Tag Archive for lonvmug

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day One/Two Roundup

It’s now quite late on Wednesday night / Thursday morning and having just returned from the VMworld party, I thought it was worth jotting down a few thoughts about the last two days.

We started with the opening keynote, which I had decided to attempt to blog “as a challenge”. Wow, is it hard work or what? For those of you who read the live blogs from guys like Scott Lowe, Barry Coombs with his Doodles etc, this has given me an even more massive appreciation for what they do. Being able to take in, process and document that level of information is just incredibly hard, never mind adding commentary and analysis on top and live publishing it as they go! I wrote most of my content live, but then took at least an hour later in the day to proof read it, correct it, etc. I honestly don’t know how they do it?!

VMworld Keynote

VMworld Keynote

After the keynote I was really keen to get stuck into some breakout sessions:

INF1349 SDDC – vCloud Suite Roadmap
This one was more focused on the new features in vSphere than anything else, a few interesting nuggets though. I will probably post some of the notes up soon, though much of it is already in the public domain anyway.

STO2554 – HP VVOLs presentation
Great start by VMware but then when HP came on and I was hoping they would do a demo, they pretty much did a marketing exercise instead (not vendor bashing at all btw, I use 3PAR stuff in my designs all the time, but I think they missed a trick there as I know some competitors showed off their tech actually working)

HBC1533 – How to Build a Hybrid Cloud (vCloud Air intro and architecture tips)
Great session by Dave Hill of vCHS (correction, vCloud Air). Including some architectural tips. Worth a watch when it is available online at vmworld.com.

The VMware Vision

The VMware Vision

I then spent a bit of time in the bloggers lounge updating some bits and pieces and catching up with some of the guys there.

My final act of the main part of the day was to hit the Solution Exchange for a bit of a wander. I mainly concentrated my short time on EVO:RAIL, where I happened to bump into none other than Paul Meehan (@paulpmeehan), with whom I have had many a twitter chat but never actually had the pleasure of a tweet up! Following that I spent some time at the Veeam stand, discussing the best practices for Veeam infrastructure design along with some of our more interesting use cases and requirements.

After the main event, myself and a colleague headed over to the service provider reception. Wow, did we turn up under dressed or what?! It was one of those awkward moments when your realise that you are one of the few people in the room who forgot to bring a suit! On the plus side there was some really great discussion around vCD, VCAC etc and much learned from the evening, so well worth it.

I then headed over to the vExpert event at Ocaña to soak up some of the atmosphere and knowledge from some of the most intelligent and influential people I know! There were of course some vRoyalty including VCDX001 (John Arrasjid), VCDX #44 Willy Lee, and many more.

After that a couple of hours were spent at the Veeam party, after which I though it best to head back to my hotel to make sure I don’t wake up tomorrow with a hangover!

Veeam Party

Veeam Party

Day Two
I started Day Two at the keynote again. Today’s one wasn’t really about announcements as much as it was about reiterating the main marketing messages and demoing some of the key VMware products such as NSX and the vRealize Suite. It did remind me just ho much stuff I need to find the time to play with in the home lab! Once again gave it a go at blogging the keynote content for later consumption…

The rest of the day was mainly focussed on breakout sessions. The mains ones I headed to were:

INF1192 – Design advice for SMEs – Ask the experts
Being focussed on the UK mid-market, my organisation spends a lot of time trying to understand the requirements of medium sized businesses. It was great to see some familiar faces in Paul McSharry and Alasdair Cooke, leading the panel discussion.

SMB Design Discussion Panel

SMB Design Discussion Panel

NET1468 – A tale of two perspectives – IT Ops with NSX
This was a funny one as it was Scott Lowe and Brad Hedlund flipping in and out of character as server and network guys respectively. Plenty of great lessons to be learned, with a focus around RBAC, Visibility, Monitoring and Troubleshooting in NSX.

Scott Lowe and Brad Hedlund "In Character"

Scott Lowe and Brad Hedlund “In Character”

NET1589 – Reference Design for SDDC with NSX & vSphere
Nimesh Desai presented one of the most amusing, and most deep dive sessions of the day (for me). Absolutely brilliant content, but afterwards I felt like I needed to hide in a dark room for an hour or two and let my brain catch up! I was lined up to head to another NSX session after this but I will catch it online next week instead.

NSX Design Options

NSX Design Options

After the NSX session I headed down to the blogger area and caught up with some of the chaps. Craig Kilborn kindly shared his VCDX experience with me, along with some of his design. The level of detail and effort you need to go to to even get the opportunity to defend a VCDX design is immense, and it really drove home to me the value of the process. I’m not sure my wife and kids are ready for me to disappear for the next 6 months in order for me to attempt it!

STO2997-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA
Jonathan Medd (famous for automating anything that moves!), and I headed along to the vExpert Storage Game Show, organised by John Mark Troyer and Amy Lewis (in much the same way an asylum is organised by the guards!). It was bedlam, but great fun was had by all, whilst at the same time providing an interesting and engaging atmosphere. If Pure decide to run this again next year I will definitely be attending, given half a chance!

SDDC1176 – Ask the Expert vBloggers
Rounding out the day was an excellent panel session with some of the most well known VMware bloggers / evangelists. Discussions ranged from stretched cluster deign, to book authoring, to VIO, and many topics in between. Quote of the session was from Chad Sakac… “Innovate or Die”.

Ask the Expert vBloggers

Ask the Expert vBloggers

With the sun heading for the horizon, myself and a couple of my colleagues caught the end of the Hall Crawl, followed by the awesome VMworld party. Simple Minds were excellent and the crowd really seemed to get into it. I managed to bump into a few more community people in the cavernous space which is Hall 6 at the Barcelona Fira Gran Via, and finally I grabbed a cab back to the hotel to get an early night (early meaning 1.30am it seems!).

Overall, a thoughrougly entertaining, informative and educational couple of days. Tomorrow the main plan is to hit a number of key sessions including the Chad and Vaughn annual roadshow, then in the afternoon stick around in the Hands on Labs until we get thrown out at closing time!

Until then… sleep!

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day Zero Roundup (Partner Day)

24 hours later I’m sitting in my hotel room, nursing my swollen feet, with a belly full of tapas, reflecting on the ups and downs of my first full day of VMworld, and I can indeed confirm it was in fact brilliant!

The Downs:

  • The lacklustre breakfast at my hotel
  • Mistakenly thinking that “Fira Barcelona” was at the Plaça Espanya, just a brisk 20 minute walk from my hotel, then arriving there looking like the sweaty wreck of the Hesperus and wondering why I couldn’t see any VMworld signs…
    Fira Barcelona

    Fira Barcelona (*cough* easily mistaken…)

    It didn’t take long before I clicked that the actual event was actually at the “Fira Barcelona Gran Via” (North Entrance – Hall 8), which is actually over 3km away! For any other soul who makes the same error, simply jump on the FGC Subway service directly beneath the plaza, and go three stops to the Europa | Fira station. From there you can catch a 5 minute shuttle bus to the conference centre. (I would point out that I’m normally pretty well prepared, but I guess not today!)

  • The vast distances between the breakout sessions and the hang space, which may as well be measured in leagues!
  • Lunch time queues…
  • Distances between evening event venues in BCN!

The Ups:

  • Attending my first VMworld breakout session (TEX2254) on NSX Extensibility; very interesting indeed, though from experience, some of the partners need to consider reducing their virtual edition license costs methinks… (no names referenced to protect the innocent!)
  • Catching up with a number of the #LonVMUG crew at the bloggers hang space and partner lunch
  • Bumping into one or two old colleagues, almost inevitable in our seemingly incestuously small industry!
  • The Expert-Led VSAN Hands on Lab session – there are sessions on all manner of different VMware products throughout the week. I definitely recommend this as you can ask as many questions of the experts as you like. It was more about the interaction than the lab content to be honest (and that was great). Note however, there is only room for about 20-30 people in the lab room so I suggest you get there early for a session if you do want to do one!

    Expert-Led Hands on Labs

    Expert-Led Hands on Labs

  • Brief tweetups around the #vBrownbag area including Alastair Cooke, Josh Atwell, GS Khalsa, (Man)fred Hofer, etc. Always great to put a face to a twitter avatar after so many years. I will definitely be trying to take in some of the sessions there this week. They will primarily be on Tuesday and Wednesday only as I understand it?
  • The unusual rotating balls entertainer at the partner evening event, both mesmerising and creepy at the same time!
  • Eating copious amounts of tasty tapas for dinner whilst setting the tech world to rights, and wondering if I should have stopped before that last bowlful of potatoes!

    Tapas!

    Tapas!

  • Using a HailO cab on the way home. The app makes it incredibly simple as you just hail a cab via the app. They arrive at your GPS coordinates within an estimated time (you can actually see where the cab is on the map), you pay with your credit card via the app, (optionally) automatically including a tip, and it conveniently emails you a receipt so you can claim back your expenses at a later date. Perfect! The icing on the cake was the price of taxis in BCN, which seems to be far more reasonable than those at home in the UK!

First impressions

If today was anything to go by, the rest of this week is going to be awesome!

Finally, it may be obvious but I wont be posting any of my session notes from today as it was partner day, so unfortunately NDAs etc… hopefully tomorrow though!

VMworld at Fira Barcelona Gran Via

VMworld at Fira Barcelona Gran Via (of course!)

My VMUG Presentation and FeedForward Experience

I’ve been a regular attendee of the London VMUG for the past 2-3 years and earlier this year decided it was about time I pulled my finger out and try to repay some of the awesome knowledge I’ve gained from other community members. I started small with a 15-minute slot on my Intel NUC home lab. I present fairly regularly as part of my day job, but mainly to smaller groups of 5-10 people, not 40-50+, which is definitely a different experience (see here)!

A few months later, Simon Gallagher (VMUG leader and Lego Fanboi) asked if I wanted to do a full session. In hindsight agreeing to do a session in the same two-week period when we had our financial year end at work and my family moved house, was perhaps ambitious to say the least!

In preparation for the session, the inimitable Mike Laverick very kindly offered to provide me with some #FeedForward, for a second time! Feed Forward (or #Feed4ward) is a great initiative started by a number of well-known community members including Mike, who saw the need to provide feedback to people in advance of their community VMUG sessions to hopefully give confidence and encourage them to present.

In my case, although I made a number of changes to my deck from the session, the biggest change was actually to approach the subject matter from a completely different direction. I had originally planned a simple intro to storage design, but when I ran it through with my colleagues, I bored even myself! I also had WAY too many slides… Bearing in mind that a #LonVMUG group tend to be pretty knowledgeable, this was probably not going to cut the mustard! At Mike’s suggestion, I instead concentrated on the pitfalls of storage design, and anecdotes about issues I had seen / experienced (whilst trying not to bash any individual vendors).

This was much more interesting and I think improved my session immensely. When you have put together your deck of 176 slides, it can sometimes be hard to see the wood for the trees! The great benefit of having an experienced speaker go through it with you can often be a simple suggestion, but it completely changes your outlook! Once again I would like to thank Mike, and most highly recommend that if you’re reading this and are even slightly contemplating doing your first VMUG session, you look into the #Feed4ward initiative!

The session itself went pretty well, though I foolishly decided to use my new MacBook instead of my trusty PC for PowerPoint, and had some “issues” at the start, which threw things off a bit. I also learned loads from the experience; significantly more than my 15 minute spot in January! I have a bunch of tips and notes which have come together from a combination of the two sessions, but before this post becomes at risk of becoming TLDR, I’ll put it in another post later in the week!

Lastly, for those interested, here a copy of my slide deck:
LonVMUG Storage Presentation 17-07-2014 v1.1

London VMUG 17th July 2014 – Last Chance to Register

Just a quick reminder that this is your last chance to register for this quarters London VMUG. For those of you who haven’t previously attended a VMUG, it’s a brilliant way to meet other people in our industry, watch a load of community and vendor sessions, and generally steep yourself into the techie melting pot.

As it happens, at this VMUG I will be presenting my own session, Noddy’s Guide to Storage Design – Storage 101, where I go through the basics of storage design decisions and impacts along with a few tips I’ve picked up over the years. I plan to potentially follow this up by turning it into a series of blog posts. At time of writing I have over 40 slides in my deck and that’s just the basics. My biggest issue is probably not lack of content, so I need to work on cutting it down before Thursday for sure!

Storage is complex… who knew?!

Fortunately Mike Laverick has kindly agreed to FeedForward with me and I’ll be running through my initial draft with him this evening!

Of the other sessions, the ones I’m particularly looking forward to are:

  • When Did Turkeys Ever Vote for Christmas? – Mike Laverick, VMware
  • Vendors: VMware Vision and Strategy – Martyn Storey, VMware
  • Hitting the Big Red Button with vCO and SRM – Sam McGeown

VMUG Agenda

If you are coming along, I highly recommend getting there early. Doors open from 8.30 and it’s a great time to catch up with other attendees. At the end of the day there is of course the most excellent London #vBeers at the Pavilion End! If you haven’t been before, just hang about by the lifts and tag along with a regular…

If you do see me on the day (I’m 6’7” so you cant miss me), please feel free to come and say hi!

Register here: London VMUG

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