vExpert 2019 Applications are Open!

vExpert 2019 Applications are Open!

So the applications for the 2019 vExpert program are now open! Applications will be accepted until Friday February 8th at midnight PDT. The vExpert 2019 announcement will be on late February to early March, 2019.

If you need any help with your application scroll to the bottom for my details and I am more than happy to mentor or coach anyone. Don’t delay apply today! I mention some of this in my post here. 

As a stereotypical Brit go get a tea (or drink) and read on!

Firstly what is the VMware vExpert program, it is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program. The program is designed to put VMware’s marketing resources towards your advocacy efforts. Promotion of your articles, exposure at our global events, co-op advertising, traffic analysis, and early access to beta programs and VMware’s roadmap.

Each year, we bring together in the vExpert Program the people who have made some of the most important contributions to the VMware community. These are the bloggers, book authors, VMUG leaders, speakers, tool builders, community leaders and general enthusiasts. They work as IT admins and architects for VMware customers, they act as trusted advisors and implementors for VMware partners or as independent consultants, and some work for VMware itself. All of them have the passion and enthusiasm for technology and applying technology to solve problems. They have contributed to the success of us all by sharing their knowledge and expertise over their days, nights, and weekends.

vExperts who participate in the program have access to private betas, free licenses, early access briefings, exclusive events, free access to VMworld conference materials online, exclusive vExpert parties at VMworld and other opportunities to interact with VMware product teams. They also get access to a private community and networking opportunities.

New for vExpert 2019

Over the years we have reviewed a lot of applications. Last year we noticed some applications, even from some of the most active vExperts were only filled our marginally. There are several different people and groups voting on your application so please write it as if no one knows what you are doing. This year we have added a application example. You can find the vExpert application example on the application page (top right corner). Example:  If you spoke at VMworld, please add the session number as well as other details such as the topic, audience size.

vExpert Pro

If you need help to applying do get in touch gareth {at} vexpert.pro or with one of my fellow vExpert Pros around the world. Any of the vExpert Pros will be able to help you with your vExpert application and also be your mentor for all things related to community. Find the vExpert PRO near you here and get in touch.

Evangelist Path

The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public or were in a language other than English.

Customer Path

The Customer Path is for leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have been internal champions in their organizations or worked with VMware to build success stories, act as customer references, given public interviews, spoken at conferences, or were VMUG leaders. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path


The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning through accreditations and certifications and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements. A VMware employee reference is required for VPN Path candidates.

VCDX Path

The VCDX path is for VCDX holders only. If you hold the VCDX title you will still need to apply for vExpert each year. We verify all VCDX applications via the VCDX Directory.

Questions & Updates 

For questions about the application process or the vExpert Program as above do reach out! DM me on twitter or email gareth {at} vexpert.pro. I am more than happy to coach anyone or even just chat over a cup of tea and see how we can form your application. Also some of this can even be something you have presented internally! Not all of us like standing up in front of people. If you have specific questions you can also email the amazing community team on [email protected] Be sure to follow @vExpert for updates on the 2019 vExpert program.

vExpert Shirts EU 2018

vExpert Shirts EU 2018

Firstly I want to thank anyone who purchased a shirt and supported this! I hope you are still enjoying them.

This is one of the things I did in 2018 and was proud of regardless of the vExpert Pro announcement and that was the vExpert shirt run. I never did this to out do any of the other guys doing them as it was awesome in the US as it was supporting a family business. I just could not get my head around the shipping and potential tax once they hit UK soil.

Either was after a few prototype runs I managed to land on a final design as you can see here

I liked really like the two tone style and once I started handing these out at VMworld everyone else seemed to agree too. I did get quite a few people notice them and managed to get a few snaps of people in them below!

Overall it was a success and I had way more shirts to hand out than I originally anticipated! The only down side that there was the loss of one where I assumed someone was picking up and it never made it to the recipient 🙁

Question is will I do it again…. Yes I will! Since getting back from VMworld I have been in contact with the supplier about other styles of shirts and she can even do lounge pants! Maybe I can go to the Gym in vendor and vExpert garments only 😀

My only reservation is I need to do some form of online store with PayPal or SettleUp included so I can also easily track things but I will get the wheels back in motion once the 2019 vExpert applications and announcements have been made.

Conference Tips for 2018

Conference Tips for 2018

Where to stay….

This year I took a leaf out of a mentor for myself’s book (Ather Beg) who kindly hosted me in my first VMworld so I decided to search out for an AirBNB. Initially this was going to be for one to two of us but after a bit of searching and semi forward planning it ended up being 7 of us! As you can see below

All I can say is thank you too all these guys! They made my VMworld this year. From the left you have Sam McGeown, Bilal Ahmed, Chris, Ryan Harris, Andy Nash & Rob Bishop The best thing was the mix of the group helped keep up spirits even when one of us was unfortunately mugged 🙁 I think it was nicer us all being there to support one another too!

We were all there for different reasons too (well apart from Networking) but some of us were fortunate enough to be Bloggers, So were VCDX Gods and others there to help the VMware team. This also always made for good conversation in the evenings and our own little after parties. I suppose this is one for the #vCommunity mention in the fact we can all come together no matter what!

The other major benefit we learnt was using the MyTaxi app in Barcelona at least it made for very cheap travel especially when we were splitting it 6 ways some days vs using Uber! Also to remind myself next year some of the taxies also had a fixed fare to and from the airport.

All in all I think it ended up being around £65 each for the 4 nights so not bad at all!

Be Prepared

This is an odd one for me as this year as I also flourished from attendee to speaker. I had to very much be prepared and to be fair my last few trips helped with this. I still can not thank the TechReckoning team (John Mark Troyer Kat Nelson Troyer) enough for these two items as they always help me travel! I also love the little case Amy White (Also on the team) got made as it stores my spare USB sticks, Presenter Clicker thing, dongles, batteries, MICs, etc in here and I know exactly where they are

Keep Hydrated

This one may sound simple but it is worth doing. All conferences have one major thing in common people and air con so you will dry out! Especially if you are speaking like I was this year. Usually some conferences have food tables or fridges like VMworld but others do not. I have started to carry an aluminium bottle with me so that if things only come out during tea breaks or lunch I can fill my bottle back up. It also helps it stay cold so much more refreshing if the room is hot

The other thing I do daily it take an effervescent (Berocca if looking for a brand) usually a multivitamin or Vitiamin C + Zinc, sometimes at night if I have been out for a few drinks as they help with the hang over too. It also helps with the diet of random stuff and ensure I stay energised usually due to a lack of fruit and vegetables.

Have fun

You of course are there to learn especially if on work time but also find a little bit of time for yourself between the networking or even do it a different way! This year I had a chat with some people whilst playing Pong

Which then one day lead to this! A full on table football tournament but we all had a good chat during parts of this and had a really good rapport after

Take notes….

I have found I need to take notes or write a rough blog post to look back on things but at the same time stay engaged! If the sessions are not recorded grab snippets of video or Audio but do check this is ok first or just do not publish it if you are not sure. I have some of these in Apple Notes/OneNote like things just to jog my memory on things. Also do go back and look, the time there and a few days even weeks after your brain will be overloaded and you may need to go back over things before they stick.

Finally.. Travel different ways

As they say variety is the spice of life right… well on some of these trips despite being able to claim some things I have taken the easier approach and sometimes paid myself. For example I got the bus to the airport on some trips and yes this does hamper times but I do then get to rest on the bus either way and no worries about parking!

Sometime this can even go as far as leaving 40 minutes early and walk, especially if in London and I was travelling light. I could then get off a stop or two before. It helps stretch your legs before what could be a day of sitting and then makes sure I can smash that step goal!

Plesk Built by Terraform on AWS

Plesk Built by Terraform on AWS

I have been debating for sometime where I start putting my new projects and potentially move some of my blogs so I can start using some CDNs and one of my thoughts was AWS. I think you can get away with the free tier but it does involve some work. I would also want a few blogs on one server too so that makes some of the management is easier along with cost benefit!

I highly suggest you do look at AWS Lightsail as its very competitive and the only reason I have not done it in this post is because at the time of writing you can not adjust the AWS Lightsail Firewall rules for full automation with Terraform

I may also end up using Lightsail as the Plesk image can be built in the UK on this platform but again at time of writing this post I could not find the AMI within the marketplace for the UK region. The version I was using was available in North California called “Plesk Onyx on Ubuntu 16.04 (Web Admin Edition – FREE)” as this EC2 image attracts the free tier and also you do not pay for Plesk like the other versions. I also hear its good for up to 3 website but any more needs a bigger EC2 and you of course do not get any support!

I have the code based over here at GitHub if you wish to give it a go!

I also have a video with a step by step guide on how to do this

At some stage I want to work on more of the automation and scale along with the load balancing.


VMworld 2018 Europe Day 2/3

VMworld 2018 Europe Day 2/3

So the next two days I lost some of my content for hence the delay in posting but I want to get some of this up there! Mainly so I can also reflect prior to hopefully attending next year.

For me this below was one of my personal highlighted sessions but I don’t think it was recorded as I got to see some of my heroes

I was also fortune enough to take party in the vExpert daily chat with the amazing Angelo

I then popped over to a few sessions and then mentally prepared myself for my next talk! Also since doing this I have refined (I think) and I have now done it at the UKVMUG. I am sure there will be one final version of this with some more exciting code someday

The day did not stop there and the party was not too far ahead but we recorded a new vMashup edition where can be found here and this personally was a great thing for me as I love the Virtually Speaking guys podcast

This then proceeded for a quick dash to the Rubrik booth as I was on their #vRockstar cards this year and I wanted to sadly get the full collection to display at home

It was then party time! We all dropped off our bags and for once it was a VMworld party I could enjoy! No rushing off for a flight or jet lag and we have some great memories from it, one of mine are here below

Now if you are here for the VR bits here they are, I think they turned out well especially when the confetti falls! It looks great on my Oculus. I would have gotten more but shall we say I think the UKVMUG or all of the UK VMUGs/vExperts were trying to drink the bar dry and cause a scene near the photo booth! You can use your mouse to look around too if you click on them and open them on YouTube!

Whilst we were waiting I did get this awesome caricature done though

The next day I am sure we all felt a little fragile but I managed to get some more sessions done and follow up great talks I have with people! I also managed to get this VR Tour done around the solutions exchange. I did this during a quiet time as usually it very busy and I didn’t want to trip over people so usually its much more busier than this

After this a few of us did the last few sessions and then a vendor crawl to see what we could get for the UKVMUG Charity Bag

One awesome stand was the VMUG stand where they were printing T-Shirts

I have a few more separate posts still to come such as the vExpert Shirts and also a few tips about conference and specifically VMworld but this year they made it for me. I will just leave a small gallery of any of the photos I haven’t used just for memories really and to try and inspire the next person to go!

I just hope I can make it next year and I will be much more on point with the uploads!