TechTalks Schedule at VMworld EMEA 2014

The provisional schedule for vBrownbag TechTalks at VMworld EMEA 2014 has been posted. If you don’t know what they are, the TechTalks are 10 minute presentations (hopefully broadcast live on the internet but also recorded) on any technical subject given by assorted attendees of VMworld.

Anyone can propose a TechTalk (there are a few spaces left – signup using this form) and anyone can watch (find the Community Hangspace, or watch online via the vBrownbag live page).

Among the sessions already scheduled are a couple of great sounding ones from Joerg Lew on orchestration and automation; another from Kaido Kibin about vCO collaboration; two sessions on VVols from Cormac Hogan and Nick Dyer; and a primer on the hyper-converged ecosystem from Gabriel Chapman.


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.


vBrownbag needs you at VMworld Europe 2014

VMworld Europe 2014 gets under way two weeks from today. There are a large number of excellent sessions available to schedule but if you either didn’t get yours selected, didn’t submit one but wish you had or just have something that you want to share with VMware users and the community in general then there is another way.

Every year at VMworld (both US and EMEA), the vBrownbag crew organise a series of TechTalks aimed at giving anybody who wants to, a chance to present for 10 minutes on the topic of their choice (except for direct product pitches).

The schedule has still to be decided but there are open slots available. So, if you have something that you want to share, use the sign up form here:



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.



ThinApp 5.0 Gets 64-bit Support

thinapp-4.0-iconThinApp has been a version 4.x product almost since VMware acquired it in 2008. On Wednesday at VMworld version 5.0 was announced and it is expected to be generally available from the end of October 2013.

With a major version bump like this you’d rightly expect some significant changes. Perhaps the most significant of these is the inclusion of support for virtualising 64-bit applications.

There have also been some architectural changes to the level of virtualisation to increase and simplify application compatibility. Together these two enhancements are likely to mean that a greater range of applications can be virtualised – something that might have held some organisations back from adopting ThinApp in the past.

One other thing that we can apparently look forward to in ThinApp 5.0 is easier integration with persona management solutions. Great for Horizon View projects! Check out the full list of changes on this VMware blog posting.

For many I suspect, this will be a welcome and maybe long overdue release.


vCOPS for View Free for Horizon Suite Customers

vcops-viewFrom the end of October 2013 (or thereabouts) vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View is to be included as a part of VMware’s Horizon Suite.

The Horizon Suite is currently comprised of 4 major components:

  • Horizon View
  • Horizon Workspace
  • Horizon Mirage
  • ThinApp

Presumably this move is intended to act as an incentive for existing and potential EUC customers to adopt the entire Horizon Suite rather than build solutions that rely on only a subset of the components.


vCAC 6.0 Announced

vCAC 6.0 was announced in Tuesday’s General Session and it’s expected to be generally available in mid-November 2013. For me, this is the most exciting announcement to come out of VMworld Europe. It’s all about building, deploying and managing application catalogs.

VMware acquired DynamicOps in mid-2012 and managed to rebrand and launch it as vCloud Automation Center 5.1 at VMworld last year. There has since been a 5.2 release but 6.0 includes some very significant changes. Two of the biggest are:


vCAC installation has historically been a bit of a pig. 5.2 has its own pre-requisite checker and a number of hoops to jump through to get it up and running. Jonathan Medd even recently produced a superb PowerShell script to automate the setup of the pre-requisites.

With 6.0 however, vCAC is being partially released as a virtual appliance by being broken down into several components. The IaaS (.NET) core is still hosted on Windows but the Self-Service portal and Application Director (see below) components are virtual appliances. The portal appliance includes a full instance of vCO.

On the face of it, deploying vCAC may seem more involved but having some key functionality hosted in virtual appliances is a sensible move in my opinion.

Say Hello to Application Director

There is now going to be greater integration with (vFabric) Application Director and the latter will actually be bundled with vCAC 6.0 although it will be distributed as a separate appliance. The point of this is to allow organisations to define and build applications (blueprints) in Application Director and then manage deployment and infrastructure through vCAC.

There’s a lab available in the Hands-on-Labs that showcases the vCAC 6.0 beta. Try it out.


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.


My VMworld Schedule

screenshot464Next week is VMworld Europe 2013. My wife tells people it’s a “Uber Geek Fest”. She’s probably right about that!

This will be my third VMworld and I know without a doubt that there will not be enough hours between Sunday and Thursday this coming week for me to meet all of the people and vendors that I want and see the sessions that I want.

If you’re in Barcelona at VMworld this coming week, say hello, give me your business card, join me for a beer or do all three! On a couple of days I’ll be wearing shirts with this on the back:


At the moment my schedule looks a bit like this:

Daytime Evening
Sunday Travel to Barcelona vRockstar Party
Monday Registration, Hands-on-Labs and Partner sessions including TEX5350 VMUG Party / Pernix Data Party
Tuesday Sessions including the General session, PHC4750, SEC5893, VAPP4679 and VCM1002-GD vExpert Reception
Wednesday Sessions including the General session, STO5464, VCM5472 and VAPP6268 VMworld Party
Thursday Sessions including PHC1000-GD, VCM5477, NET5521 and VCM5048 Travelling home!

I’m sure that it’ll change a bit, it always does.

Outside of the above I’ll be in the community lounge (checking out the #vBrownBag talks), Hands-on-Labs or the Solutions Exchange. See you there!


VMware – Changes At The Top

screenshot301Following on from VMware CTO Steve Herrod’s announcement that he is to leave his role, I joked on twitter that this was actually a response to the prospect of being accosted by Gregg Robertson and Darren Woollard at VMworld again about putting in an appearance at a London VMUG. I didn’t expect a response from him on account of the hundreds of other tweets he must have received, but the fact that I got one suggests to me that Dr Herrod is still fairly grounded despite having been instrumental in the establishment and growth of a very successful company whose developments have shaped IT and my career to date. Thank you.

Dr Herrod’s departure will raise questions about the future direction of VMware for sure. He joined the company in 2001 and moved into the role of CTO only a few months before Paul Maritz became CEO. Between them they oversaw a period of fantastic change that has continued past Paul Maritz’s step down last year.

I don’t think that Dr Herrod’s leaving is directly connected to last year’s change of CEO though. Look at the journey that VMware has made over the last 11 years, how they’ve grown from a one product company to an industry leader with a product portfolio to die for (in my opinion at least). However you measure success, VMware have achieved it and it’s not unreasonable for someone who has helped built up a great team around them to consider their work there done. That’s my take on it at least.

Yes, it’ll be interesting to see who steps into Dr Herrod’s shoes – they’re big – but I don’t think there’s much to worry about yet.

By the way Mr Gelsinger, I’m available any day next week (except Thursday – London VMUG) for an interview 😉