VMworld 2013 in pictures

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 331San Francisco is an amazing city (and also an expensive city).  I finally was approved for travel to this city after trying the past two years, so I wanted to make it count.  I had heard so many great things about VMworld from years past and I was looking forward to all it had to offer before, during, and after the show.  With only a few days in the city and a lot to accomplish, my adventure began on saturday.

 

Saturday night kicked off the first VMworld activity (if you don’t count booth assembly or hanging in the alumni lounge).  Simon Seagrave hosted a spectacular vBeers event to kick things off and it was packed the the point it was spilling out on to the sidewalk.  I met a lot of really cool people (including several people I follow on twitter) and I even got to try out google glass (I need to find one that fits people with glasses).

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 1 189_HDRThe next day started off with some sight seeing and a bit of a walking tour of SF.  Google maps really need to start telling me about elevation changes because some of those streets were straight up (or down depending on the direction you were going)!

 

Sunday afternoon was home to the 4th (or 5th depending on who you ask) vOdgeball tournament and this year did not disapoint.  My understanding was that this was the biggest it has been and major props to the teams competing, the refs for making quick calls, and the fans for surviving stray balls.

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While team EMC was victorious in winning, the real winners was the wounded warriors program who received around $14,000 in donations.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 367That evening we witnessed the opening of the show floor.  I have to say, the EMC booth was amazing and was one of 2 double decker booths on the show floor.  It seemed like every time I was at the booth it was packed full of people and this is always a great sign.  After 3 hours of booths, beer, and food, it was time for the biggest social media meet up of the week.  I’m referring to the VMunderground party.  This year it was held at an art gallery (that was surprisingly vacant of art) and had plenty of room to talk, eat, and mingle.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 066All this has happened and the show doesn’t even start really until Monday morning.  The opening keynote delivered by former EMCer Pat Gelsinger did not disappoint.  Major announcements about the release of vSphere 5.5 which included two new features: VSAN and NSX.  VSAN is VMwares take on software defined storage and NSX is the result of the Nicira acquisition last year and completes their software defined networking portfolio.  There are plenty of great blogs out there discussing these technologies and I can’t wait to see what is done with this technology down the road.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 2 392VMworld 2013 - Day 2 518At the EMC booth, Chad Sakac didn’t disappoint either.  He has a way with words and seems to be able to fire up the crowd no matter where he is.  Of course it helps when you have goodies to wow people like a VMAX that has a fridge built into it.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 127Tuesday provided even more information about the new technologies announced the day before.  It was also a great day to do hands on labs.  VMware provided a huge hands on lab area, but for people wanting to try out EMC specific labs, we also brought our own booth setup to handle several labs at a time across the entire EMC portfolio.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 565Tuesday night was the vendor parties and EMC, Cisco, and Intel banded together to bring you Cloudfest!.  We took over Ghirardelli square to bring the ultimate combination of music, food, and chocolate.  As evidence by the photo to the right, this place was packed!  The bands were great and delivered some amazing covers of popular songs by Queen, The Police, and others.  I was told this was one of the best parties of the night and people were still talking about it up through the end of VMworld.

 

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 080VMworld 2013 - Day 4 220On Wednesday, the EMC booth had a t-shirt meet up.  Everywhere you looked was a sea of EMC datacenter hero shirts (I think there were more than at EMC World).  This was the final day the show floor was open and even after 3 days of presentations, booth attendance was still very high (including some special guests like Pat dropping by).

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VMworld 2013 - Day 4 279That night was the VMworld Party.  They took over AT&T park and turned it into a cVMworld 2013 - Day 4 301ounty fair!  The midway games were great however I still maintain that they were rigged since the same people kept winning (and I won nothing).  Both Train and Imagine Dragons did a great job.  This has to be one of the best customer appreciation parties I have been to and I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming years as other events step up!

 

All in all VMworld was a great event.  I met more people than I can remember (including about half of the people I follow on twitter).  I learned a lot about upcoming technology and the solutions they play.  To see the full collection of my photos (all 154 of them) I have posted them to google+.

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VMworld – The EMC presence and where to find me

With VMworld getting underway in just a few hours, i thought i’d talk about EMC’s presence at the show and where you can find me.  EMC will have 2 booths this year.  We have the main booth which is 2 floors and full of awesome!  The main floor area will have a social media wall, a presentation theater, a prize wheel, and plenty of stations to learn about all that we have to offer.  The upstairs area will be an EMC Elect space for all Elect members in attendance.  Have you nominated someone (or yourself) yet?

 

The other area will be in the back corner and it is an EMC Hands on lab (Powered by vLab!) area where you can try our latest and greatest solutions in a virtual environment.  This is separate

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I urge everyone to stop by the booths and check them out, and you may even find yourself in a picture up on one of our posts!  Which brings me to where i’ll be.  This year i am acting as official EMC photographer for the event.  I will be EVERYWHERE gathering photos of all things EMC.  So be sure to attend one of our sessions or anything else listed on the vPass page and you may wind up in our photo album.  When i’m not shooting photos, you’ll find me hanging out around the EMC booth or in the VMworld hang space.  At night, you can find me at one of VMworld’s many social gatherings.

 

Speaking of social gatherings, are you going to Cloudfest?  For those of you who don’t know, Cloudfest is a customer appreciation party cosponsored by EMC, Cisco, and Intel.  It’s going to be the best party tuesday night.  For those of you who have already signed up, be sure to pick up your invitation at the EMC Booth.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, there will be more tickets given out, so talk to the booth staff and see if you can get one, or become friends with an EMC Elect member who might be able to get you in.  I hope to see everyone there.

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Thats it for now, but be sure to check out the EMC VMworld vPass page to cover all things going on at this year’s show.

VMworld – Introducing the Software-Defined 7

With VMworld a week away, I wanted to start talking about the goings on at the event and how I will be contributing to the community.  This year, we have seven EMC Elect Social Champions (also known as the “Software Defined 7″) who will be attending VMworld and offering live coverage of the event.  I am honored to be one of those members this year and will be your goto contact for EMC party related information (more onthat later) as well as taking photos of the entire show.

This year, EMC has several break out sessions, as well as a large double decker booth on the show floor, hands on labs, and a customer appreciation event.  A full list of all the events can be found here.  A member of the software defined seven has volunteered to be the social champion for a break out session or event and will be your contact for any questions as well as blogging & tweeting the content from the session.  They will become the goto person for asking questions during the event wether you are attending or playing the home game.

 

For those of you who cannot attend, but want to stay up to date on all things EMC at VMworld, i encourage you to visit the Virtual Pass page on ECN where we have everything EMC is doing all in one space.  There is even a discussion thread to talk about the show (thanks to a suggestion from Luigi).

Introducing EMC’s VNX Storage Analytics Suite (and Early Access Program)

imageWith VMworld in full swing, today EMC finalized the announcement of the new VNX Storage Analytics Suite (and you can try it out on the show floor).  You may remember that this was demoed first at EMC World.  As development was nearing completion, you may remember my call for beta testers (I hope you got in and got a chance to try out the technology).  Now we can start getting as excited as the software will be available for general consumption in Q4 of 2012.

 

imageThe VNX Storage Analytics Suite will offer you a an extensive platform to proactively identify bottlenecks, balance workloads and pinpoint the root cause of potential problems around health and performance.  The software is available as a stand alone product as well as integration for VMware’s vCOps Enterprise platform.  Pairing the two together allows you to have a full end-to-end visibility of your entire infrastructure from virtual machine to lun and every point in between.

 

imageFor those of you who are already familiar with vCOps, you will be presented with same interface just with extra options for looking at metrics.  The charts and display is the same.  Green is still good and Red is still bad.  This allows you to quickly visualize the health of your arrays (both block and file) using a simple “Performance-at-a-glance” tab.  Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to attach the problem directly instead of waiting for someone to tell you there is a slowdown in the environment.

 

imageBesides general health information, you can dig down into the specifics of utilization on the array.  In the picture to the right, you’ll be able to see the results (both historically and in real time) of enabling fast cache on your array and what it did to the overall health of your environment.  By focusing on the performance of the array and the pool disks, Fast Cache was able to increase the throughput of the SP while decreasing the strain on the spinning disk storage.

 

By this point you might be saying “Sean, this is so cool, I can’t wait until Q4!  How can I get my hands on this now?”.  Well for those of you who did not participate in the beta (and those of you who did and want to see the results of your feedback) there is good news.   EMC is going to be doing an Early Access program, it won’t cost you a penny, and I’ve got all the details right here!  The bad news is that it’s limited to 100 customers and it’s filling up fast.

 

If you may remember during the beta program I was asking people to email me if they wanted in.  This time I have no control over the process and you must go through your TC.  Before I tell you just how to get in, I need to make sure you have what is required in your environment.  You will need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • vCenter Operations Manager 5.0.1 Enterprise or higher (vApp distribution)
  • EMC VNX series system (Block: R31 OE version 05.31.000.5.720 and higher and VNX OE R32 version 05.32.000.5.006 and higher; File: VNX OE 7.0.35 and higher).

Seems simple enough, right?  Now on how to get in, as I said before you will need to contact your TC or Account Representative.  Have him or her place a Sales Evaluation order in Direct Express using Model # SASCONN-T90 and complete an RPQ.  Again, this is a no cost evaluation period and if you are selected, you will receive further instructions.  At the end of the preview period (which I believe is somewhere in Q4), you will be given the opportunity to purchase a license or uninstall the software.

 

If you are attending the show, please let me know your thoughts about the software in the comments section below.

The next great virtualization platform

Two weeks ago, VMware held their annual gathering of all things virtual.  Las Vegas was buzzing with technology from all parts of the globe.  While I did not attend in person, I was there in spirit (or in the cloud as some would put it).  There were many great announcements that came out of the conference.  While many revolved around vSphere 5 and storage technology, there was one particular announcement that caught my attention.

 

On August 30th, VMware announced their new venture called Horizon Mobile.  This new virtualization platform allows for a user to run a separate virtual phone on their android device.  This effectively offers the user both a work phone and a personal phone on the same hardware with just the push of a button.  This benefits both the user and the supporting organization behind it.  IT departments will be allowed to push out corporate policy changes to mobile devices without effecting the personal usage of a phone.  On top of this, a business would not have to incur the extra cost of having to issue a separate device to an employee when all they will need to do is just push out a software update.  The same goes for retrieval after an employee has left the organization as all that is needed is a remote wipe of the business OS instead of trying to track down the hardware.

 

With the rise of the android personal phone, most users do not want to carry a second one just to be able to receive work calls and email.  The two mobile instances will be separated at the core, but allow for some overlap.  In a world where android viruses are starting to become more present, any such mayhem caused to the personal side of a phone will not effect the business side.  On the other side of the spectrum, if the user is working on a business email and gets a personal phone call, a notification will pop up and allow them to answer while not leaving the virtual instance on the phone.

 

HorizonManager03Combined with this is the Horizon Mobile Manager.  This application is the heart and sole of the mobile instance, allowing for application and policy changes to the work side of the phone as well as a health check of the mobile instance.  A separate application catalogue has also been included to ensure that all proper licenses can be handled by the company instead of the user.  VMware has even included the option to push out these changes as an Over-The-Air update to phones connected to a cellular network.

 

This new tech also raises several questions as to how you can have two completely separate phones under one piece of hardware.  The current market for GSM technology ties everything to the SIM card in the phone.  Your mobile number and data usage are all tracked on this.  This means that you cannot get two different phone numbers for the same phone and raises a few questions.

  • How will you be able to answer your work phone calls and your personal ones on the same device without additional hardware?
  • How will corporate and personal voice/date usage be accounted for since most providers do not offer an unlimited plan anymore?
  • Who will be responsible for possible software problems inside the virtual instance?

 

I search around for the answer to these questions and did not come up with much.  However since this announcement was nothing more than a preview of things to come, I assume things will all be ironed out when it launches in a few months.

 

The tech demos I saw also showed a lack of an in handset security feature.  While I might not be so keen on lending someone my work phone to play with or make a call, I would be more likely to lend them my personal phone.  All the demos showed off how a user can switch to the other profile with just the press of a button.  What I’d like to see is some sort of pin code protecting this feature.  If I lend my phone to a friend and they accidentally hit the button, they could start making calls from my work number without even knowing it.

 

SamsungGalaxySIISo “Why is this so important to me?” you may be asking yourself.  As it just so happened, I recently purchased the new Samsung Galaxy SII phone and have been enjoying it.  I’ve overclocked the dual core cpu up to 1.6Ghz while decreasing the voltage to maintain battery life.  This works very well for me with this announcement as Samsung was listed as one of the hardware partners and several press announcements and blogs have indicated that Horizon Mobile is being designed to launch initially on the Galaxy SII.

 

I look forward to the coming months as more information comes out and I hope to be one of the few people who get to launch with this application.

 

For more information on Horizon Mobile and the Horizon Mobile Manager, check out the website http://www.horizonmanager.com/

V0dgeball for a Cause

It seems like only a year ago Chad Sakac and Christopher Hoff decided to have a dodge ball competition at the end of VMworld 2010. This year the battle is back and bigger than ever. Not only do they have more teams and a bigger venue, but this year they playing for a good cause and all proceeds will be going to the Wounded Warriors Project.

 

The Wounded Warriors Project is a charity that helps aid veterans that were injured in the line of duty. Having never served myself, I can only imagine what these people went through on the battle field and I think we can all do our part in helping them off the battlefield.

 

If you want to attend the event, you can find more details here. Whether you are attending the event in person or not, I urge you to donate to the cause by clicking this link. While I myself will not be attending this year, I wish all teams the best of luck!