Project #vGiveback

It is VMworld again, and just like last year VMware decided to give back to the community. No I am not talking about the virtualization community, but I am talking about charity, the great thing is that just like last year you can get VMware to give away an X amount to a charity cause of your choice (health, children, education or environment). As a friend of the VMware foundation I would like to ask ALL of you to help. So what do you need to do, what is the goal?

Well it is simple. Publish a picture on either Instagram or Twitter. Make sure the picture represents the cause and of course you need to tag it, use #vGiveBack and copy in @vmwFoundation. Your message should look like something like this:

(Causes can be: #health #children #education or #environment)

The goal is 10,000 photos between Monday, August 31st and Thursday, September 3rd, out of which a mosaic will be crated. The final image for the mosaic symbolizes our community impact, and once complete, unlocks a donation that will be divided in proportion to the causes you select.

So what am I asking?

  1. Post a picture on twitter or instagram with the right hashtags and make copy in @vmwFoundation (it doesn’t need to be in front of one of those signs by the way, it can be a different pic…)
  2. Ask all of your friends to do the same, we need to hit that number lets make this go viral!

Every little bit will help. Each tweet or instagram post will bring us one step closer to unlocking our collective impact. If you don’t have twitter or instagram, ask your wife/son/daughter/friend to post for you!

Awesome fling: ESXi Embedded Host Client

A long long time ago I stumbled across a project within VMware which allowed you to manage ESXi through a client which was running on ESXi itself. Basically it presented an html interface for ESXi not unlike the MUI we had in the old days. It was one of those pet-projects being done in spare time by a couple of engineers which for various reasons at the time was never completed. The¬†concept/idea however did not die fortunately. Some very clever engineers felt it was time to have that “embedded host client” for ESXi and started developing something in their spare time and this is the result.

I am not going to describe it in detail as William Lam has an excellent post on this great fling already. The installation is fairly straight forward, basically a vib you need to install. No rocket science. When installed you can manage various aspects of your hosts and VMs including:

  • VM operations (Power on, off, reset, suspend, etc).
  • Creating a new VM, from scratch or from OVF/OVA (limited OVA support)
  • Configuring NTP on a host
  • Displaying summaries, events, tasks and notifications/alerts
  • Providing a console to VMs
  • Configuring host networking
  • Configuring host advanced settings
  • Configuring host services

Is that cool or what? Head over to the Fling website and test it. Make sure to provide feedback when you have it as the engineers are very receptive and always looking to improve their fling. Personally I hope that this fling will graduate and will be added to ESXi by default, or at a minimum be fully supported! Excellent work Etienne Le Sueur and George Estebe!

My top 15 VMworld sessions for 2015

Every year I do a top VMworld sessions post. It is getting more complicated each year as there are so many great sessions. In the past years I tried to restrict myself to 20 but it always ends up being¬†22, 23 or even more sessions.¬†This year I am going to be strict, 15 at most and in random order. These are the sessions I would sign up for myself, unfortunately as a VMware employee you can’t register, but I am sure going to try to sneak in when I have time, or watch the recording!

I did not include any sessions of my own, if you are interested in my sessions, look at the below:

See you guys there!

My first week with Pebble Time

When Pebble Time was announced I backed the project on kickstarter based on Joe Baguley and Alan Renouf’s stories. Last week I received it and I’ve played with it a lot I must say and have been impressed from the moment it arrived. Simple things like the box it comes in (hardly any packaging) to the ease of use and how it feels / wears. Lets go over some of the things that stand out for me personally and why I like the watch.

As soon as it arrived I downloaded the Pebble Time app for iOS and added some apps and watch faces. I’ve ended up going with a more classic watch face called Thin¬†for a couple of days, and then switched to Trek V3 which has been on there for 4 days now. I also like “Stock Weather” which shows time/battery/weather and stock details by default. I am looking for a good dual timezone face¬†still which allows me to show time of the current location and the time at “home” so that I always know if I can phone home or not. Changing watch face is really easy, so when I travel I could swap from Trek V3¬†to a dual timezone face. I may just end up creating something myself as that doesn’t appear to be rocket science either.

One thing I wasn’t completely sold on was the “look” of the watch, and I wasn’t too convinced of how it would feel / wear either. I normally don’t wear watches as they annoy me during work etc. The pebble feels light (42.5 grams) and looks good in my opinion but I do think it is one of those designs which you either like or you don’t. The strap is rubber based and comfortable. I wear the Pebble¬†24hrs a day.¬†During 15k hikes, during desk work, during crossfit etc and not once did I take it off, which I used to do with other watches.

** Update – June 19th** Literally two hours after I published this I scratched the bezel¬†of my Pebble. I wasn’t doing anything special and didn’t hit concrete or a rock wall or anything like that. Seems like it scratches easily and if you do a search on google for Pebble Time Scratces you will see more users reporting it. Also seem like the screen scratches easily, I just ordered screen/bezel protectors from gadgetwraps. Hope Pebble will fix this over time.¬†** Update – June 19th**

First App I wanted to install¬†was runkeeper, but for some strange reason it wouldn’t install… It took me a while to figure out that Runkeeper is integrated with the Pebble Time to the extend where you don’t need an app. As soon as you open the Runkeeper app on your phone the screen on your watch changes and it shows: distance, time and average pace. My feedback to Runkeeper was to also show the current pace, and I would also love to see the stats per kilometer after you have finished a kilometer. Especially when running this is useful as it allows you to keep pace. You can pause and start your run using the Pebble, you can’t stop it… you will need to grab your phone for that. Other than that it appears to work great, and the fact you don’t need to wear a headphone to hear your stats or grab your phone to check your stats is worth it by itself. There was a difference in distance and average pace as well compared to the Garmin, but it was negligible if you ask me. Some more testing showed though that Runkeeper/Pebble seems¬†less accurate than a dedicated GPS tracking device like¬†Garmin. ¬†(Not the only person who has noticed it.)What I like though about the Pebble is that if for whatever reason someone needs to contact you they actually can and you can decide if you stop your workout or finish it before you respond to an email / text / phonecall. Notifications I guess is what I like!

Talking about notifications, this is¬†of course is a big thing on the Pebble, email / twitter / calendar / whatsapp / sms and much more. I tried to keep it to those 5¬†though as I didn’t want to find myself constantly dismissing notifications. I use¬†tweetbot¬†and it comes in handy I can specify that I only want notifications for direct messages and mentions from people I follow. This restricts the number of notifications I get.¬†This was one of the big reasons I bought a Pebble by the way. I used to be on my phone checking notifications all the time, and then immidiately responding to email/twitter/facebook etc. Considering the number of messages I receive it resulted on basically holding your phone in your hands for hours a day, driving my family nuts. I can’t respond to anything on my Pebble really, so that prevents me from responding to things which can wait. It is nice that after ~3 minutes notifications are automatically dismissed, would be even better if this was configurable though and I submitted that as a feature request to the Pebble team.

First night wearing it I realized that it would be useful to setup “do not disturb” on my Pebble like I have on my iPhone as¬†it woke me up twice. (I have it setup to vibrate on a notification.) Luckily “do not disturb” is easy to setup. It is described in this article, but in short: go to settings, notifications, do not disturb. Works great and solved my problem.¬†Talking about sleeping, there’s also apps for that of course.¬†I figured I would try a “sleep monitoring” app. I installed Morpheuz and configured the smart alarm which wakes you at an optimal point during your sleep cycle (not during the REM / deep sleep). So far it woke me up at various times between 07:00 and 07:25, I am not the type who has problems getting out of bed to be honest but it seems like it is even easier using Morpheuz. Will continue to use it for a while to see if it really makes a difference or not.

** Update – August¬†13th**¬†Pebble added the option to instant mute the watch from the do not disturb menu, very useful when you go watch a move or are presenting a sessions etc. I’ve also upped the “do not disturb” hours as getting notifications every second of the day when you are awake can be a bit too much, not sure if being “on call” all of the time is a good thing yet. Now set to 22:00 – 08:00 to not show any notifications.¬†** Update – August¬†13th**

Some other apps which are worth mentioning are Evernote, Transport and TripAdvisor. Evernote is primarily for me to quickly dig up that note and read it. Don’t expect to use it a lot, but can be useful every now and then. TripAdvisor can be useful when looking for a place to eat in the area, couple of clicks and you know what can be found relatively closeby. Transport is probably the most useful of the three, as it will allow you to request an Uber ride from your Pebble. There are plenty of apps you can install / try on the Pebble appstore and I suspect that considering the massive number of Pebble watches sold this will increase steadily.

Last but not least battery life. When it comes to battery life the Pebble is pretty impressive.¬†I’ve played with it extensively the last week and I reach about 4-5 days, Pebble promises up to 7 days with normal usage, but considering the number of notifications I get and how extensive I used it I think 4-5 days is pretty good. It charges pretty fast as well, and it comes with a magnetic usb charging cable which is easy to use and carry with you if needed when traveling.

** Update – August¬†13th**¬†I have had some strange problems with battery life over the last 2 weeks. Had to “factory reset” my Pebble twice as it was draining the battery within a day. The last couple of days it seems to behave normal again. Not sure if the factory reset helped or the new firmware that was released.¬†** Update – August¬†13th**

So I guess the question remains if I would recommend it? Yes, I most definitely would. I like the Pebble watch so far, and I think it would be worth it even if you use it for just notifications!

I will see you at VMworld 2015!

Just got the word that I am going to be part of three sessions at VMworld this year, and still waiting on news about the quick talks I submitted. So if you are going to VMworld 2015 make sure to note down these session IDs:

  • SDDC5027 – VCDX Unwrapped – Everything You Wanted to Know About VCDX (US only)
    The VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) program is growing every year. More and more people are interested in what it takes to become a VCDX. This moderated talk-show style panel session made up of a VCDX from each of the four tracks, (DCV, NV, DTM, CMA) will help potential candidates understand the value of getting their VCDX. It will also be a no-holds barred open discussion on what it takes to achieve this premier VMware certification. Hear from these experts on their journey and the incredible value that comes with becoming a VCDX yourself. This session will also feature live Q&A from the audience so come prepared with your own questions! This is the place to find out everything you ever wanted to know about becoming a VCDX, from live VCDX holders in a lively interactive session. Featuring: Chris Colotti, Simon Long, Jason Nash and Matt Vandenbeld.
  • SDDC4593 – Ask the Expert vBloggers¬†(US only)
    Back on stage with Rick Scherer, Chad Sakac, Scott Lowe and for me the first time with Chris Wahl! 8th year at VMworld, awesome panel of the industries top bloggers. In this session there are no powerpoints, no sales pitches and no rules! Experts in the industry are here to answer the audiences questions while having some fun in the process. Bring your topic, anything from Software-Defined Data Center, End-User Computing to Hybrid Cloud… Storage, Networking, Security. No questions are off limits.
  • INF4535 – 5 Functions of Software Defined Availability¬†(US and EMEA)
    Together with my friend Frank Denneman… Long time since I’ve been up on stage with Frank, and this VMworld we will be looking at Software Defined Availability. We¬†will discuss 5 functions of Software Defined Availability, which are part of vSphere 6.0. For each of these functions certain scenarios will be discussed to explain how vSphere can help improving availability of your workloads. This ranges from “how Site Recovery Manager and Storage DRS are loosely coupled but tightly integrated” with vSphere 6.0 to “how vSphere HA responds in the case of a certain failure‚ÄĚ. Be prepared to get in to the trenches of workload availability