Day 1 #VMworld Report

It is Monday evening and this morning the madness started, VMworld 2014. Pat Gelsinger’s keynote was of course up first and the highlight for me was definitely the unveiling of the project (EVO:RAIL) I worked on for the last 18 months or so. It is just amazing to see everything come together, a huge engineering effort, the architectural aspects, business development and alliances work etc etc. So many things going, a truly unique experience to take a something from conception to release. I am glad I was provided the opportunity to have this experience and be part of this team. What I personally found interesting about the keynote, and also Carl’s talk, was the customer angle. Many different testimonies from customers who have been deploying SDDC in their datacenters with explanations of how it simplified their life. Also the vCloud Air announcements were interesting, that is definitely a space I will be watching in the future. I can’t wait for Ben Fathi’s keynote tomorrow, as we will get more tech detail and cool demos. I am hoping I will have a wifi connection tomorrow, so I can do some tweeting or life blogging etc.

After the keynote I had my first session… Well not really “my session” but a nice collaborative effort of many people, but the father of it all was Vaughn Steward. Vaughn invited me to be part of the VMware team on a Gameshow. The gameshow was a bit chaotic to be honest, there were some challenges with the slidedeck which is a shame, still I hope people enjoyed it though. I thought it was entertaining, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Second session of the day was with fellow bloggers/vExperts: Rick Scheerer, Chad Sakac, William Lam, Scott Lowe and I. As expected a fair amount of questions on NSX and EVO:RAIL. If you weren’t there, Derek Seaman managed to write down most questions and answers, thanks Derek! I always like these sessions as you do not know what people will ask and it is always a mix of technical to even personal questions. Early scores of this session are off the charts! I hope our repeat Wednesday will just be as good!

I am still heavily jetlagged, looking forward to tomorrow though, although I hope I will get a couple hours of sleep at least today.

Day 0 #VMworld report

I arrived yesterday in San Francisco, still jet lagged from my previous trip (came back home from SFO on Tuesday). After a nice walk we had some dinner and stopped by at vBeers… Was nice to talk to some folks I have never met before and an interesting conversation around VCDX for networking and storage. Also bumped in to some EMC and NetApp friends, and a bunch of Coho Data guys at the hotel. After that I called it quits and went to bed early, only to wake up early again due to jet lag, doze off again and then woke up because my whole room was shaking. I have never experienced an earth quake before, the 6.1 earth quake in Napa was a strange way of being welcome to SF for VMworld. Judging by the tweets around the time I wasn’t the only who was freaked out. I guess being on the 15th floor of a hotel doesn’t help either as it only amplifies the experience. Anyway, after that it was time for a run with some of my European colleagues, 15.5KM is not bad for a jetlagged earthquacked Sunday morning.

I didn’t have much planned for today, originally my schedule was booked but due to some changes around when we could start talking about upcoming products things got cancelled. So I got registered… received my nice shiny badge, and prepped for my upcoming sessions.

I guess for me the madness starts on Monday. For those who want to attend one of my sessions, here is the list:

  • Monday 12:30 - The vExpert Storage Game Show – STO2996-SPO
  • Monday 5:30 - Ask the Expert vBloggers – SDDC1176
  • Tuesday 11:00 - VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (EVO:RAIL) Technical Deepdive – SDDC1337
  • Wednesday 11:30 - VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (EVO:RAIL) Technical Deepdive – SDDC1337
  • Wednesday 4:00 - Ask the Expert vBloggers – SDDC1176

Some of the sessions are not fully booked yet as they were added to the scheduler late (SDDC1337), so you can still sign up… some of the sessions seem to be full right now.

VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash… part 1

I did these startup news flash newsletters for a long time and it kind of died down. Reason for it being that it felt like I missed out on updates of companies who were way beyond the stage of being a startup, which is a shame. I do feel there is a need, or there is a market for these types of blog articles. So lets give it another try but this time with a different name and a slightly different angle. In this VMware / ecosystem / industry news flash I will feature interesting (to me) news items of VMware and its ecosystem. This could range from Nexenta releasing a new version of their software to an acquisition or new round of funding. I hope you will find it useful. Besides a pointer to the originating article, I will also provide some of my thoughts, and I would like to encourage you to do the same via the comment section!

  • VMware announced the intention to acquire CloudVolumes
    I looked in to CloudVolumes about 5 months ago. I was very intrigued with what they developed and how they go about layering applications on top of virtual machines both for the server and desktop space. Especially when it comes to updating applications I was impressed how seamless and flexible CloudVolumes was. What stood out most was that they simply connect a VMDK to a VM instead of streaming data across the network… it was so simple, but yet so innovative and smart at the same time that I am not surprised VMware acquired them.
  • Ubuntu Now Available on VMware vCloud Air
    I guess there are two things here… vCloud Air formerly known as vCloud Hybrid Services, a new name. And Ubuntu being available in the catalog by default which is great. If I have to pick any Linux distribution to work with it typically is Ubuntu, and as it is one of the most used distributions out there in cloud environments this makes sense to me.
  • Nexenta Enables File Services on VMware VSAN
    I did not see this one coming to be honest and I am not sure what it will look like from an implementation perspective. It is interesting though to see the ecosystem layering services on top of VSAN and I am wondering what else is in the pipeline!
  • DataGravity out of stealth… (Steve Foskett opinion, Howard Marks thoughts, Robin Harris)
    I have read multiple articles on DataGravity and it seems they are playing in the same space as Nimble and Tintri with their hybrid storage solution. But what DataGravity adds on top of that in-sight in to the data being stored. It sounds interesting but I do wonder what the target market is as I would suspect that many who need this type of data analytics already have layers on top of their storage systems which will provide this detail for them. I will try to set some time aside at VMworld to chat with them.
  • Pernix Data announced a new round of funding (Business Insider, Venture Beat)
    35 million dollar C round of funding is significant I would say. On top the growth numbers that Pernix published are impressive, but not surprisingly if you look at what they have to offer and still have in the pipeline.
  • Atlantis announced USX 2.0 (vClouds.nl, Andrea Mauro)
    I have always been intrigued by USX. I played around with 1.0 on top of Virtual SAN and was impressed by the capabilities added and the efficiency of their data services, however at the same time I also realized that layering USX on top of Virtual SAN kind of diminished the Virtual SAN policy based management capabilities. However with USX 2.0 it appears that USX will support VVOL and as such SPBM to a full extent, and hopefully also will require a lower number of USX related virtual appliance to be deployed. Will try to explore USX 2.0 in the near future.

Must attend VMworld sessions 2014

Every year I do this post on the must attend VMworld sessions, and I just realized I had not done this for 2014 yet. So here it is, the list of sessions I feel are most definitely worth attending. I tend to focus on sessions which I know will have solid technical info and great presenters. Many of which over the years I have either seen presenting myself and respect very much. I tried to limit the list to 20 this year (edit: 21, 22), so of course it could be that your session (or your fav session) is missing, unfortunately I cannot list all as that would defeat the purpose.

Here we go:

  1. STO3008-SPO - Decoupled Storage: Practical Examples of Leveraging Server Flash in a Virtualized Datacenter by Satyam Vaghani and Frank Denneman. What more do I need to say? Both rock stars!
  2. STO1279 - Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive Christian and Christos were the leads on VSAN, who can tell you better than they can??
  3. SDDC1176 - Ask the Expert vBloggers featuring Chad Sakac, Scott Lowe, William Lam, myself and moderated by Rick Scherer. This session has been a hit for the last years and will be one you cannot miss!
  4. STO2996-SPO - The vExpert Storage Game Show featuring Vaughn Steward, Cormac Hogan, Rawlinson Rivera and many others… It will be educational and entertaining for sure! Not the standard “death by powerpoint” session. If you do want “DBP”, this is not for you!
  5. STP3266 - Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure for Enterprise. Josh Odgers talking web scale for Enterprise organizations, are you still using legacy apps? Then this is a must attend.
  6. SDDC2492 - How the New Software-defined Paradigms Will Impact Your vSphere Design Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe talking vSphere Design, you bet you will learn something here!
  7. HBC2068 - vCloud Hybrid Service Networking Technical Deep Dive Want to know more about vCHS networking, I am sure David Hill is going to dive deep!
  8. NET2747 - VMware NSX: Software Defined Networking in the Real World Chris Wahl and Jason Nash talking networking, what is there not to like?
  9. BCO1893 - Site Recovery Manager and vCloud Automation Center: Self-service DR Protection for the Software-Defined Data Center My co-presenter Lee Dilworth for the previous 2 VMworlds, he knows what he is talking about! Co-hosting a DR session with one of the BC/DR PMs, Ben Meadowcroft. This will be good.
  10. NET1674 - Advanced Topics & Future Directions in Network Virtualization with NSX I have seen Bruce Davie present multiple times, always a pleasure and educational!
  11. STO2496 - vSphere Storage Best Practices: Next-Gen Storage Technologies Chad and Vaughn in one session… this will be good!
  12. BCO2629 - Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication: What’s New Technical Deep Dive Jeff Hunter and Ken Werneburg are the DR experts at VMware Tech Marketing, so worth attending for sure!
  13. HBC2638 - Ten Vital Best Practices for Effective Hybrid Cloud Security by Russel Callen and Matthew Probst… These guys are the vCHS architects, you can bet this will be useful!
  14. STO3162 - Software Defined Storage: Satisfy the Requirements of Your Application at the Granularity of a Virtual Disk with Virtual Volumes (VVols) Cormac Hogan talking VVOLs with Rochna from Nimble, this is one I would like to see!
  15. STO2480 - Software Defined Storage – The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back The title by itself is enough to attend this one… (Wade Holmes and Rolo Rivera)
  16. SDDC3281 - A DevOps Story: Unlocking the Power of Docker with the VMware platform and its ecosystem. You may not know these guys, but I do… Aaron and George are rock stars, and Docker seems to be the new buzzword. Find out what it is about!
  17. VAPP2979 - Advanced SQL Server on vSphere Techniques and Best Practices Scott and Jeff are the experts when it comes to virtualizing SQL, what more can I say?!
  18. STO2197 - Storage DRS: Deep Dive and Best Practices Mustafa Uysal is the lead on SDRS/SIOC, I am sure this session will contain some gems!
  19. HBC1534 - Recovery as a Service (RaaS) with vCloud Hybrid Service David Hill and Chris Colotti talking, always a pleasure to attend!
  20. MGT1876 - Troubleshooting With vCenter Operations Manager (Live Demo) Wondering why your VM is slow? Sam McBride and Praveen Kannan will show you live…
  21. INF1601 - Taking Reporting and Command Line Automation to the Next Level with PowerCLI with Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens, all I would like to know is if PowerCLI-man is going to be there or not?
  22. MGT1923 - vCloud Automation Center 6 and Storage Policy-Based Management Framework Integration with Rawlinson Rivera and Chen Wei… They are doing things with VCAC and SPBM which has never been seen before!

As stated, some of your fav sessions may be missing… feel free to leave a suggestion so that others know which sessions they should attend.

Public vSphere Beta, sign up and provide feedback now!

I am very pleased to see VMware just announced the beta of vSphere. I think it is great that everyone has the chance to sign up, download it, test it and provide feedback on such a critical part of your environment! Who doesn’t love to play with cutting edge technology? I know I do! Especially for all the bloggers and book authors out there this is an excellent opportunity to already start working on articles (or a book) for the launch time frame, whenever that will be. I have my engines fired up, downloading the bits as I write this…

How do you join?

  •  Navigate to https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere-beta and click “JOIN NOW!” button on the right hand side!
  • Log in with your My VMware account.  (Please register for an account if you don’t have one).
  • Once you have an account and are logged in, please accept the Master Software Beta Test Agreement (MSBTA) and Program Rules screens if you have not already done so in the past.
  • After doing this you should be in the vSphere Beta 2 community.

There are 2 webinars coming up, which I would recommend attending:

  • Introduction / Overview – Tuesday, July 8, 2014
  • Installation & Upgrade – Thursday, July 10, 2014

One of the features, which is part of the beta, that I am excited about is Virtual Volumes. I have written about this concept a bunch of times (here and here) and I hope you folks will appreciate this feature as much as I do. If you are interested, look at this VVOL Beta page. You may wonder, why a separate page for VVOL beta? Well that is because you will need a VVOL capable storage solution…

Reminder: Before anyone forgets, the vSphere Beta is open to public but it is NOT a public beta. It still is a private beta and NDA applies!