Posts Tagged ‘EMC Elect’

I won Best of IT Transformation at EMC World for “Ten ways to reduce cost while modernizing your IT” #EMCElect

July 10th, 2015

I’ll tell you, easily one of my LONGEST subject lines ever! But subject length aside, this is actually pretty awesome!

For those of you who missed this, here’s the low down from a blog post I published last October.  EMC Proven Knowledge Sharing Competition – Join Now! Abstracts Due 12NOV #EMCElect

And for what its worth, my marketing director has done an AWESOME coverage of events here Christopher Kusek earns EMC 2015 Knowledge Sharing Award!

So that got it all started… OMG A CONTEST! Well, not even so much as a contest, as it was a raw and heated COMPETITION! What it’d entail initially was submitting an abstract.   And from the Abstract alone you’d be informed whether you’d even be entitled to be ALLOWED to enter the competition.   In my case, my abstract was accepted, awesome.  But then it came down to, “Hey, it’s time to submit your paper!” Well, so there I was… writing my paper, and write it I did!   One thing in particular which was *very* cool, is the fact that the “Judges” of the papers have no idea who the authors are.  No, it’s not like they’re secluded and don’t stay in touch with industry, quite the opposite… They’re SHIELDED from who the submitters are, any type of information is shielded from them, and instead they’re judging the papers based upon the content and not the character of the authors!

Which ultimately is what brought me to this years 2015 EMC World!   I had been informed that I was a “finalist” which means, I’d be 1st, 2nd, 3rd or one of the Best of Tracks… All very secretive, all I knew was, “I WAS IN” I just didn’t know what position or place!

CK EMC Award

That is when it all fell into place! My name called, giving me the absolute honor of “Best of IT Transformation” it was an absolute blast to all happen at once!   Due to the power of… VideoLinkFail you can skip ahead to 16:45 and get to my part of the video :)  Otherwise watch it all the way through, it gives an interesting take and shares information on the EMC Proven Education Ecosystem!

That wasn’t even the half of it though! When I wasn’t on stage wearing horribly uncomfortably shoes (which looked great mind you!) and receiving an award… LOOK AT THAT THING! ITS 8LBS OF CRYSTAL!

Best of IT Transformation

I was spending the bulk of my time ON CAMERA giving individual interviews or group interviews or this and that!

Christopher Kusek - Best of IT Transformation EMC World 2015

But some of you are saying, “You know what? I don’t give a damn about any of that! Show me the money! err, Paper, I MEAN THE PAPER!”

That’s cool, totally respect that… :) Well, here are some links and copies of the paper!

Because I’m obviously a marketing whore (go me, right! :)) There’s also the Xiologix branded version which I actually like how it is formatted better… (Primarily because… I formatted it to make sure data presents on pages the way I prefer from having written a thing or two here and there!) so here are some links to BOTH versions! <3

Read Xiologix Version: Ten ways to reduce cost while modernizing your IT

Ten Ways to Reduce Cost While Modernizing your IT - Xiologix Version

Read EMC Version: Ten ways to reduce cost while modernizing your IT

To follow-up on updates to this presentation and other information around be sure to check out the updated page at our Xiologix site where we’re keeping it updated and current! Christopher Kusek earns EMC 2015 Knowledge Sharing Award!

Also there is a Presentation version of this paper which has been delivered to standing room only audiences across the Pacific Northwest (also regular sitting rooms of folks :)) So if you’re interested definitely reach out <3 :)

Keep on keeping on!

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Posted in Author, Careers, Christopher Kusek, Cloud, emc, EMC Elect, Evangelist, Free, Storage, Technology, vExpert | Comments (0)

The EMC VSPEX BLUE is available for Purchase! Also our @Xiologix EMC Storefront for VSPEX BLUE is now LIVE! <3 #EMCElect #vExpert

February 17th, 2015

EMC VSPEX BLUE Storefront by @Xiologix

Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute, wait just one minute. What what?!   Yea, that’s right! You can finally start buying EMC’s VSPEX BLUE! Awesome right?!  Also if you remember from my last blog post on this subject,  EMC announces Sapphire on Rails! Err… I mean VSPEX BLUE a VMware EVO:RAILS Solution! I stated that this is only available “Through Channel Partners” So an extra ounce of awesome to that is… OMG WE’RE ONE OF THE CHANNEL PARTNERS! <3 <3 <3

EMC has officially announced a channel distribution model for the EMC VSPEX BLUE but in addition to that, they selected ten partners throughout the US to kick things off with this ‘beta program’ of the EMC Storefront.  Interesting stuff…

I know some of you are of the position, “Wow, I just like to walk into a store, order what I want and just go with this” this essentially lets you do that in so many terms.   If you’re not sure whether VSPEX BLUE is a good fit for you, or whether any EVO:RAIL Solution is the right approach for your organization be sure to check out my previous post (mentioned above) to get the long and short, and the respective skinny on whether it is indeed a good fit.

And hell, if it is a good fit… and the EMC Solution in particular is the flag you want to wave, head on over to the Xiologix EMC Store Front and ‘put in an order’ so to speak ;)  I’ll personally say hi and tell you why it’s either a good or horrible idea. (Well, I’m not going to stop guiding, steering and consulting just because something shiny and Blue comes along, right? :))

Though seriously, check it out… A lot of effort went into putting this out there, so why not? Otherwise, good times and start catching the blues! <3

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Posted in emc, EMC Elect, EVO:RAIL, Hyper-Converged, Storage, vExpert, vmware, VSPEX, VSPEX BLUE | Comments (0)

500 Days in Afghanistan, a #vExpert retrospective from an #EMCElect

June 30th, 2014

Wow, so here we are… 500 days, it feels like just yesterday I was getting here. Okay, I’m only kidding, every day feels like every day before it, and every day after it.   So let’s take a moment to roll back the clock and see what kinds of things have happened and perhaps some various accomplishments out here! (Like how I rocked that title like a branding whore? ;))

Personal Accomplishments

  • Published two books
  • Completed a massive slew of Certifications including (But not limited to)
    • Cisco
      • CCNA (Routing and Switching, Security and Data Center)
      • CCNP Data Center
      • CCIE Data Center (Written… Can’t exactly take the lab out here can I :))
    • Brocade
    • VMware
      • VCP 5.0
      • VCP 5.5 (Beta and then the “Pass”)
      • Yet, due to the ‘class’ requirement I’m technically still NOT a VCP, yay right? :)
  • Finished 92 credit hours in a Bachelors of IT Security degree program (in a month) before I had to take time away to tackle other matters
  • EMC Elect for 2013 and 2014
  • VMware vExpert for 2013 and 2014
  • Avoided death by mortar, rocket, small arms fire, IED and any number of other VERY real threats for 500 days! (Woohoo!)

As you can tell that is quite a slew of personal things to accomplish (And I’m only scratching the surface), there are more things on the horizon some of which I honestly am not sure what else I want to pursue and other things which I’m always actively working on whether publicly or in secret to share later!

Professional Accomplishments

When it comes to what I do professionally I have to be a little obfuscated or in some cases I cannot even share any details due to the sensitive nature of the mission but there are some things which I can disclose and albeit a small list I’ll try to here (Essentially taken from my resume as it’s pre-scrubbed)

  • Afghanistan Senior Technical Director responsible for Operations, Management, Engineering, Implementation and Support of the US Operational Forces in CJOA-A mission command
  • Provide leadership and direction for team of 100+ engineers and architects geographically distributed across 30 Forward Operating Bases throughout Afghanistan
  • Subject Matter Expert for Virtualization, Storage, Data Center and Networking, lead coordinating efforts for the Dec 2014 US Troop draw down and architect of the sustaining architecture for post 2014 mission
  • Direct oversight and operations of enterprise infrastructure supporting over 100,000 users
  • Define policy, procedure and operational requirements to sustain OEF mission

This is equally a pretty awesome set of accomplishments, something I didn’t include in the bulleted list but I am particularly proud of, the fact that we have maintained 100% uptime. Yea you heard it, 100%, not five 9’s or three 9’s or one 8 and three 2’s, but 100%.  I do not include as part of that as scheduled outages where we were intentionally taking something down for maintenance nor do I include when we have a catastrophic site failure which is out of my control (Let’s say a generator gets hit with a rocket, or HVAC goes offline because its 140 degrees out, or someone decides to sever the network link) Yea, those aren’t included as a cause of downtime because there’s nothing we can functionally do about it, but operationally, configurationally, all of that, we’re talking about 100% baby! I’m sure if we owned the Network and Data center layers we’d keep their numbers higher, but logistically out of my control!

What is next on the horizon

Well, the question of what is next can be a difficult one to exactly predict, I mean there are certain levels of uncertainty and unknown but there are some things which are absolutely certain.

  • I’ll be attending VMworld in San Francisco this coming August
    • Will I be throwing a #CXIParty? A question I get asked often… well, … Maybe. You tell me, the logistical effort can be a pain to do from afar…
  • I will be going on R&R to spend time with my awesome family who will be living in (after having moved) to Nashville!
  • I will be spending (another) Birthday here in Bagram, Afghanistan. Oh the greatest place on earth to spend your birthday. Seriously. Not. :)
  • I will be talking to folks at VMworld (and as I currently am) plotting and planning for the next stage of my adventure when I am done with my mission here and ready to invest my time elsewhere.   I keep getting solicited and unsolicited offers from folks, keep it coming… I’ll find the right place to land my feet and make an epic impact like I have here (and everywhere else I’ve been)
  • Will I continue to be here in Afghanistan following November to see the final stage of the draw-down through and beyond into the Resolute Support Mission? That is really answered by the viability of finding where the ‘next stage of my adventure’ will take me. So that’s an unknown.
  • Will I keep being awesome? Definitely. You should too. :)

So there you go, a look back and a brief look forward.  See ya’ll at VMworld! <3

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Posted in Afghanistan, Brocade, Certification, Cisco, EMC Elect, Storage, vExpert, vmware, VMworld | Comments (0)

Welcome to #EMCElect, What it is, Who they are, Why you care?!

January 15th, 2013

Well, the fateful day has arrived, and that day is good! Welcome one and all of the #EMCElect ! ! !

I guess we start off a bit in reference to the title of this blog post, oh my! You may be sitting here wondering what this MVP/vExpert-like program is about!

What exactly IS EMC Elect?

I find this can be readily answered by looking at the EMC Elect Charter – which I know all of you will immediately click and find out all about it! And… because you won’t, here is the straight scoop on it!

The team at EMC has designed a program to span the gap between brand loyalty and brand advocacy.

EMC Elect is a community-driven recognition designed to award investment and engagement of individual contributors with the EMC brand. The resulting status symbol will be held with high regard as an industry standard representing thought leadership in the fields of data center management, cloud computing and big data.

Members will be determined by peer nomination for their holistic social engagement for the previous calendar year.

Rewards for participating EMC Elect will receive unprecedented connection into product teams through dedicated liaisons.

EMC Business Units, by participating, receive a low-latency, trusted connection into the highest value influencers in our social ecosystem.

Alright, so that says a whole bunch of stuff, but what does it really mean?  These are like the brand champions, the evangelists… Often times, honestly… the same people you often ASSOCIATE with EMC whether they work there or not.   Take @mrdenny Denny Cherry, He is a rockstar in his own right and when I think of SQL and SQL books I think of him, but he also knows a boatload about EMC Products and isn’t shy about keeping it honest when it comes to the good, the bad and the respective ugly.    And you think about @sixfootdad Damian Karlson, while he works for EMC Consulting he is holistically focused on the whole of the Virtualization and Cloud communities, yet he doesn’t have the wool over his eyes when it comes to knowing the value-add and the EMC Portfolio, and he exemplifies that in his writing, his community and otherwise involvement… So these are just a few examples of the many!

Who exactly ARE the EMC Elect?!?!

It was announced just last night, this handy link which takes you to the 75 members who are now the EMC Elect 2013!

For those of you active in Storage, Cloud, Virtualization, EMC Specific technologies, and the like… You’re bound to recognize quite a number of those names; Off the top of my head and just glancing at the list the likes of…

Matthew Yeager, Erin Banks, Jase McCarty, Mark Twomey, Matt Cowger, Jason Nash, Simon Seagrave, Preston De Guise, and Rob Markovic are a few which just happen to jump out.   In all actuality I recognize most of the people on the list (yay me, right?)  Yes I am also on the list, but I digresssssssss! :)

What matters by exactly who they are will really shine forth in this little diatribe I like to call…

Err, so this is the EMC Elect, huh? HUH?!  So… Why should I CARE?!?

That’s right.  Why should you care? Great question, great point indeed!

If you do happen to know and recognize one or more of those names and you’re involved in this industry something rather common will start to shine through for those individuals… They tend to be very active, vocal and share with the community.  You’ve probably read a blog of theirs, seen a video, read a whitepaper they wrote, watched one of their presentations, been to one of their parties! ;)   Thus whether you realize it or not, they’ve had some kind of impact on your life, directly or indirectly and this takes it up a notch.     In this first year of kicking off the EMC Elect there were a total of 270 Nominations, 124 finalists and in the end… the directory shows 75 total members of this first year of EMC Elect.   I did some rough math on comments that it looked like a lot of EMC People are on the list, and I show around 8% of the total list are EMC Employees (my math may be wrong, as it’s just on spec and names I recognize, but not too horrible, considering how many of these people go above and beyond in their personal lives as well as professional!)

So in the end… why you really should care is… you’re bound to start to hear even more, useful, fruitful and quite amazing material and content coming from some of these gems of industry, and not just from the standard internal only folks… If this program is everything we can hope and dream it to be… we might find out about things, oh.. I don’t know, maybe BEFORE Chris Mellor from the register announces it to us a week before it comes out or something :)

Good luck, Good blogging, and OMFG have an AWESOME 2013! I know I will! :)

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Posted in Education, emc, Evangelist, Technology | Comments (0)

The Non-definitive guide to the VMware vExpert Program, Tips, Tricks, How to become a vExpert!

December 26th, 2012


What exactly is this whole VMware vExpert Program and what does it mean to me?! I know that’s what you are asking, because you probably did a search of “VMware vExpert” and turned up this VMware vExpert FAQ Page, or some of these great details outlined in the vExpert Directory.

But if you haven’t read those pages, or you want a little context on exactly what the VMware vExpert Program is all about, it is extremely similar to the acclaimed Microsoft MVP Program, the EMC Elect Program, and even the rarely heard of Citrix Technology Professionals Program!  Essentially, this is an award based upon your contributions to society, community, industry.   Going above and beyond simply ‘doing your job’.    That about sums it up!

What makes the VMware vExpert Program so special

The VMware vExpert Community is very much just that, a community of likeminded professionals who come together for the betterment of society as a whole.   It may all sound sort of altruistic but there is no more accurate depiction of the truth than that.    The community is filled with people who work tirelessly to help others, who are seen as and sought after as the experts in the industry, many of which feel they don’t deserve the accolade and others who work so diligently to ensure that their impact on those around them eclipses any benefits that may be derived from the mention.    The vExperts are the authors, bloggers, podcasters, troubleshooters, helpers, friends and family which makes VMware and Virtualization such a prevalent thread it has been transforming the industry ever since its inception.

A few of the benefits ‘granted’ to the members of the vExpert community are

    • Public recognition of the vExpert award with a certificate, gift, permission to display a logo, and inclusion in any public vExpert listing
    • Access to a private vExpert community of your peers
    • Free subscription to conference session materials on
    • Access to exclusive events, beta programs, software licenses, and other exclusive opportunities to participate in activities with VMware. vExperts do not represent VMware and are not required to participate in any activities

But those are just the *published* benefits, here are some of the unpublished yet fully realized by members of the vExpert Community

    • Priority Access to Private Betas
    • Blogger Early Access Programs (Including Deep Dive Webinars with Product Teams)
    • Influencer Day and Product Launch Briefings (Be on the inside track with the analysts and product launch embargoes)
    • Focus Groups with SMB and Partners
    • Special Opportunities presented by Partners such as Tintri, Symantec, EMC, Trainsignal, Tech Field Day, and more!
    • And a particular favorite of many, private vExpert only CTO Party and Briefings with the Office of the CTO and Steve Herrod at VMworld

But it doesn’t stop there.   Some of the extra benefits realized not by all, but by many as the form of opportunities tend to be

    • Special Access to Guest Blogging spots on VMTN and other blogportunities
    • Community Roundtable Podcast speaking opportunities and special guest access
    • VMware Press opportunities to be a Tech Reviewer or Author (They’re always looking for talent, and check the vExpert pool often)
    • Other Press sources opportunities to write and review (Sybex, Video training houses, tech blogs, Windows IT Pro, Speaking Gigs, etc)
    • … The opportunities are seemingly endless!

What exactly are the paths to being a vExpert

Since this is the non-definitive guide after all I can only go on what we know from the 2012 Calendar year which could possibly change.   But instituted as part of this cycle was a growth of the vExpert selection criteria to differing paths of Experts; Evangelist, Customer, Partner.


The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path.


The Customer Path is for internal evangelists and community leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have contributed to success stories, customer references, or public interviews and talks, or were active community contributors, such as VMUG leaders.

Partner (VMware Partner Network)

The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements.

What about the selection criteria for the vExpert Program

First let me start out by displaying what are a few caveats and considerations before I get too deeply into selection criteria.

    • The vExpert award is based on contributions during the past calendar year. Activities earlier than the past calendar year are not considered in the awards and should not be entered on the application form.
    • You can use the application form to apply for yourself, and an invitation form to invite others to apply. Everyone is strongly encouraged to apply.
    • The vExpert designation is not a popularity contest. Multiple invitations or recommendations are not considered as a criteria for the award, so please do not ask multiple people to fill in the invitation form for you.
    • The vExpert designation is given to an individual, not to a company. Your contributions could have been a part of your corporate activities, but your individual contribution should be clear and noted in your application.
    • Designation duration is for one year. Existing vExperts are not guaranteed a renewal and are evaluated each year along with other nominees.
      A committee of VMware employees chooses the recipients of the vExpert designation.
    • You must be 18 years old to be eligible for the award.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the types of things they’d look for on the application in years gone past (for what would be the Evangelist path, As details of Customer/Partner and other evolutions for 2013 come about, I’ll be sure to discuss that as it comes…)

Contributions and Activities to materials such as:

  • Blogs (Blog posts you’ve written re:VMware/Virtualization, and contributions you’ve made to other blogs)
  • Other Writing (Newsletters, Books, Whitepapers, Articles, KB Articles, Tutorials, Guides, etc)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Videos, Interviews…)
  • Events and Speaking (Organized events, spoke at them, involvement, etc)
  • Online Communities (IT Forums you’ve contributed, participated in and been involved in)
  • Tools and Resources (Tools you’ve created, collected, contributed to, resources and guides you’ve created, collections, etc)
  • VMware Programs (Councils, Partnerships, Betas and other kinds of contributions)
  • Actions and activities having gone above and beyond (self explanatory)

For a little more context and details about what each of these lines might be asking for (this is dated) refer to this link for the 2011 Application

The vExpert Program seems amazing and I work in Virtualization but I’ll wait until next year

This is for all of you out there who have said that, or some similar version of events.   I know who you are, I’ve spoken with you a number of times.   You contribute greatly within the community, internally at a customer, or extensively through the Partner organization.   You’re familiar with the vExpert program but you say ‘eh, I’ll deal with that next year’.   If this were like a certification deciding to take action NEXT month or NEXT quarter wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this isn’t a Certification.    The VMware vExpert Program is a year-long designation based upon your actions for a calendar year.    So what does that mean?   By not being nominated or choosing to self-nominate yourself when the window of nomination opens, you are costing yourself on the opportunity for an additional 365 days.    It’s not to say that ALL those who submit are accepted because they are not, but if you’ve got what it takes and you’re a super star in your own right I cannot for the life of me justify you NOT applying.

Some people like to equate the VMware vExpert to a Certification and will often say “Eh, I’m not changing jobs any time soon, so I don’t see why I should do this”.    Yes, certainly like getting a VCP won’t make much of a different to an admin for life but an active Administrator who becomes a vExpert can gain that insight, that knowledge (and getting license keys for testing and all the worlds access never hurts!)

So if I leave you with nothing, I’d like you to take to heart a few tidbits and action items and I’ll share my own experience here

    • It doesn’t hurt to apply or self-nominate into the program.   If you’re unknown to the populace at large sometimes the first person to knock on that door and shine a light on your accomplishments has to be you, this isn’t about ego (Especially if you’ve accomplished all of the things you share in your contributions)
    • This is first and foremost a community, not a ‘corporate charter designated by a policy driven figurehead with stringent metrics to follow’ So what I mean there is, if things don’t go as fast as you want them to be, it is not as though this is an SLA you are paying for;  But we’re all in this together so lending a helping hand is never discouraged
    • Get involved.   Even if you’re objective is not to one day earn the designation of VMware vExpert.    Our community is only as strong as its weakest link and as we all grow and become educated we continue to prosper together
    • Even if you sit silent on the sidelines, get to  know the vExpert’s in the community and more precisely YOUR community.   These people didn’t become vExperts for nothing, they’re glad to help, spread the tech love and cherish and grow those around them

A few words from a silent cat

I’ve been a vExpert for as long as there has been a program (Technically not the FIRST year because I missed the submission deadline, but I digress) and every single year I sit back and look at the nomination form which asks countless questions about what your contributions were for the previous calendar year. (Submissions are usually a few months into the year, so remembering back to December let alone the previous January can be a chore!)   Every single year I look back and say, “Well, crap I don’t think I did anything, how can I justify or deserve being a vExpert for this year” and then it all starts to settle in.   In past years there’d be a request for your TOP blog posts or TOP cited reference points (limited to 2 or 3) and at first I thought ‘how am I going to find even 1 let alone 3!’ which then turns into “Ooops…. I did 20-30 things in the previous year, how am I going to pare THAT down!”   This is surprisingly a common problem within the vExpert Community of Evangelists.    Before the VMware vExpert program came to be, and long before it had broken out the Evangelist designation….  We were all evangelists in our own right.   It wasn’t our job to do this, we didn’t do this because we were trying to achieve or accomplish some targeted ‘goal’, We saw problems in the world which either needed to be solved or we solved and wanted to share our experiences.   We saw great things happening and wanted to make sure everyone around us was able to benefit.    We don’t do it because we have to, We even don’t exactly do it because we WANT to.   We do it because we are vExperts.   We are Evangelists.    We are community.     I think nothing speaks more truer to that than the VMware vExpert program having doubled year over year of number of members accepted into its ranks, and I know we look forward to that number continuing to grow with other passionate and dedicated individuals like ourselves to make Technology, this Community and the World a better place.

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Posted in Christopher Kusek, Cloud, Community, Ebooks, Education, emc, Evangelist, Geek, Microsoft, VDI, Virtualization, vmware, VMworld, vSphere | Comments (2)

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