TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Join Me At VMworld US 2016

VMworld 2016

Yet again I am honoured to have been given a bloggers pass to VMworld US due to my vExpert work but more importantly the vBrownbag TechTalks and opening acts that the vBrownbag crew will be running in the hang space.

VMworld is always an exciting conference to go to and if you haven’t yet booked your place then let me list some of the reasons I think you should attend as they are the reasons I try to attend every year.

  • On the Sunday of VMworld is Partner Exchange and TAM day where VMware partners can attend exclusive sessions talking about everything from future roadmaps for all of VMware product lines but also new solutions VMware are looking to release. The sessions are always extremely interesting and from my experience are the best chance to speak to the “rockstars” who evangelise and breath the various solutions. If you aren’t a partner or are looking for something less formal than PEX then the vBrownbag crew along with the vBrisket and VMUnderground crew are running opening acts with vBrisket for lunch and VMUnderground party at the end of the day. Opening acts has gained popularity with each year and the level of panels as well as those attending has also kept on increasing. The schedule for the day is:
    • 10:45am – The doors open
    • 11:00am – Panel Session 1
    • 12:00pm – Panel Session 2
    • 1:00pm – BBQ lunch by vBrisket
    • 2:00pm – Panel Session 3
    • 3:00pm – Panel Session 4
    • 4:00pm – Fin.
  • Also if you live in the US and want to do a road trip to VMworld then the vBrisket team are doing a road trip, you can see all the details here: http://www.vbrisket.com/vbrisket-bus-tour-to-vmworld-2016/.

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  • My second reason for attending is networking. I know it should be sessions or HOL but the ability to network with like-minded people and make relationships with people doing cutting edge work with the latest technologies has proved so beneficial to me in the past. The ability to network can be done in several places and at several parties but the best place IMO has to be the hangspace where you can sit at the bloggers table or speak to the VMware communities team as well as (and most importantly) listen and watch the vBrownbag TechTalks. If you have never heard of the TechTalks then a brief overview is below:
    • Tech Talks originated at VMworld 2012 where they provided an opportunity for community members, whose presentation submissions were not accepted into the main catalogue, to present the core of  a topic.  #TechTalks are a ten minute presentation by a community member for the benefit of the community. Since almost everyone working in technology has solved problems and learned something almost everyone could present a #TechTalk.  The format can be a slide deck or simply talking, they are usually about how to solve a problem or get the most out of a product. The TechTalk is captured on video and published on the vBrownBag YouTube channel.
    • If the conference Internet connection allows, the talk is also live streamed from the show.
    • #TechTalks are for community members to reach other community members, any topic that will help other people is good.  The one thing that TechTalks are not is an opportunity to present the corporate slide deck about a great product you would like us to buy.  #TechTalks are about up skilling and education, the only marketing should be from the TechTalk sponsors who help make the whole thing happen.
  • Anyone can watch the TechTalks and there are almost always a crowd of the biggest names in the industry,VCDX, vExperts and top 50 vBloggers either watching the TechTalks, Chatting amongst themselves nearby or writing up blogs and uploading videos to their blogs from the bloggers table. The community is very welcoming so please do come say hi and I promise if i am there I’ll try not be grumpy 🙂
  • Next are the sessions. The VMworld Schedule Builder opened yesterday and within 3 hours a whole bunch were fully booked just to show the sheer interest of people to listen to some of the biggest names talking about the biggest technologies such as Duncan Epping of Yellow-Bricks.com fame talking about “A day in the life of a VSAN IO”. The sessions are always engaging and cover technical depth from beginners all the way to veterans so there is always something to learn. the sessions are also recorded so if you can’t make it to a sessions due to a conflict then by registering for VMworld you get access to all the recorded sessions after the conference for you to watch in your own time.
  • Next reason are the hands on labs. the labs cover all technologies and not just from VMware but also partners including the EMC Federation. The labs allow you a brilliant way of working your way through using the latest solutions and technologies so if your boss is wondering what NSX is and if it will fit your companies requirements you can do several labs on it and then can not only help your company understand it’s benefits having gone to sessions around NSX but also know how to do tasks inside NSX due to the labs.

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  • Next is the solutions exchange which is firstly an amazing place to talk to all the top vendors and companies working within the virtualisation arena and secondly to maybe even win yourself a few prizes from the plethora of competitions all the stands are running constantly. I personally love walking around the solutions exchange after grabbing some food so that you can listen to all the vendors explain why their solution is the best fit for you and get in some much-needed sustenance as you will be walking A LOT at the conference.
  • Lastly are the parties, these are normally amazing and seeing as the conference is in Las Vegas the locations are likely to be unbelievable. The parties vary in craziness so you can attend mellow drinks or full or parties in clubs it is entirely up to you. Apart from the VMUnderground party the Welcome Reception kicks off the conference experience with food, drinks, and networking in the Solutions Exchange. The always energetic Welcome Reception is a great way to reconnect with old friends, network, share ideas, and get to know our inviting community of VMware customers, experts, and partners. The parties have only just started getting announced but you can see which ones have been announced on Hans’ blog here. The VMworld party finishes off the conference on Wednesday night and is hosted at the legendary Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the band has been announced and despite what some old farts say about the band selected I can’t wait to listen to Fall Out Boy!!

Hopefully i will see you at the conference and as I stated do come by the hang space and say hello, I will be wearing a vBrownbag shirt with my name and twitter handle on so I should be easy to locate and identify.

 

Gregg

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I CANT BELIEVE MY VMWORLD SUBMISSION WASN’T ACCEPTED!!

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Your VMworld submission wasn’t accepted and now you are wondering how can you give back to the community or prove to the boss that your coming to VMworld is also about showing your knowledge and skills to the community. Well the vBrownbag TechTalks are the place where you can fulfill this desire (I would be remiss to not mention you should also be participating in your local VMUG) .

The vBrownbag TechTalks have been growing in popularity every year and our sessions in the hang space of VMworld US and EU are always a great way to hear ten minute sessions from some of the biggest names in the industry but even better people climbing the ranks who have great content to share. The vBrownbag crew describe the TechTalks as “presentations by community members at an industry conference. They originated with our friend’s sessions not being accepted for the main conference catalog. We know we want to learn from the community so we arranged an alternative forum. TechTalks are limited to ten minutes; they deliver the very core of an idea. Keeping presentations short also means we can do a lot of sessions in a day. Most TechTalks use a slide deck, some use a whiteboard and a few brave souls do live demonstrations. TechTalks are delivered to a small live audience at the conference and then posted to YouTube.”

If you want to see what some of the sessions were like last year then you can watch them on the vBrownbag channel here . The signup form is open and normally fills fairly quickly so why not put your name down to present, it’s a great way to practice presenting and can be used as part of your proof of why you should be selected as a vExpert in 2017.

I will be attending VMworld US to help the vBrownbag crew so come by and say hi and watch some of the sessions at least if you aren’t submitting to present.

Gregg


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Want to go to VMworld?

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Do you want to attend VMworld® 2016 US in Las Vegas this year, but your company won’t pay for the conference passes? Try your luck and win two full conference passes to VMworld® on VMTurbo®.

VMTurbo are running a competition where you can win two full conference passes to VMworld US in Las Vegas.  There will be three drawings of two tickets each on May 27th, June 17th and July 15th. The Sweepstakes starts May 4, 2016 and ends on July 15, 2016 at 11:59PM EST. Winners will be announced on the same day of each drawing and we will notify each winners by email.

Good luck!!

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vExpert 2016 Truly Honoured

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The 2016 vExpert announcements have been made and for the sixth year in a row I have been honoured with the designation. If you don’t know what the vExpert is here is the definition from the vExpert site:

The VMware vExpert Award is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. vExperts are book authors, bloggers, VMUG leaders, tool builders, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others. These vExperts have gone above and beyond their day jobs to share their technical expertise and communicate the value of VMware and virtualization to their colleagues and community.

A massive thanks to Corey and the rest of his team for selecting me, it is an amazing honour Open-mouthed smile. Also a massive congratulations to all the other people selected especially all the ones from the London VMUG and my vBrownbag brothers and sisters. You can see the list of the other vExpert 20162 awardees on the list here

Gregg


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VMworld Day 2

VMworld EMEA day 2 kicked off with the keynote from Carl Echenbach, Ben Fathi and Raghu Raghuram. Unfortunately the keynote was again largely a repeat of the VMworld US day 2 one with all of the same jokes and mock up pictures also. Due to this I’m not going to break down the keynote but rather recommend you watch the keynote recording here.

After watching the keynote and writing up my VMworld Day 1 blog posting I helped the vBrownbag crew with preparations for the TechTalks for which the recordings are now available on the vBrownbag YouTube channel. I would highly recommend watching these as there were some really great presentations from some very big vendors and names within the industry. I then went to the hands on labs and did  HOL-SDC-1420 – OpenStack with VMware vSphere and NSX. The lab was really good and I plan to do the second part of it today.

Talking about containers VMware released a blog posting yesterday around Docker containers performance in VMware vSphere. some of the highlights from the article are that:

  • VMware find that for most of these micro-benchmarks and Redis tests, vSphere delivered near-native performance with generally less than 5% overhead.
  • Running an application in a Docker container in a vSphere VM has very similar overhead of running containers on a native OS (directly on a physical server).

To view the full blog post, you can visit :  http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2014/10/docker-containers-performance-vmware-vsphere.html

After the HOL I attended the Solutions exchange and spoke to some of the vendors whose solutions interest me such as Nutanix, Hitachi Data Systems, PernixData, Simplivity , SolidFire and Colt stalls. Some amazing solution from these guys as well as many others, it’s scary how much the virtualisation ecosystem is changing.

From the solutions exchange I attended session STO2997-SPO The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA which was really good fun and filled by really smart guys on the stage. I watched the recording of the one from the US a few weeks ago and it too was very informative and is a session I would recommend watching from both VMworld’s.

I then made my way back to the solutions exchange for the hall crawl where Hitachi were serving up sake and sushi at their stand which is two of my favourite things so I had to make sure I got myself some and they even gave us nice sake cups which I will personally use for a double espresso cup. A big thanks to Paul Meehan too for chatting us through their solution.

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I stuck around in the solutions exchange until the VMworld party as the party is in the convention centre. The party seemed smaller this year although there was a big roller rink in the middle last year so possibly this was the reason. It was good to chat to very vNerds and even some ex-colleagues whilst waiting for Simple Minds to come on. I’m only 31 so I only knew two or three of their songs but they were hands down better than Taio Cruz last year and most of the crowd seemed to really enjoy it and they even did an encore. From the party I met up with some of my Xtravirt colleagues for a night cap.


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VMworld US Day 1

Now that the dust has started to settle on day 1 of VMworld US 2013 let’s have a look at what was announced, what seems to have been missed from the keynote that I felt are a few major improvements/fixes in vSphere/vCloud 5.5 and all the other important releases coming from the conference. *disclaimer* I am not at VMworld US so this is my take from across the Atlantic.

The day started with the keynote form VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. I’m not going to detail a minute by minute commentary on it as I think the blog postings I will be mentioning below cover everything you need to know and you can watch the keynote for yourself clip_image001 Also Scott Lowe has done a brilliant live blogging of the keynote here.

I was fortunate enough to again be invited to an early access blogger program by VMware almost two months ago around all the announcements that were due to come out at VMworld. It has been really hard as a consultant to not mention it to customers especially the changes/rebuild of SSO. I did have a few blog postings in the works on the announcements but felt I could not do them justice so left it for better people and I was right in doing this I think as Chris Wahl has done an amazing nine part series on all the announcements which I think are a great overview of all the new features and changes and would have destroyed mine:

As I mentioned one of the big changes in vSphere 5.5 that I felt should have been mentioned in the keynote and would have probably got a loud cheer from the crowd was the massive changes to SSO. The SSO service has been almost totally rebuilt and when I was on the early access blogger webinars everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the SSO in vSphere 5.1 was not a simple thing to install especially seeing as it was recommended to break up all the individual components. This has now changed and it is recommended that they are all kept on one machine. Below is the recommended layout now for the vCenter Server design.

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Kendrick Coleman also gave a great overview of it from 30k feet here . For me the real improvement is the simple steps to setup SSO now which are:

1. Accept License agreement (EULA)

2. Prerequisite check summary

3. Edit default port number 7444 (if necessary)

4. Select Deployment placement

5. Provide Administrator@vSphere.local password

6. Provide a site name or select a previous site name

7. Edit destination directory (if necessary)

8. Summary

9. Installation Complete

I’m one of the hosts of the EMEA vBrownbag and all of the US Brownbag and a few of the APAC vBrownbag team are out at VMworld US doing the very popular Tech Talks. The Tech Talks are 10 to 15 minute presentations by members of the VMware community on topics of their choice, almost like a mini #vBrownBag. They are being streamed live by the vBrownbag guys and are being recorded for people like me to watch them when you can. The schedule for the Tech Talks can be found here. Make sure you watch the stream live and give the guys the support they deserve as all of these presentations are from the community.

Talking about the vBrownbag crew one of the main culprits Nick Marshall has released alongside Scott Lowe, Forbes Guthrie, Matt Liebowitz and Josh Atwell (another vBrownbag host) the next instalment of the Mastering VMware vSphere book for vSphere 5.5. A massive congratulations to Nick on this project and for being asked and doing such an awesome job whilst still helping out on the vBrownbag. Nick has detailed the announcement on here blog here.

One of the biggest announcements from the keynote was the release of VMware NSX, as Forbes Guthrie said I’m waiting for NSXi clip_image003 but until that day the below are some of the highlights of the new feature and I would highly encourage you to read Chris Wahl’s detailing of the feature from above.

NSX Highlights:

  • VMware NSX is a next-generation network virtualization solution
  • Provide the key functions of network virtualization: decouple, reproduce, and automate
  • NSX will support any hypervisor, any CMP, any network hardware
    • vSphere, KVM, and Xen are currently supported
    • CMPs currently supported are OpenStack, CloudStack, and vCAC/VCD
  • NSX optimized for vSphere leverages the platform’s enhanced functionality

High-level View of VMware NSX Architecture:

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VMware NSX Controllers:

  • Designed with a distributed, scale-out architecture.
    • Minimum of 3 controllers for an NSX controller cluster.
    • NSX optimized for vSphere scales to 5 controllers.
  • NSX controllers run a common code base in different form factors.
    • Controllers run as infrastructure/service VMs in NSX optimized for vSphere.
    • Controllers run as physical appliances in multi-hypervisor environments.
  • Controller functions optimized in each delivery option.

VMware NSX Virtual Switches:

  • NSX uses programmable virtual switches on the hypervisors
  • In NSX optimized for vSphere, NSX leverages:
    • the vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS)
    • the UW (Userworld) Agent for communications with NSX controllers
  • In multi-hypervisor environments, NSX uses:
    • Open vSwitch for KVM and Xen
    • NSX vSwitch (an in-kernel virtual switch) for ESXi

VMware NSX Gateways:

  • The gateways are the “on ramp/off ramp” into or out of logical networks
  • Both L2 (bridging) and L3 (routing) gateway functionality available
  • Basic functionality the same regardless of delivery option
    • NSX optimized for vSphere leverages NSX Edge (derived from vCNS Edge)
    • In multi-hypervisor environments, gateways are physical appliances leveraging a scale-out architecture

VMware have also posted the What’s New pdf for vSphere 5.5 which gives you a very good overview of all the new features and services here

VMware have released a new VMware certification called the VMware Certified Associate for those people looking to get into the IT industry. Unlike the VCP there is no required training but there are free eLearning courses available for people to skill up for the exam. These do look like a good starter for people thinking of learning the basics of virtualization and in my opinion would be great for high school students thinking of going into IT and virtualization after high school.

Well that is what caught my attention from day 1 of VMworld US. I’m looking forward to more information coming out and to getting my hands on all the new vSphere 5.5 tools.

Gregg


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London VMUG 4th July

The next London VMware User Group is only two weeks away and is looking to be jam packed with big names, first time presenters and sponsored labs.

The event is growing from strength to strength and I’m always amazed how many people put their hand up when it is asked who is a first time attendee. If you have not been before I would highly recommend it and the sessions are deeply informative and you get to chat to fellow Virtualisation IT workers who are doing the same kinds of work as you or maybe something you are about to do and can give you some helpful tips. It will be held at the usual local of the London’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 33 Queen Street, London, EC43 1AP.

Fellow Xtravirt colleagues of mine Seb Hakiel and Grant Friend will be doing an interactive session on the approach and pitfalls of a 4000 seat VDI deployment throughout EMEA which is a must attend in my opinion and I believe the first of many sessions these guys have in them.

The agenda for the day is:

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Which is followed by vBeers which is held at the pavilion end pub

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Map:

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So far I am planning to attend so should be a great day as always and please come say hi if you spot me at the VMUG or even vBeers.

 

Gregg