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Jeremy Bowman's Blog

August 2011

Tuesday Sessions

Posted by Jeremy Bowman Aug 30, 2011

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!

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Monday Sessions

Posted by Jeremy Bowman Aug 29, 2011

So, today was first day of sessions at VMworld 2011. My session profile looked like this:


  • New-V Session
  • 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


New-V Session

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.


vCenter Operations

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.

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Here I plan to keep track of any gambling I do whilst in Las Vegas, and thoughts I have about it.....


Today is: Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

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? 3/10 2/10 3/10 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!

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Posted by Jeremy Bowman Aug 28, 2011
It might be my first trip to VMworld and I may still be a bit jet-lagged, but I feel like I need to shout a little bit about how awsome this conference is shaping up to be. Now I've registered and done a labs session it's all becoming real, and I found myself sitting in the labs hall thinking to myself 'this is really quite cool really - sitting in the near dark with screen glow and over 400 other people working away. The conference proper starts tomorrow but already I know it's going to be a really great week of virtualization!
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Hands-On-Labs: First Go

Posted by Jeremy Bowman Aug 28, 2011

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:


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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So, the VMworld holiday, adventure, conference begins.


Task One - Get to Vegas! Easier than it sounds, despite the best laid plans and all.....


So, taxi to the airport at 2.30am, arrive and check in at Heathrow T4 - no problem. Security closed, didn't open till 4.30am (wait 1) - still, was first person through security in the whole terminal, so no wait there. Then breakfast - first person at Costa Coffee, but they weren't ready (wait 2). Then I wrote a blog post about my loan Netbook on my loan netbook (see and waited for many hours (wait 3). Still, eventually called to the gate (wait 4) and boarded the plane to the usual scrum of people desperate to spend an extra 15 mins on a 10 hour scheduled flight! Honestly, I really don't understand - if you have a seat assigned - why run to the gate? If you are there first, the only thing you gain is getting hit by people with bags obviously too big for hand luggage whilst they struggle down the aisle! Taking off was delayed over an hour (wait 5), as we enjoyed a scenic tour of all the Heathrow taxiways courtesy of our flight crew.


The flight to Houston was uneventful, and was made better by Pegg, Frost and co. entertaining me with 'Paul' again, one of several films provided and enjoyed. Flight meals were ok, but I was amused by afternoon tea being a packet of crisps and a buscuit in a cardboard box! About 7 hours into the flight, we get notification that we are to land over 1 hour late. Fantastic - missed connection to Vegas! Joy. Landing, getting through passport control (wait 6) and re-doing security (wait 7) is all fun - especially when jet-lagged.


Now the real fun begins. Through 4 different airline reps. (waits 8, 9 and 10) and a wild ride through the airport on a gold buggy (woop!) I eventually got rescheduled onto a later flight, and upgraded to an exit row seat - eaxta legroom baby! Before catching the plane, I enjoyed a rather ironic meal deal at the 'Healthy Option' deli in the terminal. Ham and (raw) brocolli salad was actually nice, but the meal deal included large coke and large (massive) slice of chocolate cake. I didn't have the cake, but had a good laugh at the fact the Americans don't get irony.


This flight was actually fun - I spent the whole 2.5 hours talking to one Greg from Houston, who was flying to Vegas from his home town specifically to do spread betting on the sports book at the Hilton. When asked how long he was staying - he replied 7 that's a dedicated gambler! Came into Vegas from the West, over Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, and got a good view of both. Got to the hotel in good time - I'd forgotton how bizarre and 'big' Las Vegas is. Small issue over checking in, then off to my room. The rooms are massive (I only have 2 queen beds, a seating area and a dining table, not to mention big bathroom.... After the flights, my body didn't know what time it was supposed to be, so I was up again at 3am this morning to explore the Palazzo and Venetian hotels. My goodness, these places are massive, and despite the time the place was absolutely heaving, so I left them to it and retired to my room. This blog post is it for now, off to bed for more sleep, before breakfast, which may well be lunch or dinner in reality! Maybe the gym will be open....? Till next time....

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Jeremy Bowman

Jeremy Bowman

Member since: Jan 15, 2011

Thoughts and cool stuff from VMworld 2011!

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