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!

Result of the Vietnam volunteering experience…

Before I forget, once again I would like to thank everyone who has made all of this possible. All the individuals and corporations who stepped up and made a donation, thank you on behalf of Orphan Impact and of course all of the children! (Donations are always welcome and help is always needed, look here for more details.) Some of you reached out to me personally and have asked me what the result was of the volunteering and their donations to Orphan Impact. Well the result was huge if I say so myself. With the money raised and the help provided Orphan Impact is on its way to provide computer classes to multiple additional orphanages! I just received two cool videos that I wanted to share with all of you. In these videos the results of the trip are explained both from the Orphan Impact side and from the VMware side in terms of volunteering experience.

Before I do, for those who missed the original blog posts on my volunteering experience:

Orphan Impact Story:

VMware Foundation Members share experience:

 

Re: SFD5 event and negativity / respect

Storage Field Day was hosted last week, and I typically like these events. Mainly because they have start-ups presenting their new technology and I like the flow of the sessions typically. I also like the interaction between the “delegates” and the vendors, well at times I do. There were several blog posts on the topic from people who are part of the, what I would call at this point, old boys club (yes there were women attending as well but you get the point) as that is what it felt like during the event. I wanted to comment on Bob’s article, but it looks like he is not looking for a healthy debate so I figured a blog post would be the best way to reply.

For those who don’t know: The sessions usually start with some background on the company, a problem description and then followed by a product session with demos and deep-dives where and when needed. Delegates will fire off questions during these sessions, sometimes this leads to a great discussion and sometimes it doesn’t.

This week, as some of you may have noticed on twitter, the event was held but personally I didn’t enjoy it very much. I think this tweet from my friend Jason Boche captures the feeling I had well:

What stood out to me, and by watching twitter to others as well, was the negativity from some of the delegates about some of the vendors. When the initial problem statement/marketing fluff would take too long the “boring” comments from the delegates started to pass by on twitter, especially during the start of the EMC session this was particularly bad. (Not the first time I have seen it… and definitely not trying to defend a vendor here as they could have known what they were up against and should know the first rule of presenting: know your audience.) Maybe even more annoying for the person watching the feed were the “inside jokes” and the “annecotes” / “incrowd discussions”. It really disrupted the flow of some of the sessions, and I think the PernixData session was the best example of it… it derailed too often leading to the presenter running out of time, or as Frank put it:

When several people commented on the tweets/atmosphere some heated debates kicked off. What stood out to me during these debates was that the “delegates” felt that they were doing the vendors a service and that the vendors should respect their time/effort. (I agree with them to  a certain extend) It was also mentioned various times that they were all experts and there was no need for basics/problem descriptions as all had done their due diligence and came well prepared. Personally I don’t believe that based on the questions asked, and personally I think everyone can learn something even from the basics, besides that I would argue that the Tech Field Day website is really clear on this:

Don’t assume all of the attendees are experts in your area. True to the spirit of Gestalt IT, we intentionally mix many IT disciplines at Tech Field Day to spark creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

And on the topic of respect; it goes both ways and it seems that the Tech Field Day charter agrees with me on this as this is what it states in the section what it is like to be a delegate:

… just treat them with the thoughtfulness, professionalism and mutual respect they deserve.

But what is the underlying problem? What the delegates seem to have forgotten is the vendor’s perception… Why are these vendors there. What is their reason to participate? Are they looking for feedback from a handful of people on their product(s) and aiming to make road map changes  when needed… Or are they looking to introduce their product (or new version) to the world through the reach the event has? (note I said event and not delegates on purpose) I would expect it to be the latter, as the majority of companies presenting are presenting a new product or version and not a road map on top of that I would argue that if they are looking for direct product feedback they would do this in a closed setting with a limited group of people under a strict NDA. Even when that would not be the case, just as you are asking the vendor to be respectful of your time, you should also be respectful towards them for what they are investing. Which is probably a lot more than just time as without their sponsorship there would not be an event. (Assuming Mr Stephen Foskett is not a secret billionaire… But who knows :-)) Either way, think about what allows these events to exist. Without these companies investing, it would be difficult for Stephen to organize these. Also, think about the people watching the event online and even about the person sitting next to you. What is glaringly obvious to you, may not be so for the person sitting next to you simply because they come from a different background.

So why am I writing this, well hopefully so things will change for the better. As I stated, I like these events  as they are valuable to the community in my opinion and they provide a nice podium for start-ups to present themselves to the world, but that positive aspect should not get lost in unneeded debates and negativity. As that is what these events are about in my opinion, it is providing a service to the community and I hope it will stay that way.

PS: I have a lot of respect for the endless effort Stephen puts in organizing these sessions / events…

Startup News Flash part 16

Number 16 of the Startup News Flash, here we go:

Nakivo just announced the beta program for 4.0 of their backup/replication solution. It adds some new features like: recovery of Exchange objects directly from compressed and deduplicated VM backups, Exchange logs truncation, and automated backup verification. If you are interested in testing it, make sure to sign up here. I haven’t tried it, but they seem to be a strong upcoming player in the backup and DR space for SMB.

SanDisk announced a new range of SATA SSDs called “cloudspeed”. They released 4 different models with various endurance levels and workload targets, of course ranging in sizes from 100GB up to 960GB depending on the endurance level selected. Endurance level ranges from 1 up to 10 full drive writes per day. (Just as an FYI, for VSAN we recommend 5 full drive writes per day as a minimum) Performance numbers range between 15k to 20k write IOps and 75 to 88K read IOps. More details can be found in the spec sheet here. What interest me most is the FlashGuard Technology that is included, interesting how SanDisk is capable of understanding wear patterns and workloads to a certain extend and place data in a specific way to prolong the life of your flash device.

CloudPhysics announced the availability of their Storage Analytics card. I gave it a try last week and was impressed. I was planning on doing a write up on their new offering but as various bloggers already covered it I felt there was no point in repeating what they said. I think it makes a lot more sense to just try it out, I am sure you will like it as it will show you valuable info like “performance” and the impact of “thin disks” vs “thick disks”. Sign up here for a 30day free trial!