilon support team transition over to the EMC Support tools and processes.  If you are in the Seattle area, lets meet up!  Just check my twitter feed to reach out to me.

 

I also expect to use social media more and more in my job role.  Without going into to much detail, I want to say that there is plenty going on behind the scenes to help develop and flesh out a proactive support model as well as a reactive support model.  Stay tuned to the @EMCSupport twitter account for more information and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns about EMC products or your support experience.

 

I’m also looking forward to the results of EMC Elect nominations to see who was selected for 2013.  Fingers crossed that I am chosen, but if not, I know that those who will be chosen are well deserving of the title.

 

I also hope to be attending more conferences and user group meetings.  I am disappointed that I will miss the NEVMUG Winter Warmer, but there will be plenty more events in 2013 for me to join in on.  I’ve already started planning some ideas EMC World 2013.

 

As always, I like to hear from my readers and followers.  What did you like about 2012?  Was there anything on my blog that you really liked / disliked?  What are you looking forward to in 2013?  Let me know in the comments and have a happy new year!

Introducing EMC Elect: Nominate your peer today!

50131_192_198_cacheLast week EMC announced their new community driven brand recognition program called EMC Elect.  This nomination based title is bestowed upon members who bring added value to the community and is open to customers, partners, and employees alike.  This new brand advocacy program comes on the heels over other successful endeavors such as the Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert programs.

 

You may be asking yourself, “I’m familiar with this program from other companies.  What does EMC offer to those who are voted EMC Elect?”.  Well I’m glad you asked.  EMC Elect members are receive benefits with 3 core values: Access, Exclusivity, and Status.  This translates into all sorts of possibilities such as VIP status at events like EMC World, Access to a private community on ECN, a logo to display on your web page (or resume).

 

With the kickoff of this program, EMC selected 10 founding members who exemplify EMC Elect and offer so much to the community both online and offline.  These founders (in no particular order) are:

 

This also launched the call for open nominations.  By clicking this link, you can nominate yourself or a peer to be a part of the initial 150 EMC Elect members for the year of 2013.  All that’s needed is the nominees name, email address and/or twitter handle (EMC needs a way of contacting the candidate ) as well as a short paragraph on why you think this person deserves to be nominated and what interaction was most influential to you.  You have the option to share or hide your information from the nominee if you want (my personal opinion would be to share it).

 

Once nominated, the nominee will receive a confirmation email from EMC indicating that they were nominated and asked to fill out an additional form.  This form is where you showcase all you have done so that the team of judges can get a full and accurate representation of all that you have to offer.  You’ll want to let them know what product divisions of EMC you offer expertise as well as just how technical you are (you don’t need to be an engineer, they just want to know your level).  Also indicate what forms of interaction you do (Social Media, Conferences, user groups, online forums, or other places).  If you want to highlight a few experiences that you think showcase you best, you have an open text box below.

 

I think this program is off to a great start.  EMC Elect has already received over 75 unique nominations just 24 hours after launch and I am honored to be nominated by readers such as yourself.  You can nominate more than one person, and while a receiving multiple nominations helps, this is not a popularity contest and it is all about what you bring to the community at large.  I urge everyone to please take some time to nominate yourself or one of your peers.  For more information on this program, please read these blog posts from the Matthew Brender and Mark Browne.  They are instrumental for the creation of and successful implementation of this new program.