Attending the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2018

Attending the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2018

Once more I’m flying to the USA (Bellevue/Redmond, in Washington) where I’m attending the Microsoft MVP Global summit 2018. I’ll be spending my week at the Microsoft campus in Redmond and the offices in Bellevue. I feel grateful and honored to be part of this community and of the chances it offers to learn, connect and build a network world of class experts.


The Microsoft MPV Global Summit is always a very busy week with both official and unofficial, planned and unplanned meetings. From breakfast till nightcaps we’re talking tech with peers from all over the world. The amount of expertise, experience and knowledge that descends on and near the Microsoft offices that week is nothing but amazing. Especially when you consider that MVPs are not Microsoft employees. They are independent experts who care enough about the technology to share what they’ve learned with Microsoft and each other. We provide feedback, the good the bad and the ugly.

I feel very lucky and privileged to get this opportunity once more that comes with being an MVP. As such I always try to attend by freeing up the time and the budget. It’s an investment. It also provides for an opportunity to meet up with many of my fellow MVPs and Microsoft employees we talk to, collaborate with and provide feedback to on a regular basis. Feedback is a dish we server with care and respect. Likewise, we expect Microsoft to listen and when possible, act. Our feedback is meant to be constructive and help, not to insult or cause pain.

If anyone still doubts the viability of remote teams spread across the world you should see a bunch of MVPs interacting, troubleshooting, assisting each other, create presentations and deliver results. All while spread around the globe.

Flying high above it all

I am and remain in the trenches because I don’t think you can design great solutions in the isolation of an ivory tower and without being in touch with reality. But I do tend to make frequent journeys and fly high above it all regularly to keep perspective.


Yes, I’m even flying above the clouds. That’s because “Cloud” has become a polluted word that means whatever a vendor/ISV/VAR/OEM wants it to mean as long as it helps them sell whatever it is they are selling. But hey, nothing new there, sales will be sales.

In order to make sure we talk about usable and valuable solutions that put customer needs first we literally have to rise above it. We need to look at the needs of the customers and find ways to serve them with the solutions we build and offer. Too often today customers are offered cookie cutter services that are designed to meet the profitability of the provider and whatever politics that are at hand and not primarily the needs of the customer. I see “cloud” projects last for years and fail to deliver as much or more than they used to so in the client/server era. The failures of bad ideas, politics over customers, lack of context, bad designs and architectures are still blamed on technology or companies. Nothing new there. Customers or employers are not resources to be mined for every penny. And because I pride myself in not playing that game to make money I keep investing in myself. Getting out of the echo chambers that projects and organizations tend to become is key in achieving that. Way to often the focus is on “a can-do attitude” and “loyalty”. People, voicing concerns, discussing issues and speaking one’s mind are key to achieving success. Conformity and compliance are not, those are measurements, that’s all.

So, what is it I go and discuss for a week on end? Well, I cannot tell you, my employers or customers. Luckily, I get to discuss a lot with my fellow MVPs. It’s always a blast to see so many of them again.

Forging valuable solutions


I can tell you that it helps me make better decisions. It enables me to provide the excellent advice, great designs and functional architecture. These are forged in the fires of reality with my knowledge and insights for a hammer. My context and situational awareness are the furnace and the technologies Microsoft and partners provide are the resources that are turned into valuable solutions. Those are built, not bought. If that’s something you’d like, we can help get you in touch with many MVPs that have a wide variety of skills and are able to assist you.

Our regular schedule resumes after the summit

Anyway, while that week will be busy and while we’ll be anything but quiet over there within our Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).


That means you won’t hear about anything under NDA and as such we’ll remain silent on what we see, hear, learn and discuss at the MVP Global Summit 2018. See you after “The Summit”!

Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2018

Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2018

The Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2018 is a shining beacon of light in a sea of marketing driven IT events. It is organized by Carsten Rachfahl via his company Rachfahl IT Solutions. Carsten is a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director whose commitment to excellence has show for many years in his community engagements. I think his integrity and style is a driving force behind this conferences ability to attract the quality of attendees, speakers and sponsors.


Cloud & Datacenter welcomes top expert speakers from the community and the industry. They deliver high quality sessions and share their combined experience and knowledge with attendees that are truly interested in working with those technologies. That combination delivers high value interactions and knowledge sharing. The sessions in combination with the interaction between everyone there is works very well due to the size of the conference. Its big enough to have the breath of topics needed I todays IT landscape while it is small enough to allow people to dive in deeper and discuss architecture, design, implementation and visions.

Some extra information

The Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2018 is being held on May 15-16 2018 in the Congress Park Hanau, Scholes Plats 1, Hanau, 63450 Germany. That’s close to Frankfurt and as such has good travel accommodations. Topics of interest will be Azure, Azure Stack, Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, Software Defined Datacenter, System Center & O365. The conference is a real-life technology event so no one is pretending that the esoteric future is already here. We are working on that future by building it in our daily job and helping organizations move forward in an efficient and effective manner.

This is a great conference by technologists, for technologists. The opportunities to learn, network and exchange information are great. The speakers are approachable and all of them together are there both share and learn themselves. From my past experiences the organization outstanding and the feedback from attendees was outstanding.

I’ll be speaking on RDMA to give a roadmap on this ever more important technology. On top of that I’ll be around to discuss high availability, clustering, data protection both on premises as in (hybrid) cloud scenarios.

Do your self a favor and register for the Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany in 2018.

All I can say is that you should really consider attending. It’s most definitely worthwhile. The quality of the attendees, the speakers and the absolute top-notch organization of the conference have been proven in the previous years. The Cloud & Datacenter Conference is a testimony to the professionalism, integrity and quality my fellow MVP and friend Carsten Rachfahl delivers with his company Rachfahl IT solution on a daily basis to his customers. So, help yourself out in your career and register right here. I hope to see you there.

Note: The CDC is German spoken conference but as some speakers are from around the globe you’ll have to listen to some of them speaking in English. If you’ve ever heard my German, I’m sure you’ll prefer me speaking English anyway.

Project management is mission critical

Project management is mission critical

Just like analysts, project managers, are to provide added value and will play a crucial role in the success or failure of a project. So when you use them you have to do it right. If not, you are adding a force multiplier to project failure. In other words you are committing self inflicted harm or sabotage.

Work, Workplace, Office, Computer, Desk, Laptop

Picture courtesy of Max Pixel –

Say what?

The above might seem obvious. Project management is mission critical but very often project management is left to the run off in our labor pool. This gives the profession a bad name. Even worse, by association, it ruins the reputation of the people or organizations that hire or engage them. Body shopping shop and “rent a body” outfits benefit from the idea that project management is a thirteen in a dozen job that translates into overpriced meeting transcriptions and carbon fiber Outlook calendar “automation”. In reality the customer is of way better with a real good secretary and people who know how to organize a meeting.

Project management done wrong doesn’t add any value to the project. On top of that it causes expensive and annoying overhead where the death weight of the PM becomes a nuisance at best. Potentially it becomes a fatal burden.

The 3 critical skills of a project manager

People skills

People respond to you in a way that depends on you threat them. They are a mirror. If you step on them for your own agenda or to protect your billable hours it will be noted and never forgotten.


Some people state that diplomacy is the fine art of telling people to go to hell and feel good about it. Well, maybe. There are two cases for diplomacy in project management when the situation or relationships are bad and cannot be fixed:

  • Neutralize saboteurs, idiots, bad politics and hidden agenda’s in the most eloquent and pleasant way possible in order not to jeopardize the final outcome of the project.
  • It’s what you do to keep the above occupied before you get rid of them if that’s an option. In that regards PMs are morphine. They make the bad elements believe things will be fine, to make sure it painless while they’re terminated.

A PM needs to fight and defend the people they work for. If you do not agree with the people you work with or cannot agree with them because they are wrong, you have to walk away. If not, you’re just there for the paycheck at the expense of others and the project.

Subject Matter Expertise

Don’t bother sending a PM that’s not a subject matter expert. It’s a waste of time, effort and money. If the PM doesn’t understand the area of expertise, can’t learn fast and doesn’t trust the team experts it will never work out. Perhaps even worse is that many times they don’t care and the subject matter is seen as the dough to be put through the generic project management cookie cutter.

It ruins moral to be led by an incompetent, uncaring PM that is unable to truly weigh the pros and cons to the benefit of the result. In such cases they are dead weight, holding back progress and ideas which results in a very predictable failure. You’ll see burn outs, depression or people who walk. in the end it all signals the same. They don’t want to or cannot deal with the crap anymore. Results do matter and in the end no one buys a journey or services. We pay for results.


Do it really well or cut the bullshit and get on without one, the results without a PM are always better than with a bad one. I know it’s a dog eat dog world out there and that’ just how things flow but when a dog comes to eat your lunch you don’t play victim to circumstances. You act or you perish. A quick search reveals many are having issues with project management instead of being helped by it. It doesn’t need to be that way.

I’m a Veeam Vanguard 2017

I’m a Veeam Vanguard 2017 I learned tonight

I came home tonight after a long day at work. The day was one of trying to solve some weird remote client issues, helping colleagues, supporting the devs, etc. There was also some fun whilst teaching some PowerShell skills to a colleague. It keeps them motivated and it also showed him future path were thing can and are going. Which reminds me of the good feeling being part of the Veeam Vanguard program gives me. Speaking of which …

What put a huge smile on my face tonight was an e-mail confirming I was invited to the  Veeam Vanguard program again in 2017. Excellent news! And yes I did accept. What did you think!?I’m a Veeam Vanguard 2017

Being a Veeam Vanguard

So yes, I’m a Veeam Vanguard 2017. The Veeam Vanguard program is to me is about sharing, learning and growing through interaction with some of the finest techies any company out there could ever hire. It is full of hard core, highly skilled and experienced technologists from around the globe. They range from intensively hands on types deep in the trenches to real architects & strategists.

These are people that elevate me, teach me, educate me and, every now and then, make me feel very humble due to the depth and breadth of their knowledge. While I have my strengths, I sometimes feel out of my league among them. But that’s OK. Not being the smartest guy in the room and group means I’m learning and advancing. It makes it interesting and the diversity in skills and technologies make for a better stronger group that can deal with wide variety of challenges.

Everybody contributes to help each other, customers and clients which is good for us, for everyone using Veeam products and for Veeam. Veeam builds great software, has stellar support and delivers the value I look for in an ISV.

So to Veeam, thank you for the trust in me, my skills and professional abilities to make me a Vanguard in 2017. I’m happy and proud to be one.