March 1st Connecticut VMUG UserCon - one lucky attendee will win a TinkerTry'd SuperServer, thanks to the VMware User Group!

Posted by Paul Braren on Feb 21 2018 (updated on Dec 7 2018) in
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    March 1, 2018 - New Haven, Connecticut
    Don't forget to register, it's free. Don't forget to enter the raffle when you stop by my pedestal, and stick around for this very special end-of-day give-away!


    Connecticut VMUG UserCon was at the Connecticut Convention Center in 2016, and on March 1 2018, it's being held in New Haven at the Omni Hotel.

    I've long hoped that the VMUG organization would someday see the value of having an amazing home lab raffle at a VMUG UserCon. Ever since I did a well-attended live demo at the Connecticut VMUG UserCon back in 2016, actually, see:

    Photo by former Connecticut VMUG Leader Matthew Kozloski.

    So you can imagine my delight when I recently learned from VMware Senior TAM/VMUG Volunteer Matt Bradford that the VMUG organization was sponsoring a very special give-away this year, for the big upcoming Connecticut VMUG UserCon. Even more special that it's right in my home state of Connecticut, but what could it be?

    It turns out it's one of the popular TinkerTry'd Supermicro SuperServers! One lucky attendee who enters to win in person takes home their new Xeon D-1541 Bundle at the end of the day. Awesome! I love bringing some happiness and productivity, and maybe even career advancement, to others. Helping make such events a little bit better is one of the many joys of blogging. I love testing, aka tinkering, with servers, and I also love documenting the results of my home lab adventures. This helps others get the most value from their time and investments too, it's kind of my thing at work, and at home. In case you hadn't noticed, see the TinkerTry tagline above, which reads "TinkerTry IT @home - Efficient virtualization, storage, backup and more." It reads TinkerTry it at home, or TinkerTry IT at home, get it? Gear you can actually buy yourself, or in this case, actually win.

    The sound you'll make when you take delivery of your new SuperServer bundle of joy


    This is fantastic! What a great way to evangelize the value of having physical gear that well prepared to handle even the most demanding workloads that a single IT Professional can throw at it. Or used for self-training. Or for fun. Or all of the above. This is a proven solution for home lab use that's already been enjoyed by hundreds of SuperServer owners globally. It's not so much a lab really, it's more like a tiny, efficient, quiet, and powerful home datacenter. This premium device's low overall noise output and power usage also means it enjoys a high family acceptance factor, more stories here.

    Third Party Reviews

    See what one proud owner had to say recently:

    • HomeLab: SuperMicro 5028D-TN4T One Year Review
      Feb 16 2018 by Chestin Hay

      Last year, in February, I came to the realization that if I really wanted to increase my knowledge and advance my career, then I needed to invest in a homelab. So, I made an investment and purchased a SuperMicro 5028D-TN4T system bundle from WiredZone.
      To round things up, I can say I’m very satisfied with my purchase. I don’t have any regrets in my purchase and at least from a storage standpoint, I still have room to grow. The system has been very reliable. I have not had a single hardware issue or any quirkiness from the system. Everything has worked as expected. The system runs 24/7 at home and is only powered off when performing updates to it.

    This is just one new addition to the many SuperServer experiences already shared by prominent bloggers such as William Lam, Zach Widing, and Tai Ratcliff who work at VMware, and Michael White who works at Veeam.

    Exact BOM of the give-away

    Build Of Materials for this new system:

    • Qty 1 Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T "Bundle 2" from authorized Supermicro reseller Wiredzone, who performed the pre-configuration and testing, including:
      • BIOS and IPMI are flashed to the latest known-good levels, and the BIOS is pre-configured correctly, with UEFI on for modern OSs, in procedures developed by TinkerTry here.
      • 2 TinkerTry logo stickers, an SuperServer front sticker, and a custom rear backplate label, as pictured below. All are customer-installed, optionally, and are strong but removable, with no gooey residue left behind.
      • Handy PC speaker, so you can hear when the BIOS is prompting you to pay attention during the end of the POST sequence.
      • 6th SATA3 cable that is normally missing from the barebones system, so all 6 drive bays can be used immediately.
      • SanDisk Ultra Fit CZ43 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, conveniently front-mounted and ready for your ESXi, note that the system is also compatible with booting from SATADOM modules.
    • Qty 1 Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD 128GB
      • Bare bones normally means no storage, but this system has the very fast and super popular Samsung SSD on board, installed by Wiredzone for you. See how just how fast this drive can go, in the video below.
    • Qty 2 Supermicro 32GB DDR4 memory DIMMs running at 2400MHz
      • That's 64GB total, installed and burn-in tested for you, with a printed certificate in the tamper-sealed box that was shipped from Wiredzone to VMUG to hand to you, still sealed.
    • Qty 1 VMUG Advantage EVALExperience 365 day VMware licenses!
      • What better way to get the most of your hardware is there than some very sweet and valuable bits of software! Product list here, and more details below.
    • All the benefits of the System-on-a-Chip Xeon D-1500 platform, including two Intel I350 1GbE ports and two Intel X557 10GbE ports, built right into the motherboard for maximum performance at the lowest watts used. Yes, those photos below are real, my entire traveling datacenter demo uses only 66 watts at idle, and no more than about 110 watts at maximum loads.
    Features and benefits.

    Demo booth - I'll be there most of the day!

    This is exactly what I'll be bringing with me to demo live.

    Come on by my demo area, where the very first SYS-5028D-TN4T SuperServer mini-tower system that was manufactured, and tested extensively in my home lab. The server and I will be booted up and ready for your visit, just ask me to:

    • Live demo a complete clone of a Windows 10 VM in well under 30 seconds! That's the power of M.2 NVMe storage that has revolutionized home lab performance, leaving that old-fangled SATA3 based SSD stuff in the dust years ago.
    • Experience the joys of single-click access to all your home lab sysadmin using Chrome shortcuts, as seen in my popular article Use Chrome for VMware-related taskbar shortcuts, unclutter your browser-based UIs so they look like native apps!. You will see me using Chrome shortcuts to launch brief overviews of each of the following simple sysadmin UIs featured in my traveling datacenter:

      • EdgeOS (Ubiquiti EdgeMax Router Web UI)
      • mPowerPro (Ubiquiti mPower Pro Outlet)
      • Supermicro IPMI (out-of-band keyboard/video/mouse control)
      • VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.3
        (syslog target for my VMware vSphere, Netgear, and Ubiquiti equipment)
      • Welcome to VMware (main VCSA welcome page)
      • VMware Appliance Management (VAMI)
      • Host Client (individual ESXi host)
      • vSphere Web Client (Adobe Flash UI for vSphere cluster)
      • vSphere Client (HTML5 UI for vSphere Cluster)
      • Chrome (pinning any website to your Windows Taskbar)
    • Try your hand at the vSphere Client, the HTML5 future of VMware vSphere sysadmin.
    • Nerd out with me about the speeds and feeds of this system, where the PCIe 3.0 x 4 lanes allows one full-speed M.2 NVMe device on the motherboard, and up to 4 more in the PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot.
    • Talk about whatever is on your mind.
    • Ask for VMware and/or TinkerTry stickers.
    Read more about Intel Optane 900p.

    I'll also have some fun props to show off, including a Micron PLP/SuperCapacitor equipped NVMe storage that VMware vSAN craves, and even a snazzy looking Intel Optane SSD in hand, the world's fastest type of storage available to consumers now.

    VMUG Advantage EVALExperience


    Of course, I'll also be highlighting the many benefits of VMUG Advantage EVALExperience, for those all-you-can eat 365 day VMware licenses, so you can tinker with all those bits in your non-production home lab, and keep on tinkering by re-uppping your subscription, freeing your busy self from 60 day time-bomb/rebuilds. The VMUG organization is even sending a Kubi to answer any questions you may have about the program, give it a try! I had a terrific call with the program organizers today, and it turns out the discount code TINKERTRY that scores you 10% off your $200 purchase of VMUG Advantage has been pretty popular. It's so good to hear that, and to learn that over 90% of subscribers renew after their first year. That stat alone says it all! You get VMware Workstation (worth $249!) and Fusion thrown in, along with vSphere (ESXi and VCSA) and many VMware products. My how the program has grown this year, it's all detailed on the order page, see also:



    What better way to leverage your SuperServer? NSX is memory hungry, and the limitations of the Intel NUC or noisier Xeon Ds out there can really hold you back, see This raffle winner can easily upgrade from 64GB total RAM to 128GB of total RAM just by adding 2 more DDR4 DIMMs.

    Keynote speakers Shawn Bass and Andrew Miller

    This big UserCon event is now up on my Public Speaking Schedule too.

    You'll see that other amazing topics and speakers are on the agenda too, including none other than Mike Foley doing a vSphere 6.5 Security Update, VMware and Frank Gesino doing Planning for Your Upgrade to vSphere 6.5 - Deep Dive, VMware.

    Register to attend

    Don't forget to register, it's free. And really really don't forget to enter the raffle when you arrive, and stick around for the end-of-day give-away. See you there!



    My new printing and precision cutting machines are doing a nice job! Such backplate labels are included with all Wiredzone Bundles.


    Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2 NVMe - unboxing & FLIR thermal testing during VMware 6.5 Win 10 VM cloning
    VMworld 2017 US - TinkerTry IT @ home's VMware vSphere 6.5U1 demo featuring Intel Xeon D
    VMware vSphere 6.5 tour on Xeon D, deploying a Win10 VM from Samsung SM951 to 950 PRO in 15 seconds
    Deploying a Windows 10 VM from 960 EVO to 950 PRO M.2 NVMe in 23 sec.
    Happy TinkerTry'd Bundle Supermicro SuperServer owners share their stories, featuring Intel Xeon D

    Mar 01 2018 Update

    Fun story. Long before winning the raffle, the eventual raffle winner pictured below spotted me messing with my mac address clone function on my Ubiquiti router, trying to get past the hotel's darn captive portal for my WAN interface on ETH0, making it "pretend" to be my already-registered laptop.

    Wow, somebody who actually knew what I was up to! Turns out he has quite an enthusiasm for home labs himself. Always great to meet new people, even better when they go home much better equipped than when they arrived, with a SuperServer that is certain to be enjoyed.

    That was a very fun day, with dozens of visitors keeping me talking about storage tech and doing live vSphere 6.5 cloning demos all-day-long! Quite fun to show folks what it's like to have a full 15GB of Windows 10 cloned in 15 seconds flat, from one 960 EVO NVMe SSD to another.


    Mar 04 2018 Update


    Gladly, my live demo at this VMUG event quickly became crowded with curious visitors, all day actually, which was great! But this left little time to get around with my noise-canceling microphone. Luck would have it that Aditya was sitting right near me as we set up before VMUG attendees arrived, so we were able to record a short segment before things got too crazy. I plan to have a first-hand look at Uila's OVA appliance in my home lab soon. Meanwhile, you can get started right away by using the prominent "Free Trial" button at the top-right of their home page:

      Uila's Aditya Krishnan "Application-centric Infrastructure Insights" at Connecticut VMUG UserCon

    See also at TinkerTry










    Disclosure, LLC is an independent site, has no sponsored posts, and all ads are run through 3rd party BuySellAds. All equipment and software is purchased for long-term productive use, and any rare exceptions are noted.

    TinkerTry's relationship with Wiredzone is similar to the Amazon Associates program, where a very modest commission is earned from each referral sale from TinkerTry's SuperServer order page. I chose this trusted authorized reseller for its low cost and customer service, and a mutual desire to help folks worldwide. Why? Such commissions help reduce TinkerTry's reliance on advertisers, while building a community around the Xeon D that strikes a great balance between efficiency and capability.

    I personally traveled to Wiredzone near Miami FL to see the assembly room first-hand, and to Supermicro HQ in San Jose CA to share ideas and give direct product feedback.

    I'm a full time IT Pro for the past 25 years. I've worked with IBM, HP, Dell, and Lenovo servers for hands-on implementation work across the US. Working from home and on the road this past year as a VMware vSAN SE, I'm quite enjoying myself. I also get to enjoy finally owning a relatively low cost Supermicro solution that I can recommend to IT Pro colleagues, knowing it will "just work." That's right, no tinkering required.