Getting Started with vCommunity

Being new to vCommunity I faced the challenge of finding everything interesting going on in the Virtualization world. As the vCommunity is about people of course, I had to find the most active bloggers in this space, especially on the topics I am interested in. So how to go about finding them? How to make sure I get the latest and greatest from the v-space?

Below is my approach to it – I am sure there are others, more effective but let’s start from somewhere.

Why vCommunity?

First things first: vCommunity is not a formal organization with some kind of acceptance criteria, etc. This is a connected group of people (geeks!) passionate about virtualization & tech and, yes – everything is a “v”, from #vExpert-s to #vBeers and #vBeards.

Do you want to join the vCommunity? Certainly, Yes!

Why? Because sharing knowledge changes the game for you and others.

The details relate very closely to what you are interested in writing about and what you want to read about.

Here is my personal reasoning: I joined because I think UI plugins for the vSphere Client are undervalued and underused. At the same time they can give a neat answer to the consistency needs of monitoring and managing the private, public and hybrid cloud across vendor solutions. This is my focus and it is always better to have one in the beginning to prevent getting lost.

This was my initial reason (and still is) but then community “happened” … so within 2 months I found myself also writing PowerShell scripts. 🙂

Anyway, pick your starting topic – you will surely find your place around and will be surprised at the unexpected directions this and especially the people you meet on the way might take you.

Sources

The community shares knowledge in a wide variety of ways: blogs, videos, podcasts, official product pages, etc.

Here are the common groups and sources I started with.

Social networks

There are various channels preferred by community members. It is difficult to draw the line between them but still…

  • Twitter – seems to be the most common way to connect, share news, post technical articles and discuss a tech topic.
  • LinkedIn – frequently used by virtue of its focus on professional networks. My observations, though, are that the topics get less traction from targeted vCommunity audience and more among the wider tech audience (should that make a difference in your case).
  • Reddit – preferred for more detailed/niche technical questions.

Forums

  • VMware Technology Network – dedicated forums and resources for all VMware products and tools: communities.vmware.com .

Blogs

Podcasts

vExpert program

The vExpert community is very active and central to knowledge sharing in the virtualization world. Those are not only the people with most complete knowledge and hands-on experience but also the folks who are always eager to learn, teach, help and re-post anything you have to share with the vCommunity.

All vExperts are listed in the directory: https://vexpert.vmware.com/directory . Normally you would want to follow many of them, especially the ones with content focused on your interests.

As the directory is not very convenient for this purpose I have created a public vExpert Directory Twitter list . You can browse and follow it directly or build your own list using the set of PowerShell scripts I developed on top of Kordian Bruck‘s project forked here: https://github.com/vladi-velikov/upload-twitter-list . Note it is safer to create private Twitter lists this way as Twitter has restrictions on the number of accounts you can add to public lists for spamming considerations.

If you start blogging regularly do apply to become a vExpert – it opens a lot of new opportunities, networks, product licenses, etc. For any questions on the vExpert program contact Val.

Events

There is nothing better than meeting people face-to-face and get direct access to the content they have prepared. Plan to attend one or more of the following events:

  • VMworld US & Europe – by far the leading virtualization conference.
  • Your local vMUG – free events with nice content which normally attract a good crowd as well.
  • VMware EMPOWER – focused on VMware partners.

Rules of Thumb

  1. Don’t be shy to connect to anyone! Most people appreciate networking and will follow you back.
  2. Your opinion and knowledge matters – chances are others have or will hit the same problem you already have a solution for.
  3. Write it down in a post … and don’t be surprised if you don’t get readers now but get questions in a few months/years.

It’s quite possible following the approach above I am missing out on important stuff and a lot of interesting content. So if you personally used a different approach and other sources please share those in the comments below so we can all benefit.

Vladimir Velikov

I am a leading software engineer in the vSphere Client SDK & Plugins team at VMware. I like good object-oriented designs, API & extensibility development and UX workflows with neat usability but most of all I enjoy helping out plugin developers, getting their feedback and solving their real-world problems.

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