My thoughts on VMworld 2016

VMworld 2016This week, geeks of the world flocked to Las Vegas to celebrate all things datacenter and virtualization.  This was my 5th VMworld (and my first time not attending as a vendor), but my first VMworld in Vegas.  Now, as I sit here in the airport waiting to return home, i wanted to reflect on my thoughts of the show.

 

Announcements

I found the announcements from VMware a bit disappointing.  There, I’ve said it!  The things that were announced were great as part of a vision and forward looking direction that VMware is headed.  However these announcements weren’t really new and were discussed last year as well.  This time however they were a lot more polished and had working demos.  Its great to see that VMware is accepting that people will chose other clouds for their workloads.  But while cloud workloads may be the future, many people are not there yet.

I found the lack of announcements around whats coming for traditional infrastructure (also known as private cloud) a bit disturbing.  In my experiences with customers, very few of them are using the cloud.  The reason being that they aren’t developing their own apps, they are using someone else’s, and those still install into traditional VMs.  I don’t believe we will see a bigger shift to cloud and container based workloads until the workload vendors start adopting them.

 

Infrastructure Trends

Walking around the show floor, it was very clear that there has been a shift in traditional infrastructure.  Even from the big players, you didn’t see any mention of a spinning disk array.  It was either all flashed or converged.  Which then showed off 2 trends:  A race to the top and a race to the bottom.  So what do i mean by that?  In a race to the top, these vendors are saying that they have the best or the fastest arrays.  One product that can handle anything thats thrown at it, so you know you have the best out there, and it also comes with a top tier price too.  Then the other trend, the race to the bottom.  This was a “do more with less” approach i was seeing.  These vendors were trying to put up the impressive numbers without braking the bank through innovative technology.  You saw this through your newer vendors, who have a great idea, but haven’t necessarily gone through many revision cycles to add to or refine their offerings.  I’m looking for big things from this space as i still believe price dictates the market.

You also saw this same trend in the converged space.  It seems like this is the area with the most growth and just about everyone had some sort of a converged offering.  Again, you have major players in this space that offer a full featured converged platform to address the majority of a company’s needs.  And you also have the race to the bottom, where several companies were creating virtual san offerings trying to put out impressive performance numbers with very few disks.  I honestly wonder what the landscape will be like in a few years as it becomes increasingly crowded.  Something has to give, and i expect we will see a large change in the number of vendors in this space in just a few years time.

 

Community

The community at VMworld has already been a great experience, and this year was no exception.  It was great to see so many friends and almost felt like a family reunion.  While the vExpert community is increasing, it’s great to see vendors still taking the time to engage these people.  There are two vendors that i want to single out in particular.  The first, Cohesity.  They took the time ahead of VMworld to talk to the vExpert community, and went above and beyond to reward them for their hard work at the show.  The backpack and show survival kit was a great offering and i was really impressed with the quality and effort put into it

The second was Datrium.  I think this year is a story they will be telling for years to come and a great lesson learned.  Their booth staff was calm and patient while secretly having a meltdown over missing Raspberry PIs.  I’m proud of them that in the end they were able to pull it off, even if that meant missing evening activities and staying up till 2 in the morning assembling these things.  They came out great, and again I want to thank them for supporting the vExpert community.

The vExpert community is increasing in size each year, and having a place to congregate in the bloggers area was awesome.  So many people are giving back to the community and i’m proud to support as many of them as i can.  My laptop came in relatively empty, and now its hard to  find any free space on it.

Final Thoughts

VMworld is always a great experience, and this year was no exception.  While vegas is cheaper, doing a show in August  there is just too darn hot.  Its clear that there is a shift in the landscape going on, but you can’t forget about those customers who aren’t constantly living on the cutting edge.  And the community around the show is great, you will find amazing people to talk to all around the show and i encourage you to do that.  Finally, i want to give a shout out to Battle Bots.  Having these robots at the show was awesome and i can’t wait to see who wins in the finale tonight!

 

Want to go to VMworld 2015? Win a trip from SimpliVity!

VMworld is a great gathering of all things VMware and I think that everyone should have the chance to go.  Unfortunately, it can also be an expensive gathering, which might be cost prohibitive for some potential attendees.  Good news though, because my employer, SimpliVity, is giving away 3 sets of tickets that include hotel and airfare.  All you have to do is click below and enter for a chance to win.

VMworld Social Contest

Winners will be announced on July 17th, 24th, and 31st.  Good luck to everyone!

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.

VMworld 2013 - Day 1 568

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).

VMworld 2013 - Day 4 249

 

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+.

VMworld 2013 - Day 3 342

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.

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!