Yesterday (in case you missed it) was the fourth annual UK national VMUG at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. It was my second year attending and I continue to be blown away with the quality and value available at this event.
There's a huge amount of content packed into this one-day event, so I'll try and summarise my day…
vCurry and vQuiz
The vCurry event was hosted on Monday night and is a great way to chill out after a long drive up to the midlands. It's always well attended and there are always familiar faces from the London VMUG there. Also there is the now legendary vQuiz, hosted by Stuart Thompson (@virtual_stu) which is great for a laugh or two and makes a good ice breaker if you're there on your own. Oh, and free curry and a free beer or two…what's not to like?
Keynote - Joe Baguley
Joe is a very well known face at VMUGs, it's a good sign of the value placed on the community by VMware that the CTO for EMEA is a regular keynote speaker at events big and small. Joe was talking about the evolution of IT from refresh cycles that take 18 months, to cycles that take days, or in some cases minutes. There was a sharp intake of breath in the room as he told us that the "infrastructure guy" role is on it's way out, to be replaced with operators of the "datacentre OS". I also noted the correct use of "on-premises" rather than the infuriating "on-premise".
Simple, Scalable Virtual Platform for your VMs with Nutanix and vSphere
I have to admit, I picked this vendor session out of those available to heckle my ex-colleagues Darren Woollard (@dawoo) and Seb Hakiel (@sebhakiel) as they explained the Nutanix platform. I'm pretty sure the mental image of Darren dressed in a french maid's outfit is something I cannot get rid of, no matter how much bleach I pour into my eyeballs. Grudgingly, I have to say it was a good presentation and presented a positive message of "this is what our product can do" and avoided any kind of competitor bashing.
Side-Session 3: VMware NSX
This was the session I ran in the mezzanine area - unfortunately it was in direct competition with some of the biggest name speakers of the day - Mike Laverick, Duncan Epping, Cormac Hogan and Chris Wahl all had sessions at this time, and Chris's session was also about NSX. In comparison coming to chat with me (and a poorly titled session) was not an attractive offering! Still, I appreciated my colleague Ather and the one chap who came! We ended up talking a lot about the VCP-NV exam and doing a run through the blueprint, so hopefully that was valuable for those there!
Lunch and the Sponsor Mingle
As usual, lunch was provided and allowed a chance to mill about the sponsor area checking out the various vendor offerings. I had a few good chats with various companies and there are some interesting products that hopefully I might get my hands on in the near future.
Side-Session 3: Designing Real-World vCO Workflows for vRealize Automation Center
This very well attended mezzanine session was run by my colleague and all round legend Jonathan Medd (@jonathanmedd) and was a great overview of how to go about capturing and planning for real world workflow development. This stuff is very topical and right up my street, so it was great to be involved in the discussions and contribute where I could.
Side-Session 2: Networking Deep-Dive Discussion Group
Another mezzanine session, this time run by double-VCDX Chris Wahl (@chriswahl) with a good group of guys talking around the design and real world implementation of NSX. I really enjoyed this discussion which allowed me to indulge in some networking talk, as well as share some experience with deploying NSX - but mostly it was great to listen to Chris and learn from the master!
I also had a great chat with Chris after the session as I was keen to hear his thoughts on the VCIX-NV exam - especially as I'm preparing for that exam myself. I was very grateful for the chat and really found Chris to be a genuine and helpful guy - another great measure of the community around VMware that the well known guys will still chat and help out anyone!
Closing Keynote: Stop being a minesweeper
The closing keynote was from Chris Wahl, and if Joe's keynote provided the "bad news" for infrastructure admins, Chris's provided the "good news" of how to move forward and keep adding value for your employer and to your career. I felt like he was sometimes describing the journey I've taken over the last few years from being the admin who refuses to waste time on repetitive tasks and deciding to learn to automate those mind numbing processes. I've also worked with the guy who'll sit for a month doing repetitive tasks because he'll "get it done" and it means he's busy without being taxed. For me, that's a fast road to being redundant!
After all my summary posts about VMUG events, I always like to express why I think you should get involved - if the great content I talked about above wasn't enough for you!
The London VMUG will be running an X-Factor style competition for any NEW community speaker, with some awesome prizes up for grabs. All you need to do is sign up to do a 10 minute lightning talk at the London VMUG and you could win a Macbook Air! More than that though, you'll realise that it's not actually scary to talk to your peers, that actually you do know a lot of stuff and it's even quite fun and very rewarding to give back to the community! Head over to tinyurl.com/vFACTORLONDON and get involved!
The very last thing to say is a massive thank you to the UK VMUG organisers (especially Jane (@rimmergram), Stu (@virtual_stu), Alaric (@alaricdavies) and Simon (@vinf_net)) for the awesome event which seems to get better every year, and to the community itself, which makes these events so good to attend. The mezzanine area was absolutely buzzing with amazing discussion sessions, and I lost count of the number of people I had great conversations with during the day.
The London VMUG meets again on the 22nd January 2015 - see you there!
Having finally got some SSDs to be able to use my PernixPro/PernixPrime NFR license, I thought it was about time to get PernixData's FVP 2.0 running in my lab again. I haven't used FVP in my lab since it was running in beta, so I was keen to see the awesome new features in action. It really is an easy install process and took me less than an hour to get my cluster up and running with VMs I/O being accelerated.
That was Friday evening - over the weekend my lab patched, and when I rebooted my FVP Management Server, the service refused to start:
Windows could not start the PernixData FVP Management Server on Local Computer
On checking the Event Log, it was as useful as a chocolate teapot:
Next, I checked the PernixData FVP log files (located in C:\Program Files\PernixData\FVP Management Server\Server\log, or your install location). Within the commons-daemon log file, a little more useful information:
[2014-10-27 09:31:17] [error] Failed creating java
[2014-10-27 09:31:17] [error] ServiceStart returned 1
At this point I double-checked the version of the Java run-time I had installed and noticed that it was the 32-bit version, rather than the required 64-bit.
PernixData FVP actually installs the correct Java runtime when you install it. My mistake was that when I went to activate my PernixData license, I installed the 32-bit JRE in order to run the activation process in the browser - at which point my FVP service would no longer start. I completely removed the 32-bit version and installed the 64-bit JRE and the service started perfectly!
As this was my first VMworld I am not ashamed to say I was really stoked about attending, many of my peers have attended in the past and were going to attend.
I flew in on the Sunday evening so that I could register early on Monday for partner day, however I did miss the chance to attend what turned out to be a very popular and very full Rockstar event on the Sunday evening.
The first thing that struck me was the size of the venue in short it was huge and even with VMworld running the conference center had room to spare. Registration was a simple affair the staff were very helpful when i had a few queries regarding my pass, being the nerd I am I was keen to collect my rucksack and make good use of it.
I then made my way directly to the bloggers area and the HOL which did not disappoint, I immediately ran into a few familiar faces from twitter and this became a running theme all week, it really was fantastic to finally get the chance to meet so many 'tweeps'.
A few of us (courtesy of VMUG) were given a tour of the HOL area with great explanations from lab team leads on how and why they ran them and the history of how it came to be. It was also quite cool to note that 1 of the two datacenters running the labs was using EVO:RAIL.
vCAC 6.1 – Creating a user selectable network dropdown that sets Network and Network Profile correctly
I am aware that that's not a catchy blog post title. In fact, it doesn't even really describe the problem or solution very well - for that I need to go into a little bit more depth!
Suppose I have configured a Reservation with two Networks ticked ("192.168.1.0-VLAN1" and "192.168.10.0-VLAN10"). As you can see in the screenshot below, each of the networks has a Network Profile created and assigned with a network pool to provide IP addressing for the VMs.
When I deploy the Blueprint without any custom properties, the network selection is round-robin and so the VM gets it's virtual NIC assigned to "192.168.1.0-VLAN1" or "192.168.10.0-VLAN10" alternately - this is the expected behaviour. The Virtual Machines are assigned an IP address based on the Network Profile of the assigned network.
All good so far. Still with me?
Posts in this series
*This post was meant to be published on Friday, VMworld Sleep Deprivation meant I didn't click the button!*
This is the last post and a bit of a wrap up on my VMworld 2014 series!
There isn't a keynote on day three, and there's definitely a "winding down" feel as people tend to arrive later (if at all) and many are…feeling the effects of the previous night shall we say! That said, every session I wanted to attend was still fully booked and it was a case of queuing for the spare seats.
I managed to get into the #SDDC1337 Techincal Deep Dive on EVO:RAIL really to get a good view on what the EVO:RAIL offering is. The session was presented very well and told the story of EVO:RAIL from inception to birth. There was a lot of information about the technologies involved in getting EVO:RAIL to a fully functional product. I was impressed with the 8 month timescale and the team's focus on doing the core things right rather than feature creep which VMware can be guilty of.
I think the fact that the hardware is partner based means that it's much more accessible for environments that are single-vendor (e.g. HP, EMC, DELL, HDS or Fujitsu shops) because they can purchase under existing agreements etc without needing to get new suppliers approved, and there's already familiarity and eco-systems in place.
With VSAN still really a tier-2 storage solution, I'd expect these to go into remote office environments for large enterprises. I haven't seen the pricing for EVO:RAIL, but I suspect all that packaged goodness will have a price - probably not one SMB's will like. An interesting idea discussed with Michael Poore (@michaelpoore) was the idea of having EVO:RAIL clusters as vCloud endpoints.
That was the last technical session I was able to attend as I had to catch my flight home! It's hard to summarise in a blog posting the value that you get from attending VMworld - as a vExpert I have access to a lot of VMworld sessions online after the event, but VMworld is a lot more than just the sessions. It's a crazy mix of sessions, networking, meeting old and new friends, vendor parties, sleep deprivation, walking (lots of walking), exams, the solutions exchange and generally being immersed in all things VMware for the duration of the conference.
I would definitely encourage anyone who can get to VMworld and who loves the technology and community around VMware to go next year. It's much more than the sum of it's parts!