Category Archives: Event

Rubrik Build Workshop

Last week (end of May 2019) I was lucky enough to secure a place at the Rubrik Build Workshop in London. This event, which has been touring round the world, is a day of technical learning focussed on API, SDK, and version control.

Roxie at RubrikThe first thing to acknowledge here is even though Rubrik was hosting the event and the presenters  (the awesome pairing of Chris Wahl and Rebecca Fitzhugh) work for the company there was absolutely no sales push. Whilst they used their own APIs and SDKs as examples the majority of the content was very much platform agnostic. Kudos is due here for running this kind of free-of-charge educational event for the tech community without filling it with sales and marketing slides.

The morning started with a session on version control- looking at how git and in particular GitHub – can be used to track and share code. The “RoxieAtRubrik” GitHub account was used in some hands-on demos -we all forked a public project, made changes,  and submitted a pull request. The course material used in the workshops is publicly available via this account- check here: https://github.com/RoxieAtRubrik

There were some insights into how GitHub is used at Rubrik- there’s unit tests for every single function and in the background they have a CI (Continuous Integration) pipeline at work to make sure releases are up to scratch. Quality control can be tricky on community fed projects where developers may not be subject to traditional corporate control and it’s interesting to see how different teams handle this input.

Our dive into version control was followed by a look at how REST APIs work, using the Rubrik APIs as an example. There was plenty of hands-on activity here, with an online lab provided to simulate communicating with a real world device but in a safe environment.

Rubrik Hands on Lab Environment

The schedule of this event was flexible and after a show of hands amongst the 15 delegates we moved on to look at PowerShell, both in general terms for those new to the scripting language but also seeing how the SDK layer of the Rubrik PowerShell module made the API calls we’d looked at previously more user-friendly.

This PowerShell module is open source and available on GitHub- https://github.com/rubrikinc/rubrik-sdk-for-powershell – and as with all these projects contributions are welcome from the community. There was lots of encouragement from the presenters for customers/users to try these SDKs out and feed back any improvements that could be made, either by submitting an feature request or bug report, or by writing some or all of the addition yourself.

The European leg of the Rubrik Build tour has finished, but they’re off to Australia and New Zealand in June if that’s local to you. Check out https://build.rubrik.com/ for details.

VMworld 2018 Banner

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Ladies and Gentlemen of VMworld 2019.

Wear comfortable shoes.

If I could offer you only one tip for the conference, comfy shoes would be it.
The long term benefits of comfortable shoes have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the knowledge and learning imparted at the breakout sessions; oh nevermind; you will not understand all the knowledge and learning imparted until you watch the recordings.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at your notes from the event and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much technology lay before you and how fabulous that UI really looked…
You can’t fit in as many parties as you imagine.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.

Present a session.

Don’t ignore other people’s opinions, don’t put up with people who ignore yours.

Talk to people.

Don’t waste your time on free pens;
Sometimes there’s T-shirts,
Sometimes there’s LEGO.
The swag list is long, and in the end, it’s only what fits in your suitcase home that counts.

Drink plenty of water.

Maybe you’ll do the Hackathon, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll watch a vBrownbag, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll get an early night, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken at the VMworld party.
Whatever you do, don’t worry too much when someone says on-premise.
Enjoy your time at the conference, Use it every way you can… Don’t be afraid of doing new things, or what other people think of them,
Spending time wisely is the greatest investment you’ll ever make…

Use that Early Bird pricing, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Be nice to your peers in the vCommunity; They are the best way to learn and the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Stretch.

Go to VMworld US once, but leave before it makes you hard;
Go to VMworld EU once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Accept certain inalienable truths, vBeards will grow and turn grey, vendors will talk FUD, you too will get tired, and when you do you’ll fantasise that when you were younger vChins were clean-shaven, vendors were noble, and the flash client was the best thing since sliced bread.

But trust me on the comfortable shoes…

VMworld

VMworld 2019 Dates

It was announced this week that registration for VMware’s VMworld 2019 conference will open at the beginning of May so now seems a good time to look at some of the key dates for the event.

Call For Proposals – March-April

The CFP process seems to be a little different this year being only open to VMware Employees (till -April 9th). However Non-VMW staff can submit an outline for review, applications for which are accepted through to April 16th. The reviews then happen through May and submitters should find out by June 11th.

The process is running concurrently for both US and EU events and full details are on the vmworld.com site.

Early Bird Registration 7 May

If you’re definitely going (and why wouldn’t you?!) then Early Bird pricing is the way to go. For VMworld Europe this deal runs from registration opening on 7th May through to 27 July and cuts the price by 200 Euro.

For the US event Early Bird Registration ends 15 June and offers a $300 saving on the regular rate.

Remember, there’s additional discounts on top of these offers for VMUG Advantage members, VCP holders, and Alumni.

Content Catalog 18 June

The release of the content catalog is the first chance to see the sessions on offer for both EU and US events. Whilst timings aren’t announced at this stage it’s a good opportunity to start marking the breakout sessions that are of interest.

The sessions listed can change, with some being added or possibly removed as the catalog develops so keep popping back during this period to keep up to date

US Session Builder 16 July

The Schedule Builder is where you can plan out your week and the US one goes live about a month before the event. A top tip is to get in early on the day this goes live and book in your “must see” sessions. As with the content catalog, keep popping back as the event draws near (and even after the keynote) as new sessions are always added in- particularly those tied around as-yet-unannounced product releases.

VMworld US 25-29 August

After a couple of years out in Vegas, VMworld US returns to the Moscone Centre in San Francisco for 2019.

EU Session Builder 25 September

Like the US session builder detailed above, the timetabling function for the European leg is released a few weeks before the event itself.

VMworld Europe 4-7 November

The European leg is back in Barcelona again this year and keeping to the November dates from last year.

 

Full details of the conference can be found on vmworld.com

VMworld2018Sign

AWS re:Invent comes to London

2019-01-22_10-29-04Last week (January 2019) I attended an AWS event in London to learn a bit more about Amazon Web Services and catch up on the big announcements from the November re:Invent conference held in Las Vegas. This is my write up of that one day event held at the Altitude360 tower in the capital.

Keynote

After an (unusual) request for no phones or photography during the session the day kicked off with a Keynote from Chris Hayman. Chris started with the overview of AWS’s majority market share and highlighted some of their millions of customers. Pie charts and graphs showed just how dominant Amazon is in this sector.

He then went on to touch on the large portfolio of products in the AWS stable- this featured a slide with so many product names that even sat in the front row looking at this cinema sized screen I wasn’t able to make them all out. This gamut continued throughout the day- by lunchtime I estimated I’d been introduced to at least fifty different products from the range. This is all a bit overwhelming- “how am I going to learn about all of these?” I was thinking.

But then I had something of an epiphany- stop thinking of these as discrete apps like I would with a traditional server setup and instead think of them as components or features of the overall single package. For example-  in AWS you have a product called “Amazon Route 53” which provides a DNS service, there’s “AWS Transfer for SFTP”, “Amazon Elastic Block Store”, “AWS Systems Manager”. Back on your Windows Server you’d refer to these as the DNS, IIS, iSCSI Target, or Server Manager roles or services. This isn’t to say they are all equivalent between vendors, but thinking of these AWS product lines as services under the same umbrella platform helped bridge the gap from the more traditional way of thinking.

This proliferation of names and features does make writing up the conference without it becoming a list of products a little tricky so this post will focus on my highlights from the day with links to product pages etc. where appropriate. If you do want a full list, the “Products” link at the top of the AWS website will fill you in.

Along with a high level view of the announcements from re:Invent, the keynote also included a few customer stories- EMIS group who provide software and IT services to the NHS, the London Borough of Waltham Forest who are using AWS to leverage the data they collect to help citizens in their region, and LGSS Digital who are using Amazon Connect to provide AI powered call centres for local authorities.

The IT Crowd. Pic from channel4.com

Techies love the basement life

Following the Keynote the day split into a Business and Technical track. I favoured the latter, opting to stay in the windowless basement theatre when the Business track left for the 28-floor elevator ride to their views across London. Better to focus on the content rather than be distracted by the busy cityscape below 🙂

Core Services

The first session covered the Core Services in a bit more detail, starting off with the EC2 compute power that everything hinges on. We delved into the instance types available, from the new Graviton ARM processors (A1) through to the high-end compute with 4GHz Xeon cores (z1d).

In the storage part of the talk there were a couple of new features that caught my attention- notably the Managed File System offerings- FSx. The Windows version of this provides an AD-integrated DFS file-share with all the multi-availability-zone global resilience that the public cloud offers. A second service of note was the Glacier Deep Archive which offers storage at about $1/TB/month with a 12 hour recovery time for all those files that have to be kept for long periods but won’t be needed in a hurry.

Networking and Security came up next- one of the interesting things here was the “AWS Security Hub” which brings together all the AWS security products in one place. There’s a growing number of discrete products in the AWS security sphere (as with their other product groups) so having one system to manage them all makes a lot of sense.

Dev Tools and Containers

The afternoon sessions started with one covering developer tools, containers, and microservices. A big takeaway for me here was how AWS supports a development environment where multiple teams are using multiple languages to develop these microservices that need to all talk to each other for the application as a whole to work. The complicated nature of this needs management and visibility of the components as well as consistent communications between them. Features such as the preview “AWS App Mesh” and “AWS Cloud Map” can help developers with this challenge.

DB, AI, and ML

A quick dive into the world of databases, data lakes, data warehouses, ledgers, and blockchain came next. Again, every variant comes with a product name and there’s some inconsistency here- some products such as “Amazon Managed Blockchain” or “Amazon DocumentDB” have a name that clearly shows what they do, whilst others such as “Amazon Neptune” or “Amazon Aurora” leave you guessing. Thankfully they haven’t all been reduced to acronyms across the marketing and documentation -we have S3, RDS, EC2 etc but fifty+ of those would definitely get confusing.

My highlight of the section on AI and Machine Learning was our quick look at the the “AWS DeepRacer”- a scale model car which you can go out and buy and then teach to drive itself. During the break we got to see it whizz up and down the stage.

 

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An #Amazon #DeepRacer being put through its paces.

A post shared by Chris Bradshaw (@startmenu) on

Internet of Everything Else

We were next introduced to the wide range of IoT services available on AWS. These are split into 3 categories: Data, Control, and Device. There’s lots of interesting developments happening here with Amazon working with the endpoints collecting the data- perhaps integrating with legacy equipment using “AWS IoT Sitewise”- and then storing, before analysing and acting upon it.

The final session was left to cover “Everything Else”- all those things that didn’t fit into one of the above categories. This included the VMware supported AWS Outposts where Amazon hardware can be hosted in your own datacentre and, bizarrely given the audience, a look at the AWS “Groundstation as a service” offering in case you have a satellite you need to talk to.

Summary

Overall this was an interesting excursion into the world of AWS even if it was solid PowerPoint for every session. The opportunity to drink direct from the firehose of information and then have face to face discussions with the team from Amazon on how to apply it in my own environment was definitely worth the time, and I look forward to finding out more. Details on their future events can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/events/

UK VMUG 2018 Preview

IMG_20181106_121248612_editIn two weeks I’ll be heading up to the annual UK VMware User Group meeting. This year a later VMworld Europe has pushed this conference’s date into Christmas season from it’s usual home in November and, speaking of homes, it’s relocated from the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham to the National Space Centre in Leicester. “The Sky’s the Limit”? – not here.

The Keynotes are going to be held in the museum planetarium and I’ve heard rumours that Joe Baguely, VMware CTO, is pretty excited about the possibilities this could bring to his opening address. At the other end the day VMware’s HCI Chief Technologist Duncan Epping is giving the closing keynote so you can expect even more great tech coverage here.

It doesn’t end there though, with over 40 sessions to choose from on the day plus over 30 ecosystem vendors represented the UK VMUG is often referred to as a mini-VMworld. It’s large enough to have a range of technical depth whilst still covering a breadth of topics. Sessions cover the entire VMware stack, from vSAN to VVols, HCI to VDI, vRealize to NSX, VMs to Containers, and on-premises deployments right through to the public cloud. I always return from this event feeling I have learnt something relevant to my daily role, and something new for the future.

VMUG-UserconAny good conference starts the night before and this one is no different with it’s vCurry (held in the venue itself) which is usually accompanied by a fiendish vQuiz. Googling on your phone under the table will only get you so far in this one. The vCommunity (who are partly responsible for sticking a v in front of any noun they can) will be out in force there, and right through the event on Thursday.

On the subject of community, in the afternoon I’m talking alongside vExpert Pro Gareth Edwards as we discuss VMware’s global advocacy program; what it involves, the benefits of achieving the award, and how to go about applying to join the current crop of 161 UK vExperts for the 2019 programme.

Checkout the full agenda for more details of this and the other talks.

imageIf you’re reading this before 13th December 2018- Register at the link below, and I’ll see you in Leicester:

https://www.vmug.com/Attend/VMUG-UserCon/2018/UK-VMUG-UserCon-2018