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That didn’t disappoint! I’ve wanted to visit the North East England VMUG for sometime, so being asked to present at the user group made it all the more special. As I sit here in Newcastle International Airport waiting for my flight home, I thought I’d summarise the event for those who’ve never been to a VMUG event, are thinking of doing so in the future, or are thinking of speaking at a local VMUG.

Keynote Sessions

Chris Storrie – Systems Engineer, VMware

Kicking the day off with the first VMware Keynote was Chris Storrie (Systems Engineer, VMware). Unfortunately, Matt Steiner (Cloud Management Evangelist/Strategist, VMware) was unable to make the event, but Chris was a welcome bonus for the day. Chris is a passionate VMUG supporter, always a great presenter, and took the reigns of the session Are you the Platform Engineer of the Future who will #ManageAllTheThings? More so, and as we enter the Multi-Cloud era, the traditional roles in IT are changing. In Chris’ session we looked at how the landscape has and is changing, and at the Cloud Management technology that is supporting this change.

Lee Dilworth – Chief Technologist Storage & Availability, VMware

Next up was Lee Dilworth (Chief Technologist Storage & Availability, VMware). I’ve not heard Lee present before, but what a great speaker. In his session, Lee delved into how the VMware platform has evolved over the years to support the ever expanding application landscape, how HCI is able to provide the critical foundation for this expansion, as well as some of the exciting recent changes in how vSphere can provide storage resources for not only so called “traditional applications” but at the time offer the same simplicity for container based storage.


Man, the North VMUG know how to do prizes! Special thanks to Gold Sponsors Dell EMC, Arcserve, and HTG, and Silver Sponsors Exagrid and Exponential-e for the great giveaways, as well as Community prizes from Kev Johnson and Ricky El-Qasem!

North East VMUG 2019 - Prizes

Vendor Sessions

Michael Armstrong – Systems Engineer, VMware

Entitled Accelerate your hybrid cloud journey with VMware Cloud on AWS, Michael Armstrong gave us a real world look at VMware SRM and VMware Cloud on AWS integration, and performed a live fail over from an on-premises vSphere environment to VMware Cloud on AWS. Awesome as always! The phrase ‘I like explosions, and I like cats’ will go down in history, I’m sure!

North East VMUG 2019 - Michael Armstrong

Community Sessions

Ricky El-Qasem – Automation: You’re the First, the Last, My Everything

Before lunch we were treated to Ricky El-Qasem‘s session about how everything in your IT could and should be automated. Discussing how different facets of automation can help nail down everything that can be automated, some next gen automation with AI and showing off a new tool in prototype he has been working on to help automate cloud templates.

North East VMUG 2019 - Ricky El-Qasem

Gareth Lewis

After lunch, my session covered VMware NSX Data Centre for vSphere (NSX-V) and, more specifically, a real world look at micro-segmentation and the implementation of a zero-trust environment. NSX makes this fairly easy thanks to a number of built-in tools, and we stepped through the process of how we can utilise the NSX Application Rule Manager to aid in the visualisation of application dependencies to create Distributed Firewall rules to either block or allow traffic.

North East VMUG 2019 - Gareth-Lewis

Sam McGeown

The last session of the day, and my far no means least, was Sam McGeown. Sam blew us away with an awesome session covering Kubernetes and NSX-T Container Network Plugin integration. Specifically, this was a hands-on LIVE demonstration of how to configure the NSX-T container plugin with Kubernetes, deploy a number of nodes and integrate with NSX-T to deploy and configure the required network components. As Sam promised, there were minimal slides and maximum command line!

North East VMUG 2019 - Sam McGeown

My biggest thanks to Alan Burns and the North East VMUG team for such a great event. The vBeers afterwards (as always) didn’t disappoint! See you again soon guys!

The VMware User Groups couldn’t exist (strangely) without user support. These groups are so valuable for users, customers, and partners, and the relationships you’ll build from attending simply cannot be bought. In the past I’ve had a number of technical and personal challenges which I’ve struggled with, most of which have been resolved after a chat over a beer with a number of other like-minded VMUG attendees. You can’t buy this kind of support and, for the price of a train/plane ticket (MEMBERSHIP IS FREE!), you get unfettered access to attendees knowledge and experience. VMUG sessions are great on their own, but stay behind for a beer or two afterwards, and you’ll see the real reason people join. The Community.

To read more about the benefits of the becoming a VMUG member (MEMBERSHIP IS FREE) or to find your closest VMware User Group, simply visit

North East England VMware User Group VMUG

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