Taking My Talents to the Docker Community

After reflecting on my personal goals and the recent announcement that VMUG was joining the Dell Technologies User Community, I’ve decided to step down from the leadership role of the New Orleans VMUG effective immediately and focus my attention on building the Docker community in Louisiana. This hasn’t been a rash decision because of the “acquisition” of VMUG by DTUC but rather an affirming indicator that now is the right time to move on.

I’ve been part of VMUG leadership since 2010 when I started the Baton Rouge VMUG (and sequentially the New Orleans VMUG in 2011). My motivation to start the groups stemmed from my lack of knowledge about virtualization, the desire to learn what others are doing, and what new technologies were coming to the market. I didn’t want to just be a consumer though, I wanted to create an environment where I could learn and then help others who had the questions of their own and start a feedback loop. After 6 years, I can look back and say that I was successful in achieving those goals and now I’m looking for the next challenge.

Why Docker and why now?

I’ve been following Docker since 2014 and have watched the project mature and continue to gain in popularity. In 3 short years it has become the de facto standard for building cloud native applications and a robust ecosystem is forming around it much like with VMware a decade ago. The technology is still in it’s infancy and the population of IT professionals don’t know about it but the number of early adopters continues to rise and drive further development and innovation at a rapid pace. Now is the perfect time to get in at the ground floor and begin building a community.

As an open source project, community is at the heart of what has fueled Docker’s growth. Forty one percent of Docker’s contributors are individuals! That speaks volumes for the commitment that thousands of people around the world have made to improving a project. At it’s core, Docker, Inc. embraces community and local groups have exploded in popularity. As of May 2017, there are 288 groups around the world. I encourage you to take a look at the list of Docker meetup groups and get involved. There’s even an online meetup if you can’t attend one locally.

This is also an exciting opportunity for me to grow as an IT professional and network with a different group of professionals. I’ve been an amateur developer since 8th grade but knew it wasn’t a career path for me but as infrastructure has become more “cloud”-like, my interests have shifted to trying to learn more about applications and how they’re deployed. What platforms are used? What barriers exist to reliably getting stable code into production? What day-to-day challenges do developers face? I look forward to the opportunity to personally grow and being a part of the Docker community will allow that as it is currently geared more towards developers. However, the technology is becoming mainstream and the necessity to enable ops teams to successfully manage containers will be more important. It will undoubtedly lead to an even larger ecosystem and participation by former virtualization engineers as their organizations restructure their environments.

What’s your take on VMUG becoming part of the Dell Technology User Community (DTUC)?

First and foremost, my decision has nothing to do with disliking Dell EMC nor do I have a lot of commentary on what this means for the future of VMUG. My dissatisfaction lies with how the VMUG CEO, President, and Board handled this very important decision that aligns a previously independent community with a corporate run community. I strongly disagree with this path for VMUG and I don’t feel that Dell EMC brings value to a community that has been successfully grown and managed through grassroots efforts. VMUG HQ has greatly veered away from their original objective of supporting leaders to build a successful community for VMware customers. I know my fellow leaders will defend their ability to bring in sponsors and topics that are in the best interest of their local community regardless of the alignment with Dell EMC. I’m uncertain what the future holds for VMUG but I know that communities will stick together no matter what obstacles are presented.

Shiny new vStuff — Speak at a VMUG NOW!

Having spent the last 3.5 years as a VMUG leader of two different VMUGs and spent time talking to over a dozen other leaders, one issue persists in the VMUG community: lack of customer participation. VMUG recognized this and implemented the Feed4ward program to, “encourage every interested member to share their knowledge at a VMUG local group meeting or User Conference”. Knowledge sharing is what everyone’s there for but most of the time people are nervous about public speaking, don’t think they know enough to discuss topics with others, or they think what they do isn’t that different or interesting. That can all changes now! 

With the release of vSphere 6 on March 12, everything is new to everyone. Not many people have downloaded it in their test/dev/lab environment and (hopefully) no one has deployed it in production yet! There are 11 vSphere ecosystem products that got updated and probably thousands of new features or enhancements to discuss. If you think just an “upgrading to ESXi 6” presentation will be boring, look at upgrading or starting to use one of the other supporting vSphere products such as vRealize Automation or Operations Manager. Maybe you’re a SMB and using or looking to use vSphere Data Protection or vSphere Replication. What was the upgrade or setup process like? How do you manage it? Did you ever have to recover from a backup or replica? Any gotchas? There’s plenty of opportunity now to get started giving back to your local VMUG community. If you want mentoring, look into the VMUG Feed4ward program!

The vSphere 6 documentation ca be found at: https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-6-pubs.html.

Take this time to get out in front and start getting familiar with the new features and the associated documentation. Many organizations will look to upgrade once update 1 rolls around (I was in this crowd) which will probably be released in 6 months. Take the lead, become the expert, and be a staple in your local community.

The local VMUG leaders will probably already have a “What’s new in vSphere 6” slot carved out at the next meeting but if there’s a product feature or enhancement you like, love, or have always wanted to see, speak with them about adding a deep dive into that topic. It’s highly unlikely they’ll say no!