Italian VMUG User Conference: Speaker’s Spotlight

As the date for the first Italian VMUG User Conference is approaching I want to shed some light on our incredible special guests, some of the most knowledgeable experts in the VMware world: Cormac Hogan, Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping and Mike Laverick.

Here’s a special speaker’s spotlight that we put together for the user conference.

Cormac Hogan

Cormac HoganVMUG-IT: Hi Cormac, could you please introduce yourself?

Cormac: My name is Cormac Hogan. I was one of the first VMware employees at the EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland, in April 2005, which is almost 8 years ago. Previously I worked at Sun Micro, DELL & EMC. I am married with two children, and live close to Cork city on the south coast of Ireland.

VMUG-IT: What is your current role inside VMware?

Cormac: I am currently a senior technical marketing architect within the Cloud Infrastructure Product Marketing group at VMware. I am responsible for storage in general, with a focus on core VMware vSphere storage technologies and virtual storage. I have written a number of storage related white papers and have given numerous presentations on storage best practices and new features. I have been in technical marketing since 2011.

VMUG-IT: What are the latest technologies you’ve been working on lately?

Cormac: The technologies I am working on are those which we tech previewed at VMworld 2012, namely Distributed Storage, Virtual Volumes and a new Flash feature for vSphere.

VMUG-IT: What do you think about VMUG in general?

Cormac: I love presenting at VMUGs and meeting customers and partners. This is an opportunity for customers to let us know directly how products and features can be improved upon, and we certainly take that feedback on board, and relay it back to our product and engineering teams for consideration.

VMUG-IT: What are you going to talk about at the Italian User Conference?

Cormac: The latest technologies that I am working on – Distributed Storage, Virtual Volumes & vFlash, and how these are setting the stage for software defined storage.

VMUG-IT: Any thoughts you would like to add?

Cormac: While my break out session is only for 45 minutes, I will be spending the whole day at the conference. If you would like to discuss anything storage related, whether it is best practice advice or some feature you would like to see added or indeed improved, please come and find me for a chat.

For those interested in the latest VMware Storage news, I blog on and You can follow me on twitter via @VMwareStorage.

Scott Lowe

scott_loweVMUG-IT: Hi Scott, could you please introduce yourself?

Scott: My name is Scott Lowe, and I’m a blogger, speaker, and author. I currently have four published books to my credit–Mastering VMware vSphere 4, VMware vSphere 4 Administration Instant Reference, VMware vSphere Design (with Forbes Guthrie and Maish Saidel-Keesing), and Mastering VMware vSphere 5. My fifth book (written with Forbes Guthrie), VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition, is due very soon (or might have been released by the time of the Italian VMUG Conference). I’ve spoken at VMworld for four consecutive years, and have presented at VMUG conferences all around the world. This is, however, my first time at a VMUG in Italy!

VMUG-IT: What is your current role within VMware?

Scott: I came to VMware (from EMC) in early February, joining the Networking and Security Business Unit; this is the former Nicira group responsible for delivering a network virtualization solution. My role within the group is to help educate others about network virtualization as well as to work very closely with customers to shape VMware’s network virtualization solutions.

VMUG-IT: What are the latest technologies you’ve been working on lately?

Scott: Before I joined VMware, I had transitioned away from focusing on vSphere specifically and was looking at a number of open source technologies, such as Open vSwitch (OVS), OpenStack, and others. That move was quite fortunate, as these are key open source efforts led by VMware to help further the development and adoption of network virtualization as a key component of the software-defined data center. So, my focus continues to be on OVS, OpenStack (especially OpenStack Quantum, the networking component), and related open source technologies and efforts.

VMUG-IT: What do you think about VMUG in general?

Scott: I’m very thankful for the efforts of VMUG worldwide to support its users, and I’m appreciative of the opportunity to help in some way. It’s great that VMware’s customers have an organization like VMUG to help provide ongoing education and awareness about VMware, VMware partners, and the solutions that customers need to solve their business problems.

VMUG-IT: What are you going to talk about at the Italian User Conference?

Scott: The title of my session is “Understanding Network Virtualization.” There’s a great deal of information in the industry today about software-defined networking (SDN), controllers, overlay protocols, and similar topics. What I’m hoping to be able to do is pull this information together in such a way that it will help attendees understand what network virtualization is and what VMware’s doing in this space.

VMUG-IT: Any thoughts you would like to add?

Scott: Only this–the industry is in a state of transformation right now, and it’s important for us as IT professionals to make sure we stay tuned in to the changes that are coming. VMUG is a great way to do that. If you’re not involved in your local VMUG, I highly encourage you do join and get involved.

VMUG-IT: Thank you, Scott!

You can follow Scott on his Blog ( or on Twitter (@scott_lowe)

Duncan Epping

duncan_eppingVMUG-IT: Hi Duncan, could you please introduce yourself?

Duncan: My name is Duncan Epping and I was among the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX 007); I am the main author and owner of I am also the co-author of multiple books including “VMware vSphere 5.x Clustering Technical Deepdive” (5.0 and 5.1).

VMUG-IT: What is your current role within VMware?

Duncan: I am a Principal Architect at VMware (R&D, Integration Engineering). My primary focus is vCloud / vSphere architecture and integration.

VMUG-IT: What are the latest technologies you’ve been working on lately?

Duncan: In the last months I have heavily focused on Software Defined Storage and Datacenter solutions that we at VMware are internally developing.

VMUG-IT: What are your opinions about VMUG?

Duncan: It is great to see that Italy has a large community supporting the VMUG and I hope the Italian community will reward the VMUG team with a sold-out event!

VMUG-IT: What are you going to talk about at the Italian User Conference?

Duncan: I am planning to do a hybrid session, it will be an interactive session but with slides. I will be talking about designing a virtual infrastructure, or should I call it a Software Defined Datacenter? I will discuss some of the design decisions and considerations people typically have to make during architecture projects. This session will hopefully help you make changes to your environment based on your requirements and constraints, and provide a better basic understanding of some core VMware technology.

VMUG-IT: Thank you, Duncan!

Follow Duncan on his Blog ( or on Twitter (@DuncanYB)

Mike Laverick

mike_laverickVMUG-IT: Hi Mike, could you please introduce yourself?

Mike: I’m Mike Laverick I used to run the website, where I published many blogs, free guides and a weekly podcast. I’m now working for VMware, and I blog at I’ve worked with VMware technologies since 2003/4, and cut my teeth on ESX 2.0 and vCenter 1.0.

VMUG-IT: What is your current role within VMware?

Mike: My official job title is “Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist”. I’ve yet to meet any of my Junior Evangelist to boss around, and make me cups of tea. Being an evangelist means I get to stare into the middle-distance all day long pontificating about the future. I’m joking, of course.

VMUG-IT: What are the latest technologies you’ve been working on lately?

Mike: At the moment I’m stuck into vCloud Director 5.1. I’m planning a whole series of “design” based blogpost based on my recent attendance of the vCloud Director Design course presented by the world famous, Eric Sloof! After that I’m going to get stuck into vCloud Automation Center, which is a very hot product amongst our customers. Finally, I want to work with vCOPs more than I have in the past.

VMUG-IT: What do you think about VMUG in general?

Mike: I’ve been a long supporter of VMUGs – both as former VMUG Leader, as well as being on the speaker-circuit for the big “User Conferences” in the US. The vCommunity is life-blood of Vmware, and its one of my roles to engage with that community, and mentor people – leading that generation of people who initially started learning about vSphere, to learn more about our other technologies.

VMUG-IT: What are you going to talk about at the Italian User Conference?

Mike: I’m hoping to do two sessions – one about how I reshaped my lab environment for vCloud Director – and perhaps a second on some thoughts about DR to the Cloud.

VMUG-IT: Any thoughts you would like to add?

Mike: I’m really pleased to see nationwide VMUG event spring up in Italy. I’m hoping that along with the UK we see more of these national events bring together the vCommunity on a yearly basis.

VMUG-IT: Thank you, Mike!

You can follow Mike on his Blog ( or on Twitter (@Mike_Laverick)