Recent Changes In My Technology Community Life

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

There have been some recent changes in my technology community life. As an MVP I have been assigned to the Cloud and Datacenter Management award category. This reflects the fact that we all touch on a lot more technologies than the expertise we have received or award for. In my case Hyper-V means I also do networking, storage,  high to continuous availability (clustering, network load balancing), data protection, IAAS as well as Identity Management (authentication/authorization) both on premises and on Azure.


In that spirit we attended the MVP Summit 2015, which was a great experience and confirmed what Scott Guthrie stated above, we are “most valuable professionals”.

Veeam Vanguard

Another award is decorating my home office. It’s the inaugural member edition of the Veeam Vanguard Award we received at VEEAMON 2015 in Las Vegas that we attended.


That conference was a blast by the way. Breakout sessions, white boarding sessions, presenting on Hyper-V related technologies and lots of networking with smart and engaged technologists. We also sat down with some CEOs of  2 companies and helped them determine an upgrade path for their hyper-V environments for the next 12 to 18 months. We  even some real world troubleshooting in one of the attendees environment. I’d like to think we delivered value for all involved and we got to learn a lot ourselves.

I liked what they shared about Veeam Backup & Replication v9 that’s in development. And their announcement for Veeam Backup for Linux was well received. You can preregister for that here

Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2015

We’re leaving Las Vegas (VEEAMON 2015) and are heading for Seattle.


I’ll be spending a week in Bellevue/Redmond from November 1st to November 8th to attend the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2015. As a Microsoft MVP one does not want to miss this summit. And I know quite a few MVPs who have quit their jobs the moment their boss told ‘m they could not go. Not saying we’d all do that but it’s true that skilled experts are in high demand and missing out on the MVP summit isn’t exactly making the best use of any MVP you employ.

It’s all NDA so basically I can’t tell you anything. But we’ll be sharing some tweets if joy and some lightweight blogs to share with the world how happy we MVPs are to be back at the mother ship for our annual firmware downloads and scheduled maintenance.

Until then here’s a nice Bing Maps overview of the MVP before & after hours area of operation.image

So yes, the Microsoft MVPs are descending on Bellevue / Redmond once again in large numbers. So you might hear a bit more Microsoft technology discussions in a bit more foreign languages or accents than otherwise. It’s us, no worries!


It’s just great to an MVP Smile

Virtual Network Appliances I Use for Hyper-V Labs

When you build and maintain a test lab you’re always on the lookout for gear you can use. That’s either hardware or virtual appliances. My main concern is cost, it should work well on Hyper-V and the ability to mimic real world environments. That’s a great help for educational purposes as well as for testing and as an aid to troubles shooting. One of the nice things virtualization and now also cloud IAAS offers is the ability to run virtual storage and network appliances that allow us to have that real world look and feel. Add to that ever more software defined storage, networking and compute and we’re able to build very realistic labs. The limits we’re left with are time, money and space.

When building a lab some people tend to run into perceived limitations of their hypervisor. That’s to be expected as for many that hypervisor is just something to quickly get up and running an get to work writing code, implementing a backup solution or whatever the workload at hand is all about. The tip here is not to give up to fast.

More recently I’m build/working on a new lab setup simulating different sites. I need to route between these isolated test networks and load balance traffic in a site redundant manner. The idea was to mimic real life as well as we good. Add to that lab setup an Azure “site” and it’s fun all over. It’s all based on Hyper-V and Windows Server virtual machines but some components are not. Windows NLB has had its best day and RRAS is limited in the abilities I need to test. They can and do work fine for certain scenarios, but not for all that I need to test. I add virtual load balancers, virtual switches with the look and feel of physical ones and the same for virtual firewalls.

Now in real life you’ll be dealing with Link Aggregation Groups, Trunking, MLAG, routing, teaming … in short the tools of the trade when doing networking. One side effect of this is that on a Hyper-V host you quickly run out of physical network ports to work with. That’s not a problem, in real life your firewall or load balancer does not have 48 ports either. Often you have 4 to 8 and sometimes more, but often not, ports at your disposal and depending on the complexity that’s more than enough or not at all. Trunking & VLAN’s are the way we deal with this. In the Hyper-V GUI you will not find a way to define a trunk on an vNIC attached to a vSwitch. But this can be done via PowerShell. So please do not reject Hyper-V as not being up to the job. It is! Read about this in my blog post.

People often ask me what virtual network appliances I Use for Hyper-V Labs. This does vary over time, but there are some constants. In the lab I hate wasting time on time bombed trials. So I avoid those in favor of either fully featured solutions or I use free open source alternatives. Smart vendors provide the easiest access possible to their solutions. They realize that easy access delivers the ability to learn and test every aspect of the products which make a huge difference in the success of their offerings in the real world. When it comes to load balancers I use the KEMP Virtual Load Masters. You can read more about these in projects and lab testing  in blogs about the KEMP (Virtual) Load Master.

As an MVP I got 1 free license. Together with the ability to restore configurations I can have a pseudo permanent redundant load balancing setup. Only building labs for multi-site geo load balancing solutions requires to start from scratch every time. For routing I use VyOS, it works on both hardware and on a bunch of hypervisors with X64 bit virtual machines. When I need the look and feel of a firewall you’ll encounter in business I use Opnsense. It supports the synthetic vNICs with the enlightened Hyper-V drivers. Yup, the integration components are there.  It doesn’t boot from UEFI so no Generation 2 virtual machine support as of yet. imageimage

Another good one is IPFire. This one also does a nice job with the integration components.


I also have a DELL SonicWall in my home office where I have some ports to play with but it tends to be leveraged more for the permanent parts of the lab. It’s a crucial & permanent component.

SonicWALL NSA 220 Wireless-N Appliance

Presenting at Experts Live 2015 On SMB Direct

I’m happy and proud to present that I’m presenting at Experts Live 2015 On SMB Direct on November 19th. I enjoyed this community driven very much last year. The speaker line up is awesome, the organization flawless and the attendees numerous and motivated. This make for a great one day conference where people come to learn, share experiences and network.


I’ll be doing a session called “SMB Direct, The Secret Decoder Ring” that has been updated with some tips and experiences learned for recent engagements. You can not afford to ignore SMB Direct, RDMA, Data Center Bridging as it is being leveraged for ever more workloads in ever more scenarios. The need for high performance combined with the steady progress of converged architectures makes it an essential part of your solutions.

There are many well respect speakers also presenting, people I learn a lot from and enjoy talking shop with. You can take a look at the line up of speakers here. It reads as a “who’s who” in modern Microsoft technologies. These are all people working in the field, who are active in the community and love to share. This means a wealth of knowledge is available to any one who attends to leverage it their own day jobs and companies.

You can follow a preferred track all day long or mix and match sessions between tracks. It’s your day, so you decide how to make the most out of it. Don’t forget to talk and network with your peers as this is an essential part of any conference.

I hope to see you there!