I had the pleasure to be on the Virtually Speaking Podcast again, this episode is all about VMworld. Which sessions to attend and some general tips as well. Have a listen. Thanks John and Pete for having me on again.
Every year I go over “all” accepted VMworld sessions which are publicly listed and provide my top 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 list of VMworld sessions. (Some sessions won’t be revealed until the day before as they could be on the topic of certain announcements) I have had comments in the past around my selection and I hope it is clear that this is my opinion based on the subject and speaker. In some cases they may be familiar names like Cormac Hogan, in some cases it may be a less known person which I’ve seen presenting in the past. I am looking for mostly deep technical sessions, or sessions which I know will simply be enjoyable to attend. Considering there are only a couple of weeks between VMworld US and EMEA I will only do a single post this time. Some sessions may not be accepted for EMEA unfortunately.
Here we go, my top 15 sessions!
VMware CTO Innovation Panel: What’s Next? [FUT3025PU] with Ray O’Farrell, Christos Karamanolis, Chris Wolf, Shawn Bass and Mike Wookey
I always enjoy panel sessions, and when there’s one with our CTOs it is definitely worth attending. I hope there will be some nice hints in this session of what to expect from VMware in the upcoming years and some good discussion around which directions the industry is heading towards.
Storage at Memory Speed: Finally, Nonvolatile Memory Is Here [FUT3040BU] by Rajesh Venkatasubramanian and Richard Brunner
NVM is going to change the world of memory and storage, if you want to be prepared for the future then make sure to register. I’ve seen Rajesh present a couple of times and there’s always something to learn, haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Richard live yet, but that is about to change!
- vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive: Part 2 [SER1872BU] by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort
The book was thorough, deep… extremely deep, and both are excellents presenters. So this session has to be on the list. If you want to know more about NUMA, overlays etc then this is a must.
Migrate to the vCenter Server Appliance You Should [SER2958BU] by William Lam and Emad Younis
I am big fan of the vCenter Server Appliance, and anytime you can learn how to migrate from the Windows version to the appliance you should. Plus, William and Emad are great speakers!
vSAN 6.6: A Day in the Life of an I/O [STO1926BU] by John Nicholson and Pete Koehler
Considering all the changes in vSAN and considering the speakers this is a must attend for everyone interested in what the IO path for vSAN looks like. Are you using Dedupe/Compresssion, RAID-1 or RAID-5 or maybe even Encryption? John and Pete will explain what the IO path will look like!
The Power Hour: vSphere PowerCLI 10th Birthday Edition [SER1875BU] by Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf
The dynamic duo of PowerCLI. I will let it up to you guys to decide who is Batman and who is Robin though. I think I have seen a dozen sessions by these guys and they never disappoint. Usually a large number of demoes and a level of detail that you don’t see often.
Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive [STO2446BU] by Patrick Dirks and Pete Flecha
I have attended various sessions by Pete and Patrick and they were excellent every single time. Patrick is a senior manager in R&D managing the VVol development team, so if you have any in-depth questions… bring them!
vCenter Performance Deep Dive [SER1504BU] by Ravi Soundararajan and Priya Sethuraman
This was by far the best session at VMworld last year, do I need to say more?
VMware Cloud on AWS: Storage Deep Dive [STO1890BU] by Ben Meadowcroft and Matthew Amdur
Very interesting topic, Ben is the PM and Matt the lead engineer, so I expect it to be deep!
vSAN Management Today and in the Future [STO1378BU] by JunChi Zhang and Christian Dickmann
Last year Christian had various tech previews that showed the potential future of vSAN. I think every single demo became reality in the 2 releases that followed. So if you want to know where we stand today and where we will be in the future with vSAN then make sure to attend this one!
VMware Cloud on AWS: A Technical Deep Dive [LHC2384BU] by Frank Denneman and Ray Budavari
Interesting topic, haven’t heard too much (in-depth) on VMware Cloud on AWS so this would be a great session to dive deep and get more familiar with the offering and the architecture behind it!
A Deep Dive into vSphere 6.5 Core Storage Features and Functionality [SER1143BU] by Cody Hosterman and Cormac Hogan
Probably my two fav storage bloggers. Cody and Cormac jointly wrote a white paper on this topic and have been the go to people for anything on core storage for the past years, and great speakers. You can’t go wrong!
Advanced Troubleshooting of ESXi Server 6.x for vSphere Gurus [SER2965BU] by Ragavendra Kumar and Abhilash Kunhappan
I don’t know the presenters, but the topic alone makes me want to attend this one…
- Extreme Performance Series – ALL
Not listing a specific session in this case, the performance team has many sessions, just search for “extreme performance series” and they will pop-up. They will all be deep, and most likely very educational.
Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage [FUT2051BU] by Rob Glanzman and Nicola Acutt
This is the odd one in the mix. Not a deepdive, and I don’t even think it is a technical session. I know Rob and Nicola well though, and I know what Nicola has been working on and this session caught my attention as it is something different for a change. How can you get a competitive edge through sustainability?
And for those who care, here are my own two sessions:
An Introduction to VMware Software-Defined Storage [STO2138QU] by Lee Dilworth and Duncan Epping
The Top 10 Things to Know About vSAN [STO1264BU] by Duncan Epping and Cormac Hogan
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of a new book by Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort. This new book is titled Host Resources Deep Dive and is available as of today in the US through Amazon. As most of you know I wrote the Clustering Deepdive series together with Frank, which means I kinda knew what to expect in terms of level of depth. Kinda, as this is a whole new level of depth. I don’t think I have ever seen (for example) topics like NUMA or NIC drivers explained at this level of depth. If you ask me, it is fair to say that Frank and Niels redefined the term “deep dive”.
Some fun facts before I write a bit more about the book:
- Started writing in March 2016
- 122.543 words
- 5217 paragraphs
- 23 chapters
- 569 pages
- 311 screenshots and diagrams
- ISBN-10: 1540873064
- ISBN-13: 978-1540873064
569 pages and 120k+ words… that is a lot. Especially considering this is “only” covering “host resources” and not things like HA and DRS. It is thick, this is a proper book, I took a quick pic, just to give you an idea.
As mentioned, the topic is Host Resources, but what does that mean? The book is carved up in 4 sections: CPU, Memory, Storage and Networking. The book starts with a great foreword by VMware’s CTO Kit Colbert. And then each section starts with a prologue. Frank and Niels managed to ask 4 industry titans if you ask me to write these prologues. VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger wrote the CPU prologue. Carl Waldspurger, the inventor of TPS and DRS, wrote the Memory prologue. The CTO for Storage & Availability, Christos Karamanolis, wrote the Storage prologue. Last but definitely not least, Andrew Lambeth (VMware Fellow), who was responsible for the ESX network stack and was part of the team who developed NSX (in the Nicira days!), wrote the Network prologue. A great addition if you ask me to excellent content.
Now that you know the book discusses CPU, Memory, Storage and Networking, what kind of topics can you expect? Well this is what Amazon states, which is spot on: This book explains the concepts and mechanisms behind the physical resource components and the VMkernel resource schedulers, which enables you to:
- Optimize your workload for current and future Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) systems.
- Discover how vSphere Balanced Power Management takes advantage of the CPU Turbo Boost functionality, and why High Performance does not.
- How the 3-DIMMs per Channel configuration results in a 10-20% performance drop.
- How TLB works and why it is bad to disable large pages in virtualized environments.
- Why 3D XPoint is perfect for the vSAN caching tier.
- What queues are and where they live inside the end-to-end storage data paths.
- Tune VMkernel components to optimize performance for VXLAN network traffic and NFV environments.
- Why Intel’s Data Plane Development Kit significantly boosts packet processing performance.
What is unique about this book, in my opinion, is that it contains details on various topics which I have not been abled to find anywhere else. I guess the fact that Frank had various conversations with the lead architect for the Intel Xeon CPU Microarchitecture helped (Chris Gianos). Some of the diagrams on NUMA for instance, I could easily see Intel wanting to use them for their documentation.
One more quote from Frank and Niels on the book, which I think describes the essence:
The idea is to debunk long-lived myths and reinvigorate the extraordinary world of virtualization. We hope to wake them up, and get them to shy away from the statement that the hypervisor is commodity. While the customers and partners where focusing on creating platforms that run on top the hypervisor, they have lost sight of the improvements of hardware and software made the last 5 years. Revealing these features allow them to create better performing systems that are easier to manage. The book is all about the focus on host level building blocks that helps you to create and operate a consistent infrastructure layer that runs modern and future compute, network and storage platforms.
What more can I say? Just go out and pick it up! Now it is time for me to relax in my chair and get educated! (Don’t tell my daughter though I am relaxing in her chair :))