VMworld 2012 has come to a close, and there is an almost bitter sweetness I feel as I sit on my flight back home. This years VMworld has been absolutely crazy, even more so then last year. I met a TON of great people, some of whom I’ve known only on Twitter, and some people that I met for the first time. This year I focused a lot more on the social/networking aspect of the conference. I did attend a few sessions, including the keynotes. but I did not do any of the Hands on Labs (HoL). I was also fortunate enough to attend Technical Account Manager (TAM) day. The vmunderground party was awesome! Brian <placeholder> and Sean Clark did an excellent job on organizing this event, I can’t wait until next year! My one biggest complaint is the food. The food was awful through the entire conference, including the VMworld party. I truly hope that VMware does something to rectify this next year. The vBrownbag tech talks that were held in the hangspace were superb and the charging valet (drop your electronics off to get charged) was a genius idea. All being said and done, it was a fantastic conference and I can’t wait until next year!
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of some of the highlights of my conference
VMworld 2012 TAM Day
I like the format of this years TAM day a lot better then last year. I got a choice of different breakout sessions/tracks and an expert panel that was devoted to answering all of our questions. During the expert panel I was fortunate to win a copy of Frank Denneman’s and Duncan Epping;s new vSphere 5.1 Clustering Deep Dive book. I actually just realized the book was signed and it would appear that Frank’s signature is just a series of small circles. The only minor complaint was they ran out of breakfast items fairly quickly and there were quite a few people that weren’t able to eat, including myself. The Birds of a Feather lunch was the highlight of TAM day for me. It allowed people to sit at a table with an expert and just have a conversation. Different tables had experts covering different VMware products, but in its entirety, it covered the gammitt of VMware technologies
I won’t go into all of the sessions that I attended, but I’ll do a quick review of two of my favorites:
Architecting Auto Deploy for Availability and Scalability – This session was delivered by <speaker’s go here>. The session gave a brief overview of what auto deploy is and the requirements needed it to get it up and running in your environment. The session focused on how to make it highly available, how to scale it in a large environment as well as its limitations. The best part of the session was the portion that talked about what is new in vSphere 5.1. A few of the new features include Stateless Cache, VDS support for ESXi Dump Collector and Stateless Install Mode. If you attended and didn’t get a chance to sit this sessions, I highly recommend you get the slide deck and audio online
ESXTOP for Advanced Users – This session was delivered by <speaker’s go here>. If you’ve ever used ESXTOP then you know that it can give you A LOT of insight into what is going on in your environment and can provide a more real-time picture than vCenter can (ESXTOP can be refreshed as low as every 2 seconds, vCenter is every 20 seconds). The session covered what metrics you might look at when you are having particular types of problems or symptoms. This session is great for users that may have used ESXTOP before, but want a deeper understand of what some of the metrics mean and how to identify real world problems.
The vBrownbag Tech Talks
The vBrownbagtech talks are short talks that enabled people to present a subset of a session (that was not accepted as a conference session) to the attendees at the conference. These tech talks were also being streamed live for people watch who were not in attendance. The vBrownbag Tech Talks was something new this year and it was run by the entire vBrownbag crew. Let me say, these guys did a fantastic job. A big shout out to Nick Marshall, Allister Cooke, Josh Atwell, Damien Karlson and Cody Bunch. I look forward to seeing these again next year.
The vExpert Meeting
The vExpert meeting was a great event (thank you Symantec for sponsoring it) that brought together all of the 2012 VMware vExperts. There was a reception where we had a chance to mingle and meet one another and we got some briefings on the current state of the vExpert program and VMware’s vision for it over the next year. There are some interesting initiatives going on right now and I’ll be very curious to see how they play out. I’ll post more on the topic when I can.
The Solutions Exchange
Just as last year there were a TON of vendors on the solutions exchange floor. They all wanted you to check out their products and, as always, were all willing to give you something in exchange for your time. Whether it was a button, a t-shirt, an Apple T.V., an iPad or even an Audi R8 (yes, an Audi R8), there was almost always something waiting for you at his booth. To clarify real quick, the Audi R8 wasn’t being given away per se, but rather, a free on year lease on it. A few of the vendors I found most interesting were Nutanix and Simplivity, Both products offer storage an compute in one 2U box. They are built for VMware and are stupid simple to setup. One of the biggest drawbacks is that they are for VMware workloads only, so you can’t use the available storage for a non-VMware workload. I will do more in-depth posts on both products and their underlying technologies. Project X from EMC also looks to be very interesting. Again, I don’t want to get too deep into here, but it provides very HIGH IOPS for workloads and maintains a very low latency, even as you scale up to additional Project X appliances. One other new piece of tech I want to mention here is Cloud Physics. If you don’t know what they are about then check out their website. This is a very interesting company and I feel what they offer can add real value, so long as they can get business onboard with releasing information
VMware made a lot of announcements focused around their upcoming GA release of vSphere 5.1. The most exciting of those announcements being the vCloud Suite. The vCloud Suite is made up of the following products: <insert products here>. Is the exciting part around the products that comprise this new suite? Hec no! The exciting part is the fact that if you are currently a vSphere enterprise+ customer and have a current support subscription, you now own, yes OWN and are licensed for all of the products in the vCloud Suite! Another great announcement is that vRam pricing has now been eliminated. A lot of customers have been opposed to vRam pricing since it was announced, and now, a year later it has been abolished; thank you VMware!
Some other items of note: the new vSphere 5.1 Web Client has been greatly improved over the 5.0 version. Again, I will do a more detailed review in a future blog post (yes, I have a LOT of blog posts to write). There are new certification tracks that have also been announced, including two new VCDX certification tracks for desktop and cloud. VMware had a certification lounge on the 4th floor of the Marriot Marquis hotel which allowed attendees to learn about the different certifications and VMware education opportunities. One of the best things about the certification lounge was the mock VCAP5-DCA exams. There were four mock scenarios introduced each day and depending on the scenario, you had 12-17 minutes to complete them. I thought this was a beneficial exercise and hope to see it at future VMworlds.