My blog is primarily about music now – and used to be more about technology. As such I’ve consolidated all those technology pages into a single page here. At the moment music isn’t able to bring home the bacon so I still have “the day job” which is fine. Part of me is happy with music NOT being something that has to provide an income. I guess you could call me an amateur – which sadly has a stigma attached to it of not being as good as professional. Sadly, that rather takes away from the romantic nature of the meaning of the word “amateur” The earliest sense of amateur (“one that has a marked fondness, liking, or taste”) is strongly connected to its roots: the word came into English from the French amateur, which in turn comes from the Latin word for “lover” (amator). I guess that why still say that folks do music for the love it.
Anyway, for those with an interest in technology or should that techno-archaeology which is a technology that is so old – you have to wonder if this content is still of any value!
NOTE: I’ve not written a book since 2015, and I probably won’t write another – most of my content is now free, but miles out of date now…
I first started writing in a longer form about virtualization on my old “RTFM Education” blog around the ESX2/vCenter1 blog. These legacy guides are still available in the “Guides” section of the older RTFM Education site. After a while I graduated to writing books – sometimes with a publisher, other times using self-publishing websites like lulu.com. I have a “Spotlight” page over on lulu.com. Below are links to my books in reverse release order – some of which are now free because I now regard them as “legacy”. Where possible once a product has been superseded I like to release the old content for free. That’s not always possible when dealing with commercially available material. If you click the thumbnails you it will take you to the relevant distribution location:
Building End-User Computing Solutions with VMware View (Free To Download/At cost for hardcopy)
Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 (Commercial)
Administering VMware View 4.5 (Free)
Administrating VMware Site Recovery Manager 4.0 [English] (Free)
Administrando Site Recovery Manager 4.0 [Spanish] (Free)
VMware vSphere4 Implementation (Commercial)
Administrating Site Recovery Manager 1.0 (Free)
Administrando VMware Site Recovery Manager 1.0 Actualización 1 (Free)
VMware Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide (Free)
Nested VSAN Template:
This OVA template allows you to run VMware ESXi inside a VM running on top a physical VMware ESXi host. It’s specifically configured to allow for clustered VMware vSphere VSAN configuration. It implements ALL the performance enhancements implemented in vSphere 6.5 U1, and has been tested with vSphere 6.7. This template currently will NOT work with VMware Fusion and has NOT been tested on VMware Workstation.
For more information consult this blogpost:
The Ultimate Deployment Appliance:
The UDA is a Linux-based virtual appliance – which is a PXE/TFTP/Web-front end system designed to deploy many different operating systems – that can be used to deploy ESX4/5 in a scripted installation process. You can see like a poor-mans Alteris or HP Rapid Deployment Pack (RDP). The creator of UDA is Carl Thijssen who is based in the Netherlands. I’m merely a user/test/documenter. The official site for the UDA is ultimatedeployment.org which hosts the VMware Workstation version, whereas I host the VMware ESX version – and you can get “support” on how to deploy ESX with the UDA by posting to this thread on the VMware VMTN Communities Forum.
The current version is UDA 2.0 Build 17, and there is a series patch to take it up to Build 26. You need patch 20, 23 and 26 added sequentially to make the UDA support VMware ESXi.
Download UDA 2.0 Build 17
Download UDA 2.0 – Patch to Build 20 (Added support for ESXi5)
Download UDA 2.0 – Patch to Build 23 (Adds support for Windows 2008, Windows 7 and Windows 2012)
Download UDA 2.0 – Patch to Build 26 (Added ESXi6 Support)
I have a sample subtemplate and template files that I use on my own lab environment. But there’s no shortage of people who share the scripts with the community such as this one from Dean Colpitts.
My scripts were built from a couple of resources which I’d like to acknowledge here. That’s because it’s been a while since I’ve done serious ESX “kickstart/Weasel” scripting and my own scripts were horribly out-of-date. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I used sources/resources from the community. So I’d like to thank:
- Konstantinos Michalitsis – Who provided the base subtemplate/template which I then modified
- Multipathing Configuration for Software iSCSI Using Port Binding – key esxcli commands for iSCSI
- William Lam – for how to enable “Management Traffic” on a VMKernel Port
Small Linux VMs for a Home Lab:
I’ve got a range of terrifyingly small OVFs/OVAs for use in your home lab. As we all know memory (and to a much less degree disk space) is premium in a home lab. If you want a number of VMs to play with a good option is to use some super-skinny Linux distribution. Often these start their lives as “boot CD” designed for troubleshooting, and then they evolve into something you can install to a disk or USB drive. Sadly, there is always a ready-to-download VMware OVF/OVA to get started with. So I’ve created a bundle for you to choose to download or ones that are available elsewhere.
My personal preference is for SliTaz which although is bigger than Damn Small Linux and TTYLinux – I found more “robust”. By robust I mean I could kill the VM and it would come back up without an error. Whereas DSL (especially) and TTYLinux (less so) would often fail to boot after a dirty shutdown and require a file system check. I think that’s to do with the types of file systems supported in each distro.
NEW! MicroCore Linux (with open-source VMware Tools)
Size: 64MB RAM/SCSI HD (LSI Logic) 1GB (Thinly Provisioned)
Root Account Password: root
SSH account: VMware1!
SSH password: VMware1!
MicroCore Linux – in OVA Format
Size: 128MB RAM/IDE HD 256MB
Root Account Password: root
SSH account: vmware
SSH password: vmware
SliTaz – Single VM in .OVF Format (Zipped)
SliTaz – Sphere vApp in .OVA Format
SliTaz – vCloud Director Compatible .OVF Format (Zipped)
Size: 32MB RAM/IDE HD 32MB
ROOT Account Password: root
TTYLinux OVF (7-Zip Zipped)
Damn Small Linux
Size: 64MB RAM/IDE HD 128MB
Root Account Password: password
Damn Small Linux (hosted on virtuallymikebrown.com)
NOTE: This blog series is VERY old, and basically covers my use of Cloud Director back 2012-15… Anyway, it’s left here in case someone might find it useful.
As you have probably seen I’ve been writing a number of articles on the theme of my “vCloud Journey Journal”. The joke I have with my manager is whilst I’m taking a year off sabbatical from writing books, irrepressible as I am – I think I’m kinda writing a book via the medium of the blog! Anyway, I recognize it might be hard to navigate all 47 posts (and growing). So the idea of this page is merely to provide a launchpad to those articles with a brief paragraph explaining what they are all about. I guess the decision I need to make is if I learn something new – do I write a new blogpost about that or merely go back and edit the original. It might be a good idea to do both. For example this week I learned something on the design course about the “Organization” in vCloud Director. I need to go back and fix some comments in my old post – but what I learned is worthy of making a special post for as well.
This launch pad will be available very soon – but it’s obviously going to take me a while to put all those links in. For the moment use the vCloud Journal category to filter the posts:
CHAPTER 1: THE FIRST SIX MONTHS: vCloud Director
In this period I was mainly focused on vCloud Director and too much less degree vCloud Connector…
Part 1: My vCloud Journey Journal
This post is about the start of the journey and me using the free online resources to train myself up on the principles of vCloud Director, and vShield.
Part 2: My vCloud Journey Journal – The ProLab Compute
This post talks about how segmented my vSphere Clusters to into different tiers of compute and memory. The segmentation was forced upon me by different CPU types (AMD & Intel) and fact that the ESX hosts had radically different amounts of memory – that would upset DRS to say the least.
Part 3: My vCloud Journey Journal – The ProLab Storage
In this blogpost I examine my storage – initially, I started with a large number of different tiers of storage (nearly 7!) but in the end I went for much simpler model of just 4-tiers of storage.
Part 4: My vCloud Journey Journal – The ProLab Network
In this post I talk about how in vSphere5.1 I abandoned the use of the Standard Switch – and opted for two different vSphere Distributed Switches – one for “infrastructure” (or management) and the other for my vCD Virtual Datacenter. I represent a compromise on a design because I don’t have a dedicated management cluster.
Part 4a: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCD and adding vCenter
In this post I show how to add vCenter, and also enable the “Federation” that allows of single-sign on in the vSphere Client.
Part 5: My vCloud Journey Journal – vSphere Replication
Finding that I had some spare storage I decided to setup VR between by NetApp and Dell Equallogics storage.
Part 6: My vCloud Journey Journal – Setting up vShield 5.1 for vCloud Director
One of the pre-reqs for vCloud Director is one vShield (or now vCNS Manager) Manager per vCenter. This walks through I how I deployed the appliance.
Part 7: My vCloud Journey Journal – The Organization
In this post I talk about what I think the Organization is in vCloud Director – and how to create one. You should check out my later “design orientated” posts for more stuff like this!
Part 8: My vCloud Journey Journal – vShield Edge Fundamentals Training
vCNS Edge Gateway training has been recently updated – but there’s still free training available on MyLearn. Despite the somewhat “robotic” delivery, its still worth looking at if your new to vCNS and how vCloud Director use it.
Part 9: Join me on the “Deploy & Manage the VMware Cloud”
I was trying to drum up interest in a 1.5 course – but it got cancelled. Three Times!!! In the end I signed up for live on line course in Mar, 2013 based on the vCD 5.1 product.
Part 10: My vCloud Journey Journal – Add a Provider vDC and VXLAN
How to add a provider vDC, and how in vCD 5.1 – vCD assumes you have already configured VXLAN in vSphere. If you haven’t you get two VXLAN network pools created but with errors.
Part 11: My vCloud Journey Journal – Importing & First Configuration of vCD
I opted for the vCD Virtual Appliance (not for production use!) this walks through the .OVF import process and first welcome pages of vCD – where you set the name, instance ID and so on
Part 12: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCD and adding vCenter
Does exactly what it does in on the tin. Also talks briefly about the relationship between vCD, vCenter and SSO – which is covered in more detail in Part 16.
Part 13: My vCloud Journey Journal – There are more questions, than answers…
My review of the TrainSignal course on vCD Fundmentals. Useful course if you’ve never seen vCD before and you can’t afford the official training.
Part 14: My vCloud Journey Journal – Adding a Provider vDC
Adding a Provider vDC should be a walk in the park if the cluster your adding is blank and has no powered on VMs. vCD assumes you have management cluster – if not you might the vCD Agent doesn’t get installed properly. Fortunately, you just a right-click away from installing the agent. Not a biggy but as 1st experience it can look a bit ugly…
Part 15: My vCloud Journey Journal – Adding Sysprep to vCloud Director
Erm, How to add Sysprep to vCD. Let face it you only running Windows 7/Windows 2008 upwards is really a legacy issue. Right? I mean no-one really runs Windows 2003/XP anymore. Cough….
Part 16: My vCloud Journey Journal – Enabling Federation & SSO
This post focuses on enabling the Single Sign On feature of vCenter Server Appliance with vCloud Director. It’s not mandatory to do this but its can save you time if your a SysAdmin. It means that the login page of vCloud Director (for the SysAdmin) is redirected to the vSphere Web-Client. This generates an SSO Token, which then redirects you back to the vCloud Director pages. It also means if you are browsing the vCenter node in vCloud Director – you can right-click it and ask it open the vSphere Web-Client without challenging you for credentials. Finally, it does allow to use the SSO instance as source for users – although I would have thought most people would use either local users OR LDAP source for that…
Part 17: My vCloud Journey Journal – Is my Storage/Network right?
In this post I have moment of existential doubt – about whether I have been too liberal with the exposing of storage and networks across my clusters. It’s an illustration of how “cloud” changes the way you think about vSphere and virtualization.
Part 18: My vCloud Journey Journal – External Networks (including Dry Bones!)
In this series of post I embark on the primary network configuration. External Networks require manually created portgroups on the DvSwitch – and are intended to give you Organization access to the outside world (the Internet) or to the wider-corporate network – or both…!
Part 19: My vCloud Journey Journal – Network Pools; Personal Summary
This post was all about getting the concept of network pools clear in my head. It’s a really summary of the different pool types (vLAN, Portgroup, vCD-NI and new to vSphere5.1 VXLAN) and their requirements.
Creating Networks Pools:
In these four post I look at the setup of each of the different four network pool types…
- Part 20: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating VLAN-Backed Network Pool
- Part 21: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating Portgroup Backed Network Pool
- Part 22: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating vCD-NI Backed Network Pool
- Part 23: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating VXLAN Backed Network Pool
Part 24: My vCloud Journey Journal – Thinking about Network Pools in vCloud Director
This post circles back on the whole topic of network pools and sort of analyse my views on each type – the adv/disadv – and talks about the lessons I learned..
Part 25: My vCloud Journey Journal – Adding an Organization with Secure LDAP
In this article I show to setup an Organization, and then setup Secure LDAP as source for authentication
Creating PAYG Organizational Virtual Datacenter:
In this two-part series I create my very first Organization Virtual Datacenter – opting initially for a PAYG type because I thought that was the most natural resource allocation model to use with a Test/Dev environment.
- Part 26a: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating Organization vDCs (PAYG)
- Part 26b: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating Organization vDCs (PAYG)
Part 27: My vCloud Journey Journal – Catalogs, OVFs and Media
In this post I show how to create a catalog – and then how to upload a VM in the form of an OVF, as well uploading CD-ROM/DVD .ISOs to the catalog for use for clean installs of guest operating systems and such like.
Part 28: My vCloud Journey Journal – Where Am I?
In this short blogpost I look back on where I’ve come from and where I’m going next in my journey…
Part 29: My vCloud Journey Journal – Opps! DOH!
In this blogpost I fess up to an error of my own making – where I’d incorrectly registered vCD with DNS causing an intermittent problem with the vCD Portal.
Part 30: My vCloud Journey Journal – Organizational vDC (Admission Control)
In this blogpost I document I talk about “Admission Control” – the concept that controls if a VM or vApp can power on given the reservations to it and to the Organizational vDC.
Part 31: My vCloud Journey Journal – Adding Organization vDC (Reservation)
Doubling back to my earlier post about creating my first vDC I look at the reservation and allocation models
Part 32: My vCloud Journey Journal – Creating Organization vDCs (Allocation Model)
Part 33: My vCloud Journey Journal – Adding an Organization Network
Following on from post 18 about external networks, this time I look at at Organization Networks for the first time
Part 34: My vCloud Journey Journal – Multiple Catalogs and Multiple Organizations vDCs
In this post I look at how to make a catalog available across Organizations. It was only later on the Design course that I learn some folks create an “empty” Organization just using its ability to hold a catalog, and publish/share it with others. It’s a bit like having a dedicate management cluster for vCD – a dedicate Org just for sharing catalogs…
Part 35: My vCloud Journey Journal – PowerCLI New Organization vDC
Now I was getting to grips with vCD I fancied having a go at using the new PowerCLI cmdlets for vCloud Director. Pretty good although the Storage Profiles aspect could be better in my humble opinion. This post is quiet old now – and new version of PowerCLI has been released so I should really get round to looking at it again.
Part 36: My vCloud Journey Journal – Importing from vSphere
I discovered when logged in as the SysAdmin you can import VMs/vApps from vSphere into vCD. A little bit later in my journal I did this in anger.
This is a cluster-bomb of networking post – where I to configure every aspect of networking available – in all its (im)possible permutations including VPN, Static Routing, VPN and so on – and in many directions – between two vApps in different Organizations.
- Part 37: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (1)
- Part 38: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (2)
- Part 39: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (3)
- Part 40: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (4)
- Part 41: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (5)
- Part 42: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Networks (6)
- Part 43: My vCloud Journey Journal – Monitoring vCloud Director Components – Syslog & Firewalls
- Part 44: My vCloud Journey Journal – Walls of Fire…
- Part 45: My vCloud Journey Journal – Org-To-Org VPN
- Part 46: My vCloud Journey Journal – Destination NAT Rules with VMware View
- Part 47: My vCloud Journey Journal – Destination NAT Rules with vApp Networks
Part 48: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCloud Connector 2.0 Private Configuration
In this post I setup the recently release vCC 2.0 (released 21st Dec, 2012). Initially just for private use. A little bit later in my journal I covered its Public configuration and the top features.
Part 49: My vCloud Journey Journal – vApp Customization
Nested ESX and Labs:
In this cluster of blogposts I talk about some ideas I have for how the vCommunity could use nested ESX in the public cloud as replacement for homelabs. I dubbed it vINCEPTION – after that movie where everything is a dream, inside a dream – inside a dream.
- vINCEPTION: Home Labs; Cloud Nesting; Nested Clouds; Cloud within Clouds…
- Part 50: My vCloud Journey – vINCEPTION: Building vSphere vApp (1 of 4) – Physical Storage
- Part 51: My vCloud Journey – Building vSphere vApp in vCloud Director (2 of 4)
- Part 52: My vCloud Journey – Building vSphere vApp in vCloud Director (3 of 4) – Accessing Physical Storage
- Part 53: My vCloud Journey – Building vSphere vApp in vCloud Director (4 of 4) – VM Networking
Part 54: Deleting Organization Networks in vCloud Director by Mullah Nasruddin
In this blogpost I talk about dependencies and dangers of casual deletes. Using the metaphor of man sat on a tree holding axe…
Part 55: My vCloud Journey – Importing OVFs into the Catalog Problem
In this blogpost I discover how different virtual machine hardware levels can cause problems importing VMs in to the vCloud Director. Sometimes that can be a hard-code incident, other times down to the HW supported by the Provider vDC.
Part 56: My vCloud Journey – Edge Gateway Load-Balancing Web-Server
In this blogpost I setup the Load-Balancing feature of the vCNS Edge Gateway to distribute the load across two simple web-servers.
Part 57: My vCloud Journey – Edge Gateway Load-Balancing VMware Horizon View
In this blogpost which is a bit of companion to Part 56, I setup load balancing to my VMware Horizon View 5.2 environment.
Part 58: My vCloud Journey – Design Thoughts – External Networks
This a thought piece about the role of External Networks in a vCloud Design… should each Organization share a small number of external networks, or should every Organization get it own unique external network (for security, separation etc)
Part 59: My vCloud Journey – Design Thoughts – Provider vDC
In this design focused post I question the whole “Gold, Silver, Bronze” view of the world – and outline why I think this view point could be dangerous from a technical stand-point.
Part 60: My vCloud Journey: Importing a VM from vSphere
This post looks at the practical hands on task of importing a VM from vSphere into vCloud Director from the portal. Whilst this method works well enough, part of me wonders if using vCloud Connector might be an easier way of achieving the same result – without the need of SysAdmin rights.
Part 61: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCloud Connector 2.0 Public Configuration
In this post I look at the configuration of vCloud Connector from the perspective accessing a public cloud vendor. I intend to keep this post up-to-date as I add more and more providers to my configuration.
Part 62: My vCloud Journey Journal: Using vCloud Connector 2.0
Finally! I had both a private/public vCloud Connector configuration – so I could use to move VMs, configure Config Sync for the vCD Catalog and also do a stretch deploy of a vApp…
Part 62: My vCloud Journey Journal: Design Thoughts: Organizations & Leases
In this design focused article I talk about my personal confusion around the concept of the “Organization” and how the official design course helped me the logic of this construct clear in my mind.
Part 63: My vCloud Journey Journal: Installing vCloud Director for Enterprize HomeLabs
At last, I finally get round to documenting a production like installation of vCloud Director – after 6 months of using the appliance – this covers the DB setup (MS-SQL), multi-cell and certificates…
Part 64: My vCloud Journey Journal: Moving a vSphere vApp to vCloud Director
One thing I not looked at was using vCloud Connector to move vApps out of vSphere and into vCloud Director – a private to private move. I’d been so focused on private-to-public, and vice-versa that I hadn’t thought of using it as migration tool.
CHAPTER 2: THE NEXT SIX MONTHS: vCloud Automation Center:
This period started my period getting to grips with vCAC. Although there’s the occasional post about vCloud Director…
Part 65: My vCloud Journey Journal: Pre-Requisites for vCloud Automation Center 5.1
This post looks at the requirements for installing and configuring vCloud Automation Center (vCAC – which I choose to pronounce VC-AC, rather than other less pleasant sounding name!)
Part 66: My vCloud Journey Journal: VMware Cloud Evaluation
Part 67: My vCloud Journey Journal: vCloud Connector 2.0 and the VMware Cloud Service Evaluation
These two posts cover my experiences of using the VMware Cloud Evaluation, and using it as target for playing with vCloud Connector 2.0.
Part 68: My vCloud Journey Journal – Installing vCloud Automation Center 5.1 (HomeLab)
This post is all about installing vCAC to one big single Windows instance. The kind of thing you might do in a PoC or HomeLab to keep the number of VMs down to a minimum. In a production environment a more “distributed” model is used with multiple instances configured with some kind of load-balancing.
Part 69: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCenter Setup with vCloud Automation Center 5.1
This post walks you through the initial configuration of vCAC to make it communicate with vCenter…
Part 70: My vCloud Journey Journal – vCloud Director Setup with vCloud Automation Center 5.1
…whereas this post is all about vCloud Director connections – including public as well as private instances…
Part 71: My vCloud Journey Journal – Amazon EC2 Setup with vCloud Automation Center 5.1
In this post I look how to add Amazon EC2 as an “endpoint” in vCloud Automation Center
Part 72: My vCloud Journey Journal: Upgrading vCloud Director Appliance…
With the release of vCloud Director 5.1.2 I thought it might be timely to upgrade. Officially upgrading vCD within the virtual appliance is not supported – but I thought I’d give it ago anyway.
Part 73: My vCloud Journey Journal: Windows 2012 HyperV with SCVMM with vCloud Automation Center
Carrying on with the next part of my journey, I added Windows 2012 HyperV with SCVMM to be managed by vCAC… I need to book a trip to the colo to setup a permanent HyperV and KVM configuration…
NOTE: THIS PAGE IS AN ARCHIVE. I’M NO LONGER RUNNING A PODCAST OR RADIO SHOWS
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PRESENTER PROFILE: https://radiofreematlock.co.uk/presenters/michelle-laverick/
LISTEN AGAIN: https://www.mixcloud.com/radiofreematlock/ and search for “Michelle Laverick”
Click the relevant picture to choose your preferred format: Audio or Video – if you want to subscribe to the podcast.
I run a regular (I aim for every week) audio and video podcast called the “Chinwag” and “Vendorwag”. You can listen/watch the podcasts on the site when they are published or subscribe via podcast feeder like iTunes for you iPhone/iPAD/iPOD. There’s one feed for both styles of videos – and I will tag which is which as I go along. Occasionally, you will see other video content published in the feed – such as a whiteboard sessions or some educational video by yours truly.
The Chinwag is a head-to-head discussion with some figures in the vCommunity. This could be a fellow blogger – but more often or not its someone I’ve come across in my attendance of User Groups or via Twitter. The chinwag is meant to be just an informal chat between two people. Think of it like two people in the local pub/bar shooting the breeze – all about virtualization, cloud and end-user computing. It’s the chinwaggee who sets the loose agenda, and my job is to TRY keep my big fat mouth shut and let them get on with it. But as you will see and hear it’s hard to keep my irrepressible enthusiasm in check!
The Vendorwag is a head-to-head discussion with an individual in the product team that aligns to virtualization, cloud computing or datacenter/infrastructure issues. I usually do a web-ex with the vendor to suss them out – often making pages and pages of copious notes beforehand. Sometimes I will even evaluate the product – it depends on naturally interested I am. The Vendorwag begins with “Elevator Pitch” to keep the “death-by-powerpoint” to a minimum. There’s the “Product Lowdown” where we look at the technology from a high-level but technical/architectural perspective – and the third part “The Techknowledgy Demo” is a hands-on demo of the product itself. Generally, I’m trying to avoid the kind vendor-sponsored “webcast” that essentially a glorified infomercial. There are lots of banned words and phrases so if someone says such things as:
- Single pane of glass
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Return On Investment (ROI)
- Digital Transformation
- Natural Synergies
- “Lets double-click on that idea”
- Deep Dive
- Customer Centric
- Core Competency
- Paradigm Shift
I will pull them up on it, and press my Staples “Bullshit” button!
Finally, I also dial into weekly live VMTN Communities Podcasts – it runs at 8pm GMT (or 12noon Pacific Time) on the Talkshoe Network – if you can’t dial into the VMTN Podcast you can pick it up on iTunes. They use Talkshoe over there – which is fine for chat but the audio sucks. Personally, I login to the chat to ask questions only – and use their Facebook Live stream to listen (and watch them as well) –