VMworld Europe 2015 – Partner Day (PEX)

Quick post about the VMworld Europe day 1 (PEX day)….!! Was meaning to get this post out yesterday but there are too many distractions when you attend VMworld, let me tell ya….! 🙂

I arrived in Barcelona on Sunday and had already collected the access pass on Sunday evening itself. As such, I arrived at the venue on the Partner day on Monday around 9am and the venue was fairly busy with various VMware employees and partners.

As for my schedule for the day, I attended a VSAN deepdive session in the morning, presented by non other than Mr VSAN himself (Simon Todd @ VMware) which was fairly good. To be honest, most of the content was the same as the session he presented few weeks ago at VMware SDDC boot camp in London which I also attended. Some of the interesting points covered include

  • Oracle RAC / Exchange DAG / SQL Always on Availability Groups are not supported on VSAN with the latest version (6.1)
  • Always use pass through rather than RAID 0 on VSAN ready nodes as this gives full visibility of the disk characteristics such as SMART and removal of disks from disk groups causing less downtime with passthrough rather than RAID which makes sense.
  • Paying attention to SAS expander cards and lane allocation if you do custom node builds for VSAN nodes (rather than using pew-configured VSAN ready nodes). For example, a 12g SAS expander card can only access 8 PCI lanes where in an extreme case, can be saturated so its better to have 2 x SAS expander cards to share the workload of 8 channels each
  • Keep SATA to SSD ratio small in disk groups where possible to distribute the workload and benefit from maximum aggregate IOPS performance (from the SSD layer)
  • Stretched VSAN (possible with VSAN 6.1) features and some pre-reqs such as less than 5ms latency requirements over 10/20/40gbps links between sites, multicast requirements, and the 500ms latency requirement between main site and the offsite witness.

Following on from this session, I attended the SDDC Assess, Design & Deploy session presented by Gary Blake (Senior Solutions Architect). That was all about what his team doing to help standardise the deployment design & deployment process of the Software Defined Data Center components. I did find out about something really interesting during this session about VMware Validated Designs (VVD). VVD is something VMware are planning to come out with which would be kind of similar to CVD (Cisco Validated Design Document if you are familiar with FlexPod). A VVD will literally provide all the information required for a customer / partner / anyone to Design & Implement a VMware validated Software Defined Data Center using the SDDC product portfolio. This has been long overdue in my view and as a Vmware partner and a long time customer, would really welcome this. No full VVD’s are yet released to the public yet, but you can join the community page to be kept up to date. Refer to the following 3 links

I then attended a separate, offsite roundtable discussion at a nearby hotel with a key number of NSX business Unit leaders to have an open chat about everything NSX. That was really good as they shared some key NSX related information and also discussed some interesting points. Few of the key ones are listed below.

  • 700+ production customers being on board so far with NSX
  • Some really large customers running their production workload on NSX (a major sportswear manufacturer running their entire public facing web systems on NSX)
  • East-West traffic security requirements driving lots of NSX sales opportunities, specifically with VDI.
  • Additional, more focused NSX training would soon be available such as design and deployment, Troubleshooting…etc
  • It was also mentioned that customers can acquire NSX with limited features for a cheaper price (restricted EULA) if you only need reduced capabilities (for example, if you only need edge gateway services). I’m not sure on how to order these though and would suggest speaking to your VMware account manager in the first instance.
  • Also discussed the potential new pricing options (nothing set in place yet..!!) in order to make NSX more affordable for small to medium size customers. Price is a clear issue for many small customers when it comes to NSX and if they do something to make it more affordable to smaller customers, that would no doubt be really well received. (This was an idea the attendees put forward and NSBU was happy to acknowledge & looking in to doing something about it)
  • Also discussed some roadmap information such as potential evolution of NSX in to providing firewall & security features out on public clouds as well as the private clouds.

Overall, the NSX roundtable discussions were really positive and it finally seems like the NSBU is slowly releasing the tight grip they had around the NSX release and be willing to engage more with the channel to help promote the product rather than working with only a handful of specialist partners. Also, it was really encouraging to hear about its adoption status so far as I’ve always been an early advocate of NSX due to the potential I saw during early releases. So go NSX….!!!

Overall, I thought the PEX day was ok. Nothing to get too excited about in terms of the breakout sessions…etc, with the highlight being the roundtable with the NSBU staff.

Following on from the discussion with the NSBU, I left the venue to go back to the hotel to meet up with few colleagues of mine and we then headed off to a nice restaurant on the Barcelona beach front called Shoko (http://shoko.biz/) to get some dinner & plan the rest of the week… This is the 2nd time we’ve hit this restaurant and I’d highly recommend anyone to go check it out if you are in town.

Unfortunately, I cannot quite recollect much about what happened after that point… 🙂

Post about the official (customer facing) opening day of the VMworld event is to follow….!!

Cheers

Chan

Chan

Lead Solutions Architect & Hybrid Cloud Practice Lead

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