Oct 222014

One thing was obvious at VMworld Europe this year, the amount of solutions based on end to end pre-defined architectures was staggering. Converged Infrastructure (CI) has never been so high on the agenda but with the announcement of EVO:RAIL CI now on the lips of everyone from C-Level execs to the Joe Admin at the coal face.

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This was a real eye opener for me personally. I have spent the last 4 to 5 years on booths trying to explain to people what CI is and why its not just a ‘marking’ play. (though some CI is just that). To have most people come to the VCE booth this year already with the concepts behind CI in their heads and how it can benefit their business was fantastic and allowed for real solution focused conversations. This was the moment that really showed me that CI here to stay and is how companies will deploy their infrastructure in the future.

Pretty much everyone that came to the booth had a similar message from walking the floor though. “Every vendor is saying they have THE ANSWER, but not just one answer they have several, im so confused”. After walking the floor and knowing the CI and wider industry how I do, i cant say i blame them. There is so much choice that people are stuck seeing trees but missing the wood.

I came across this quote on wikipedia from The Paradox of Choice

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.

—quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004

This really does ring true with the current state of the industry IMO. CI is bad enough right now as a competitive space with different ways to cut the cake, but add in all the IaaS, PaaS, SDN, SNS, 3rd platform this and that etc that everyone and their dog are offing a layer on the cake and you have a critical mass of confusion. Even vendors that offer a single 2u CI offering are bundling in everything under the sun as standard and then some more on top as options.

How companies approach support, operate, maintenance, upgrades, patchs etc etc when faced with such complexity is without doubt the challenge. Speeds and feeds along with general capability are obviously important but even if you treat the tin as commodity those soft issues are not to be shirked and are the main concern at large enterprises and SPs, especially at the C-Level.

One of the benefits of going CI is simplicity both from a tin/software perspective but also from a high level ops view. I’m always honest with people I talk to. If, for example, you want the latest Haswell Chip the day after a Cisco GAs it then VCE and Vblock may not be for you as it undermines the values of Vblock and increases the risk. Not every version of every product from the VCE investor companies (yes Cisco is still and investor before anyone things of a cheeky comment) can be integrated as we would be testing for in an infinite loop and never release a product. So we streamline those choices while trying not to impede on that autonomy and freedom that choice brings.

The market in general is in a state of flux. No one quite knows what the future will hold. Its becoming quite obvious (to me at least) that the whole world will not be dominated by the likes of AWS and Azure anytime soon (perhaps when my son starts work it will be, he’s 6 btw). So there will undoubtedly be some natural thinning in the marketplace i feel in the near to mid future. Bets are being hedged and people are starting to make decisions but in my humble opinion companies will be struggling with Confusion, Complexity and vendor Sprawl for some time to come.

Obviously, i think im work for a company with the right approach. But this is not a sales post, just a general observation of the market and the complexity companies are facing on a day to day basis.

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Aug 292011

Its fair to say compared to my pervious experience with VMworld’s in Europe that Las Vegas 2011 is on a massive scale.

Being a blogger means I get an amazing seat for the keynote and facilities for the keynote speech from Paul Maritz. Its been a big year for VMware and I’m hoping that the excitement is not over just yet with maybe a new announcement or two.


Hopefully you you will get a summary of the main points from the keynote.



Its fair to say VMware have upped the game on their keynote promo vids this year. A very futuristic almost matrixy feel to it.


(pic of Paul on the big screen)

Labs overview:

  • pure public cloud lab model expecting over 200k VMs created.
  • World VMUG users now 60,000 strong

Some other interesting points:

  • VMworld 2012 is in San Fran Aug 27-30, for me this is great as I have heard nothing but good things about San Fran. Vegas is great though Winking smile
  • More than half of all servers being deployed today are VMs. This is a big milestone in the Virtualisation world.
  • A new VM born every 6 seconds.
  • 20 millions VMs currently running around the world.
  • At any point in time there are more VMs being vmotioned than planes in flight around the world.
  • There are over 68000 VCPs. Last I heard this was 30k so this is a big jump. It makes me a feel a little less special.

Unfolding the Cloud era:

  • “the next major round of integration between enterprise IT and consumer driven change”, “we will re-define IT over the coming decade”. Both very bold statements but I cant help but agree this is where IT is going. Working for a solutions provider I can see this at the cole face and while it is a little while away I think it is where things are going.
  • Billions of new users and devices coming into play, in 3 years less than 20% will be PCs and mainly dominated by other devices. 5 years ago this would have been a radical thought but with the consumer market changing the way they consume applications it makes a PC look archaic.
  • New programming frameworks and datafabrics are key to the future of cloud.
  • Invest in new and renewed applications. Stu Radnidge hit on this in a recent London VMUG and for me this is the biggest hurdle to cloud computing. Getting developers to change their mentality is difficult but shoots seem to be breaking though.
  • Existing client applications are going to be around for a long time, virtualisation enable this as it can be applied in a non disruptive way until the applications can be re-written to cloud optimised applications.
  • Automation to allow the operational efficiency will be the next step on from the Automation of hardware. Not automating operational functions means that cloud become a non starter.
  • In 2009 Paul announced 4.0, In 2010 he announced 4.1, 2011 he announced 5.0 – vSphere 5 needed an overlapping development effort. (1 million engineering hours, 2 million QA hours, 200 new features, 2000 partner certification)
  • the VMware Cloud suite of applications are vCloud driector 1.5, vSheild 5.0, VC opetations 1.0, SRM 5.0 – the aim is for the verson numbers will match by 5.1.
  • Global Connect – Consortium of cloud companies (I mentioned this on the Live Convergence Tech Talk Podcast).
  • New product lines – VMware essentials (Datacenter in a Box using the storage appliance) and VMware Go.
    • VMware go is SaaS services fegor SMB – 100ks of people taking it up. it helps the SMBs to get fully set up after a free vSphere hypervisors.
  • Knowing what the new generation of programmers are doing enables VMware to provide what they need. vFabric – in memory database (gemfabric), datadirector – vFabric postgress. (database optimisation that will help the database vendors).
  • cloud foundry – how applications will be written in the future.
    • microclud – cloud foundry on a memory stick.

View 5.0:

  • Bandwidth Improvements
  • Client Ubiquity – view clients on almost any device
  • Integration with VoIP/UC

These are the highlights I picked up on. There were more bit mentioned in the presentations but these are the bits I found interesting. I recommend checking out he recording when it is published.

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Aug 052011

After some uncertainty I have finally been able to pin down my trip to the US VMworld show.

This is my first ever US VMworld and I can’t wait. I have previously been to the last 2 VMworld Europe events and got a lot out of them. With the US show being first in line, so close to the Europe show and on a much bigger scale I am expecting to gain much more from the event.

This year also sees my first vExpert year, and along with the sessions, labs and solutions exchange I also have a ton of vExpert stuff to fit in. It’s fair to say my diary is completely packed.

I’m looking forward to the sessions I have signed up for as the subjects and speakers are should be amazing.

I’ll try to get along to as many tweetups etc as possible to try to meet as many people as I can that I know or follow virtually.

If you are going I hope to see you there. 🙂

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Oct 162010

So another VMworld Europe is over and the majority of attendees will be left with a sense of satisfaction and a slightly painful hangover. Also some with iPads, net-books and countless T-shirts, USB keys, pens and even sponsored energy drinks.

This years show was widely criticized when it was announced for being so close to the main event in San Fran and it was anticipated that the number of attendees and vendors would have been effected. This was true to a certain extent but other factors compensated.

The good:

Tech Preview

The technology presented by VMware at this show was not the staggering list of features and new products we had in Cannes however it was more than enough to get our teeth into. The focus was mainly around vCD and its peripherals (vSheild, Chargeback, Networking etc etc). We also saw plenty on View 4.5 and its evolution. I also particularly liked the look of project ‘Horizon’ which will be VMware SaaS solution arriving some time next year.

The vendors had plenty of tech to keep us all interested between Breakout Sessions and it was interesting to see how the landscape is changing from a vendor perspective. Some very interesting solutions to the old VDI I/O bottle neck issue seemed to grab my attention and the guys at Atlantis Computing were on the full marketing warpath. I also liked what HP/3par are trying to do and the direction that venture takes will be hugely interesting and could make a huge mark in the VDI space. Perhaps is the tide is theoretical tide is swinging back towards SAN than local disk?? I think I’m edging into dangerous territory and getting away from the point….

I’m a big fan of UCS and that and he vBlock were really interesting to get a good look at in the flesh. While im not as much of an ITIL guru as Steve Chambers (anyone following Steve will know this) I am still very much of that way of thinking so Service Manager really captured my attention and vCloud request manager also looked to fit the cloud model very well.

Attendee figures

Paul Maritz announced that this has topped 6000, a record for the Europe event.

Vendor attendance

Compared to the Cannes show last year (seems allot longer) I did not notice a great deal of vendors (that I cared about anyway) being missing from the event.


Copenhagen is an inspiring an beautiful city with excellent transport and plenty of accommodation. Its night life left there to be plenty to do outside the event.

2010-10-14 09:41:58 +0200

Solutions Exchange

Overall the Bella Centre was more that adequate for the event. As it was scaled down somewhat this year there was more than enough room to host such an event.


This year seemed to have more vendor parties than ever. I was pressed frequently by attractive young girls trying to get me to go their party. It was plainly obvious that those girls wouldn’t actual be there though.  I hit the VMUG party on the Monday evening and the Veeam party Wednesday and despite the tiredness had a great time at both.

2010-10-14 09:41:31 +0200


This year year in San Fran we saw the Labs being delivered by a cloud service provider for the very first time. This theme was continued in Copenhagen and I was very pleased to see that the Lab team reached there goals on VMs created and destroyed and people attending.

I found the labs them selves to work very well and they were responsive and I had not issue. One person next to me had all sorts of issues however and had to keep getting an engineer over to help, I initially though bad things about the lab he was doing but when he asked what ‘putty’ was and what ‘ssh’ was to the response to his first question I realised it was more likely user error.

2010-10-15 23:32:50 +0100

Breakout Sessions

I really liked the format of a few of the breakouts where it was basically an intimate 15 or 20:1 ratio to the tech lead. This was far for more informative and I felt I got an honest and frank answer to most of the questions I asked. I also like the ‘Who want to be a millionaire style surveys at the beginning.

Social Media and Bloggers Lounge

I was blown away by this as I did not expect there to be level of attention around this. I always knew that this area was popular and the amount of people trying to get into the social scene (me included) has exploded in the last 18 months (I think I may have said that in my interview a few times haha). You only have to look at the VMUGs and there popularity along with the vbeers events to see how much people enjoy spending time in the company of like minded people.

I was very pleased to have been involved with this and meet some really cool (geek cool that is) people that I will defiantly keep in contact with.

2010-10-15 23:34:21 +0100

The bad:

Tech Preview

While there was plenty to consider with the announcements (specifically Horizon, View 4.5 and vCD) there was no getting away from the fact these technologies had been announced and being used for a fair number of weeks. This gave enough time for everyone to find the failures and missing features that most VMworld’s would not experience. I know I may be a minority on this looking at the % of attendees but the advanced guys were all feeling a little deflated. As a result the Breakout Session often felt like pure marketing and not technical. Perhaps I’m being a little over critical here but I can not honestly say I went away thinking I have learned anything new that I didn’t already know from reading the announcements or playing with the products prier to the show.

Breakout Sessions

As a result of the lack of technology announcements the Breakout Session often felt like pure marketing and not technical. Perhaps I’m being a over critical here but I can not honestly say I went away thinking I have learned anything new that I didn’t already know from reading the announcements, documentation or playing with the products prier to the show.


While on the whole i liked the labs and there structure I thought that the queues were allot worse than Cannes. This is in part to the ‘cloud’ way it was done, Cannes had separate banks of desks for each lab. This meant that if you arrived at a lab that had a huge queue you could do your second or 3rd choice. I found the queuing in Copenhagen frustrating and as a result I didn’t get as many labs done as Id have liked. Many be if id been more dedicated then id have arrived at 8 every day.


While I dont think the venue was bad I though the food was a far cry to that in Cannes. Im not a fussy eater however the lack of variety and the peculiar food combinations meant that I was left with bagels most days. When I did try the hot food (lamb curry I think) it was warm at best.


The main party lacked something this year while basically a similar setup to the Cannes (games machines etc) it lacked a certain intimacy you got at last years venue and felt a little like we were all cattle in a barn being made to force drink and much larger as possible. Not to say i didn’t at least try and drink as much as i could ;-). Id say the place was only half full by 10:30 as most vendors had dragged people off to bars. Also the pre main event entertainment was a little boring and the 60’s theme was very odd. On the bright side I was with great company and any party is only as good as what you make it.

Solution Exchange

Much smaller exchange from Cannes. While I don’t think there was a radically reduced vendor attendance the size of the booths were much reduced. As was the free gifts. The iPad giveaways from the bigger vendors draw crowds but the usual gift were reduced to pens and hats.

The not so great:

Simons pink, flowery shirt.

Celebrity spotting (Simon Long)

and my interview.

David Owen (@vMackem) on VMwareTV

Suggestions For 2011

All in all I enjoyed this years VMworld immensely and most of the bad points I highlighted are not issues I would think would put me off. If I had to say which was the best out of Cannes and Copenhagen I would probably have to give it to Copenhagen. The whole social networking scene has made it impossible (if you wanted to that is) not so have access to even the most famous faces in the industry.

I’m fairly confident that Copenhagen has been booked in for next year so I’m not going to suggest changing that however I feel the following would make the experience better:

  • At least having one big announcement at the Europe event. This wont leave us feeling like the poorer cousins over the pond.
  • Placing twitter names and blog addresses clearly on the badges. While not everyone have these it would be great for those that do to identify people from there virtual persona.
  • Have the labs accessible through wireless and allow people to use their laptops throughout the venue. Thee wireless was pretty good (apart form the odd drop outs) so I think this would be achievable with some reconfiguration on the lab side.
  • Split the party into multiple rooms like Cannes.

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Oct 132010

I had to chuckle to myself when i saw this as I hate hearing my own voice but am very pleased they used me in this video.

I must confess Kendrik has a much better speaking voice then I do. Despite me being in this video its a great advert for the blogging and general social community.
I hope everyone keeps up the good work and keeps sharing the wealth of information with the world.

I’m about 4:55 mins in.

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Oct 132010

I had a really good Breakout Session today with the title of “Self Service and Workflow automation in the private cloud”. While workflow tools are in an abundance at the moment I was quite impressed with how VMware are positioning them selves with this tool and also the apparent ease you can use these tools out the box.

The presentation focused on 2 products from VMware:

  • Service Manager (formally Ionix Infra)
  • Request Manager (a specially developed workflow management tool built from the Service Manager tool)

The Fundamental concepts of both products are:

Self service
  • Drives efficiencies of data collection
  • Basis for freedom of choice
  • Approval mechanisms
  • Licence association
Vmware service manager:


This product is not specific to the cloud and covers allot more of the ITIL based concepts like configuration management, asset management etc. Additionally it allows users to self service ‘on boarding’ processes and allows for strict workflow and baseline templates through a service catalogue.

The workflow manager GUI allows admins to create bespoke workflows for the business needs.
The key to being able to fit this product into an existing business are the ‘connectors’. These connectors allow interfaces to not only other VMware products like capacityIQ but practically any database of service app can be contacted (with some modification potentially)

Request manager


Request Manager is a cut down version of Service Manager however it has been optimised to fit the Cloud strategy. When I say cloud I mean vCD.

The key features:

  • Provisioning with approvals
  • Software licensing tracking
  • Policy based cloud partitioning.
  • Templates.
  • Uses cloud API


The model for both products are very similar but the more specific Request manager ties directly into the vCD API.

I am familiar with Dynamic Ops VRM which is based on windows workflow and this is a very similar product to Service Manager and it will be interesting if a 3rd party like Dynamic Ops can make any headway against VMware on these products. As impressed as I was with the products today I still feel a small 3rd party has the flexibility to diversify and adapt to changes in business procedures and requirements that perhaps a larger one can not. I plan to do a comparison between the Dynamic Ops VRM and Service Manager to see which I prefer in the real world.

Over all this was the bet breakout session I have been to and I can see real world applications for this. Overall I have been a little disappointed with the Breakout Sessions up to now but this one was excellent.

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Oct 132010

“The Evolutionary Path to a Revolutionary Approach to IT”

Today is the first day of the conference proper today and to kick it all off is the keynote speeches from Paul Maritz, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Steve Herrod, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of R&D.
They are presenting the “VMware vision for IT as a Service, and plan to demonstrate new virtualization and cloud computing technologies enabling modern infrastructures, application platforms and end-user computing.”

Opening Video –

The opening video mainly focused about what is cloud? There were several references to the Matrix in the video (the Oracle and the bullet dodging screen springs to mind).

One thing that I was very interested in this year was the attendance due this conference being so close to the main vmware event in San Fran.

Bellow are the attendance figures:

2008 – 4500

2009 – 4700

2010 – 6000


I’m sure its been well publicised that the labs this year are operated as part of a cloud. This was championed in the key note as being significant proof that cloud works and works well. (Ill be sitting the labs tomorrow so ill let you know if they got there).

Interesting things to note:

  • Developers moving to spring source and ruby on rails etc. This is to provide new enterprise in applications going forward.
  • One thing that that grabbed my attention was Paul’s comment that the operating system will be much less prevelent in the cloud, not that the operating system will be going away but will become just a background feature in the cloud.
  • It looks like if cloud really takes off then SaaS will really pick up pace and this is event in the way VMware are positioning there development
  • VMware are now trying unify the gadget world and as they acknowledge that different ways of accessing systems are going to be even more diverse in years to come.
  • Integrien is a company that VMware acquired that does, in my opinion, long over due advanced – monitoring at a glance. The screen shots that were in the keynote kind of reminded me of Quests Spotlight but that can only be a good thing as i like spotlight.
  • One thing Paul mentioned that looked really cool was that they have got an app that will let you use your iPad to manage vCenter this may not change the way we administer our environments but its a good step in the right direction.
  • Service catalogue in the cloud. Its a little like an App Store but for server and desktop OS and applications.
  • Virtual datacenters, gold, bronze and silver pools of resource can be derived from a very large pool of resources. It can also utilize service providers to run the applications, its depending on the model and costing (this is a hybrid cloud).
  • Chargeback charges for what users use not just a one off fee.

VMware have a new high-level 3 part methodology

Cloud infrastructure and management
  • Vsphere,
  • Vcenter,
  • Vcd,
  • Vshield
New application platforms
Vmware vFabric:
  • Salesfource(vmforce), google app engine, csc net classv fabric cloud.
  • Java is big at the moment but expect announcement around adding languages to the platform.
End user computing.
  • Vmware view 4.5 – local mode. Costs? Can cost less than lowest end pcs
  • Project horizon.
    • Policy application management.
    • I am very interested how they are gonignt o manage non SaaS applicaions, ThinApp perhaps?
  • Horizon on iPad. Looks very cool and very easy usability. (Expect to hear alot more about project Horizon in the coming months)

vCD demo:
I have had a look at vCD before however it was a good opportunity to see a configured environment and see how it should be used properly. I know they used the LabMager technology for vCD but webinterface is very similar. I know that the VMware guys hate me saying that vCD is labmanger with lots of bells and whistles but at the end of the day that’s all it is.

Check out the key note speeches yourself at http://www.vmworld.com/community/conferences/europe2010/generalsessions

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