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Making the most of VMworld Barcelona 2014

September 30th, 2014 No comments
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Tag cloud generated from the content catalogue of VMworld 2014

In just under two weeks I’m heading to Barcelona for VMworld Europe. This will be my fifth year attending and I thought I’d pass on my recommendations for making the most of the conference. This isn’t a ‘book flights, wear trainers, collect swag’ kind of blogpost – remember, it’s a conference, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t be bamboozled by the hype.

1. Prepare in advance

  1. Review what was announced at VMworld in August (here, here, and here via Brian Gracely, Kyle Hilgendorf, & LatogaLabs respectively) so you don’t waste your time rediscovering the wheel. While the European show is playing second fiddle we do at least have the advantage that useful analysis is now available (thoughts on EVO:RAIL, Why VAIO will change everything, and thoughts on the Docker and Openstack announcements).
  2. Before you go reach out to people with similar interests and arrange to meet them, even if it’s informal over breakfast or a beer in the evening. The VMworld schedule builder lists speaker details and most people are easy to find via Twitter or LinkedIn and most are more than happy to engage with people (that’s why they’re speakers after all).
  3. Watch some of the VMworld sessions which are online from the US show in August. If you’ve booked time in your schedule for one of those sessions it’s time you can reuse more productively. Watching sessions in advance gives you more time to soak up new information and lets you think of questions to ask while at the conference.
  4. Write a blogpost on getting the most out of the conference and publish it. :-)

2. Spend your time doing the stuff you can only do at the conference.

  1. There’s lots of opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and make some excellent contacts, but it’s also quite easy to waste time either intentionally or unintentionally (late night parties take their toll). Most sessions are recorded, the keynotes are usually a repeat of the US keynotes with minor updates, and the lazy web provides deeper insight a few days later when full details emerge and people have had time to digest everything.
  2. If you go to sessions, ask questions! Some are designed to be interactive and watching a recording afterwards may not have the same value as participating – the vExpert Storage Game Show (STO2997-STO) and Ask the Expert vBloggers (SDDC1176) are good examples.
  3. The group discussions are an organised goldmine. Go to them and discuss.
  4. There are 50% discounts on taking certification exams during VMworld Europe, but the VCAP ones take a half day each which is valuable time lost.

3. Interact 

  1. The most valuable use of your time is speaking to people who have the same needs as you, along with product experts. The calibre of people at VMworld is second to none, though finding them among the thousands of attendees can be a challenge. See above point about preparation!
  2. Engage with the community via the vBrownBag sessions, TechFieldDay Extra (featuring yours truly),  the bloggers area and the hangspace.
  3. Join the VMUG organisation and find your local VMUG –  you’ll be glad you did.
  4. Tweet, blog, chat, drink!

4. Stay focused during the conference

  1. Set yourself an agenda and know what you want to achieve before you go. Maybe you want it to be a networking event where you meet up with old friends and share a beer, or maybe you want to focus on using the three or four days to soak up new information. Stick to it.
  2. You will suffer information overload during the event. Compensate by taking notes and make clear actions for follow up when you get home.
  3. Follow up when you get home. I have several folders of info, contacts, things to do etc from previous years and I haven’t always used them. That’s wasted opportunities.

More information about what, when, why, along with social media, parties etc can be found on Andrea Mauro’s comprehensive blogpost.

If you haven’t already it’s not too late to register!banner-eu-registerNow

Note that this link will let VMware know you registered via my blog, which may (or may not!) help me get kudos with their social media program in the future. Registrations much appreciated!

Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

VMworld 2012 Barcelona wrapup

October 15th, 2012 2 comments
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This year my VMworld experience started in a more relaxed fashion than previously as I flew in ahead of time on the Sunday night. After checking in to my hotel and getting my orientation in the city I headed (along with LonVMUG’s Luke Munro) to the vRockstar party at the Hard Rock Cafe organised by Marco Broeken and Patrick Redknapp. This coincided nicely with ‘El Classico’ when the two giants of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona, play each other in the Spanish league. This ensured the Hard Rock Cafe was rammed full so it was a good thing they’d reserved an area for us. Food, (free) drink, and good conversation – thanks for organizing a great start to VMworld guys!

Next day registration at the conference venue was very quick partly because it was partner day and the masses had yet to arrive. There was some misleading information about the HOL being closed although after a quick Twitter shoutout to John Troyer that was quickly remedied. As I’m a customer not a partner I didn’t have access to the partner breakout sessions so I figured my day was going to be a mixture of labs and people networking. Compared to Copenhagen the weather was a distinct improvement, hovering around 25 degrees and quite humid, although inside the air conditioning kept everyone cool.

The Keynotes and announcements

Tuesday signaled the first day of the main conference when all 7000 attendees turned up. The day started with the keynote from Pat Gelsinger and Steve Herrod and was largely a repeat of the US keynote with a few notable exceptions which I’ll cover later. For those that haven’t seen the US keynotes here’s the highlights;

  • there is a new vCloud Suite which bundles many of the VMware products together in a more compelling and cost effective package
  • vRAM is no more (cost is now per socket)
  • the launch of vSphere 5.1
  • new certification tracks including a vCloud track

VMware always like to hold back some product launches so that VMworld Europe has something to get excited about. Here’s a summary of the announcements at Barcelona;

With the swift integration of the Dynamic Ops technology VMware obviously want to manage heterogeneous clouds having spent the last five years saying there was no demand. Should we take this as indirect endorsement of Hyper-V? :-)

Read more…

VMworld 2012 – what will we see?

August 6th, 2012 5 comments
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With VMworld rapidly approaching I’ve been wondering what to expect from this year’s shows in San Francisco and Barcelona. My first thought was ‘not much new’ based on the fact that vSphere5 was released at last years show and products such as vCOPs and vCloud Director have already had major updates recently. Upon reflection however I’ve realised that this year will be no different – trying to keep up with all the announcements, new technology, product launches and social gatherings will be nearly impossible. First let’s have a quick recap of the last two year’s shows and the various releases;

History of VMworld announcements

  • 2010 – Virtual Roads, Actual Clouds (attendance: 22000)
    US – vCloud Director, vFabric, vShield, vSphere 4.1 (announced just before the show), Project Horizon previewed
    Europe – vCloud Request Mgr, vCenter CapacityIQ
  • 2011 - It’s your cloud, own it! (attendance: 25,000+)
    US – Updated ‘cloud suite’ (vSphere5, view5, SRM 5, vCD 1.5, vShield 5) announced weeks before the show, vFabric Data Director, Project Octopus, Appblast, Horizon Application Manager, VXLAN
    Europe – vCenter Operations Management suite, vCenter vFabric Application Management Suite, vCenter Protect Essentials Plus

Clearly the major launches are always at the flagship show in the US, with a few kept over to keep Europe happy.

What’s in store for 2012?

VMworld is always a mix of corporate strategy and ‘in the trenches’ technology deep dives. There’s always a long term, cohesive, persuasive story which brings all the disparate technology elements together in a compelling vision. Lots of column inches have been dedicated to the recent management reshuffle at VMware and EMC combined with commentary about the evolution

Read more…

VMworld Europe 2012 – Hotels on a map

July 27th, 2012 9 comments
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I’m planning to attend VMworld Europe again this year and like many I’ve just started looking into accommodation. While it’ll be nice to be in Barcelona again I’ll miss Copenhagen as I had a ‘regular’ place to stay just a five minute walk from the conference whereas this year I’ll be hoping the place I’ve booked is both well located and nice to stay in.

Last year Andi Mann (@andimann) posted a very useful mashup map of the VMworld hotels, making it much easier to work out where to stay. I recall (as I think the post is no longer available) that he suggested to VMware that they provide the hotel information in a more accessible format but unfortunately it’s still only via the official webpage (or you can use my Excel data). The VMware page lists quite a few hotels and their distance from the conference but it’s far from ideal. For starters some distances are in km and some are in miles but it’s easy to miss that little detail.

Rather than putting the burden on Andi to repeat last year’s map I thought I’d have a go. Turns out the basic mapping is pretty easy to do once you have the hotel data formatted as you can just cut and paste it into BatchGeo.com.

Here’s a map of the ‘official’ VMware hotels for Barcelona 2012, colour coded by ‘star’ rating (the conference location is in red). Note that if you scroll down under the map the hotels are listed alphabetically so you can easily locate a hotel by name;

View VMworld Europe 2012 hotels in a full screen map

There are a couple of things to note. The bulk of the hotels are clustered around the centre of town rather than the conference venue so you’ll have to decide which is more important to you – proximity to the conference or to the restaurants and clubs (which inevitably host the vendor parties). More importantly take the ‘distance’ mentioned on the VMware website with a pinch of salt – BatchGeo does its own calculation on distance which shows a few discrepancies. Batchgeo does an ‘as the crow flies’ calculation and maybe VMware have driving distances?

I’ve not had time to check but last year I found it was cheaper to book my hotel directly rather than via the VMworld registration process (despite the promised discount). Your mileage may vary!

Lastly thanks are due to Andi Mann – I wouldn’t have known what to do this without his original. I look forward to seeing everyone at the conference!

Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: , , , ,

VMworld Copenhagen – Day one summary

October 19th, 2011 1 comment
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Today was officially the start of VMworld Copenhagen even though many people were here yesterday for partner day. The hands on labs are always popular at VMworld shows, and for all the reasons previously covered by others. I’ve done two labs so far (HOL01, Creating the Hybrid Cloud and HOL27, Netapp and VMware) which were both useful in different ways. There’s a good atmosphere and the technology behind the labs continues to evolve – this year vCenter Operations (and I think Netapp Insight Balance) are on display showing how the lab infrastructure is performing. There are more seats and the labs are open longer than last year (32 hours) which is good to see.

I spent fair bit of time in the bloggers lounge, a small dedicated area with power, a separate wifi connection, and facilities for VMworld TV to broadcast live from. This is where you can often find John Troyer, the godfather of VMware’s social media scene along with many of the twittter names you’ve seen but never met in person. VMworld is a vertitable ‘who’s who’ of the virtualisation world – I found myself sitting next to Scott Lowe for ten minutes before realising who he was and saying hi! Many of the people hanging around the bloggers lounds have been at VMworld many times so it’s a good place to get a feel for what’s hot and what’s not at this year’s conference. I got my first taste of VMworld TV via an invite to vSoupTV. Quite a few people mentioned that it felt quieter this year but as the attendance has been confirmed at over 7,000 it must be because there’s more space rather than less people.

The centre of the complex is used as a relaxation zone complete with plenty of seating, food, recliners (for those quick power naps), table tennis, table ice hockey, chess sets etc. It’s a good place to meet people as you pass through on your way from a general session to the labs. Free wifi is available throughout the Bella Centre but unfortunately it’s pretty temperamental – somewhat expected for a large conference with over 7000 people. That wouldn’t be so bad but the VMworld iPhone app relies on internet access so when that’s not working you can’t reference your schedule or register for sessions. When it does work the VMworld iPhone app is pretty good – you can check for upcoming sessions, get a filtered twitter stream for a given session, and even check site maps. Read more…

VMworld – why San Fran is the place to be (not Copenhagen)

August 17th, 2010 No comments
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The buzz is building, VMworld is coming!

Unfortunately (for me) my employer won’t pay for me to attend so I’m paying for myself. I’m excited to be going but when it’s my money I’m looking for serious value for money! I’ve not been to VMworld before so maybe I’m worrying about nothing but San Fran is a four day conference compared to only three days at Copenhagen so there are inevitable compromises;

  • Labs. VMware have put roughly 75,000 man hours into creating 30 self paced labs and (from the communities podcast on 11th August) I gather they’re timed to be roughly 60mins max per lab. I’m no mathematician but that makes 30 hours worth of labs. Copenhagen offers only 21 hours of lab time compared to 46 at San Fran. Labs don’t open until 11am and close again at 6pm – what’s up with that? I can get up before 11am (at least on special occasions!).
  • Sessions. Copenhagen offers 21 hours of sessions compared to 36 hours at San Fran. More importantly a significant number of sessions are only being run in SF (see further down for a full list).
  • Announcements/keynotes. With the SF conference being held a few weeks before Copenhagen I’m guessing most of the big announcements are going to be there. Not s show stopper but takes the edge off a bit – every techie likes shiny new toys…

The kicker? The conference ticket for Copenhagen actually costs more than the one for San Francisco! As the official VMware party at Copenhagen is four hours compared to three at SF that must be where they’re investing the extra.

If you register for either conference you’ll be able to watch all the sessions online at VMworld.com. The SF conference sessions are due to be online by mid-September so if you’re really keen you could watch them before hitting Copenhagen!

Sessions unique to Copenhagen;

  • BC8089 Using VMware Site Recovery Manager with EMC Replication Technologies for Application Disaster Recovery
  • BC8449 Using VMware Site Recovery Manager with Netapp
  • EA7828 SAP Migration from AIX/LPAR to RHEL 5/vSphere at Bayer Business Services
  • MA8027 Provisioning vApps on Vblock with VMware Cloud Director
  • TA8452 Designing Resilient IP Storage Networks for vSphere and NFS
  • TA8661 Deploying vSphere in a ROBO Environment
  • V17823 Virtualisation at Barclays Capital

Sessions unique to  San Francisco (rather a lot!);

  • BC6703 How to be successful with SRM implementations
  • BC7950 Shrinking RTO/RPO’s of VM Replication using WAN Optimization
  • BC8372 SRM Futures: Failback and More
  • BC8537 VMware Data Protection Roadmap
  • BC9017 SRM Customer Use Cases: Adventist Health System, Lone Star College, and Weyerhaeuser

Desktop Virtualisation

  • DV7706 View Composer – Technical Deep Dive & Best Practices
  • DV7778 Journey Through a 3000 Seat VMware View (VDI) Deployment Ensuring Business Continuance During Snowmageddon 2010
  • DV7841 The Methods and Benefits of Virtualizing the DOD Classroom
  • DV7959 The Benefits of VDI and Implementation Strategies for Education
  • DV8009 VMware on VMware: Delivering VMware View for R&D
  • DV8636 Put VMware Fusion to Work for Your Business
  • DV8641 Choosing the Right Desktop Virtualization Platform
  • DV8677 Stateless Desktops at The Bank Of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.
  • DV8695 Best Practices for Deploying Network Intensive Applications on VMware View
  • DV8861 Enabling the Cerner Instant Access Solution for the Physician’s Desktop with VMware View
  • DV9540 Case Study & Live Demo of View 4.x in an Enterprise Production Environment by Brown Shoe Company, with Lessons Learned on SAN, User Profiles, Folder Redirection, Etc.

Enterprise Architecture

  • EA8004 SAP Solutions on vSphere – Best Practices
  • EA8547 Disaster Recovery of Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and Sharepoint Server
  • EA8700 Oracle on vSphere: Re-Platforming Tier 1 Oracle Databases from UNIX to vSphere at Indiana University
  • EA7829 Panel Discussion: Virtualization’s Impact on the Delivery of Healthcare IT Services

Private Cloud: Management

  • MA6580 Bridge the ESX/ESXi Management Gap Using the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) – Tips & Tricks Included
  • MA8030 Saving Time with vCenter Orchestrator
  • MA8092 Cloud Futures: The Infrastructure Authority
  • MA8267 Building the Cloud at Los Alamos National Labs: Infrastructure On Demand
  • MA9121 Lab Automation Best Practices
  • MA9800 How To Get From A VMware Cluster To Cloud?
  • MA7777 How a Strategic Approach to Virtualization Helped IT Organizations in the Public Sector Build a Private Cloud

Hybrid and Public Cloud

  • PC7754 Leveraging an Enterprise-Ready vCloud Service to Regain IT Control Format
  • PC7877 Architectures for an Enterprise Virtual Data Center in Public Cloud Environments
  • PC8380 Making the Cloud Real: Best Practices for Integrating Cloud into the Current Application Environment
  • PC8632 Integrating Public Clouds
  • PC9920 Compliance in the Cloud: Managing Risks and Addressing Concerns
  • PC8539 Automate Application Deployment to vCloud Services

Private Cloud: Security

  • SE7813 vShield Edge & Application Protection – Architecure and Use Cases
  • SE8195 Managing Security Compliance for VMware Virtualization
  • SE9600 How to Attest Host Platform Security for Cloud Deployments: A Technology Preview from VMware, Intel, and RSA
  • SE8371 Securing Government Virtual Environments
  • SE8520 Panel Discussion – Private Cloud – Virtualization Security and Compliance, Meeting PCI Standards

Technology Partners/Sponsors

  • SP8053 How Application Virtualization Can Accelerate Virtual Desktop Adoption
  • SP8373 Getting Over ‘The Hump’ – How to Expand Your Stalled Virtualization Deployment
  • SP8542 How the Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Innovation with HP Converged Infrastructure
  • SP8543 Backup & Disaster Recovery – How to Protect Systems and Applications Across Physical, Virtual, and Cloud Environments
  • SP9638 Getting the MAX from Your Virtualization Investment
  • SP9641 The Chefs and The Soup: The Importance of Management in Workspace Virtualization
  • SP9642 Simplifying Scale-Out Storage Infrastructure for a Private Cloud
  • SP9643 Accelerating the Transformation to the Cloud
  • SP9644 Virtual Appliances: Simplifying Application Deployment and Accelerating Your Journey to the Cloud
  • SP9645 IDC Says, “Don’t Move to the Cloud”
  • SP9646 Application Deployment, Considerations, and Use Cases with Vblocks
  • SP9647 Enhanced Business Continuity with Application Mobility on Vblocks Across Datacenters
  • SP9648 Desktop Virtualization – The Next Big Thing
  • SP9650 A Prescriptive Approach for VM Protection Today and Strategies to Help You Migrate to the Cloud Tomorrow
  • SP9651 Parting the Clouds: Evaluating Clouds and Cloud Providers for the Enterprise
  • SP9652 Data Management in Modern Virtualization Environments
  • SP9653 Best Practices for Building an Advanced Operating Model for the Enterprise Cloud
  • SP9654 Migrating Mission Critical Applications to Virtualized IA at Eli Lilly Builds a Foundation for Cloud Use Cases
  • SP9656 Where is the ROI in Desktop Virtualization? How Can I Maximize It?
  • SP9657 Identifying and Measuring the TCO for VDI – A Customer Perspective
  • SP9658 Actual Clouds – Value On Demand
  • SP9659 Essential Storage for Cloud Infrastructures: Key Considerations for Enterprises and Service Providers
  • SP9662 Using Storage to Efficiently Scale and Manage Enterprise VMware Workloads
  • SP9663 Optimizing Virtualization Using Advance Memory and Storage Technology
  • SP9664 Architecting Solutions to Meet the Challenges of Scaling VMware Environments
  • SP9667 Virtual Data Warehousing – Improving the Time to Data Mine!
  • SP9668 Using Integrated Storage and vSphere Management to Improve Performance and Provide Ease-of-Use
  • SP9721 How to Use Virtual I/O to Provision and Manage Networks and Storage Resources in a Private Cloud
  • SP9740 How to Move to VMware View with Minimal User Impact
  • SP9743 VDI Unleashed: A Reference Architecture for Accelerating Adoption and Time to Value in VDI Deployments
  • SP9760 Dell’s Next Generation Datacenter and VMware
  • SP9761 Virtual Desktop Considerations with 10GbE, Solid State Disk Drives and vStorage Enhanced Deployments
  • SP9825 Bioware’s Quest: The Search for Business Continuity
  • SP9880 Agentless Anti-Virus with Seraph: A New Paradigm for Security in Virtual Environments

Technical Architecture

  • TA6841 Cisco Nexus 1000v: Architecture, Deployment, and Management
  • TA6862 vDS Deep Dive: Managing and Troubleshooting
  • TA7121 Next Generation VM Storage Solutions with vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)
  • TA7171 Performance Best Practices for vSphere
  • TA7743 ESX iSCSI News, Configuration, and Best Practices
  • TA8052 Strengthening Healthcare Information Systems with Pervasive Virtualization
  • TA8065 Storage Best Practices, Performance Tuning and Troubleshooting
  • TA8102 Tuning Linux for Virtual Machines
  • TA8158 Surviving VMware on Blades
  • TA8440 10Gb & FCoE Real World Design Considerations
  • TA8595 Virtual Networking Concepts and Best Practices
  • TA8900 vSphere Administration For The Average Admin
  • TA9655 EMC IT’s Journey to the Private Cloud and Enterprise Application Virtualization
  • TA8265 Cisco Nexus 1000V Customer Panel
  • TA8623 Storage Super-Heavyweight Challenge

Virtualisation 101

  • V17300 The VMware Competitive Advantage – A Comparison of Server Virtualization Offerings
  • V17737 How and Why Denton County Used vSphere To Go Completely Virtual
  • V18113 SandRidge Energy Increases IT Virtualization Efficiency
  • V18268 Deep Dive on Virtualization – How Stuff Works in Virtualization
  • V18328 Building an Affordable vSphere Environment for a Lab or Small Business
  • V18166 Virtualization 101: Best Practices on How to Manage Storage and Virtualized Environments

Super sessions

  • SS1000 Heineken Crafts High-Performance Data Center With Compellent and VMware
  • SS1001 Introducing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware
  • SS1002 Accelerating the Virtual Era with Dell
  • SS1003 Virtualization Transitions: The Journey to Enterprise Cloud Computing
  • SS1004 Infrastructure Technologies Purpose Built for the Private Cloud
  • SS1005 From 500 to 50,000: Building a VMware View 4.5 Deployment that Scales
  • SS1006 The Last Mile: Virtualizing Business-Critical Applications
  • SS1007 VMware View 4.5 – Delivering on the End User Computing Vision
  • SS1008 Cloud Client Computing: VDI Meets Clouds – Tales from the Real World. We Did It. Here’s How and What we Learned
  • SS1009 Business Transformation – The Silver Lining in the Cloud
  • SS1010 Scaling Data Center Fabrics with Secure Cloud Services
  • SS1011 How Cisco, EMC and VMware Are Changing the IT Landscape with Vblock Converged Infrastructure
  • SS1013 Fast Track Your Private Cloud Transformation with Converged Infrastructure
  • SS1055 Partner Track Super Session
  • SS1056 Public Cloud Computing Gets Real: Real Enterprises Using Services Today
  • SS1057 Building a Secure Private Cloud Today
Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,