4 data-aware lessons we’ve learned from VMUGs

While our executive team has been on the move at industry events in recent months, the rest of us have been equally busy attending VMware user group (VMUG) meetups, virtualization technology user group (VTUG) events and local technology user group sessions in order to meet face to face with the folks who live and breathe virtualization. With so much innovation going on in the technology space, it’s great to see these pockets of regional communities sharing information and supporting one another in the process.

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Most virtualization projects are fueled by VMware, but user events give attendees a chance to get acquainted with specialized vendors in the space and learn how their products can fit into a virtualized ecosystem. The relationships formed at many of these events have an intimate feel rather than a corporate one, and they lead to attendees having insightful, detailed discussions about virtualization technology and the modern data center. Although the VMUG season is far from over, we’re already noticing some common threads running through our conversations at these meetings. These build on some trends we’ve noticed at previous VMUGs, and they give us a sense of what’s coming next in data-aware storage, security and more.

vmug 1Most people don’t know what’s in their data, and they don’t have an easy way to find out. Some prospects tell us they use manual strategies to audit the contents of their storage, asking each employee in their organization if they’re storing financial or confidential information. Not only is it unlikely that every employee will tell the truth, this practice can’t account for oversights or misplaced files, and as a result it won’t help companies improve security.


There’s a valuable sense of community at regional VMUG chapter meetings. VMUG user conferences (UserCons) are unlike any other industry event. The audience usually consists of IT directors in addition to system administrators, and everyone in the room is looking at innovation from a wide perspective while getting acquainted with new solutions of which they were previously unaware. However, our favorite exchanges with users are the conversations we can start at a busy VMUG UserCon and pick up a few weeks later during a regional user meetup. Regional chapter meetings are smaller in nature and give end users and vendors a chance to get into more detail about processes, goals and the bigger questions that industry solutions are trying to solve.

Integrations and automations are high priorities for users. We’re lucky to have a wide network of partners who can provide specialized support and integration potential for users with unique requests about data-aware technology. Additionally, one of the top IT goals we hear from our customers and prospects is increased automation in the data center. If users can create a script and automate a process, they can take it off their plates and greatly reduce the chance of errors and data exposures finding their way in.

Data-aware storage lends itself to sparking “a-ha” moments. One of the best parts of virtualization user events is their ability to foster technical, engaging discussions. Since nearly everyone in the room is well-versed in technology, you get a chance to cut out any advertising and get into the nuts and bolts behind the solutions that provide real value to IT pros and the business users they serve. That’s why we love seeing the “a-ha” moment when users ask questions like, “You can really show me my dormant data?” or “It’s that easy to see who’s accessing certain files?”


What was your first “a-ha” moment about data-aware storage? Let us know in the comments, or catch us at an upcoming event.                                               

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David Stevens

David Stevens is a Technical Marketing Manager at DataGravity. For two decades, David worked as a systems admin, doing everything from taking support calls to building out IT infrastructure to architecting new storage environments. Prior to joining DataGravity, he created technical content and evangelized storage solutions for Dell.