Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: VMWare

vSphere App for iPad Download


Whilst we all await the “official” vSphere administration app for the iPad, as previewed at VMworld I found myself needing something to control my home vSphere lab environment from my shiny new iPad.

The iPad has now integrated itself as the device of choice with my wife & kids and is in regular use as a web-browser and media-player in the living room at home rather than laptops so this seemed like a logical extension

A quick browse of the iTunes store turned up iDatacenter, whilst not cheap at 8.99 GBP it works well in my testing as a basic administration interface to my lab and allows me to reboot guests/hosts as well as kick off vMotion and storage vMotion tasks.

It doesn’t offer a remote console or any historical performance graphing but it is good for basic administration tasks and looking at current statistics like CPU, memory and disk space – which is handy as my home lab currently has 21 ESX hosts and 54 “production” virtual machines Smile

The following photo shows a quick view of the interface, my only minor gripe is that it doesn’t seem to recognise clusters as a management object – just individual ESX hosts or virtual machines and it can be a little bit slow at times, but those aside it’s worth checking out if you have this sort of requirement.


The application home-page is here and there is a video demonstrating the key features.

Carolina VMware User Summit in Charlotte, NC


Bit of a change of location for this week as I find myself at the Carolina VMware User Summit (VMUG) meeting in Charlotte, NC. (for anyone else not from here; you can familiarise yourselves with NC at Wikipedia like I did :)).

First impressions for this event are that wow, it’s BIG – for any London VMUG’ers this is at least 10 times at big probably more. If it helps frame the session for us Europeans, if you’ve ever been to TechEd Europe in recent years- the main hall and seating is probably the same size as the lunch halls in Barcelona with a bunch of break-out rooms.

There was a great turn-out with a number of vendors sponsoring and exhibiting as well as a number of well respected industry experts, as I think Chad Sakac pointed out, this is almost a mini-VMworld!

The opening keynote by Scott Davis, CTO Desktops at VMware covered view and VMware’s aspirations for enabling desktop as a Service (DaaS) with VMware view, there was nothing new here, but it was good to get it laid out

One point that I did pick up on I that there still won’t be any offline Mac support in view 4.5, this seems like a high-demand feature to me, given the number of Macs I see in corporate environments these days is multiplying exponentially, Fusion VMs still lack a centralised command and control infrastructure outside of normal AD and Group Policy for "corporate" Windows VMs.

Then Nexus 1000v Architecture and Deployment Jason Nash from varrow his blog is here and he has some excellent articles on implementing the Nexus 1000v (NX1k)

Varrow have done a number of deployments of the NX1k, and some interesting points and gotchas I noted from the presentation as are follows;

Why are people implementing the NX1k? The typical use-case is for your network team to be able to use familiar tools to manage, configure and maintain the environment.

However an interesting operational point for non NX1K environments is that if you need to do a packet-level debug of a problem or have a packet-level IPS type device that works via a span-port on a traditional vSwitch in a DRS cluster you will loose visibility of the traffic if your VM moves to an alternative host through vMotion or HA, in the NX1K world everything moves with the VM.

Upstream physical Cisco switches are not absolutely required for the NX1k to function but it enables useful functions like CDP which are really useful where there are multiple layers of abstraction.

There are essentially 2 components of the NX1k both of which are implemented as virtual machines

Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM), typically 2 for redundancy in an active/passive configuration – these control configuration and management of the virtual Cisco switches, analogous to Cisco Supervisor line-cards for the Catalyst range of chassis switches. Most people implement these as DRS/HA enabled virtual machines.

Virtual Ethernet Module) one instance runs on each ESX node participating in a cluster with a NX1K dvSwitch

There is also a physical appliance for running the VSM, the Nexus 1010 which is a re-branded Cisco UCS200 rack server that can run up to 4 instances of a VSM, and there is likely to be a future implementation that fits into a chassis type switch as a blade, however the majority of customer implementations have been using VSMs running on a DRS/HA enabled vSphere cluster as the actual resource/supportability requirements don’t typically require a dedicated appliance.

One of the most common problems seen "in the field" come from a loss of control traffic between the VSM and VEM,which can result in modules going offline or "flaky" functionality

VSM<—>VEM comms – uses 2 x L2 VLAN to work they can both live on same VLAN but this isn’t best-practice

Control = heartbeat between VSM and VEM

Packet = CDP, IGMP, SNMP, netflow/span

Both need to be trunked across ALL switches.

In the UI and command-line "ethernet" denotes a physical network connection, "vethernet" surfaces in vSphere as a port-group with associated QoS policy.

The VEM can be patched using VMware Update Manager (VUM) but it sometimes NX1k releases don’t appear on the VUM list for several days after release, so be sure to check.

Many customers keep non-VM access networks, such as COS, vMotion on traditional non-NX1KV switches to remove any scope for a configuration error totally knocking out access – something I’ve written about before on this post

Next up was Mike DiPetrillo (Global Cloud Architect with VMware twitter/Blog – “All about VMware vCloud”

Mike covered off the key concepts behind cloud and VMware’s view; I’ve written about this before so I won’t recount it here again.

Some interesting points I noted;

There is a different/hybrid skill-set for people working with cloud, it’s less about silo’ing and people need to evolve or be left behind

Networking – it all needs to be plumbed together, automation is needed

Storage – to design and operate at scale in a flexible manner

Programming/Automation – to create/maintain automation at scale

Servers – manage/maintain at scale

Virtualization – to enable flexibility

People are moving to “cloud” in the same way they moved to server virtualization, test & development first, gaining comfort before moving to production, this is something I’ve definitely seen played out in my line of work.

The technical “stuff” behind cloud is pretty easy, it’s servers, storage, virtualization. networking – the hard stuff is gluing it all together and automating it to achieve the self-service type functionality (either internally or for the public) – this “orchestration” is the complicated part.


There was then a vExpert Panel discussion between the following luminaries,

Scott Lowe (EMC) Blog/Twitter

Mike Laverick (Independent) Blog/Twitter

Chad Sakac (EMC) Blog/Twitter

Vaughn Stewart (NetApp) Blog/Twitter

And moderated by Rich Bramley Blog/Twitter

A lot of the chat was pretty much storage focused with Chad [EMC] and Vaughn [NetApp] although it didn’t end up in a fight, the general consensus was that deep-array integration is a good thing to make things easier to operate and manage and EMC and NetApp are leading the way with their code and vStorage API Integration.

It was interesting although, I would like to have seen a wider discussion but those were the questions posed. I also think storage choice is not just a black or white decision (shirt-colour pun intended :))


And, finally Chad Sakacc did a great session titled “Infrastructure Technologies for VMware and the Private Cloud”

Chad’s a great presenter and this has been covered elsewhere on the Internet by a lot of the vSpecialist team but the key points for me were.

EMC plug-ins for EMC array’s are freely downloadable for EMC customers and partners, if you use the Celerra VSA you can play with this yourself now, on your own laptop – see Nick’s Uber VSA here the coolest part was that using the plug-ins you can configure LUNs and storage on your array from within vCenter- handy for a lab or smaller shop where you may not have a dedicated “storage guy”. – you can see some demos and get more info on these plugins on Chad’s blog here

One thing I like about Chad is he is a geek, so understands people want to see demos, not just slides and he had a good deck of pre-recorded demo’s of the cooler EMC technologies like the VM teleporter and the “upcoming, soon to be released super-secret, VMware vCloud product that cannot be named, but has been” 🙂

There was also a demo of the an upcoming release of the EMC Ionix product, which allows auto-discovery of vBlock infrastructure and “a single pane of glass” for administering all aspects of a vBlock – UCS blades (via service profiles), storage and networking.

Ionix + upcoming secret VMware vCloud product seem to solve some of the orchestration and provisioning difficulties that Mike DiPetrillo alluded to in his session and from what I see I now get it, very clever.

In summary, it was an enjoyable day and I had some great conversations with people in the “meet the experts” room, Next up for me is BriForum – and if I get time I’m going to get those EMC plug-ins configured with a Celerra VSA to show in my BriForum session next week.

**edited to fix some embarrassingly obvious typos! – I claim jetlag :)**

Are you running SRM? want to make the world a better place, and get a free copy of Mike Lavericks finest?


VMware are running a survey for SRM customers and donations will go to Mike’s chosen charity, UNICEF, all help appreciated – and you get a free PDF book, what more could you want? 🙂

Dear VMware Customer,

The VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) product team is looking for product feedback on SRM deployments. If you have purchased SRM, we would like to hear from you. Your participation will be very valuable to us and the information you provide will be used to improve the SRM product going forward.

The survey should take approximately 15 minutes. Upon completion of the survey, if you are among the 1st 1000 respondents, VMware will donate $10 per response to charity. You will also receive a link to download the electronic copy of Mike Laverick’s book "Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 4.0" upon completion of the survey.

We appreciate you taking the time to provide us with your valuable feedback.
Thank you,
The VMware SRM Team

Go to the survey here

And read more  information at these fine blogs;

Where Next for VMware Workstation?


I love VMware Workstation, I have used it since about 1999 when I was first introduced to virtualization and it totally revolutionised the way I did my home and work lab study and later production systems.

Since then it has always introduced new features with every version that seemed to be back-ported into the server products, as I understand it the record and replay features underpinned the code that became VMware Fault-Tolerance, and the same with linked-clones and thin-provisioning in vSphere.

There has been integration with developer environments for better debugging and I guess a lot of Workstation has gone into the Fusion product for the Mac – but it did get me thinking, where is next for Workstation – beyond the usual performance tweaks that seem to get make in every version?

What I think would be great, and it ties into my previous post on vendor hardware emulators is a pluggable hardware abstraction layer(HAL)/Driver architecture for VMware Workstation.


Workstation does a brilliant job at virtualizing x86/64 hardware and to-date that has been its primary task but I wonder if it could be expanded into a more modular architecture product to support wider development and use of other hardware platforms on x86/64.

There are many emulators available out there for developers for mobile phone chipsets, custom ASICs etc. but these are often hard to configure for the end-user and are very bespoke to the devices they are developed for.

With the amount of spare horsepower and low price-point available to commodity x86/64 hardware all it needs is a common virtualization/emulation product to unify it together and you have a very powerful product with a huge market, not only for developers but for operations people who no longer need a huge lab of bespoke hardware, mobile phones and devices to support end-users – it’s all available in a virtual machine.

Thinking slightly wider in scope, If it were also back-ported and integrated into future versions of the vSphere product line you have a very powerful back-end server product – VMware talk of the software mainframe, this is bringing what some mainframes currently do for virtualizing x86 server, but making it a MUCH wider application.

Whilst the initial pay-off would be with developer licenses rather than enterprise/large scale licensing agreements with Hyper V and Xen rapidly catching up on the Hypervisor front VMware need something cutting-edge to keep them ahead of the game, and consider the enterprise implications for this;

Lots of customers running workloads on SPARC hardware/OS – porting to x86 Solaris isn’t simple, is the cost/performance benefit still there for SPARC customers in the world of cheap and fast x64 hardware – emulating/virtualizing SPARC CPU workloads onto x64 could be a big draw for Sun customers, particularly with the Oracle acquisition and VMware targeting vSphere at large scale Oracle customers this could prove easier than porting legacy apps from SPARC in the same way virtualization has revolutionised the x86 server space.

Or an ESX cluster running a mix of x86/64, SPARC, ARM, iPhone, Set-Top Box, AS/400 virtual machine workloads – either as a test and dev, support or even production solution.

Sure, emulation has an overhead – so does virtualization but x86/64 hardware is cheap and off-the-shelf, add in a distributed ESX processing cluster (my thoughts on that here) and you could probably build something with equivalent or even better performance for less.

Interesting concept (to me anyway)… thoughts?

VMware Licensing for the vCloud..


I have been involved with VMware’s vCloud programme since it was announced late 2008, I was part of getting involved as one of a handful of partners on the launch-day and I have been doing private cloud work with customers since early 2008.

Whilst I was somewhat disappointed that as a smaller partner we were left out as VMware pressed on with the major partners and availability of information and tools were limited, it did eventually evolve into a set of emerging technology and products that we got access to.

One part of this that has troubled me for some time is licensing of VMware products for cloud/IaaS offerings, as an accredited VMware hosting provider we have access to service provider licensing (SPLA) for VMware products.

The concept of SPLA is simple, it’s a monthly rental of a product – the core VMware products being ESX and vCenter; the hoster pays VMware a monthly fee based on the peak number of virtual machines running in that month regardless of how many ESX installations/sockets/cores there are – this is a simple cost model for a hoster as the general unit of charging for an end-customer is a virtual machine over a period of time (the cost of which is made up of a slice of the supporting hardware/software/service-level).

As a service provider you want to minimise capital expenditure wherever possible, particularly when it comes to a cloud/IaaS model as there is often no long-term contractual  commitment for a customer, if they need 100 VM’s one month and 2 the following it’s your burden as a service provider to provide {via investment} that infrastructure and software; for smaller/niche/private cloud players this is an issue – unless you have a large-scale and diverse customer base this is a risky operation and often breaks the cloud business case for the end-customer as the provider has to build in recovery of investment.

Amazon do well in this space with EC2 because they have massive scale and diversity of customers across all industry sectors so most peaks and troughs of demand average out in the bigger picture (see: commoditization and utility – Nicholas Carr’s book “The big switch” covers this well, as does Cannonical’s Simon Wardley at various Cloudcamps)

In my experience this is a problem right now for service providers looking to build cloud services on vSphere/vCloud as very few of VMware’s ancillary products are available on their hosted/SPLA licensing scheme, last time I enquired it it is limited to ESX, View, vCenter and I believe SRM has recently been added.

Also, companies looking to build internal cloud services can only leverage this SPLA type of licensing when the service is hosted and resold from a service provider’s own data centre & infrastructure, rather than customer hosted equipment – this protects the revenue stream of service providers, but does it harm the longer term private cloud prospect, particularly with customers that have a regulatory or security need that prevents traditional outsourcing/hosting?

There are a number of products that would be ideal for cloud/IaaS providers to better manage and control their services, but these are currently only available on a perpetual basis with traditional per CPU socket licensing – this perpetual model is hard for smaller/niche service providers where the capacity planning cycle continually looks for ways to deliver the required service with less infrastructure or have requirements to re-provision servers between physical and virtual instances, or where kit is leased/rented to cover short-term projects and demands.

The products that I see being ideal for service providers, if they could be offered on a SPLA basis rather than perpetual are;

  • AppSense – this is almost a no-brainer; its a great way to manage end-end SLA for application delivery in a cloud platform.
  • Cisco NX1000V – most service providers have big, highly skilled network teams and complex multi-customer environments to manage; this is ideal Nexus territory
  • Chargeback – although I understand this is being built into the vCloud billing services, this has been available now for a while, and is a workable product to build billing systems.
  • Lab Manager – some of the tech seems to be getting merged into the vCloud services at some level, but self-service lab environments in a private-cloud scenario with some control over VM lease/retention is something people have been asking for.
  • CapacityIQ – designed for balancing load and capacity, important to a multi-tenant environment
  • ConfigControl (licensing not announced) – but you can definitely see the need for this in a large multi-tenant environment

Microsoft, to their credit have this absolutely nailed; their SPLA licensing model is very mature and has all the products from their vast catalogue, even if the Service Provider Usage Rights (SPUR) documents can get a bit complicated to read/digest, VMware have moved to a similar contractual model via resellers for the latest iteration of their hosted license agreement with a more flexible model to add products; but it’s not there yet.

Whilst from a commercial point of view SPLA licensing doesn’t have the “big deal” values in terms of upfront revenues to VMware’s sales force it’s a constant revenue stream, and generally everyone accepts that SPLA will be more expensive than perpetual licensing over a given period; but the increased cost reflects the flexibility/lack of commitment advantage.

Interestingly, it also makes it easier for service providers (and thus customers) to deploy VMware products in their own hosting platforms – easier to build a business case, less upfront sizing/capacity planning & forecasting, costs for growth are incremental and pure op-ex (it’s almost like a cloud within a cloud!).

So, by way of conclusion – whilst a lot of the products I’ve previously desired on SPLA (lifecycle manager, lab manager, Chargeback etc.) are being merged into the vCloud  “product” for service providers VMware should consider offering everything on a SPLA basis to hosters, and maybe even consider such a licensing scheme for customers own internal usage to bolster the private cloud model.

Subscribe to VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast in iTunes


I have been listening to some of the recent VMware communities roundtable podcasts, they are great for getting up to date with things in the car or on the train – but I could never find them via iTunes so I could automatically subscribe to it so was downloading via the TalkShoe page.

Fear not – this link will take you to a page where you can subscribe in iTunes with one button

Upgrading to a new PC in stages using VMware Converter


If like me you travel around a lot and are pretty busy finding the time to get a new laptop setup with all of the data and non-standard build software you require can be a time-consuming chore.

More often than not you will be upgrading to a new more powerful machine with larger disks (unless you are unlucky :)) rather than carrying around two laptops on a trip or risking going without a particular ready to go application why not consider P2V’ing your old laptop onto your new one?

I am doing just this at the moment, I got my new laptop before I had to head out for a couple of days, VMware Converter is a free download and it took me about 3hrs with a cross-over ethernet cable this evening to P2V my old Dell laptop into a virtual machine on my new HP one. and I can now transfer my data and re-install my own applications into the host OS at my leisure; as a side advantage I instantly get the benefits of a machine with a faster CPU and better screen resolution without having to mess around with the software build or “personalisation”.

VMware Player is also free and you can use a VM in full screen mode, Player even supports Unity mode – this could be a viable long-term solution if it weren’t for the licensing position of having to maintain 2 x OS licenses (guest and host).

Performance is also pretty good – my VM’d laptop gets a 2.9 performance score in Vista – with the video being the lowest score.

Before (physical Dell D620, 2GHz Dual Core Intel, 4Gb, 200Gb, c.3yrs old)


After VM running under VMware Player on an HP EliteBook, 2.8GHz Dual Core Intel, 8Gb RAM, 250Gb HDD


And, for comparison on the native hardware of the new HP Laptop


Keep it in mind next time you switch…

iSCSI LUN is very slow/no longer visible from vSphere host


I encountered this situation in my home lab recently – to be honest I’m not exactly sure of the cause yet, but I think it was because of some excessive I/O from the large number of virtualized vSphere hosts and FT instances I have been using mixed with some scheduled storage vMotion – over the weekend all of my virtual machines seem to have died and crashed or become unresponsive.

Firstly, to be clear this is a lab setup; using a cheap/home PC type SATA disk and equipment not your typical production cluster so it’s already working pretty hard (and doing quite well, most of the time too)

The hosts could ping the Openfiler via he vmkernel interface using vmkping so I knew there wasn’t an IP/VLAN problem but access to the LUNs was very slow, or intermittent – directory listings would be very slow, time out and eventually became non-responsive.

I couldn’t power off or restart VMs via the VI client, and starting them was very slow/unresponsive and eventually failed, I tried rebooting the vSphere 4 hosts, as well as the OpenFiler PC that runs the storage but that didn’t resolve the problem either.

At some point during this troubleshooting the 1TB iSCSI LUN I store my VMs on disappeared totally from the vSphere hosts and no amount of rescanning HBA’s would bring it back.

The Path/LUN was visible down the iSCSI HBA but from the storage tab of the VI client

Visible down the iSCSI path..


But the VMFS volume it contains is missing from the list of data stores


This is a command line representation of the same thing from the /vmfs/devices/disks directory.


OpenFiler and it’s LVM tools didn’t seem to report any disk/iSCSI problems and my thoughts turned to some kind of logical VMFS corruption, which reminded me of that long standing but never completed task to install some kind of VMFS backup utility!

At this point I powered down all of the ESX hosts, except one to eliminate any complications and set about researching VMFS repair/recovery tools.

I checked the VMKernel log file (/var/log/vmkernel) and found the following

[root@ml110-2 /]# tail /var/log/vmkernel

Oct 26 17:31:56 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:48.323 cpu0:4096)VMNIX: VmkDev: 2249: Added SCSI device vml0:3:0 (t10.F405E46494C454009653D4361323D294E41744D217146765)

Oct 26 17:31:57 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:49.244 cpu1:4097)NMP: nmp_CompleteCommandForPath: Command 0x12 (0x410004168500) to NMP device "mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0" failed on physical path "vmhba0:C0:T0:L0" H:0x0 D:0x2 P:0x0 Valid sense data: 0x5 0x24 0x0.

Oct 26 17:31:57 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:49.244 cpu1:4097)ScsiDeviceIO: 747: Command 0x12 to device "mpx.vmhba0:C0:T0:L0" failed H:0x0 D:0x2 P:0x0 Valid sense data: 0x5 0x24 0x0.

Oct 26 17:32:00 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:51.750 cpu0:4103)ScsiCore: 1179: Sync CR at 64

Oct 26 17:32:01 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:52.702 cpu0:4103)ScsiCore: 1179: Sync CR at 48

Oct 26 17:32:02 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:53.702 cpu0:4103)ScsiCore: 1179: Sync CR at 32

Oct 26 17:32:03 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:54.690 cpu0:4103)ScsiCore: 1179: Sync CR at 16

Oct 26 17:32:04 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:55.700 cpu0:4103)WARNING: ScsiDeviceIO: 1374: I/O failed due to too many reservation conflicts. t10.F405E46494C454009653D4361323D294E41744D217146765 (920 0 3)

Oct 26 17:32:04 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:55.700 cpu0:4103)ScsiDeviceIO: 2348: Could not execute READ CAPACITY for Device "t10.F405E46494C454009653D4361323D294E41744D217146765" from Plugin "NMP" due to SCSI reservation. Using default values.

Oct 26 17:32:04 ml110-2 vmkernel: 0:00:06:55.881 cpu1:4103)FSS: 3647: No FS driver claimed device ‘4a531c32-1d468864-4515-0019bbcbc9ac’: Not supported

Due to too many SCSI reservation conflicts, so hopefully it wasn’t looking like corruption but a locked-out disk – a quick Google turned up this KB article – which reminded me that SATA disks can only do so much 🙂

Multiple reboots of hosts and the OpenFiler hadn’t cleared this situation – so I had to use vmkfstools to reset the locks and get my LUN back, these are the steps I took..

You need to find the disk ID to pass to the vmkfstools –L targetreset command, to do this from the command line look under /vmfs/devices/disks (top screenshot below)

You should be able to identify which one you want by matching up the disk identifier.


Then pass this identifier to the vmkfstools command as follows (your own disk identifier will be different) – hint: use cut & paste or tab-completion to put the disk identifier in.

vmkfstools-L targetreset  /vmfs/devices/disks/t10.F405E46494C4540096(…)

You will then need to rescan the relevant HBA using the esxcfg-rescan command (in this instance the LUN is presented down the iSCSI HBA – which is vmhba34 in vSphere)

esxcfg-rescan vmhba34

(you can also do this part via the vSphere client)

if you now look under /vmfs/volumes the VMFS volume should be back online, or do a refresh in the vSphere client storage pane.

All was now resolved and virtual machines started to change from (inaccessible) in the VM inventory back to the correct VM names.

One other complication was that my DC, DNS, SQL and vCenter server are all VMs on this platform and residing on that same LUN. So you can imagine the havoc that causes when none of them can run because the storage has disappeared; in this case it’s worth remembering that you can point the vSphere client directly at an ESX node, not just vCenter and start/stop VMs from there – to do this just put the hostname or IP address when you logon rather than the vCenter address (and remember the root password for your boxes!) – if you had DRS enabled it does mean you’ll have to go hunting for where the VM was running when it died.


In conclusion I guess there was gradual degradation of access as all the hosts fought with a single SATA disk and increased I/O traffic until the point all my troubleshooting/restarting of VMs overwhelmed what it could do. I might need to reconsider how many VMs I run from a single SATA disk as I’m probably pushing it too far – remember kids this is a lab/home setup; not production, so I can get away with it 🙂

In my case it was an inconvenience that it took the volume offline and prevented further access, I can only assume this mechanism is in-place to prevent disk activity being dropped/lost which would result in corruption of the VMFS or individual VMs.

With the mention of I/O DRS in upcoming versions of vSphere that could be an interesting way of pre-emotively avoiding this situation if it does automated storage vMotion to less busy LUNs rather than just vMotion between hosts on the basis of IOPs.

Installing VMware Workstation on Windows 7

You may recall I previously posted on problems installing VMware Workstation 6.5 on Windows 7, this problem seems to have been resolved with the upcoming VMware Workstation 7 which adds support for Windows 7 as a guest and as a host.

You can download the Workstation 7 RC build here Release Build here and see the full features list, I can confirm it installed perfectly on my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 machine.

image (Screenshot from RC build, see above link for RTM build)

Some new features include official support for Windows 7 *with Aero support!* (shown below)


And best of all – it now provides "official support for ESX as a guest VM under Workstation (my previous posts on workarounds for Workstation 6.5  here)


As an aside I’m running Windows 7 on a machine with a 64-bit SSD hard drive, I’m hoping to make use of the linked clone functionality to save disk space as I often run VM’s which are built from a common base OS template (see this post here for more info on how I’ve managed linked images in the past)– performance so far has been great both for host and guest as I/O doesn’t get as bogged down as it does with traditional spindle based disks.

**UPDATE: ah, the perils of the scheduled post – as this article went live the final RTM build of Workstation 7 has been released, I’ve updated the links in this post**

Getting access to VMworld content if you couldn’t make it in person


Now the noise around VMworld has calmed down I thought I would let you know that the vast amount of excellent technical content that was presented at the event itself is available to stream online or as an MP3 (audio only) or slide download (audio only).

As you’d expect, the catch is it’s not free to you unless you attended VMworld in-person. However, you can purchase a VMworld subscription which costs $699 USD per annum and gives you full access to stream and download content from the event, and all previous events back to 2004 – so if travel and time out of the office is not an option for you – how about you (or your employer) pay for a subscription to the content itself – which is obviously cheaper than attending in person.


I have pasted a full list of all sessions from VMworld 2009 US below – please don’t ask me to post the sessions online, this is explicitly forbidden as you’d expect – if you want the content I’m afraid you’ll have to pay – click the graphic below (but it’s excellent value IMHO


Note: you’ll need a account to view the session details linked below (it’s free and can be done here)

Super Sessions


NetApp: Clear up the Cloud – Key Infrastructure Requirements and Real-World Implementations


Dell: How to Get Ahead in the Cloud With Your Feet Planted Firmly on the Ground


VMware: Extending Your IT Beyond the Datacenter: The vCloud Initiative


Wyse: Desktop Virtualization / Cloud Computing: We Did It – Here’s How and What we Learned


Cisco and VMware: Delivering Innovation for Virtualization


IBM: What You Need to Know to Virtualize Today’s Data Center


Intel: Technology transformations central to the evolution of flexible computing


EMC: Infrastructure Architectures Purpose Built for the Virtual Datacenter


HP: Stop Virtualizing Servers, Start Virtualizing Infrastructure


Symantec: Complete the Promise of Virtualization


VMware, Cisco and EMC: Engineering Developments Enabling the Virtual Datacenter


VMware: Question and Answer Session with Paul


VMware: Enabling Better Business Outcomes with Policy-Driven Service Level Management

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery


vCenter Site Recovery Manager "Up and Running" – Best Practices & Avoiding the Pitfalls


VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Performance and Best Practice (online only)*


Data Recovery – Install / Configure and troubleshooting


Pain-free VMware Agentless Backup AND Recovery – VCB & Beyond (online only)*


Automated Disaster Recovery for Branch Offices using SRM and vSphere 4


Managing SAP Virtualization, DR and Upgrades with EMC Ionix Technology (online only)*


Using CDP for Cost-Effective Application Recovery in vSphere Environments


911 Call Center Leverages VMware To Ensure Survivability


VMware Site Recovery Manager with Enterprise Replication – A Customer Testimonial


Re-architecting Backup and Recovery for Virtual Environments: Best Practices


An Optimized Approach to Workload Availability in Virtualized Environments


Site Recovery Manager, a real user experience


Protecting the corporate infrastructure: Leveraging Site Recovery Manager for multi-site DR protection.


VMware Fault Tolerance Architecture and Performance


VMware SRM Enhanced Testing (online only)*


Mission Critical: Virtualization and Robust DR Architectures for Vital Systems (online only)*


A practical guide for recovering key applications using VMware Site Recovery Manager


How Storage Enhances Business Continuance: From Backup to Fault Tolerance


High Availability – Internals and Best Practices


Creating the Fastest Possible Backups Using VMware Consolidated Backup -A Design Blueprint


Preview of Best Practices for Recovery with Site Recovery Manager and NFS


Planning for Optimized and Cost Effective Storage Utilizing Deduplication and Virtualization Technologies


DR Architecture Design Workshop with SRM


VMware Fault Tolerance Real-World Use Cases


VMware Fault Tolerance – Overview and Best Practices


Using IP based replication as an Enabler for Server Virtualization and Storage Repurposing


DR Solutions and Services with Sungard and VMware


Advanced Data Protection for Microsoft SQL and Exchange Server in a VMware Environment


How VMware uses Site Recovery Manager for its own disaster recovery


SRM Architecture & Features: The Road Ahead


VMware Availability Solutions and Futures


VMware Fault Tolerance – vSphere Workflows and API Considerations (online only)*


How Customers are Using VMware Site Recovery Manager for Automated Disaster Recovery


Increase consolidation ratios in vSphere environments while simplifying and improving backup and recovery


Why you should be using Virtual Backup Appliances for Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery?


Exploring vStorage API’s and how Veeam and Dell partner for Success


How to bring V-Cloud & Cloud Computing to Backup & Recovery

Business Workshops


vSphere – Evangelizing the Value Proposition


VMware View – Evangelizing the Value Proposition


Realizing the Return on Investment In VMware


Planning Your Virtualization Journey

Desktop Virtualization


Lead Practices for Integrating VMware View with Active Directory


Integrating VMware View with your VPN (online only)*


Leveraging Vmware View and Cisco WAAS in a ROBO deployment


VMware View Reference Architecture


Norton Healthcare Desktop


The 4 C’s of Desktop Virtualization for Healthcare: Costs, Clients, Continuity, and Compliance


Understanding TCO & ROI for VMware View (next gen VDI)


VMware Workstation and Player Technology Preview


VMware View Client Virtualization Platform and its Use Cases


Leveraging SRM with VMware View – Lessons Learned


Printing Considerations in a View Architecture


The View Test – Running a POC


Next Generation Client Virtualization – Technology Deep Dive


Getting the Most from View Composer – Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices


Scripting within VMware ThinApp


Breaking Down Desktop Virtualization Alternatives


Virtualization on mobile phones? Why do I need that?


Application Troubleshooting in VMware ThinApp


Server and Storage Sizing for VMware View


Choosing the Right Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Platform


VMware View – Upcoming Attractions


Case Study: Making the Grade with VDI and K12 Education


VMware View Security Architecture


Cerner Millenium deployed in a VMware View environment


VMware View – Remote Display Experiance


ThinApp Packaging & Deployment


Optimizing VDI Storage with VMware View: Strategies for Success


VMware ThinApp â?? Integration with VMware View (online only)*


Application and Desktop Virtualization


ThinApp Reference Architecture


VMware ThinApp – A Review of Best Practices and Design Considerations (online only)*


Integrating VMware View into your environment


The Journey to a Dependable VDI Solution


Operationalizing Desktop Virtualization


VDI to the edge, deploying virtual desktops to remote and branch offices


What’s new with ThinApp


From Strategy to Reality – VDI lessons learned at Embarq


Creating a VMware View Design for the Enterprise


ViewPlanner: An Automated Measurement Infrastructure for Large-Scale VDI Deployments


From NT4.0 to Virtualized Desktops and Applications


Comprehensive Performance Analysis of Remote Display Protocols in VDI Environments


Efficient VDI Design – The Math behind VDI


The Effective use of VMware ThinApp in Higher Education


Switching to the Mac with VMware Fusion: Lessons Learned & Deployment Tips


Better Software Development and Testing using VMware Workstation


VMware View Performance and Scalability on Cisco UCS


Virtual Desktop Security


Don’t throw that PC! How to convert old PCs to Thin Clients using a thin Linux OS and VMware View


VMware Fusion – Present and Future


How to Optimize VMware View ROI with Thin Computing


How to make BYOPC (Bring Your Own PC) a Reality?


An Insider’s View of Mobile Phone Virtualization


From Servers to Desktops Virtualization in a "Next Gen Data Center" for Telecommunications Companies


Desktop Virtualization / Cloud Computing: Using the Vendor Ecosystem to Drive Maximum Success

Enterprise Applications


SQL, Exchange and SharePoint Deployments on EMC Celerra Unified Storage (online only)*


Best Practices for Java and J2EE Applications on VMware ESX


SAP Scaling with VMware vSphere and IBM x3850 M2


Virtualizing Critical Healthcare Applications


Accelerate the Enterprise Java Application Lifecycle with SpringSource


Oracle Database Virtualization Strategies


Efficient and High Performance Virtualization of Oracle Database Environments using vSphere


Software Licensing in the Virtual Enterprise: Current Problems and Future Trends


SharePoint vSphere Best Practices


HPC/Grid Computing and Virtualization


Virtualizing Exchange 2007 on vSphere 4 – Technical Considerations and Customer Success Story


Virtualizing IBM Lotus Domino and Sametime: Planning to Successful Deployment at Whirlpool


IBM DB2 on VMware: The Most Cost-Efficient and Dynamic Database Platform


Enterprise Application Performance and Scalability on vSphere


Virtualizing Blackberry Enterprise Servers (BES) on VMware vSphere 4


Best Practice for Virtualizing Active Directory using vSphere (online only)*


Virtualizing SQL Server in a VMware vSphere environment


Beyond Infrastructure as a Service: Developer and Runtime Services with VMware and our Partners


Analyzing Application Stack Performance using AppSpeed


Virtualizing Citrix XenApp using vSphere


US Navy Marine Corps virtualizes 700,000+ Microsoft Exchange users to Achieve Mission Critical Reliability


MySQL on VMware: Performance and Deployment Best Practices


SAP on VMware: Advanced Networking for High Performance


Virtualization of Analytic Databases


Developing and Deploying Virtualized Real Time Communications within the Enterprise


Oracle Enterprise Workloads on VMware How-To (online only)*


Virtualizing Tier 1 Applications: The Value of the vSphere Internal Cloud as a Better Platform for Apps


Database Consolidation on vSphere (SQL and Oracle)


The Spheres – Using WebSphere with vSphere


Cerner Millennium Scalability when deployed on VMware vSphere and Nehalem


VMware IT: Exchange 2007 at VMware


Oracle E-Business Suite: Virtually Powering VMware


Building Cloud Ready Applications

Technology and Architecture


vSphere 4 Advanced Storage Log Analysis


Networking in ESX: VM DirectPath Dynamic – the road to Direct VM to Hardware (online only)*


The Path to vSphere Unleashed


Cool little things marketing did not tell you about vSphere 4.0


Overview of VMware vSphere


How and Why we Upgraded Herning Kommune’s Production Environment to vSphere 4.0 at GA


Linux Virtual Machines: Templates, P2V and Other Tips and Tricks


Virtual Networking with vSphere 4.0 – What’s New


Virtual Networking Concepts and Best Practices


ROBO – ESX implementation at Kroger Store Systems


Securing Virtual Environments – Before and After VMsafe


vStorage – Storage Integration for Cloud OS


Ask the Experts – Virtualization Design


vSphere Enterprise Stability – It’s all in the Design


Designing the Next Generation Data Center with Unified Computing & VN-Link


Warehouse In A Box


Deploying Cisco Nexus 1000V in a VMware vSphere Environment


Hypervisor Competitive Differences: What the Vendors Aren’t Telling You


Nielsen Company Leverages VMsafe Virtual Firewalls from Altor Networks for Unprecedented Security


Best Practices to Increase Availability and Throughput for the Future of VMware


Storage Best Practices for Scaling Virtualization Deployments


VMware vSphere 4 Networking Deep Dive


VMware’s Secure Software Development Lifecycle


A Comprehensive Look at the Security and Compliance of vSphere 4


Enhanced Storage VMotion in vSphere 4


Understanding "Host" and "Guest" Memory Usage and Other Memory Management Concepts


Creative Solutions: How Florida Hospital virtualized AIX and Mastered SAN Replication for DR


Take PowerCLI to the Next Level


Achieving 10+ Gbps File Transfer Throughput Using Virtualization – End-User Case Study


Controlling the Storage Impact of Virtual Server Sprawl


Measuring Virtualization Platforms and Trends Using VMmark (online only)*


Safe At Any Speed with VMware DRS & DPM


Tips for Planning and Upgrading to vSphere 4


Enterprise Approach to Deploying vSphere


Performance Best Practices


Sizing Tools for Storage in vSphere and VMware View Environments


ESXtop for Advanced Users


Implementing VMware vSphere 4.0 with HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 technology


Long Distance VMotion


Stateless ESXi: Scalable Rollout and Management of Virtualized Hosts


Virtualizing Resource Intensive Applications, a Case Study with SAP


VMware vStorage VMFS-3: Architectural Advances since ESX 3.0


Using VMware to Conduct Digital Forensics and Criminal Investigations (online only)*


iSCSI Scalability and Storage Performance Enhancements in vSphere 4.0


Applications in the Cloud: Getting off the ground


Security Considerations When Building Virtual Infrastructures Across Security Zones


Performance Troubleshooting in Virtual Infrastructure


Building an Internal Cloud-the Journey and the Details


Building the TVE a Collaboration Story


How Dell Uses Virtualization: Paving the Path to Large-scale Distributed Computing


What is New for Storage in vSphere 4.0


Top 10 Performance Features of VMware vSphere 4


Tech Preview: IO DRS – Providing Performance Isolation to VMs in Shared Storage Environments


All Hypervisors Are Not Created Equal – The Unique Advantages of VMware ESX (online only)*


vNetwork Monitoring, Troubleshooting, Security, and Management (with Live Demo)


Getting to over 90% Virtualization


Using NFS Storage Infrastructure for vSphere


Early vSphere Deployment Stories


Getting The Most Out Of VMotion: EVC, Performance Tuning, and Troubleshooting


Head-To-Head Comparison: VMware vSphere and ESX vs. Hyper-V and XenServer


The Cloud- What is it and why should I care


Security and the Cloud


Beyond the Data Center – Virtualizing your remote and distributed IT workloads


The Path to COS-less ESX: Migrating Server Operations from ESX to ESXi


Internal Clouds: Customer perspective and implementations


Buying the Cloud: Customer perspective and considerations on what to send to an external cloud


Unveiling New Cloud Technologies


Engineering the Cloud-The Future of Cloud


What is new in the vSphere SDKs and APIs


Securing the Virtual Data Center in Enterprises and Clouds


Virtual Network Performance


Virtualization and Cloud Computing with AMD Opteron™ Processor-based Platforms


What Keeps Clouds Up?


Deploying the Foundation for a Virtualized Dynamic Data Center


Designing Dynamic Data Centers with NetApp and VMware


IBM System x Delivers Innovation for Virtualization Solutions for Today and Tomorrow


IBM’s Cloud Computing Solutions


Navigating the Cloud: IT Management Challenges and Opportunities


I/O Clouds in the Virtualized Data Center


Virtualizing Email Security â?? The St Lawrence College Story (online only)*


How Expedia uses Storage VMotion to Allow Datacenter to Take Flight


Enabling the Virtual Data Center with Symmetrix V-Max


The Soft Underbelly of Bare Metal – Real World Security Lessons from the Datacenter to the Cloud


Optimize Your Storage: A Blueprint for Storage Resource Management in VMware Environments


Securing the Cloud


The Evolution of Open Source Virtualization


Virtualization: How Cisco IT Leverages Operational Excellence to Drive Innovation

Virtualization 101


Best Practices for Successful VI Design


Building a High Availability and Disaster Recovery Solution with VMware


Designing a Virtualization Infrastructure for the Small Environment


VMware vCenter Converter 101 (online only)*


The VMware Competitive Advantage – A Comparison of Server Virtualization Offerings


Getting Started with Virtualization Using VMware ESXi


Introduction to Virtualization


Introduction to VMware vSphere


Getting to Yes! Keys to Launching a Successful Data Center Virtualization Program


Executing Enterprise Virtualization – Continuing Case Study with USMC


VMware vSphere and VI Best Practices – Tips and Tricks (online only)*


Overcoming the Hidden Challenges of Virtualization

Virtualization Management


Using vCenter Lab Manager and View for the Education Cloud


Avoiding the hurdles in scaling Lab Manager


vCenter Database Architecture: Technical Deep Dive


vApps and advanced VM templates in vSphere 4


Technical Preview: CapacityIQ


VMware Update Manager 4 Performance and Best Practices


Accelerating Large Scale Migration – Best Practices, Tools, and Processes to Address Challenges


Datacenter Consolidation and Migration with VMware Site Recovery Manager


vSphere Orchestration for SAP’s Demo Business


Assessment methodology for LCM customization with Orchestrator


Virtualization and Compliance: The Auditor’s Perspective


VMware’s New Licensing Model & Compliance Best Practices


Turfwars! : The Future Staffing of Virtualized Environments


Managing vSphere with VMware PowerCLI


Achieving Measurable Advantages Through Better Virtual Systems Management


vCenter Mobile Access – Managing Virtual Infrastructure From Your Phone


Tech Preview: VMware vCenter ConfigControl


Virtual Center: Troubleshooting Unleashed


Deploying vSphere Mgmt Automation: Dependency Mapping, Root Cause, Configuration & Compliance


Introduction to VMware vCenter Chargeback


Automating the Virtual Data Center


Automate Routine Actions and Enforce process in Virtual Environments (online only)*


Using Unnoc to Perform Monitoring of vCenter, ESX Servers, and Virtual Guests


Infrastructure Performance Panel


Managing Compliance in Virtual Environments


Best Practices for deploying VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager.


VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat Best Practices


What’s New in vCenter Server 4


Lab Manager Best Practices


Improve Cloud Interoperability Using Virtualization Management Standards


VI Performance Optimization: From the Datacenter to the Desktop (online only)*


What’s New In Lab Manager 4?


How to Prevent Headaches in your Virtual Environment


From Virtualization, Automation to From Virtualization, Automation to Cloud Managemen


Integrated and Application Centric Deployment Approach to Achieve Wider Virtualization Adoption


Upgrading to vSphere – Things to consider


VMware’s Tooling of VI Operations Best Practices


Integrating Virtualization with Capacity Management


Top 10 Reasons vCenter is the Best Platform for Virtualization Management


How VMware Reduces Cost-per-Application and OpEx Costs


How does VMware fit in with your management processes? VMware Integration with Big 4 + Microsoft


Large Scale Virtualization


vCenter Databases: Setup, Management and Best Practice (online only)*


Introducing VMware vCenter Product Family: Managing Service Levels Across Dynamic IT Infrastructure


VC Linked Mode in vSphere 4.0 (online only)*


Sustainable Change Management Processes in a Virtual World


vSphere and ESXi Log Files 101 & 102 (online only)*


Operational Savings Achieved through Virtualization


Assuring Service Levels for P2V migrations with AppSpeed


Alarms for vCenter 4.0 (online only)*


A Spotlight on vSphere Storage Management: Today and Tomorrow


Study reveals production best practices for virtualization (online only)*


VMware Administration for The Average Administrator


Technical Deep Dive: VMware Host Profiles


Monitoring Hardware Health with vCenter 4


Seven Steps To Understanding And Mitigating Virtualization Security Risks


Managing Application Performance with vCenter AppSpeed


Does Virtualization Change The Way We Secure IT Environments?


Best Practices for Managing and Monitoring Storage in vSphere


Capacity Planning and RoI – Before, During & After the Project


Before Chargeback, I Need To Know What It Costs


Assessment Best Practices for VMware Partners


Incident Handling in a Virtualized Data Center


Business Objects SAP Virtual Infrastructure Lab Mgr Deployment and Migrating Between Network Ranges


Practical Virtual Systems Management – Climbing The Hierarchy of Needs


Operationalizing Software Update Management in a Growing Virtual Environment


How to Generate Reports out of the vCenter Database


Introduction to VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager


Ensuring Database Performance using VMware AppSpeed


Vision for virtualization-aware IT management


Tech Preview: vCenter Server


Analyze to Automate – The Evolution of Vizioncore and How We Truly Extend VMware’s vSphere


The "Next Generation Data Center" for Telecommunication Companies


Building a Service-Driven Data Center: Making an Internal Cloud A Reality


How to Gain Sponsorship and Successfully Enable Virtualization Transformation with VMware


Amplify the Economic Benefits of Virtualization


An Introduction to VMware vCenter Orchestrator


Conquering Costs and Complexity in a Virtualized Environment: Research and Case Studies


Using Lab Manager in a Regulated Healthcare Environment


Unified Computing System – Infrastructure Management and Provisioning


Data Center Optimization through Virtualization: Compute More, Consume Less

Instructor-Led Labs (PDFs only)


VMware vSphere 4 – New Features, Best of, Advanced Topics


VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager – Advanced Operations


VMware View Advanced Config & Troubleshooting


VMware vSphere 4 – Performance Optimization & Troubleshooting


VMware vSphere 4 – Security Hardening & Best Practices (vShield Zones)


VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat


VMware vCenter Lab Manager 4


VMware vCenter CapacityIQ


VMware vCenter AppSpeed


VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager


VMware vCenter Chargeback


Scripting VMware Infrastructure (PowerShell/Perl Toolkits)

Self-Paced Labs (PDFs only)


VMware® Infrastructure 3 to VMware vSphere™ 4 Upgrade


VMware vSphere™ 4 Base Install


VMware View Base Install & Config


VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Basic Install & Config


VMware vCenter Converter


VMware vCenter Data Recovery


VMware® ThinApp™


VMware® Fusion™


VMware View Experience


VMware vCenter Orchestrator


VMware vSphere™ 4 Virtual Networking Fundamentals

I wasn’t able to to go VMworld US in person this year because my wife and I were expecting a baby at that time, but luckily I received a VMworld subscription from VMware as a benefit of the vExpert programme; had I not I would have probably shelled out of my own pocket for one.

Justifying the spend

Whilst we seem to be slowly emerging from the economic apocalypse of the last 18 months it’s still very hard to get sign-off to attend such events in person and too many org’s treat VMworld/Tech-Ed as marketing type events – unless you are a vendor with a stand this couldn’t be further from the truth – these conferences are primarily technical training boot-camp camps, with some networking and general trade show features thrown in. However, they are what you make of them – the onus is on you to hunt down the sessions/track or people you are interested in – nobody drives your schedule but you – non self-starters need not apply.

I use the following analogy – which applies equally to Microsoft Tech-Ed and VMworld (..and I’m sure Oracle World, Apple World, etc.)

A typical 5-day technical training course on an individual product (Exchange, ESX, Windows 2008) in the UK will cost in the region of £1,500-3,000 GBP and those 5 days will be slow-paced (9.30 –> 4.30pm affairs). The course content and material has to cater to the lowest common denominator delegate, for a geek/experienced tech this can make for frustratingly slow progress and means you only cover a very narrow technical focus, or broad high-level overview – you can’t easily dive in and out of the bits that are relevant to you with a traditionally delivered course and even the best instructor in the world can’t dedicate that much time to you in a classroom environment.

So compare that training course is £2-3000 + travel + accommodation + time out of the office to VMworld (for example..), even at the most expensive register on-site on the day prices

  • VMWorld Full Conference Pass* 1,260 EUR (£1,176 GBP at current exchange rate) (Tech-Ed 5 days c.£2000 full price* ticket)
  • Travel (airfare from most of continental Europe, economy/flexible flight) c.£400**
  • Hotel (normal business hotel, 4 nights) £900**

+Access to on-demand streamed and downloaded content following the conference (access allowed until the next VMworld) included

+Lunch/breakfast usually included

+Networking opportunities, access to product teams and managers included

+trade show with relevant vendors/suppliers included

+bag and pen included (ok, I’m struggling with that one! :))


*Early registration attracts a large discount on the full conference pass – look for “early bird” tickets which can knock a significant percentage off the full price

**If you are prepared to “slum” it with budget airlines and hotels this is significantly cheaper.

Prices for reference:

VMworld Europe 2009 prices

Tech-Ed Europe 2009 Prices

With Microsoft Tech-Ed they usually give a complimentary Technet Direct subscription – which is worth hundreds of pounds on it’s own and gives you multiple copies of almost every Microsoft product for your own use.

So if you look at it pragmatically – VMworld/Tech-Ed give you the flexibility to tailor your content to what is important to you; as well as the ability to take all the information away with you to review online post-conference (even for the sessions  you didn’t make in person)

With a training course you walk away with a nice certificate, some spiral bound manuals and if you are lucky – a pen 🙂

And they both come out to roughly the same price.

I’m not saying this is for everyone – you need to be a self-starter to make the most of these conferences, and if you do a limited scope day-job and that is all you are interested in doing, traditional training courses are probably your best bet but for those of us that work as consultants or want to broaden our horizons – go for it!

My write-ups of previous VMWorld and Tech-Ed events can be found at the following links:

Tech-Ed EMEA 2008

VMworld Europe 2009