VMworld 2013 – The Story So Far

At least, the way I see it…  And there is plenty of coverage for the event, so I will keep this to MHO…

The keynote on the first day with Robin Matlock.  When the 10 year vets took the stage and read off memorable moments from VMworlds past, I couldn’t help but have a sense of pride that the Hands on Labs were mentioned multiple times.  The very first of my memories, or more accurately, the first night I don’t completely remember was the P2V Rave.  Which was a lab we put on at midnight on the Wed after the VMworld party as a personal request from Diane Greene to add more labs.  This was 2005, the second VMworld and the Labs went from 4 rooms that year to over 7 the next. Is there a direct correlation between open bar & the popularity of the labs?

Some of you may recall the instructor lead labs.  After that memorable, or not so memorable VMworld in 2005 the Labs team grew from 1 “reset” guy (me) to a crew of TechOps folks running the backend and a crew of Lab Captains and subject matter experts that manned the labs working with the attendees while the instructors went through the content.

If memory serves, the Labs were ranked the highest and most attended part of the event from that point on.  I’d have to differ to a 10 year vet for 2004, as I wasn’t an employee yet, but from 2005 on, being a part of the Labs team was one of the most coveted “perks” and was an all volunteer army. Even as a second job, it was the most dedicated bunch of folks I had ever seen.  No matter how difficult or time-consuming getting the labs up and running  became, this team of PSO, SE’s, TechOps, Alliances, etc. were willing put in many hours of preparation above and beyond their day jobs.

The next mention, the data center of 2009.  I love the hear folks still remember that and it was fitting I had just blogged about it the previous day.  What some may not realize, was that  data center consisted of #1 UCS Chassis of the Production Line.  I thought it was a great introduction to the product line. 64 Chassis in all of UCS.

Another behind the scenes fact:  As cool as the time-lapse video is, the data center was built at a colo months previous, then broken down, and rebuilt on site. Amazing work done by the GETO team, and Lead Architect of the main data center Dan Anderson.  There were actually 3 data centers that year.  We had the Super Rack in the VMworld booth, immortalized by being architected on the “back of a napkin” by Tim Myers, and the third data center supported the self paced labs that had expanded from Workstation/ACE in 2005 to cover a majority of VMware’s product line, delivered to personalized workstations that were re-imaged after each student completed their lab.  A precursor to what is now the main format of the labs being served from VMware’s own OneCloud.

I would have to say, the best part of my time at VMware was in support of the Hands on Labs.  The relationships formed with colleagues you would not have otherwise worked with and the incredible amount of innovation that took place once everyone arrived on site, about 3 days before showtime, was amazing.

On to the present:

Some of the coolest things I’ve seen so far were not on my initial list.  The new features coming up in Fusion look to ease some of the current annoyances.

Not only menu driven cloning, but my personal favorite Linked Cloning as a menu option.  Why this feature is not better represented in vSphere, never made sense to me, so it’s great to see it becoming more and more present in Fusion and I’ve used it in Workstation for as long as I can remember.

Some other cool new features:
Create OSX  VMs from the recovery partition.  No need to download and extract the InstallESD.dmg.
The ability to restart and boot to BIOS
vmrun functionality extended to check for tools install / get ip address of the guest
Expiring VMs. Reminds me of another product…. what was it…. oh yeah,, ACE!

One of my latest shiny objects is Vagrant.  Fusion (and Workstation) can now be used as Vagrant providers via plug-ins.  This integration, while not 100% is still awesome!  Something I use everyday. More on Vagrant in future posts.

While I still flip over to Workstation on Linux,  because it’s an amazing tool in and of itself, Fusion is coming along, and the Fusion team has done a great job of listening to customer requests and pain points, and have implemented some of these changes in the upcoming version.

Another personal annoyance I am happy to say goodbye to is the prompting to authenticate a booting ESXi VM to allow it to use promiscuous mode for each NIC. Woo Hoo!

And if I understood correctly, one of my other favorite tools, Converter, has been updated to support Windows 8.1

Awesome job by the Fusion team.

I couldn’t get into the Workstation session, but will be downloading the public beta this weekend to have a look at.

I stopped by the booth of Air VM and spoke to Joshua Vautour, the President & CEO, about their product.  For years I have been looking for a Dashboard that was extensible, and provided a framework that I could add in the things I saw as important for tenants to use. They have a great looking dashboard for multi-tenant use.  Very easy to use and it looks great.  Check it out @ http://airvm.com.

I didn’t get to see Nick Weaver and Nan Liu’s presentation due to logistical reasons, but did catch Alan Renouf’s PowerCLI Deep Dive, and Alan along with Thomas Corfmat talking about Automating the SDDC with vCAC.  Which was great!  vCAC incorporates vCO and AppD, the tools I use for blueprinting and orchestration.

I also caught Alan and Luc Dekens PowerCLI deep dive repeat session.  Alan has convinced me to keep PowerCLI as part of my VMware toolset. The session was great and I hear he has a Fling coming out that will plug-in to the vSphere Web Client, making running your PowerCLI scripts even easier to use.

Last of the day was Dan Wendlandt and Scott Lowe demoing OpenStack on vSphere.  Despite losing network connectivity Scott did a great job winging it and Dan’s enthusiasm for OpenStack was infectious.  I am hoping to do more work with these technologies in the future.

Dan also announced a new Fling called VOVA.  Which deploys OpenStack to a vSphere environment.  Find more information here: http://tinyurl.com/nkee7m4

I love that VMware has embraced OpenStack and is working towards defining how to take advantage of what used to be two separate technology directions, and integrate them to be consumed as complimentary tools in an ever changing industry landscape.

Hope you all had as much fun as I did!

Watch for me & @VMtrooper on #EngineeringUpplugged with @Commsninja.  Coming soon…

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