Last day of the Conference today, so time to make the most of it! Up early for breakfast then to HoL for vCloud and Operations labs, including Orchestration and Chargeback. Then it was the following sessions:
Future Peek into Hybrid Clouds
Performance Best Practices
Nexus 1000v Deep Dive
Not really a lot to say about these sessions except they were interesting to qualify existing knowledge. No startling revelations - just a steady finish for the last of the scheduled sessions. A last go around the Solutions Exchange resulted in 2 more t-shirts, and some other free stuff including a laptop case, a water bottle and a shot glass with an electronic dice in it!
And with that, my first VMworld Conference was over. I will do a final summary write-up for the whole week, but for now it's time to finally sit by the pool in the sun for a couple of hours. That now done, I need to figure out how to get all my t-shirts into my carry-on bags. Hmmmm!
So, with yesterday being about Operations, today was about 'Cloud' as well. Sessions for today were:
Private Cloud Architecture Deep Dive
Metering and Billing with Chargeback
VCDX Panel Defence Preparation
Understanding stretched clusters (EMC sponsored)
Making vCenter Hightly Available
10 Best Free Tools for vSphere in 2011
And, of course, Wednesday night is the VMworld party! More on that later.....
The first two sessions were all about vCloud building and operating. Several good pointers and some validation of architecture principles, but also definately some scary pointers we will need to investigate further when back in the office.
The VCDX session was very interesting, as this certification is something I will be preparing for in the next 6 months. Attending the session was the programme manager for VCDX, along with several other early VCDX-certified guys including 6 in the first 50 - including #1 and #2! The session involved some role play with the audience and some excellent pointers I will certainly take away to include in my defence session. After the morning, I went to the Solutions Exchange - swear I heard the Killers doing a sound check next door.....?
The afternoon was the Operations part of the day - stretched clusters were presented as an alternative to DR, with the EMC spin / perspective. Interesting stuff! Making vCenter Hightly available was basically the run through of options for vCenter HA, including backup, using vSphere HA, cold standby and vCenter Heartbeat. The recommendation was Heartbeat, as it integrates with other products too (not a surprise as the presenter was a VMware employee), but still interesting to see a comparison between the different options. The tools session (very well attended) was run by David Davis of TrainSignal fame and Kendrick Coleman - good presenters and adding hunour to a very useful session. As before, notes and recommendations to follow.
Another thing experienced today was the VMware Meals at Conference. If you can imagine catering for 20,000 people all eating at once - I've not seen anything like it! Probably looked a bit weird but I took photos.....
Then came the Party! Met up with some new friends for a few beers an important work-related meeting beforehand, then headed into the conference area. Warm-up band were great fun and good, but the Killers were awsome! Rocking the joint. They played for an hour, then everyone went upstairs and outside to the Palazzo / Venetian pools for the pool party. 60 bars and food set around the various pools, but nobody except the mermaid (yes - there was a girl in a bikini with a mermaid tail, this is Las Vegas) was allowed in the pool. Of course, it being 100 degrees or so at 9pm and beer / wine flowing meant people did end up in the pool. Some were kicked out(?!?!?) but most were allowed to stay. Really good party though, and not a dollar spent!
T-shirt count for today: 3 + 1 duplicate, plus a bought shirt from the VMware Company Store. (I even met a guy called DJ who met me in the bar later for a swap!)
So, today was day 2 of the conference. Before I go into the details of today's sessions, a word or two about last night.
First thing was the keynote by VMware CEO Paul Maritz in the General Session area in the Sands. Dazzling opening sequence followed by information about the shift of focus from infrastructure to the cloud. All together I got the impression that the audience were left a little flat but there were some die-hards stayed, wooped and applauded.
Next came the opening of the Solutions Exchange. Vendors all displaying their wares, all competing to be the best, loudest and most colourfal stands in the hall. Mixed in with the stands were free bars, more food than you can shake a stick at (including chefs carving beef from giant joints, large salvers of pasta and savories, and a range of pastries). Highlights were the superhero boys and girls at the Fusion IQ stand, and the fantastic range of giveaways and prizes on offer. My personal tally was 14 t-shirts and some other goodies.
Today's sessions were mainly focused on the Operations side of vSphere implementations. A session on SRM 5, two sessions on the new vCenter Operations product (Best Practices and Capacity Planning) confirmed in my mind the fact that we need to implement some form of Operations Management within the silo'd environments at Eduserv. Definately, something to bring up for discussion when back in the office. The third session was about the new vMotion architecture and best practices for vSphere 5 implementations.
The second part of today was discussions with Partner Network staff at VMware at The Wynn hotel about company partner status and how we as a company can further exploit the relationship we have with VMware. We discussed extending Partner Network status and competencies - something to be taken forward on my return to the office.
After this, I returned for a second (quicker) go around the Solutions Exchange, on my way back to the hotel. Just loads of free beers and more giveaways. My personal tally increased by 3 t-shirts and a fleece jumper.
Total = 17 x t-shirts (+ 1 from VMware with Registration), plus 1 x black fleece.
Tonight I plan to go outside and get some fresh air, maybe watch the Bellagio fountains. I need to sleep as tomorrow is the Killers at the Aftershow Party!
So, today was first day of sessions at VMworld 2011. My session profile looked like this:
Automated Infrastructure and Operations Management with VMware vCenter Operations
IT as a Service: Leveraging Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds in Higher Education
The VMware ESXi Quiz Show
Best Practices for Deploying VMware vSphere 5.0 Ising 10gb Ethernet
Really good introduction session for new VMworld delegates. Provided overview of conference, including mechanics of logistics, what not to miss, partner track details, general and super sessions, and the Hang Space. In my opinion - an essential session for people on their first visit to VMworld.
This was the session that got me really interested. When I hear about things that I immediately start thinking about when and how we can deploy it into our infrastructures - I know the session is going to be worthwhile. The session was broken down into 2 parts - a series of questions about the challenges of operational support and workflows, then the associated traditional answers. Then there was an overview of the Operations suite, with shallow dives into the dashboards, analytics and workflows - including integration with Orchestrator. Afterwards, I asked questions of the presenters, including overheads of the additional requirements (there are none) and architecture best practice (apparently in Communities). This is definately something I will be investigating when I get back to the office.
IT as a Service in HE
Interesting presentation about someone who has already done the journey to the cloud with associated hurdles. Interesting views of the progressive workflows that were designed into the systems, and how the IT services were 'charged back' to internal customers. A very interesting 'been there, done that - but some way to go' story.
VMware ESXi Quiz Show
A veritable who'se who of the VMware world appearing in a really funny quiz show, presided over by John Troyer. Prizes included a wooden toilet! Very entertaining session, with some good information tipbits about vSphere 5.0!
vSphere 10gb Best Practices
A technical session with details about deploying 10gb in vSphere environments. The session went into how to best leverage 10gb connectors for particular architectures (i.e. top of rack vs. end or row), how to use QoS, switch configurations to balance iSCSI / FCoE trafic and port group failover. More a session for networking people (70%) than virtualization people (30%).
Looking forward to the welcome sessions in the Solutions Exchange tonight.
Win / Loss:Zero, -$10 (spent $10 lost $10), -$11.75 (spent $5 lost $1.75), -$7.75 (spent $20 won $24), -$3.75 (spent $10 won $14)
Games Played: Slots, Electronic Blackjack
Time Spent: 45 mins
Free Beers Drunk: 3
How am I feeling about gambling in the casinos? 3/102/103/10 5/10
The promise of winning something or beating the dealer at a simple hand of blackjack is very enticing, but walking around the tables and seeing people throwing down $25 chips in stacks of 5 at a time gives me the deep shivers. You either have to come here and simply not care about the money you win or lose, or you must have a large amount of disposable income. I also think that the whole process of approaching a table and getting chips a little daunting - I'm sure it's fine once you are at the table but I don't relish the thought of just walking up in case there is some ettiquette to this that I'm missing - after all, who wants to look like an idiot?
I decided to play slots simply because I found some that were a dime per spin (10 cents), so getting at least the potential to spend a bit of time actually playing. As I mentioned before, at one of the tables - that same $10 could of gone in 10 seconds flat! (I realise that it could have become $20 in the same 10 seconds, but I'm naturally risk adverse - ask anyone I work with!)
Update Monday: Say someone gambling with $10k chips last night. Lost a ton of money! Makes me want to gamble even less.....!
Update Tuesday: Got bored of waiting for a friend, so I played slots with a $5 on a 1 cent game. Was happy to check out with a credit voucher from the machine for $3.25! Not a total loss......
Update Wednesday: Played electronic blackjack and cashed out once I was up $4 on a $1 per hand game. That'll do me - a win is a win and a free beer (normally $7 when not gambling) was consumed. Including the beer, I was really up $11, but I don't count that.....
Update Thursday: Tried the wheeze with the electronic blackjack at the bar again. Put in a $20, get a free beer, the check out and walk away after about 6 hands when up $4! Essentially, another $11 won, but counting the $4 has left me down only $3.75 for the week. Not bad.... Early flight in the morning so this is all my gambling for this trip!
Right, Sunday afternoon. Registration done, goodies collected. Now, on to the other thing available to VMworld this afternoon - the Hands-On Labs.
There are a large number of labs available, and they are wide and varied in topic. The focus is on cloud technologies (as you'd expect, it being the conference focus and tagline...) What did I choose for my first lab session? ESXi Stateless Auto-Deploy. I chose this for a few reasons, the main one being it's directly related to a cloud project we are working on at the moment - the 'University Modernisation Fund' project being run by Eduserv with JISC and HEFCE funding. (For more information, see: http://www.eduserv.org.uk/hosting/cloud-computing/umf-cloud-pilot).
First impression of the labs - excellent. Based on WYSE terminals, there was almost an almost 1984 quality with the drones all sat facing the central core in the near darkness, lit only with the screen glow, and a disembodied voice instructing the 'doctors' (VMware staff tasked with helping lab rats complete the work....) It's all very well done too - plenty of 'doctors' waiting to show you to a free terminal, get you started and to answer questions. The line was quite long (I got there after 15mins of the labs opening for the first time, and apparently people were waiting much before scheduled opening), but fast moving, and I was in and seated in 10mins. The WYSE terminals and View clients provided the user experience through 2 large monitors - excellent.
Good tip: the iPhone App for VMworld is really useful and details labs, sessions, schedules and the like. If you don't have it, get it now from iTunes.
The Auto-Deploy lab itself was well paced but I did run out of time at the end to get right to the end of the lab. Essentially, the lab was about how to configure vCenter and Hopst profiles combined with Windows Server 2008 DHCP and Open-TFTP to do stateless deployments of ESXi 5.0. If this is something you are interested in, then the lab is well worth while.
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