Wednesday, 29 March 2017

MVPDays Western Canada

Alan Rafuse, Crystal and Dave
Recently I finished the latest tour of MVPDays in Western Canada and it was a great time reuniting with fellow MVPs and IT professionals. In case you haven't been to an MVPDays event yet you should keep track of the dates, news and speaking opportunities via the MVPDays official Twitter account @MVPDAYS. This conference has been the brainchild of local MVP Dave Kawula and his wife Cristal who is a Veeam Vanguard. Both of them have worked tirelessly to put together these community events featuring Microsoft MVPs talking about some of the hottest technology out there.

The event was originally put together to fill the void that was left when TechDays Canada was no longer being put on by Microsoft Canada. Dave felt that these sorts of events were very important to the community and started with a round of events in Western Canada. Soon MVPDays expanded to Central Canada and the USA featuring more MVPs from across Canada and the USA. I've been personally amazed at the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved especially Dave and Crystal has this can sometimes feel like a thankless job.

Speaker preparation the night before in Vancouver
I've been glad to be a part of most of these events as I believe it is important to have more technical events that are independently run rather than being driven by a large software vendor. The big conferences are important, but I find these more intimate conferences offer a unique opportunity to speakers and the attendees where the conversations are more open and less driven by product-specific messaging. The idea isn't so much vendor bashing but to have honest conversations about what works and what doesn't plus who is the interesting underdog in the market that might be blazing a new path in the world of information technology.

You can check out the website to see some of the past speakers plus the past and future dates. The speakers are important, but more importantly, I am going to list off hopefully a complete list of past and present sponsors because without them events such as this wouldn’t happen. Events like this need volunteers, sponsors and most importantly organizers that do it for the IT community.


TriCon Elite
Nimble Storage

Gridstore (now HyperGrid)
5nine Software
HPE by Avnet

If you would like MVPDays in your area and think you can get at least 200 people to commit to attending then contact the MVPDays team, the contact form is at the bottom of the website.

Curious About Modern VDI?

For the latest set of MVPDays events in Western Canada, I had the opportunity to speak about VDI. The MVPDays team was really on the ball this time around to record some of the presentations, so I had the opportunity to have my video posted to Microsoft's Channel 9. It was a great time to reconnect with fellow MVPs and customers in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Hope to do it again next year.

The session looks at how new hardware, software and the cloud is changing the world of VDI. Many smaller organizations have found traditional VDI to be too complex and expensive to adopt while enterprises have struggled to manage it. In this session, I have an overview of some of the modern challenges facing VDI and the options you have to overcome it.

I will review some of the latest trends in hardware to create easy to deploy VDI environments on-premises and look at how the cloud is simplifying the design and operation of VDI. I also explore other technologies at the software level that manage the VDI environment from the hypervisor all the way up to the user data. It has been a long journey for VDI, but I believe we finally see cost effective solutions that make a stronger case for organizations to phase out traditional desktop computing devices.