Category Archives: Event

New Layout for VMworld Europe 2017

VMworld Europe returns to the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona again this year, but even though it’s in the same place the organisers have taken advantage of the massive venue to move a few things around. I’d heard comments at last years event, echoed on the VMW Community Podcast recently, that a few areas didn’t get the expected footfall and it looks like the changes have been made to help that. Note- I’m basing this blog post on the plans on the VMworld website, which are obviously subject to change.

 

VMworld Europe 2017 floorplan

VMworld Europe 2017 floorplan (subject to change)

The 2017 layout- pictured above, full version available on VMworld.com – shows the entrance and registration moved from the front of hall 8.0 to hall 6.0 which was used as the General Session/ Party venue last year (see the 2016 plan online here). The General Session has made way by moving next door into Hall 4.0. The VMvillage moves from the upstairs hall 8.1 to take up the rest of hall 6.0 on the plan- I hope this brings this area to the attention of more attendees, hall 8.1 was often bypassed as people rushed from the Breakout sessions across the bridge to the Solutions Exchange hall (still in 7.0).

Personally I like the look of this layout. The entrance moves (slightly) closer to the metro station and the VMvillage (which last year featured the Hang Space vBrownbag, VMware Education, Hands On Labs, and Community areas) should see increased activity as it’s on the way in and also adjacent to the Solutions Exchange. Pushing the General Session room a bit out of the way makes sense as this area is normally only used for those few sessions when everyone is together, and it may also help reduce the scramble to the escalators as people rush to the first Breakouts- in addition to the escalators between the VMvillage and Solutions Exchange there’s a similar set outside hall 4.0.

Registration for both this and the US event is now open.

VMworld

VMworld 2017 Session Voting

On Tuesday VMware announced that voting for VMworld sessions had started. This is an opportunity for members of the VMware community to “help shape the agenda” for the conference. Lots of people voting for one session isn’t a guarantee that it will appear but high ratings definitely direct the conference organisers to popular topics from the nearly 2,000 submitted in the CFP.

Here’s some of my highlights from the catalogue – have a look yourself and see if you agree with me. Voting runs till April 13th 2017.

The Power Hour – PowerCLI 10th Birthday Edition [1875]

VMworld Europe 2016 Power Hour

Always a staple in my VMworld viewing calendar –  the corresponding session was top of my Sessions to look out for list last year. This session marks the 10th anniversary of PowerCLI and Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf promise to accompany a history lesson with some new features and deep dives into the tool.

Ask the vCenter Server Experts Panel [2894] and/or Meet the vCenter Server Experts Panel [1440]

I’m not sure what the difference between these two proposals is, but these sessions offer the chance to ask questions of some of VMware’s top experts. There’s a benefit here from being a passive audience member or catching up online, but the real bonus is the opportunity for in-person attendees to ask questions based on their real-world vCenter experience.

How to Prepare for VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization [1533] with Steven Baca

An interesting looking session covering what the VCP certification involves and resources available and then diving into exam questions in the second half. Presented by one of the authors of the official certification guide.

What’s New with…..

As always there’s a whole series of “What’s New” sessions – I counted at least twelve titled proposals in the list. The new/recent developments are often the biggest talking points at VMworld – delivered through the Keynote and then in detail at breakouts like these- and always feed the discussions outside of the sessions. In particular I’d like to see what the latest and greatest developments are in vSphere (What’s New with vSphere [2342]) , vCenter (What’s New with vCenter [2779]), and vSAN (What’s New in VMware vSAN? [3054]).

Customer Story: Real world deployment of App Volumes for 20,000 users [1653]

Working in Higher Education IT, this session co-hosted by VMware and Maastricht University on their experience rolling out AppVolumes got me interested. It’s always interesting to see the real-world use cases of the existing technology being demonstrated at these events alongside the fresh-from-the-factory new features.

Battle of the Vs (vSAN vs VVols) [2248]

Drawn in by the title, the abstract of this talk looks interesting too. Pete Flecha and Duncan Epping take VSAN and VVols “head to head” to find out when each technology should be used.

Auto-Deploy 6.5 – you can SEE the Future! [1059]

This session caught my eye- Rebecca Fitzhugh and Mike Burkhart plan to cover the enhancements in Auto Deploy released in vSphere6.5, in particular the new GUI.

vSAN Troubleshooting Deep Dive [1315]

This looks like a heavy-duty session. It’s always interesting to see what the experts do when something goes wrong as opposed to what they do to make things go right. Any session that increases knowledge in a way that might just save the business time and support calls makes sense.

Quick Talks

There are 82 “Quick Talks” listed on the voting pages. These often overlooked sessions, many of which seem to end up on the Monday (in Barcelona at least), are a useful addition to the schedule in my opinion. Shorter than the usual breakouts these sessions either give an introduction to a technology or focus on a small feature in detail. The introduction sessions are great for getting a look at something in the portfolio that is perhaps outside of your regular sphere, but without committing a full precious hour of your planner to at the conference.

Examples from the Quick Talks category that caught my eye include “Exploring Photon Platform [2349]”, “Kubernetes Networking 101 [2603]”, “Site Recovery Manager – Disaster Recovery Testing at it’s finest [2076]”, and of course “Virtually Speaking Podcast – Live Edition! [1948]”

 

The voting catalogue has lots to choose from and I’m just skimming the surface in this post. I couldn’t possibly list all the ones I’m interested in here and I’ve undoubtedly missed some potential favourites . Check out the VMworld blog for more information and a link to the voting pages containing all the proposed sessions. If there’s any sessions that I’ve missed above that you think should definitely be included, drop a comment below and let me know which ones and why.

#vBeers – trying out a new gathering

vBeer1

vBeers- “an opportunity for virtualization enthusiasts and professionals to meet and enjoy discussing all things virtualization and anything else in the world of tech”

vbeers.org

Over the past year or so I’ve bumped into a number of fellow virtualisation pro’s in the community who live in the commuter belt around London. We’ve often met up for a #vBeer or two in the capital, and I’ve floated the idea of a “vBeers in the Country”- i.e. evening meetups in a pub to talk tech but held outside of the M25. The suggestion was generally well received, so I set about putting something together. Here’s an insight into went on to organise this in case anyone finds it useful in putting on their own event.

Working out Availability

imageWhilst I could have gone with the option of “My local, two weeks on Wednesday”, I decided to try and find out when people were usually available and where they were likely to travel to for a meetup. That way we could organise something with potentially better attendance. I chose a selection of locations that I could get to by train (I thought it would be nice if I could go too 🙂 ) and put together a survey on Google Forms to find out what night the majority of respondents would be available, and where they would be interested in going to.

Picking a time and a place

We had a number of responses, and the results clearly pointed to a Thursday night in Guildford being the favoured option. Picking a particular Thursday was the next step. I was keen to avoid clashing with other tech events (local VMUGs, Cloud Camps, AWSome Days, etc.) that people might be interested in, and also avoiding January – paychecks are often stretched that month and some people join in with the “Dry January” events for charitable or health reasons which don’t necessarily play well with an evening in a pub.

Next up was picking a suitable venue. Guildford is lucky to have a number of nice public houses and many are close to the train station. Carefully navigating the calendars of the various hostelries I discovered that one of the nice riverside pubs, the Britannia, was open for food and drink and didn’t have a band or pub quiz happening on the evening in question. One twitter and email chat later and the nice staff there even reserved a table for us- and seemed happy with my “I’ve no idea how many people will turn up” position.

Getting the word out

imageThe vBeers.org website (“Where vGeeks Come To Meet”) was my first point of call following a suggestion from Jane Rimmer.  Once the page there was published I started getting the word out on the Twitters and via tech Slack groups I’m in. We also had a London VMUG event before the date and Simon Gallagher kindly plugged the event in his opening slides and it gave me the opportunity to tell people in person.

The Results

Well, after a nervous 15 minutes sat in the pub wondering if I’d be spending the evening on my own with a beer (hey, even failure has it’s benefits!) Dave and Andy, both friends and fellow vExperts from the London VMUG, were the first to arrive and the evening got going. In amongst some excellent food and drink we discussed all manner of things technical- from the new VMware releases to our latest war stories and (as Andy was bribed with points to come along) the current batch of CloudCred tasks.

What Next?

Whilst the number of attendees wasn’t massive I think we all had a good time, so I’d like to carry on the idea and see if it grows. I’ll be thinking about organising another event later in the year, possibly moving the location around- if anyone knows of a nice country pub with good food, good beer, and a garden which is close to a station let me know and we might go there in the summer. Cheers!

London VMUG January 2017

Last week saw the first London VMware User Group of the year, another great meetup with many of the usual faces along with some new ones. This was another informative event at the TechUK site just off Fleet Street, and was again very community orientated. If you want to go and find out how people are using VMware products (and others in the surrounding ecosystem) then I’d thoroughly recommend these events- there’s just the right balance between real technical accounts direct from the coalface and marketing of new and interesting products Continue reading