Archive for September, 2007

VMworld 2007 – Day 4 and wrap-up

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It’s like a rock concert in here! – Joe, talking about the Keynote
Ladies and Gentlemen. Put your hands together for the “Sultan of Networking”, the “King of Ping”, John “Full Duplex” Chambers! – Scott

The above quote made me laugh hysterically. Thanks Scott for setting the expectations for the keynote address for Day 3. VMware also premiered the winners of the “Become Virtually Famous” video contest, which I’ve embedded above. It’s totally awesome.

So, at the final day of VMworld, and the previous three days were top-notch. Thursday’s schedule was pretty light.

  • 10am – 11am | Technology Preview: Storage vMotion
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | Tips for Troubleshooting VMware ESX 3.x Faults
  • 12:45pm – 2:00pm | Solutions Exchange

Again, to translate:

  • 10am – 11am | How to move your servers from one SAN to another without downtime…in the future!
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | What to do if ESX Server crashes…besides panic.
  • 12:45pm – 2:00pm | Vendors, giveaways, and marketing materials…oh my!

Originally, I wasn’t really planning on going to the Solutions Exchange. But, Mike went buck-wild and gave his business card and information to all the vendors the day before, and you know what? He won a 4GB iPhone for his trouble! I was a little jealous, so I felt like I had to at least give it a try to see if there was anything I could win. And also, after seeing the dozen or so t-shirts that Mike ended up with, I wanted a few of them for myself. I am a sucker for a geeky vendor t-shirt.

I didn’t end up winning anything, but I did discover at least one vendor who has a product that is interesting. 3par has a storage solution that seems to be the next thing. They have a product that arranged 40 disks in a single enclosure, 10 across and 4 deep, rather than 10 or 16 disks in a single enclosure, only one deep, as typical for the SAN Storage enclosures that I’m used to.

They’re support model is similar to NetApp, in that the device “phones home” and automatically initiates a service call if there is a hardware failure. Also, their “Thin Provisioning” model allows you to over-subscribe your storage, so that you can allocate two 1TB LUNs, and if they are only actually using 0.5TB, you can accommodate that with only 1TB of physical storage. They are on my radar now for our solution.

One thing I made sure to mention to them, though, was what to do with “end-of-life” equipment. One of my pain-points with our storage arrays now is that we have these cabinets of disks that we aren’t sure what to do with now that they’re “obsolete”. (Special thanks to Mike for bringing this product/vendor to my attention!)

I should mention that yesterday’s presentation by The Green Grid was particular satisfying. They have a well-thought-out plan for how to gain better Data Center efficiencies. A couple of their short-term goals include getting more members as part of the Green Grid, but also coming up with a common language when talking about Green DataCenters. For example, I might talk about kVA/square-foot while another colleague/institution might speak to BTU/rack-unit. They want us all on the same page of the dictionary, which makes a lot of sense.

Once all that geekery was done, Scott, Mike, Boyfriend and I had some dinner at In-n-Out, down on Fisherman’s Wharf, and then meandered up to Ghiardelli Square and had some of their delicious chocolate. In word, delectable!

VMworld 2007 was totally awesome, and I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity to participate and learn. Extra special thanks to all the presenters, and to Scott and Mike for making it that much more enjoyable!

VMworld 2007 – Day 3

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I was expecting more hippies, with long hair, and piercings and hip clothes and stuff. – Joe
Not from Corporate IT, dude. – Scott
Oh, yeah. – Joe

It’s strange. I think of VMware as so cutting edge that I just assume that their adopters are really going to be edgy, too. But I noticed that there is so little variation in the people here; white men, in their 30s to 40s, button-downs and polos, with khakis everywhere. The occasional woman (I’ve been sitting in the main hall for about 15 minutes now and I counted only three women walking through the door). It’s making me contemplative.

The quote above, too, is telling. There is a cost-barrier-to-entry for VMware; I think it’s about $5000 for every 2-cpu license; not typically in the ballpark for the hipster startups.

But enough of the sociological survey (at least for now…I’ve got some ideas brewing).

Today’s VMworld schedule is similar to yesterday’s.

  • 8am – 9:30am | General Session (aka Keynote address)
  • 10am – 11am | VMTN Community Experts LIVE (Panel)
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | Virtualizing Exchange 2007 – The Final Frontier? (presented by Dell)
  • 12:45pm – 1:45pm | The Green Grid’s Recommended Best Practices for Data Center Energy Efficiency
  • 2pm – 3pm | ESX Server 3 – Patch Management
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm | The Complete Clustering How-to with VMware Infrastructure and Microsoft Cluster Server
  • 5pm – 6pm | Tips and Tricks – Disaster Recovery in a Box

Again, translated from Geek-to-English for my non-VMware-savvy readers:

  • 8am – 9:30am | Some CEO is gonna be talkin’, but then there’s a panel on Energy Efficiency (w00t!)
  • 10am – 11am | Panel of people who spend a lot of their time online answering questions from other people who spend a lot of their time online (including me)
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | How you can get Exchange 2007 support from Microsoft, even though they can’t officially support it in virtualization
  • 12:45pm – 1:45pm | The awesomest presentation of the whole show.
  • 2pm – 3pm | Keep your servers safe from harm
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Keep your servers available 24×7
  • 5pm – 6pm | What to do if the floor falls out from under you.

As you might be able to tell, I’m totally excited for the Energy Efficiency panel as well as the Green Grid’s presentation on Data Center efficiencies.

I forgot to mention that IBM’s presentation on Going Green yesterday was actually really cool, and gave me some ideas on what we can do back in Philly. Oh, and I think I need to get a title-change to be “Greengineer”, along with my “Chief Blogging Officer” colleague, Scott.

VMWorld 2007 – Day 2

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So technically, this is Day 1 of the conference. Yesterday was the training day, where you could go and get some hands-on training with some pre-eminent VMware engineers and trainers. Yesterday’s classes were really good; I’m just sorry that I could only take two of them 11 or so that were offered.

Today’s a bit of a mashup in terms of the breakout sessions that I’ll be attending.

  • 8am – 9:30am | Keynote Address, what they’re calling the “General Session”
  • 10am – 11am | VMware HA Guidelines and Best Practices
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | VMware Infrastructure 3 Resource Management and DRS – Performance Use Cases
  • 12:45pm – 1:45pm | Going Green – IBM’s Comprehensive Approach to an Energy Efficient Data Center
  • 2pm – 3pm | Microsoft Application Best Practices Forum
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm | IT Service Management – A Technical Overview
  • 5pm – 6pm | Breaking Down Barriers to VMware Technology Adoption

Again, for my non-technical readers, a Geek-to-English translation of today’s schedule.

  • 8am – 9:30am | Some girl (or guy….i guess) who makes tons more money than you speaking for an hour
  • 10am – 11am | How to protect yourself from hardware failures
  • 11:30am – 12:30pm | How to do more with lots lots less
  • 12:45pm – 1:45pm | Going Green – Save the Planet by buying IBM’s products
  • 2pm – 3pm | Why Microsoft doesn’t play nice with VMware
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Consultant-speak, Consultant-speak, Consultant-speak
  • 5pm – 6pm | How to win people over with the AWESOME POWER OF VMWARE…and look good doing it, too!

There you have it! I’m looking forward to seeing what IBM has up its sleeve and whether it’s “greenwashing” or actual “greening”, and of course, the last session, which I think I could probably run because, hello, I did actually use in a presentation sometime last year:

VMware [and virtualization] is the SEXIEST THING in I.T.

UPDATE: The IT Service Management session was actually quite awesome; the Program Manager from VMware was truly well-spoken, and also quite energetic about the topic. The subject sounded dry but actually gave me a few ideas for some stuff to do back in Philly.

In contrast, the Microsoft Application Best Practices Forum was full of so much Consultant-speak, I left about 15 minutes into it. Luckily…they were serving ice-cream novelties in the main hallways. A real pick-me-up!

VMWorld 2007 – Day 1 First Impressions

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The conference is totally awesome. – Joe
Geek nirvana, eh? Enjoy! – Boyfriend

So, I’m still being plagued by the timezone differences. I had planned on waking up at 630am, Pacific, but unfortunately, all the task reminders in Exchange are stamped with Eastern Time. So guess what happened at 5am? Yep…all the tasks that I normally get reminded for at 8am in Philly, woke me up in San Fran! Boyfriend wasn’t very happy, but you know…the mattress is a little lumpy, so it’s not like we were getting quality sleep anyway.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out some first impressions of the conference.

First off, it was extremely easy to get to via a quick hop on the San Francisco MUNI (read: subway, trolley), only a couple of stops away from the station entrance that is literally outside the door of the BnB.

I’ve never been to a big tech conference, so forgive me if I’m being a little be n00bie about it, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by all the HUGE signs that said, “hey this is VMWorld 2007…check yourself before you wreck yourself!”

Since I was up early, I arrived early to the event, so there was absolutely no line to get registered (in contrast to when Mike arrived 35 minutes later…the line was out the door). I grabbed my conference badge and picked up the “complimentary” marketing materials from VMware and their various conference sponsors.

The quick run-through the line was great because I was terribly hungry and wanted to spend some time getting acclimated and get some of the continental breakfast that was being served.

To my complete and utter glee, I was presented with the largest indoor recycling bin installation I have ever witnessed.

Reading a little bit more in the conference materials, there’s a whole page in the Conference Highlights section about the “Environmental Considerations at VMworld 2007”.

    We made a commitment this year to reduce the amount of printed materials and waste generated and recycle as much as possible at VMworld 2007.

It’s good thing, too, because you know what? They got full-rack installations of server and storage hardware running in at least three of the hands-on training classes. I noticed 60 Amp 208V connections, so assuming that they’re using, at minimum, 50% of the draw from those connections in each training class:

    60A * 208V * 0.5 = 6.240kVA = 6.2 kW * 3 installations = 18.720kW

Assuming these guys are going to be running at least for the duration of the conference:

     18.720kW * 96 hours = 1797.12kWh

So, not for nothing, VMware is reducing waste, but consuming some crazy energy resources!

VMWorld 2007 – Day 0

So, who’s the bigger geek?  The one who arrive in SFO a day early to be well rested for her VMware Training Labs the following day?  Or the one who refers to said day as “Day Zero”?

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a *wreck* when it comes to travelling.  I have a huge aversion to the travelling part, but once I make it to my destination, I am pretty okay.  So, flying out to San Fracisco today, bright and early, with Boyfriend in tow, was a total………dream!  The cab was on time, the plane was on time, we didn’t forget anything (that we remember…hah!), and 12 hours later, we haven’t killed one another.

After a $75 in cab fares to and from the respective city airports, we made it to the Willows Inn Bed & Breakfast in the Castro District of San Francisco.  The accomodations are quaint (it not gargantuan), and the area is quite lively with “culture”.  😉

I’m going to miss the morning Breakfast (I know right?  Bed & Breakfast, and I miss Breakfast!) because each of the VMWorld Events/sessions starts at 5am.

vmworldschedule

Oh yeah?  Did I mention that I imported my VMWorld 2007 Schedule into my Exchange calendar?  I remember exclaiming to myself, “Self? This is a really nifty feature of the “Online Scheduler” application, even though they are only using an *.ics file, I didn’t realize you could do that whole thing with a simple ICS file?”

And they’re all stamped with the Eastern timezone!  I know, I know.  Those of you following my Twitter-stream know that already, but I’m just disappointed that the Calendar experience wasn’t a bit more seamless.  So, I’ll just be performing the old “add-three-hours-to-the current-time” to figure out when i’m supposed to be where.

I’m hoping they’ll have a copy of my schedule (in Pacific Time, thank you very much) when I get to the conference.

First up, tomorrow?

5:00 am – 7:00 am | Lab 08: Troubleshooting VMWare Virtual Infrastructure 3

7:30 am – 9:30 am | Lab 03: Building a dynamic Data Center with Multi-Site DR using VMware Infrastructure 3

In other words:

8:00 am – 10:00 am | Lab 08: Making VMware do what you want it to do when it doesn’t want to

10:30 am – 12:30 pm | Lab 03: Saving your butt with VMware

Riveting!

VMWorld 2007 Next week

VMWare’s (now) annual event for all things…well…umm…VMWare, is next week in San Francisco. I will be headed out there on Sunday (with Boyfriend in tow….he’s not going to the conference, he’s just enjoying the gaaaaaaayness that is SFO), and then back to Philly on Phriday. Scott and Mike will also be there.

There’s a huge number of presentations and talks and panel discussions, also some instructor-led labs on the first day. I will be totally getting my VMWare-virtual-freak-on! Plus, I’ve never been to San Francisco, so I’m doubly-excited!

I’m planning on posting about some of the sessions that I’ll be attending, so stay-tuned.

If anyone reading this wants to meet up and…damn…I did just mention getting my virtual-freak-on…need to go back and change that to something less salacious…anyway, if you want to meet up and “network”, give me a shout!


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September 2007
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