VMworld Day 1 Recap (Sunday) 0

Wow!  Where to start?  Today was a great first day at VMworld for me, and if it is any indication on how the rest of the conference will go I am in for a very successful trip!

To start off the day I headed to Moscone West to pick up my badge and VMworld backpack.  I arrived there at about 9:30am and at that time the registration lines were still relatively short.  I did not have to wait long to get to a self registration terminal and get all signed in.

VMworld 2013 Badge

After registration, I immediately headed upstairs to the TAM day event that was already in progress.  I made it just in time to sit in on the Executive Keynote talk given by Paul Strong (CTO of Global Field & Customer Initiatives).  Paul’s main point stressed the fact that technology is changing and evolving so quickly that the “status quo” itself changes from year to year.  This is driven home by relating his words to real-life examples.  Paul pointed out that we no longer have Blockbuster stores, instead we have Netflix.  Another great example involved encyclopedias.  Remember those things?  Well, encyclopedias eventually were replaced by Microsoft Encarta, which then was replaced by a much more rapidly evolving system:  Wikipedia.  Consumer needs for any device, anywhere, anytime have driven the market and its backend technologies to keep up with the demand and leave old methodologies behind.  Paul’s keynote really made you step back and really admire how far things have come in the past decade.

Once the keynote had finished, I made my way to room 2002 for the technical breakout session titled, “Software-Defined Storage Technical Deep Dive”, presented by Kiran Madnani (Product Line Manager).  The deep dive went into detail on how VMware is the best positioned company to tackle today’s ever present battle against storage, as the hypervisor level has visibility into the application workloads, is hardware agnostic, and understands the many different storage protocols via vendor integrations and the various vSphere storage APIs.  VMware has developed a vSAN offering that is comprised of 3 main components:  policy based management, the virtual data plane, and app-centric data services.  I will not go into too much detail of these components here, as I am sure they will be described in more detail during tomorrow’s general session announcements.

The technical deep dive session also went on to talk about vVols, or virtual volumes.  This technology lets a VMDK reside directly on a physical LUN, this enabling a storage administrator to take advantage of features like array-based replication on a per-VM level of granularity — thus eliminating the need to fully replicate an entire datastore.

For the final piece of the technical deep dive session, the Kiran talked about a feature coming in vSphere (the slides showed vSphere 5.5, hmm…) that allows vSphere to take advantage of server-side flash devices and put them to use as a read cache to dramatically speed up read intensive applications.

After the deep dive session, I proceeded to the “Birds of a Feather” lunch event.  After grabbing some quick food, I sat down at a table with Alan Reinouf and had a great discussion about PowerCLI, its future, and how it will be evolving.  We also talked about auto deploy services and a few of the pain points experienced with it today.  Unfortunately, I had to bail out on the latter half of the lunch session so that I could head over to my next commitment, the VCDX Boot Camp!

The VCDX boot camp was a very well organized and valuable event for anyone who is considering pursuing VMware’s highest level of certification.  There were quite a few VCDXs in attendance, all of whom were there to help us (the attendees) take a peek behind the curtain of the mysterious certification process and give us essential tips that will hopefully lead us to a successful defense one day.  There were way too many experts in the room to name them all.  As a VCDX hopeful (looking at defending during PEX 2014), I was very grateful and appreciative of this session.

To finish off my day, I headed over to Moscone South and grabbed a drink at the welcoming reception, where I met up with a colleague of mine and got a chance to chat for a bit without the pressures of the standard work environment.  We eventually wandered over to the one vendor booth that I desperately wanted to visit:  PernixData.  PernixData’s FVP (flash virtualization platform) is pretty amazing.  Their demos do not even begin to do the product justice.  They have found the answer to “fixing” SAN storage, PERIOD.  While talking at the booth, we were fortunate enough to run into one of the VMware legends, Frank Denneman, and hear a little bit about the direction the product is headed in and shared our feedback about some possible future enhancements.

Now that I am back in my hotel room with a full stomach, I will attempt to get some rest for the busy day that awaits me tomorrow.  I intend on having my laptop at my disposal throughout the day (unlike today), so I should be posting blog updates on a more regular basis.