Simon Gallagher is the Lead VDI Architect at a global financial institution.
What is your life like outside of VMUG and VMware?
I am based in the UK and have two small human children, a 10 year-old daughter and 7-year old son. I like fast cars and recently built a Ferrari. OK, it was a Ferrari made out of Lego, a hobby my family is somewhat obsessed with and one hard to hide as I have engineered an entire “Lego wall” of my home dedicated to the endeavor. I am also a compulsive tech geek and to prove it have constructed a temple of geekdom (home lab) in my garden and blog about it frequently.
While getting my degree in Computer Science at the University of Brighton, I worked nights in pubs and during the holidays delivered parcels across London on my bike – fun but lethal! I’ve gotten a lot older and much wiser since then, and respect traffic lights a great deal more.
Tell us a little about your background with VMware:
During my career I have worked mainly with Microsoft & VMware technologies although I am conversant with other flavours of OS and tech, particularly Linux and Open Source projects.
I worked as a consultant for a service provider called ioko and later for VMware as part of the cloud practice in EMEA delivering cloud solutions based on vCloud Director and vSphere technologies. Since 2011 I have been a freelance infrastructure architect specialising in virtualization and cloud computing with experience in the banking, media, retail and technology space.
I’m pleased to say that my work within the virtualization community and my blog, vINF.net, has been widely recognized. I’ve been vExpert award recipient every year since the inception of the award.
My certifications include: TOGAF 9.1, MCSE, MCSA, MCTS, MCITP:EA, VCP3/4/5, VCAP4/5-DCD, VCAP4/5-DCA, VMware Enterprise Administrator (VI3), VMware vExpert 2009-13, studying towards VCDX (slowly).
How did you get involved in VMUG?
It was perhaps 2006, 2007, I was working for a service provider at the time — we were doing quite a lot of VMware projects, building shared customer platforms. A colleague I worked with mentioned VMUG London and I tagged along. Honestly I thought it would be a bunch of guys standing around feeling a bit awkward, but I was quite surprised, in a good way. I saw many people that are very well known and regarded in the industry; you would think they would be a bit standoffish and hard to talk to. It was the flip opposite. Everyone was extremely friendly and approachable. There were a large variety of people, all quite willing to talk; it was easy to get integrated. Three or four meetings later, I presented a Home Lab project to the group and have been attending meetings and sharing ever since.
Why is VMUG Important to You?
The VMUG community is important to me because it is about people coming together to talk about real life projects they are working on. Meeting people in similar industries and sharing problems and tips and tricks creates synergy and builds relationships. You leave smarter than you were before you walked in the door. This type of community is one we should all aspire to live in everyday, helping one another and gaining from the experience.
Why did you become a leader?
It’s difficult to find people that put their hand up that will come talk about what they have done. I was always willing to present and collaborate, so it happened a bit by default when a vacancy opened up. I thought it would be quite good to make sure we continued to have someone looking after the community content and also wanted to help other people as people before have helped me.
What do you hope to achieve as a VMUG London Chairman & Local Leader Member?
The “U” in VMUG is about Users – the community wants to hear what other users are doing. Linda Smith, David Simpson, Chris Dearden and I are the VMUG London Local Leaders and we team up to make sure it is all about the member’s experience, we are also responsible for the annual UK UserCon event. While we absolutely appreciate our sponsors and VMware contributors, the peer-to-peer stuff is what we are all about. Our goal is to ensure the integrity of what VMUG stands for, as a Users Group, stays intact.
Are you a VMUG Advantage Member?
Oh yes, my office is a fancy shed at the end of my garden, I have a large home lab environment and have used the VMUG Advantage EVALExperience since its inception. The EVALExperience provides evaluation licenses for a selection of VMware solutions, for personal use in a non-production environment, I use this and other VMUG Advantage member benefits quite extensively.
VMUG Advantage membership is relatively inexpensive and easily pays for itself if you buy a few VMware exams and go to VMworld. As I’m self-employed I find the training, exam and VMworld discounts to be quite helpful.
What advice would you give to VMUG members?
I say this all the time – VMUG simply can’t happen without member participation. Unless members raise their hand to share and talk about what they are doing, it can’t work. Put your hand up and offer to share something – it doesn’t have to be a lengthy presentation. Start sharing and giving back to the community. You will find the more you give the more you get out of it in return.