Category Archives: Event

VMworld

Session Builder Now Available- VMworld Europe 2017

The Session Builder, the place where attendees can book spaces in the sessions, is now online for VMworld Europe 2017.  It’s accessed through the Content Catalog on the website.

Session Builder

Session Builder

There’s over 500 sessions to choose from and whilst not essential, booking a place on the one’s you want to see is recommended. When the doors to a session open at VMworld pre-booked attendees are let in first and only if there are any spaces left will they be filled from a queue outside the room. Don’t reserve in the Session Builder and you might miss out on some of the more popular sessions.

Although the Content Catalogue has been online for some weeks now, the Session Builder is the first time we will see when particular sessions are. There’s a calendar feature which helps plan your days and help make sure you don’t have any timetable clashes.

Session Builder Calendar

Session Builder Calendar

At the Barcelona venue, the majority of breakout sessions are all in the same part of the complex (hall 8.0, see floorplan) so you don’t have to worry about getting between sessions there. The Instructor-Led-Labs and VMTN talks are based in the VMvillage, over in Hall 6.0 this year- that’s a bit of a longer walk over the bridge, but allowing ten minutes between halls will allow you plenty of time to find the right room and grab a drink from one of the fridges on the way.

Based on my experience of previous years the majority of the sessions will already already listed on the site but others- in particular those labs and breakouts around new releases yet to be announced- will be added as the event date approaches, so it’s worth popping back. VMware also use the Session Builder sign ups to gauge the popularity of sessions, and occasionally move breakouts to a bigger hall if demand warrants it.

In summary- the Session Builder can be found here: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/eucatalog.jsp

And if you haven’t yet registered for the event, follow this link to do so. http://vexpert.me/11n

INF5211 session at VMworld

INF5211 session at VMworld

London VMUG June 2017

Last month I was back in London for another VMware User Group meeting. There was a good mixture of familiar faces and first-time attendees all ready to lap up a day of learning. As usual I came away with pages of notes, so here’s a rundown of my experiences.

Nimble Storage

Peter Evans from Nimble Storage brought us the first of the sponsor sessions- “What can a storage vendor bring to your virtualisation platform?”. I’ve looked at Nimble before (including at this event) and their jewel-in-the-crown is still their Infosight analytics platform. This set the (possibly unintentional) theme for the sponsors today- plenty of analytics, machine learning, and predictive solutions.

90% of Nimble arrays are used with VMware infrastructures, and integration with SPBM and VASA features helps promote that. They’ve obviously worked hard to develop a reputation for reliability within that ecosystem. From their own figures they are reporting five-nines of uptime across all their customer estates partly helped by their cloud analytics which allow a problem at one customer to be proactively prevented at the others.

It will be interesting to see how the Nimble platform develops following the acquisition by HPE earlier this year. We were told at the VMUG that the analytics capabilities are expected to be integrated into the HPE storage platforms and we’re already seeing some product announcements.

#VMWonAWS

First announced last year, VMware on AWS is arriving this summer and Frank Denneman was here to update us on the latest developments as this approaches that GA date.

IMG_20170622_110509060With most organisations having at least a hybrid cloud strategy, and others are looking even further towards zero datacentres, Frank explained how this can cause issues with those legacy applications. He went on to talk about how cloud providers expect high availability to be implemented at an application level- VMware solved this in the datacentre with vSphere HA, but short of building a new app from the ground up it can be difficult in a regular cloud setting to emulate this ability.

We were told how VMware on AWS takes bare metal servers on the AWS global infrastructure and installs the vCenter/vSphere/vSAN/NSX stack- basically offering private cloud on a public cloud provider and consistency with the existing on-premises solutions.

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This gets even more interesting as we’re promised that more and more of the native AWS services will be made accessible to the hosted VMware environment- there’s definitely a buzz in the room when this is mentioned as people start thinking about the possibilities this opens up.

Serverless

In the last session of the morning Julian Wood asked us “Can I order some servers for my serverless please?”- an interesting session with an overview of the ideas behind serverless and how they fit in with our current technologies.
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Julian offered an interesting metaphor here which helps explain “serverless”- Serverless has servers in the same way that a wireless network has wires. The servers are still there, but the interaction is with the functions (FaaS) or the backend systems (BaaS) rather than the tin, hypervisor, operating system, or container.

The three main offerings of Amazon Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions were discussed, along with the differences between the FaaS and BaaS services- Functions are stateless, with logic whilst BaaS offers more data longevity (for example by writing to a database) but without any logic.

My impression is that this is a new technology finding it’s niche with a few successful use cases (training service A Cloud Guru was mentioned as one) and adds another potential architecture to the catalogue of any modern application developer.

Blue Medora

After lunch there were two sponsor tracks available, SIOS were presenting in Track B and I picked Track A where Alain Geenrits and Ian Wells from sponsors Blue Medora  were talking on “Predictive Analytics for IT Operations Using VMware vRealize”.

This talk covered some of their range of vRealize Operations plugins which allow dashboards in vROps to present a wider view of the applications and infrastructure stack. These other components include storage from vendors such as Dell, databases such as MySQL and SQL Server, and then additional bits of infrastructure monitored through Nagios or SCOM.

Their system detects the relationship between these components, creating an inventory tree and helping explain to the admins and operators how the pieces of the infrastructure are interconnected.

Diving Deep

in the last session of the day Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort gave an insight into some of the topics covered in their new book- “VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive”. “Deep Dive” is a bit of an understatement here- and you’ll have to buy the book to get the details- but there’s some really good nuggets of information that everyone can use.

For example (and check out page 224-228 of the book for the full details)- are you aware of the impact on performance that can be created by filling memory slots in a server? The performance of all the memory can be severely reduced (by as much as 25%) by the controller to prevent signals overloading the bus when using 3 DIMMs per channel. To quote their words:

“DIMM population guidelines create a challenge whether the capacity can be solved using higher capacity DIMMs or taking the throughput hit as more capacity is only obtainable by populating all DIMM sockets.”


Overall there was a good story behind the sessions at this event- from the core VMware hypervisor in the Host Deep Dive, through the surrounding ecosystem in the sponsor sessions and then out of the datacentre and “into the cloud” with talks on VMware on AWS and Serverless technologies. All of this was wrapped up by the community of attendees, speakers, and of course the VMUG Leaders who without the event wouldn’t happen.

#vBeers

As in previous years the London VMUG team upped their game for the social after the summer event and Dave Simpson once again proved he could organise a booze up in a brewery.  Thanks are also due to Nutanix for sponsoring this part of the event.

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So after the close of the event most of the attendees decamped to the FourPure brewery down the road in Bermondsey for a bit of drink, food, and talking shop. As always this was a great end to the day and a real opportunity to discuss the day’s revelations alongside what we’ve all been up to back in the office. This really brings the community together and is, in my opinion, one of the major selling points of the user group experience.

Future Dates

The UK VMUG “UserCon” is back in Birmingham on 16th November 2017, and the next London date is 18 January 2018. Both events are always on the lookout for new speakers too- particularly from the community. Details and a sign-up form can be found here- tinyurl.com/VMUG-CFP.

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VMworld Europe 2017

It’s confirmed- I’ll be returning to Barcelona in September as an official Blogger for VMworld Europe 2017. Thanks again to Corey Romero and the VMware Community team for extending me this opportunity.

Following the 2016 event I’m looking forward to a week of intense learning whilst meeting old friends and making new ones. If you fancy joining me, here’s what you need to know about registering and getting to the event:

What, When, Where?

VMworld Europe is the EMEA leg of the largest virtualisation conference in the world. It offers not only an front-row seat to the latest and greatest offerings from VMware themselves but also the newest developments from the massive ecosystem of suppliers that VMware sit in.

This year the conference returns to Barcelona slightly earlier than usual- on the 11th to the 14th of September. This is just 10 days after the equivalent US event.

Getting that Conference Pass

Registration for the conference is open now and there’s a number of discounts available to help keep the cost down. The Early Bird Rate runs till 20th June and takes 200 Euros off the price. Additionally if you’re a VMUG Advantage subscriber or VCP certified you can get an additional 75 Euro reduction. Finally there’s lower prices for groups (if you want to take your colleagues along) and for Alumni of the event.

Check the registration page on VMworld.com for full details and to register online.

Getting There

Barcelona is served by the city airport – El Prat – with flights from most locations. Once on the ground there is a direct Metro connection to both the conference centre (€4.50 per ticket) and the city, shuttle buses (€5.90) to the city centre, and of course taxis are readily available.

Plane

Easyjet. One of the many airlines that serve Barcelona airport.

The conference centre- Fira Gran Via– is located outside the city centre, and easily accessible on the Metro. In previous years I’ve found this to be a quick, safe, and reliable method of getting around town. The entrance to VMworld is adjacent to the “Fira” station on the L9 Sud metro line (see here for some more info) and free metro passes are usually available for attendees from the conference reception. If not a “T-10 ticket” is currently 10 Euros and valid for ten journeys- you can purchase them at the vending machines in any station (which have multi-language support).

Fira Gran Via

VMworld 2016 at the Fira Gran Via conference centre.

Accommodation

When booking your conference pass for VMworld you can also book a discounted hotel room from their official list, but there are many hotels, AirBnBs, and apartments available in Barcelona. In my experience I would recommend finding a hotel near to a Metro station- locations near Plaça de Catalunya, Avenue del Paraŀlel, or north-east of Plaça de Espanya along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes are all handy for both the metro links to the conference itself but also the evening events which are held in the city centre and beachfront areas.

W Hotel in Barcelona

The W hotel on the beach- one of Barcelona’s premier hotels. Great views, but you’ll want a taxi to get anywhere.

Questions

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me below or on Twitter and I’ll help if I can. The VMworld organisers themselves can be contacted through the conference website or Twitter, or link in the hashtag #VMworld for community assistance.

Go on, VMworld is less than 100 days away so register now and I’ll see you there!

VMworld

VMworld 2017-One Month Left on Early Bird Discount

Early-Bird pricing for the annual VMware VMworld events ends June 12th (for the US event) and June 20th (for the European event). That means there’s only a month to go before the price goes up to the regular rate.

The event is (as always) shaping up to be great, and whilst details are still under development I’m expecting the following to feature at the event.

  • vSphere on AWS. This was announced last year (just in time for the VMworld Europe keynote) with release lined up for mid-2017. I’m expecting to see a launch, lots of publicity, and a few customer stories from those who have been trying it out already. I think there will also be a continuing push on VMware products on other clouds- the recent Horizon on Azure announcement and the VMware/Google Partnership as just two examples.
  • vSAN. Version 6.6 was released in April this year and based on the normal release tempo and comments and discussions on podcasts and in community meetings I’m expecting the next version to be announced at VMworld, possibly with a GA date just afterwards. What will the new version bring? At this moment I’m not too sure but I’m expecting continuing developments around the data encryption introduced in 6.6.
  • Dell. The Dell takeover was announced at the start of VMworld Europe 2015 and was finalised September last year. Whilst there have been some worries about the acquisition of VMware adversely affecting it’s independence and the flourishing ecosystem –many of whom are Dell’s competitors – don’t forget that VMware was owned by EMC before this and this didn’t seem to affect other storage vendors interaction. The whole company, from Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger down have from the outset said that VMware would keep that independence, and I’m happy to believe that. I’m expecting the Dell-EMC presence to be as strong as ever but I’m also expecting the other vendors to continue on.
  • On the Dell EMC front, at DellEMC World they recently announced VDI Complete Solutions– a hyperconverged platform running vSphere/Horizon sold on an Op-Ex friendly subscription model. This has got quite a few people excited and I’m expecting to hear more on this front. I also wouldn’t be surprised if other hardware vendors made a similar offering.

Early-Bird discounts end in June for both the US and European events, so what are you waiting for?