UK VMware User Group (UKVMUG)


Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the UKVMUG, hosted at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham.


Wednesday (14/11/2012)

Travelling up early Wednesday evening, I made it to the venue at about 18h45 – just in time for the Veeam sponsored vCurry evening. Here I met up with a few fellow bloggers and local London VMUG members, such as, Jane RimmerJeremy BowmanDarren Woollard, Julian Wood, Steve Bruck, Stu McHugh, and Jonathan Medd amongst others! An excellent vCurry was had along with a drink or two. After that it was back to the hotel in preparation for the UKVMUG the following day.


Thursday (15/11/2012)

Registration started at 08h00 with all attendees receiving a welcome pack and VMUG lanyard with their details. Breakfast and teas/coffees were served and everyone had a bit of time to chat before Alaric Davies (of the London VMUG team) opened the proceedings. After this, Joe Baguley did the opening keynote. His keynote was interesting, and generally well received, keeping everyone riveted as far as I could tell.


Proceedings were slightly delayed and led to Alaric asking if attendees wouldn’t mind forfeiting the first coffee break – much to the dismay of most, including Simon Long 😀

Throughout the rest of the day, I managed to attend the following sessions:

  • Nimble Storage | Stress-Free Data Protection for VMware and VDI
  • Alan Renouf and William Lam | Practical Automation for Everyone
  • Mike Laverick | Building my vCloud Director Home Lab
  • Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman | Deep-Dive Discussion Group


In-between sessions I managed to chat with Automation gurus William Lam, Alan Renouf and Jonathan Medd. Apart from demoing a small little iOS app I have been working on (for my company Xtravirt),  I bounced some ideas off of Jonathan regarding a small mini-project I have been working on to automate vSphere lab environment deployment. I got some useful advice here, especially with regard to deploying vCenter unattended (thanks Jonathan!) It was also great to meet William Lam in person and have a brief chat about the VMware MOB (which I find extremely useful for a project I am currently working on).

I was also interviewed by Steve Bruck for the vNews podcast – they were interested in chatting about vMetrics – so I managed to get a small plug in for my WordPress plugin there.


Finally the closing keynote by Scott Lowe was held, entitled “Staying Sharp and Relevant in IT”. This was an excellent session and provided some great insight, ideas and thoughts into learning new technologies or employing techniques to help study new areas for today’s IT pro.


After the event was over, Jane Rimmer from the London VMUG team was very kind to invite Darren and I to a small dinner gathering at a nearby restaurant. This was perfect for me as I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic for my drive back home (120 miles or so). We had an excellent dinner and chat with the likes of Jane Rimmer, Simon Gallagher, Alaric Davies, Hans De Leenheer, some ladies from the US VMUG team, and last but not least, Scott Lowe.


All in all the event was a success.

Just for fun, I decided to create pie/donut chart representing the number of #UKVMUGYAY hashtagged tweets vs #UKVMUGBOO (good vs bad) – note that some of the “boo” tweets did seem to be playful – i.e. not really showing dissatisfaction! This was a quick and rough calculation by searching for “ALL” tweets on each hashtag and counting them manually – I may have been a couple out here or there 🙂 This is as of tonight (18/11/2012).


UK VMUG, November 2012


The time is almost upon us – the UK VMUG is coming up this week. It will again be held at the National Motorcycle Museum in the West Midlands this Thursday, the 15th November.


There is an exciting line up, with lots of interesting sessions planned for the day. You can take a look at the official time table over here. I have still not decided on which sessions I will be attending, but the practical automation session with Alan Renouf and William Lam is right up my alley! Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman are also going to be hosting a deep-dive discussion group which I’m sure will provide for some interesting discussion. Having read two of their books (HA & DRS Technical deep-dive, and Clustering deep-dive), it would also be great to try and attend this session and see what is on the cards.


A work colleague of mine, Darren Woollard (@dawoo) is also running a side session on designing a highly available infrastructure. Having attended one of these myself, I can highly recommend it, as it is a great interactive session, with Darren getting everyone to participate in a mock ‘Whiteboard Design’ session! To find Darren, look out for his “VMW User Group” tshirt – resembling the VW logo.


There are also some great vendors and sponsors at this event. It will be interesting to get a more detailed look at some of the technologies I have not yet had the chance to see for myself. It will be a bit of a drive for myself getting from SW Greater London up to Coventry, but I’ll either be making a plan to find a hotel the night before, or to drive there and back on the same day. Any suggestions as to logistics / accommodation would be greatly appreciated!

I am looking forward to the event and hope to see many of the community members there this Thursday!


Blogs / websites of people mentioned in this blog post:

vMote (Darren Woollard) (Alan Renouf)

virtuallyGhetto (William Lam) (Frank Denneman)

Yellow Bricks (Duncan Epping)



Issue using the Count method to count objects with PowerShell 2.0


I came across a small issue with a little helper script I wrote to count vSphere objects using PowerCLI this morning. It’s been a couple of a weeks since I last did a blog post – things have been very busy, so I have not been able to commit much time over the last few weeks to blogging. As such, I thought I would do a quick post around this small issue I came across earlier. It has more than likely been covered off elsewhere, but will be a good reference point to come back to if I ever forget!


So to the issue I saw. Essentially, if an object count is 1 or less, then the object is returned as the object type itself. For example, where only one Distributed Virtual Switch exists in a vSphere environment, and we use the cmdlet, Get-VirtualSwitch -Distributed, a single object is returned of BaseType “VMware.VimAutomation.ViCore.Impl.V1.VIObjectImpl“.


However, if we had more than one dvSwitch, then we would get a BaseType of “System.Array” returned.


We are able to use the Count() method on an array with PowerShell version 2.0, but are not able to use the Count() method on a single object. The work around I found here (when using PowerShell 2.0) is to cast the object type specifically as an array.

So in the case of our dvSwitch example above, originally we would have done:

@dvSwitchCount = (Get-VirtualSwitch -Distributed).Count


To cast this as an array, and therefore having an accurate count of the objects, whether there are no members, one member, or more, we would use:

@dvSwitchCount = @(Get-VirtualSwitch -Distributed).Count


Note the addition of the “@” sign – used to cast the variable as an array.

Jonathan Medd also kindly pointed out that this is fixed with PowerShell 3.0 – have a read of the new features to see the addition that allows .Count to be used on any type of object over here.