Category Archives: Chinwag

Chinwag Reloaded with Nick Howell (@datacenterdude)



I’ve known Nick Howell off and on for a few years now. I think we first met face to face at NetApp’s location at RTP, North Carolina. That was back when I was still an independent, freelance instructor – albeit affliated to TechTarget after their acquisition of my old “RTFM Education” site. Nick’s been handy resource for all things NetApp/SRM related, as well being handy touch stone for what’s happening over there in StorageLand. Nick runs the NetApp podcast – here’s some linkage:

I think they used to use TalkShoe like the VMware VMTN Communities Round-table podcast. But they moved away from it because it was unreliable (perhaps there’s message there for us!).

We cover off a couple of topics including:

  • Nick Howell of NetApp talks about vVOLs
  • His views on “Software Defined Storage”
  • NetApp storage in Amazon
  • NetApp Insight Conference and its relationship with the community
  • Engineers Unplugged…

Click here to listen to the directly on this site…. or alternatively watch the youtube video below:


Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Chinwag

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Chinwag Reloaded with Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf)


Alan Renouf blogs at Despite the name, Alan or Al to his friends is most certainly not French. But rumour has it his family go all the way back to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings. I first met Alan via the London VMUG when he used to do workshops in the morning about all things PowerCLI/PowerShell related. Imagine that? Those folks were being “taught” by the guy who would go on to the be Product Manager! Just goes to show the hidden value of VMUGs, you often meet the rising stars of the future there…

I caught up with Alan at the VMware CorpHQ Campus in Palo Alto, CA. I happened to be in town doing one of my monthly catch-ups with the EVO:RAIL team, so it was great to catch-up with Al over lunch. As you might suspect our discussions were very PowerCLI orientated, but we did range around other subjects to including:

  • What have you learned about products now that you manage one? Much jive between your experience as user?
  • PowerActions
  • What’s new in 5.8
  • Why have you stopped blogging (joke!) but serious no blogs between June til Sept – is that life as PM


The links above Alan’ss photo take you to the feeds – iTunes for Video/Audio versions of the blog as well as a generic RSS feed location as well. Please subscribe! The Twitter icon will take you to Scott Lowe’s twitter. Please follow Scott because he only 18K+ followers and could do with the boost! [JOKE!]

Click here to listen to the directly on this site…. or alternatively watch the youtube video below:


Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Chinwag

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Chinwag Reloaded with Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe)


Scott Lowe blogs at We’ve known each for a while – I think we met first at VMworld in Las Vegas. Ever since I’ve been bumping into him at VMworlds, and once unexpectedly at Heathrow Airport. In this episode of the chinwag we talk about the following topics

  • Closing Comments in blogs – Does signal an end of era where bloggers developed an active dialog, and now were broadcasters?
  • Intel Rack-Scale
  • Vagrant. What is it? Yet another scripting language to master or something really game shifting?
  • Open Source  – where do you feel the movement is going. Is it still really for ISPs and uber companies with deep pockets and full time development staff?


The links above Scott’s photo take you to the feeds – iTunes for Video/Audio versions of the blog as well as a generic RSS feed location as well. Please subscribe! The Twitter icon will take you to Scott Lowe’s twitter. Please follow Scott because he only 18K+ followers and could do with the boost! [JOKE!]

Click here to listen to the Podcast on this site…. or alternatively watch the youtube video below:


Posted by on December 4, 2014 in Chinwag

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Chinwag Reloaded with Chad Sakac (@sakacc)

It’s back! I’m pleased to announce that I’m getting back into the Disc Jockey chair – and The Chingwag is back! With a bang. I’m so stoked to say my first chinwaggie is Chad Sakac of EMC. This is the first time I’ve had him on the show. And its all part of my “Rolling Thunder” Chinwag Relaunch – I will be interviewing the TOP people in our world for the next couple weeks. In the medium term I will reaching out to folks in the community who I know online or meet at VMUGs. So this new version of the podcast will not be a vRockstar only thing.

I’ve building up a library of Chinwags with folks since mid-October – this was recorded just before VMworld EU – 2014


Chad Sakac blogs at’ve known each for a while – met first at VMworld in Las Vegas. That was back when I was getting into SRM, and EMC and NetApp both helped me out with access to storage for the SRM 4.0 book. In this chinwag Chad gives his take on

  • Converged Vs Hyper-Converged
  • EMC’s plans for EVO:RAIL
  • EMC XtremIO upgrading


Click here to listen to the Podcast on this site…. or alternatively watch the youtube video below:


Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Chinwag

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VMTN Community Roundtable Podcast: #292 – VMware Foundation & VMworld Survival

IMG_3916This week I’ve been working in Palo Alto, CA at Corporate Headquarter. I’m here getting up to speed with all things VMware. Compared to others I’m not uber-busy, but somehow the pre-VMworld stress levels are rubbing off even on me. I thought coming out a week before would help me recover form the jounery, but I didn’t count on a bad layover at Houston, and the pulling a muscle in my neck. So if I’m looking at bit robotic at VMworld this year, its because I’m dosed up pain killers!

Being in Palo Alto meant I was for the first time able to do the VMTN Communities Roundtable Podcast in person with Eric Neilson. I tootled round to his place in Palo Alto and we did the recording from his home office come garage.

This weeks podcast had the folks from the VMware Foundation – Nicola Acutt who is the VP over there, and Jessa Chin who is the groups Sr. Corporate Citizenship Manager. In case you don’t know the VMware Foundation is the charitable arm of VMware, and amongst the many things it does is allow employees who raise money for good causes – and donate them via the Foundation. What VMware then does is match that donation. I used the VMware Foundation to do two donations associated with the EUC book that myself and Barry Coombs wrote a couple of years ago. Anyway, Nicola and Jessa were on the show to tells us all about how for the first time the VMware Foundation will have a booth on the Solution Exchange, and that there will be a fun event on at show that will help raise money for good causes (you get to select the cause). So I implore you – if you are at the event this year – please make your way to the Solution Exchange and do your bit for charity.

The second part of the show is about a VMworld Survival Guide – promoting tips and tricks to get you though the week. There’s a hashtag on Twitter #AdviceForVMworld where folks are offering up their tips. Personally, the last 3 VMworld I’ve gone on the Wagon, and gone dry for the whole event (okay, there might have been one or two small lapses). I’m not really a big drinker myself, and found the long days combined with drink lets me completely shattered. I left my drinking until the Thursday night when the event is over, and I know I can sleep in on the Friday. One other bonus is you get more sense out of me sober, than bellowing fussy opinons in a noisy bar. Second. Protect your voice. If you are speaking or doing booth duty like I am for the first time this year – you need to protect your vocal cords. Thirdly, decompression time. Any conferrence can be a very intense couple of days. I nearly always schedule sometime in late afternoon before dinner or parties – to go back to my room. Take of my shoes. Do/Say nothing. Before showering and going back out again.

Anyway, follow the hashtag for further tips – and enjoy the show! If you like the show please add us to your iTunes or RSS Feed…


Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Chinwag

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Chinwag with Gurusimran Khalsa (@gurusimran)


Gurusimran Khalsa blogs at We’ve known each for a while – met first at VMworld, and then a TechField Day event – and we’ve been chatting on and off via skype for the last couple of weeks – mainly talking about VMUGs, and his ideas for a podcast. In this chinwag we talk around a number of topics including:

  • Cloud – why aren’t more people using it/”Cloud/VM” stall
  • DevOps – Phoenix Project – what does it mean for the average vSphere/vCloud admin? where do you start?
  • Certifications – Are they any value? is it worth it to get advanced certs?

We didn’t get to the topic about VMUGs because:

a.) i talked to much

b.) i kept on digressing

But hey, isn’t that the definition of a chinwag (I mean the digressions, not me talking too much!)


Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Chinwag

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Chinwag with Duncan James (@Dunc_James)


This is Duncan James – and he’s a winner of a competition. He won SMB EMEA Award in 2012 for “Thinking Big“. I first met Duncan at the Virtual Machine User Group in Leeds. It’s an independent, vendor-neutral group – and despite the similar acronym nothing to do with the official VMware User Group program. But hey, a user group is a user group regardless of its affiliation – right?

Duncan and I discussed a number of topics – Horizon Workspace (his Thinking Big award was based on a proposal around using Horizon Workspace Data formerly known as “Octopus”), his business use of the Lefthand VSA (of course, now owned by HP…) in Production – and we wrap up our chat with discussion about virtual user groups (recording/streaming user groups sessions) and finally whether its time for technical IT folks to learn how to “sell” concepts and solutions to the business.


Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Chinwag

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Chinwag with David Burton

I first met David just a couple of weeks ago at the Western PA VMUG User Conferrence in Pittsburgh, PA. We got a chatting after my session there, and that turned into a chinwag that went on for about hour. I wished I’d had my recording gear there and then to capture that first natter! Anyway, I handed David my biz card and he got in touch shortly. It’s always a danger to try and reproduce something once it’s happened but that’s what I was trying to do!

I don’t think David is yet on twitter (he’s probably too busy doing real work to tweet all day like me!) but he does have a new blog over at:

We cover a couple of topics including:

  • Best use cases for vCloud Director – is it for everyone?
  • Upgrading from vSphere 5.0 to vSphere 5.1 with the Power of PowerCLI
  • Auto-Deploy and SDRS – Notes from the Field – Lessons Learned
  • …Finally, a more personal discussion – what made David decide to take up blogging?


Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Chinwag

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Chinwag with Dan Barr (@vDanBarr)


I think I first met Dan Barr at VMworld event, apparently I even signed a copy of my book for him. Anyway, last week there was some twitter chat going on, and I was looking for my next victim chinwaggee. So there I saw Dan had responded to a couple of my tweets in a humorous and informative way – so I DM’d him.  Dan works for a big EDU in Central PA and has been working with VMware technologies for about 7 years – he’s active on twitter and you can also find him on Linkedin as well.

In our little chinwag we talk about the politics and technical challenges of virtualizing Tier1 applications such as SQL. We also discuss some of the work he’s been doing scripting/automating/orchestrating with PowerCLI – finally we round out the chat with discussion about lessons learned deploying SRM in the real world – which Dan did at his previous place of employment – there’s hope that SRM will be introduced to the new organization he’s working at…

I  notice there’s quite a bit of lips out of sync in the youtube video. Not sure why. The local versions play just fine. But after being upload to youtube it keeps on getting mangled. Nothings changed about my normal method of encoding and uploading. So I’m blaming flash and youtube. I’ve been think for a while the quality of the youtube recordings (done with Skype & Call Recorder) aren’t as good as they could be. So for future episodes I will be switching over to ScreenFlow and just grabbing the portion of the screen – takes long to do but is HD quality…


Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Chinwag

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Chinwag with Mike Brown (@VirtuallyMikeB)


I first came across Mike Brown a couple of weeks ago when I was searching for some kind of skinny-linux distro to use both with Nested ESX (ESX running ESX) and for vCloud Connector – on his site I found a copy of Linux DSL which is only 32MB in memory and disk for that purpose. As someone who’d help me, I thought it was only right and proper for me to help him, and shining a light on his blog and is work with VMware technologies. Turns out we had plenty in common as he’s been working on VMware Site Recovery Manager/DR project for a while…


Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Chinwag

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