VMUG Advantage and TinkerTry pairing up on Nov 17 2020 for #ADVTinkerTryTakeover event, part of National Career Development Month!


In over 9 years of content creation here at TinkerTry, with a majority having something to do with virtualization, there has never been a closer match with what TinkerTry set out to do than the VMUG Advantage program. So when they recently asked me to consider helping out with their all day event, I was happy to step in and help out, especially since the lack of an in-person VMworld this year affecting their ability to get the word out about the program. It's an honor to have gotten to know so many of the folks in the VMUG organization, and really cool to have known VMUG President Steve Athanas for a long time now, as well as Brad Tompkins, the Executive Director at VMUG.

Disclosure: VMUG Advantage has purchased ads at TinkerTry within the past 12 months using 3rd party BuySellAds ad placement services.

I just created a series of 4 videos that the VMUG Organization thought might be of interest to their audience, with a focus on those starting out who might not have heard of VMUG Advantage EVALExperience quite yet.

Twitter Live!


There will also be Twitter Live Q&A events run from @MyVMUG right from my studio at my home lab workbench, using my iPhone 12 Pro Max's front-facing camera, leveraging the WiFi 6 of my new eero Pro 6, at:

  • 12pm eastern time
  • 04pm eastern time

I'm there to try to answer your questions about VMUG Advantage or any of my articles or videos, live! Questions can also be submitted in advance in this web form.

These 4 videos below are all under 2 minutes, and will be also be shared on Twitter from @MyVMUG on Tuesday November 16 2020.

Hardware Recommendations

Rough transcript that I wrote:
I'm Paul Braren from TinkerTry here, VMUG Advantage asked me to share some general hardware recommendations today, and note, in a blog post associated with today's events, I'll have links to what I'm talking about here. I would say a good place to start, especially if you've not had any NVMe drives running in your home labs yet, would be my video What you need to know about running VMware with U.2, M.2, & PCIe NVMe SSDs. In that piece, I outline the many reasons why NVMe is usually a great choice for your primary VMFS datastore, a place to keep those VMs where you really care about performance. The "gumstick" M.2 form factor is typically what many folks go with, and for cost reasons, premium consumer brands like Samsung Pro and Sabrent are often top choices, just be aware that those aren't warranted for server use including vSAN cache use. If VM cloning is going to be a common thing for you, that involves huge sustained writes, so TLC drives would likely be a better choice than QLC SSDs for such tasks. Gladly, as we head into 2021, the M.2 slot is very common these days, and is found in the popular low-cost mobile-processor-based Intel NUCs, and in the popular step-up to popular Supermicro SuperServers that have built-in out-of-band management, allowing placement in any room in the house that ethernet reaches, doing the entire install without the need for a local keyboard or mouse, such as the popular SuperServer Bundle. Note, if you're thinking about Tanzu or NSX-T, you'll likely want a system capable of at least 128GB of RAM, and gladly in 2021 should be many more relatively affordable systems that are capable of 256GB or even 512GB in both Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC. Consider 10G too, built-in to most Xeon D systems since 2015, allowing speedy NVMe to NVMe transfers like vMotion.

Paul Braren - Nov 16 2020 - Hardware Recommendations

Resource for the IT Administrator

Rough transcript that I wrote:


I'm Paul Braren from TinkerTry here, VMUG Advantage asked me to share some resources that IT administrators might find helpful. With a 2 minute limit on these clips, I'll choose to focus on just a few options. If you haven't ventured out on the web for a variety of technical challenges you might run into lately, you'll likely soon find forum discussions that have questions marked Answered in the recent-redesigned and now faster VMTN (VMware Technology Network). You can find some of my posts as pbraren dating all the way back 2007 there, but if you already have a my.vmware.com login, it's easy opt-in to join in on the forums at communities.vmwarew.com, where the benefits to logging in versus merely lurking are numerous, including automatic notification of replies to threads you choose to follow.

If Twitter is your thing, and you're in to home labs, in addition to following @VMUGAdv of course to hear about the latest new program announcements, and

Don't forget about VMUG (VMware User Groups) Communities, where you can join your local VMUG and get notified of events in your area. I recently joined then presented to the DC VMUG and the NJ VMUG, geography doesn't matter nearly as much these days.

Finally, as you grow your career, you may want to consider applying to the VMware vExpert program, a community of IT folks like myself who give back to the community by publicly presenting or blogging, or both, and learn from the vExperts by checking out vexpert.vmware.com/blogs as well.

That's all for now!

Paul Braren - Nov 16 2020 - Resource for the IT Administrator

My VCP story

Rough transcript that I wrote:


Back in 2004, I was doing professional services for a huge, international computer company. I had been doing some work with doing hands-on work like datacenter consolidation for a Fortune 50 company, moving 200 physical systems into VMs using VMware Converter. I was approached to write a Statement of Work for a large pharmaceutical company here in Connecticut. The catch was that this 6 month contract consulting opportunity required me to have my VCP. I believe it was a Friday when I called my manager and told him about the great opportunity, and the catch, and what it would cost. You see, I was already quite familiar with VMware since the GSX days in the early 2000s, but the bill for the last minute travel and class and test would top 5 grand. Of course my manager's answer was yes, so I booked my Sunday afternoon flights and off to 4.5 day boot camp I went. There was considerable pressure to pass, and it sure wouldn't have been a good look for me had I not studied hard in my home lab after that boot camp, to be ready to take then pass that VCP exam. Yes, I've had home lab equipment for decades.

Flash forward to today, and I know that there are a lot of Hands-on Labs opportunities for cloud based learning. But for me personally, I learn by doing, and I'm better motivated to enjoy that learning if I take on a practical project in my home that lends itself nicely to leaving VMs running 24x7 on a best-practices built vSphere cluster, where I blog as I go to help the lessons-learned sink in for myself, and for the benefit of others. I think you can now see how VMUG Advantage is helpful for me, to keep my skills going.

Paul Braren - Nov 16 2020 - My VCP Story, by Paul Braren

What I Use

Rough transcript that I wrote:
I'm Paul Braren from TinkerTry here, VMUG Advantage asked me to share a quick look at home home office and my home lab. You'll see I'm at a standing desk, it's manually lifted, I tend to work about 50% of the time standing, which also reduces the amount of under desk clutter that is visible. I also show you around my 4 Xeon D node vSphere 7.0 4 cluster briefly, along with my 48GB of RAM Monster Windows 10 VM where I produce all my TinkerTry content including editing and rendering 4K GoPro footage that really exercies those 12 cores, with some examples here.

Paul Braren - Nov 16 2020 - What I use in my home office and home lab

Subscribe or Renew

Why buy VMware Workstation Pro or VMware Fusion Pro for $199 separately? Oops, I did actually once, so no judgement here! That was before I learned that about the huge list of VMware products including VMware vSphere 7.0, vSAN, NSX-T, and many more from VMUG Advantage EVALExperience, and VMware Workstation and Fusion, for just $180 per year! That's $200, minus $20 if you remember to use TINKERTRY at checkout to get your 10% off.

Note, VMUG Advantage is part of the VMUG organization, so using the same login email address for both is best. The VMUG organization is not owned by VMware.

For reference, here's an earlier video that might be very useful:

Paul Braren - May 06 2020 - How to apply your VMUG Advantage EVALExperience vSphere 7 license keys to your home lab

Finally, here's my playlist of all videos related to VMUG Advantage.


See also at TinkerTry






See also