How A Technology User Group Evolution Shaped My Journey


I am going to focus primarily  on only one user group in the technology industry as their are numerous groups out there. The Virtualization Technology User Group (VTUG) is a hyper visor agnostic user group. However it wasn’t always this way, a couple years ago it was primarily focused on VMware technology and called the New England VMware User Group (NEVMUG).

Like the industry the VTUG has evolved over the years. Users are no longer just using one type of virtualization technology. There are multiple options for users so why not have a user group reflecting the industry. This is the premise behind the VTUG. Where else can you talk with peers about Microsoft, OpenStack, KVM, Citrix, and VMware?

I’m going to tell you all about a journey, this is my own journey and experiences over the last 3 years with the User Group VTUG.

Beginning

It’s a brisk fall day in 2009 where the leaves were turning brown and the air was crisp. I’m sitting at home contemplating my next steps as I just finished a contract with EMC.  I was fresh to learning more about Enterprise IT and Data Storage, prior to working at EMC, I was only exposed to desktop support and knew of servers but never touched a server before. Being very savvy around technology is easy, trouble I ran into was having enough systems to work on and research how things worked or how certain changes affected them. Someone suggested I use virtualization. I was dumb founded as to what virtualization was, having never heard of it before. I quickly found Virtual Box and installed it. I had a couple systems up and running soon after install. I loved it, I could have multiple systems running and not affect my own system.

I forget who it was exactly that suggested to me to  try VMware Workstation, toting the benefits over Virtual Box to me. So I did what any newbie would do, I went to the Googles and found myself a cracked version of VMware Workstation 6 (Please note that I do not condone piracy and do not recommend anyone use those means to obtain software)

So with my new virtualization software installed I was off to the races, I started playing around with it more and more. Thriving to learn more everyday about Virtualization. Then came the email that probably has single handedly changed my life.

It Read something like this “Want to learn more about VMware? Join your peers at the New England User Group January 20th at Gillette Stadium” I wasn’t working and wanted to improve my skills to make myself more marketable and figured what do I have to lose.

As I pulled up to Gillette that day I never realized until sitting here writing this how much my life changed that day. I was in awe of the total experience, I recall Chris Harney running around and even saying hello and giving me a smile that day. Mind you I had no idea who he was at the time or how he would inspire my business today. It wasn’t just Chris that had made me feel welcome it was everyone I talked to, I didn’t know anyone there and at the time not to many of them were on Twitter. I found out about the Summer Slam up in Maine which was held every year and was told it is a must attend event. I learned so much that day it made me want to learn even more bout VMware. More importantly I was accepted into a very special community that day, one in which I still think  is tops in all industries.

Year Later

Fast forward to January 2011, by now I have been a member for exactly one year. I was fortunate to attend VMworld 2010 (better known in the community as the conference Blurt Struck Gold by winning two iPads.) I upgraded from Workstation to experimenting with vSphere (legally). I was sitting at a table with some other Social Media junkies chatting and Chris walked by and I stopped him and said ” We noticed that there isn’t much chatter on Twitter about the NEVMUG, you need to focus on that some more.” He looked at us and said “so which one of you is going to do that?” Everyone at the table pointed right to me, and thus the NEVMUG (now NE_VTUG) twitter handle was born and how I came to run the Social Media efforts for the VTUG.

It was around this very time where the group was changing from just  VMware focused to multi hypervisor focused. The users were asking if they could talk about Citrix or Hyper-V.

Today

It has been three years since I joined the user group and I am very active with the leadership, they provide me guidance outside the group and actually gave me encouragement to start Blurt Media Group. I have met so many great people during the events over the last 3 years. What I like the most is the willingness to expand and evolve with the industry and it’s members are facing on a day to day front.

VTUG is expanding to other regions to, this solidifies that users want more. I am excited to be able to be apart of something that is shaping up to be an epic user group globally. (please note currently there are only Stateside chapters, but who doesn’t want world domination)

VTUG leadership took a chance and so far it looks like they got luck on their side but I say it was more a vision of them knowing that the technology landscape was evolving and their group needed to as well.

Nerd’s Blurt

I think you will see more good things to come from the VTUG, and as the industry changes so will the group. What I like is that the user is number one to the VTUG. Not only am I a member but I am utilized for my specialties to promote a community in which I believe in. Now I am going to disclose that this post is my own, I started out going to do a generalization piece on how user groups have evolved but felt telling my own story was much better.

Check out http://www.vtug.com I look forward to seeing you at a meeting one day.