Year 13 As A Microsoft Valuable Professional Begins

I found out today that I have been renewed as a Microsoft Azure MVP! This is my 13th consecutive year as an MVP, with previous expertises covering Hyper-V and System Center Configuration Manager. It’s an honour to continue to be part of this program.

The profile of how I am contributing has changed a lot. In my early days, I wrote about everything I saw in my RSS feeds – and I mean everything. I was single with no responsibilities after work, and often living in a hotel with nothing better to do. I got involved in writing books (remember those?). I wrote my own whitepapers – a full week or two of work. Today, Microsoft does a much better (not perfect) job at documenting things. There are lots of people in the community sharing content today so things I might have written about are being done elsewhere and why create redundant content? ]Today, I have a wife and young family and they are my priority in my off-hours. So I have changed how I contribute to the community.

I prefer events where I can fly in out the same day, or at least limit my away time to a quick overnight visit. But that’s all ended for us lately, so the online medium has taken over, which makes me much more available. I haven’t written a tech book in years – my last book (on WS2012 Hyper-V) was when the content was relatively static; today, a book on any tech is out of date before you save your markdown file. I pick and choose my blog topics – I spend a LOT of time doing Azure networking/security and I’ve always skewed my blogging to what I work on. I’ve found even senior consultants/architects don’t know this stuff well so my recent posts have gone into the level-400 stuff on routing and security design/implementation that is usually misunderstood. A lot of my community contribution isn’t obvious.

The MVP program provides MVPs with direct contact with the program managers of the products in their expertise area, and other areas. I’ve taken advantage of that since my 2nd year in the program. There are things in the Hyper-V/clustering/storage world that I can point & say “I provided feedback to make that happen”. And that continues in Azure; like a lot of MVPs, I give feedback and end up in 1:1 email/Teams conversations with the relevant PMs. There are recent things that have launched (some still coming) that I have helped shape. That’s one of the cool parts of being a member of the program, being able to take my observations from work or feedback from customers/community members, and bring it to the product group to improve things for all of us. I think that’s where I’ve been most busy this last year.

There are cool things coming … some are there already but you might not know it! … and that’ll give us lots of things to talk about 🙂

Global ONLINE Azure Bootcamp

On one day every year, community members all across the planet get together at local events and host/attend sessions on Azure; this is the Global Azure Bootcamp. It’s been running on a Spring Saturday for years, and this year it is on April 27th.

Unfortunately, Microsoft Ireland wasn’t able to provide a venue so it looked like there would not be a local event in this part of Ireland. While I was at the recent MVP Summit, I threw out the idea of running an online version of the Global Azure Bootcamp … a Global Online Azure Bootcamp. The MVP Lead for UK& Ireland, Claire, loved the idea, ran off to the organisers of the global event, came back and said “do it!”.

So I did … I reached out to the speaker community and … was blown away by the response. So much so, that this will be a truly Global ONLINE Azure Bootcamp with content for all timezones:

  • We’re starting at 09:00 Perth/Bejing time
  • Finishing at 17:00 Seattle/Los Angeles time

The idea is that sessions will be pre-recorded and made available online on a scheduled basis on April 27th. That means anyone with Internet access anywhere on the planet can join this instance of the Global Azure Bootcamp – some of the presenters will actually be live-presenting elsewhere that day!

The content spans many tracks: dev, infrastructure, devops, data, AI, governance, security, and more. There really is something for everyone that is interested in Azure.

You can learn more here on the official event site.

This event has no sponsorship and it’s all be organized at the very last second. So here’s my ask:

Hopefully we’ll see (so to speak because we don’t have tracking) you there on the day!


Not A Hyper-V MVP Anymore

It’s with some sadness that I have to report that I am no longer a Hyper-V MVP.

11 years ago, I got and email to say that I had been awarded MVP status … in System Center Configuration Manager. Yes, I used to do a lot of stuff on ConfigMgr. But by the time I’d been awarded, that had all stopped and I had refocused on server stuff, particularly virtualization and especially Hyper-V. A year later, my expertise was changed to that of Hyper-V, which later merged into a larger grouping of Cloud & Datacenter Management.

Being a Hyper-V MVP changed my career. I had early access to information and I was able to pose questions about things to my fellow MVPs and the program managers of Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, networking, and Windows Server storage. I learned an incredible amount, and the many posts on this site and my books all had input from my time as an MVP. Job openings appeared because of the knowledge I obtained, and I got to write for And being an MVP opened up speaking opportunities at many events around the world, including TechEd Europe and the very first Ignite.

There’s so many people to thank from over the years. I won’t name names because I’ll offend someone  because I’ll surely forget someone. My (ex-)fellow Hyper-V MVPs are an awesome bunch. We all found are niche areas and I can remember many times we’d meet at a user group event and pool our knowledge to make each other better. In particular, I remember speaking at an event in Barcelona during the build-up to WS2012 and spending hours in a meeting room, going over things that we’d learned in that dizzyingly huge release.

I want to thank the Program Managers in Windows Server, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering & Storage, and Networking for the many hours of deep dive sessions, the answers they’ve given, the time they’ve taken to explain, the tips given, and the opportunity to contribute. Yes, I got a lot out of being a Hyper-V MVP, and I love looking at the feature list and thinking to myself, “me and <person X> were the ones that asked for that”. The PMs are a patient bunch … they have to be to deal with the likes of me … but they’re the ones that make the MVP program work. I’d love to tell stories, but you know … NDAs Smile

I knew that this day when I’d stop being a Hyper-V MVP was coming. Actually, that suspicion started back in the WS2012 era when I saw where MS was going with Hyper-V. The product was evolving for a market that is very small in Ireland. I knew I had to change, and that was triggered when Microsoft Ireland came to our office at work, and asked us to help develop the Azure business with Microsoft Partners. 4.5 years ago, I made the change, and I started to work with the largest Hyper-V clusters around.

Last year I was made a dual-expertise MVP with Azure being added. I work nearly 100% on Azure, and I have always written about what I work with. Anytime I find a solution, or learn something cool (that I can talk about) I write about it. I was re-awarded yesterday as an Azure MVP, but my Cloud & Datacenter Management expertise was dropped. I expected it because I simply had not earned the privilege over the last year to be re-awarded. I have a full and happy family life and I don’t have enough time to give a dual-expertise status what I think it deserves from me. I was not surprised, but I was a bit sad because being a Hyper-V MVP was a career changer for me and I made lots of great friends.

For those of you who are new to the program or who want to get involved in being an MVP, I have some advice: Make the most of it. The opportunity is awesome but you only get from it what you put in. Take part, learn, contribute, and share. It’s a virtuous cycle, and the more you do, the more you get out from it.

Being a part of the community hasn’t ended for me. I’ll still be writing and speaking about Azure. In fact, my employers are running a big community event on October 17th in Dublin (details to come soon) on Azure, Windows Server 2019, and more. And who knows … maybe I’ll still write some about Hyper-V every now and then Smile

Left to right: Tudor Damian, me, Carsten Rachfahl, Ben Armstrong (Hyper-V), Didier Van Hoye – Hyper-V MVPs with Ben at Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany 2017.

Speaking at Global Azure Bootcamp 2018, Birmingham UK

I will be speaking at the Birmingham Global Azure Bootcamp on April 21st. This is a global event, community-lead in most locations. Typically, you’ll find a mix of content from expert speakers; infrastructure, data & platform, for beginners and experts.

I have two sessions:

  • Building highly available VM solutions
  • Monitoring Azure IaaS

The event is in the The Priory Rooms Meeting & Conference Centre, and runs from 09:00 until 17:00.  When I last checked, only 6 of the tickets were left, so act fast if you plan to attend!

Year 10 as an MVP – Adding The Azure Expertise

Today was a stressful day – it was the annual date of my MVP renewal. The program has changed quite a bit in the last year, and this is the only renewal date from now on, so you might have seen more MVPs than usual sharing their nerves online.

I was extremely nervous, especially because my profile on the MVP directory went offline. I was sure that I was a goner. But later in the day my profile re-appeared, with a change.


To mark year 10 as a Microsoft Valuable Professional, I have been awarded with a double expertise:

  • Cloud & Datacenter Management (Hyper-V)
  • Microsoft Azure

And a little later in the afternoon, the notification email arrived:


My eldest daughter, who is 10 years old, had noticed my stress and wanted to congratulate me. I was banished from the kitchen and later I was presented with this cake – I’m a proud Dad:



These are fun times ahead for IT pros. My double status, with on-premises virtualization and public cloud, mirrors what’s going on in many of our careers, either already or pretty soon.  My career has changed so much over the years:

  • UNIX programmer
  • Have-a-go-hero Windows consultant
  • Re-inventing myself to be a better Microsoft engineer
  • Senior sysadmin in an international company
  • MVP in SCCM
  • Virtualization engineer
  • MVP in Hyper-V
  • Author
  • Technical sales
  • Writer
  • Lead on Azure IaaS
  • MVP in Azure

And now I can see somewhat of a return to development. I don’t see myself coding, but I’m heading to Ignite with the intention of spending as much time as posisble learning PaaS stuff, while trying to figure out what’s happening in Windows Server 1709, Azure IaaS developments, and soooo much more!

MVP Award – Year 9

I received word this afternoon that I was awarded MVP status by Microsoft for my 9th year.

What is an MVP? According to Microsoft:

For more than two decades, the Microsoft MVP Award has provided us an opportunity to say thank you to independent community leaders and to bring the voice of community into our technology roadmap through direct relationships with Microsoft product teams and events such as the MVP Global Summit.

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are community leaders who’ve demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. They share their exceptional passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

Back in 2008, I became an MVP with the SCCM expertise. My career got a jump start because now I had an inside channel to the people developing the products I was working with … sort of. I was actually working with Hyper-V then, and I was switched to the Hyper-V expertise (which was bundled into Cloud & Datacenter Management last year) in 2009.

I’ve been blogging, writing, podcasting, presenting, and teaching about Microsoft products, interacting with customers of all sizes from around the world. I’ve even had the privilege to shape some of Microsoft’s products with my feedback, based on community/customer interactions and my own hands-on experience. Trust me – knowing that cloud service X exists because I got angry (Aidan smash!), or feature Y in an on-premises product is there because me and some others were lucky enough to be in the right meeting … that’s pretty thrilling.

We’re in the middle of an era of change. Only 30 minutes ago I was recommending a complete change in something to my boss based on what Microsoft is doing, and on what I’m guessing that they’ll announce in the next year or so (no; I’m not telling). On-premises is shaking up, and the move to infrastructure in the cloud is accelerating. As an MVP, I’m privileged to be in the thick of it, getting briefed on things, having my opinion sought out, maybe impacting features by feedback, and getting an early education that I’m able to then share with you.

I’m honoured to be awarded for my 9th award as an MVP, and look forward to what lies in the year ahead.

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Hyper-V Amigos Chatting At Microsoft Ignite 2015

Didier Van Hoye, myself and Carsten Rachfahl (all Hyper-V MVPs) were at Microsoft Ignite last week and we met up at the end to record a chat between the 3 of us, where we discussed some of our highlights from the conference. You can catch this video on the Hyper-V Amigos site.


Oh yeah, it was painful watching myself in this video 🙂 That was the last time Carsten will let me hold a microphone!

The TechEd North America 2014 Hyper-V Amigo Selfie Game

The following dodgy looking people will be attending TechEd North America 2014 in Houston next week. They will be attending sessions, wandering the halls, and there’s even a speaker in the bunch. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take a “selfie” photograph with ALL FIVE of the below Hyper-V amigos, all of whom are Microsoft MVPs. Take each of the 5 photos and put them together in one image (easy to do in MS Paint) and then tweet me (@joe_elway) with the image.

Tip: the funnier, the better. The use of alcohol won’t hurt.

The best entry will win a copy of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation And Configuration Guide.



  • You cannot be a Microsoft MVP.
  • Photos must be taken between Monday 12th 2014 and Thursday 15h 2014.
  • You must have taken “selfie” photos with all 5 of the above Hyper-V amigos.
  • Both you and the Hyper-V amigo must be in each photo.
  • A member of the Hyper-V product group/team cannot win – that would be too easy! But funny entries are still welcome 🙂

May the looniest entrant win!

Please retweet this, post on facebook, post on any social media, and reblog – you have my permission to reuse the content of this post in the context of this game.

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UK & Ireland MVPs Present – Microsoft Cloud OS, An Online Event


Our daring UK/IE MVP Lead, Claire Smyth, has organized an online event running on March 31st and April 1st to educate about the Microsoft Cloud OS. “What’s that?” you say … well that means you need to learn about how Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Azure, and more can be combined to make private, public, and hybrid cloud IaaS solutions, tailored to your specific needs.

Most of the presenters, such as myself, are MVPs, and we are (as I have to remind some people sometimes) independent experts:


This is an event presented by UK and Irish MVPs, but everyone is welcome. Note that the times are UK/Irish, so add 5 hours from US Eastern or subtract 1 hour from Central European.

The agenda for the two days is as follows:

31 March: Transform the datacentre



MVP Speakers


Transform the Datacentre with Microsoft Cloud OS

Patrik Bihammar


What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Aidan Finn


What’s New in System Center 2012 R2?

Gordon McKenna


What’s New in Windows Azure?

Richard Astbury


PowerShell – Desired State

Jonathan Noble


Windows Server 2003 Migration – App Migration

Paul Keely


The hot topic of the moment: Storage Spaces 

Patrick Lownds


Find out more about SCOM

Kevin Greene


Understand how to use Service Manager

Steve Beaumont


Understand more about Azure Pack

Damian Flynn

1 April: Empower People Centric IT



MVP Speakers


What is People Centric IT?

Stuart Leddy


Why Windows 8.1 and Devices Overview

Mike Halsey


Windows XP End of Support – Why is this important to you?

Mike Halsey


Operating System Deployment in SCCM

Raphael Perez


Desktop and App Delivery with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure VDI /RDS

Robert Marshall


Unified Device Management with SCCM + Windows Intune

Gordon McKenna


Exploring Bring your own device (BYOD) vs. Choose your own device (CYOD)

Simon Skinner


Access to corporate apps and data with work folders/dynamic access control/RMS/Direct Access/VPN

David Nudelman


Identity Management with WS 2012 R2/AD/ADF

Simon Skinner

The sessions are pre-recorded – I just finished editing my one. They will be released on a YouTube channel for each time slot.

To view the MVP videos, please: