Mar 162012

Well after a mental few weeks I have finally got the time to sit in front of the laptop and write up my VFD round up. I had planned to do a daily write up like Rodney Haywood but, like many of the other delegates, by the end of the day I was excused.

The 2 days consisted of 07:15 kick off and 19:00 ish finish. I am not so proud to say that the days were draining, especially battling the Jetlag. The conversation and tech that was on show was enough to keep me going however and it was highly stimulating throughout.

NOTE: I would just like to say a massive thanks to Steve Foskett and Matt Simmons for putting on and organising the event, they did a top job and even though Steve couldn’t make it was still a great event. I met some top guys in their field and also made one or two friends I will be keeping in touch with.


the MR Foskett shrine

Day 0:

I arrived at the hotel about midday and battled the jetlag and avoided going for a nap. All the delegates meet up in the hotel and then went on to a restaurant for a get to know you session. I knew Mike Laverick from the London VMUG and VMworld attendances so it was good to have a someone to talk to, especially as Mike seems to know everyone anyway so its good way to get introduced. Prior to flying out all the delegates were asked to bring a present for everyone that represented their home town. While everyone else brought clever and cool presents my SAFC key ring seemed a little underwhelming although it was a good way to get a little background on each of the guys.

Day 1:

Everyone was keen to get going and first up was Symantec, bit before dive into that I need to mention our mode of transportation.


As you can see we went in relative style. Smile


We arrived at the Symantec offices first thing on Thursday and after a little breakfast were put straight to work. The day was split between Netbackup and Backup Exec. I must confess I was a little suppressed that this was all Symantec chose to cover on the day and not here application streaming or anti-virus technology, which for a virtualisation crowd may have been more apt.


The Netbackup presentation also covered some of the more high level tech that fits into both products. V-Ray seemed interesting as it could give visibility into the types of data being backed up within a VM while also providing Unified protection, file & application recovery, deduplication and automated tearing. This did however remind me somewhat of the Veeam ONE ‘Solution’ stack.

To be honest there were only a few moments where I thought the product line may be superior, for a virtual environment, than some of the other on the market.

Once cool thing which caught my attention was in the Next release Netbackup will have vCD integration – Symantec will release a multi tenant restore capability for VMware vCloud environments. Also I thought that the upcoming backup performance analyser will be a useful feature.

OST – open storage technology. – so they can backup to cloud. – Netbackup records where it is in the cloud (they have control over it in the cloud).

Accelerator – uses netbackup special client – does the catalogue process on the media server rather than the client. – NBU backup takes over 1 hour. Accelerator reduces that to 50 seconds (change block tracking in the VM its self)


netbackup appliances: NetBackup 5220 & NetBackup 5020 (5220 shown in pic)


Backup Exec is getting a facelift. The new GUI looks very good and provides alot of information to the backup admin.

Other cool things:

Its getting a VC plugin.

The Netbackup section of the presentation took considerably longer that the backup exec which you may expect. However one thing that would become obvious (especially for those who watched the stream) was the death by powerpoint that we were subjected to. I lost count at over 70 slides so by the end of our 4 hours at Symantec my attention had defiantly wandered.



Its fair to say everyone was blown away with Zerto. They covered pretty much what was in their 2.0 release (which was not out yet).

So Zerto were started by the guys who build recoverpoint and then sold it to EMC, so I think there background has the right foundations.

Heres the main bits I picked up:

  • Zerto 2.0 – Cloud BC/DR Platform
  • DR as a service (private cloud to public cloud)
  • Zerto – across the WAN for private to public cloud
  • REPLICATION IS IN THE WRONG PLACE – move replication from storage to hypervisor
  • Moving to the virtualisation stack was the same thing happened to network etc (1kv)
  • VMware support only, road mapped for other hypervisors.
  • Shifting block by block – not snapshots (vmware or storage vendor) built-in wan compression & throttling – target has a journal based any point in time recovery – no snapshot.
  • Application Protection – Virtual Protection Group
  • consistently protecting the group of VMs
  • Automation – Failover, Failback, Recovery
  • RTO = Mins
  • Automated recovery – with IP re-config and custom scripts
  • True multisite multi-tenancy support different storage, different VMware versions (licencing), shared inf.
  • Zerto accessed through a  plugin in VC.



Last vendor of the day was Xangati, I already knew a little about them from the VMworld show and the VMworld labs.


  • cross silo, COLLECT – servers, network, storage, End Points.
  • Monitoring needs to be live & continuous
  • javaapplet for the dashboard
  • direct integration with View and Citrix
    • I though this was very important with the likes of VXI.
  • end user interrogation based on the user directly



First I have to say my storage knowledge is not the best however even I could recognise that these guys knew there blocks Smile

The first thing that struck me was the level of backing


Its fair to say that they have some very smart and powerful people behind them with some fairly but purse string. So that grabbed me that people that know what they are talking about want in on Purestorage.

The did a good ‘apples to oranges’ comparison of the traditional Tiered based storage and there Flash answer. This got the delegates asking well what about ‘Apples for Apples’. Purestorage are differentiated by their “

purity operating environment”.


Ill drill into Purestorage a little more in focused post but its safe to say I liked what capabilities it could offer and the for a reasonable price point. We will see if it comes to anything in the real world as its still in Beta at the moment so they are still on the starting blocks but they could make some serious headway.

Pivot 3

So Pivot 3 offer a rebadged Dell 2U server with some cool technology that allows you to aggregate the shared storage across the local storage of up to 8 servers. It uses a virtual appliance to aggregate the storage and does some funky stuff with the RAID (essentially presents one raid array across the servers). The also have some cool way of deploying VMware View in under an hour from unpacking the box. They even brought a server in the box and had a guy building it out while the presentation went on they we all connected to the image at the end of the presentation.

What did I think about that? well I didn’t get what they were trying to achieve. Yes SANless VDI is nice and I got that part but I think that this product being so targeted at SMB and being so specific, I just struggle to see the long term value in the architecture. It will not be long until VMware develop View enough to have SANless or even Diskless VDI so I struggle with it a little.

Don’t get me wrong though I am sure it will be a good fit for some education and other customers but I see it as a short term VDI bandwagon follower that has limited long term aspirations.


Mike managed to persuade Vaughn Stewart to let me go along to a comedy club. It was great and here’s a pic of me and Bobcat Goldthwait.


Check out what the other delegates thought.

Delegate List

Delegates are selected by the Field Day Delegate community. For more information on our selection process, please see our page about becoming a Field Day Delegate.

Edward Haletky
The Virtualization Practice

Rodney Haywood
Musings of Rodos

Bill Hill
Virtual Bill

Mike Laverick
RTFM Education

Dwayne Lessner
IT Blood Pressure

Scott Lowe
Virtualization Admin

Roger Lund

Robert Novak

Brandon Riley
Virtual Insanity

Todd Scalzott
Don’t Call Me Scott

Rick Schlander
Virtualization with VMware Technology

Chris Wahl
Wahl Network

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