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VMworld Europe 2015: The Day 1 Buzz

October 13th, 2015


A great early start to the day was joining the #vBreakfast, an import from the VMworld US conference organised locally by Fred Hofer . Conveniently near the conference venue it was great to meet up with 20 early breakfasters.

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I headed to the Hang Space which has been well thought out, great having the Hands on Labs in the same space as it brings people together. There’s the Community Theatre, VMUG Lounge, games, tables, power and charging points, what more could you want to a bit of down time.

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I had been interviewed by VMworld TV last night at the vExpert party talking about the community and being a vExpert.

General Session

I suppose you could say VMworld for most attendees (partners were having their 1st day yesterday) kicked off with the General Sessions.

The keynote had  fair amount of content common to the VMworld US keynote with some local changed information.

There was no point live blogging as a lot of the content has been covered previously so well by Scott Lowe.

Jean-Pierre Brulard, SVP and GM for EMEA started the show off.

10k attendees, 96 countries, 2.3k VMUG members.

He mentioned Destination Give back which is a VMware Foundation charity programme focussed on children, education , health, environment.

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A last minute addition was a video message from Michael Dell saying the combined company will delivery cutting edge technology (sorry about bootleg video, not mine!).


Carl Eschenbach, president and COO was up next

The point of today’s general session was to highlight VMware’s vision of the future which is all about One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device. (note its not Any Cloud!). This is all about bridging on-premises private cloud with managed public cloud from a vCloud Air Network partner or pure public cloud with vCloud Air itself. Interestingly this is some change in messaging from before as the vCloud Network partners are not being considered public cloud offerings but rather managed cloud, somewhere in the ether between private and public, a very broad area as partners can have very different offerings. I presume creating this new category is so the partners don’t feel they are competing against vCloud Air (which they still are). What does it mean for partners who want to be seen as Public Cloud providers or can that only be reserved for vCloud Air, AWS and Azure like clouds?

The new term for this all is “Unified Hybrid Cloud”.

The theme of VMworld this year is “Ready for Any” which is about VMware being able to offer products to create the software defined data center, including mobile and EUC to deliver the One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device world that they believe you are looking for. Basically VMware is saying, we are here, ready for any app.

vCloud NFV was announced which is NSX for Communications Service Providers. You can read more http://www.vmware.com/industry/telco/overview .

Customers were then brought on stage, who gushed enthusiastically about all that VMware does for them!

We had Juan Manuel Moreno from Telefonica (big telco) and Jan Oostrom from Novamedia (charity/lottery company).

Carl then went on to talk about how VMware is creating a system for Build, Run, Deliver, Secure, very deliberate DevOps naming but encompassing all deployment. VMware has to go all-in on courting developers for the cloud native apps world so interesting how they are renaming current infrastructure processes to be DevOps naming friendly.

Ray O’Farrell on stage next setting the scene for Cloud Native Applications (CNA), I had seen his presentation at IP Expo last week.

Ray then brought on stage Kit Colbert, CTO of CNA (one of the best VMware execs IMO). Same content as VMworld US but some more information, they will be open sourcing parts of the Photon Controller which is the orchestrator. This lets you for example set up a Kubernetes cluster with a single API call to the Photon Controller which means developers can very simply set up massive container clusters very easily without having to deal with infrastructure.

Something I had learned yesterday was reinforced. The importance of having the Photon Controller is about taking the scheduling, storage , networking and security of ESX which is industry leading but use it to run containers. CoreOS for example has hardly any of these features, is missing key storage and networking extensions and ESX is one of the best schedulers around. containers are like VMs, they suffer from resource contention and need to be managed, ESXi to the rescue as a much better container host than native!

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Raghu Raghuram, the SDDC division boss was up next, same content as VMworld US

Yanbing Lin was up on stage going through EVO:SDDC which she talked about at VMworld US (I was wondering when we would see it but there is one on the show floor to see). She also announced vRealize Automation 7 which has been extended with more cloudy goodness. A better, simpler .OVA based deployment (at last!).

Read more : http://vcdx133.com/2015/10/13/vmworld-announcement-vra-7-0/

vRealize Business 7.0 has also been announced

Read more: http://vcdx133.com/2015/10/13/vmworld-announcement-vrb-7-0/

vRealize Automation, as the VMware enabler for private cloud is terribly complicated to set up and manage and so needs as much simplification as possible as with VMware’s vision of moving workloads from private cloud to public cloud, you sort of need to have that private cloud first, hence the need for vRealize Automation.

The General session was streamed live and recorded, here for your viewing pleasure:


Here are some more pics of the Hang Space

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vExpert Daily

I then joined the vExpert Daily panel in the hang space to pontificate on the morning’s announcement and in general all thing VMworld.


Solutions Exchange

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The Solutions Exchange was also open today, this is the VMworld ecosystem marketplace where every vendor who integrates/complements/sometimes competes with VMware showcases their stuff. I’ll be popping in a few times during the week to spot companies of interest and catch up or meet for the 1st time but thought I’d get my major walk around in today which may affect by questions later on in the week.

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Cloud Native Apps

At the VMware stand I spoke to Johnny Ferguson (product manager for Lightwave incidently) who gave me a great talk on the Cloud Native Applications landscape. Again I learned some new things (always good). When going through VMware Integrated Containers I was wondering what was the actual integration, I thought you had the 1 VM is a container as you do with the Photon Platform but this isn’t correct. vSphere actually talks to Docker natively and pulls the container information into vSphere. This means you don’t have to use Photon OS as the container host which I thought you did. Any distro that can run containers can be polled as you’re actually talking to Docker, I crystal balled to posit that in the future you could even do this with Windows when Windows containers are born.

So, you don’t have to use Photon OS to see containers in vSphere which was good to learn.

EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley, did an interview while I was there at the VMware stand, will post it when it is available.

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2015-10-13 13.27.36 I then spoke to Bill Chatzidakis from Cirba as I’ll be visiting them soon on a Tech Field Day event. He went through what Cirba is (been around 10+years in different incarnations!) It’s a software product which is all about capacity planning and right sizing your environment, targeted at enterprises and service providers to manage big numbers of VMs. It has nifty graphs for telling you which clusters are over or under subscribed and collects a month’s worth of data to work out best placement of VMs. This is DRS on steroids, an approach VMTurbo is also tackling. You can create models for what your VMs require in terms of resources, availability, security and then Cirba can tell you what clusters you have available (vSPhere, Hyper-V, KVM) and where best to host these. You can use Cirba integration with vRealize Automation so as part of the approval process it will reserve future capacity in Cirba for the VMs. Once approved, Cirba talks back to vRealize Automation for the deployment. It uses multiple metrics so can push together VMs or push them apart using many measurements as well as what it thinks the VM will be doing in the future based on previous history. Cirba says it is therefore far more proavtively responsive than than reactive like DRS.

This was a good primer before I get to hear more in a few weeks.

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I then made a point of heading to the VMware Office of the CTO booth to have a glimpse into the future. I spoke to Jorgen Hansen about vRDMA.

This is an interesting research project within VMware to create a new class of distributed application in a virtual environment by allowing very fast transport by bypassing much of the VMware kernel and accessing memory on another host. This will allow applications to reserve VM memory via the hypervisor but be extremely scalable and fast, think HPC and financial trading. Expand the pic to look into the project:


2015-10-13 13.43.58I then also went through the New Innovators section which and found OpenNebula which seems a very simple private cloud enabler which piqued my interest after worrying about the complexity of vRealize Automation. It seems a very simple solution, download an .OVA, suck in your templates and then provide a portal to clients to be able to deploy cloud like those templates, very simple just what many companies need. I believe it is even open source I will certainly be downloading their software and having a look.



I then had a chat to Andy Sugden from Virtustream who EMC acquired recently. I had some misconceptions about Virtustream that they competed more with vCloud Air. Virtustream basically has software which big enterprises or service providers use to create managed instances of SAP and some other big applications. This takes a lot of the complexity away from managing these apps and provides a secure wrapper around the whole app up and down the whole stack so it can work in a multi-tenant environment and ticks all the security and compliance boxes. You can also create and manage performance and availability SLAs using the software. IBM use it (mmm, not for much longer!). I can certainly see integrations with vCloud Air by bringing some of that secure multi-tenancy to vCloud Air but the big apps Virtustream manage aren’t the first applications people are moving to the public cloud so its normally a managed cloud offering, was interesting to get a better understanding.


Lunch on the run

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Moog Software

2015-10-13 15.03.38 I only stopped at this stand as it had my award for most out there name! I spoke to Dominic Wellington. They do log and failure analytics in real time, aggregate them up, do some correlation and then know that for example there’s a SQL issue based on what the logs say due to storage something or other (always the case!) and then creates a dynamic troubleshooting dashboard which is sent to only the DBAs and storage team to troubleshoot. This is far simpler to manage and means you don’t have to hunt around to first of all find what went wrong and then assemble a troubleshooting team.

Puppet Labs

I stopped at the Puppet Booth as it’s DevOpsy and I’m going to be looking into it more. Nicolas Corrarello showed me the vSphere integration and I also went through the Windows Powershell Desired State Configuration integration where the Puppet agent can use DSC to maintain compliance. Nicholas mentioned Pupper have a very easy learning VM which you can download and play with to get up to speed, something I will certainly do.

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I managed to catch the tail-end of an interview with Kit Colbert at the VMware stand.

I asked about how VMware is positioning this new cloud native world to developers who likely think VMware is an old infrastructure company. He had a great response that their plan is to make infrastructure invisible by tightly integrating containers with the vSphere platform so developers can use the tools they love but in the back-end vSphere/Photon will do all the heavy lifting and provide the resource control that the developer doesn’t have to worry about better than bare metal containers. They are also doing a fair amount of outreach into the developer community to sell their story. I find Kit very engaging, he rebooted EUC and CNA in his hands will do the best it can.

I’ll post the video once available.

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Back to the Hang Space and watched some of the excellent vBrownbag Talks (sorry I can’t watch them all). Have a look at the incredible content:


Ryan Johnson from VMware talked about VMware Validated Designs

Michael Letschin talked about Deploying Shared Storage for your Virtual Lab


I then attended a session:

CTO6453 – The Future of Software-Defined Storage – What does it look like in 3 years time?

Richard McDougall – Principal Engineer, VMware

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This session was about the futures & trends for storage hardware and next-gen distributed services. shared NVMe/PCIe rack scale, flash densities & if magnetic storage still has a place.

2015-10-13 17.02.18Richard gave an interesting session on the needs of Big Data/No SQL etc applications and their storage requirements building up a graph using two axis, horizontal for size from 10s of TBs to 10s of PBs and vertical for IOPS from 1000 to 1,000,000.

He built up the picture showing where various memory and storage applications sit and then added what hardware / software platforms are used to service these applications, it was a great visual aid.

He spend time going through how cloud native applications and containers still have a storage requirement with some options copying the whole root tree, using a Docker solution by cloning using another union file system (aufs), like redo logs for VMDKs.

Containers still need files, not blocks and need snapshots and clones. You need non-persistent boot environment as well as somewhere to put persistent data. Shared volumes may be needed as well as an object store for retention/archive.

Richard went on to talk about hardware and the massive increase in performance for NVDIMMs, getting closer to DRAM. Have a look at the comparison chart relative for travel time from California to Australia.

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He then went through some of the device interconnects and posited that NVMe will take over most current interconnect methods, he was very positive about NVMe!

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He mentioned how hard it is to actually build true scale out performant storage.

2015-10-13 17.48.31He mentioned a great use case for caching companies like Pernix Data and how they in the future could be used to front end things like S3 storage, so have massive buckets in the cloud yet give very fast locally cached access, interesting.

The dream is a single common storage platform that can be used with a single HCL and common software defined storage platform for Block, CEPH, MySQL, MongoDB, Hadoop etc. I think that’s what VMware is trying to make VSAN do.

Welcome Reception

Back to the Solutions Exchange for the Welcome Reception.

2015-10-13 18.03.58 I checked with the Office of the CTO stand and they had a new research project to talk about: Unifying Virtual and Physical Desktops with Synthetic Block Devices. Rami Stern talked me through it which is all about having a single instance storage across the physical and virtual world so a single store of Mirage data as well as VMDK. Users would be able to move OS data from physical to virtual with very little data transfer, very much linking the different technologies VMware has acquired. Again VSAN is being looked at to do this, image deduped storage for OS + File + VM + Mirage + Cloud Volumes Data, again very interesting.

Max the pic for more details:



I also picked up a great hoodie from SimpliVity as well as a Tile from Tegile, thanks you, much appreciated.


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I was unceremoniously bumped off the SolidFire yacht party (boo…but it was raining!)

Veeam Party

Veeam always put on a great party so headed out to see all things green and WOW, they knocked the ball out of the proverbial park. Ratmir Timoshev stirred things up by announcing (in jest, I think!) that Veeam in conjunction with the Swiss government would outbid Dell for EMC! Much fun was had, seriously, I’ve been to a lot of IT conference vendor parties and this one managed to be fantastic, credit to Veeam and their great marketing.

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