Behind the Scenes Episode 337 – All About VMUG

Welcome to the Episode 337, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week, Brad Tompkins (@bradtompkins_) from VMware Meet Up Group (VMUG) (ADV22 for the Advantage code for 10% off!) joins us to discuss what they’re all about and how you can be a part of the community. We also brought along Seth Forgosh ( and Ken Jeras (@drkeno, NetApp to discuss the storage angle.

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The following transcript was generated using transcription service. As it is AI generated, YMMV.

With me today I have a very special guest from VMUG. Brad Tompkins is here. So Brad, what do you do there at VMUG,

Unknown Speaker 0:43
Justin, thanks for having me here. My name is Brad Tompkins, and I’m the Executive Director of VMUG, which is the VMware user group. And our mission is for our members to get the most out of VMware, and partner solutions. And we do this through educational events that we host all over the globe. We’ve got virtual events, we have local events, but I think the magic of VMUG is the community and the willingness of our members to help one another. So when you get plugged into a VMUG, you get plugged into resources and other human beings that you can talk to and find out solutions and say, Hey, how did you fix this and helped me do this, or I’m about to do this, or somebody might say, Hey, I’ve just rolled this new feature out, and I want to talk about it. So I think the magic of VMUG is a community. And my role as executive director is to, you know, just make sure that we are providing environments where people can get together and talk about solutions and help each other out. And it’s an honor to be part of such a unique group and be part of this vibrant community and the community is bigger than than just be monk is the whole V community as a whole. And so that’s kind of the long elevator pitch of what I do and what V monk is about. Okay, and how do we reach you? So a couple of different ways, probably the best is on Twitter, and I am at Brad Tompkins, underscore, and I had to throw that underscore at the end because I got to Twitter too late and couldn’t get my name. But anyway, @bradtompkins_, my DMs are open so you can always hit me up on that. You can also reach me at

Unknown Speaker 2:21
All right. Excellent. Also with us today, Ken Jeras is here. So Ken, what do you do your NetApp? Of course, and how do we reach you?

Unknown Speaker 2:30
Thanks, Jess. And I’m part of the solution architect team here net up and I focus in on all things VMware and how it works with our technologies and solutions for our customers. So helping them understand how we can help get the better things out of VMware leveraging our technologies and solutions. And you can reach me on Twitter @drkeno And is email.

Unknown Speaker 2:58
Alright. And Seth for gosh is also here. So Seth, what do you do here at NetApp? And how do we reach you?

Unknown Speaker 3:06
So for the past, about 12 years or so I’ve been a peer of Ken’s covering all things virtualization. You can reach me at LinkedIn as well as the email

Unknown Speaker 3:26
All right. So you know, this is all about VMUG and what it’s all about. Brad, you mentioned you have you’re the executive director there, how long have you been associated with VMUG? And were you there since the start? Or have you just kind of come on afterwards?

Unknown Speaker 3:41
So I was a VMUG member? Gosh, you’re testing my memory here. I think it was around 2012 When I became a member, maybe 2011. Sometimes in that frame. And in 2015 is when I took the job as executive director. That was July 1 2015. So I’ve been doing this just over seven years now.

Unknown Speaker 4:01
Okay, when did the VMUG group start? Like when did that all begin?

Unknown Speaker 4:07
Oh, boy, that’s a fun history here. So here’s the way this works. So obviously VMware got started, you know, in 9899. And that technology, the x86 virtualization, you know, we all lived it, right? It was just taking the world by storm. And naturally, these user groups started popping up and they were very independent, very siloed. And, you know, we had one, I was in South Carolina at the time. And, you know, you would say we’re going to talk about VMware and 100 people would show up or 150 people would show up and, you know, back then, virtualization as far as x86 and really hit the mainstream was so new and everybody was in a mode of hey, it’s not are you going to do that? It’s when are you going to do it and how are you going to make it work? And I remember the early days of Vi months, a lot of conversations were around, hey, I virtualized this box. The vendor that the software is running on does support virtualization, how did you get it to work anyway? So we were down to the drivers. And, you know, how did you get this to work and that to work and the conversation would always move to, hey, if you call up the vendor for support, don’t tell them it’s virtualized, because the first thing they’re gonna tell you to do is put it on a separate box and call me back. So anyway, we were going through those days, and those things just kind of naturally happened. So then you fast forward a little bit, and people realized, hey, I need some more support with this. So members, and I shouldn’t call them members, because that time VMUG is a global organization didn’t invent didn’t exist. But people started calling VMware and saying, Hey, I need support, I need a speaker here, maybe I need a room there, maybe you could send me some swag and all those kinds of things. And Gene Williams, who is still at VMware, and still very much a part of VMUG was one of the folks that was kind of helping out with that. And Teresa strike was another one, they were both at Vemma, I’m sorry, VMware. And as this started growing, and they started getting more and more requests, it became like, you know, multiple people full time job here. So then the decision by VMware was, look, we need to let this thing become independent. Early days, I will say it was ran by V by VMware. But VMware was obviously very much a part of it. And you know, supported it, as best they could, as far as with all the chapters and chapters were continuing to grow. So then the idea was the hey, let’s take this and let it kind of be independent and go do whatever it needs to do. And that was in 2010. And so in 2010, is when VMware, excuse me VMUG started in the state that it’s in now. And that is that we’re an independent organization. We’re a nonprofit, we’re a 501 C. So that’s when that started. Now, you got to be careful and not tell people that that’s when VMUG started, because they will be quick to correct you. Places like the Netherlands, they’ve been going obviously, way before 2010, Kansas City’s another one that’s been going for a long time in the Boston, I mean, there’s plenty of them out there that have had events much earlier than 2010. We’ve got leaders that have been leaders since earlier than 2010. But 2010 is when it became the global independent organization. And from 2010. to Now it really just has, you know, continued to take off, we’ve got over 150,000 members across the globe, membership is free. So if you’re listening to this, and you want to check us out, you can go to v And our membership is free our membership is for individuals. And again, it’s about how can we foster an environment where people can learn about VMware and partner solutions. Obviously, VMware is a great software company, but it takes great hardware like NetApp to make all this stuff work. And that’s, that’s kind of a little bit of the history, where we’re at now, I mentioned we’ve got over 150,000 members across the globe, we have over 200 chapters. Across the globe, we have over 400 volunteer leaders, and VMware, excuse me VMUG gets a lot of work done from our volunteer leaders. And without those folks across the globe, literally, you know, those are the ones that really helped make Vemma what Vemma gets. So a lot of credit goes to the volunteer leaders that you know, range from somebody that might be in a local chapter that’s just helping plan a local meeting, all the way up to a board of directors, the way Vemma is governed, we have a board of directors of 11 voting board members, 10 of those are volunteer customers. One of them is a VMware representative. And that’s Eric Nielsen. And the other 10 are volunteer leaders that have, you know, their day jobs, and they work at at medical companies and insurance companies and finance companies and universities and those kinds of things. But it’s the responsibility of the board to set the direction for VMUG and then me and my team to execute that strategy. And we do that in you know, with the help of VMware. And so it’s kind of a three legged stool there that keeps the mug going. So that’s that’s a brief history and where we are today with EMR.

Unknown Speaker 9:14
Yes, kind of a chicken and egg thing, right, like did VMware store VMUG or did VMUG help VMware and I think really, they kind of live off each other at this point. And it’s also interesting, because, you know, with all the acquisitions that have taken place over the years with VMware, first with EMC, and now with Broadcom, you’ve kind of seen the complexion of VMUG change a bit. So can you talk me through how those acquisitions have impacted VMUG?

Unknown Speaker 9:41
Sure, I think it goes back to really, you know, with the EMC acquisition, you know, you think early on, VMware was about server virtualization. And it was maybe simpler times back then from a from a VMUG perspective, because you knew what you were going to talk about and you knew That’s what people wanted to know. And then as VMware, through acquisition and through getting acquired de our portfolio has expanded tremendously. And of course, you’ve got storage virtualization network virtualization, their whole ECE D products, they acquire a company like AirWatch. And that brings a whole nother different level of things you’ve got recently carbon, black, and cloud health and all that kind of stuff. So they are now in a position where they’ve got a solutions really across the board. So what that is meant from a V monk perspective, and we, again, our mission is for our members to get the most out of VMware and partner solutions. So from a partner perspective, it’s really challenging sometimes to look at that partner landscape and say, Okay, well, you know, who’s a Partner today that might not be a partner tomorrow, or in the case of some of the hyper scalars? And who was the competitor yesterday that now as a partner. So that’s kind of the fun part to be candid. I think VMware does a good job of welcoming everybody and saying, Look, we realized that there are other competing products out there. And I remember Pat Gelsinger saying this is like in this was when he was being asked about VMC on AWS. And his comment was like, Look, some people might go to AWS, but we’re confident enough in our products that we’re going to have enough business to, you know, make our shareholders happy and keep the lights on etc, etc. So and I’m paraphrasing Pat there. But I think that’s what makes it fun is everybody’s environment is can and should be a little bit different. And that’s why it’s nice to be able to get together and say, Well, you know, how did you do this? And what can we do to learn from you. And it’s not a one size fits all. And as soon as in it, you think it’s, Hey, I’ve got my solution. And we’re going to be VMware software and NetApp hardware, and you know, whatever, for networking, an acquisition and your company comes along, and that just rocks the whole boat. It’s like, okay, well, we’re back into multi vendors here. So let’s figure out how to make everything work.

Unknown Speaker 12:04
Yeah, you know, you mentioned AWS in the cloud. It’s interesting, because, you know, VMware didn’t just sit back and say, Oh, well, we’ll just gonna let this happen. And you know, we’ll be fine. No, they, they’ve adopted that mentality. Now, there’s VMware, you can do in the cloud, there’s VM as a service. And NetApp offers some of those opportunities. So Ken, and Seth, can you talk a little bit about not just what NENA offers, but also your experience with VMUG?

Unknown Speaker 12:30
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to, to have been invited to speak at a number of VMUG events throughout the Northeast. And, and, you know, to the VM, the Vemma. Credit, right, they’re open and, and, and willing and eager to talk about different solutions. You know, the last one I did was actually the first business trip I’ve done since COVID. Went up to Vermont and and did a discussion. And, you know, it was very different than the questions were very different than what had had been asked in the, in the pre COVID days. Lots of discussion about Kubernetes, and containers, and where did VMs fit into that? That environment? And the really interesting thing is the VMware has, has kind of gone with the the change, right? You’ve got VMware providing containers as a trusted platform. And that app is part of that, that infrastructure. Not every VM is going to go away. We still have mainframes, because refactoring is just difficult and introduces risk. And, and that’s where, where the VMware in the public cloud really makes a whole lot of sense for a lot of customers is that they can, they can now shift things to the cloud and, and refactor those applications where the the applications that are going to get refactored. They can refactor on their own time. And again, NetApp and VMware working closely together provides a capability to to manage your data on prem the same way your VM data on on prem the same way that you’re going to manage it in the public cloud. Really excited for what’s coming down the line there.

Unknown Speaker 14:33
And I’ve had a similar experience as Seth had the privilege of being able to present to me my chapters around the United States. It’s looking forward again, back to that now that we’re back to doing some traveling after COVID shutdown. But I even attend the virtual events. I use it for my own education. I’m a member of have been a member of Vemma even before I was in the solution architects Been here for the past seven years. Like started here at NetApp, over 18 years ago, VMware was getting a foothold. And in, in gaining traction into that’s the shift from physical servers and infrastructure to virtualized infrastructure was, was key shared storage plays a big part of that, which we’ve been helping all of our customers for that piece here at NetApp. But it’s also that education piece. And to Brad’s point about leveraging other users experiences with what they’re doing. And just learning from that experience, even if you’re not a it’s not applicable to what you’re doing today. It very well could be down the road. And you can remember the stories and the nice thing with the mug of the community is you can reach out to the members through the member boards and the community sections to post those questions or repost questions in chat and, and get that information as well and not just leverage your local teams. But you can make that broader. So that’s been the nice thing of the VMUG experiences, it’s really the the reach you can get to and usually just helping each other in that respect. And that’s also been kind of a philosophy I’ve always seen here at NetApp is we also are in that same we want to help type of mentality that that fits very well when we interact with the Hmong chapters. So it’s been, it’s been very interesting and rewarding to see how that is both educational, but also just helping get a better use of the experience of the technology and how we’re trying to solve our business solutions, and meet our business needs to use technology in that manner.

Unknown Speaker 16:46
Yes, I think that’s a pretty underrated piece of Vemma. Grace, I mean, there’s always the part for the customers and the end users. But for the vendors and partners, you know, you spend a lot of your time trying to find people that actually care about what you’re trying to tell them at a VMUG. That’s why they’re there. They’re there to hear what you have to say. So it’s a captive audience. They are open to what you want to say. And you’re not having to convince them of anything. They want to hear it.

Unknown Speaker 17:14
Almost actually, yeah, absolutely. And, and they want to have a conversation. The best part about VMUG and presenting to VMUG chapters is it’s it’s not a sales presentation, it’s a discussion with really knowledgeable people all trying to solve problems and having a discussion about how can we solve those challenges.

Unknown Speaker 17:39
You mentioned Kubernetes, and containers and all and that’s something that, you know, we kind of joke, if you put Kubernetes into a session title, people are gonna flock to it. And I know that a lot of our members in their business environment might not be using Kubernetes yet, or even containers yet. But it’s something they’re interested in. Because at the heart of it, we’re all technologists, we’re all geeks, so we’d like to know what’s going on. So that’s why I think it’s nice when other regardless of the vendor, when they come in, people want to hear like y’all said, they want to hear about the technology. Because, you know, again, that’s just the stuff that that interest us. And it’s, it’s nice to see people continuing, wanting to continually learn, even though maybe they might not at that moment, be able to apply it to what they’re doing at work, they know that they will be pretty soon. Or maybe they go find another job where they’re doing it because they really enjoy the technology, or those kinds of things. And, you know, I appreciate what y’all said about coming to the VMUGs. And the one point I want to make is, again, VMUG membership is free, but it’s for end users, of course, it’s for partners and for VMware employees. So regardless of where you are in the ecosystem, you know, we want you to be part of Vemma because, you know, that’s everybody’s part of the V community and everybody’s welcome.

Unknown Speaker 18:56
In Beretta, with Kubernetes, oftentimes we hear folks talking about, or it automatically seems to relate to the cloud. That’s where law folks, to me at least what I’ve observed with interaction with customers, and, and recently, they think that’s more is cloud based and trying to struggle with maybe where that applies on premises. And we know now with things like tanzu, that can now bring that in blend that on premises in the cloud and messaging, we’ve been talking about aliens with our customers around the ability, really, that it’s an extension of the cloud with what we can do with VMware, from on premises to the cloud now, and just as point earlier about, you know, the VMware services that can be available if it public cloud providers now give that flexibility to where it’s not all just about having to shift everything to Kubernetes. And while and Seth made that point as well around the ability to blend that and manage it within the VMware platform and take advantage of the cloud as it makes sense for that business and If you haven’t had that valid point around, you know, every customer’s environments is different. But we provide them with the toolset to be able to take advantage of the newer technologies develop. And so those education seminars or webinars, and even the live events where we can help help others learn what they can do with the cloud, or learn with the newer technologies and newer releases, and how that could help benefit them down the road when they may need to use it then.

Unknown Speaker 20:30
So let’s table the Kubernetes stuff for now. We’ll come back to it, I want to get back to the VMUG piece. So you know, we’ve kind of hinted at the fact that partners and vendors can go there and basically hock their wares and people are cool with it. I would imagine, Brad that there are some ground rules to that, though you don’t want just people going there and just turning into a sales pitch. Right? So what are some of the ground rules you try to set and the expectations for the VMUG for people attending? Because if it’s just going to turn into that people aren’t going to come? Right.

Unknown Speaker 20:59
Yeah, so we do have some ground rules. And I think the first one is, look, you have to have a solution that can work in a VMware environment. And, you know, that’s pretty simple to do, because most anything can work in a VMware environment. That being said, if there’s a lot of folks out there that you know, it’s the coopetition is to frenemies and those kinds of things. And, you know, I think the one of the obvious and maybe best examples is Microsoft, obviously, VMware and Microsoft got a great relationship. And there’s a lot of things that they do together. That’s fantastic. And so if you want to talk about Azure in Hawaii and horizon fair game, if you want to talk about, you know, as your VMware solution, obviously, that’s fair game, we wouldn’t want to have Microsoft come and talk about Hyper V to V Mon. And I will say that 99.9% of the vendors get it, they understand it, they, a lot of them are fans of VMware anyway. So they probably like yeah, I wouldn’t want to talk about that. Anyhow, I’m a VMware guy, too. So that’s something that that’s kind of one of the main ground rules. But, you know, you mentioned content and content is key. And over the past three or four years, the board has really been challenging me and the team saying, How can we elevate our content, because we do surveys. And, you know, we do hear from time to time that, oh, this was just a sales pitch. And we tell our vendors don’t don’t do sales pitches, don’t even bring your sales folks, bring your engineers, you know, have just do an open demo. Try to have as little slides as you can go ahead and dive into it like that is going to resonate with our audience more than you know, some fancy salesperson out there just talking about vaporware. And these nice slides to do fantastic animation. I would rather have an engineer that maybe isn’t that comfortable in front of a cloud crowd to do this, but hey, let’s just get through it together. Go ahead and try that live demo. You know, what if the internet at the local venue doesn’t work, right? Hey, we’ve all been there. It’s not that big a deal. But we want technical content we want to learn and we don’t want to be sold your product are better said we, we want to understand the product. And then we will decide if it’s worth contacting us saying, all right, Seth, that was a great presentation, let’s get together, I’ll tell you about the rest of my environment. Or I can Hey, I really, you know, enjoy this particular feature, I might need that let’s go a little bit deeper. And a lot of it is about building your brand at you know, at vimos. And that’s why I tell our vendors, look, bring your most technical people bring that VC dx, bring that VCAT person to talk about their credentials, talk about why they you should listen to them less about your company. And depending on the on the presentation, maybe even less about your product, because what will happen is, you know, somebody might be sitting back at the office and say, Gosh, I remember that awesome session about storage, and I’m having a storage issue. And I remember it was Seth, I don’t remember where he worked for. But that’s okay. Because Seth impressed me so that I know Seth knows what he’s talking about. And I know he gets a VMware environment. So I’m gonna reach out to him. And then that way you can bring in, you know, the rest of the team, whoever you need to, to talk about the full solution that is going to help that individual. So I think the the key here is content is something that we spend a lot of time vetting and validating. We’re not 100% added every now and again, some of the sales slides come in, but we try our best to eliminate those. And we’ve got a team on the VMUG side that that’s their job. How do we make sure the call for content process is getting the best content? How do we then get the ball in many volunteers that vet this content and look at it and rate it and great it even gets to a user con or to an event? You know, how can we make sure that this process is easy for them? Because a lot of that work CES is done by volunteers. Because we want our leaders and our members to tell us what’s good because they’re living this every day, you know, who better to say what’s good content than the people that are going to be attending the event. So based off the board’s direction, a lot of changes have happened in the past two or three years about how can we elevate our content, because our members are asking for it. Also, our members need it. I mean, this is an ever changing world. And I’ve said this many times to many audiences, but that you know, vi admin job that served you well, the past decade, if you just stick to VI admin, that’s not going to serve you as well. And the next decade, you have to build on your vi admin skills. And that could be containers, it could be storage, it could be networking, whatever. But you’ve got to add to it, you can’t just expect that, hey, I’m a server virtualization person. And that’s going to be my career path for the next 1015 years, I would not make that bet I would add to my skill set.

Unknown Speaker 25:57
So let’s, let’s circle back to the Kubernetes. And containers, things, I think that that is something we need to expand on a bit because it is becoming more prevalent, and it is kind of a direct threat, or a competition or whatever you want to call it to virtualization, because the idea here is that, you know, virtualization was a little too Oh, you know, had had too much overhead. certain applications didn’t need all that overhead. So they’ve started to containerize. Where does VMUG stand with containers? How does it treat them? And you know, do you bring people in to talk about Andy bring people in to talk about Kubernetes? Because I know VMware has things like tanzu, and then up has things as well. So where do you stand on that? How do you handle that?

Unknown Speaker 26:35
So Kubernetes in containers has been in all of our programs, for gosh, it feels like even pre COVID. So it’s been involved in it for a while we want that kind of content? We know that’s a big topic. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know that I agree that it’s it’s, I don’t think it’s going to be so much competition with, you know, VMs and those kinds of things, but it’s how can we live together? You know, VMs aren’t going to go away. But I do, you know, obviously, there’s going to be some scenarios where, you know, containers and Kubernetes might be a better fit than a VM. And that’s okay. You still have to manage it. And that’s why telling our members and our members are asking for, Hey, how can we get more content to understand how to manage Kubernetes. And you mentioned tanzu. And that’s something that is able to do that, obviously, in the familiarity of the vSphere. environment. So that’s kind of a an easier way to get there. But a lot of our content now is still just around the fundamentals. You know, it’s containers 101, it’s why do I need this? What is it about? And we’ve had those sessions for a while, and they’re still very well attended. And I think that’s just because, you know, this is a message that yes, you know, a handful of people are we on the call, might have heard know, about Kubernetes for a long time, but there’s still a lot of people out there that still just haven’t gotten their head around it. And so again, we’ve got some one on one, and 102 type content out there. But we are seeing members also wanted to go deeper. Okay, how can we do more with this? With the tanzu Community Community Edition that was introduced, I think last year at VMworld, you know, how can we get some hands on labs around that so people can learn it? By doing a lot of our members like to learn by doing, we’ve got a program called VMUG advantage. It’s a paid subscription model, but one to one of the business, one of the biggest things that you get out of that is all, not all, most of the VMware software a bit you can download for your home lab. This is not for production. But as for home lab, and one of the software that’s in there is vSphere with tanzu. So now people can get familiar with it in their home lab, where people learn by breaking things, and then, you know, fixing it and those kinds of things, not recommended for production. So you do it in your home lab, and you’re able to learn new things. So Kubernetes is a big part of the MCG, we’re always looking for that content. And we’re kind of approaching it two different ways. If we think about our members, and this is going to kind of oversimplify, but I think it’d be good, good analogy here. So we have that member that grew up on vSphere. And it’s like, Hey, I love VMware, I grew up on vSphere. And I know everything about it, and it’s wonderful. And those people are asking us, and maybe few of them are kind of more telling than they’re asking, but I would say the majority you’re asking, I realized I need to build on this. How can I build on this? What do I need to do next? So we’ve got paths for them to add skill sets. But we’re also looking at how do we attract that more, I’ll say DevOps native type person, the person that’s looking at VMware, and like, Okay, I know they do infrastructure, but I’m not interested in infrastructure, but I am interested in maybe infrastructure or code, or maybe some of the things that they’re doing with salt or maybe harbor all these open source type programs. that they have out there, we want to be able to track that person too. And have them look at VMUG is okay, VMware has got some street cred and open source in the cloud native area. That’s what I want to learn, not necessarily, you know, vSphere, like these folks have probably never touched vSphere never want to touch vSphere. And that’s okay. And I think it goes to show how much VMware has expanded to where there is a community out there that we are trying to attract. That is not even interested in vSphere mean, that says that up how far VMware has gone. Now, attracting those folks is is a challenge. And that’s something that we are working on, and how do we make sure, once we get them to VMUG, they find content, and peers like them, that they can sit down and have conversations, whether it’s virtually or in person and say, here’s the problem I’m having trying to get this, you know, app to production, and have those kinds of conversations and less conversations about, you know, how do you configure, you know, vSphere, the best way. So that’s kind of where Vemma is heading. And that’s one of the reasons why Kubernetes and containers is a big part of what we’re doing. I think approaching those two different audiences is going to take two different messages, the content might be the same, the delivery, could be different. But that’s, that’s where we’re heading. And that’s what we’re looking forward to doing. So you’ll start to see Vemma get at other events, obviously, AWS reinvent, it’s a huge one, we’re looking to see what we can do down there, when that comes up at the end of the year. And you know, some of these other open source events, so it’s exciting time for VMUG as we look at new members that we can acquire to be part of this community and help everybody out along the journey.

Unknown Speaker 31:50
So Seth, you know, coming from a NetApp perspective, what are your thoughts on that whole? You know, VMs versus containers is kind of echo Brad saying, or do you see something a little differently from your end?

Unknown Speaker 32:02
No, I actually I actually agree with with what Brad’s saying, um, you know, it was really interesting. Having the, the conversation at the Romand V mode. It felt very much like the early days of VMware, a lot of a lot of interest, some confusion. Lots of questions about how does this all work? Right? I remember, you know, dozen years back me asking, asking my mentors, some silly questions and asking questions of VMUG members. Hey, how, how exactly does it work to take one physical server and make it look like lots? And it feels a lot like that in that space. The other thing that I want to kind of circle back to is Brad, you mentioned, you know, maybe you don’t hang your hat on the next 20 years is as a VM admin. It’s exactly the same conversation, I have day in and day out with, with storage admins, right? For 30 years, we’ve those folks have cared very deeply and built their their business and their their careers around provisioning storage. And today with with Kubernetes, and VMware, automation is king. So paths, new paths to to build on your knowledge, through automation through up leveling. Your, your work is is really the key. And and that’s where I think a lot of the excitement is from, from folks who who have spent time and in virtualization.

Unknown Speaker 33:55
And I think one thing we can do to help out our members, your customers in the V community as a whole is, how do we help that via admin, storage admin network admin to realize, hey, we need to all get together because for this to work like it’s supposed to, and for us to be able to take advantage of, you know, whatever hyperscale or you’re going to be in or whether you’re going to be on prem or just all of it, you’ve got to adopt that cloud operating model, we got to break down those silos. And those are conversations that our members are asking for, like, Yes, I’m ready to move forward. But maybe my networking folks aren’t and they’re, you know, huddling the wagons and no, don’t take my switches away. And that’s an understandable response, but you you kind of have to see bigger picture, because it is definitely shifting into it needs to for companies going to survive, in my opinion, how can we be a business differentiator, and so that is going to be less on, you know, the blocking and tackling of getting storage network and compute to work together. Automation. You mentioned that, I mean, that’s key. So all that stuff needs to be automated. And now it can sit at the table with the business unit and say, let me tell you how I can make that website faster to get more orders, let me tell you how I can get an app, help you get an app to the market quicker. So then you can, you know, garner more likes or whatever it is that you’re trying to do. And that’s where we all need to be thinking, big picture from an IT perspective, it can’t just be we keep the blinky lights running, we’ve got to be in there with the businesses saying, Let me tell you how I can help make things better, and then deliver on that promise. And I think that the cloud operating model is the way to do that. And then your company can figure out is that on prem, it’s that hyperscalers that VCP? Like, I personally don’t know, don’t care, you know, your company, but you have to start thinking of it that way. And there’s going to be opportunity for everybody. But one of the one of the barriers is the silos that we have to break down, you know, as people process technology, and the people in the process is the hardest part.

Unknown Speaker 35:56
Absolutely. And, and it’s interesting that you brought up DevOps and reaching out to DevOps folks. Because I think the natural inclination when you you mentioned DevOps is to think containers, and, and cloud. But DevOps is really just a process. Right? It’s, it’s about removing friction between those silos. And in speeding up the delivery of, of solutions. Honestly, something that, that, you know, VMware practitioners probably should have been, been embracing for years, right, bringing those groups together so that a VM administrator can self provision a data store, without but being able to do so safely. So that they don’t overrun the storage environment, right, or being able to provision the network infrastructure, dynamically without flooding the network with, with garbage packets, right? That that same mentality that that natively thinks in terms of containers, really does apply to virtualization just as well. And bringing those practitioners in to talk about the process, I think is a great way to, to help help the Vemma members up level their, their discussions.

Unknown Speaker 37:27
And there’s opportunity for them to be the champion in their department to kind of own that process. Absolutely. That is a that’s a big step. That might be a scary step for a lot of people. But imagine if you’d say, hey, you know what, boss, I want to champion this to get us to a cloud operating model. And this is going to maybe take 12 months, maybe 18 months, but we have to start having these conversations, because and this is where you have to know your business, maybe even know the finances. Look, I know that we’re going to we’re reaching competition from you know, XYZ, our I’ve looked at the financials, if you’re a public company and say, you know, I’m seeing downtrend, whatever it is, say, have some kind of sense of urgency, or maybe it’s a hey, we’re on top, we want to stay there. So now’s the time for us to do this. And look, you don’t have to go get your PhD and understand everything about the balance sheet of your company. But I think just showing that you’ve, you know, maybe pulled the 10k and looked at what your company’s doing are, are ask some questions about it. If you’re not public, it shows that you’re seeing big picture and that you’re going to be viewed now as Oh, wow, this isn’t just IT person in the corner, bringing the blinky lights on, they’re trying to make a difference for the business. And I think that will, you know, that’ll turn some heads and maybe get you some support to do what you need to do. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 38:41
you become a true business partner.

Unknown Speaker 38:43
That’s right. That’s exactly right. All

Unknown Speaker 38:45
right. So let’s play a little game here. So let’s let’s roleplay. And let’s have our network guys talk to Brad who is our VMUG user. Right, our attendee, let’s talk about NetApp. Like, try to convince our VMUG attendee that NetApp has solutions for VMware that they didn’t know about.

Unknown Speaker 39:05
So Brad, I’m, I’m sure. Through interaction we’ve, you’ve heard about NetApp technologies over the past. And I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that, you know, shared storage is very crucial to the success of a VM or experience these days. But more importantly, what we are seeing is the ability to have not just the VMs but extend on premises, but also how well can I leverage the cloud to extend my data center to take advantage of the dynamics that the cloud can provide. And we’re an AP has been leveraging our customers solutions today is to allow them enable them with the power to be able to take full advantage of the cloud as an extension of the data center to be able to not just take care of the VM workloads, but it also worked with the newer workloads that are coming online, either through refactoring processes you might be going through today, or to leverage the ability to just run VMs natively in the cloud. I’m kind of curious from that perspective, where are you at with your cloud journey, and leveraging the cloud and your technology today? And how do you see your VM environment fitting within that type of a technology going forward?

Unknown Speaker 40:26
So my environment is currently we’re all on premises. And we have got some end of life coming up with some equipment. So we’re interested in how can we utilize the cloud for storage, compute networking. We’re not in a situation where we would want to dump everything in the cloud. But we’re kind of want to have that option to tap into it when needed, maybe an m&a is coming down the road I don’t know about and I need to be prepared for it. I don’t know maybe another pandemic is coming. And then he did revert, you know, 5000 people to work from home all of a sudden and spin up a ton of VDI. So we want to have those options. So what kind of what kind of options can NetApp give us if we want to be mostly? I don’t even want to say mostly on prem, but have that option to do on prem and in the cloud? And what what relationships do you have with the cloud providers out there?

Unknown Speaker 41:20
Yeah, and, and that’s, that’s where we’ve been moving our direction, or where we’ve been working with over the last number of years now is recognizing that customers like yourself are working in that direction. They have leverage the cloud, we do have relationships with Azure, we have relationships with, with AWS, and also with Google. So you can actually take full advantage of the offerings and each one of those service providers work with and leverage getting your data there. But now more importantly, be able to get your VMs there as an option to be able to run those natively, and not have to take advantage of say, your Azure VMware solution, to be able to leverage Nannup technology to make it more performant. And allow you to consume less of the resources, you may need to make it more cost effective, to be able to extend to the cloud easier, and extend your vCenter your vSphere data center to the cloud as you see fit. And that’s always been our mantra is really allowing you to leverage technology that makes sense for your business. And those relationships that we’ve been building on and taking advantage of really does give you that option to lay a foundation today with what you’re doing with on premises, but also to extend the cloud and take advantage as you need to as you start to see either through, as you mentioned, Mergers Acquisitions, or just you can’t be left computing, to build out what you need to do for you new workloads and data center. So why not take advantage elasticity of the Cloud and leverage that. So it’s a forward thinking, thought that we can surely have a conversation help you understand where we’re at today, where our journey is, and how we can help you with your journey in that direction as well.

Unknown Speaker 43:09
So Brad, how do you do?

Unknown Speaker 43:11
Pretty good. I know I was actually gonna ask some more questions here. I like playing, you know, my little virtual hypothetical, the CIO role here. That’s kind of fun. There you go.

Unknown Speaker 43:22
So you know, and I guess the exercise there was not so much to show how good or bad can is, but more of what type of conversation you might expect from a VMUG?

Unknown Speaker 43:34
Yeah, I agree. And I think that, you know, first of all, it is interesting how, you know, and we’re seeing this across the industry, but just like VMware, you know, they they tried to go one route when it went to cloud now they’re like, Hey, let’s just embrace all the hyper scalars. And I think NET app is doing something similar. Um, you mentioned you have relationships with Azure, AWS, GCP. I mean, those are the big three, by far, little little tidbit of information here. We recently did a survey and there’ll be a blog about this coming out soon, about a bunch of different things. But the the little tidbit is the three biggest from VMware perspective, or Vemma. perspective, the three biggest hyperscalers are Azure, AWS, and Google. And what’s interesting is Google is the one that made the biggest jump year over year. So it’s really starting to level out. And anyway, my point is, Google’s making some jumps there. But it’s nice that y’all already have that relationship. And I think, you know, those big three or are the big three for a reason. So good job for y’all on that.

Unknown Speaker 44:36
Yeah, it’s interesting, because for a while there, it felt like AWS had an insurmountable lead, right, but it’s almost like the Falcons patriots Super Bowl like the 20 to three, right. So like, Google and Azure are catching up, right? So they’ve, they’ve upped their game a bit and now that’s kind of level out and that’s good for everyone because that brings competition and competition brings innovation in You know, people aren’t feeling like they’re, they’re stuck in one situation.

Unknown Speaker 45:03
And I also think you got to look at what those hyper scalars bring, like you mentioned workloads. And now you can, you know, move up to the cloud through NetApp. If you want to, you know, maybe there’s a workload, you’re like, hey, I want to get to GCP. Because there’s some feature that they have that I want to take advantage of, and maybe a different workload you want to send to AWS, or our Azure, or whatever the case is, or maybe it’s going to Azure, because that’s where your ad is, and you know, you need to have some integration there. I think it’s, I love the fact that and I give credit to companies like NetApp, and VMware, are like, look, it’s not just pick one and go with it, like, have all three, have one of the three have to have that the rehab, none of the three. And this can change, maybe not week over week, because it you know, there are some things that have to happen in the back end. But it can change as your needs change. Maybe it even changes as the cost of compute or storage changes. So it’s nice to have that flexibility. And the unlimited options now that does are could potentially bring complication. So that’s where it’s nice to have partners like a NetApp, that can say, Hey, let us help you manage all of this, all these different options, and you can do it in a way that it’s familiar to you. But again, I’m a big fan of options, everybody should have as many options as they can, and in business is no different.

Unknown Speaker 46:22
Yeah, and, you know, NetApp, has really focused on them, the multi hybrid model, right? Where, where we give customers the flexibility to move the heaviest asset, the data between those, those three, plus a few other smaller ones, as well as the on prem cloud, because really, everything is cloud now. The other question, interestingly, that they can didn’t bring up that I would have have potentially brought up is, you know, Have you have you talked to, to the business about the consumption model? Is that changing? Because all of those solutions that they can talk about in the public cloud as well as on prem? We have choice in how do you consume it? Do you do a traditional capital expense purchase? Or are you moving to a consumption model? And, and that gives customers all kinds of flexibility as to how they run their business?

Unknown Speaker 47:30
Yeah, and the, you know, the consumption model is, to me is kind of key in two different ways. Obviously, there’s a financial shift there, tap back to the capex, those kind of things. And, you know, probably somebody in the finance department is going to have their preference on that. And you’re right now we have the ability to deliver whichever way you want to. But the other piece is, you know, is it subscription? Or is it as a service, and there’s a difference there? Subscription, obviously, he’s just buying it differently. But you’re, you’re still maintaining it the same. But as a service, I mean, I encourage people to look at that you think about what’s going on with vSphere plus, and V San plus, now you can offload Hey, I don’t want to manage my vCenter upgrades anymore. That’s not a business differentiator. Let’s let somebody else do that. Oh, VMware is offering Well, that makes sense. I mean, how many people still manage an Exchange server? Right? I would rather let Microsoft manage that for me. And we all move to microsoft 365. You know, same type concept. So then you’re thinking, Alright, that time that I just freed up, because I’m not managing vCenter anymore? What can I do? And that’s where you can fill the void with either learning technologies like Kubernetes and containers. But also, I would encourage you learn the business, start thinking about how you can get your department to operate more like a cloud, again, is that is that people in process that you could spend a ton of time on if you have free that time? To make things better, and that will pay dividends over decades, not just in the near future?

Unknown Speaker 48:54
Yeah, couldn’t agree more. All

Unknown Speaker 48:55
right. So we’ve learned a lot about VMUG and NetApp here. I’d like for Ken and Seth to give me one thing they learned about VMUG today that they did not know previously, so can you start first?

Unknown Speaker 49:07
I think it’s the fact that it’s still being run as a nonprofit company. And, really, I’m self sufficient from that perspective. I often always thought that, you know, VMware continued to have the funding of be mine. So that was something I had learned today that I really hadn’t been aware of before is the independency that is maintaining through that nonprofit status. And Seth

Unknown Speaker 49:39
the history of VMUG I wasn’t aware of of how how VMUG got its starts and where it where it grew from. I just always knew it as as VMUG. So that was really fascinating to me, and and just how how it continues to grow and, and thrive is is really encouraging.

Unknown Speaker 50:05
And Brad, I’ll turn it around on you. So what’s one thing that you didn’t mention that you wish people knew about VMUG?

Unknown Speaker 50:11
Well, I touched on it a little bit, but I’ll go back to VMUG advantage, just a little bit more into that. So that is a $200 a year subscription, it sits on top of your free membership, you can use the code add 22 and get 10% off. So add 22 For that you can DM me if you forget it. But it gives you a lot of different things to I’ll talk about. One is the software bits that I mentioned, download this stuff, get it in your home lab, get some hands on experience, you can do this with a couple of Raspberry Pi’s, you can do this with an old laptop you might have some of our members have got home labs that can run half the businesses in the hidden North America, I feel like so that’s a great way to learn. The second thing is discount on training and certification. If you want to get training in VMware go get advantage first, again, for 180 bucks with that discount code, you could save literally 1000 bucks on an ICM course. So those are the two biggest things that I wanted to mention. But the big advantage is a great program for us. And we have a lot of folks that contribute to that. And they also say that it contributes to them getting, you know, their certification that leads to another job or a job promotion or those kinds of things. It’s really great being part of an organization, that when people get promoted, or they get a new job, or they have something great that they will tweet about, I’ve got this slide with all these tweets of people saying, Man, I wish I’d gotten involved in VMUG earlier, one of the more famous ones was his name will come to me in a minute. But anyway, he was coming off the stage at VMworld. He said, you know, Alan Reno, he said, you know, just think I got started speaking at a VMUG. And I just walked off the stage at VMworld with Pat gal Singh and I’m paraphrasing that tweet to get involved, get involved in a VMUG, stretch your skills. And that could be those soft skills. VMUG is a great place to do that presenting at a local meeting or even opening up a local meeting, maybe being on the leadership team, lots of opportunities for you to stretch yourself outside of just the technology. And you’re going to need those skills, if you are planning to be the champion in your company to say, Hey, I’m going to lead the charge. And we’re going to start working in a DevOps model or a cloud operating model, those kinds of things, you’re going to need more than just technical skills. And VMUG is here to help you out with that. So that’s, those are the few things that I thought.

Unknown Speaker 52:36
Yeah. And if you if you work at a company and you want to do this sort of thing, I’m sure you could talk to your boss and to expensing this as an educational thing, right, this is a way to get better, that helps you and then it helps your company as well, because you’re becoming more of a skilled asset.

Unknown Speaker 52:53
Absolutely. And you know, this is one of the things if a company has a training budget, just say, hey, I need $200 of the training budget to go do this.

Unknown Speaker 52:59
Most companies would be like $200, is that it?

Unknown Speaker 53:03
Right? A lot of times, they’re just put it on your credit card, and we’ll expense it or put it on, you know, my credit card, and we’ll expense it, those kinds of things. It’s really, it’s a low barrier of entry there. That’s by design, because we are nonprofit. And, yes, we need funds to operate and those kinds of things. But, you know, our mission is what drives us. And we feel like that program really helps people upskill. And that’s why we want to continue it and keep it as low price as possible.

Unknown Speaker 53:30
All right. All right. So we’re just about out of time. So Brad, again, if we wanted to reach you or find VMUG, how do we do that?

Unknown Speaker 53:39
The website is And the best way to get me is on Twitter and that’s @bradtompkins_, there’s no h and Tompkins and follow me on there. If you just want to reach out you can DM me, my DMs are open.

Unknown Speaker 53:59
All right. And can

Unknown Speaker 54:02
you reach me on Twitter is @drkeno. And that’s probably the easiest way to reach me. And also, I’m also at LinkedIn. So you reached me there as well.

Unknown Speaker 54:15
All right, and Seth. All right, you

Unknown Speaker 54:18
can reach me at email or LinkedIn. I’m Sethforgosh, no underscore over at LinkedIn. All right, excellent. Or or you can reach me on the VMUG.

Unknown Speaker 54:32
Page, the VMUG page or add a VMUG itself.

Unknown Speaker 54:35
Exactly. And Brad, thanks for the reminder. I’ve gotta go renew my VMUG advantage now. No, they Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 54:44
All right, excellent. Well, thanks, everyone for joining us today and talking to us all about VMUG. It will include links to the blog that you mentioned, as well as the VMUG and all the social media handles in that and our blog. So thanks again.

Unknown Speaker 54:58
Thanks for having me.

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