VMworld Europe 2016 – Looking back

So I’ve finally recovered from VMworld…. A week long of learning, networking and zero sleep! =P

Let’s recap what I learnt at VMworld, first the moans:

  1. Lunch sucked!
    I was pretty disappointed with the lack of lunch available to attendees – or at least to those attendees who were at VMworld to attend Breakout Sessions, 30mins to rush between sessions just isn’t enough time to try and find some food. No time to run to a different hall to queue for hot food, and by the time I get out of a session at 12:30pm all the sandwiches and cold food are gone! Surprisingly it wasn’t just me complaining about the lack of food!!
  2. Solution Exchange was in the wrong place, it should have been back in Hall 8.1 rather than over in Hall 7…. Too far away from the breakout sessions, which again meant those people who are at VMworld to learn can’t get over to the Solution Exchange as it’s across the other side of the conference centre! I have to wonder whether footfall was a lot less than previous years!
  3. VMworld Party was dry….. no entertainment within the Party, just food stands and bars….. what happened to all the arcades and scalextric sets from last year? So many people were just standing around eating and drinking, there wasn’t the mingling and networking like previous years! Pool tables, air hockey tables, arcades…. These are great devices to help people break the ice and network….! Suffice to say that the party started to empty out halfway through the night! Nothing beats lasts years band – Faithless were awesome!!
  4. Missed out on a ticket to watch Barcelona vs Man City! I did actually win a ticket from Cohesity, but was too slow to answer my phone. In the end it went to a fellow vExpert who was a Man City fan – tbh, I was planning on giving it away as I had to look after the customers who came to VMworld with MTI. Glad it went to someone who would appreciate the game (although he didn’t appreciate the score)!

Now onto the good stuff

  1. VMware launched vSphere/vCenter/VSAN 6.5 in Europe! YAY!
  2. VMware announced the tech preview of VMware Cloud in Amazon AWS.
  3. Tuesday’s General Session wasn’t just a repeat of the US opening General Session – we got some new content!! Which really isn’t a surprise given the announcement the week before VMworld about the new VMware and Amazon partnership!!
  4. Wednesday’s General Session was quite similar to the Day 2 General Session in the US, but at least it had a decent bit on vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5.
  5. A lot of breakout sessions on the vCloud on AWS Tech Preview!
  6. More sessions on vCloud Foundation!!
  7. Nearly all the vSphere sessions were about 6.5 (which I guessed correctly and registered for).
  8. I got to meet a lot of the VMware NSBU Exec team, including having a pow-wow with Rajiv Ramaswami (SVP/GM NSBU) about my company’s engagement with VMware UK for NSX (MTI Technology are one of five NSX focus partners in the UK), as well as how VMware could help the channel drive the sale of NSX.
  9. My colleague – Andrew Tang – drew the short straw and was up on stage for a Q&A session at the Partner Exchange NSX Key note (Accelerate Network Virtualization [PAR3693]). After Rajiv and Dom Delfino (VP Worldwide Sales & Systems Engineering NSBU) did their bits, Louise Ostrom (VP Network and Security EMEA) interviewed Andy on stage…. Louise was supposed to ask some pre-arranged questions but decided it was more fun to do it ad-hoc! Well done Andy for surviving and also presenting MTI as a transformative VMware partner showing we’re a safe pair of hands in delivering NSX and complimentary security products to our customers! =P
  10. Customers – we took out more customers this year then last year, and this year I made sure I spent time talking to them rather than running around all the breakout sessions. In fact this is probably he first year that I’ve not featured on the Gamification Leaderboard! =P
    It was good to find out about what their future plans are and discuss how VMware can become an integral part of their plans!

It looks like VMworld 2017 US will again be held in Vegas…. I’ve been promised a free ticket next year as I couldn’t use it this year, so who knows, I may head out to Vegas for VMworld 2017!! =)

Interesting that VMworld 2017 Europe hasn’t announced a venue or date yet… I’m guessing it’s because they’ve finished their contract in Barcelona and they’re considering other venues. I quite like Barcelona, lovely city and I like the fact that I can walk around in the evenings with just a polo or t-shirt on! Hope it’s not back in Copenhagen… it’s too grey and cold during Autumn time. I’ve heard Berlin and even Lisbon mentioned during my discussions with fellow bloggers/vExperts…. Lisbon would be a nice venue!

Roites…. All I have left is to finish writing my blog entry on what’s new with vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5….

Trend Micro VIP Party – sponsored by MTI Technology

Oh, I forgot to mention that my company – MTI Technology – are sponsoring the Trend Micro Party @ VMworld 2016 Europe on Tuesday 18th October.

Feel free to register and come along…. =)


Join us at VMworld 2016 for the MTI Trend Micro VIP party, a great networking opportunity, in the heart of Barcelona.

Kicking off from 19:00 on Tuesday 18th October 2016, our DJs are there to entertain you throughout the evening. There will also be a selection of canapé stations and an open bar right the way through to when the party ends!

Date: 18/10/2016
Time: 19:00 – 23:30
Location: OneOcean Club, Moll de la Barceloneta 1, 08003 Barcelona

Getting there
OneOcean Club is a short drive away from VMworld and a 30-minute drive from Barcelona international airport. It is in the heart of the city of Barcelona, just five minutes’ walk to the Gothic Quarter and beaches and ten minutes from the famous Las Ramblas.

Register here: https://www.trendvmworldparty.com/

VMworld 2016 Europe – Sessions

After the past 3 years of attending VMworld in Barcelona and packing my schedule full of sessions causing me to run between sessions and grab lunch on the go, I swore to myself that this year I would be more selective with my sessions so that I’m not rushing around like a headless chicken…..

…. Unfortunately I’ve failed in my scheduling prowess….. when the Schedule Builder was released, I pretty much went through the whole content catalog and selected all the interesting sessions I wanted to attend, and basically ended up with another packed out calendar!! >_<”

Dammit… why are there sooo many interesting sessions at VMworld and sooo little time to schedule them all in! I remember watching at least a dozen video replays of sessions I couldn’t attend last year…. I’m now trying to work out whether to attend the sessions in real life or just watch a virtual replay post-VMworld!

Given my hectic schedule…. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up in the Top 10 yet again in the VMworld attendee game (shame there aren’t any prizes).

I’ve got a packed out PEX day, including trying to fit in my VCP6-DCV Delta exam in the morning….. Best have a quiet Sunday night!

Anyways, if you’re going to VMworld then you’ll find me in these sessions!

Tuesday 18th October:

  • VMware NSX-Deep Dive [NET9152]
  • The Practical Path to NSX [NET8675]
  • What’s New with vSphere [INF8375]
  • Reference Design for SDDC with NSX and vSphere: Part 1 [NET7857R]
  • Reference Design for SDDC with NSX and vSphere: Part 2 [NET7858R]

Wednesday 19th October:

  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting NSX with vRealize Network Insight (Arkin) [NET8241]
  • vSphere Client Roadmap: Host Client, HTML5 Client, and Web Client [INF8172]
  • Operational Best Practices for VMware NSX [NET7865]
  • What’s New with vCenter Server [INF9944]
  • VMware Cloud Foundation Architecture Deep Dive [SDDC8481]

Thursday 20th October:

  • Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive [STO7645]
  • Enhanced Disaster Recovery with NSX and Site Recovery Manager [NET7760]
  • Simplifying Disaster Recovery in 2016 using VSAN, NSX and SRM [STO7802]
  • Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation [SDDC8618]

Sessions down for post-VMworld viewing:

  • Software-Defined Storage at VMware Primer [STO7650]
  • Virtual SAN Technical Deep Dive and What’s New [STO8246]
  • Hot Topics in VMware Research [CTO9406]
  • Tech Preview: Enhanced VM Availability Leveraging vCenter and Partner Hardware Integration [INF8020]
  • Discover What’s New in Workspace ONE and AirWatch [EUC3908-C]
  • VSAN Vision: The Future of HCI [STO9424]
  • vSphere Encryption Deep Dive: Technology Preview [INF8856]
  • VMware Cloud Foundation on Public Clouds: A Technical Deep-Dive [INF7849]

It’s strange that Chad Sakac is no longer presenting his session (The Edge is Still Bleeding: A face-melting technical smorgasbord of all things Converged, Hyper-Converged, Cloud Native & Software Defined [SDDC9462-SPO]) – he’s been replaced by Tom O’Reilly….. such a shame as he’s a great presenter! At least Vaughn Stewart is back this year (Best Practices for All-Flash Data Reduction Arrays with VMware vSphere [INF9455-SPO])!

As you can see, my sessions are heavily skewed towards NSX, and that’s because MTI are a VMware NSX Focus Partner in UK and I’m always after more material to use within my NSX presentation decks. Not to mention that NSX is a focused product from VMware this year (how many times have I said that now in my blogs?)….

Roll on VMworld 2016!

VMworld 2016 US – Day 2 General Session Overview

One of the issues with working and having a young family is you end up doing a full days work and going home to a baby who wants loads of attention who then doesn’t let you sleep because she’s teething….. Yup, the joys of being a parent…. but I wouldn’t give it up for anything!!

So this blog comes a few days late because I didn’t have much time to finish watching the replay of Tuesday General Session and write a blog due to already mentioned circumstances. =)

Tuesdays’ General Session replay is now available here:

So Monday was all about the transformation of the data centre, making it cloud friendly and able to support workloads wherever they’re deployed (so Any Cloud).

Tuesdays’ session was more around the End Users experience, Any Application on Any Device and I have to admit that I thought Sanjay Poonen’s demo of Workspace ONE was pretty awesome – I’ve not seen a full demo of the products capabilities but I was struck by how much you could do with the suite of products and how integrated it all was – Infrastructure, VDI, Mobile Device Management, Identity Management, Security…… Control yet Choice!!

We’ve all seen the demos of AirWatch integration, how single sign on has been implemented, we’ve seen the demos of Horizon View on tablets, etc…. what I’ve not seen before was how security could be implemented to prevent unauthorised data being published…. like the conditional-access demo of how financial data taken from a spreadsheet in Office 365 was blocked from being copied into Twitter (which was an unmanaged application). What was even more impressive was the NSX integration to use conditional-access policies (ie changes to firewall rules for a particular group of people) to prevent data being presented in a dashboard depending on whether the user is accessing it inside the corporate firewall or externally.

And I was impressed with the VMware Trustpoint demo of endpoint visibility and management, looked very simple to use to implement endpoint security.

Finally, VMware introduced a brand new technology that represents the next phase of their digital workspace vision – VMware Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) – a new architecture that brings app, desktop and mobile management together with next-gen security and identity interwoven throughout, delivering a simpler but more secure digital workspace!

 

Next up was Ray O’Farrell and Kit Colbert to talk about containers…. and how admins can extend management, monitoring and security to containers. It looks like VMware vSphere Integrated Containers will have 2 new features:

  • Admiral – which is a Container Management Portal to allow developers and app teams to manage their repositories and images.
  • Harbor – which is a Container Registry (based on Docker Distribution) which allows developers and app teams to securely store their images including management and access control.

The demo was interesting as it showed the integration between VIC and NSX and how network security can be applied to containers, as well as the integration between VIC and vROps for monitoring of containers. The demo went one step further and showed how vRA was used to automate the deployment of container hosts as well as showing access to the Container Management Portal.

There wasn’t much on Photon Platform that we didn’t already know – VIC allows IT to extend the existing infrastructure to accommodate container-based applications alongside traditional apps, and Photon Platform allows IT to build a complete computing platform solely for containers and cloud-native apps.

 

Next up was the new GM/EVP of Networking and Security to talk about NSX. If I’m honest, I found Rajiv Ramaswami a bit wooden – far different from the charisma of Matin Casado…. which is a shame as the one product everyone should get excited about this year is NSX! I have to agree with Rajiv when he says that “the single greatest infrastructure transformation he has seen” is with Network Virtualisation. Networking is undergoing a huge transformation with vendors and customers looking at transitioning from hardware-centric to software based solutions.

Not much was said about NSX that we didn’t already know….

  • Security – it does Micro-segmentation to allow you to provide fine-grained security to every VM and helps you architect security as an essential part of the data centre
  • Automation – it allows you to automate workload provisioning and cuts down deployment time because network and security can be quickly provisioned in software and attached to VMs (policy-based management)
  • Application Continuity – it enables your applications and data to reside and be accessible anywhere. In addition it can reduce your RTO when integrated into your Disaster Recovery solution.

One thing that was new was the demo of vRealize Network Insight used to create NSX pre-assessment reports. Those of you following the news will know that this has come about from the acquisition of Arkin a few months back. I’ve had a play with the Arkin tool as the VMware NSX SEs in the UK were recommending it as a Network Assessment tool for partners to use when trying to sell NSX (prior to the acquisition and release of vRNI). I really like how it graphs traffic flow and patterns, tracing network traffic between VMs and giving you deeper insight into what goes on inside your virtual environment (ie the East-West traffic flows). The other clever thing is how it is able to carry out flow analytics to provide recommendations for grouping VMs together when planning for micro-segmentation. The only issue is it needs vSphere Distributed Switches!

I quite liked the NSX Planning tool tech preview – how flows can be captured, then analysed and grouped into traffic patterns and security groups. The application map can then be used to create firewall rules based on what the tool discovered. Very clever stuff!

 

 

Finally Yangbing Li talked about Hyper Converged Infrastructure and VSAN. VSAN has come a long way since its launch a few years ago, and I see it as an enterprise-ready storage offering! HCI is a very hot topic this year, customers are now looking at HCI solutions when it comes to new projects or hardware refreshes. Hardware vendors are aware of this and there are so many different types of HCI solutions in the market today! I’ve been involved in a number of discussions with my customers around HCI and EMC/VCE VxRail in particular!

A couple of new features were introduced during the VSAN demo: software-based Encryption and Analytics. The VSAN demo with vRA showed how the performance analytics engine could pro-actively inform users that a VM should be migrated from a VSAN hybrid cluster to an all-flash cluster, and through changing the storage policy in vRA the VM was automatically migrated (in the demos case, the VM was migrated to a public cloud!). What this also underlined was how NSX was also involved in moving the network and security policies as the VM was migrated to the public cloud (although you didn’t see it in the demo). So not only did the demo show the analytics engine working, it also showed how the VMware Cloud Foundation platform could be used.

 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that everything mentioned during the two keynote sessions always reverted back to network and security, it felt that NSX was underpinning everything (Cross-Cloud Services, Workspace ONE, containers, etc). VMware are putting a lot of emphasis on Cross-Cloud capabilities and how data management and governance will play a key part of cloud consumption. I guess the VMware vision of Any Device, Any Application, Any Cloud really does require something that can govern where data sits and how it’s being consumed!

VMworld 2016 US – Day 1 General Session Overview

So the replay of yesterdays Day 1 General Session is now online:

The biggest announcement is the tech preview of Cross-Cloud Architecture. This is obviously VMware’s next step in their “Any Cloud, Any Application, Any Device” vision.

According to VMware:
“This architecture extends VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy, enabling customers to run, manage, connect and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a common operating environment. VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture is delivered through VMware Cloud Foundation, a new set of Cross-Cloud Services VMware is developing, and VMware vRealize Cloud Management Platform.”

This new architecture gives customers a set of tools to manage their virtual estate both on-premise and off-premise across multiple clouds – a single pane of glass to manage VMs on the likes of AWS, Azure, Google, as well as vSphere clouds.

Most customers already utilise multiple clouds (unbeknownst to IT) and this new architecture will enable IT to resume control of what is out in the cloud – allowing network and security policies to be applied to workloads being deployed in the cloud. In addition to allowing migration between clouds!

Much like how vSphere ESXi was used to allow you to span multiple server hardware vendors (HP, Dell, IBM), and how NSX allows you to span multiple network hardware vendors (Cisco, Arista, Brocade), VMware Cross-Cloud Services will offer a common platform to overlay your cloud vendors to offer you the ability to deploy your applications across clouds without having to mess around with the underlying cloud services (which are inherently different depending on cloud vendor)!

VMware Cross-Cloud Services will centralize management, operations, networking, security and data management.

Cross-CloudServices

It looks like the common Network & Security piece will be handled by NSX – which will include a forthcoming feature called Distributed Network Encryption (DNE).

The Management and Visibility piece will be SaaS based (a cloud service) and allows you to connect your existing public cloud accounts to ingest those workloads into the management platform, it will then show you cost and utilisation across your clouds and allow you to deploy applications across clouds.

The other major announcement was the new VMware Cloud Foundation offering which basically bundles vSphere, VSAN and NSX into a single, fully integrated, SDDC stack that can be provisioned on premise or be run as a service in the cloud.

To quote VMware:
“VMware Cloud Foundation is a next-generation hyper-converged infrastructure for building private clouds that for the first time combines VMware’s highly scalable hyper-converged software (VMware vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN) with the world’s leading network virtualization platform, NSX. Cloud Foundation provides a consistent multi-cloud IaaS that is simple to deploy, operate, and maintain, and gives applications a consistent, scalable and highly available infrastructure services, regardless of where they run”

“The goal of Cloud Foundation is to be able to provision cloud infrastructure like you provision VMs.”

CloudFoundation

In addition to this announcement was the partnership with IBM Cloud to offer VMware Cloud Foundation as a service.

The key to the Cloud Foundation is the SDDC Manager which will be the tool for IT admins to build and maintain their cloud (making use of a lot automation policies to build the cloud and deploy workloads)

Other announcements include vCloud Availability for vCloud Director, which enables customers to leverage the vCloud Air Network ecosystem (ie VMware Partner cloud solutions) for simple, automated disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) – much like the offering from vCloud Air DR.

VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager has added several major enhancements, including zero-downtime, bi-directional application migrations in and out of vCloud Air. This includes the migration of NSX security policies, providing simple migration of workloads to vCloud Air with no need for any network or security reconfiguration once the migration completes.

 

It seems that the main takeaway from yesterdays general session was that now it’s time to take back control of your cloud.

Schedule Builder now live for VMworld 2016 Europe

Schedule Builder is now live for VMworld 2016 Europe….

http://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/learning/schedule-builder.html

I’ve been checking out the content catalog for a few weeks now to try and plan my time at VMworld Europe in October.

Previous years I’ve been quite mad, dashing around to as many sessions as possible, which has been quite tiring! This year I’m planning to focus my sessions around What’s new with vSphere, NSX and VSAN. I’m also planning to spend a lot more time in the Solutions Exchange speaking to vendors who we partner with at MTI!

Anyways, if you haven’t already started scheduling your sessions then hurry up! All the good ones tend to get full very quick!

Roll on VMworld US (next week).

As a footnote – have you signed up for the live stream of the General Sessions at VMworld US?!?
http://www.vmworld.com/en/us/learning/general-sessions.html

VMworld Europe 2015 – Very Short Round Up

This year I didn’t have the opportunity to ‘live blog’ VMworld each day, and that was mainly down to 2 things:

  1. The need for sleep due to sleep deprivation caused by becoming a parent for the first time (my baby daughter was 2 weeks old when I left for Barcelona, so a lot of sleep was caught up – and yes, my wife did give me permission to attend VMworld….)
  2. This year my company – MTI Technology – invited a number of clients out to VMworld, so I had to do a bit of entertaining whilst out in Barcelona.

Looking back at VMworld Europe, I realised that I didn’t actually learn as much as I did in previous years…. probably because I spent quite a bit of time reading up on the announcements from VMworld US and actually blogged about it all previously.

All the technical breakout sessions I attended on VSAN/NSX/vCloud Air/VIC/Photon Platform/EVO SDDC were just repeats of sessions from the US that I had access to, so my attendance was just to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything when I wrote my VMworld update.

So whilst this may seem a bit of a lazy blog, I realised that I would just be repeating myself if I blogged about VMworld Europe.

So apologies if any of you have been waiting for my blog updates!

 

On another note, Faithless were AWESOME at the VMworld Party! MILES better than Simple Minds….. and probably better than Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes who closed VMworld US! =P

20151014_214003 20151014_214338 20151014_214352

 

VMworld 2015 Europe Party – Weds 14th Oct

VMworld’s Party will be held in Hall 6.0 from 7pm-10pm….. it’s always a shame that the party stops at 10pm!!

DJ’s A-Rock and Shaydakiss, join forces with Videogirl to kick off the night with music and video that will get the party started.

Then at 8pm, Faithless takes the stage to round out a night of unbeatable music and entertainment!

Looking forward to it!