The exceptional value of a great technical community

There is a tremendous value in being an active community member. You learn form other people experiences. Both their successes and their mistakes. They learn from you. All this at the cost of the time and effort you put in. This, by itself, is of great value.

There are moments that this value reaches a peak. It becomes so huge it cannot be dismissed by even the biggest cynic of a penny pinching excuse for a manager.You see, one day bad things happen to even the nicest, most experienced and extremely competent people. That day, in the middle of the night you reach out to your community. The message is basically “HELP!”.

Guess what, the community, spread out across the globe over all time zones answers that call. You get access to support and skills form your peers when you most need it. Even if you have to pay an hourly fee that would still be a magnitude cheaper than many “premium” support schemes that, while very much needed for that vertical support, cannot match the depth and breath of the community.

For sure, you don’t have a piece of paper, and SLA, an escalation manager. That might upset some people. But what you do get are hard core skills, extra eyes and hands when you need it the most. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the exceptional value of a great technical community at work. Your backup when the system fails. Who ever has committed community experts as employees or partners or owners of a business indirectly has access to a global network of knowledge, talent, skills and experience. If you truly think people are the biggest capital you have, than these are the gems.

Heading to the MVP Global Summit 2016

It’s that time of the year where I’ll be making my way to Redmond (Washington, USA) to attend the MVP Global Summit 2016.

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It’s going to be and interesting one as after 2 years of Technical previews Windows Server 2016 went RTM  last September and is generally available. Our hardware partners are selected for best value and that means early and good support for new releases of Windows. Dell, Emulex, Intel and Mellanox delivered and that means we can already share our first real life experiences around the finished product with Microsoft.

We’ll also be talking shop about future directions and provide feedback on what we want to see happen and need. Next to Windows (which is so much more than “just” an operating system nowadays) we have a stake in SQL Server  2016 and Azure. Azure in all it’s offerings, SAAS, PAAS, IAAS – both public and hybrid use cases.

To do so we need to get there first so we’ll hop on a Boeing (hey I’m flying to Washington, kind has to be a Boeing right?) for long haul a flight to Redmond and go talk shop all week long from early dawn at breakfast to night caps in downtown Bellevue with friends and colleagues.

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Next to pure technology we also talk about business challenges and opportunities. The best positioned organizations are the ones where the technical people have taken and been given the opportunity to lead. I know it’s scary for some managers that feel threatened by this but when the techies lead the IT side of the business the rest can can focus on the business and avoid the costly mistakes that I see so many make today. Most organizations have failed at getting business people up to speed on IT. I’ve seen a lot of successful organizations let technical people show how the business how to thrive in a mobile and cloud first world. It just makes sense to let your experienced and talented technical people take the lead. Don’t think for one second that they’re just janitors mopping the floor in an outdated server room when not busy handling the “other” facilities. Do that and you will fail painfully. Put away your politics, fears, long term gigantic projects and learn to let fast, inexpensive, simple, small technology solution rule in a federated world to maximize time to market, results and flexibility. If you don’t let go of centralized, long term, overly complex technology projects and old school enterprise solutions – where everything is held by back by everything else – you’ll fail, lose vast amounts of money and time. Don’t!

Conferences, Presenting & Learning Q4 2016

After MS ignite 2016 we’re prepping our Windows 2016 rollout that will start the day we have the Volume license bits. All this in combination with a continued public cloud development and deployment. We’ve seen success with native born in the loud apps and are now working on moving some existing workloads over there. The reason for the latter is that some of the IAAS private hosters at our disposal are unable to deliver the quality and level of services required to server the needs of some real time services. Not to mention that some of them make public cloud look cheap on top of the fact that ordering a VM takes weeks and the solutions can barely be called “cloud”. Well you can, but that doesn’t make it so. Basically is only fit for workloads you don’t really care about but for those they are way too expensive. So it’s Public Cloud for the win here.

But between these efforts I’ll be learning and sharing experiences with my pears until it’s time to take a few weeks of at the end of the year.

On October the 26th I’ll be attending and presenting at the Windows Server 2016 Launch Event In Ireland #WSL16 which is being organized by MicroWarehouse IT distributor.

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Aidan Finn works there with great drive and success as their technical evangelist. He’s tapped in to his network of global experts to line up some great and diverse content on both Windows Server 2016 and Azure for cloud deployments.

Soon after that I’ll be flying over the big pond (go west young man, go west!) to attend the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2016 and engage in some serious feedback, planning with Or Microsoft PMs and discuss the roadmaps and vision for the next year.

On November the 22nd I’ll be attending Experts Live in the Netherlands where I’ll also be presenting. The title of my session is Get your work/life balance in check with Hyper-V 24/7/365 High Availability. And the aim is to show you how clustering and Hyper-V have evolved to deliver better high availability, higher resiliency to failure, operational optimizations and better trouble shooting capabilities. Experts live is really one of the best and larger community events in Western Europe, and I always look forward to attending.

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That will conclude my conference and presenting schedule for the year.  Well unless another opportunity to attend and share knowledge appears that’s to good to be turned down. The remainder of the year will be spent on moving to Windows 2016 and diving deeper into Azure ARM & automation.

Four MVPs have a chat after MS Ignite 2016

On Friday September the 30th 2016, in the afternoon, after Microsoft Ignite had come to an end Carsten Rachfahl assembled some of us, all MVPs attending Ignite for chat. Click on the picture below or here to follow the link.

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Left to right you see Philip Elder aka @MPECSInc, Didier Van Hoye aka @WorkingHardInIT,  Carsten Rachfahl aka @hypervserver and Charbel Nemnom aka  @CHARBELNEMNOM

We discussed some of the features we like and look forward to in Windows Server 2016.

After this video, the post Ignite interactions with peers were not done yet. That night, over dinner, we spent many hours talking shop. Some of the dinner companions were quite the industry heavy weights in storage, virtualization networking and cloud. Too much of this was NDA to talk about here but it helped tremendously to put some things into perspective.