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vHeroes Companies part 1 PlateSpin

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clip_image001In my field days I worked with some great companies that helped me do my job. Some of those companies really excelled in there service and support. One of those companies was Platespin. Platespin was founded in 2003 by Stephen Pollack. Based in Toronto Canada the company grew to 150 people worldwide in 2006.

In the early days of virtualization the VMware portfolio lacked some proper tooling. Building a virtual Infrastructure was exciting and fun to do but migrating physical servers to a virtual platform was challenging! In search for proper tooling I noticed Platespin PowerConvert later known as Migrate. This tool made it possible to migrate servers from the physical to the virtual platform. Second a tool to investigate if a group of Physical servers were proper candidates to migrate. This tool is called Platespin PowerRecon or Recon. Platespin Recon remotely gathers workload utilization statistics for a clear and concise picture of the application services running in the data center and how their resources are being used.

The first time I used the tools in the field was at one of the major power companies in the Netherlands. Our Job was to size and Migrate a 600 server datacenter. We had some challenges to get Recon in production and reached out to Platespin. The datacenter was located near Maastricht and help came from the UK. Platespin support send a UK based SE to Maastricht to support us. I picked up Mark Round at Airport Maastricht and was his Chauffeur for a day 😉 Within a few hours we were up and running with Recon and on our way to migrate the data center. Mark and I kept in contact for a long time. He helped me out on several projects in the Netherlands when Platespin did not had a local based SE

Mark Round:

Boarding my 2nd flight of the day; I jumped excitedly onboard a KLM City Hopper heading from AMS – Amsterdam Schiphol flying to Airport Maastricht to meet with (who at the time) was a complete stranger called Peter.
For me, (apart from the technology) meeting new people was one of the coolest things about my job – while working for a startup company like PlateSpin. Every day was fresh, exciting, sometimes challenging – but always satisfying.
When Peter met me at the airport – I knew he was cool ! I thought to myself at the time; this was going to be fun, working together!
It seems a bit peculiar to me nowadays to say something like "Back in the ‘good old days’ of Virtualization Assessments, and Server Consolidation projects"….. when in 2013 – virtualization is an accepted commodity; and no longer the mystical / dark art that it once was.
The first project that Peter and I worked on together was so successful, it was turned into a case study and published on the PlateSpin website. So, we obviously did something good ! Eh? Peter?
Over the years at PlateSpin – I become very fond of working in the Netherlands – it was (for sure) one of the best countries for finding the best talented partners in the industry (; with really knowledgeable guys….( and Peter was the perfect example of such fine field talent ! A perfect balance of technical & business skills and relationship building. Many years (..and projects later) – as I reminisce about the ‘good old days’; life back then was great, and while Peter is no longer a stranger to me (..or my Chauffeur) *grin*, I made a new friend in Peter van den Bosch !
I’m thankful to Peter for his memories of our 1st ever project / meeting – and for nominating PlateSpin as a vHero Company!!!!

clip_image003Mark Round was the second Platespin EMEA Employee. Started as a System engineer and became the EMEA SE Team leader. He left the company in October 2008.

Currently employed as SSE EMEA for SteelEye Technology.

One of the really impressive features in Platespin Convert was the ability to migrate servers form physical to physical platforms. I was involved in a project that migrated a 125 server datacenter from old IBM servers in Den Bosch to a new Datacenter with HP hardware. I still think this was an impressive project!

Me and one of my colleagues Folker van ‘t Hoff migrated hundreds or maybe thousands of servers. In one of the projects we worked at a banking company in the Netherland. We worked evening and early morning shifts. After solving some challenges in the P2V process our production was so high that the company could not get the physical servers removed from the datacenter during day time that we migrated in the evening and morning shifts. It was hard work but also great fun.

Folker van ‘t Hoff:

Peter and myself, both consultants for PQR in the Netherlands, have migrated and assisted in migrating thousands of our customers’ servers with Platespin Migrate (previously Platespin PowerConvert). For instance in 2006 we P2V’ed more then 600 servers for a large Energy company in the Netherlands. Most other migrations were, as can be expected, also from Physical to Virtual, however we also had the odd P2P project. For instance the project where we migrated about 300 Physical HP servers in Den Bosch to Physical IBM servers in Tilburg about 30 km (18 mi) away.

In those days, we also sold a lot of V2P licenses to customers who had applications with a lack of support for virtualization, as well as to customers, scared of losing performance running their applications virtually. The latter type of customers were insisting to buy V2P licenses, unfortunately not every customer can be convinced that they may never need a product feature. In the end we rarely had customers using their V2P licenses, for most the peace of mind was worth the money.

Before VMware Capacity Planner was on the market, we had great success with Platespin (Power)Recon for Capacity Planning and Sizing of our Virtualization projects. Specifically in the early days of virtualization we did hundreds of sizings with (Power)Recon. Although we no longer use this product for VMware environments, we still use it for Hypervisor independent sizings.

Because Platespin was a pretty small company it was easy to raise feature requests. The guys at Platespin were always very accommodating, as most of these feature requests were implemented in the next available release. Which made our job a lot easier.

All in all, these projects meant hard work and many nights away from home and family. Fortunately we sometimes were lucky enough to be able to arrange an outstandingly good hotel, like this sixteenth century five star renovated farmhouse with a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, with these type of hotels we weren’t going to tell our management that there were other hotels in the vicinity.

clip_image005Folker is still working as a consultant at PQR. clip_image006

The Platespin Company kept growing. Some point in time education became more important for the distributers en partners. The distributer in the Netherlands was CDG. The company I work for PQR and CDG worked together closely. To excel as a Platespin Partner we participated in the certification program. We did the exam and all certified as a CPSA Certified Platespin Analist.

Another example of awesome service and working with partners. A big power company in the Netherlands based in Zwolle was looking for support and advise how to P2V there servers. My schedule was full so I made an evening appointment. During this evening session I walked into some challenges during my demo. Platespin hired a local based SE a view months ago Patrick van de Veen. I had is cell phone number and give him a call. Within minutes he called me and supported me while painting his new home. Happy costumer and another great service performance.

Patrick, PQR and me worked close for 2 years in his role as Platespin Specialist.

Patrick van der Veen:

Early 2008 I joined PlateSpin as a local System Engineer supporting both our partners and end-users.

One of our dedicated partners was PQR with whom we worked on several virtualization projects where the customers had the requirement to migrate not a few but hundreds of physical servers into virtual machines.

At that time there were very few options out there to efficiently migrate that amount of servers into VM’s.

At PlateSpin we had developed a solution which actually was able to pull off a project like this with an advanced migration solution that actually turned into much more over time, as we did see customers didn’t just want to do P2V migrations but actually wanted to do anywhere to anywhere migration or even P2V protection with ongoing replication.

Peter and PQR noticed the capabilities we had at PlateSpin very early in the virtualization adoption and we worked together closely on quite a few of their projects.

But of course in such complex projects things didn’t always work as planned so with the joined forces of both PQR and PlateSpin we could develop a migration strategy for their largest accounts but also improve our software making it even more powerful for everyone to use.clip_image008

Patrick van der Veen was the first EMEA Holland based System Engineer. He left the company april2010. Currently employed as senior Systems Engineer @ Varonis


Working with Platespin was fun and sometimes an adventure. Support and service were outstanding and the people I worked with were passionate to make every business deal a success.


Thank you for the Platespin adventures!


In 2008 Platespin became a part of Novell. I never really understand this acquisition but that is my personal opinion. Now the Platespin products are part of NetIQ.

The other Platespin heroes:



John Stetic: Platespin Sr. Director Products and Solutions (Co – Founder)
Currently employed as Product Management Leader at Eloqua




Thomas Howie: Platespin Territory Account Manager
Currently employed as Senior Sales EMEA at Lakeside Software

The vHero Company’s

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While digging through my archives to find input for the vHeroes series i stumbled across a couple of Company’s and great products. The first vHero Company wil be Platespin.

here are some examples!

Logo Platespin





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vHeroes part 2 Richard Garsthagen

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In the vHeroes series I present you vHero 2:


Richard Garsthagen.


The first time I met Richard was in 2005 during a VMware training at CDG in Zoetermeer. image

Richard was running a train the trainer session to get CDG on speed as a VMware Trainings Center. What I remember from that training was the bag full of gadgets Richard had on him. The latest phones and other cool devices came out of this bag and anybody could play with them! His love for gadgets was obvious. Richard loves virtualization and is a true Evangelist.

After having worked for almost 2 years as a VMware technical trainer in EMEA, Richard moved to another position. In his new role as a Technical Marketing Manager for VMware, he still had the ability to educate people about VMware Virtualization.

Question to Richard: Are you still into gadgets nowadays? What did you like most about training people on VMware?

Yes I am (of course) still into gadgets, but not only just buying them anymore, but also making them with Arduinos and Raspberry Pis.

I really enjoy to deliver training in general. When I was younger, I even taught figure skating to kids for a few years and now-a-days I train kids in my free time on lego mind storms and arduinos. Training people on new things, like in the beginning of the virtualization revolution and now about cloud is just great.

This is Richard’s home lab

Richard’s recent project posted on Facebook this week,

The first 4 units coming off my small production line of #vmware #vsphere monitor boxes

I Moved from Centric Systems & Services to PQR in 2005. In my new job I worked dedicated on VMware products. In that position I was able to visit the Technical Solutions Exchange (TSX) VMware organized in 2006. The location? Disneyland Paris!

TSX events, in some way the predecessor of VMworld, were different from VMworld because these events were reserved for VMware Certified Professionals (VCP). The goal was to provide each VCP advanced technical sessions. What I specifically liked about these events was the small scale and the market place where companies like Vizioncore, Dunes and Platespin gave acte de présence.

Richard was, together with Diane Paternoster and Esther Westerweele, responsible for the content and organization of both TSX as well as VMworld 2007 & 2008 in Cannes, France.

image                                                     image

Esther Westerweele:

Richard Garsthagen! I really like him! I enjoyed working with him during my time at VMware. We organized the VMware Forum Tours and three VMworld Europe events. Without Richard these events world not have been so successful but he could not have do it without me 😉 But I am sure he will not agree on that. Richard is very stubborn, but that adorns him tremendously. Because he is so passionate, he can sometimes get carried away. He has a passion for everything concerned with innovations and focused completely on developing his skills. An example is Digital Signage, Richard introduced this six years ago at VMworld that was very progressive!

Several times I invited Richard to explain the VMware technology and goals to my team (het EMEA Programs team). Richard has the special ability to explain something complicated in a way my mamma would understand what he is talking about. On the other site he is also able to go deep in technical stuff when the audience is asking for it. And that’s is a gift that not many people have!!

Question to Richard: how much time does it take to organize an EMEA event? What was your favorite location? What did you like most TSX or VMworld EMEA?

The years I run TSX and VMworld, we made all decisions ourselves in a very small team, this was really a great working environment and allowed us to very efficiently organize these events. But a show like VMworld would take like 6 months in working hours, especially things like the hands-on labs consumed huge amount of time. My favorite location, that is Cannes of course J

In 2006 and 2007 I attended some VMware Authorized Consultancy (VAC) courses around Europe. Together with Herco van Brug we visited Paris, London and Brussels for a range of accreditations. In London the location was the EMEA VMware Head Office in Frimley. Often we ran into Richard in the office or on the airportand most times it ended up in a long conversation about (what else!) virtualization. During one of these meetings on the airport Herco and I almost missed our flight because of this 😉

In 2007 Richard also teamed up with Jeremy van Doorn to shoot some VMware demo videos. These videos are still available on YouTube. Educated in Communications and Journalism Richard was also involved in VMworld TV; interviewing interesting people in the vIndustry.


Instruction video VMware infrastructure 3 with Jeremy van Doorn

VMworld TV 2011 Interview with Steve Herrod

In 2007 Richard started as Senior Evangelist at VMware. In this role he travelled around the world visiting Seminars to promote VMware technologies.


Question to Richard: How much flights to the US have you made in your days as an Evangelist? Where you ever involved in software development at VMware? If yes, what was the product? What person impressed you most at VMware?

I have been travelling for the last 15 years for Citrix, VMware and Oracle, all US based companies, so I have a Huge amount of US border control stamps in my passports J I was never directly involved with software development (besides the tools I write myself) but was always the EMEA feedback proxy between customers and our product management. VMware has a lot a really smart developers, people like Kit Colbert are impressive in skills and their personality.


2011 Richard left VMware and started as Director Cloud Business Development at Oracle. I am not working with Oracle Products so we did not meet that much since then. Surprisingly I walked into Richard in San Francisco during VMworld 2012. His love for the VMware technologies is still there and he was running the booth for Oracle.

Question to Richard: What would you like to share about virtualization at Oracle?

At Oracle I do not focus on Virtualization, but Cloud. Meaning helping organizations change their IT departments to became service providers and help people consume services directly from Oracle. That is where Oracle’s strength sits, not just offer IaaS, but also Database as a Service, Middleware as a Service, Database Applications as a Service, Testing as a Service and more.

Richard is the author/owner/scripter and more at Richard published some cool tools that I actually used. For Example VM Juggler for test en demo at customers and VMware CPU Host info to look into the CPU information of your ESX Hosts. You could say that Richard is a Super Geek but not the shy and silent version on the contrary more the opposite.

Scott Herold said: If you look up “geek” in a Dutch dictionary, I’m convinced that it’s just a picture of Richard Garsthagen.

Question to Richard: I noticed the cool stuff you are working on at Facebook, what project are you most proud of? You share your knowledge on your website what does the community give you in return?

The last few years I really turned into a “maker”. I made (and still am improving) an underwater ROV, Analog monitor box for vSphere, Split-Flap displays, furniture and much more. I am most proud off all my projects J As a completely NON educated technician, but just with Google on my side, I learned to code for microprocessors, develop circuits board, operate 3d printers, CNC machine and plastic injection molding. I just love technology J

Hero facts:

  • Age – 39
  • Years in Industry – 16 (Started proper job when I was 23, but was already Novell admin at age 11 for my father’s company).
  • Family – 2 Step Sons (10, 6), 1 Son (1), Lovely GF, Live-In Au Pair, 2 Chickens and 2 Rabbits.

vHeroes series update

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Hallo everybody! Thank you for the comments, tweets and blog articles. I started to work on the vHeroe interviews 2 and 3. Two other icons in the vIndustry accepted my invite to participate in the project. Stay tuned!

vHeroe’s part 1 Scott Herold

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clip_image002In the vHeroe’s series I am kicking off with Scott Herold.





When I started implementing larger VMware Infrastructures back in 2006 I was looking for a guide to support me in my job. And this is what I found!


The book of books for me in those days was “VMware ESX Server, Advanced Technical Design Guide” and helped me out on several occasions. The book was written by two US based consultants: Scott Herold and Ron Oglesby. Both worked at a company called RapidApp. The book was published by Brian Madden. The Technical Editors where Stephen Beaver, Michael Burke and Ken Cline, all well-known names in the vIndustry!

Question to Scott: In your RapidApp days working with Ron, how did you came to the idea to start writing books?

There really wasn’t much of a process behind it. I think I had been there for just over a week and had spent a few days with Ron on a contract. We were sitting down in the office and he just kind of looked at me and asked “You want to write a book?”, and I simply answered “Sure.” Fortunately Ron had previous writing experience in the past with the Terminal Services Advanced Technical Design Guide with Brian Madden.

Later a new version of a similar book was published, it was called VMware Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide. Both books are still available at Amazon!

As a consultant working in a small country like The Netherlands for a company with about 80 employees in 2006, I was not expecting any real live contact with any of these guys. But guess what happened!

In the search for a better solution to backup virtual machines I was looking at a product called Vizioncore vRanger. The first time I noticed Vizioncore vRanger was in September 2005 at VMware TSX in Vienna. I skipped one of the sessions and had a long talk about VMware en Backup Challenges with David Bieneman. At that time I worked for a company called Centric Systems & Services.

Vizioncore was founded by David Bieneman. David has the skills to find the right people to help his company grow. And guess who started at Vizioncore? Scott Herold began working as Director R&D. Scott Bennett was responsible for EMEA sales and partners. He introduced me to Scott Herold.

Question to Scott: at a point in time you decided to work at Vizioncore. Why did you choose for Vizioncore? How did you like working with guys like me? And what where the highlights of those days?

I ultimately started looking for the next opportunities in virtualization. At the time, VMware was still in its infancy compared to where it is now. Through consulting I really wasn’t pushing any limits on what was possible with the technology, so I started looking for companies that were doing new and innovative things. I had been a fan of Vizioncore’s early work, but I was really attracted to a product they had at the time called “vCharter”, which was a very early stage version of a monitoring product. They were local to me in Chicago, and after a few meetings, I was on board.

In regards to working with a global partner network, I think that is what ultimately kept me humble. I managed to learn a lot while I was consulting, and I was always happy to share what I learned. I found that our partners had that same attitude, and the amount of knowledge that ended up being shared between me and a wide range of partners at a global level ultimately gave us a great competitive advantage in the work we were doing.

I was young and I loved the international travel. It was an experience I would never have had the opportunity to achieve otherwise. In the early stages, I was still a very geeky, very shy person, and in many ways, I still am, but forcing myself in front of people to present, share and create new ideas, and sit down and have a few drinks is ultimately what turned me into the person I am today.

The first time I visited the US was in November 2006: VMworld Los Angeles. As a newcomer to large US IT Events I planned about 6 to 8 sessions a day (that’s crazy, never do that!). One of the sessions I attended was a Vizioncore presentation by David Bieneman and Scott Herold.


After VMworld, back at the office I translated and presented the new backup method introduced by Vizioncore to our sales guys. It was a great success! Scott helped me out with some presentation materials and supported me with some installation and configuration issues.

Question to Scott: we were successful with this method. How did it go in the rest of the world? And why do you think that the Dutch guys where early adaptors?

Any time I am working with new employees or a new company that hasn’t had global experience yet, I always make the joke that “If you want to just do something that is cool and fun, the Dutch will buy it whether or not it has business value, so sell it there first.” While I’m sure we see the same business processes in The Netherlands as we do everywhere else, I think that the majority of the Dutch market is what most Americans would consider Small Business. That is not a bad thing, as it provides a lot of flexibility in solutions that are ultimately adopted. From the individuals that I’ve met from the Netherlands, I also think that there is a very inquisitive nature, in which the Dutch simply like things that take geeky to an extreme. In fact, if you look up “geek” in a Dutch dictionary, I’m convinced that it’s just a picture of Richard Garsthagen.

At some point Vizioncore ownership was partially transferred to Quest. A few months later another company with a strong focus on tools for the vIndustry Invertus also became part of Quest. Both companies build products to support Virtual Infrastructures and Quest decided to merge the Invertus products with the Vizioncore product line. Scott “switched” employers for a couple of months.


The “new” Vizoncore products where vControl, vConverter, vMigrator, vOptimizer WasteFinder and more. I did not look at all the products, but some of them where really interesting. In August 2007 I was working on a “Virtualization Migration Solutions” Feature Comparison Matrix. For this matrix, I needed a lot of information about the product and not all the companies wanted to help me out to find the info I needed. Scott helped me with all the required info and on top of that also did a review after the document was finished.

Question to Scott: What did you like most from your Invirtus period?

At Invirtus, I was responsible for transitioning the vConverter and vOptimizer products into “Enterprise” products. The original Invirtus product line was a set of desktop products focused on VMware Workstation. It was also my first, and definitely not my last, experience with Mergers and Acquisitions for Quest, which is definitely what I enjoyed most about this particular role. We ultimately used the Invirtus technology to create the Enterprise “vOptimizer” product to shrink the size of Windows VMs that had expanded natively over a period of time. We also turned vConverter into an enterprise product, and ultimately used its core technology to create the P2V DR Module for vRanger Pro. After the Invirtus products were integrated into the Vizioncore go to market model, I transitioned back over to Quest.

Question to Scott: When you moved back to Quest, how did vEcoShell start?

Quest had a product called PowerGUI, which was a visual scripting and management tool for PowerShell. I started to work internally with Dmitry Sotnikov and Kirk Munro on leveraging VMware PowerCLI’s capabilities. We ultimately created a branch of the PowerGUI code and packaged it specifically for a Virtualization user, called it “vEcoShell”, and made it available for free. We managed to ramp up to about 25,000 unique users in the matter of 16 months, but we ultimately struggled to find a way to make money with the product. As I hit the limits on what I was able to develop with the resources I had, we ultimately had to make the choice to kill the vEcoShell project, and merge it back into PowerGUI. With Dmitry, Kirk, and myself are all no longer with Quest/Dell, PowerGUI has slowed its development, although it recently came out with the 3.5 upgrade on January 21st this year.

When Vizioncore as a brand disappeared a few years ago and the products became part of the Quest portfolio, Scott moved to other roles and ultimately made the move to Dell after Quest. We still meet during forums and seminars and I followed the creation of his Man Cave and virtually smelled the ribs he is famous for 😉

Since 3 years, I am not working in a technical role anymore, but I still need to be updated on what is happening in the virtual industry. Whenever I need information I am sure that Scott will send me in the right direction. Last year Scott invited me to participate in a VMworld presentation, unfortunately we were not selected. We always meet at VMworld and I hope to continue this in the upcoming years.

Scott is starting his own business Umbraworks and I am sure it will be successful!

Question to Scott: what is your plan with Umbraworks?

At this point, I’m still putting the final pieces in place before I go public. Ultimately, the greatest times I have had in my professional career are when I’m having a direct impact on the front line IT administrator. My goal is to focus on making the administrator as productive as possible when performing their daily duties. I plan on enhancing what they do, how they accomplish it, and ultimately how their workload is managed day to day, and week to week.

Scott I wish you all the best in your personal and business goals and thank you for your support over the years.

Hero facts:

  • Age – 34
  • Years in Industry – 13
  • Family – Wife and 2 Year Old Son
  • Favorite BBQ Restaurant – The Shed, Ocean Springs, MS, USA
  • Top 3 Places to have a beer
    1. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Leidseplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    3. Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL, USA

Icons of the Virtualization industry

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During the last decade I was fortunate to witness the virtual revolution. First as a System Engineer at Centric Systems & Services and later as a Consultant at PQR. I did lot’s off awesome project mainly in the Local and Central Government in the Netherlands. During the implementations and troubleshooting I came in contact with al lot of great people to! As we all know the vCommunity is a strong community!
This year I will bring a tribute to those vHeros that helped me during this decade. First up is Scott Herold!
Stay tuned!

2012 in review

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.