Tag Archives: vExpert

Datadog part 1: Who let the dogs out?

TL;DR Datadog is a SaaS monitoring solution with an impressive list of integrations, including vCenter and AWS. Their agent is open source. They have impressive dashboarding and now feature logging and APM.

As part of my newly won freedom from vendors this year, I am looking at some options to manage your VMware environment. Of course vRealize Operations is still my baby, but choice is a good thing and in some cases you might be interested in looking at other solutions. Like when you look at prices to manage your full stack environment…

Datadog home screen.

Datadog is a very popular choice at the moment. You see their booths at DockerCon, AWS Summits and their engineers do a lot of public talks. Founded in NYC by two French, their claim to fame is that they are a SaaS solution. Yes, you install agents in your infrastructure to send data to their cloud engine. A few things stand out here:

  • The agent is open source! So you have complete visibility in the very optimised code they use and you can even change it if you want.
  • The SaaS model has it’s advantages: think about all the metrics you want to gather in your infrastructure. Do you really want to maintain servers and storage to keep those? Datadog keeps them in a – dare I say – data lake and allows you to do some nifty stuff with it. More on that later.
  • They have more than 250 integrations! I was used to the Blue Medora plugins catalogue but this is insane ! I am not going to list them all, just look at their page.

Datadog is very strong in cloud solutions, they are an AWS partner, but also shine in cloud native solutions. They are now venturing in logging and APM! It all reminds me a bit of what Blue Medora is trying to do with Bindplane, but you do not have the connectivity out to other monitoring systems (safe Grafana) but you get very cool dashboarding. Really cool dashboarding! This is where the solutions feels really different to me. You can build very beautiful and responsive dashboards, you can play with metrics in a notebook, you can even annotate a graph or part of it for your colleagues. It feels very much like monitoring for Millennials. You can also tie in comms systems for your monitors like Slack or PagerDuty. The system will also send you mails with daily updates.

In the next article I will dive into some highlights of integration with vCenter and AWS. If you want to try it out yourself get a trial on their home page. I am available as an independent contractor to work with you on evaluating a monitoring environment.

VMUG BE this Friday!

VMware has one of the best and most active user bases in the industry. The VMUG (VMware User Group) organises local meetings, user conferences, online meetings and more. If you are working with a VMware infrastructure you should really check it out. I am still amazed some people have not heard of it.

Belgium and Luxemburg are no exception and this Friday June 14th will see the annual user conference in Lamot in Mechelen! See the website for details on free registration and schedule. Mechelen is a good choice for accessibility, you can easily get a train from wherever you are. Also it being Belgium the event has taken place in the old Lamot brewery for the past few years.

The great thing is you can follow sessions from peers and VMware experts or sponsors on technical subjects. I am personally looking forward to:

  • keynote by VMware EMEA CTO Joe Baguley. Always entertaining.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS with Stefan Verbist.
  • VMware’s Cloud Operations model by VMware engineering.
  • Kubernetes by Eric De Witte.
  • PowerClI. Because Luc Dekens is the guru.
  • Lode Vermeiren is even tackling IoT!
  • and of course there is a vExpert session with Stijn Depril.

I am not mentioning the complete agenda here, just my highlights. Apologies if I left you out…

The most fun at these events are the sponsors exhibition and coffee chats of course. In particular I have been contacted by Easyvirt this year. They are doing a massive push for their DC Scope product for monitoring VMware environments. I hope to have it running in my lab this week, so that I have some idea on Friday.

And did I mention there is a free BBQ?? Grab those last tickets at VMUGBE and see you there!

Tips on public speaking

At the VMware User Group NL conference we just had a vExpert lunch with Amy Lewis (@commsninja). She gave a great talk with tips on public speaking. One of the problems we touched upon is “imposter syndrome”. Joep Piscaer gave a separate talk about this, which I will link to when the video is published.

As I really love presenting, learned not to be nervous and do not suffer from imposter syndrome I felt it would be a good idea to list here the tips I mentioned during the discussion. These are really things I use daily and that are fundamental to me for public speaking, presenting, podcasting or whatever. I should probably put these golden nuggets in a presentation and sell it, but here you go for free:

  • Tell a story. This is something I twittered about at cloud expo last week and is very dear to me. Whatever it is you are presenting about, tell a story. A personal experience, a user story, even a complete analogy. I once attended a presentation about tech evolution where the speaker told a story about a medieval monastery! I still remember it today some odd 20 years later… I do not remember all the presentations where people where just going over all the bullet points on their slides… Note that obviously you do not just present slides made by your marketing department…
  • Be yourself. Be authentic. I think this also helps with imposter syndrome. If you are a techie, introvert guy, do not imitate Elvis on stage. Present from your strengths. Use whiteboard, explain (tell a story…). People will connect. I used the example of a company I used to work for (yes Novell, no one remembers…) where we would have US-based tech evangelists come over to present. They did great sessions – shows almost – that were welll received. When some European colleagues started imitating them it bumped. Because we do not have the same culture, so it was not accepted from a local. And the local guys were not the “guys from HQ”.
  • Present as if you are in the audience. This is the most important one for me. This is what helped me a ton. Unfortunately I do not remember where I picked it up. If you have to do a presentation, imagine that you are in the audience. Do you want to be entertained or do you want someone struggling through his speech? It will even help you feel empathy for yourself, which is very important because there are some very good chances that the audience exists of normal people like you that are also nervous about presenting sometimes! (Unless you are presenting to managers or vc… just kidding).

And as mentioned by Amy: practice, practice. I was lucky that through my hobby (astronomy) I started working as a volunteer in an observatory where they dropped me in front of groups visiting with every different background imaginable. So I was already presenting long before I got into tech.

Oh and most important, even for life itself… Use a little humour….

Let me know what you think and go out and present to the world!

Accepted for vExpert 2018 !

A nice surprise at breakfast in my mailbox. I have been accepted for the VMware vExpert programme! I have been recognised as blogger and public speaker. Link to my public profile is here.

Big thanks to Kim Bottu and Tom Vallons¬†for putting their shoulders under a new vExpert community in the Belux and helping us! Also special thanks to Erik Scholten for endorsing an old colleague…

It is very motivating and I look forward to new ways of putting in some good work for VMware cloud products!

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vExpert 2018