How to take less business cards to a conference…and still make good contacts

The traditional business card has become part of social etiquette. We make sure when we start a new job we order in 100 cards so that we can pass them out in meetings with clients, vendors, and customers, but most of us really could care less about the little piece of paper and would rather you just email me your contact info. It gets even worse when people have tried to be original and have an odd shaped card. Where are you going to put it? It does not fit right in your business card slot in your bag; it is weird in your wallet, so most likely it will just get thrown in the trash. The only thing that people seem to really like business cards for nowadays is to drop in the fish bowl at Chipotle, or your closest quick lunch place to try to win lunch to a day for your office.

There is one exception, when going to a business conference you want to make as many contacts as possible, both professionally and personally, and often times you don’t want the two to mix. One of my colleagues just came back from a conference and showed me what I think might be one of the better ideas I have seen in a while for a conference and I thought I would share it and expand on it some. Carry a small business card case with you that you can keep 25 or 30 cards in for those times you really want to drop a business card so you might win that new Apple TV the vendors was giving out. When you want to trade information with a vendor or colleague though you should look at technology… Continue reading “How to take less business cards to a conference…and still make good contacts”

What a ride 2011 has been…Time for the next contest

Throughout your career things seem to ebb and flow, with hills and valleys along the way.  For me 2011 so far has been a fast winding downhill road.  Normally people look at the downhill as the bad part and that you want to be at the top of the mountain, but since the beginning of the summer when I got the new Motorcycle I have learned to appreciate the long winding curves of a downhill road, knowing that the next challenge and uphill is around the turn waiting for me.  Sounds like a great epiphany right… So what brought this on? Continue reading “What a ride 2011 has been…Time for the next contest”

VMware is raising the bar

On July 12, 2011, VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Herrod will be presenting on the next generation of cloud infrastructure. The webcast titled “Raising the Bar, Part V” has made many believe this will just be a fancy way to introduce the next generation of hypervisor with the release of vSphere 5, however if rumors hold true there could be quite a few more releases also with three breakout deep dives you can only guess.

9:00-9:45 Paul and Steve present – live online streaming
10:00-12:00 three tracks of deep dive breakout sessions
10:00-12:00 live Q&A with VMware cloud and virtualization experts

The event is free — if you sign up today you’ll get an email reminder. If you can’t make the whole event make sure you follow @ConvergenceTech or @mletschin on twitter since we will be following along. A few of my fellow vExperts will also be onsite for the event and will be taking questions during and after the event with the #vmwarecloud hashtag.

On Wednesday, we’ll be recapping the event on ourVMware Community Roundtable — join some of the VMware staff, myself, many of the vExperts and others for an hour of live Q&A.

If you want to talk about it live you can also join a group of virtualization professionals for a networking gathering at the DC vBeers event.

VMware comes around to supporting multiple vCenters

VMware released a new fling today Boomerang.  Boomerang allows for simple management of multiple ESX or vCenter servers simultaneously.  A great resource when you don’t have linked vcenters or are a consulting or engineer working in a large shop.  You can not have all your vcenters in one place with them even collapsing to a hyperlink when they get too big.  This is still Windows only though so no luck for the Mac and Linux guys.  This sounds great but where’s the catch… You can only do basic power operations so far.  If you want to get to vMotion, High Availability, storage configuration, host provisioning cloning, templates, monitoring, or alerts you need to go to vCenter direct.  The good news though is you can use the remote console. Continue reading “VMware comes around to supporting multiple vCenters”

New Guy entering the ranks of vExpert

I was honored to wake up this morning with an email from John Troyer (@jtroyer) and the VMware Team.

Dear Michael Letschin,

 We’re pleased to designate you as a vExpert 2011 as recognition of your contributions to the VMware, virtualization, and cloud computing communities. You’ve done work above and beyond, and we’re delighted to communicate more closely, to share resources, and to offer other opportunities for greater interaction throughout the year as we continue to grow knowledge and success in the community of IT professionals. Welcome to the vExpert 2011 Program!

I have been working in IT for a long time and to this day it is still really weird to get any email or comment referring to me as an “expert.”  I am definitely honored and hope to continue to live up to the bar that has been set by previous vExperts.  Great to join the group and looking forward to what comes from it.

How to Add your Twitter Name to your VMworld Registration

My company has a central point register employees for conferences so the same was true for VMworld. But I noticed that my twitter handle was not included and could not figure out exactly how to add it. After some searching and an email to I was able to figure it out. To save you all a little hassle, here’s a quick screenshot walk through that should help.

  1. Go to and sign in

  2. Enter whatever your username and password is

  3. Click Register Now (I know you already did but this is how it works)

  4. Select Your Conference Site then Click Submit

  5. Click on Registration

  6. Click on the Pencil Beside Contact Information

  7. Scroll to the bottom and just above Emergency Contact Information you will see a Twitter Username Space. Enter your username including the “@”. If you leave off the @ it will not be on your badge.

  8. Click Continue and you will be taken back to the Registration Information Screen.

All Done. Hope that helps everyone out. Please feel free to pass it along. Social Networking does not do much good if we aren’t social.

VMware goes social and after the big boys

Google and Microsoft have been going toe to toe with each other for the last few years. Google gets their app platform ready for the enterprise with email, calendar, word processors, spreadsheets and presentations all delivered over the web. Then Microsoft follows suit and breaks from their installable application formula and releases hosted Exchange and Office365. Both companies have been looking at ways to make the current way we do business just a little bit easier. The piece that was missing was innovation. Microsoft and Google both have been great innovators throughout the past few years but one company is slowly making a push to dethrone them both. VMware has been steadily buying up what appeared to be niche players in the marketplace. Each of these players has been innovative in their field and VMware is looking to integrate all of these platforms into the new way we can do business. Each of the applications below have been bought by VMware check them out and then I will show how this vision could very well mean a change in the way we do business. – Thinstall – a leader in application virtualization that allowed a user to separate the application from the operating system just like vSphere does to the operating system from the hardware – Zimbra – Originally an open source platform that make it’s livelihood being the backend for Yahoo email before being brought into the enterprise space for collaboration tools – myONElogin – renamed as the first part of Project Horizon, this allows SAML authentication to SaaS applications and will soon do the same for thinapped applications – SlideRocket – presentations need to be portable since we hardly ever give them from the system they are created on, yet PowerPoint presentations can also be the largest files we have, limiting the portability of those files. SlideRocket brings presentations to the web, this one only lacks soe of the innovation of that truly reinvents what a presentation could look like – SocialCast – Facebook has revolutionized the way we communicate and the social aspect is more important than ever for efficient office communication. SocialCast does exactly that by bringing our once distant communication circle back to a close group. Each of these products alone looks to be very cool, however the combination would allow you to potentially share a presentation with a colleague in China that you met through SocialCast that was built with SlideRocket while at the same time you both login into a SalesForce account using the same authentication you used to access your computer through Horizon, and then open a published application for your ERP system that had a Thinapped client. No longer are you tied to geographic boundaries and software regulations, no longer are you limited by Microsoft or Apple Based software, and no longer are you limited in using the software that is presented on the web by innovators in your industry. The use of SAML with Horizon means that you can collaborate cross platform, cross country and without the forced tax of a installed application. Rumor has it that VMware still has a few more big acquisitions to announce, that combined with the release of vSphere 5 and an updated VDI offering could spell trouble for the likes of Microsoft, while not immediate, at least it means it is time to start paying attention to someone other than Google. The same goes for Google, with the release of the Cromebook they took the ChromeOS portable, but what happens when I need the security of my LAN?

Is Netscaler Cloud Gateway just Project Horizon on-premise?

The Netscaler Cloud Gateway was released by Citrix with the purpose of delivery applications to the enterprise in a more efficient and better managed process.  The delivery includes not just the existing apps but also SaaS apps like SalesForce and others that support the SAML authentication tokens.  For most of the VMware followers out there this sounds strikingly like MyOneLogin or what was just released as the Horizon App Manager.  There are some key differences however between the products.  Starting on the physical side, the Cloud Gateway is an on-premise device or virtual appliance, while Horizon is designed to be a cloud based services that does not put any equipment in the enterprise datacenters.  Gloud Gateway will be available according to Citrix as a service from Citrix Solutions Providers as well but that does not seem to be the focus at this point.  That is not where the differences stop, the Netscaler allows for quality of services management and license management for these applications across the enterprise.  The Cloud Gateway also integrates directly with all the different versions of Citrix Receiver.

Not surprisingly there are alot of similarities and the release will most likely force VMware to continue with the application push and hopefully integrate ThinApp into Horizon sooner rather than later, since the Cloud Gateway can already present XenApp published apps.

Type 1 Hypervisor Battle

Citrix was the first of the big players to release a Type 1 hypervisor for desktops with the first release of XenClient, but it’s limited hardware compatibility list and the high cost for the equipment it did support was a major limiting factor in it’s success.  MokaFive claims to have a type 1 hypervisor but without the backing of one of the big players it is having limited success, the same goes for NXtop.  VMware had promised a type one for years and has since gone back to claim that the Type 2 Workstation is the future, with options like offline mode for View being a good enough solution.

This week Citrix dropped the gauntlet on the competition with the release of XenClient2 and XenClient XT.  Xen Client 2 supposedly will support 45 million systems and with the integration with Syncronizer you can truly present a enterprise and a personal computer completely isolated from each other on the bare metal of a laptop.  You also get enhance video card support with the support of AMD chipsets.  While the release of XenClient2 gives us more access the XenClientXT release is the one that could have some of the most impact, especially for those of us inside the Beltway.  The ability to have secure access to multiple enclaves with a single device from a company that is already presenting virtual desktops within these same enclaves could result in closing a hole in the O-zone layer just by not having 5 computers under the desk of every federal employee that works with classified data.

Is the type 1 hypervisor ready for production?  That is probably still to be seen, and we need some healthy competition to help us see it grow but this is definitely a significant step towards a new paradigm in endpoint computing.

The death of an operating system..Say goodbye to Windows..

I have been working in IT for almost 15 years and throughout the time, Microsoft has helped me grow a career but over the last few years we have seen possibly the most significant transition since the advent of the personal computer. What should not be surprising is that Apple has been the catalyst for change. Many people in Generation X and Y and every other name you would like to give those born after 1970, first learned how to use a computer in school, working on early Apple and Macintosh systems. This led this same kids to expect the ability to so word processing without a typewriter, followed by sending messages to each other without paying for a stamp, and now the earliest advocates of computers along with the youngest generations entering the workforce have demanded another change. No longer will these users accept whatever computer and system is thrown in front of them.

I place the blame on Apple with the release of the iphone and the App Store. The idea of presenting a single application to a group of users is not something new,in all reality Citrix has been presenting applications to business users since the days of Metaframe and the original Web Interface, but the ability for Apple to change a global mindset is something Citrix has never been able todo. Users now expect that you can access a single application regardless of what device I am using. Google continued to reinforce the attitude with the release of Android. Android is the largest deployed mobile platform in the world, and along with it comes multiple app stores.

The next question is how would applications being presented to a phone or tablet kill an operating system. The answer is rather easy on this one. Users want to bring a Macbook or a ipad or a Android tablet and get all the same applications that you used to only be able to get with Windows. VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft will all present a full windows desktop to a user, but why would I want a full desktop when all I need is an email client and a word processor or an internet browser. The added overhead on a device that I bought because it was optimized seems pointless. The same generations that grew up on Apple II Plus computers and a green screen now have 10x the power in their pocket with smartphones and even more with the ipad and newer tablets. Microsoft has even realized that application based computing is the wave of the future, with the release of Office Live, Microsoft is allowing users to get to their largest consumer product through the web without ever installing a product. When you combine that with the likes o Dropbox and SugarSync you can have all your data and all your applications sitting in a datacenter that you could care less where it is as long as you can access it from your optimized device. A device that is optimized to just run what others create and give you the best connection possible to the internet and the plethora of cloud products.

Windows may not die in the next year or two but with the speed of computing today it is very possible that the life of what has at this point been the most common base for personal computing is very short. Over the next week Citrix will make multiple releases allowing the user to get closer to the application centric computing model during their major conference, you can expect the same style releases from VMware in the end of August at their conference. Microsoft itself has been focusing on the other product lines with added push to use Unified Communications and Collaboration tools along with their own virtualization products. Windows has been around longer than many people imagined and has ridden the wave but it may have been its own biggest enemy by not staying with the times and just becoming a delivery system like iOS.

It has finally come time to close the Windows.

Sent from my iPad 🙂