10 on Tech Episode 009: VMworld Recap with David Davis (@davidmdavis)

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VMworld just wound down two weeks ago and 10 on Tech took a week off while we all recovered. Now that we’ve had some time to process the event, David Davis and I took a few minutes to talk about what was important at the show. Of note were some of our interviews with exciting vendors on the show floor and the fact that ALL sessions are available to watch immediately this year. Links are included below!

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Show Transcript
James Green: Hello and welcome to 10 on Tech. We took a week off last week recovering from VMworld, but now we’re back to do a post mortem on the event, and I’ve got my partner David Davis here. We’re going to talk about how the even went, and some of the things we learned, and provide some resources that you can use to get a handle on the event if you weren’t able to go, or even if you were able to go, to review and keep learning because there’s so much more to digest.
  The conference is so big and filled with information that we could fill the entire next year with stuff that we’re learning from what happened last week. David, thanks for joining.
David Davis: Absolutely, thanks for having me James.
James Green: First of all, what did you think of the conference, what were your impressions, and did you have a good time?
David Davis: Yeah, I absolutely had a good time. I always have a good time at VMworld. This VMworld was a little different for me, and I think you as well maybe, because we spent a lot of time, almost the whole conference out on the show floor, doing video interviews with over twenty five different vendors, and that was very educational, very interesting.
  Also, took some time away from some of the traditional conference activities that I usually do. The venue was different of course, because it was in Vegas instead of San Francisco, and it was kind of hard to find everything at some points. Just not used to being in the Mandalay Bay for VMworld. There were a few challenges around that, and of course Vegas is quite different from San Francisco. There’s pros and cons.
  Overall, it was a great VMworld. How about you, James?
James Green: I love going to VMworld, it feels a little bit like a family reunion, you know. There’s people that I can count seeing there every year that I really don’t see otherwise, so it’s always a great time to be able to catch up with those people and do a little bit of learning, and focusing on what I’m going to learn over the next year, so I always really enjoy being there.
  I personally don’t care for being in Vegas nearly as much as San Francisco, so I’ll be happy if we move back soon. Now I was under the impression that we were going to be having VMworld in Vegas for one year, while the Moscone Center was being renovated, but I was hearing people while we there say now it’s three years. Did you hear either way?
David Davis: I heard from a source at VMware that it will be in Vegas for two more years. I get the idea that they signed a three-year package deal kind of thing.
James Green: Yeah, to get the deal. Dang. All right. Well, there are good things about Vegas, and I’m not saying there’s not. Getting around, especially if you’re able to stay in the hotel that’s connected to event center makes it a lot easier than a lot of places that people end up staying in San Francisco; it’s quite a ways away from the event center, so you’re a taxi ride or a long walk away.
  Being able to get places easily is nice about Vegas, and the food’s good, and the hotels are cheap. There’s upsides, I guess I’ll get over it.
David Davis: Absolutely, yeah. A few upsides, but I do miss San Francisco.
James Green: Yeah, definitely. Well, you mentioned that we recorded a bunch of videos at VMworld. We spent a better portion of most of the days out on the show floor talking to vendors and learning about what they do. In the end, we produced twenty five video interviews; most of them are around five minutes long, where we talk to people about what they’re exhibiting at their booth there, and you can find those over on our YouTube channel, if you just go over to YouTube and search for ActualTech Media, you can see all those there.
  Let’s talk about a few of those that were especially interesting or that we have some thoughts about. I’ll start. We talked to a vendor called Workspot that I was not familiar with before, but basically what they do is, they are a different way to manage and orchestrate VDI. It’s SaaS-based as far as control, but the resources still live in the data center. The management plane they’re hosting, it reminds me of Meraki, if you’re familiar with them or have ever used their tools; the management and control of all the equipment is in cloud, and there are portals that they manage and provide, and then view all the actual provisioning of resources and hosting of resources wherever you want, in the data center or in a public cloud somewhere.
  I thought Workspot was really cool because that’s first of all a challenge with VDI in general if you want to deploy across multiple data centers or multiple providers. Say you want to have some desktops on premises, some desktops in Azure, for instance; Workspot makes that really easy to do, you don’t have to deploy two separate sorts of infrastructure to do it, as long as you’ve got the resources, the capacity, and compute and storage resources to provision them, Workspot will manage it for you. That was pretty cool.
  Like I said, we did a video interview with them, so if anybody wants to know more about Workspot, go look that up on our YouTube channel. What about you, David? Tell me about one or two that excited you.
David Davis: Yeah, I sat down with the founder of Illumio. Illumio is- basically, you can think of it as a competitor, maybe the number one competitor to VMware NSX. It’s a software defined networking solution, it’s all software, it installs tiny agents on every host, every virtual machine, works for physical as well virtual.
  First it gives you a visual of every communication that’s happening in your infrastructure, and it even works for hybrid cloud as well. If you have a complex network, companies do, you can immediately see this incredible visual, it’s very impressive. They call it getting illuminated. You can see all the communications happening, and then from there you can just click and start creating rules and policies to lock down your network, essentially.
  Really cool stuff, really impressive product. I also was impressed by Aspirant, who traditionally I knew as a network testing company for telecom stuff, but they had some really impressive network load generation tools and security testing tools to see if your infrastructure is sufficiently hardened or protected. Very impressive demonstrations.
  What else, James?
James Green: There were a couple more that I thought were really interesting to me. I have been playing around with some services from Scality, who’s an object storage vendor, and their primary product is called RING. The interesting thing they’ve been talking about recently is they open sourced a tool called S3 server, where you deploy just this tiny little piece of software, and you have available some S3-compatible storage that you can develop against. Not just develop, you can use it in production too.
  I really thought that it was easy to use, and it’s cool that they open sourced it, and you can also move through the stages of the S3 storage adoption lifecycle using it, so you can start with S3 server and then as you grow and need more services and bigger scale, you can move to RING. I thought it was a good move, and you can go over to out YouTube channel – again – for that one, and we talked to CEO over there, Jerome Lecat, about S3 server.
  Then one more I want to mention, we had just recently written a whitepaper for NooBaa, who I was unfamiliar with until very recently, which is understandable because they just came out of stealth right before VMworld, and they are also providing object storage, but what’s cool is, they basically use an agent, installed somewhere to consume storage from any compute resource, meaning a server somewhere.
  What you can do is, go install these agents wherever you have some storage that could be used, and then the NooBaa controller is basically aggregating all of that storage, and will make it usable as an object storage resource. For example, in our lab I put the agent on three Windows servers in the lab, and then I put the agent on three Linux servers, and our Amazon VPC, and then I connected the two, and then I created a policy in NooBaa that says, “Mirror data across both of these pools of resources.”
  What happens is, when I write an object to that bucket that I created, first of all NooBaa has consumed some storage on those servers that I installed the agent on, and what it does is it writes one copy of the data to my data center, and it writes one copy of the data to AWS. I’m protected that way, and what’s cool about it to me, besides that, is the possibility for using storage in the data center that would not be getting used otherwise; you can reclaim some of that.
  That’s super high level, we actually wrote a much more in-depth whitepaper about it that you can go and download from their website. Scott wrote it, and it’s very good, so I’d recommend going to read that. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. The sessions, I actually was not fortunate enough to have time to go to any, but I’ve been watching some of them afterwards, and I had a couple of things I wanted to mention about those sessions.
  One is, as always, the top ten sessions for each day are available over on the VMworld website, so you can download and watch those, those are really helpful. What’s unique about this year is that all of the sessions are available immediately. In the past, what VMworld would do was, right before VMworld 2016 – I don’t know exactly – June, July, they make the sessions from VMworld 2015 available.
  Right about as soon as they’re going to be outdated, the sessions would become available. What a lot of other conferences do is they post the sessions right away, and they’re publicly available, and that’s what VMware decided to do this year, which I think was a good move. If you weren’t able to attend VMworld, all of the sessions are available over on the VMworld downloads page, and all you’ve got to do is just register this tiny little form – it’s like first name, last name, job role – and then you have access to all of the sessions.
  Definitely check that out. David, anything else, final thoughts about VMworld, or tips, or anything like that?
David Davis: Yeah, definitely check out the sessions; I plan on trying to watch as many of them as I can. The hands-on labs I hear are also available over at VMware’s hands-on labs website, the hands-on labs that were offered at VMworld. You know, there was lots of great announcements, we posted a number of those on our blog at actualtech.io talking about what’s new in VMware VCN, and the latest version, the announcements around the new cloud foundation suite, cross cloud services, new vRealize addition.
  No new vSphere yet, but I’m optimistic that there might be a new version at a future VMware conference, later this year perhaps. Fingers crossed. You know, very cool stuff at the show, there’s a number of other blog posts from other V experts and attendees in the community that cover what happened as well.
  I had a great time, and I had a great time on the podcast here, James.
James Green: Awesome. Well thanks David. With the chaos of VMworld dying down, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week. We’ve got some exciting shows coming up, talking about some emerging technology with cool vendors we’ve been talking to at ActualTech Media and want to share that with everybody. Thanks for joining, and we’ll see you soon.
James Green

James is a Partner at ActualTech Media and writes, speaks, and consults on Enterprise IT. He has worked in the IT industry as an administrator, architect, and consultant, and has also published numerous articles, whitepapers, and books. James is a 2014 - 2016 vExpert and VCAP-DCD/DCA. Follow James on Twitter

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