The Journey Continues

I’d be lying if I had said this year hasn’t been full of unexpected twists and turns, but it’s in those moments of great difficulty and uncertainty I believe, that we truly find ourselves.  Seven months ago I was referred to a VMware Product engineer role at a cloud provider and hosting company in San Antonio.  I successfully made it through the interviews, and was offered a position with the company.  For this role, the company and I had agreed for me to be onsite for six months, and then be a full time remote employee after.  From May until late October, I spent my time working and exploring San Antonio Texas.

Roles and expectations can change, and having it in writing doesn’t always give you solid ground to stand on.  But I pushed forth on my new journey, excited for the challenges ahead, knowing that I am checking off each requirement for the role, as I work through various projects.  I got to deploy a new SDDC environment, for a customer’s new private cloud, using vCloud Foundation for Service Providers, worked various research tasks, and even studied for and passed my VCP 6.5 – DCV delta.  Not necessarily in that order.

Reaching that six month mark, and feeling proud of the work that I accomplished, I received the regrettable news that I wouldn’t be able to go remote as originally agreed to.  With family and relationship requirements outside of work playing a factor, along with my own personal restrictions and requirements for this role, I had to make the hard decision to walk away.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team in San Antonio, many of whom I was able to get to know outside of work, and who invited me into their homes for after work gatherings, and team lunches around San Antonio.  If you look hard enough in San Antonio, you can find really good barbecue, authentic Mexican, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Greek and Italian.  The freshman twenty is a real thing, but I’m grateful these guys shared their favorite spots around the city with me.  I didn’t get a chance to really get to know my remote team members out of the UK, but enjoyed the time spent on projects with them.

So what’s next for me?  This is just another fork in the road, leading me down a path of new challenges.  I’ll be taking on new projects working with VMware Professional Services (PSO), through a 3rd party agency.  This role will allow me to live where I want in Colorado, and also allow me to work remotely and travel.  Working for VMware has been a goal of mine for several years, and I’m hopeful that this will eventually turn into a full time role with them.

With all of that out of the way, I thought I would leave you with some pictures I took from the places I visited while in San Antonio.

San Antonio River Walk

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The Alamo 

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I certainly wouldn’t consider myself religious, but around San Antonio you can find a lot of historic missions, many of which are still considered to be active places of worship.  I personally find the old architecture and buildings fascinating.

Mission Concepcion

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Mission San Jose

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Mission San Juan

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Mission Espada

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VMworld 2018 is right around the corner! Where will you be?

It’s almost that time a year again….some might even call it that special time of year where VMware geeks from across the globe converge on VMworld.  One might even consider this summer camp, and like any who have experienced this before, you meet new people in the vCommunity, make friends, and part ways after the week of technical sessions, social gatherings, and just the straight up shop talking, war story sharing, and the sharing of ideas.  Personally, this will be my third year attending, and I am super excited to be going.  This conference means enough to me that, due to other circumstances that happened early this year, I purchased my own pass so to ensure that I wouldn’t miss out.

Now is the perfect time to cash in on those early bird discounts on conference passes, good until June 15.  Why wouldn’t you want to save a couple hundred dollars on one of the best IT conferences of the year?  For an individual, it’s $1,795 vs $2,095.  That’s before other discounts that may be applied like vmug memberships, or the discount for VMware Certified Professionals who hold an active VCP.

So, why go to VMworld?

I think for many first timers, there’s a certain electricity, and excitement about going.  Let me be the first to tell you, that feeling…. never really goes away.  Like the past couple of years, VMworld in the US will be held once again in Las Vegas.

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I personally love coming to VMworld and have looked forward to it every year.  There’s always good energy here; the minute you get off the plane, it is happy.  Every experience I’ve had here is fun, and people genuinely are in a good mood.  This conference gives attendees the chance to attend VMware lead, and partner lead sessions on platforms you may have thought about using or are currently using.  These sessions are meant to share best practices with the community, transfer knowledge in ways to use VMware platforms, and also give you a chance to ask the experts, many of whom work for VMware, and in some cases, are very involved with the development of the platforms you use.

VMworld is not just about attending sessions however.  This conference gives you the unique opportunity to network with other IT professionals from across the globe and establish relationships that you would otherwise never be able to do.  Like it did for me, this conference may also inspire you to join the vCommunity, a thriving community of professionals who not only share their knowledge with others, but who also need help themselves.  I think we can all agree that no two environments/businesses are alike, and we have all used VMware’s platforms in ways that were intended, and in ways that even VMware might not have ever considered.  Members of the vCommunity take it upon themselves to share their experiences with others, through blogs, social media, and support forums to help others.  This conference gives us a chance to get together, share war stories from our time in the trenches, and many times, you will find attendees getting together to engineer and develop something cool.

VMware {code} group has even put together a hackathon, where members from the vCommunity can get together while at VMworld, to develop some amazing things, and sometimes there are even prizes to be had for the coolest of the cool ideas.  But don’t let those words “code” or “hackathon” scare you.  These sessions are not just for developers!  Sure it will certainly help, but the power of the community, enables you to participate in these teams anyways.  You may not be able to contribute code, but you can still contribute ideas to the team, and you might even pick up a few coding skills in the fun.  Let’s face it; some pretty cool ideas are cooked up during hackathons.  VMware’s internal hackathon cooked up the idea to bring VR into the datacenter, and allow you to virtually move your workloads from On-Premises Data Centers, into the cloud.  It’s freakin VR man!  How cool is that?

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The VMworld conference also affords you the opportunity to attend instructor lead labs, along with VMware’s hands on labs that you can also experience from home.  While at the conference, there will be many vendors out on the floor where you can experience new products, ask questions about products that you already use, and lets not forget the vendor haul crawl where there will be free adult beverages, snacks, and cool swag vendors are giving out.  All can be found in the solutions exchange area.

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I’m not going to lie, the parties at VMworld are pretty wild too.  Not saying that should be the only reason you go, but it is a good way to mingle with other conference attendees, jam out to some good music, and of course escape the Las Vegas heat.  VMworld of course wraps up with it’s own party, before the last day of the conference.

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So what are you waiting for?  I can’t think of any reason not to attend the US 2018 VMworld in Las Vegas, August 26th – 30th, or the UK 2018 VMworld in Barcelona, November 5th – 8th.  Follow this link here, and I will see you at the conference in Las Vegas!  Remember to take advantage of those early bird rates, good until June 15th!  REGISTER HERE FOR VMWORLD 2018

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Traveling. First vmug Usercon in Denver Colorado.

In my quest for finding a new role in Colorado, I decided to travel there for the vmug (VMware User Group) Denver usercon last week.

As this was my first ever VMUG, I don’t really have anything to compare it to other than a pocket sized VMworld. Some pretty cool sessions by the community, for the community.

Checked out as many sessions as I could, but quickly found that VMware lead sessions and community lead sessions were happening at the same time. I did manage to catch Jase McCarty’s session on VSAN.

Met up with my good friend and community leader while at the Denver UserCon: Ariel Sanchez Mora.

Ariel gave a pretty dope presentation on automating vSphere with Ansible for beginners, and really broke it down to the basics to help people take their first steps. (photo credit: @joeypiccola)

Afterwards we got together with other folks for Denver vbeers at this killer German inspired pub called Rhein Haus over on Market Street.

Shout-out to @jasemccarty and @AntonNApril and others for putting together a killer vbeers, and a special shout-out to Rhein Haus, for their friendly staff, and killer German inspired food. This place was on point, and it will certainly be on my list for places to eat when I am out that way again.

I met these awesome people while attending #DVVMUG; what an amazing community! Don’t tell Ariel but I stole some of his photos from the event:) Twitter shout-outs: @vMollyHewitt @MaginMills @mattheldstab @AlexDanMorales @avila_la @thatvirtualboy @seanbwhitney @vGonzilla @vMbanusi @JonOnDaCloud @AntonNApril @RebeccaFitzhugh @jasemccarty @vScottSeifert

Afterwards the mass of community geeks departed vbeers, Ariel, myself and Jon Harris checked out this cool dinner called Sam’s No. 3 over on Curtis Street to talk shop, and eat some great food. I’ll spare you the food pics, as you’ll just have to experience the place for yourself 🙂

Ariel and I got together the next morning for some breakfast. Side note, if Ariel ever asks if you’re afraid of heights, it’s a trap! All kidding aside this was a pretty cool atrium shot.

Afterword, Ariel and I hit the road to travel North to Fort Collins Colorado, where I spent the weekend with a good friend of mine.

I can’t say it enough about what a boss Ariel was that day. I had only expected him to take me to the Denver airport so that I could catch the bus to Fort Collins, but this dude just drove me up there himself. That’s the vCommunity in action right there.

Before Ariel and I parted ways, he showed me one of his favorite restaurants in the area, where we got lunch. I’ll finish the post up with some other photos I took that weekend.