2013 is coming to an end. It’s an understatement to say that it was turbulent year. I left the organization that I worked at for 13 years and agreed to work for Inovativ. A decision I do not regret for a second. Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 were released. Together with my personal favorite Windows Azure Pack. We have done some really great projects with these products. I’ve started working in two times zones, GMT+1 (Netherlands) and PST (Redmond) and Lync has changed my world of communication.
But all these things pale in comparison with the people I have met. For a long time I lived with the mindset of keeping the knowledge for myself and did not see any reason of sharing it. It took me days or weeks to get some new feature figured out and I was not about to put in a lot of effort in documenting it, let alone putting it out on the web for everybody to grab. But at the same time, I searched the internet, very happy to find a solution someone posted.
In June 2012, I was at a SharePoint readiness session for partners at Microsoft. Don’t ask!! I was clearly at the right spot, but at the wrong time. The room filled with suits and ties. After a couple of sessions Robert Bakker (SSP Datacenter at Microsoft NL) walked in. Never saw the guy before. He started his session on Virtualization, so I resumed from hibernation. After a couple of slides he asked an open question. “Is there a question you have on the private cloud offering. You can ask me anything.” And for those who know me, yeah I had a couple of questions. I asked about multi-tenancy and the Dynamic Datacenter Suite (a really early version of Windows Azure Pack).
Nico van Veen (Partner Sales Manager Hosting & Cloud at Microsoft NL) that I work with closely nowadays, was my Partner Account Manager at the time. He jumped in, saying that no one in the room was understanding a word we were saying and asked us to continue that discussion at the end of the day. And so we did. Robert introduced me to Edie van den Berge (responsible for Hosting in NL at Microsoft at the time). I spoke with Edie and he advised me to contact Hans Vredevoort.
Hans was my first contact with the community. After some emails he agreed to meet me. We spoke for an hour or so and after 15 minutes we we already sitting behind a laptop looking at some designs. I proposed to write a blog on network virtualization for hyper-v.nu. He would review it and if it was good enough it was published. To be honest, I put in a lot of effort on that blog. I was not in a writing mode and had to figure out a way to not only document my findings but also make it readable for someone else. I have a background on networking, but this network virtualization was something else. There was almost no information out there at all. That only motivated me more to get a well tested and documented blog. Hans reviewed it and approved it. With the second blog on Windows Azure Services for Windows Server I earned my login credentials for hyper-v.nu. Since that moment I have had more and more contact with Hans. He shared a lot of information with me. He introduced me to his peers in the community and to members from the product teams. When I changed jobs and started at Inovativ we even became direct colleagues. We did some great project together and we complement each other in the knowledge we have and share. If I have to describe Hans in a couple of words, I’d say he is the embodiment of the community.
The second member of the hyper-v.nu community is Peter Noorderijk. This man is an organizer with every fiber in his body. And don’t mistake him for his knowledge on the Windows Server and System Center platform. Unfortunately most of the work that Peter does for the community goes unseen. Every event hyper-v.nu organized or hyper-v.nu was part of, Peter was a driving force behind the scenes. And not only behind the scenes. He’s a gifted speaker too. Always critical on the parts that did not go according to his high standards. We are very honored to have him as a part of hyper-v.nu and it is the combination of these talents that make it a great community.
In my opinion this man is the face of the community in the Netherlands. And for a reason. His relentless effort to give community members a platform is paying of more and more. Take the last Experts Live event. 550 seats sold out. Working until 2am the night before to get the last things organized and ready to rock the stage early the next morning. Maarten knows how to play a crowd and does this like breathing at bigger event like TechEd, MMS (sadly no more) and SCU. He knows how to get the best out of you, challenging you. Most of all he is an enabler. He provides the stage, you have to take it. He should start his own company with that talent, oh wait he did… I work there.
I met Didier in April where he spoke on Advanced Networking features at a hyper-v.nu event. I did a session on NIC Teaming, the Hyper-V switch and QoS. There was no overlap but we could have swapped sessions easily. The mutual interest in the same subject (networking) formed an initial base for a more frequent contact. We talked about issues we were encountering, we exchanged ideas and solution and often we would just ramble for an hour or more. We are both not only very enthusiastic about the things we do, but we also tend to talk that way. This enthusiasm is also present in his presentations and he does know how to throw some fun in there.
Aidan is the walking Hyper-V encyclopedia. And has also written it all down on his blog. There were times where I wondered if he had oil for lunch. Not only the sheer amount of blogs, but also the actual content and research that gone in to them, is mind blowing. But after I met him in Dublin I know for sure he is human. Nothing but respect for this man. I was close to a presentation once, but never actually had the privilege yet. 2014 will bring change to that. I’m sure of it. If you know some Hyper-V, you know Aidan, or at least visited his site a thousand times.
Aahh… Unsere deutschen freund! I have spoken with Carsten a couple of times and laughed my head of. What a great guy. But between the jokes he asks the most difficult questions and has answers to even more. Carsten is also putting in a lot of effort in the community. Besides his blogging he is a talented interviewer. I have seen numerous interviews recorded and performed by Carsten with MVPs, program managers and other community members. Think it is easy, I dare you. Try it. And not to forget the podcasts Carsten is doing. Every month a new podcast. And those things are an hour avarage. Can you imagine the time it takes to create them.
Patrick and I were, how should I put it, ….assigned… to the same event in Dublin. Because the hotel, where all the event attendees were staying, was fully booked I was located at another hotel. Well, at least I had time to catch up on some reading. In my 2 by 1 hotel room I noticed a tweet from Patrick saying he arrived at Dublin airport. Asked him if he was in Dublin for the same event and luckily he was. The next morning I went for breakfast. With sixty empty tables I found myself a table with some power supply next to it. Some morning reading on the NVGRE Gateway with a coffee and some toast. About 15 minutes later a guy positioned himself a couple of tables away, also for breakfast. He did have a familiar face. Laptop was still open so checked twitter again. Mmm.. small picture. Might be him. Only one way to find out. “Patrick?” “Yeah! Marc, I thought it was you”. We hanged out for two days. I had a lot of interesting conversations with Patrick and been in contact with him ever since.
Since the preview of Windows Azure Services for Windows Server I have been blogging about, speaking on and working with this great product. In the early days of the product there was almost no information available. One of the community members that was also publishing blogs about the Windows Azure Services for Windows Server was Kristian. Recently Kristian and me have more contact and it turns out that the type of projects we do are very similar. Together with Flemming Riis they have released a whitepaper on Network Virtualization, that is now turning in a series of whitepapers on the CloudOS we are doing in a joint effort.
I have had a couple of calls with Flemming about the whitepaper series. He actually build the environment for the NVGRE whitepaper. Flemming is enthusiastic but also very realistic. We first started talking about a book about the CloudOS, but with his insight into the effort it takes and the kind of work we are doing that would quickly become a very difficult adventure. Together with Kristian Nese we settled on a series of whitepapers.
I know Damian from all the work he is doing on getting the NVGRE story out there. Speaking at event, the blog series with Nigel Cain, webinars, you name it. Over time Damian is also putting more emphasis on Windows Azure Pack. I’m still aiming at a joined Windows Azure Pack session with him on TechEd this year.
I can also mention, Stanislav Zhelyazkov, Daniel Neumann, James van den Berg, Kevin Greene, Thomas Maurer, Gordon McKenna, Ronny de Jong, Darryl van der Peyl, and then some. All these guys have day jobs and usually work more than 40 hours a week. Besides their normal working hours they put in a lot of effort to learn and test new functionalities. They take screenshots, create diagrams and document it in an easy readable format and post in on the internet for you to read at no cost. They create PowerPoint presentations, give presentations, webinars, interviews, podcast and organize events. And they do all of this with a single purpose. Sharing knowledge. Behind every hyperlink in this blog post there is tons of valuable information and its free.
I learned that sharing knowledge is not a bottomless pit, but it forms the basis of gaining knowledge. I’m honored to be part of this community and I want to thank everyone that I was privileged to interact with this year.
Merry Christmas and a happy new sharing year.
Marc van Eijk