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

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: vmworld

Want to see the Uber vT.A.R.D.I.S at VMworld?

This year VMware have changed the way they are planning the VMworld sessions, this year there is a list of sessions that are open to a public vote, Mark has a great post on the selection process here – I think it’s a great way to get the most wanted content at the event.

I submitted a session around my work with solid state storage for VMs and my popular vT.A.R.D.I.S lab environment which I’m happy to see has been opened up to public voting,

If you would like to see some live no-safety-net demos of the Uber vT.A.R.D.I.S (20 node virtual ESX clusters, 120 running nested virtual machines on 2 cheap physical boxes with replicating virtual SAN, and virtual layer 3 networking!) then feel free to vote 🙂

You can vote at this page (you’ll need a account which you can get here) I have submitted two sessions.


Details of my proposed sessions are;

Technology and Architecture

Title: Building a low-cost home lab, the virtual way

Session Id:TA6980


Ever wondered how you can run all that enterprise-scale goodness in your house in a way that others won’t complain about it? Then you need this session. Learn about how to use VMware vSphere and open source tech to build a lab with shared storage, layer 3 networking, replicating SANs and as many virtual hypervisors as you need for less than $1k USD. Want to build a 20 node ESXi cluster on 2 physical boxes? Or test out VDI scenarios, scripts and provisioning processes? Attend this session to find out how!

Type: Breakout Session

Track: Technology and Architecture

Speaker Detail: Speaker: Simon Gallagher

My second proposed session is around using consumer solid-state storage with some clever software to build highly performant solid-state virtual SANs, based around my work with the FusionIO cards, RAM disks and other consumer-grade SSD

Technology and Architecture

Title: Spinning disks are sooo 1970s – solid state is the future people!

Session Id: TA6981


“This is the future people, spinning disks are power hungry, slow and sooo 1970. It’s not just for enterprise-grade IT, see how to use software based vSAN, NAS and iSCSI technology to leverage consumer-grade solid-state DAS as shared cluster storage – use software features to creare your own low cost storage tiering and even replication. See live demonstrations of running virtual workloads from consumer-grade cost solid state storage; Including FusionIO, HP Lefthand VSA, OpenFiler”

Type: Breakout Session

Track: Technology and Architecture

Speaker Detail: Speaker: Simon Gallagher Company: vInf

It would be great to have the opportunity to take a bigger and better vT.A.R.D.I.S out on tour again and all of the proposed sessions in the various tracks look great, there are several that I look forward to seeing.

Maybe just vote to laugh at me trying to explain why I need all that kit whilst trying to get through airport security 🙂

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

VMworld 2009 Link Round-up at Yellow-Bricks


Duncan (VCDX007) has a great list of all the links for VMworld 2009 SF on this post – check it out, especially useful if you weren’t able to make it in person.

He also has a list of posts from around the Internet for the European VMworld earlier this year here and on this post from here

Roger Lund also has a list of links to videos and write-ups on his blog here

If you were an attendee, or have a VMworld subscription the recorded sessions and slides should be available on-line by 14th September according to John Troyer.

VMworld SF 2009 Coverage

Unfortunately I won’t be at VMworld in San Francisco in person this year as I am about to become a father again.

I could probably have just squeezed it in but the prospect of an emergency flight back across the atlantic was a bit too much of a risk if proceedings started early 🙂 so I shall be watching from afar.

However there is a large contingent of bloggers and twitterers at the event including Techhead there will likley be a torrent of information over the next week so keep your eyes peeled – I have put some links below to keep an eye on:

VMworld Bloggers Page

Full list of all bloggers/twitterers

I have to wonder if there will be any “big” announcements at this event, I guess a fair chunk of it will be taken up on the Springsource acquisition, and I hear a rumour that they will be demonstrating a new I/O DRS feature on-stage, the last part of the keynote is often a demo of a new feature in a future version (when I went to SF in 2007 it was the first time the demonstrated the vSphere FT feature in public) so fingers crossed for something interesting.

For everyone’s sake I hope they have sorted the queue situation with the registered place system this year, VMworld 2007 was crazy and you had to leave sessions before they had finished to make sure you got into the next session – Microsoft have this problem sorted for Tech-Ed and maybe VMware will consider a bigger venue in future considering the attendance levels.

I’ll try to refrain from repeating information here and leave it to the people on the ground but will comment on anything I find interesting and I firmly have my fingers crossed for real vCloud information – I see there is an extra paid-for vCloud briefing before the main event but VMware need to communicate more of the tech around this programme.

Hands-On Lab 01 – vSphere Features Overview


I decided to venture into some hands-on labs today, after hearing about all the new features over the last couple of days it was nice to finally get my hands on them!

The lab was set to cover the following areas of potential new functionality* in vSphere;

vStorage plug-in – pluggable drivers from storage vendors to enable enhanced snapshot functionality or improved multi-pathing with their arrays.

Hot-cloning of a running VM – handy.

Host profiles and compliance management – this was quite a nice feature you define a host profile, or copy one from an existing host – it was a bit reminiscent of the Windows Group Policy Management Console in some ways – you can link profiles to individual ESX hosts or to a cluster/DC object.

Storage vMotion via the GUI – functionality has been there since v3.5 but now has no reliance on a 3rd party GUI plug-in or command line.

Online VMFS expansion – handy, so if you can extend a LUN from your array you can grow the VMFS into it online without downtime, up until now the only alternative was downtime or storage vMotion to a brand-new LUN, or to use extents which are not as safe.

Creating a vApp – this feature is similar to VM teaming in VMware Workstation but with the first of many functional additions.

  • The main target scenario for vApps are multi-teir applications where you may have a database back-end and a front-end web server. you can define start-up and shutdown order.
  • There are vApp networking settings where you appear to be able to define IP address allocations, private DHCP pools etc.
  • It has an interface which is the same as the normal resource pool UI, so you can define reservations for a vApp (or collection of VM’s so you can provide a consistent service level.
  • There wasn’t much else in there yet – but VMware have said they will be adding more features in later releases.

Configuring the distributed virtual switch (vDS)– this was an interesting lab, based around the built-in vDS which comes free with ESX, you can define port groups and uplink groups which are automatically propagated around all members of the vDS.

You have to assign the vDS to particular hosts, I’m not sure if you can attach it at a cluster or DC level – I have a separate post on the vDS and the Cisco NX1000V in the pipeline, for now know that you have 3 switch options

  • vSwitch (same as previous ESX versions)
  • Virtual Distributed Switch – distributed across multiple hosts (maybe only included in Higher editions of ESX?)
  • and the Cisco NX1000V – which is a separately licenced add-on.

You can migrate normal vSwitch configurations into the vDS via the UI and it’s pretty simple to use.

Configuring VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) – this was a great lab and a great new feature you just right-click on a VM and enable FT, it then automatically hot-clones a copy of the VM and keeps it in lockstep, where all of the CPU instructions executed on 1 VM and shipped across the network to the secondary copy which shows up as VM_NAME (Secondary) in the UI.

Once FT is enabled the summary screen shows you details of any lag between the protected VM and it’s secondary instance.

The lab gets you to kill the primary and the failover was instant as far as I could tell with the very simple Debian OS we were protecting, it then automatically re-clones the secondary copy to re-establish FT, very cool. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a real copy and putting it though it’s paces.


Overall the vSphere client (as it’s now renamed* in this lab at least) feels much quicker and responsive than previous versions.

Interestingly the back-end ESX lab environment is implemented as ESXi4 instances running as a virtual machines, which is a brilliant way to do test and development work with ESX (some of my previous posts on this here). It has been hinted that this will be officially supported, we had to switch to a physical ESX farm to do the FT lab as it has specific hardware and CPU requirements, for which they were using HP DL385 servers and the back-end storage was EMC.

*There were plenty of disclaimers over any product names being placeholders, so whilst I mention ESXi4 that does not constitute any kind of legal confirmation from VMware as to what was or will be called. It does hint that the ESXi and ESX with service-console model could continue through the next major release – I did hear one VMware chap refer to “ESX classic” which I would assume is the with service console version 🙂

VMWorld Europe Day 2: Wrap-up, a good day despite the curious lack of forks..


All in a very good and busy day today – excellent keynote and some very interesting sessions; so-far I’ve only managed to write up a couple of them (links below) once I’ve clarified a few points I’ll write up the remainder.

I discovered the press room today and obtained access via my bloggers pass, it was very handy to take an hour out to write up some of the earlier blog posts in somewhat breathless English,the “virtual firehose” phrase has never been so true there is simply way more to take in that I could ever hope to digest and write up in detail.

Lack of an official vSphere/ESX4 release date at VMworld has been a bit disappointing and I guess VMware will be adopting a “when it’s ready” policy. This is admirable, but surely isn’t helping them in maintaining market share – IT investment in infrastructure, training, projects is all about budget planning and dates and also helps out Microsoft with their looming Windows Server 2008 R2 release; vSphere will move the game on further but Microsoft will continue to gain traction and the longer VMware leave it the more they fuel.

The VMWorld Europe party “Cloud9” was this evening and it was a grand affair – much better than any of the TechEd parties I’ve been to in recent years – VMware do tend to go all-out in making the events great (SF 2007 was amazing) Microsoft always seem to split it by country – whereas VMware group everyone together which makes for a much better event.

There was a a live band, two girls playing electric violins, lots of classic arcade games and lots of drink and food – but curiously, a distinct lack of forks or other such cutlery. They were later discovered hidden away at the far end of the room!

I sincerely hope we won’t have to wait until the next VMworld in September to have a general release date of vSphere, maybe VMware are going all Apple on us 😦

VMworld Europe Day 2: Keynote


Well day 2 got underway with the much anticipated keynote session from Steve Herrod who is CTO and VP of R&D or “technical stuff”.

He covered some of the previous announcements and did manage to clarify that vSphere is the implementation of VDC-OS (so it’s the new name for Virtual Infrastructure).

Steve Herrod let on that he was watching twitter during the other keynotes and adjusted his presentation accordingly 🙂


There were some examples of Oracle OLTP application scaling that have been done in vSphere;

    • <15% overhead on 8 way vCPU VM
    • 24k DB transactions/sec

Some example stats of disk I/O were shown that acheiving 250MB/sec of disk I/O took 510 disk spindles to saturate I/O… the point being that you’ll need a very large amount of hardware before you start running into disk/VM bus performance issues, and this is constantly increasing.

Virtualizing Exchange is another area where VM’ing can take advantage of multi-core processors for large enterprise apps; break into multiple virtualized mailbox servers to make best use of multi-core hardware; Exchange doesn’t really use the CPU horsepower of modern kit – it’s more about disk I/O (and as they showed this isn’t a practical blocker).

Steve ran over the components of vSphere again, adding a bit more detail – I won’t cover them again but they are

vStorage – extensible via API, storage vendors write their own thin provisioning or snapshot interfaces that hook into VMware.

vNetwork – Distributed vSwitch maintains network state in vMotion

vSphere = scale, 64TB RAM in cluster

Power thrifty (CPU power management features)

vShield zones follows vm around DRS – DMZ for groups of VMs (demos tomorrow + breakout)

vCenter HA improvements with VC heartbeat, today 60% of people running VC on physical box to isolate management tools from the execution platform, this delivers high availability for them.

vCenter Server heartbeat which provide an Active/passive cluster solution (but not using MSCS) and configuration change replication/rollback; works over WAN or LAN – IP based with floating IP address, efficient WAN transfers.

Monitors/provides HA for the following components;

  • vCenter database
  • Licencing server
  • Upgrade manager

vCenter Scalability; 50% increase in capacity with 3k vms and 300 hosts per vCenter, in addition the VI client can now aggregate up to 10 vCenter servers in a single UI, with search functionality, can report/search.

vCenter host profiles can enforce and replicate configuration changes across multiple hosts and monitor for deviations (profile compliance)– the UI looks much like update manager.

The VI client performance looks much better in the demo 🙂 let’s hope it’s like that in real-life!

Biggest and most useful announcement for me was that vCenter on Linux is now available and shipping as a bet virtual appliance – just download and go – no more dependency on a Windows host to run VC, I will definitely be trying this out and you can download it yourself here.


In terms of vCloud, the federation and long-distance vMotion sound a bit like science fiction – but there was the same opinion of vMotion when it was first announced – look at it now, VMware know how to do this stuff 🙂

Long-distance vMotion is the eventual goal but there are some challenges to overcome in engineering a reliable solution, but in the meantime SRM can deliver a similar sort of overall service, automating DR failover with array based replication and an electronic, scripted run-book.

long-distance vMotion has some other interesting usecases, enabling a follow the sun model for support and IT services – I’ve written about this previously here – this is a great goal and I would expand this suggestion to include follow the power, where you choose to move services around globally to take advantage of the most cost-efficient power, local support etc.

VMWare building an extensible and customisable portal for cloud providers based on Lab Manager which is likley to be bundled as a product.

The vCenter vCloud plug-in was demoed, this was more advanced that I had anticipated, with the target scenario being you can use one VI client to manage services across multiple clouds.

It stores auth details for each (cloud accounts) type (vCloud, drop down) works over web services API to provision/change etc

They showed how you can drag and drop a VM to and from the cloud.

this federation allows you to pick different types of cloud, for example providers that offer a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) type cloud, or one that runs entirely on “green” energy sources.

Virtual Desktop

this is another key initiative and focus of investment within VMware, building up the VDI offering(s) and providing centralised desktops as well as offline/distributed scenarios in future via the Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) – some of my more off the wall thoughts on that here

Key points;

  • Central management
  • Online/offline scenarios
  • Linked clone
  • Thick client push full VM down to machine
  • Patching is challenge – master disk + linked clones
  • Thin-app; makes patching/swapping out underlying OS easier as apps are in a “bubble”.
  • Leveraging ACE server; lock USB etc.
  • CVP – client checks back to central policy server (polling)
  • allows for self-destruct or leased virtual desktop, can’t run away with apps/data

VMware are making heavy investment in PCoIP- providing 3d graphics online offline for high-demand apps (video/graphics) Jerry Chan demoed some of the PCoIP solutions they are working to using Google Earth, whilst impressive – Brian Madden has covered these in more detail here but I did notice that Steve said vClient which is the 1st time I have heard that name.

Finally, there was some coverage of the mobile phone VM platform, which whilst I see what they are aiming for and the advantages of it to a Telco (single platform to test apps against), it’s personally of less interest to me. I do hope that VMware don’t go all Microsoft and start spreading themselves into every market just because they can need to have a presence (live search, live everything etc), rather than focusing on good, core products. Whilst they are the 1st people I’ve heard of seriously working on this I don’t know how it will pan out – but will keep an open mind, I suppose a sandboxed, secured corporate phone build with a VoIP app, some heavy crypto and a 3G connection controlled under a hypervisor could be appealing to certain types of govt. “organisations”.

All in, a very good keynote session – much better focused at the main demographic of the conference (techies, well me anyway :)) and there are some good sessions scheduled for today.

More later.

VMware Client Hypervisor (CVP) – Grid Application Thoughts

Today VMware announced the client hypervisor they are producing and a collaboration with Intel on the hardware support (VT) and management (vPro), Citrix made a similar announcement last month (some analysis from the trusty Brian Madden here).

If the client side device is now running a hypervisor this would presumably extend the same encapsulation principles from datacentre/server virtualization to the desktop; where more than one OS instance could run on a client; for example a Linux and a Windows VM side by side, sharing data or isolated for security/compliance reasons – network traffic securely routed or encapsulated to keep it separate.

With most PC hardware that’s probably still a lot of computing horsepower around the estate that is underused or idle while the user goes to lunch, or doing lightweight tasks.

Grid based applications are much discussed in the banking/geophysical world as they need to crunch vast amounts of data and are well suited to horizontal scaling. On an Internet scale, there are distributed grids like SETI or Folding@Home – crunching towards a common goal.

What if you have a centralised server than can stream down virtual appliances that run such applications and thus distributed services – isolated from the user through the hypervisor, resource controlled so that they process in the background or when the CPU is idle or by a central “resource policy”.

What if you could then sell this compute capacity back to a “grid” provider – which federates and dispatches grid jobs;

of course, you can technically do this now because multi-tasking has been standard on most desktop operating systems since the late 80’s but security has always been a concern, what if that “grid” application contains malicious code or a bug which can leak data from your machine or the corporate network – this problem hasn’t really been solved to-date,  Java etc. provide sandboxes but they depend on a lot of components from the core OS stack and don’t address network isolation.

Now you have an option to provide a high level of instance and network isolation between business systems and grid/public applications by using a client hypervisor – much in the same way that VMware ESX is the foundation for a multi-tenant cloud through vSwitches & Private VLANs etc.

Take that idea to the next level, what if you could distribute your server workload around your desktop estate rather than maintain a large central compute facility?

High-availability through something like VMware FT and DRS/HA make features of the underlying hardware like RAID, redundant power supplies less of a focus point, arguably you are providing high availability at the hypervisor/software level rather than big-iron.

You could also do something like provide a peer to peer file system leveraging local storage on the device to provide local LAN access to files from caches – the hypervisor isolates the virtual appliance from the end-user to divide administrative access to systems and services.

There is a  lot of capacity in this “desktop cloud”… and maybe some smart ways to use it, conventional IT thinking says this is a bit wacky but I definitely think there is something in it….thoughts?

VMworld Europe Day 1: Wrap-Up


The first official day kicked off at VMworld, I covered the keynote this morning and have written up the more interesting sessions that I attended now that I have access to power again 🙂

Crowding isn’t as bad as I’d anticipated and getting about is pretty easy, the aircon could do with being a bit cooler as it got a bit sticky towards lunchtime. Queues to sessions are manageable and they have opened up bigger rooms & auditoriums than were used on Partner day. I was relieved to see that most of the queues you see are waiting for the session to open – I’ve not seen many people turned away from the sessions I attended.

I spent some time in some private meetings with Microsoft & VMware today around general virtualization things – reception drinks were popular in the solutions exchange and I think I eat way too much 🙂

The following are the more detailed posts I’ve done on sessions I attended;

Because I can’t possibly write everything up (well, it’s a decision between sleep and blogging…) here are some links to other bloggers with good content

vCenter Data Recovery

A view from afar

Techhead does VMworld Europe Day 1 – keynote

if you are at VMworld there are some interesting vendors in the solution exchange, I recommend you check out;

HP – Flex 10 blade interconnects on display

Novell/PlateSpin have a large stand covering their management & migration product suites

Zeus – software based traffic manager (more info here)

Veeam win the award for most lurid green (and sheer number of people on their stand 🙂

ioko – because I work for them and I’ve put a lot of effort into this whole vCloud thing 🙂

If you’re not here in Cannes I will endeavour to post up some of the interesting bits from my discussions with these vendors, maybe even a video 🙂

More tomorrow, must sleep.

DC14 – Overview of 2009 VMware Datacenter Products (VMworld Europe 2009)


This session was discussing new features in vSphere, or is it VDC-OS, I’m a bit confused about that one – vSphere is the new name for “Virtual Infrastructure”? that would make sense for me.

As usual this session is prefixed with a slide that all material presented is not final, and is not a commitment – things may change etc. – at least VMware point this out for the less aware people who then come and complain when something has changed at GA 🙂 this is my take on what was said… don’t sue me either 🙂

vApp is an OVF based container format to describe a virtual machine (os+app+data = workload) and what resources it needs, what SLA needs to be met etc. I like this concept.

in later releases it will also include security requirements – they use the model that vApp is like a barcode that describes a workload, the back-end vCenter suite knows how to provision and manage services to meet the requirements expressed by the vApp (resource allocation, HA/FT usage, etc.) and does so when you import the vApp.

There was some coverage of VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) using the lockstep technology, this has been discussed at length by Scott here however if I understood correctly it was said that at launch there would be some limitations; its going to be limited to 1 vCPU until a latter update, or maybe they meant experimental support at GA, with full support at a later update (update 1 maybe?) perhaps someone else at the session can clarify, otherwise there will hopefully be more details in the day 2 keynote by Steven Herrod tomorrow.

There is likely to be c.10% performance impact for VMware FT hosts due to the lockstep overhead  (this was from an answer to a delegate question, rather than in the slides).

Ability to scale-up virtual machines through hot add vRAM and vCPU as well as hot-extension of disks.

The vShphere architecture is split into several key components (named using the vPrefix that is everywhere now!:))

vCompute – scaling up the capabilities and scale of individual VMs to meet high-demand workloads.

VMDirectIO – allowing direct hardware access from within a VM; for example – a VM using a physical NIC to do TCP offload etc. – the VM has the vendor driver installed rather than VMXNET etc. to increase performance (looks to have DRS/vMotion implications)

Support for 8 way vSMP (and hot-add)

255Gb RAM for a VM

up to 40GB/s network speed within a VM.

vStorage – improved storage functionality

Thin-provisioning for pragmatic allocation of storage, can use storage vMotion to move data to larger LUNs if required without downtime – monitoring is key here – vCenter integration.

Online disk grow – increase disk size without downtime.

<2ms latency for disk I/O

API for snapshot access, enabling ISV solutions, custom bolt-ons

Storage Virtual Appliances – this is interesting to me, but no real details yet


Distributed Network vSwitch – some good info here – configure once, push config out to all hosts

3rd party software switches (Cisco 1000V)


vShield -  which is a self-learning and configuring firewall service and firewall/trust zones to enforce security policies

vSafe – a framework for ISV’s to plug in functionality like VM deep-inspection, essentially doing brain-surgery on a running VM via an API.

Last point before I had to leave early for a vendor meeting was about Power – vSphere has support for power management technology like SpeedStep and core sleeping and DPM (Distributed Power Management) is moving from experimental to mainstream support. This is great as long as you make sure your data centre power feed can deal with surge capacity should you need to spin up extra hosts quickly; for example at a DR site when you invoke a recovery plan. This needs thought and sizing, rather than oversubscribing power because you think you can get away with it (or don’t realise DPM is sending your servers to sleep); otherwise you may be tripping some breakers and having to find the torches when you have to “burst”.