UKVMUG 2016 – Part 1

vmug

I am right now sitting on the train heading back into London with a smile on my face. I’m listening to music (Eye of the Tiger just started playing) and I’m tapping away on my laptop.  Why am I smiling? Well it is simple, today was the first time I realised and understood the value of the community.  Today was my first UK VMUG it was the first time in a long time I have enjoyed a UK wide conference.  London VMUG (#LonVMUG) is #AWESOME, but today was just bigger (and better) in every way imaginable.

Having recently come back from VMworld Europe in Barcelona (see my posts about my time there), I was worried that the UKVMUG would suffer from the fact that some people feel it’s a “poor relation” to VMworld Europe (the same people probably suggest that VMworld Europe is a poor relation to VMworld US) and this would affect attendance. For once, I’m happy to say I was wrong.

The day started at the National Conference Centre (Birmingham) with the initial obligatory introductions by Simon Gallagher.  Then came the keyonte with Joe Baguley, VMware VP and CTO for EMEA and Amanda Blevin, VMware’s Director of Technology at the Office of the CTO (henceforth known as VMware OCTO).

I have never seen a keynote from Joe in person, I found his candidness refreshing.  The focus for the initial part of the keynote was around Digital Transformation, and to stop concentrating on the business and Start with the User.  After all, what good is software / applications / systems that work for the business in terms of reporting when they are unusable by the user.  End User’s don’t want to have to read a manual or go on a e-training course just to use an application.  If that is the case you’re already doing it wrong, the key to mass application adoption is to make it easy and intuitive to use. After all, as Joe pointed it out, facebook or amazon doesn’t come with a manual and they seem to be doing fine…

A key focus going forward for VMware is to help the Customer’s Customer. Joe covered the modern history of cloud that has seen the IT industry change from using a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) to and through the virtualisation of commodity compute to the current view of a Redundant Array of Independent DataCenters and in the future with the VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture that is built upon the concept of a Redundant Array of Independent Clouds.  A strong message indeed.  In VMware’s One (hybrid) Cloud vision they acknowledge that a user doesn’t care about the How, Why or Where the application/service is hosted.  User’s just want it When it is convenient to them and on Whatever device they have to hand at that particular moment.

When Amanda took over she apologised (multiple times) for you know what (I don’t even begin to understand US Politics, so let’s not get into it that one.  But let’s be honest, the UK started it with #Brexit, it’s just America like to do things on a bigger scale – but remember after all #LoveTrumpsHate).  Amanda introduced herself and how she came to work at VMware and gave us a whistle-stop tour of the purpose/function of the VMware OCTO highlighting both the truly global nature and the significant number of projects that they are involved in both internally (incl. R&D) and externally as CTO Ambassadors. In my view, Amanda also gave the LOL moment/quote of the day with her quote: Don’t be a ‘server hugger’ virtualise (with VMware).  Whilst I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s been said, it did give me a chuckle. Simple Things.

Joe then took back the podium and finished off the keynote talking about the future, and briefly covered covering AI, IoT and Unikernels (which apparently are the next ‘big’ but small thing!).

The keynote was #awesome and got everyone off on the right foot. I have purposefully not covered everything that was presented, after all it was recorded and I highly recommend you listen to it, it’s not the same as being there but it is also better than reading about it second hand!

It was then time for a quick break before hitting the vendor area.  I learnt my lesson from VMworld Europe and after looking at the paper agenda (after the VMUG App let me down) I decided to skip the first round of session and head over to the vendor area and meet with some vendors.  Unlike at VMworld Europe, I wasn’t necessarily on a #swag hunt but interested in what each vendor did, especially some of the less well known ones.

I stopped for a chat with StorMagic about their SvSAN product and asked how/if it was still able to compete with VMware’s awesome vSAN now that its real advantage of 2-node VSAN had been eroded with the vSAN Witness.  They were pretty upbeat about it, suggesting that their remote witness was still a good option which was not as resource intensive as the vSAN remote witness.

I stopped by for a catch up with the guys at Blue Medora.  For those who don’t know about Blue Medora, they are doing awesome things in the vROPs Management Pack arena, with a new MP out for Cisco Catalyst switches and some more coming out soon.

I then wandered over to the Rubrik booth and had a really good demo of their cloud based backup product for both virtual machines, physical linux and SQL Servers.  Their stand at VMworld Europe was one I wanted to go back to and see but I just ran out of time.

Part 2 is here

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