2017…what a year!

As we close another year I wanted to reflect on 2017 and what a year this has been for myself and in the spirit of blogging more here are my personal highlights for 2017:

vExpert 2017

I started off the year with the news that I had been awarded vExpert 2017 for my contributions to the VMware community under the Evangelist path.

To recap the criteria for vExpert is “book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people”.

Most of my contributions in 2016 for my vExpert Application were on internal VMware forums despite various tweets externally about VMware related activities.

As a result of this in 2017, I made a conscious effort to change and this was partially the reason for the creation of lukaswinn.net but more on that below.


After the vExpert feedback and as this was something I had planned for sometime, I finally launched lukaswinn.net in order to start sharing my thoughts and write some articles and blog posts about geeky stuff and virtualisation with a primary focus on VMware products.

Although I launched the site in March it would be a few months before my 1st post was published due to work schedule and other commitments.  In June I published my 1st post entitled What’s New in vRealize Operations 6.6?” which was timed around the GA launch of vROps 6.6.

Since that post in June I have published 18 further blog posts which I feel is quite an achievement considering this is just within the first 6 months of me blogging and I plan to continue this in 2018!

CTOA Spring Conference

At the end of March, I was back in Palo Alto at VMware HQ for the annual CTO Ambassador Spring Conference.  The purpose of the CTOA conference is to hear from VMware executives and R&D leaders on current product lines, future strategy and upcoming plans for the year leading up to VMworld.

Another big part of this week is the networking and conversations that take place both during the conference but also outside.  Some of these conversations would help to shape how the year would ultimately pan out for me.

RADIO 2017

In May I was back in the Bay Area but this time it was to attend RADIO 2017 in San Francisco which was possible due to my membership of the CTO Ambassador Program.  Traditionally, RADIO is only open to members of R&D so it was a great privilege to be one of the select few who was invited outside of the R&D organisation.

RADIO is an annual, internal 3 day conference which was originally started in 2001.  It is an academic-like conference that focuses on innovation, networking and learning.  VMware engineers pitch their innovative ideas and learn from their peers about other technical efforts happening across R&D but it also gives the chance to engage in conversations and form new relationships.

For me, attending RADIO 2017 was 1 of my personal highlights as it gave an insight into the ideas that are being thought up in VMware R&D and how these could potentially shift the dial within the Industry.


In June I finally got a chance to attend my first VMUG and this was in London, unfortunately I was unable to attend the 2 previous LonVMUG’s due to work commitments.

I had read a lot online from other peoples experiences at VMUG’s and wanted to experience this for myself and this day did not disappoint.

I certainly picked a good event to attend with talks from Nimble Storage, Blue Medora and VMware’s very own Frank Denneman discussing #VMWonAWS which at the time was still in its infancy and along with Niels Hagoort his new book “VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive”

Once the event was over I enjoyed some craft beers over at Fourpure in South Bermondsey and this was a great way to end my 1st VMUG.

vRealize Operations 2017 Specialist

In August, there was an announcement from VMware Professional Services and Education Insights about a new certification specifically for vRealize Operations entitled “vRealize Operations 2017 Specialist”.

Due to my job role and working with vROps on a daily basis, for me this exam was a no brainer and since this was a new exam I also decided to blog about my exam experience.

I am happy to say I passed the exam and found it a useful way to measure my knowledge of vRealize Operations.

VMworld 2017

At the beginning of September I was finally able to confirm I would be attending VMworld Europe which is VMware’s premier annual European showcase event for the virtualization industry.

Not only would I be attending but I would also be  participating as I was asked to host 3x Specialist Roundtable Sessions on vRealize Operations as part of TAM Customer Day which is the invite only event the day before VMworld for TAM customers only.

My session was entitled ““vRealize Operations…your challenges & questions + top tips for success”.  At each session you could bring your questions and have an informal chat about vRealize Operations, how you are using the product and what challenges you may be facing.  I also provided my top tips for success based on my experiences.

Overall each session was well attended and I felt the attendees brought some interesting use cases and topics including:

  • Preservation of historical data in vROps after a vCenter rebuild
  • Integration of vROps with 3rd party monitoring tools – IBM Tivoli Manager
  • Future of vRealize Configuration Manager (vCM) + compliance parity in vROps
  • Questions about vSphere tags
  • Simplifying projects as customer found them too complicated to interpret
  • Questions about licensing in vROps with vSOM licenses
  • Standard vs Advanced licensing – features vs tradeoffs etc
  • Simplified and enforced permissions for accessing vROps and more granular control
  • Speed requirements for HA failover for a Telco customer – 10 mins was too long
  • Network visibility / NSX MP vs vRNI and feature tradeoffs
  • vCenter alerts not appearing in vROps – battery needs replacing etc

After a fun packed day, I got to experience VMworld properly including General Keynote sessions, breakout sessions and general networking opportunities.

I was also fortunate to be asked to host a “Coffee with an SME” session again on vRealize Operations.

For me attending VMworld was another highlight of mine after being unsuccessful in previous years due to work commitments and critical customer escalations and to attend in the capacity I did was an extra bonus!

MCSA 2012…Finally

Just before the end of the year I finally completed the requirements to upgrade my MCSA on Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2012.  This again was quite a milestone and also involved passing 3 exams which was not easy.

I ultimately had to shift my focus away from VMware and virtualization and tune my brain to the Microsoft and Windows way of thinking.

My goal in 2018 is to pass 1 or 2 more exams and become MCSE in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure and then I may dabble in Microsoft Azure just to keep my IT skills up to date but we will see how it pans out.

My Next Adventure…in VMware.

To end 2017 I decided to embark on a new challenge and after 5 years in Global Support Services I will move to VMware R&D working for CMBU Customer Service Engineering  specializing in vRealize Operations from Jan 2018.  Originally this was meant to be a 3 month engagement as part of the Take 3 program but this all changed when the CMBU made me an offer that was hard to turn down.

I am excited about this new adventure, taking what I learnt working in GSS but also to add the Engineering element and have highly technical conversations about vROps as well as how the CMBU products can benefit our customers in achieving their use cases and meeting their business goals.

I must admit when I went public on twitter regarding my move I was a little overwhelmed at the support and words of encouragement but it is good to know that I am making a difference and this is being noticed!


When I look back on 2017, I believe I accomplished a lot and ended the year on an ultimate high by moving to a new job role.  I am certainly looking forward to 2018 and the new challenges and adventures that I will face.  Who knows what will happen but you can be sure I will either be tweeting or blogging about it!

As I close this post I would just like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year and all the best for 2018.

Happy Holidays.


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