Category Archives: VMworld 2015

VMworld Europe 2015 – Day 1 & 2 summary

The day 1 of the VMworld Europe began with the usual general session in the morning down at the hall 7.0. It was continuing the VMworld US theme of “Ready for any” during the European event too. It has become a standard for VMware to announce new products (or repeat announce new products following VMworld US) during this which, by now are somewhat public knowledge and this was no different this year. Also of special note was that they played a recorded video message from their new boss, Michael Dell (im sure everyone’s aware of the Dell’s acquisition of EMC on Monday) where he assured that VMware would remain as a publicly listed company and is a key part of the Dell-EMC enterprise.

To summarise the key message from the general session, VMware are planning to deliver 3 main messages

  • One Cloud – Seamless integration facilitated by VMware products between your private cloud / on-premise and various public clouds such as  AWS, Azure, Google…etc. Things like long distance VMotion, provided by vSphere 6,  Stretched L2 connectivity provided by NSX will make this a possibility
  • Any Application – VMware will build their SDDC product set to support containerisation of traditional (legacy client-server type) apps as well as new Cloud Native Apps going forward. Some work is already underway with the introduction of vSphere Integrated containers which I’d encourage you to have a look as well as VMware Photon platform
  • Any Device – Facilitate connectivity to any cloud / any application from Any end user device

Additional things announced also included vRealize Automation version 7.0 (urrently BETA, looks totally cool), VMware vCloud NFV platform availability for the Telco companies…etc.

Also worth mentioning that 2 large customers, Nova Media and Telefornica had their CEO’s on stage to explain how they managed to gain agility and market edge through the use to VMware’s SDDC technologies such as vSphere, NSX, vRealize Automation…etc. which was really good to see.

There were few other speakers at the general session such as Bill Fathers (about Cloud services – mainly vCloud Air) which I’m not going to mention in detail but sufficient to say that VMware’s overall product positioning and the corporate message to customers sound very catchy I think….and is very relevant to what’s going on out there too…

During the rest of the day 1, I attended a number of breakout sessions. 1st of which was the Converged Blueprints session presented by Kal De who was the VP or VMware R&D. This was based on the new vRealize Automation (version 7.0) and needless to say this was of total interest to me. So much so, straight after the event I managed to get in on the BETA programme for vRA 7.0 straight away (may be closed to public though now). Given below were some highlights from the session FYI

  • An improved, more integrated blueprint canvass where blueprints can be build through a drag and drop approach. Makes it a whole lot easier to build blueprints now.
  • Additional NSX integration to provide out of the box workflows….etc
  • Announcement of converged blueprints including IaaS, XaaS and Application services all in one blueprints…. Awesome…!!
  • Various other improvements & features….
  • Some potential (non committal of course) roadmap information also shared such as potential future ability to provision single Blueprint for multi-platform and multi-clouds, Blueprints to support container based Cloud Native Apps, Aligning vRA as a code with industry standards such as OASIS TOSCA, Open source HEAT…etc.

Afterwards, I had some time to spare, so I went to the Solutions Exchange and had a browse around at as many vendor stands as possible. Most of the key vendors were there with their usual tech, EMC (or Dell now??) and the VCE stands being the loudest (no surprise there then??). However I want to mention the following 2 new, VMware partner start-ups I came across that really caught my attention. These were both new to me and I really liked what both of them had to offer.

  • RuneCast:
    • This is a newly formed Czech start-up and basically what they do is hoover in all VMware KB articles with configuration best practises and bug fix instructions and assessing your vSphere environment components against these information to warn you of the configuration drift from the recommended state. Almost like a best practise analyser…. Best part is the cost is fairly cheap at $25 per CPU per month (list price which usually get heavily discounted)… Really simple, but a good idea made more appealing due to the low cost. Check it out…!!
  • Velvica:
    • These guys provide a billing and management platform to cloud service providers (especially small to medium scale cloud service providers) so they don’t have to build such capabilities ground up on their own. If you are a CSP, all that is required is for you to have VMware vCloud Director instance and you can simply point Velvica portal at the vCD to present a service serviceable public Cloud portal to customers. Can also be used within an organisation internally if you have a private cloud. Again, I hadn’t come across this before and I thought their offering helps many small CSP’s to get to market quicker while providing a good platform for corporate & enterprise customers to introduce utility computing internally without much initial delay or cost.

During the rest of the Day 1, I attended few more breakout sessions such as the vCenter 6.0 HA deepdive. While this was not as good a session as I had expected, I did learn few little things such as prior to vSphere 6 u1, vCenter database NOT being officially supported on SQL AAG (Always on Availability Groups), Platform Service Controller being clusterable without a load balancer (require manual failover tasks of course) as well as a tech preview of the native HA capability going to be available for vCenter (no need for vCenter heartbeat or any 3rd party products anymore) that looked pretty cool.

On day 2, there was another general session on the morning where VMware discussed the strategy and new announcement on EYUC, security & SDN…etc. with various BU leaders on stage. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger also came on stage to discuss future direction of the organization (though I suspect most of this may be influenced by Dell if they remain a part of Dell??).

Following on from the general session on day 2, I attended a breakout session about NSX Micro Segmentation automation deep dive which was presented by 2 VMware Professional Services team members from US. This was really cool as they showed a live demo of how to create custom vRO workflows to perform NSX operations and how they can be used to automate NSX operations. While they didn’t mention this, it should be noted that these workflows can naturally be accessed from vRealize Automation where performing routine IT tasks can now be made available through a pre-configured service blueprint that users (IT staff themselves) can consume via the vRA self serviceable portal.

While I had few other breakout sessions booked for afterwards, unfortunately I was not able to attend these due to a last minute meeting I had to attend onsite at VMworld, with a customer to discuss a specific requirement they have.

I will be spending the rest of the afternoon looking at more vendor stands at Solutions Exchange until the VMware official party begins where im planning to catch up with few clients as well as some good friends…

Will provide an update if I come across any other interesting vendors from the Solutions Exchange in tomorrow’s summary

Cheers

Chan

 

 

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

VMworld 2015 Europe – Plans & My Session Schedule

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I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the VMworld Europe event for the past 3 years running, and as it turned out, I will be attending this years event too in lovely & lively Barcelona. So I thought I’d do a quick blog post to share my plans for this years VMworld Europe, in case anyone’s interested in knowing or wanting to meet up while I’m there, you know where I am when. Also, I will list my session schedule along with why I thought I should attend each session, just in case anyone’s interested.

As I work for a VMware platinum partner, I’m planning to attend the Partner Exchange Day (PEX) on Monday which is not open to general public. Therefore, I will be travelling on Sunday afternoon from Manchester to Barcelona with a view to collecting my registration pass on Sunday evening itself (they usually have the registration desk open on Sunday till about 6-7pm if I remember correct) which will hopefully save me from having to queue up on Monday morning. I will be staying at hotel Torre Catalunya throughout the week with few other colleagues of mine and some customers that will be joining us there.

  • On Monday (PEX day), I have the following sessions booked to attend.
    • 9am – 10am:  PAR6413 – VMware Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive for Partners
      • VSAN has now come of age (its a version 3 product now which means its quite mature) and has turned out to be a really nice, complementary solution to vSphere that work well with most if not all storage use cases. The customer adoption of VSAN for hosting production workload has been beyond belief. I am fairly conversant about VSAN and its technical and business benefits as well as its sizing, architectural side of set up and the implementation details. But by attending this session, I’m aiming to learn a bit more about the All flash VSAN configuration, the new generation snapshot capability (available soon I hear) and the performance enhancements introduced in the most recent 6.1 release.
    • 11am – 12:30 am: Virtual SAN Partner Advisory Roundtable
      • This was an invited event for VMware partners to interactively discuss & debate and share experience about what worked well and where the partners need more support from VMware to successfully implement VSAN solutions for customers. I’m hoping to meet a number of EMEA and Global product management staff responsible for VSAN as well as key people from the Storage business unit within VMware during the event. I already have a number of questions & requests on behalf of my customers to the VMware VSAN team and am looking forward to attending this event.
    • 12am – 1pm: PAR6411 PSE: SDDC Assess, Design and Deploy 2.0 – Whats New?
      • Ok, I know the starting time is clashing with the finishing time of the previous session my I’m planning to bail early from the previous one to attend this one on time. This is a partner only session with the VMware Professional Services Engineering team to discuss the professional services delivery kit these guys put together, especially in light of the vSphere 6 and other related new versions.
    • 2:30pm – 15:30pm: PAR6090 60 Desktops in 60 Minutes: How to Deploy Horizon View with vGPU for a Quick POC
      • I’m not heavy in to VDI side of things, but I was genuinely interested in the vSphere 6 introduced vGPU feature as I’ve seen the demo’s of this in the last years VMworld and it looked totally awesome for graphics performance for VDI. So, naturally wanted to find out more about the deployment tricks and what it takes to do quick POC as no doubt I’d have to be doing this few times for my customers in the future (demand for VDI finally seems to be increasing.
    • 4pm – 5:30pm: Executive Roundtable with NSBU Executives: Martin Casado and Milin Desai
      • Ok, this is personally my most eagerly awaited session for the day. Again, an invited partner event to discuss the NSX and its roadmap with none other than the man who invented it himself (Martin Casado) and also Milin Desai from the VMwae NSX team. This could be epic…!! (The event is NOT taking place at VMworld venue but only at a separate hotel in Barcelona). Hopefully I will be able to get more of an understanding of where NSX is heading as a solution and some roadmap info which would be invaluable for my customers.
    • 5:30pm – 7pm: Gym.
      • Yes, it may be VMworld, but keeping your calorie burn / fitness is equally important (says the man hopefully 🙂 )
    • Evening: Meeting with other Insight (my employer) colleagues and customers to plan the rest of the week and perhaps few beers & food at the hotel.
      • Do come and say hello if you are there….. 🙂

 

  • On Tuesday (1st day of the general event open for all), I’ve got the following sessions planned
    • 10am – 11am: MGT5956 The New vRealize Converged Blueprints: Driving Automation and DevOps
      • Names says it all right? vRA has been of really keen interest to me and planning to find out more about the latest version and NSX integration as well as Application service integration in to a  single blueprint here from the horse’s mouth. if you are in to Automation and Orchestration, this should be a really important session to attend
    • 11:30am – 3pm: Solutions Exchange browsing and talking to as many vendors as possible about the their solution offerings.
      • Often, this is something that many VMworld attendees don’t prepare for, especially 1st timers as they’d inundate their diary with back to back breakout sessions (which after all, will be available as videos / presentation slides post VMworld). Attending breakout sessions are important yes, but I’d say its far more important to look at the solutions exchange and see what vendors are there and what they have to offer. In my previous attendances, I’ve come away with some really unique vendors with some really cool, unique and useful technology offerings to complement VMware tech that you can position to customers when the come to you with requirements that are not mainstream. Trust me on this one….!!
    • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: INF4945 vCenter Server 6 High Availability
      • While I have a decent understanding of the vCenter / vCSA high availability options available with vSphere v6.0, finding out more should not harm.
    • 4pm – 5pm: SDDC5440 VMware Validated Designs – An Architecture for the SDDC
      • I work with many SDDC offerings for my customers and its aleays good to get more information from VMware about how they’d recommend you design and deploy their SDDC software together such as vSphere, NSX, vRA and vROPS.
    • 5:30pm – 7pm: Gym.
      • Yes, it may be VMworld, but keeping your calorie burn / fitness is equally important (says the man hopefully 🙂 )
    • 8pm – late: Veeam party / VMware UK&I reception party
      • Unsure which one I’ll end up joining but probably try both. Veeam party was a knock out last year and defo worth attending, and I say that not because of the free drinks, but because of the networking element with like minded peers. Its awfully useful to meet with other like minded people and talk tech (most of the time)

 

 

 

  • Friday morning: Travel back home.

 

There you have it. I will aim to be tweeting (@s_chan_ek) and blogging while I’m there too subject to time constraints…etc. but please do come and say hello if you are interested in meeting up to discuss something or simply to have a chat (even if its to tell me my blog is rubbish….:-) )

Enjoy VMworld Europe 2015….!!

Cheers

Chan