Recap of the inaugural Dutch Nutanix User Group meet

Last Thursday we had our inaugural Nutanix User Group Meeting. After Sibo Attema said why don’t we have one in the Netherlands last fall I jumped on it and together we made sure to have a great day. Originally it was planned to take place at the new Dutch Nutanix offices but the move sadly couldn’t be completed in time so we moved to the Novotel right across the road from the old office in Hoofddorp. Out of 40 sign ups we had 26 people who showed up and that’s very good for a free and first event in my opinion. Add all the Nutanix people who dropped in and the room was packed!

This was our schedule for the day:

This doesn’t list the coffee breaks or the Login Techcast crew that paid us a visit and recorded some interviews.

Content wise I think we had a good mix of topics with the Data Science as a good alternative to to pure tech talks. It’s awesome to see what can be done with all the data we constantly generate. There was a lot of interaction with the audience which was very good to see, we also might have managed to convince a couple of people to speak at the next event. The next won’t be a full day event but most probably an afternoon somewhere in the fall.

If you are interested in presenting than please contact me or Sibo and I will always make sure that there is a free spot for someone presenting for the very first time! There is no better place to give presenting a try than at User Groups because no one will judge you on it. The worst thing to happen is that you will learn and improve!

I want to thank Martijn Bosschaart, Danielle Tomakin and Brittany Hoisington for their great support!

Some pictures:

 

Honored to be named Nutanix Technology Champion once again

Just like in 2017 and 2018 I have been named a Nutanix Technology Champion for 2019. While I haven’t been involved with the tech as much as in 2017 at least I tried to keep up to speed in 2018 by playing with the community Edition. Besides that I started two things on the Nutanix front in 2018: getting an NPX bootcamp to The Netherlands which I attended in September and trying to start a Nutanix User Group in The Netherlands and that will have it’s first meeting the 1st quarter of 2019! Besides that I attended the Nutanix .Next on tour event in Utrecht and of course .Next EU 2019 in London.

Being an NTC is for me all about the vCommunity, we try to help others but if we need a hand others will help you as well. Just ask Nutanix’ awesome community manager Angelo Luciani and he will tell you all about it 😉

 

2018 has been awesome but I am 100% sure that 2019 will be even better!

The second (and last :( ) day of Nutanix .Next London 2018

The second day of .Next London started with a good keynote mainly about IoT and what Nutanix brings to the table in that area of expertise. There where some issues before the keynote started but everything ended up really going smoothly. Session wise I did two sessions, both about VDI: deepdive into Xi Frame and the VDI supersession at the end of the day. In between there was a really inspirational keynote with Julie O’Brien interviewing Dr Jane Goodall. At age 85 she still travels the world convincing people they need to work at keeping our world healthy. In between all of this I spent some time at the Community lounge and browsing the solution expo.

The VDI supersession was a good mix of Horizon and Citrix that was very open for questions of the audience. It covered two time slots with a short break in between and it was good to see a couple of former EUC Champions + a Nutanix NTC on stage. The day ended for me walking into a restaurant that had a table filled with speakers & audience of the VDI supersession who immediately invited me over to join them.

The first day(s) of Nutanix .Next 2018 London

please remember this is article is written while I was still waking and sobering up from last nights party at The Tobacco Dock.

The last couple of days where a blast. I came in on the Eurostar on Tuesday and while others had issues with flights being cancelled I had no issues crossing The Channel by train. At 3 PM we started the rehearsals for Wednesdays opening act where we had to juggle a bit with balls. We where being trained by 4 pro’s including brand new World Champion Aguska Mnich that showed how things are done on stage. Too bad they didn’t have a lot of time on stage because backstage they where showing some amazing tricks.

Watch Aguska winning the championship from about minute 49

After this I finished the evening meeting some great community people at the Welcome reception and a dinner with some Dutch Nutanix employees and customers.

Wednesday started at 7.30 am with the last rehearsals for our opening act. It was great fun doing this though the stage was even warmer than the keynote room (usually keynote rooms are cold due to their size, over calling it warm was an understatement). When the keynote ended I went out to Angelo’s awesome community lounge before we went out to the NTC lunch where it was great meeting all the other ntc’s. It was quite a big group this time compared to last year.

In the afternoon I visited my first breakout about Nutanix files and it’s awesome to see how this product has grown over the years. It’s a full-fledged nas replacement now that’s just as easy to scale out as a Nutanix cluster with the same performance.

closing keynote was by Bear Grylls. I expected a bit more energetic person on stage but in fast he even looked a bit shy at some points. His main point: never give up!

This years party had an old style circus theme at the Tobacco Dock and while some of the music and smells where a total sensory overload for me I ended up in the saloon enjoying the (mostly) acoustic music.

 

 

 

 

What’s (in) my bag for Nutanix .Next 2018 London

This post is fairly similar to my posts for .Next Nice in 2017 and VMworld US of this year. For security reasons I decided to go with the XD Design Bobby again. Since it’s a lot harder to open when on my back I feel it’s a bit more secure while travelling on the London Underground. A couple of other changes also have been made, the bubm bag was replaced by a bit smaller pouch from the same maker and my Sony headset has gone to my wife since I settled on the Jabra Move I got from Cohesity at VMworld. The Jabra just sits a bit more comfortable for me and fits perfectly in it’s own bubm case.

For the rest there are the usual suspects: Xiaomi 10k battery pack, HP Probook 440 G5Microsoft designer mouseRoundcube Rewirable  USB Travel adapter and some various bits & pieces. My suitcase is simply packed with lots of stroopwafels and all the Nutanix NTC gear I have.

Nutanix Technology Champion, what’s in it for you?

This week it was announced that applications for the 2019 Nutanix Technology Champions (NTC) are open. Despite not having worked with Nutanix in production in a while I have been a member of this great piece of vCommunity for two years now. Angelo, who runs the program, listed the benefits to include the following:

  • Early access briefings about Nutanix products and announcements
  • Access to private betas and insight into ongoing product development
  • Participation in exclusive meetings with engineering teams
  • Access to discussions on the Nutanix NTC slack channel with internal teams
  • Exclusive activities at our annual .NEXT conference including pre-show briefings
  • Support and Mentorship for those seeking NCP, NCAP and NPX career development

Let’s dive into these benefits a bit deeper.

Early access briefings about Nutanix products and announcements

Since I don’t work with the tech this is what really keeps me up to speed on what Nutanix is doing. While sometimes it’s hard for them to do it really early with the fast pace of developing new features or tools this still gives the edge for bloggers who like to blog about this. But it also gives us the possibility to provide feedback before it’s released for new ideas or enhancements.

Access to private betas and insight into ongoing product development

Again due to the high pace of developing at Nutanix the first part doesn’t happen too often but the second one does every now and then. Engineers pitch ideas during regular calls and use our reactions to those to see if it would be worth implementing.

Participation in exclusive meetings with engineering teams

See the previous point, it’s really valuable for both sides to give and receive the input on new developments.

Access to discussions on the Nutanix NTC slack channel with internal teams

Being a customer or partner this is the icing on the cake for you. Besides communicating with your fellow NTC’s every Nutanix employee can have access to our Slack Channel. I have been on the phone with support during an issue while on Slack I was able to give logs and other information that otherwise might have taken a bit more time to end up on their side. In here there are no stupid questions and if the person with the required knowledge isn’t in the channel someone else will invite them in. And it isn’t about Nutanix software only, if someone at Nutanix has the knowledge we will get them in there. Want to ask CEO Dheeraj Pandey a question? He’s in there as well!

Exclusive activities at our annual .NEXT conference including pre-show briefings

We always have a NTC lunch at .Next and several briefings up front so we know what to expect. Angelo is also a selfie maniac at conferences so you probably won’t get away without one posted on Twitter. Everywhere you go you’ll find another NTC around so like most conferences it’s a great place to make new and meet old friends.

(and no I never look good on selfies :D)

Support and Mentorship for those seeking NCP, NCAP and NPX career development

For this again the Slack channel is essential. After a call about the NPX certification ealy this year I pitched the idea to have a bootcamp in The Netherlands and that turned out to be a success as you can see in my blogpost about it.

Other things

Are there any other advantages than those that Angelo names? Yes there certainly are, all NTC’s get a free subscription to Pluralsight and on a regular base we have calls with vendors that also supply us with nfr licenses. For example we have access to hycu, Bitdefender and after the comming call also  Unitrends.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you are a partner, customer or member of the greater vCommunity being a member of the NTC program is great benefit. Angelo really strives to help us grow in whatever we do and succeeds in that! If it isn’t about the knowledge then it is about expanding your network in this awesome thing that we call the vCommunity.

My experience at the Nutanix NPX bootcamp

The preparation

After a Nutanix Technology Champions websession we had earlier this year I thought it was a good idea if there would be one in The Netherlands. The only requirement was to supply at least 12 people and also to leave some spots for Nutants. While I reached out to the current NTC’s Bert van der Lingen reached out to the NPP’s he trained in the Netherlands. It didn’t take long before we had enough people interested to start the process. The location was also arranged quickly at the Dutch Nutanix offices while the date was set for september 24-28th.

The coaches

Since we had 25 people signed up for the bootcamp there where three coaches assigned for this week: Tim Buckholz (NPX #12), Bruno Sousa (NPX #15) and Crescenzo Oliviero (NPX #16). Including in their coaching role they also where the Nubank customer for whom we had to create a new design. While being the customer we had to ask the right questions but if we weren’t sure about something they also showed great patience with us in explaining things.

The Bootcamp

In the time leading up to the bootcamp itself I was still apprehensive about my own (lack of) experience but lots of people told me that it shouldn’t be a problem. I went in with an open mind that it would be a great learning opportunity. Looking back at the week this was the best way to look at the process. No matter what you designed the NuBank customer always managed to find flaws and gave good feedback on what was lacking but also on what was good.

https://twitter.com/tbuckholz/status/1044243355977351168

One constant factor was change! The first day was a shock to most: Sizing can be rather difficult you know. On each day new tasks were added like networking, storage but also Business Critical apps and VDI you could expect curveballs to be thrown at any time! For this my open mind probably was a bonus because it was clear some people had issues with this. If you didn’t care about failing but still did the best you could in building the designs you would learn the most in my opinion. During the week we also learned to ask more and more questions to the customer, something we hardly did during the first day.

During the afternoon on day four it was time to build that last design so we could do a proper defence of it for the Nubank customer. For the presentation each team had 45 minutes and time management was difficult. It’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole in explaining nerd knobs while there is no time for that.

Even during the last presentation it was clear that the newly tech created during the week was needed in some cases. Our team required wireless ipmi while others had wireless load balancers, wireless 40GB lines and other wireless stuff.

My own verdict

For myself I consider this one of the best weeks of learning I have ever done. There’s hardly anywhere to work with a such a group of dedicated and motivated people. And it proved even more how good and important the vCommunity is in sharing knowledge and caring for others.

I would like to thank the three awesome coaches and also my teammates Wouter Iliohan, Nick Maeckelberghe and Arjan Hendriks for being such good sports this week.

Nutanix .Next 2017 Nice: My Sessions

Intro

Last week as you’ll probably already have seen I was at the Nutanix .Next 2017 Europe event in Nice, France. During this amazing event, I visited several sessions going from sales talks, via an NDA session to a deep dive. In this post, I will try to give a bit more information about the sessions I followed as far as I can do.

Disclaimer: this overview is based on notes written during the session and my memory and since specially the latter is not failsafe they could be some untrue things in this post. Please send the feedback directly to me so I can adjust them. Also, I don’t have equal amounts of text about all sessions because nothing is equal.

Nice disclaimer, right? This was just if the disclaimer all presenters had to read before starting their sessions. On screen, there was an even bigger one equally to the one showed during the keynote’s.

Index

These where the sessions that I followed:

Dell-EMC: 6 rules of disruption

VMware VDI On Nutanix

NX Files (NDA)

SOS Troubleshooting Nutanix

Puppet

Calm Deep dive

The six rules of disruption

While this clearly is a sponsored session only the middle part was commercial. Before and after that it was about those six rules and what they are according to them. I will give a bit more explanation about them that also might include my own opinion about them.

  • The interface is everywhere
    • It is, just think of your smartphone, Google home, an Echo dot or maybe your home thermostat. Everything has an interface these days. While voice commands where hard years back it has become really mature these days on some of those devices.
  • Remove the friction
    • If something doesn’t work flawlessly users will not accept it and the product will fail. Same with doing business, if it gets hard for a customer to do business with you they will go away and take their business somewhere else.
  • Prepare for abundance
    • With this they say that we should prepare for more and more data. Everything will have a sensor in the future, from the floor you walk on, trough the shoes you walk with up to the hat you have on your head. This will need to be handled somewhere.
  • Embrace non-linearity
    • With this they try to say we shouldn’t keep thinking the same way. Change needs and will happen and if you refuse to change you will lose.
  • Be honest
    • If you are not honest this will haunt you. In a world where a single tweet can bring down companies being dishonest might result in that tweet.
  • Be curious
    • If you don’t keep pioneering and developing yourself there is no way forward. If companies keep doing the same repeatedly they will fail in the end. Same with people, if I never learned anything new or would never think outside of the box I would have been unemployed for years already.

This was a fun session to follow and while the 6 points ‘coincidentally’ are generally the direction Nutanix is going they are also what lots of people see happening in the (near) future.

VMware VDI on Nutanix

This session was meant to be presented by Brian Suhr but he managed to brake his leg the week before so he was replaced by Kees Baggerman of Nutanix and VCDX-DTM Sean Massey. I had to sit in front because I big mouthed Angelo Luciano to sit up front and Sean made me take his place. Me always with my big mouth. While a lot of the content in this session was already known to me it was good to see some of my knowledge once more confirmed and they presented us with some figures I would never have guessed. I always knew that optimizing an image is required but up to 50% performance was new to me. Also, they gave numbers to prove that data locality is essential for VDI. I can’t remember the exact numbers but there was a big difference with or without shadow clones enabled. This was a very good session that showed the audience on how to design a good working VMware View environment on Nutanix.

NX Files

Since this was an NDA session there’s not a lot I can say besides that it contained presentations about ideas and product improvements that came out of the Nutanix Internal Hackathons. Only point I have about this session that it contained code samples that where hard to read since the text was too small.

SOS Troubleshooting

To start this session had some hard to read blue titles in the PowerPoint and too small text size ssh session screens. Content wise this session was about the tools you can use to manage and troubleshoot your Nutanix Environment like the alerting services, NCC, syslog, Pulse and Prism analysis. Further it went deeper into the thought process and framework required for successful troubleshooting.

Some of the key takeaways from this session where that an admin should always run NCC before logging a case. Also, Pulse should be enabled where possible and allowed. This sends only relevant information to Nutanix that contains no IP or data. This was a great session with heaps of technical information.

Puppet

The presenter for this session introduced himself as an engineer but the first five minutes sounded commercial. Luckily, I had an excuse to escape since Sean Massey asked me to record a podcast about automating Horizon View with PowerCLI

Calm deep dive

Again, this was a good session to follow. Some of it might have been lost on me but Calm looks to be an awesome and easy tool to use. The real nerds will be able to dig deep into it though and can connect it to any automation tool already in use and can even create the json config files automatically using other tooling. Calm itself consists of two docker systems running on Prism Central, by default it will be disabled but once enabled (and maybe the ram for the Prism Central server(s) is expanded it will give access to just about anything you want to automate ranging from PowerShell to SSH, batch or the programming language you might prefer.

Nutanix .Next Europe report Day 2

Disclaimer: this post was written between 6 am and 7 am without having access to coffee.

So, that was the second and last day of .Next Europe 2017. The rush from day one continued with a great keynote where Nutanix launched their vision on how to handle IoT. The keynote itself started with the outtakes of yesterday’s clapping video which was funny and had a lot of beeps because of all the profanity.

Back to the IoT, within no-time there will be three billion devices but probably more that need to send their data somewhere. This will be way too much to send to the cloud. Nutanix will process this data in the edge and only send the valuable stuff to the cloud. For this even container are too big and even smaller entities will be handling that data. Sherlock is what Nutanix named this functionality and it will handle IoT devices as first-class objects and we will literally go from webscale to planet scale computing.

After this the CEO of Hyperloop came on stage to talk about the progress they have been making. Personally, I really see a future for this tech but I doubt if it can be done as cheap and as safe as what he is saying. The keynote needed with a tale about machine learning with a comparison of Big Blue beating the best chess player in the world years back by brute force to the best Go player in the world being beaten by using machine learning.

The second day of .Next I only did two break-out sessions. The first one was about troubleshooting and the tools and thought paths needed for that. The second one was a deep dive on Calm where we were shown all the bells and whistles wat can be really done with Nutanix’ new automation tool. I ended up in a 3rd session but it started with five minutes of sales crap so I was happy to escape so I could record a podcast with Sean Massey about Horizon View & PowerCLI.

The closing keynote was just awesome. There was some other thing being told but it was all about one of the good causes that Nutanix has been sponsoring during the .Next conference: Not Impossible. This is all about helping people and all started with CEO Mike Ebeling telling the family of a graffiti artist that he would make him able to draw again. Having no idea on how to tackle this he gathered a bunch of mad scientists and ended up doing it with cheap hardware and open source software; The Eyewriter. Their second project was project Daniel where he decided to create a cheap way to make artificial limps for a victim of the fighting in Sudan that had both his arms amputated. He developed techniques so the people in the refugee camps would be able to help each other with cheap 3d printers so artificial limbs went from 1000’s of dollars to 100’s of dollars.

With both these stories it was clear that Mike struck a nerve with the audience because at the end of his talk he received a well-deserved standing ovation. After this Nutanix announced the gathered a combined $11.000 for all four good causes: Not Impossible, Girls in Tech, Movember and the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre

Nutanix .Next Europe report Day 1

To repeat an earlier phrase: ooooh what a rush. Yesterday was a great day in a perfectly named Acropolis where Nutanix is holding its second .Next Europe. Being one of the 2200 attendants in an atmosphere that really feels vibrant is awesome. Due to security and busses leaving late from hotels the Keynote (with my mugshot in there since I am a Nutanix Technology Champion) began 15 minutes late but made up that lost time by ending 45 minutes late. The only other point about the keynote was that it went a lightning speed. As techs, we managed to follow everything but I am 100% sure that a lot of people didn’t manage that.

In here we saw some new features of the 5.5 release, new tools and performance charts that are just unbelievable. The fact that they did demos on stage made it even better. The key thing from the keynote for me is that everything will be about simplicity. If apps/tools can’t be consumed very easily they will never be as successful as apps that are and the mantra of More Tea Less Clicks will probably appeal to everyone although some people might name it More Life Less Clicks or More Beers Less clicks.

Due to the keynote running late I missed my first session about xtract since I really wanted to visit with my fellow NTC’s at our lunch. It was good to finally meet the people behind the names with Sudheesh Nair making a surprise visit. He was almost literally pulled from the hallway by Angelo Luciano when he walked by.

My first session was from Dell about the six rules of disruption. This session told an obvious story with a little bit of product marketing in between. Nothing too much but hey a vendor has to sell so things, right? The second session I did was a Horizon View on Nutanix session. This was supposed to be done by Brian Suhr but he broke his leg last week so Sean Massey (VCDX-DTM) and Kees Baggeman had to replace him. They had some good takeaways and performance tips and tricks for the audience. Both sessions will be covered more extensively in a later post. I will not be able to do that with my last sessions since this was an NDA session with new tools and features that might or might not end up in final products presented by the engineers who created them at one of the Nutanix Hackathons.

The evening keynote started with a small fireside chat about politics and economics and how they influence each other. After this Fabian Cousteau came on stage for a very inspiring talk about the sea and how it impacts everything on our world. He had a very good tale and awesome videos to show. I visited the reception at the convention floor for a short while but did not go to the party. I was getting tired and since I am not really a party person I probably would have left early anyway. I saw some pictures that they had a big tent at the beach and that was food since there was a good thunderstorm when I left the venue.