Heading to VMworld 2017 in Vegas

For the 2nd year running, I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to attend the VMware’s premier technology roadshow, VMworld in the city that never sleeps. This is my 6th consecutive VMworld where I’ve attended the 2012-2015 events at Barcelona and the 2016 event in Vegas. Similar to the last year, I’ve been extremely lucky to be selected and be invited by VMware as an official VMworld blogger due to my vExpert status to attend the event free of charge. (Also well done to my fellow Insight teammate & vExpert Kyle Jenner for being picked to attend VMworld 2017 Europe as an official blogger too). Obviously we are both very lucky to have an employer who value our attendance at such industry events and is happy to foot the bill for other expenses such as logistics which is also appreciated. So thanks VMware & Insight UK.

I attended the VMworld 2016 also in Vegas and to be honest, that was probably not the best event to attend that year in hindsight as all the new announcements were reserved for the European edition a month after. However this year, the word on the street is that VMworld US will carry majority of the new announcements so I am very excited to find out about them before anyone else.!

VMworld 2017 Itineraries

Most people attending VMworld or any similar tech conference overseas would typically travel few days earlier or stay behind few days after the event to explore things around. Unfortunately for me and my in-explicable dedication to playing league cricket between April-September, I am only able to travel out on Sunday the 27th after the game on Saturday. Similarly I have to get back immediately after the event in time for the following Saturday’s game. Silly you might think! I’d tend to agree too.

  • Travel out: Sunday the 27th of August from Manchester to Las Vegas (Thomas Cook – direct flight)
  • Accommodation: Delano Las Vegas (next door to event venue which is Mandalay Bay Hotel)
  • Travel back: Thursday the 31st of August from Las Vegas to Manchester (Thomas Cook – direct flight)

 

Session planning

one of the most important thing one planning on attending VMworld should do (if you wanna genuinely learn something at the event that is), to plan your break out sessions that you want to attend in advance using the schedule builder. This year, I was very luck to be able to get this booked in almost as soon as the schedule builder went live. However even then, some of the popular sessions were fully booked which shows how popular this event is.

Given below is a list of my planned sessions

  • Sunday the 27th of August
    • 4-4:30pm – How to Use CloudFormations in vRealize Automation to Build Hybrid Applications That Span and Reside On-Premises & on VMware Cloud on AWS and AWS Cloud [MMC1464QU]

 

  • Monday the 28th of August
    • 9am-10:30am – General session (you can find me at the specialist blogger seats right at the front of the hall)
    • 12:30-1:30pm – Accelerate the Hybrid Cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS [LHC3159SU]
    • 2:30-3:30pm – Addressing your General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Challenges with Security and Compliance Automation Based on VMware Cloud Foundation [GRC3386BUS]
    • 3:30-4:30pm – Big Data for the 99% (of Enterprises) [FUT2634PU]
    • 5:30-6:30pm – VMC Hybrid Cloud Architectural Deep Dive: Networking and Storage Best Practices [LHC3375BUS]

 

  • Tuesday the 29th of August
    • 9am-10:30am – General session (you can find me at the specialist blogger seats right at the front of the hall)
    • 1-2pm – A Two-Day VMware vRealize Operations Manager Customer Success Workshop in 60 Minutes [MGT2768GU]
    • 2-3pm – AWS Native Services Integration with VMware Cloud on AWS: Technical Deep Dive [LHC3376BUS]
    • 3-6:30pm – VMware NSX Community Leaders (vExperts) Summit at Luxor hotel
    • 7-10pm – vExpert Reception – VMworld U.S. 2017 at Pinball Hall of Fame
    • 10pm-12am – Rubrik VMworld Party (Featuring none other than Ice Cube) at Marquee @ Cosmopolitan

 

  • Wednesday the 30th of August
    • 10-11am – Automating vSAN Deployments at Any Scale [STO1119GU]
    • 11-12am – Creating Your VMware Cloud on AWS Data Center: VMware Cloud on AWS Fundamentals [LHC1547BU]
    • 12:30-1:30pm – 3 Ways to Use VMware’s New Cloud Services for Operations to Efficiently Run Workloads Across AWS, Azure and vSphere: VMware and Customer Technical Session [MMC3074BU]
    • 3:30-4:30pm – Intriguing Integrations with VMware Cloud on AWS, EC2, S3, Lambda, and More [LHC2281BU]
    • 7-10pm – VMworld Customer Appreciation Party

 

  • Thursday the 31st of August
    • 10:30-11:30am – NSX and VMware Cloud on AWS: Deep Dive [LHC2103BU]

 

I have left some time in between sessions for blogging activities, various meetings, networking sessions and hall crawl which are also equally important as attending breakout sessions (If anything those are more important as the breakout session content will always be available online afterwards)

Thoughts & Predictions

VMworld is always a good event to attend and going by past experience, its a great event for finding out about new VMware initiatives and announcements as well as all the related partner ecosystem solutions, from the established big boys as well as relatively new or up and coming start-up’s that work with VMware technologies to offer new ways to solve todays business problems. I don’t see this year’s event being any different and my guess would be a lot of focus would be given to VMware’s Cross cloud architecture (announced last year) and everything related to that this year. Such things could include the availability of VMware Cloud on AWS and potentially some NSX related announcements that can facilitate this cross cloud architecture for the customers. We will have to wait and see obviously.

I will be aiming to get a daily summary blog out summarising key announcements from the day and any new or exciting solutions I come across. You can follow me on Twitter also for some live commentary throughout the day.

If you are a VMware customer or a partner, I would highly encourage you to attend VMworld at least once. It is a great event for learning new things, but also most importantly, its a great place to meet and gain access to back end VMware engineering staff that average people never get to see or interact with. This is very valuable if you are a techie. Also if you are a business person, you can network with key VMware executives and product managers to understand the future strategy of their product lines and also, collectively that of VMware.

 

VMworld 2016 US – Key Announcements From Day 2

A quick summary of this morning’s key note speech at VMworld 2’016 US and few annoucements.

Opening Keynote Speech

The morning keynote speech was hosted by Sunjay Poonan (@Spoonan), who heads up the EUC BU within VMware. Sunjay’s speech was pretty much in line with the general VMware focus areas, mentioned yesterdays key note by Pat Gelsinger which is a complete solution that enable customers of todays enterprises & corporates the ability to use any device, any app & any cloud platform as they see fit without having to worry about workload mobility, cross platform management and monitoring.

While yesterdays session was more focused on the server side of things, Sunjay’s message today was focused on the End User Computing side of things, predictably to a bigger degree. The initial messaging was around the VMware Workspace One suite.

Workspace One suite with VMware identity manager appears to be focusing more and more on the following 3 key areas which are key to todays enterprise IT.

  • Apps and identity
  • Desktop & Mobile
  • Management & Security

Workspace one integration with mobile devices to push out corporate apps on mobile devices similar to Apple app store like interface was demoed which emphasize the slick capabilities of the solution which really appears to be ready for primetime now. He also demoed the conditional access capabilities wihtin the Horizon Workspace suite that prevents data sharing between managed and unmanaged apps. The conditional access can also be extended out to NSX to utilise micro segmentation hand in hand to provide even tighter security which is quite handy.

Stephanie Buscemi – EVP of Salesforce came on stage to talk about how they use VMware Wotrkspace suite to empower their sales people to work on the go which was pretty cool I thought, though there was a little marketing undertone to the whole pitch.

  • My take: Personally I dont cover EUC offerings that much myself though I have a good awareness of their Digital Workspace strategy and have also had hands on design and experience with the Horizon View from back in the days. However I can see the EUC offering from VMware getting better and better every day over the last 5 odd years and dare I say, right now, its one of the best solutions out there for most customers if not the best, given its feature set and the integration to other VMware and non VMware compoenents in the back end data center and Cloud. If you are looking at any EUC solutions, this should be on top of your list to investigate / evaluate.

Endpoint Security

VMware TrustPoint powered by Tanium was showcased and its integration with AirWatch to provide a mobile device management solution togewther with a comprehensive security solution that can track devices and their activities real time (no database-full of old device activity info) and apply security controls real time too. This looked a very attractive proposition given the security concerns of the todays enterprise and I can see where this would add value, provided that the costs stack up.

Free VMware Fusion and Workstation license annouicement

VMware also annouced today thye availability of VMware Fusion and Workstation free liceses to all VMworld attendees through the VMworld 2016 app (already claimed mine) – pretty cool huh?

Cloud Native Applications

Kit Colbert, Cloud Native CTO at VMware spoke about the challenges of using the containerised apps in the enterprise environments which currently lacks a comprehensive management solution. Having been looking at containerisation myself and its practical use for majority of ordinary customers, I can relate to that too myself, especially when you compare managing applications based on containers like Docker to legacy appications that run on a dedicated OSE (Windows, Linux…etc) which can be managed, tracked and monitored with session & data persistence that is lacking in a container instance to a level withouth 3rd party components.

Today, couple of new additional features have been annouced on VIC as folows (If you are new to VIC, refer to my intro blog post here)

  • New: Container registry
  • New: Container management portal

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vSphere Integrated Containers beta programme is also now available if you want to have a look at http://learn.vmware.com/vicbeta

 

VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)

Also, VIO 3.0 was oifficially annouced today by Kit. I was privy to this information beforehand due to a vExpert only briefing for the same but was not able to disclose anything due to embargo until now.

VIO is a VMware customised distro of OpenStack and the below slide should give you an intro for those of you who aren’t familer with VIO all that well.

VIO1

Running native OpenStack is a bit of a nightmare as it requires lots of skills and resources which restricts its proper production use to large scale organisations with plenty of technical expertise and resources. Based on my experience, lots of customers that I know who’ve initially started out with ambitious (vanila) OpenStack projects have decided to abandon half way through due to complexity…etc. to switch back to vSphere. VIO attempts to solve this somewhat to help customers run OpenStack with a VMware flavour to make things easier for mass customer adoptoin.

The annoucements for VIO was the release of the VIO 3.0 which has the following key features / improvements

  • Mitaka Based
    • VIO 3.0 distribution is now based on the latest OpenStack release (Mitaka)
    • Leverage the latest features and enhancement of the Mitaka Release
      • Improved day-to-day experience for cloud admins and administrators.
      • Simplified configuration for Nova compute service.
      • Streamlined Keystone identity service is now a one-step process for setting up the identity management features of a cloud network.
      • Keystone now supports multi-backend allowing local authentication and AD accounts simultaneously.
      • Heat’s convergence engine optimized to handle larger loads and more complex actions for horizontal scaling for improved performance for stateless mode.
      • Enhanced OpenStack Client provides a consistent set of calls for creating resources no longer requiring the need to learn the intricacies of each service API.
      • Support for software development kits (SDKs) in various languages.
        –New “give me a network,” feature capable of creating a network, attaching a server to it, assigning an IP to that server, and making the network accessible, in a single action
  • Compact VIO control pane
    • VIO management control plane has been optimized and architected to run in a compact architecture   VIO
      • Reduces infrastructure and costs required to run an OpenStack Cloud
      • Ideal for multiple small deployments
      • Attractive in relaxed SLA scenarios
      • Database backed up in real time: No data loss
    • Slimmer HA architecture
      • VIO0
      • educed footprint on management cluster
      • Full HA: No service downtime
      • Database replication: No data loss
      • 6000+ VMs
      • 200+ Hypervisors
  • Import existing vSphere workloads
    • Existing vSphere VMs can be imported and managed via VIO OpenStack APIs
      • Quickly import vSphere VMs into VIO
      • Start managing vSphere VMs through standard OpenStack APIs
    • Quickly start consuming existing VMs through OpenStack

 

Nike CTO who’s a VIo customer came on stage to discuss how Nike deployed a large greenfield OpenStack deployment using VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) and an EUC solution at all Nike outlets / shops using Airwatch which was a good testement for customer confidence though it did have a little markletting undertone to it all.

 

NSX

the head of the NSX business unit within VMware highlighted the key advancements NSX have made and the 400% YoY growth of adoption from fee paying customers deploying NSX to benefit from Micro segmentation (through the distributed firewall capability) and automation and orchestration. NSX roadmap extends far beyond what you can imagine as its current usecases and its sufficient to say that NSX will play a being part as an enabler for customers to freely move their workloads from onbe place (i.e. On premise) to a Public cloud (i.e. AWS) through the dynamic extension of L2 adjacency and other LAN services, transforming the WAN in to an extended LAN.

To this effect, VMware also announced the availability of a free NSX Pre-Assessment which is now intended to enable customers to employ the Assess -> Plan -> Enforce -> Monitor approcah to NSX adoption.

 

VSAN

Yanbing Li, whos the VSAN business unit head came on stage and discussed the hugh demand from customers in VSAN which currently stands over 5000 fee paying customers using VSAN in production as the preferred storage for vSphere. The following roadmap items were also mentioned for VSAN

  • VSAN is the default supported storage platform for VIO and Photon.
  • Intelligent performance analytics & policies in VSAN for proactive management
  • Fully integreated software defined encryption for VSAN

There are couple of other new features coming out soon which I am fully aware of but were not annouced during VMworld 2016 US so im guressing they’ll be annouced during the Barcelona event? (I cannot disclose until then of course :-))

All in all, not a large number of new product or feature accouncements on day 2. But the key message is NSX & VSAN are key focius areads (we already knew this) and VIC & VIO will continue to be improved which is good to see.

 

Slide credit goes to VMware

 

Cheers

Chan

 

 

Heading to #VMworld 2016 Vegas

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I am a regular attendee of the VMware VMworld and have continuously attended each of the last 4 years VMworld events in Europe, as an ordinary attendee like most others, mainly thanks to my employer who understands the importance of such events. This year however, there’s a little change of plans. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a free blogger pass to attend the VMworld 2016 event in the US from VMware. VMworld 2016 US event is being held in Vegas, in the Mandalay Bay hotel and conference center which is pretty awesome…!

I’ve never been to Vegas so little excited to be heading over there but to be really honest, I’m more excited about being able to attend the US version of VMworld. Having done European VMworld event over the last few years, they’ve all been great but the contents & the new product announcements have been by and large the same as in the US version which usually takes place before European event (So most of the news / updates / announcements you here in VMworld Europe are already somewhat public knowledge). However this time around, I will be one of the first to hear about them as they are being announced which is great.

And its the first time I’ve been selected to receive a blogger pass by VMware. Blogger passes are issued to a handful of current VMware vExperts (only 50 issued in total for the US event) so I was very lucky there. Its usually given to active community bloggers who take the time out to evangelise technology and happy to blog about it for the good of the community. I do this anyway whenever I attend VMworld where I summarize each of my day there and mention any exciting topics / updates / vendors I’ve come across or things I’ve learned. So I’d expect to do the same this year too and aiming to get a summary blog post out at the end of each day to cover the news & the activities of the day.

While the blogger pass covered the cost of the event, VMware doesn’t cover the other expenses such as flights and hotels… Thankfully, my employer, Insight has stepped up there which was great.

Given below is a summary of my plan during the event. It would be good to meet my fellow vExperts / customers / techies / community members while I’m there, perhaps over few beers. Please do come say hi if you see me or hit me up on twitter (@s_chan_ek)…etc.

Itineraries

Most people will typically travel either few days earlier or stay behind few days after the event to explore the city..etc but unfortunately due to cricket commitments where I play league cricket on every Saturday, I’m reduced to being there for the exact event duration only. As such, my itineraries are as follows

  • Travelling out: Sunday the 28th of August: Travel from London Heathrow via Chicago to Vegas (United Airlines)
  • Accommodation: I will be staying in the MGM Grand hotel which is a little walk away from the event location (Mandalay Bay Hotel & Conference Center)
  • Travelling back: Friday the 2nd of Sept, from Vegas via Montréal back to London Heathrow (Air Canada)

 

Planned sessions

Anyone travelling to VMworld are advised to use the Schedule Builder beforehand and schedule any breakout sessions you want to attend. I’ve always done this in the past and have tried the same this year. However, despite attempting to book many interesting breakout sessions and workshops on the same day the Schedule builder went live, most of the really good ones were already full. So I’m guessing the demand for the event in the US is far higher than the one in Europe and I’m expecting to see lot more crowd that at the European VMworld.

The sessions I’ve managed to book to attend are as follows. Some of them are new subjects while most others are more of a refresher from previous knowledge for me. Having learnt from the previous VMworlds, I’ve been careful not to book session after session and allow enough time for blogging in between as well as hall crawl and networking with people which, arguably are far more important that attending breakout sessions or workshops which lot of people, especially newbies don’t realise.

  • Monday the 29th of August – I have the following sessions I’ve scheduled so far. Some may change depending on when I managed to get in to some other sessions I’ve had to wait list for.
    • 11am-12pm: Software-Defined Networking in VMware Validated Designs [SDDC7587]
    • 1pm-2pm: Virtualize, Secure, and Extend Your Data Center to the Cloud Using NSX: A Perspective for Service Providers and End Users [HBC7830]
    • 2pm-3pm: Introducing Virtual SAN for VMware Photon: The Best HCI Platform for Containers and Cloud-Native Applications [STO8256]
    • 3pm-4:30pm: VMware NSX Distributed Firewall with Micro-Segmentation Workshop [ELW-1703-USE-2]

 

  • Tuesday the 30th of August
    • 11am-12pm: Understanding the Availability Features of Virtual SAN [STO8179]
    • 12pm-1:30pm: vSphere Integrated Containers Workshop [ELW-1730-USE-1] – Wait Listed
    • 2pm-3pm: How to Deploy VMware NSX with Cisco Infrastructure [NET8364]
    • 4pm-5pm: Containers for the vSphere Admin [CNA7522]
    • 5pm-6pm: The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization [NET8193R]

 

  • Wednesday the 31st of August
    • 9:30am-11am: Realize Automation 7 Basics Workshop [ELW-1721-USE-1] – Wait listed
    • 11am-12pm: How to Use Machine Learning to Increase Application Availability [INF9608-SPO]
    • 1pm-2pm: PowerNSX and PyNSXv: Using PowerShell and Python for Automation and Management of VMware NSX for vSphere [NET7514]
    • 2pm-3pm: Implementing Self-Service Storage Provisioning with vRealize Automation XaaS [SDDC9456-SPO]
    • 3:30pm-4:30pm: Building Cloud Native Architectures [CNA9926]

 

  • Thursday the 1st of September
    • 12pm-1pm: VMware Certificate Management for Mere Mortals [INF8631]
    • 1:30pm-2:30pm: Winter Is Coming. Are You Dev/Ops Ready? Instant Clone Is! [INF8396]

 

Other events

Usually there are many other vendor and vExpert events that also take place, out of hours to discuss products as well as networking with people. There is a list of such activities published here and outside of the normal VMworld welcome reception and the VMworld party, I will probably attend the below (I may have to cancel some last min due to exhaustion & last min change of plans…etc :-))

  • Sunday the 28th of August 7:30-9:30pm: 2016 VMUG member party @ House of Blues – Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Monday the 29th of August 9pm-11pm: Trace3 Annual VMWorld After Party @ Daylight Beach Club, Mandalay Bay, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
  • Tuesday the 30th of August 7pm -10pm: vExpert 2016 Las Vegas reception @ The Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101

 

About VMworld Event

As mentioned earlier, I’ve attended VMworld Europe edition over the last 4 years and it has been such a good event to attend given the amount of knowledge, insides, tips you can gather, seeing the variety of the VMware echo system partners out there and their solutions and most importantly meeting and being able to network with people that you’d otherwise never get the opportunity to (like product managers and engineers). And usually its such a well organised event and having attended other similar events such as NetApp Insight, Cisco Live and HPe TSS & Ambassador events, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that none of them has been as good, well organised, well attended or useful to me as an attendee as VMworld, period….! If you are a VMWare customer or a partner, I’d highly encourage you to attend somehow. (use the link here)