VMworld Europe 2017 – Day 1

Posts in the series:

  1. VMworld Europe 2017 – TAM Customer Day
  2. VMworld Europe 2017 – Day 1
  3. VMworld Europe 2017 – Day 2
  4. VMworld Europe 2017 – Day 3

After the TAM Customer Day and PEX (Partner Exchange) which took place the previous day, it was time for VMworld Europe 2017 to officially get underway.  I left my hotel and headed to Fira Gran Via in some unexpected rain and arrived around 8:30AM CEST.  This was just enough time to grab some small bites + water and then headed into Hall 4.0 where the General Session would take place.

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General Session

Given that VMworld US in Las Vegas was held just over 2 weeks prior to VMworld Europe, there was a general perception that the content of the General Session hosted by Pat Gelsinger (CEO) with assistance from Sanjay Poonen (COO) would be similar to VMworld US and this was indeed the case.

However, having watched the General Session for VMworld US online, it was a much different experience being there in person especially with the Virtual Reality (VR) elements that were used to introduce the session.  During the General Session we found out that this was the 10th VMworld in Europe and there were 11,000 attendees from 60 different countries which was a record compared to previous VMworld’s held in Europe.

Although the content of the General Session was similar to VMworld US, there was an exception and this for me was the highlight of the session.

To mix things up a bit, Alan Renouf, Senior Product Manager joined Pat on stage to demo an amazing Proof Of Concept VR interface to vSphere where Pat donned the VR headset and proceeded to explore ESXi hosts, delete and vMotion VM’s as well as migrate workloads to VMware on AWS (VMC) all within Virtual Reality.  Although this was a pet project of Alan’s which originally started off as an internal hackathon idea with William Lam, it provided a unique and cool way that we may work with vSphere in the future.

I caught up with Alan later that day and he told me that he was real nervous as this was a Live demo and there was no backup so there was a considerable amount of pressure to get this right and the Demo Gods certainly came thorough when it mattered.

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In addtiton to the VR demo, there were some additional announcements regarding new releases of VMware Integrated Containers (VIC), VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) and VMware HCX Technologies for IBM Cloud and OVH.

Once the keynote was over I went to check out the Solutions Exchange and headed to the VMware stand to speak to some colleagues and also managed to get my hands on some early vendor swag as well as check out some cool technologies which integrate with VMware products.  This would be the first of many visits here over the course of VMworld.

“Coffee with an SME”

During TAM Customer Day, I got chatting to 1 of the organisers and they asked if I wanted to take part in “Coffee with an SME” during the main VMworld event.  Fast forward to today and around 11:30AM my phone rings and I am asked if I wanted to do a slot at 12:00PM.

“Coffee with an SME” is where TAM customers can drop in to TAM Cutomer Central (a dedicated area within VMworld for TAM customers) and sit down for an informal chat with an SME (Subject Matter Expert)  during a 1 hour slot.  Again my focus and specialisation for this discussion would be vRealize Operations.

To promote my hour, a tweet was sent out from the VMware TAM account which was a personal highlight as well!

Over the course of the hour I spoke to quite a few different customers but there was a common theme which was capacity calculations and the discrepencies between vROps and vCenter for example or the recommendations that vROps advises do not make sense to the end user.

Since these TAM customers were under NDA I advised that we were aware of the challenges the capacity calcuations have presented to our customers and then discussed the upcoming changes that are coming with regards to Capacity and vROps in general which should make capacity easier to interpret and consume within the product.

I found this 1 hour session very interesting and got a lot of good insights from a different customer demographic.

Breakout Sessions

After I had lunch where I networked with more colleagues from VMware R&D, I spent the rest of the afternoon attending breakout sessions.

Migrate to the vCenter Server Appliance You Should (SER2958BU)

The 1st session was “Migrate to the vCenter Server Appliance You Should” which was presented by 2 legends of VMware – Emad Younis and William Lam.

Since I have been a “Windows vCenter Hugger” for a long time I am currently in the process of planning my #migrate2vcsa strategy for some internal labs and this session provided a lot of information related to the migration process and different scenarios which can be blockers from being able to migrate successfully.

It is also imperative that I move away from Windows vCenter as VMware recently announced on 25th August 2017 that support for Windows had been deprecated as of vSphere 6.5.  More information available here.

Once Emad had finished with the theory it was time for an automation demo from William Lam, in this he ran some PowerCLI scripts which would export and import various vSphere settings which would otherwise be quite time-consuming and click heavy to migrate manually using the GUI – these settings included DRS Rules, Tags, Folder structure etc.

Finally there were some Tech Preview features which were showcased, these may or may not be added to vSphere product.

  • VCSA Automation API’s – REST API’s for Install, Upgrade and Migrate
  • Deferred Data Import – Reduces vCenter downtime and make use of the environment straight away after upgrade.

The session replay from VMworld US is now available to view on YouTube.

The Power Hour: vSphere PowerCLI 10th Birthday Edition

The 2nd breakout session I attended was “The Power Hour: vSphere PowerCLI 10th Birthday Edition” which was presented by Alan Renouf, Sr Product Line Manager, VMware and Luc Dekens, Systems Engineer, Eurocontrol Maastricht.

This session began with a video montage of various community members as well as VMware employees who work extensively with PowerCLI providing a few comments to celebrate the 10th birthday of PowerCLI.  There was also a special cameo from #babylam!

After the montage, Alan and Luc detailed how PowerCLI came to fruition and how it’s adoption and usage increased its fame and status for automating interactions with vSphere and other VMware products.  Did you know that when PowerCLI or VMware Integration Toolkit as it was first known only had 8 cmdlets and now in the current PowerCLI 6.5.2 release it has 616 cmdlets to play with!

The next highlight was the impact that the VMware Community has had on PowerCLI and how this has helped to increase adoption and evangalism.  Examples mentioned show that 4399 people have asked questions on PowerCLI community page and there have been 5141 responses.

Finally we went into some Deep Dive of some popular PowerCLI scripts and discussed the impact of REST API and PowerCLI and how the 2 can work together to provide powerful scripting capabilities.

The 3 takeaways from this session were:

  1. PowerCLI has come along way – With your help!
  2. The community goes from strength to Strength!
  3. PowerCLI is here to stay and has a bright future.

The VMworld session replay is now available to view on YouTube.

Once the breakout sessions were over I headed back to Solutions Exchange to pick up my vExpert kit from @cohesity which was the go to item for vExperts at both VMworlds and also collected some more vendor swag.

I had planned to attend the vExpert party later that night but it was on the other side of Barcelona from Fira Gran Via and by the time I had finished chatting to a few more people it was not feasible to get back to my hotel and then over to the event.  Instead I went out for dinner then back to my room for the night as I had some work to catch up on as well.

Stay tuned to more posts reviewing my time at VMworld Europe 2017!

— Lukas

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