VMworld 2016 – Day 2 workshops and sessions

| 31/08/2016 | Tags: , ,

vegasvRealize Automation vExperts Workshop

I attended a workshop with Jad El Zein in Barcelona last year and it was one of the best sessions I attended, especially as it was just on the news of vRA7’s release. This workshop was this year’s equivelant, but because the session included a lot of people just getting started with vRA a lot of the time was taken to explain what vRA does, so there was no real time for the more in depth details on the new features that are coming (some already announced and in Tech Preview). I certainly don’t begrudge the guys just starting the chance to hear the basics from Jad, but I think a more expert session would also be good.

vRealize Automation and NSX Design Experts Panel – #MGT9220

This design panel was hosted by Jad El Zein (I’m not stalking him, I promise) and had Cody De Arkland, Francesco Vigo and Grant Orchard on the panel. I went primarily to hear some more customer views and maybe some of the challenges that they’re facing, to compare with my customers in the UK and the solutions that were proposed. The session didn’t disappoint, with Cody taking the lions share of questions – as a customer he had a unique insight into the challenges and solutions he’d already faced. The other panelist were really knowledgeable too, so this was a really good session.

vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive – #INF8430

Having heard Frank Denneman speak before, I don’t miss a chance to listen to him when one comes up. This guy is on another level when it comes to understanding and explaining things in a really simple way, from the inner workings of flash drives to his current series on NUMA. Frank covered a lot of NUMA design considerations and the implications of things like DIMMs placement. I’d not heard Niels Hagoort speak before, and it’s definitely a tough ask to share the stage with Frank, but he did a great job covering some advanced configuration for network cards and analysis on technologies like RSS and VXLAN offload. This was a really in depth and technical session, one of the best I’ve attended.

VMware {Code}

I spent some time at the VMware {Code} booth and got to hang out with Kimberley Delgado, Luc Dekens, William Lam and Alan Renouf – it was a proper who’s who of VMware automation.

Hall crawl and vendor chat

The Solutions Exchange is full of the usual suspects, touting their toys and competitions in exchange for your valuable contact details. It has to be my least favourite part of VMworld, but I do like to take a look around the outside of the hall at the smaller and startup vendors to see what they’re offering and what’s new.

I’ve met with the guys at Velostrata before at the London VMUG and I have to say that I was hugely impressed with their cloud mobility solution. It’s still in startup phase, I thought they were still in startup phase, but they’re now at v2.0 of the product. These guys are definitely one to watch out for, I have frequently said whoever cracks proper cloud mobility first is going to be big, and these guys have the best solution I’ve seen so far! Check them out at and request an evaluation.

It was great to catch up with the guys at Pluralsight, who I’ve mentioned quite a few times on my blog. I am lucky to have access to Pluralsight via the vExpert program – it’s one of the best perks because they have such an awesome and huge catalog of teaching. If you’re not familiar with them, go and take a look and sign up for a trial, if I didn’t have access already it’s something I’d genuinely pay for myself.

#VMworld 2016 – My session picks

| 20/07/2016 | Tags: , , ,

vegasIn my post yesterday I promised to post my VMworld session picks, so here it is! I have filled my schedule, and even added some alternate picks when there were too many good sessions to go for. My session picks are focussing around:

  • vRealize Automation
  • NSX
  • VSAN
  • PowerCLI, APIs and automation

Now, before anyone tells me I’ve picked too many and I won’t make it to all of them – I know! I can guarantee I’ll get distracted/tired/hungry and won’t make all of them, but if I could…


11:00-11:30 – Automating Your Network Services Deployments with VMware NSX and vRealize Automation [NET10011-EDU]
12:30-13:30 – Automated Deployment and Configuration of the vCenter Server Appliance [INF8260]
14:00-15:00 – Enforcing a vSphere Cluster Design with PowerCLI Automation [INF8036]
16:00-17:00 – VMs and Containers: Extending Docker to vCloud Air [HBC8563]
17:00-18:00 – A day in the life of a VSAN I/O [STO7875]


11:00-12:00 – Virtual SAN – Day 2 Operations [STO7534]
12:30-13:30 – vRealize Automation and NSX Design Experts Panel [MGT9220]
(Alt) Deep Dive into Deploying the vRealize Cloud Management Platform the VMware Validated Designs Way! [SDDC8946]
14:00-15:00 – Advanced Network Services with NSX [NET7907]
15:30-16:30 – vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive [INF8430]
17:00-18:00 – The Architectural Future of Network Virtualization [NET8193R]


08:30-09:30 – Advanced NSX Troubleshooting: Tips & Tricks for Experienced Users [NET8680]
10:00-11:00 – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the vRealize Automation API [MGT8332]
11:30-12:30 – Save Time With Everything and Anything as a Service (XXXAAS) using vRealize Automation (vRA) [MGT8085]
13:00-14:00 – PowerNSX and PyNSXv: Using PowerShell and Python for Automation and Management of VMware NSX for vSphere [NET7514]
14:30-15:30 – Evolving the vSphere API for the Modern Era [INF8255]
(Alt) Multisite Networking and Security with Cross-vCenter NSX—Part 1 [NET7854R]
16:00-17:00 – Multisite Networking and Security with Cross-vCenter NSX: Part 2 [NET7861R]

Heading to Las Vegas! #VMworld 2016

| 19/07/2016 | Tags: , , , ,

vegasI’ve been very fortunate to be able to go to VMworld Europe for the past 3 years, mainly thanks to the vExpert program and the availability of the blogger pass. This year I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get to Barcelona because of work, so I thought I’d apply for a VMworld US blogger pass – I’m very excited to have been given one! As with previous years, I’ll be blogging at least once a day with my thoughts and any useful info I’ve gleaned – I definitely don’t want to take the pass for granted!

The blogger pass is awesome, but I still need to fund my flights, hotel, and some spending money while there. I wanted to thank my blog sponsors VMTurbo and Veeam for their continued support which has made it possible to pay for these flights without costing my family. On that note, I still have one more slot for a sponsor, so if you represent someone who’d like to advertise on, get in touch!

I will be flying to Las Vegas (via Toronto?! cheap flights) on Saturday 27th, arriving late evening, and I’m staying at the Excalibur hotel. I am looking forward to comparing US and EU – just in sheer numbers the US event is far bigger and it will be fantastic to be part of such a huge gathering of people. This will be my first visit to the US, so it will be interesting seeing Las Vegas – I’m fully aware that Vegas is a crazy place and not representative of the US – but it will be fun seeing the crazy!

I’m not sure if I’ll take advantage of the cheap certifications this year – in previous years I’ve take VCIX-NV, VCP-NV and VCAP5-DCD all with great results, so it’s something I’d consider, although at this point I’m not 100% sure what exam I’d take (I’ve done a lot of betas recently!)

Obviously there are some pretty awesome sessions to be attended (I’ve not picked yet as the session planner hasn’t been published, but I’ll post here when I have) – I’ll be focussing on my normal bag:

  • vRealize Automation
  • NSX
  • VSAN
  • PowerCLI, APIs and automation

Plus I’ll also be looking to pick up any sessions on emerging technologies like Cloud Native Applications, and some of the technology previews for upcoming feature releases. Hopefully there will be some sessions like last year’s excellent vExpert vRA7 briefing.

As it’s my first VMworld US, I am open to suggestions from any veterans on what are the “must-do” activities around the conference, so far on my list…

  • I am hoping to join Anthony Spiteri (@anthonyspiteri) for an early round of golf on the Sunday morning – if you’re interested in that you can sign up here
  • The rest of Sunday I will be at #vmunderground Opening Acts, a nice warm up to the main event which has the added appeal of a BBQ lunch with the vBrisket guys!
  • I quite like a bit of Fall Out Boy, so the VMworld Party should be fun, I have to be honest that I’ve not been so much a fan of the last few acts in Barcelona!
  • I’m assuming there will be a VCDX reception, it’s always great to meet up with fellow VCDXs
  • Likewise I’m hoping there will be a vExpert event, though given the numbers of vExpert now it might be a big event!

As and when the after hours events come out they’re added to here.

Lastly, I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my fellow vExperts, VCDXs and members of the community while I’m in the US and while there are a few of my European friends and colleagues attending I’m not naturally the most outgoing of people so please come and say hi if you see me!