0

Open roles in the Northern EMEA PSO team at VMware

vmware-logo

I may only be in my third week working for VMware PSO, but I’m enjoying it. If you have experience of delivering high quality virtualisation and cloud projects then you might be interested in applying for one of the open roles on LinkedIn at present.

In the UK:

In Sweden:

In Netherlands:

In Denmark:

 

0

…Hello VMware!

I’ve been a user of VMware’s products since finding VMware Workstation in the early noughties but things really took off for me in 2007 with ESX3. I’ve long thought that I might work for VMware one day if the circumstances were right. As of yesterday, it became a reality.

This has been mostly a sideways move for me as I have joined the Northern EMEA PSO team as an SDDC consultant. I’ll probably be working on similar projects to the ones I have been working on already. However, I believe that the opportunities within VMware for me at this stage of my career are significant. I’m excited by the prospects and keen to get stuck in.

One downside to this move is that I have had to step down as a co-leader of the South West UK VMUG chapter. It’s been a fantastic 2 years and we’ve organised some great meetings but the remaining leaders (Barry Coombs, Simon Eady and Jeremy Bowman) are more than equal to the task. (Although they almost stole my thunder!)

201509250_110984-CapturFiles

On the subject of VMUGs, a quick shout out for the next South West UK VMUG meeting on September 28th 2015. Register here. And although I can no longer have any sort of leadership role in VMUG meetings, I hope to still be presenting at them regularly.

0

vRealize Automation 6.2 is GA

speeddialLadies and gentlemen, start your downloads!

vRealize Automation 6.2 (formerly known as vCloud Automation Center) has gone GA today. Beside the usual raft of fixes, the major focus for this release is the integration with vRealize Operations 6.0 (formerly known as vCenter Operations Manager).

Download VMware vRealize Automation 6.2

Also updated to download are:

And finally, all new and shiny is vRealize Code Stream. This, I am really looking forward to as it’s aimed at providing continuous delivery of software releases. And that could include vCO (I mean vRealize Orchestrator) workflows – something I’m doing a lot of at the moment.

0

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…

CapturFiles-201409272_230945

0

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.

0

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.

0

VMworld Europe 2014 – Looking forward…

CapturFiles-201409272_230945

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.

0

VCP-NV: Getting Started

So, you’ve decided to take the VCP-NV exam that VMware launched just recently. If you haven’t been living and breathing VMware NSX for the past few months, you’re probably going to need to do some preparation so that you don’t waste the exam fee. Even if you’re an expert, it’s sensible to at least look over the blueprint first and make sure that you have all of the bases covered.

Either way, if you want to get this certification then there are three routes that you can take to do it.

1. You’re new to VMware certification

Before you can earn the certification, you MUST attend the VMware NSX: Install, Configure and Manage course. Then to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

vcp-nv-route1-option

2. You have any other valid VCP certification

VMware recently implemented a recertification policy. It may change over time (or go away completely) but you need to check and see if your existing VCP is still valid. If it isn’t then you need to go back to option 1.

There are optional courses that you can take but to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

vcp-nv-route2-option

3. You have a valid Cisco certification

If you have one of these four certifications and you’re reading this before 1st March 2015, you fit in here.

  • CCNA Data Center
  • CCNA Routing and Switching
  • CCNP Data Center
  • CCNP Routing and Switching

There are optional courses that you can take but to earn the VCP-NV certification, simply register for and pass the VCPN610 exam.

vcp-nv-route3-option

Exam Blueprint

As far as the VCPN610 exam itself goes, your first step is obtaining the exam blueprint from VMware. This can be found on VMware’s certification page dedicated to the VCP-NV.

Depending on your comfort level, you can now either work through the exam topics by yourself, with colleagues, as part of a study group or make use of other online resources. One that I’ll recommend now is the #vBrownbag EMEA webinar. There’s a series starting tonight covering Objective 1 of the exam blueprint. Register via the link on the #vBrownbag website. (The webinars are recorded an usually available to watch offline later the same week as they are broadcast.)

0

vCHS in the UK

vCHS-in-the-UK1I was fortunate and privileged recently to be invited to the UK launch event for VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service in the UK. The first of many planned deployments in the EMEA region for VMware.

VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service became public in the US in September last year.  Swiftly afterwards, VMware announced their plans to bring the service to EMEA in 2014 and, as of Tuesday 25th February, it is generally available in Europe.

Besides being a blogger, I’m also fortunate to work for a leading VMware Partner in EMEA (Xtravirt). As we’re one of the few Hybrid Cloud certified partners (at the time of writing), I’m hoping to be working on some vCHS projects in the near future. Exciting!

Why the UK and Why now?

The feedback from EMEA customers indicated that many of them were concerned about data locality and the sovereignty of their datacenters. A Vanson Bourne survey of 200 IT decision makers conducted earlier this year on behalf of VMware indicated that:

  • 86% recognised a business need to keep data within UK borders
  • 85% said current clouds were not integrated with their own internal infrastructure
  • 81% said that they need to make public cloud as easy to manage and control as their own infrastructure

The Launch Event

The launch of the service in London was anticipated for several weeks following a beta programme that was oversubscribed ten-fold. Initially, vCHS will be available via a single UK data centre.  An additional data centre is due to come online in the 2nd quarter of this year and VMware already have plans to expand the service into more European countries.

The relative importance to VMware of this launch was perhaps best emphasized by the presence of their CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who flew in from California for it.  VMware have invested heavily in vCHS and will continue to do so as demand for public cloud services grows. Pat’s presence underlined to me the importance that VMware places on vCHS in their future.

During Pat’s talk, he gave an overview of how he and VMware see that we’re in the middle of a shift from an appliance era to one of mobile cloud. vCHS is one of the ways that VMware are using to move with that shift. He also mentioned about how he’d recently had to write a cheque for $1.5Bn for VMware’s purchase of AirWatch. I thought I’d try it out to see what it felt like…

vchs-cheque

I guess it’d be more impressive if I actually had that money in my account! If anyone else tries this, tell me if you use Dr Evil’s voice when writing it out.

Much of the remaining time at the event was dedicated to a Q&A panel involving many of the UK / EMEA’s top brass and vCHS product managers.

vCHS Benefits – A Customer Perspective

Obviously, VMware weren’t the first to market with a public cloud offering (think Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure for instance), but a significant portion of the launch briefing was focused around how vCHS benefits existing VMware customers more than a move to a 3rd party cloud provider does.  For this, two of the service’s beta participants talked about their experiences.

Betfair’s business activities, as part of the online gaming industry, are heavily regulated within the UK. One of their IT challenges is providing the business with sufficient agility to grow and develop. However, Betfair found that the potential benefits of cloud economics are balanced against the complexity of maintaining regulatory compliance when using cloud service providers. The key differentiator that they picked out in vCHS for them was the integration with their existing virtual platform (vSphere). Being able to migrate workloads from their on-premise platform to their dedicated vCHS space and (using other parts of the vCloud Suite) presenting business users with a single interface to request and manage virtual infrastructure made their adoption of vCHS for development and testing purposes possible.

Cancer Research UK’s story is similar. Their key driver is to reduce their spend on “tin and wires” as they’re not an IT business. As a charity, regular and predictable costs are far more preferable to infrequent capital outlays for growth and hardware refreshes. Cancer Research wanted something they could just plug into and use to maximize their IT efficiency and move away from legacy systems.

Thinking about these use cases, there’s certainly clear benefits for both customers.

Use Cases

vCHS has several use cases and benefits. Key amongst the benefits is the ability to utilise existing vSphere management products and interfaces to manage your estate. Such integration is going to be a big selling point in my opinion.

As for use cases, here are just a few:

  • Use as a Disaster Recovery datacenter
  • Migrate from existing  Virtual Infrastructure and reduce your physical datacenter assets
  • SMEs could use it to host workloads that require Enterprise vSphere features and keep test and development systems in house
  • Affordable means to grow IT infrastructure without capital investement

Put another way, if you imagine an organisation with an existing virtual datacenter, their usage of it is likely to look something like this:

vchs-use-case

  • 75 – 90% (ish) is used by running services
  • 10 – 25 % might be reserved for high availability and maintenance constraints
  • A few percent might be available to support business growth

That’s a reasonable chunk of resources that are required (and must be paid for) that don’t run any workloads under normal conditions.

Imagine though if the business had datacenter resilience requirements that necessitated a second datacenter for DR:

vchs-use-case-with-dr

The organisation has to pay for a lot more hardware and software that might never be required and that will have to kept up-to-date over time. (Of course, they could run workloads in both datacenters and fail over should DR be required but the amount of resources required wouldn’t reduce much.)

Using vCHS, such an organisation could very easily do any or all of the following:

  • Use vCHS for DR. They’d have to pay for storage used and they’d need a pretty chunky network connection but surely they have that anyway. In the evnt of needing to failover, they pay for the resource used.
  • Use vCHS to support business growth without having to invest in capital equipment.
  • Migrate their workloads to vCHS rather than refresh on-premise hardware and use multiple vCHS datacenters for resilience.

The opportunities are both interesting and exciting to me.

0

VMworld Europe 2013 – Partner Day

I have to confess to feeling a little jaded this morning thanks to the vRockstar party last night. I’m not complaining though, as I have been on the previous two occasions that I’ve attended VMworld Europe, I’m both excited and glad to be here.

2013-10-14 08.55.14

Registration was a breeze and a few subtle changes to the layout of the venue were immediately apparent. Compared to last year, I think that the conference is occupying a lot more floor space. The Solutions Exchange will open tomorrow where the General Sessions were last year. The HoL and Community / Alumni / Partner lounges have moved to occupy the space where the Solutions Exchange was last year. So far I like the layout.

As with previous years, Monday is VMware’s Partner Day. Owing to a perfect storm of circumstances I only managed to get in to one session but it was probably the one that I was most keen to see.

TEX5350 Designing network virtualization for Data-centers: Greenfield Design and Migration scenarios
Software Defined Datacenters and Network Virtualization technologies are essential components to enhance operational efficiency, unlock agility in provisioning new application and services, and enable extensibility to rapidly respond to business needs. This session will discuss how modern virtualization techniques, such as VXLAN, vWires can be deployed over 3-tier or 2-tier datacenter IP fabric topologies. Particularly the session will analyze requirements for the physical network, followed by logical network deployment options. The session will analyze the benefits of a generic vendor agnostic Layer 3 Leaf/Spine IP fabric and use of LACP, vmknics, host profiles will be covered with use-case discussions, design recommendations and Best Practices.

I have a few other session lined up that focus on or fit with NSX so this was a useful primer for me.

For me though, VMworld isn’t just about the sessions. Probably the biggest benefit that I derive from attending events like these is the networking (with people) and a great many people arrived today to register, take lab sessions and get the lay of the land.

As things started to wind down at the conference centre, the focus naturally shifted to evening activities. The VMUG organisation held a well attended party in the centre of the city. The Veeam guys (who were sponsoring the event) wasted no time going straight for Jaeger-bombs!

2013-10-14 20.07.31

Pernix Data also held a well attended event on the other side of the city centre that I was pleased to be invited to.