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VMworld 2017 – Call for papers is open!

VMware have a gift for you this Valentine’s day. VMworld 2017 call for papers is open today!

This year, VMworld US and VMworld Europe are closer together. Only two weeks separate the two events. I’m interested to see how that changes the makeup of the sessions and announcements. Of course, to make the best assessment I’d have to be at both conferences. Time to talk to my manager and get some session ideas submitted!

CFP is open now until March 14th 2017.

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vBrownBag TechTalks at VMworld EMEA 2015

vBrownBagLogo-150x150If you’re going to Barcelona next month for VMworld 2015, one thing I can thoroughly recommend are the vBrownBag TechTalks that take place in the Hang Space.

If you’re not familiar with them, these TechTalks are 10 minutes long and given by anybody from the virtualisation community with something interesting to share. So, if you have a gap between sessions or there’s something of interest on the TechTalk schedule (this is published closer to the time) then they’re well worth listening to.

Of course, it may be that you have something you could talk about for 10 minutes. If so, why not propose a session using this Google Form?

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VMworld 2014 – Day 3

It’s also the the day after the night before for some, and hence often quieter first thing in the morning (as was the case again this year).

For some reason, all of the sessions that I had originally planned to attend, and already had in my calendar, I had been unregistered from and several I couldn’t get back into. I did manage to squeeze into a session about the inner workings of EVO:RAIL (SDDC1337 – Technical Deep Dive on EVO:RAIL) that provided some useful background for me. I like the idea of where VMware (and their hardware partners) are going with it (there are definite pluses), but the current 16 host limit per vCenter and allegedly higher cost per appliance compared to other converged hardware offerings might be off-putting to some customers. Humorously, some of the questions asked at the end of the session indicated that quite a few people still don’t quite understand such converged hardware solutions – it’s clearly a growth area.

Unable to get into the sessions that I wanted, and with time before my flight back running short, I called in at the certification area to ask a few questions around forthcoming certification updates. I’m looking to complete the VCAP CID and CIA exams but I wanted to know about when they’ll cover vCAC (I mean vRA) 6.x. No firm answer on that sadly.

One final thing I managed to squeeze in was a stop at the vGiveback area to build a paper aeroplane. If you missed this or are wondering what it’s about, vGiveback was a challenge area where attendees could build and throw paper aeroplanes to earn charity donations that VMware will make after the conference ends. Sam McGeown had found a design that was capable of doing the distance to the €1000 zones. Sadly, it was getting the plane to fly in a straight line that was the problem. In the end, it was only a €30 plane but every little helps.

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Thank you VMworld… see you next year?

As always, the highlight of any VMworld for me is the interaction with other attendees. Meeting new people, discussing technology and ideas with old friends and new is what makes it great for me.

Also great was that over €143,000 will be donated to charities by VMware as a result of people participating in vGiveback.

Once again, the VMware events team have done a great job and I thank them.

VMworld 2015 Dates

VMworld US 2015 starts on August 30th (Partner Day) in San Francisco and runs until September 3rd.

VMworld Europe 2015 starts on October 12th (Partner Day) in Barcelona and runs until October 15th.

See you next year?

A lot can happen in the 9 months or so until booking for 2015 really gets going. I hope to be there. Who knows, I might even get to present a session or two…

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VMworld 2014 – Day 2

Day 2 can often get off to a sluggish start for many. Either from hitting the parties too hard the night before, or misjudging the time required to get into the conference centre, there were still quite a few people arriving after Wednesday’s keynote session had started.

Keynote

The keynote on a Wednesday is usually used to take a closer look at some of the new and forthcoming changes in VMware’s products and this year was no exception. Naturally, vRealize Operations got some attention, but so did CodeStream – VMware’s forthcoming DevOps integration with vRealize Automation. I’m not an application developer myself but it would be interesting to see that in action with real developers using it. If you missed the keynote or are curious about codestream, it’s purpose is to manage the release process of application code into different environments (Test / Acceptance / Pre-Production, Production etc) in accordance with definable processes.

Also of interest in the keynote were Docker containers. This is something I do want to learn more about.

VMUG Leader Lunch

Once the keynote was over I had very little time before attending a lunch meeting for VMUG leaders. As with last year, this was an opportunity to meet VMUG leaders from other European countries – and some from further afield – have a quick lunch  away from some of the noise of the main conference halls and join and open Question & Answer session with Joe Baguely (VMware EMEA CTO) and Pat Gelsinger (I think he’s VMware’s CEO or something :)). The topics discussed ranged from the next version of vSphere, Joe’s designs on Pat’s job, product name choices, through to five-year plans.

Sessions

Probably my favourite session of the day was MGT2047 – Planning a High-Availability Deployment of vRealize Automation. Although I’ve done of this, I decided to go as I wanted to be sure that I’m doing it correctly and that there aren’t any gotchas that I didn’t know about. It’s also an opportunity to meet and question the people who might be able to get me answers in the future.

Hall Crawl

This is a traditional, pre-VMworld-party event that basically involves drinking beer (if that’s your thing) and visiting the vendor stands.

VMworld Party

Sorry if you’re a fan, but Taio Cruz last year wasn’t very good and my sister-in-law laughed very loudly at the idea of him being the entertainment at a technical conference. This year’s band was announced fairly early on and turned out to be Simple Minds. (My brother was a bit jealous.) They may be getting on a bit but they got a great reception and an encore.

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VMworld 2014 – Day 1

Tuesday in Barcelona is when things really get going. First up on everyone’s schedule is the VMworld keynote. This is one of times when attendees get to hear from Pat Gelsinger (VMware’s CEO) and a number of other presenters and get an overview of the direction in which VMware are going. It’s also when the major product announcements are officially made.

Historically, VMworld Europe is usually the time when management product updates are announced (with some of the more infrastructure based updates happening at the US conference). It’s been slightly different this year I suppose since there was no major update to the core vSphere platform, but there was EVO:RAIL.

During the keynote, announcements were made about:

Another difference that I’ve picked up on this year is that the general sessions at VMworld are now more widely available. Having watched the US conference keynotes, there was a degree of repetition. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but it didn’t feel quite as fresh as it did in previous years to me.

After the keynote finished, and the hoards poured out of the main hall, I had a meeting with a company called ByteLife and Joerg Lew (one of VMware’s vCO gurus) about a new community initiative called FlowGrab.

FlowGrab is a new and developing community for vCO workflows and packages. There are some good things coming with regards to this project and if you’re using vCO, I’d recommend that you check it out.

I spent a while after that in the Solutions Exchange talking with representatives of a few companies whose products and services that I’m interested in. Key among those were PernixData, Colt, Atlassian and PuppetLabs.

I had two breakout sessions that I was very keen to attend and I was pleased that neither had been moved around (as has happened a few times over the years). The first of these was SEC1746 NSX Distributed Firewall DeepDive. I haven’t done a lot with NSX outside of my lab but it’s an area of great interest to me given its links to vRA (vCAC) and it position as a key component in the SDDC vision. For me it was a good session as it wasn’t all alien (or new) to me but there was plenty in there to make me think and takeaway.

Immediately afterwards I had my second session of the day, TEX1991 vCenter Orchestrator – What’s Next. I’ve worked a lot with vCO in the last year (at times, almost exclusively), so I was very keen to understand the product’s future. Once again, there were things that I knew about and some that I didn’t. I even learned a few things about version 5.5.2 that I wasn’t previously aware of.

To round out the day at the conference centre, I had a really great chat with Frank Denneman (PernixData) that has kept me thinking ever since. And I had a couple of brief chats about Xtravirt’s forthcoming beta for a new service called Sonar.

As for evening activities, they started with drinks and conversation with some of Xtravirt’s partners in the Solutions Exchange and moved on to Ocana for the vExpert / VCDX reception. As that started to wind down, I moved on to the excellent vJamon party, organised by Cisco’s @CommsNinja.

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VMworld 2014 – Partner Day

VMworld Partner Day – I guess you could call it VMworld Day 0, or the “quiet before the storm”. That’s not to say that it’s an easy day mind you.

Partner day for me is all about networking. Not the NSX / Cisco variety, but talking with and meeting people. From former colleagues and VMware community members and VMware staff, all the way through to existing and potential partners for my employer, Xtravirt. It’s safe to say that I had some very good conversations.

Monday evening was split between two networking events. The first was hosted by TD Azlan at the W hotel and attended by a number of VMware, Atlantis and Nutanix partners. It was a good opportunity to have some quieter conversations away from the hubbub of of the Fira centre.

The second event was the PernixData party. Last year they selected an excellent venue and they managed it again this year. PernixData are also one of Xtravirt’s partners and besides a bit of socialising, it was good to meet a number of Pernix’s European staff and chat about the product.

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vRealize Automation v6.2 Announced

So, vCAC 6.1 was finally announced at VMworld US in August and went GA in early September. Included in that release were some much needed bug fixes and enhancements in a number of key areas:

  • New consumer API
  • Improved partner support with vCO
  • Enhanced integrations with vCloud Suite (specifically ITBM)
  • NSX integration
  • Enhanced Puppet integration
  • Localised Consumer Interface in 12 languages (but crucially not British English!)
  • Bulk import tool
  • User interface configuration
  • Enhanced HA deployment

Today at VMworld Europe, VMware have announced that vRealize Automation 6.2 is coming (hopefully in Q4 this year). Besides the obvious name change of the product, this version, coming hot on the heels of 6.1, is intended as a maintenance release to fix a number of bugs. But vRealize 6.2 is also intended to introduce some new functionality to complement recently announced changes to vRealize Operations:

Integration with vROps

There are two key enhancements in this area. The first relates to the display of Health Status from vRealize Operations. These can be seen in list or item views and provide vRA users with some limited insights into the health of their virtual machines.

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The second enhancement concerns the reclamation of idle VMs. vROps can be utilised by vRA to identify any idle VMs based on configurable criteria.

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The resources used by the identified VMs can then be “reclaimed” if desired.

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CloudClient

This is a command-line interface that will be available as a separate download for use primarily by IT administrators. It will provide verb-based access to vCAC / vRA where scripting is more practical than creating API calls. I don’t know much about it yet but it would be great if it was nicely aligned with other VMware scripting utilities (for example as PowerCLI cmdlets).

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Supportability

If you do run a large, distributed vCAC installation, how much hassle is it having to collect log files from numerous locations and servers to create a support bundle in the event of an issue? In vRA 6.2, there is going to be a one-stop shop for all your support needs. With one click, you should be able to retrieve it all:

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What’s in a name?

Finally, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. The letters (or the sound of them together) C, A and C don’t really work in a lot of languages and this is a welcome name change in my opinion. Having customers emphasise the “cack” sound in vCAC is slightly off-putting when you’re trying to have a serious conversation with them. I’m not quite sold yet on the “vRealize” branding either, but that will come…

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vRealize Operations 6.0 Announced

Today at VMworld Europe, VMware have officially unveiled vRealize Operations 6.0.

This rebranding of the vCenter Operations Management Suite not only re-positions the product but it also introduces some much needed enhancements and features. Key amongst those are:

New Deployment Model

vCOps instances were not very scalable in the past. Once you reached a certain level, you’d be forced to deploy another one i.e. another “Analytics VM” and another “UI VM”. Scaling was achieved purely through the manipulation of hardware resources for the VMs.

With vRealize Ops 6.0, the analytics and UI components are combined in a single appliance (or apparently a Linux / Windows installer) that can easily be scaled by introduced another instance to the cluster. The product now includes built-in clustering capabilities, enabling very easy scaling between a small deployment and a much larger one as well as introducing resiliency to the product.

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Customisable Alert Definitions

It will be possible with vROps 6.0 to combine multiple symptoms together to define alerts. Also, scripts or vCO workflows can be assigned to these alerts to enable automated, self-healing actions.

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Dashboards and Reports

Both of these are now customisable enabling the creation of views that are tailored to an organisation’s needs.

New Management Packs

There are a number of new management packs coming for OpenStack, NSX, Amazon AWS and vCloud Air amongst others and the method for installing and configuring them has been streamlined.

Upgrades and Availability

Side-by-side migration from vCenter Operations 5.8 to vRealize Operations 6.0 will be possible. vROps is due to be generally available in Q4 2014.

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vRockstar 2014 – In Pictures

The third annual vRockstar party kicked off proceedings for many in Barcelona last night. Once again the Hard Rock Cafe played host to a cluster of geeks prior to VMworld’s Partner Day. Thanks to the sponsors below, a great time was had by all.

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I got to meet quite a few new people from the VMware community who’ve I’ve followed on Twitter or the VMware forums as well as catching up with quite a few people who I already know quite well.

Here’s a few photos from the evening.