VMworld 2015 Thoughts

So literally just a few minutes ago I landed in San Diego, back from another long week at VMworld. This was particularly long, as on the Saturday before all the festivities there was a VCDX town hall meeting. There, we got to meet Pat Gelsinger (CEO) and a number of VMware CTOs. It was a very interactive session, mostly Q&A with questions from the attending VCDXs. Unfortunately a mass closure of the 101 prevented or delayed some coming down from SF. I think the town hall was fun, and I hope it becomes a regular part of VMworld. A big thanks to the organizers!

Sunday was also quite busy. First, it started out with breakfast at Mel’s. Apparently I wasn’t social enough, as I got seated at the bar and didn’t really talk to anyone. So didn’t get much out of that. I did run into several friends right outside of Mel’s as I was leaving. All afternoon was three one hour presentations at Opening Acts. These were panel discussions with well known people, about various topics such as storage, careers, and infrastructure. No blog posts about those, since transcribing real time panels is beyond difficult unless you are a pro court reporter. You can findĀ the session listĀ and speakers here. If you want to check out the videos, find them on YouTube here.

Sunday night started ‘party central’ at VMworld. I spent most of the time at the Nutanix party, mingling with our plethora of VCDXs, execs, customers, and partners. Great time! I wanted to make it to #VMunderground party at 8PM, but sadly didn’t make it over there. Next year!

Monday morning started off bright and early at 8am with a session about vCenter Server Appliance, and how it should be your first choice. Next up was the general session. To be frank, I was a bit disappointed at the general sessions lately. No ‘big bang’ or ‘wow’ announcements from VMware. vSphere 6.0 was old news (released in March 2015), and they didn’t talk much about vSphere v.Next. They did emphasize containers, hybrid clouds, cloud native apps, and EUC. One of my favorite VMware execs, Kit Colbert, made a great appearance. I really respect that guy! You can find recordings of all general sessions here.

The remainder of the day was spent attending sessions. You can find real time blog posts of nearly all the sessions I attended if you select the VMworld 2015 filter on the right side of my blog. Monday night was also party central. Frankly I’ve forgotten which parties I attended, but it was fun mingling with fellow geeks, getting recognized, and talking to blog fans.

Tuesday was more of the same, with an early general session, and a bunch more technical sessions. Of course more parties at night! Too much of a blur to recount where all I went. Nutanix also had a dinner that I attended, after which I headed to the vExpert/VCDX party sponsored by VMware.

Wednesday I was disappointed I was unable to attend the annual breakfast with Calvin from HP at Sears, due to a Nutanix session at 8AM. That was a great panel discussion with 3 customers and Josh Odgers, talking about their real world experiences with the Nutanix platform. I actually did transcribe most of that session, which you can find here. I did attend a session on vSphere certificates, which I found quite interesting. Certificates in vSphere 6.0 are quite different from prior versions, and for the better. Wednesday night I attended a customer dinner, then headed straight to the VMworld party.

Thursday was a little bit slower, as it was the final conference day. The general session was very interesting. Surprisingly one of the “TED” style talks involved dunking a live cockroach in cold water, snipping off its leg (while it was alive), and doing some demos with it. I hope PETA doesn’t get wind of that session. They left the cockroach in the cold water, so RIP #VMworld cockroach. Three very interesting talks, which you can check out on the video link above. The remainder of the day was technical sessions. Then I ran off to the airport, where I ran into Forbes Guthrie and we had a nice 90 minute chat.

The best part of VMworld is the community. Between vBrownbag, blog fans, meeting other bloggers, talking to book authors, networking, meeting Nutanix customers, etc. it’s a great event even if the announcements were a bit ‘ho hum’.

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VMware was very cagey about what’s coming in the next major version of vSphere, due out in 2016. One advance forward is built-in vCenter HA through an active/passive configuration. They will also eliminate the need for a 3rd party load balancer for PSCs, and build in native PSC HA. All good news! vCenter still needs a major overhaul to make it web scale active/active scale out, plus a full HTML5 interface (which they did commit to, but timing sounded like a couple of major versions away).

They did leak some info about 6.0 U1, which is due out in Q3. It will have some nifty features like a GUI for the PSC and certificate management, ability to move from an embedded PSC to external PSC, and other usability enhancements. Finally support for SQL 2012 Always on Availability groups for vCenter!

I didn’t attend many sessions on other VMware products like the vRealize suite or NSX, so those upcoming versions may also have some nifty new features. Containers, hybrid cloud and big data were also hot topics, but didn’t have time to attend those sessions.

I still can’t get over the great community at VMworld, and meeting a lot of great people. I had a blast, and look forward to VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas.

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