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.


VMworld Europe 2014 – Looking forward…


It’s October now and it means that VMworld Europe 2014 is right around the corner.

I’ll be attending in Barcelona for what will be my 4th VMworld. It will be the first time that I’ve ever attended under a full conference pass rather than just as a blogger. However, I don’t expect the experience to be hugely different. Perhaps in the general sessions the view will be slightly different but that’s about it.

My employer, Xtravirt, is sending a number of my colleagues along with me to VMworld this year. Whilst we’re all very different people working on different projects, we generally have fairly complementary skillsets and a passion for what we do.

Speaking just for myself, I’m really looking forward to VMworld. Like my children’s birthdays, each VMworld is “the best one ever”. It’s not the announcements, the sessions, the labs or even the free t-shirts that make that happen for me though – it’s the people. Not that I’m knocking the other bits but I love chatting to partners, customers, vendors and pretty much anyone that I bump into.

I’ve planned a few sessions to attend. Mostly they’re focussed around Automation and SDDC as they’re my areas of interest. Ultimately I may have to cancel my registration for a few of them (and catch up with the recordings online later) to make time to speak with everyone that I want to.

Among the partners and vendors that I’ll be targeting are:

I’ll also be calling at the VMUG stand for sure. And of course VMware themselves to learn a bit about some of the upcoming developments and meet up with some key employees who will be around to discuss vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Orchestrator and VMware NSX.

Add to all of that the vBrownBag TechTalks (the schedule will be announced soon), numerous parties, the hands-on-labs and catching up with fellow VMware community members in the Community lounge, I imagine that there won’t be a moment to spare.

That said, if you want to stop for a chat then I’m all for it and so are any of the Xtravirt team.


South West UK VMUG (9th September 2014)

VMUG Logo 2014How time flies!

The dust had barely settled on our second successful VMUG in Bristol and we were already well into planning for the next meeting. If you haven’t already see an email or tweet about it, the next SWUKVMUG is being held on Tuesday 9th September 2014 at the mShed once again.

We’ve got a little bit of last minute juggling going on with the agenda following some of the announcements coming out of VMworld US this week. The highlights include:

  • VMware vSAN
  • A VMworld update
  • Mike Laverick will be speaking
  • We hope to have a session about EVO:RAIL or vCloud Air (maybe both)
  • Community speaker Seb Hakiel

We’ll also have representation and sessions from our sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsors

nutanix  rackspace

And to top it all off, vBeers afterwards in the Pitcher and Piano.

We look forward to seeing you there, please register here.



Nutanix Bloggers’ Session 08/10/2012

I was invited to a briefing by the vendor Nutanix on Monday at VMworld. Now there are a lot of new / recent startups in the storage space and keeping a handle on them all could occupy my time completely so I did hesitate to accept the invitation at first.

I had heard some good things about Nutanix from other bloggers though and, after looking at their website, I was intrigued to find out a little more. Along with a few other bloggers I found my way to the Tryp Apolo hotel in Barcelona where we were greeted by a number of Nutanix employees from EMEA and the US along with London VMUG’s very own Jane Rimmer.

Perhaps now is a good time to explain what it is that Nutanix do. They claim to be a software company but their software is only available on their hardware. I would perhaps think of them more as a storage solutions company. Anyway, that’s semantics.

Nutanix’s product aims to provide a full virtualization platform that performs consistently well, scales linearly and, most importantly, does not requires any shared storage. That’s right, no shared storage. No SAN.

Each node (host) is a fairly standard x64 architecture server with dual processors. Presently each node comes equipped with 320Gb of PCIe SSD (fusionio), 300Gb of SATA SSD and 5Tb of SATA HDDs. Each node also has 1x10GbE and 2x1GbE networking connections. Nodes are manufactured in blocks of 4 and each node has VMware ESXi pre-installed on it.

Aside from combining the hardware, Nutanix’s secret sauce comes in when it comes to presenting that local storage to ESXi. When the nodes are clustered, the available storage is combined and presented as a VMFS datastore to all of the hosts in the cluster. VMs provisioned on a host will have their files stored locally although it will appear like they are being stored on a shared datastore when viewed through the vSphere Client. Behind the scenes the Nutanix software actually replicates those files to other hosts within the cluster (imagine that there are more hosts than shown below – this was just a quick diagram that I knocked up):

The fact that the datastore is presented to all hosts means that vMotion and HA both work as intended. If a VM ends up on another host Nutanix will move that VM’s files to the correct host in the background and completely transparently.

With respect to scaling, Nutanix say that you can just add blocks to an existing deployment. As each node has its own storage, each node should have more than adequate storage performance to handle the VM load placed on it. Clever stuff but does it really work and does it really scale?

Being the diligent bloggers that we are, we asked plenty of questions and Nutanix seemed to have all of the right answers. For me, the idea of scaling in that way is perfect for a growing business. More established enterprises may be too heavily invested in existing technologies to consider it though. Technically it’s a clever solution too, no doubt about that, but perhaps they may need to introduce a few more sizing options for the hosts over time or the software up to being used on other hardware platforms.

After that, Nutanix gave us some insights into the future development of their product. I can’t go into details unfortunately but I look forward to seeing how they progress.

Thanks to Jane and Nutanix for organising the session (and the drinks afterwards) and talking with us all.