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Aug 26 2015

Vendors you don’t want to miss at VMworld: Infinio

One of the best parts of VMworld is checking out the Solutions Exchange which is your one stop shop for just about any product or solution for your virtual environment. Vendors bring their best and brightest people to these events so its a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the many great products available for vSphere. I’d thought I’d highlight a few of these vendors in a series of posts that you will not want to miss seeing at VMworld, next up: Infinio.

260x130Infinio launched in 2011 with a different approach to using content-based deduplication to solve real-world problems in virtual environments. Infinio’s unique architecture offers the efficiency of a global, content-based system, the flexibility of a content-addressable system with perfect distribution, and fills a gap in the market for an operationally non-disruptive, software-only solution to storage performance problems.

You can visit Infinio at VMworld in the Solutions Exchange at Booth #2029. Infinio is also participating in a number of events at VMworld that you don’t want to miss:

On Sunday they are a sponsor of the #VMunderground party, the biggest community-organized event at VMworld, which is being held at the Metreon City View starting at 7:30pm.  They have 5 VIP passes to give away so you can  Sign up for a chance to win VIP treatment at this fantastic evening of fun.

On Monday at 1:30pm you have the opportunity to meet their CTO, Scott Davis (formerly VMware’s CTO for EUC) for a vBrownbag talk entitled “Disruptive Storage Innovations and the Impact on Virtual Desktop Solutions.” Scott will discuss the next wave of storage technologies, their architecture and tradeoffs, while tying them to the unique demands of VDI environments.

On Wednesday you can have the opportunity to join Infinio’s CEO, Arun Argawal at 9am for breakfast and to hear more about the industry, his experience and how it is to be the CEO of a storage software company.

Finally be sure to follow @Infinio on Twitter to participate in the activities they post during VMworld and you may be the lucky winner of a $250 gift card.

Aug 26 2015

Tips and tricks for surviving and enjoying VMworld 2015

Another year, another VMworld, this will be the 11th anniversary of VMworld since the first one held in San Diego in 2004. The first VMworld only had 1,400 attendees, last year over 22,500 people attended VMworld. For me this VMworld will be number 8, my first one was in 2008 in Las Vegas. I remember that experience fondly as it was more intimate back then when it was a lot smaller. Over the years I learned many lessons about attending VMworld so I thought I’d pass that on to you:

  • If you’re a blogger make sure you sign up here to get your blog added to the feed for VMworld. Even if you’re not a blogger you can use that page to follow the feed of blogger posts at VMworld as the bloggers are your eyes and ears at VMworld that you can live vicariously through to enjoy the event.
  • Set your priorities and expectations ahead of time, VMworld has plenty to offer and you’ll get as much out of it as you put into it. Sessions are at the bottom of the priority list for me, things like networking and going through the Solutions Exchange are at the top. If you make a schedule it will be challenging to keep it as there are plenty of distractions at VMworld. Be realistic and don’t try and cram your schedule so full that you stress yourself out and are rushing to get to everything. Relax, enjoy yourself and have fun.
  • The sessions, so many to choose from (over 700 this year!), so little time, you’ll be lucky if you can attend more than a dozen of them. They’re just so much other stuff to do there its hard to find time to go to sessions. I recommend you pick a few that you really want to see and don’t sweat it if you miss some, remember they’re all recorded and you have plenty of time to see them after VMworld. I usually choose based on certain people that I want to hear speak and meet after the session. After all you can always hear the session later but you can’t meet the speaker after VMworld is over.
  • The labs are a great place to get hands on experience with both VMware and partner products and solutions. The labs are all based in VMware’s lab cloud environment and they are all self-paced. Most of the labs are available 24×7 via the cloud so you don’t need to feel the urgency to take them at VMworld. Still it’s always good to get some hands on so if you have some free time be sure and take a few. In addition VMware and partners staff the labs with experts on each course to assist you and answer questions if needed which is good incentive to take them at VMworld.
  • The parties, there are no shortage of them, my inbox always fills up with party invitations each year and trying to pick and choose which ones you want to attend can be even more challenging than picking which sessions to see. There is a pretty comprehensive list of them here. Kicking off the event is the official Welcome Reception in the Solutions Exchange from 4-7pm on Sunday. There is lots of food, beer & vendors so its a good way to start the evening. Afterwards on Sunday is the annual big VMunderground warm-up party, again this year it’s at City View at Metreon (4th & Mission) from 8-11pm, thankfully there is no need to register for it anymore and anyone can attend. The official (or unofficial) VMworld tweetup and flipcup tournament is in on Monday from 7:00pm – 11:00pm at the Mezzanine (444 Jessie St), more info and sign-up is available here. Tuesday seems to be the day every vendor throws a party, so pick the ones you want to go to and hop between them. Personally I’m going to try and make it to 2-3 of them including the Veeam party which is always great. Contact your vendors if you don’t have invites and they should be able to get you one. Wednesday is the big official VMworld party with Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes playing this year at AT&T Park. As I have no desire to see those bands I’ll probably be checking out the UNParty instead. Finally on Wednesday evening if you are into stogies, a group of people are going to smoke them after 10:30pm at a local cigar bar, RSVP here. You can’t smoke anywhere in San Fran so if you like cigars come along.
  • The networking, that’s what VMworld is all about, don’t be a hermit and don’t be afraid to talk to people. People like Mike LaverickJason BocheScott Lowe and Duncan Epping aren’t surrounded by security guards and are down to earth guys who will talk to anyone. So go say high, introduce yourself and have a conversation, you’ll be very glad you did so afterwards. Don’t know where to find people? Well parties are a good place to start, everyone seems to gravitate there. Do yourself a favor and get on twitter if you’re not already and you’ll know in real time whats going on. The official VMworld hashtag is #vmworld and many of the sessions have their own hashtags, make sure and follow the official @VMworld account also. There is also the VMworld Hang Space which is a good place to socialize and meet the bloggers. Be sure and check out VMware’s social media & community guide which has a lot of good info in it, also bookmark this page.
  • Plan your trip appropriately, you’re going to be on your feet a lot at VMworld, you better have comfortable shoes or you’re going to have real sore feet. Don’t by a pair of new spiffy shoes right before VMworld without breaking them in, you’ll regret it! Pack light if you can, you might want to being an extra bag, there are lots of prize giveaways and free swag all over the place so I can almost guarantee you’re going to go home with more than you came with. If you’re going to walk around with a back pack don’t stuff it too much, its going to get awfully heavy after wearing it a few hours. I travel light and don’t want a full laptop to lug around, I bring a netbook, iPad and smartphone and choose the one I want to carry for what I need to do at the time. Don’t forget power, especially for your phone, I carry a few battery packs so I can charge it as needed without an outlet. Jackery makes some cool ones in a few different sizes, the largest will charge tablets and multiple devices at once. Wi-fi coverage at Moscone is so-so and cell phone data in San Fran tends to be pretty bad and will probably be even worse at VMworld due to an additional 20,000 or so devices all fighting for service.
  • VMware makes a point to show off their talent at VMworld, this means those geeky developers that are normally locked up all day making the next version of vSphere are there and usually available to talk to. What better person to ask your HA question than someone who actually developed the feature. VMware has lots of other smart people there so be sure and check out the VMware booths in the Solutions Exchange to meet them. It’s not just VMware that has their smartest and brightest at the show though, most of the vendors have their best people there also so go by your favorite vendors and talk them up and get your questions answered.
  • The Solutions Exchange is like a Super Walmart, everything you can possibly need for VMware products all under one roof, take your time, stroll around and I guarantee you’ll see many cool products that you probably never knew existed. VMware has an incredibly rich ecosystem of vendors that can help solve your pain points and enhance your environment. Do make a point of spending plenty of time there, besides learning a lot you’ll leave with pockets stuffed with vendor swag. Besides the Welcome Reception on Sunday there is the Hall Crawl on Tuesday from 4-6pm where you can get free booze from certain vendors that offer it.
  • If this is your first time at VMworld or San Fran it can be a bit intimidating, especially when it comes to finding your way around. If you get there on Sunday try and pick up your badge then rather than fight the crowds on Monday. Walking around and trying to get your bearings can help, be sure and use the maps of the Moscone that are published on and in the docs you are given when you check in to see where everything is. If you need information don’t hesitate to ask someone, or even better trying tweeting it and you might get a quick answer. The more social you can be at VMworld especially if its your first time will really help you out as us virtualization folks are a friendly lot that don’t bite and are glad to help out a vComrade. Also be sure and download the VMworld mobile app for your phone or tablet.
  • See San Francisco if you can, there is lots to see in the city, know how to get around ahead of time, BART and the public transportation are great for this. Go see the sea lions at Pier 39 (watch out for the Bush Man), take a boat trip to Alcatraz, see the Muir Woods, Golden Gate or go climb Coit Tower. I have a big list of things to do in San Francisco here. Also if your spouse is accompanying you to VMworld be sure and check out Spousetivities.
  • Know where to go after the action is over, once VMworld closes each day there are plenty of parties, after the parties are over many gather at popular spots. One such spot is the lobby bar of the Marriott Marquis hotel which is 2 blocks from the Moscone. I had many great late night conversations with others there each night after all the parties ended.

VMworld is four short days and will fly by before you know it, so be sure and make the most of it and soak up the incredible amount of knowledge that will be available both formally through labs and sessions and informally through talking to others. More than anything, enjoy the show, I hope to meet many of you there!

Aug 23 2015

Vendors you don’t want to miss at VMworld: VMTurbo

One of the best parts of VMworld is checking out the Solutions Exchange which is your one stop shop for just about any product or solution for your virtual environment. Vendors bring their best and brightest people to these events so its a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the many great products available for vSphere. I’d thought I’d highlight a few of these vendors in a series of posts that you will not want to miss seeing at VMworld, first up: VMTurbo.

why-vhm-earth(250x125)VMTurbo has been around since 2010 and offers a great virtualization management and monitoring tool with a twist. It analyzes your virtualization environment and instead of just reporting issues to you so you can intervene and resolve them, it attempts to resolve them for you. Think of it as instead of having a dumb computer inputting metrics and outputting reports and alerts, it’s like having an intelligent robotic admin in your virtual environment who is capable of making decisions to keep everything running smoothly.

You can visit VMTurbo at VMworld in the Solutions Exchange at Booth #505, besides learning about their great product don’t miss out on a chance to win a $10,000 dream vacation that they are giving away as a grand prize. They will also be doing on-going in-booth sessions on a variety of topics where you also have a chance to win a Pebble watch at each session. Finally if you are looking for something to do and unwind after a busy day at VMworld be sure and join VMTurbo at their VIP cocktail party at the Drake Hotel along with their partners Nutanix and Pure Storage.

To learn more about all the exciting things that VMTurbo has planned for VMworld be sure and visit their blog to find out all the details.

Aug 23 2015

Another new vChat episode #38

In vChat #38 Simon, Eric, and David talk about what they are using for their vSphere virtual labs (cloud, physical, and virtual), Simon’s new vVNX videos and how vVNX can be used for home labs, and other home lab vSphere storage options, and a VMworld 2015 pre-view (stay tuned to for our next episode where we will spend the whole show talking about VMworld). JOIN US to learn more!

Aug 22 2015

Long live ESX!

The subject of one of the emails that I received this week from caught my eye:


VMware vSphere ESX – Voted Readers’ Choice Award Winner – Hypervisors
Date: 20 Aug. 2015 | Author: The Editor
VMware vSphere ESX was selected the winner in the Hypervisors category of the Readers’ Choice Awards. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer were runner-up and second runner-up respectively.

My first thought was: ESX? How could a hypervisor that was retired by VMware many years ago be selected today as the most popular hypervisor? If you remember your vSphere history the ESX hypervisor was dropped in vSphere 5.0 (2011) and ESX 4.1 Update 3 which was released on 8/30/2012 was the last version of ESX available. ESXi which was first introduced on 1/10/2008 with VI3 version 3.5 was the sole hypervisor available in vSphere 5.0 and onward.

ESX41I find it a bit humorous how many of us VMware old timers still cling to the past and use the ESX term to this day for the hypervisor thereby refusing to acknowledge the death of ESX after the birth of it’s successor, ESXi. I’ll admit I slip up and still use the term now and then as ESX is still roaming around in my head as the hypervisor that I grew up learning virtualization on. I even find it to this day in many documents and presentations from both VMware and its partners. There are even websites still named after it (Vladan ;-) and the landing page on VMware’s website for ESXi still has ESX in the URL.

These days I’m pretty careful to not use the old term in anything I publish either in on my blog or in the docs I publish and maintain at work as my urge to be technically correct overrides any desire to use the old term. So when I saw it pop-up in that survey I had to wonder what they were thinking using that old term. Either they were being ignorant (doubtful), not thorough with editing (possibly) or funny (maybe).

Who knows, either way long live ESX, the hypervisor that changed the data center and continues to rule it to this day!

Aug 21 2015

My top session picks for VMworld 2015

VMworld is upon us and once again you must pick which sessions you want to try and see. With so many sessions (over 750+) and so few time slots (maybe 25 max) it becomes a real challenge to try and pick the sessions you want to see. In general I choose based on the topics that I’m interested in and more importantly who the speaker is. So below are my top picks, some of them may be full already but you can get on the waiting list or just show up and try and get in. You can also watch them online after VMworld once they are posted. One thing to note any session that has a SPO in the session number indicates a sponsor (paid) session that made it in outside the normal voting process.

Virtual Volumes sessions:

Virtual Volumes is VMware’s hot new storage architecture for external storage arrays and there are a lot of good sessions on this topic. Being slightly biased of course I have to start off with my session. Ken & Patrick are great VMware technical resources for VVols, Howard Marks is always worth a watch and I’m curious as to how backup vendors are integrating with VVols so the Symantec session sounds interesting.

  • STO5888 – Top 10 Thing You MUST Know Before Implementing Virtual Volumes (VVols) – Eric Siebert – Thurs – 10:30-11:30
  • STO5522 – Virtual Volumes Technical Panel- Ken Werneburg (VMware), Eric Siebert and others – Wed – 1:00-2:00
  • STO5822 – Putting Virtual Volumes to Work — Storage Best Practices for vSphere 6 and Beyond – Howard Marks – Wed – 8:00-9:00
  • STO4649 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive – Ken Werneburg, Patrick Dirks (VMware) – Wed – 11:30-12:30
  • STO5844 – Benchmark Testing: Making Backups Better Than Ever Using Virtual Volumes – VMware/Symantec – Thurs – 10:30-11:30
  • STO6552-GD – Meet the Virtual Volumes Engineering Team with Patrick Dirks – Wed – 9:30-10:30
  • STO6553-GD – Meet the Virtual Volumes Product Team with Ken Werneburg and Ben Meadowcroft – Mon – 1:30-2:30

Virtual SAN sessions:

Virtual SAN has been around for a while now but there is some new stuff being announced that should be interesting. You can probably guess one of the new things from one of the session titles below. Cormac, Rawlinson and Duncan are great technical experts so the sessions should be very good.

  • STO6050 – Virtual SAN: The Software-Defined Storage Platform of the Future- Rawlinson Rivera – Wed – 9:30-10:30
  • STO5333 – Building a Stretched Cluster with Virtual SAN – Rawlinson Rivera/Duncan Epping – Tues – 11:00-12:00
  • STO5336 – VMware Virtual SAN – Architecture Deep Dive – Rawlinson Rivera – Wed 3:30-4:30
  • STO6228 – Monitoring and Troubleshooting Virtual SAN, Current and Future- Cormac Hogan – Wed 8:30-9:30

Other sessions:

A lot of these are based on people I know and enjoy seeing such as Chris Wolf, William Lam, Scott Lowe & Mike Foley. I also like deep dive technical sessions so the ones on vMotion and Compute/Memory look interesting. I’m also curious about the emerging container (cloud-native apps) space that should have a big focus at VMworld this year. I also noticed VMware plans on releasing a VM encryption solution so that should be an interesting one. I’m not much of a networking or VDI person so I tend to avoid those but there certainly looked like a number of great sessions in those areas as well.

  • STO6631-SPO – GreyHairs on Storage – The Podcast Live on Stage – Howard Marks/Ray Lucchesi – Mon – 2:00-3:00
  • INF4528 – vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) Best Practices & Tips/Tricks- William Lam – Mon – 5:00-6:00
  • INF4936 – Insight Into vSphere 6 vMotion: Architecture, Features, Performance and Debugging – VMware – Wed – 2:30-3:30
  • NET6606-GD – Container Challenges with Scott Lowe – Tues – 5:30-6:30
  • INF4758 – vSphere 6 Security Update – Mike Foley – Tues – 12:30-1:30
  • INF5177 – VMworld 2015 – vSphere Security – Fact .vs. Fiction – Mike Foley – Wed – 4:00-5:00
  • INF5701 – Extreme Performance Series: vSphere Compute & Memory – VMware – Thurs – 10:30-11:30
  • INF5093 – vSphere Web Client – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – VMware – Wed – 11:00-12:00
  • INF5339 – Protect your VM data with VM Encryption for vSphere and vCloud Air- VMware – Wed – 8:00-9:00
  • CTO6121 – VMware and the ‘Internet-of-Things’ – Chris Wolf – Tues – 5:30-6:30
  • CTO6455 – Future Meets Present: Insights from VMware Field CTOs – Chris Wolf, Paul Strong, Joe Baguley – Wed – 11:30-12:30
  • CNA5698 – Building your Next Infrastructure Specifically for Cloud Native Apps – Eric Gray/Michael West – Tue – 5:30-6:30
  • CNA6647-GD – Provisioning Containers to vSphere with Benjamin Corrie – Thurs 10:30-11:30
  • CNA6649-S – Build and run Cloud Native Apps in your Software-Defined Data Center- Kit Colbert – Mon 3:00-4:00

Aug 18 2015

Top 10 Thing You MUST Know Before Implementing Virtual Volumes (VVols)

If you’re attending VMworld this year come see my session to learn everything that you need to know about implementing VMware’s new Virtual Volume (VVol) storage architecture. Unfortunately they stuck me on the last day (Thursday @ 10:30am) so after you recover from your hangover from the VMworld party Wednesday evening come on by to my session. Right now I have over 450 people registered for it. My session also made the list of Virtualization Review’s top 5 VMworld sessions to attend. You can find it in the session catalog by searching on my name.

Also be sure and check out the VVols technical panel (STO5522) hosted by Ken Werneburg from VMware and featuring myself as a panelist along with representatives from Dell, NetApp, HDS, IBM & EMC on Wednesday at 1:00pm.



Jul 26 2015

The Top 10 Virtualization Experts You Need to Follow

ServerWatch recently published a list of the Top 10 Virtualization Experts that you need to follow and I’m honored to be included on that list along with some other very distinguished people that deserve to be there. I can’t dispute any of their choices which includes a dream team of virtualization superstars: Jason Boche, Scott Lowe, Chad Sakac, Rick Vanover, Stephen Foskett, Alan Renouf, Duncan Epping, Chris Wolf and Vaughn Stewart. My only comment is that there are plenty of other people that deserve to be there as well and if you want to see a larger list check out my Top 100 list that I published 6 months ago.


Jul 25 2015

A new vChat Episode on Virtual Volumes (VVols)

David, Simon and I recently got together for a new vChat episode and the topic of choice was my favorite topic these days, VVols. We also give updates on what we’ve been up to recently and we promise to be recording more vChat episodes on a regular basis. Also check out David’s link page that references the topics we talk about.

Jul 16 2015

The economics of VMworld party bands

I did a post a few years ago on VMworld bands that I’m updating after the band for this year was announced. Much to my disappoint they failed to get a big name band in favor of two lesser known obscure bands, Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes. I’ve been attending VMworld since 2008 and the official parties have always been a fun way to unwind for a bit and escape after a busy week of hard core virtualization. VMware has had a variety of different bands to play at the party over the years that are listed below:

  • 2007 – Smash Mouth (Treasure Island)
  • 2008 – DJ & Tainted Love (cover band) (Las Vegas Speedway)
  • 2009 – Foreigner (Moscone)
  • 2010 – INXS (Moscone)
  • 2011 – Killers (Venetian)
  • 2012 – Jon Bon Jovi & the Kings of Suburbia (Moscone)
  • 2013 – Train and Imagine Dragons (AT&T Park)
  • 2014 – The Black Keys (Yerba Buena Gardens)
  • 2015 – Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes (AT&T Park)

I like a wide range of music but the only two bands that I really enjoyed seeing at VMworld were INXS and Foreigner which are in the classic rock era that I grew up with. In 2012 I was excited to find out that Jon Bon Jovi was playing which is another band I grew up with but the actual performance I thought was terrible as he played mostly cover songs from other bands and very few Bon Jovi songs. Train in 2013 is an OK band, I like a few of their songs but they are not a band I have a strong desire to see. The Black Keys is another decent band but again don’t have a strong desire to see them. This year they hit a new low though with two small bands that many people have not heard of and I really have no desire to see.

VMware is a big company and certainly has the deep pockets needed to hire bigger name bands, it certainly would be nice to see decent bigger bands play at the VMworld party (they certainly are saving money on those crappy box lunches they feed us). You might wonder how much does it cost to hire a real big name band (a lot), I did some digging and found out. Now if we price out the VMworld bands over the years we get this:

  • 2007 – Smash Mouth – $40K – $60K
  • 2008 – DJ & Tainted Love (cover band) – probably not a heck of a lot
  • 2009 – Foreigner – $40K – $50K
  • 2010 – INXS – ? (prob under $100K)
  • 2011 – Killers – $500K
  • 2012 – Jon Bon Jovi & the Kings of Suburbia – $850K
  • 2013 – Train and Imagine Dragons – Train – $200K-$300K, Imagine Dragons – $400K – $600K
  • 2014 – The Black Keys – $975K
  • 2015 – Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes – Neon Trees – $40K – $45K, Alabama Shakes – $90K – $125K

From 2011 – 2014 VMware spent a considerable amount of money on the musical entertainment for the VMworld party. This year that has totally dropped down to only $150K total. Now for that budget, it limits what decent well known bands you can get, here’s a couple that I would of liked to see that would fit in that budget:

  • 38 Special – $35K – $45K
  • Blues Traveler – $40K – $40K
  • Cheap Trick – $45K – $70K
  • Creed – $100K
  • Jefferson Starship $15K – $25K
  • Paramore – $125K – $175K
  • Puddle of Mud – $35K – $50K
  • Slash – $45K – $65K

Here’s the cost of some additional big name bands, that I would love to see play VMworld:

  • Nickelback – $350K – $500K
  • Pearl Jam – $300K – $500K
  • Linkin Park – $400K – $500K
  • Bruce Springsteen – $1 million

To contrast this here’s the bands that have played at some other big tech conferences over the past few years, EMC seemed to scale down this year as well with the combined band total being about $300K. Oracle and Cisco had huge budgets as Aerosmith costs $1.3 million to hire:

EMC World:

  • 2010 – Counting Crows
  • 2011 – The Fray
  • 2012 – Maroon 5
  • 2013 – Bruno Mars
  • 2014 – Imagine Dragons
  • 2015 – Fall Out Boy and One Republic

HP Discover:

  • 2011 – Paul McCartney
  • 2012 – Sheryl Crow & Don Henley
  • 2013 – Santana
  • 2014 – No band
  • 2015 – Spazmatics

Oracle Open World:

  • 2010 – Black Eyes Peas & Don Henley
  • 2011 – Sting
  • 2012 – Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon
  • 2013 – Maroon 5 & The Black Keys
  • 2014 – Aerosmith with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • 2015 – TBA

Cisco Live:

  • 2010 – Smash Mouth
  • 2011 – Train
  • 2012 – Weezer
  • 2013 – Journey
  • 2014 – Lenny Kravitz and Imagine Dragons
  • 2015 – Aerosmith and Royal Machines

EMC, Cisco and Oracle go all out with some great entertainment (HP used to). Every year I hold out hope waiting for the announcement that we’ll get a great band at VMworld but after this year I’m starting to lose faith.

Jul 10 2015

Comparing Virtual Volume (VVol) limits to VMFS/NFS limits

I was going through some VVol documentation and found this comparison between VVol limits and VMFS/NFS limits in vSphere 6.0:

VMFS/NFS Limits#VVol Limits#
VMDK size64TBData VVol size64TB
Virtual Disks per host2,048VVols bound to a host4,096*
LUNs/NAS mounts per host256Protocol Endpoints per host256
Volume size64TBStorage Container size2 ^ 64**
Volumes per host256Storage Containers per host256
Adapter Queue depth32Adapter Queue depth32
Configured VASA Providers per host128
Configured VVol‐managed
storage arrays per ESXi host

* A host can see more than 4096 VVols, but can have only 4096 VVols bound at any given point in time (binding occurs when a VM is powered on)
** ridiculously large number

Some additional notes:

  • While multiple VVol Storage Containers are supported, it’s up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. Today many vendors only support a single Storage Container which encompasses an entire storage array.
  • While multiple VVol Protocol Endpoints are supported, it’s up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. Today most vendors only support a single Protocol Endpoint for the entire storage array.
  • The minimum size of a VVol is 1MB. Storage arrays must support at least 2TB VVols.
  • The maximum size of a data‐VVol is as large as whatever vSphere supports (62TB). The maximum size of a config‐VVol is currently 4GB. ESXi hosts will never try to create a virtual volume larger than what the array advertises as maximum.
  • The maximum number of VVols supported by a storage array is up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. The maximum number of VVols required by VMs in a cluster of ESXi hosts is the product of maximum number of virtual disks per VM (60), maximum number of snapshots per virtual disk (32), and maximum number of VMs per vCenter cluster (10,000). This make the theoretical maximum around 19 million total VVols.
  • The minimum number VVols a powered-on VM will have is 3 (config, swap, data) (swap goes away when VM is powered off). Each snapshot will add at least one additional VVol per virtual disk (plus an additional if memory state is selected). The maximum number of VVols a powered-on VM could have is around 2,000: 1 – config, 1 – swap, 60 – data, 1,920 – snapshots (60×32), 32 – memory state.

Jul 09 2015

VMUG leaders – don’t screw your sponsors

cdqpcqzgVMUGs are great events for VMware professionals to interact and learn and the MyVMUG team has done an excellent job executing the UserCon events but I wanted to comment on something that I have seen this year at the VMUG events. I’ve been a VMUG Leader in the past and am currently with a partner who sponsors VMUG events so I have perspective on both sides of the fence.

The only way VMUG UserCon’s can happen is through sponsor funding from partners which ranges from $3,500 to have a booth at the event up to $9,000 for a platinum sponsorship that gets you a speaking session and some other perks. Depending on the size of the event which varies by city there can be anywhere from 25-75 partners sponsoring a single UserCon event. As these events are at larger venues such as hotels and convention centers they get pretty expensive to execute for everything such as signage, travel, giveaways, food, drink and more. The sponsor funding is what makes these events possible and covers all those expenses.

The VMUG UserCons have multiple session tracks throughout the day where anywhere from 3 – 8 sessions are going on simultaneously that users can choose from. The sessions at VMUGs are encouraged to be technical and educational and partners have to submit an abstract that must be approved by the local VMUG leaders. A lot of sponsor sessions focus on the sponsor’s products and many sponsors do a good job of making them technical and educational but sometimes they can turn in to sales/marketing pitches. Depending on the attendee they may or may not be interested in hearing that but they have multiple sessions to choose from.

Gold and Platinum sponsors all get a 45-min speaking session at the event. In addition to sponsor sessions, VMware is brought in to spice up the event and make it more educational and interesting so you can hear VMware employees talk about VMware technology subjects. This is good as it makes it more attractive for attendees to come and also entice them to stick around throughout the day. However the problem comes when you start mixing together sponsor and VMware sessions in the same time slots.

If an attendee has a choice of hearing VMware talk about what’s new in VSAN or a deep dive on vCenter or vCloud Air or hear a sponsor talk about storage or backups, 8 times out of 10 they will choose the VMware session. As a result this screws over the sponsor which has paid over $5,000 to have a speaking session and ends up having a mostly empty room as everyone is in a VMware session instead. There is a simple fix to this that was implemented years ago by separating the VMware sessions from the sponsor sessions so they are not mixed together in the same time slots. However the discretion to schedule sessions is up to the local VMUG leaders and despite the MyVMUG staff highly recommending it be done this way the ultimate decision is up to the VMUG leaders.

I can point to two events this year that prove the impact that this has on sponsor session attendance. I was at the KC VMUG a few weeks ago and did a very technical deep dive on VVols that I thought would be well attended. However the KC VMUG leaders chose to mix together VMware sessions with sponsor sessions as shown below and as a result I had maybe 20 people in the room as everyone else was in VMware sessions.

KC-VMUG-editFast forward to the Seattle VMUG today, the VMUG leaders there chose to keep the VMware and sponsor sessions in separate tracks as shown below and as a result the same session that we did on KC was completely full with standing room only.

Seattle-VMUG-editThis clearly illustrates the impact of mixing VMware and sponsor session in the same time slots and the negative impact it has on sponsor sessions that pay a lot of money for the opportunity to speak to attendees. I have getting screwed at the upcoming Indy VMUG to look forward to as the VMUG leaders there have also chosen to mix sessions together. As the sponsors are the only ones that make the event even possible, it’s a shame that they get screwed over like this as it kills the value of sponsoring the event for us.

So if you’re a VMUG leader I encourage you to carefully consider this and schedule accordingly. I personally will be asking ahead of time now and may choose not to sponsor an event if the sessions are going to be mixed together. I’m sure other sponsors have recognized this as well and may re-consider sponsoring these events. As a VMUG leader your budget for the event is dictated by the number of sponsors you get so its advantageous to you to make the experience for your sponsors as good as possible so they will come back next year.

If you’re a partner and want to express your concerns send the MyVMUG staff an email as I have already done at sponsors at

VMUGs are excellent events that bring together the VMware community and I’d like to see them continue to have value for both the attendees and the sponsors. Hopefully VMUG leaders will help improve session scheduling to give us sponsors a fighting chance and have the opportunity to have bigger audiences at our sessions.

Jun 23 2015

Back in the saddle again

So I’ve been pretty disconnected from everything over the last 4-5 weeks or so as I’ve been relocating from AZ to CO just in time to beat the 110+ degree heat. The whole move process took much more effort than expected so I haven’t had much time (or energy) for much else than moving and work. Despite having done the reverse move 2 years ago this one was harder mainly because getting my house that I had rented out when we moved to AZ back in shape took a lot of time, money and effort.

Goodbye Arizona:


 Hello Colorado:


Starting with 2 foot long grass that tppk hours to cut, to internet and cable snafus and mix-ups that left me without services for days. I went with Comcast as its the only real option in my area with DSL being a crappy 20Mbps and bought a Surfboard modem, I elected to do a self install so I could get it up and running quickly. Well that went south real quick as I could not connect once I hooked up the modem and it turns out they had disconnected it from the top of the utility pole out back so there was no way for me to get it going. Days later they finally came out and fixed that, I initially went with DirectTV as I dislike the Comcast X2 setup, they showed up without the equipment I ordered on the phone with them and wanted to me to buy all sorts of expensive boxes so I kicked them out and went with Dish who came out a few days later, so far I’m happy with them.

Some tall grass:


From there I had to deal with water damage in the finished basement in 2 different areas from a broken outside spigot that froze when someone left a hose on it in the winter to clogged gutters and re-directing water away from the house. I had to rip out drywall and carpet padding, get the pipe fixed and re-do the drywall and carpet which was a big job. Add in very overgrown trees, bushes and hedges, appliances that need replacing, other plumbing issues and all sorts of other misc work and I’ve been going non-stop on that. Still trying to get organized, finally got my man cave up and running a week ago, well mostly that is but I’m finally at a state where most of the hard stuff is done.

Burst pipe:


Lots of drywall to fix:


More near the ceiling:


I was out at the KC VMUG last week, I’ll be going to the Indy VMUG in July and Chicago VMUG in Sept. I’ll also be at VMworld presenting in 3 sessions as well. I had to take a break from shipping Top vBlog coins during the move process, I think I’ve sent out about half of them. The rest should be going out in the next week so if you don’t have yours yet you should soon.

So I’m back in the saddle again, expect to see lots more content here soon!

Kids favorite restaurant in CO:


May 12 2015

Public voting for VMworld 2015 sessions now open!

VMware just opened the public voting on session submissions for VMworld 2015. The way sessions are usually approved is via an independent content committee that reads through and scores each session submission, the ones with the highest scores make it in. I did it one year and it was a very tedious job and it was something I would not want to repeat again. VMware also allows certain larger sponsors to score a select group of sessions, I was offered that role at HP this year and turned it down.

The public voting is a route for sessions that might not make it through the normal content committee scoring process to be selected as a VMworld session, VMware refers to these as Customer Choice sessions. The odds are small that a session will make it given the very large number of session submissions but their is a glimmer of hope. I copied the voting table into a spreadsheet and it came out to around 5,280 rows with each session taking up 3 or 4 (2 speakers) rows so there is at least 1,500 submissions to sort through. As a result your session submission can very easily get lost as it appears they are all listed in random order. There are search and filtering functions that can be used as well.

According to the FAQ, VMware claims they reserve space on the VMworld agenda for up to 5% of Customer Choice sessions. As there were about 400 sessions last year that means less than 20 will be chosen based on public voting, so again chances are slim that your submission will get through this way unless get the word out for people to vote for you.

You need a VMworld account to vote, its quick and easy to create one and voting is open from now until May 26 at 11:59pm PDT. You
can vote on as many sessions as you’d like but you can only cast one vote per session. So with that said, here’s my plea for you to consider voting for my session submission on VMware Virtual Volumes. If you like all the content I’ve written here on them I think you will really enjoy the session as well. Feel free to also vote for my other submissions including the technical panel on VVols that VMware is hosting.


To do this simply click the Display Filter Options when you login to the voting site and put in the keyword “Siebert” and when the results display click the thumbs up to vote so it turns green. You can do further filtering and searching to find all the other sessions you want to vote on. I thank you for your vote and good luck to all!



May 11 2015

Some Virtual Volumes (VVols) news and tidbits

I’ve been collecting VVols information and links to add to my VVols link page and ran across some interesting items that I thought I would share. Let’s start with events:

  • Taneja is doing a deep dive webinar with Dell into their implementation on VVols on May 14th at 9:00am PST as a follow-up to the other VVols webinars that they have done with a group of partners as a panel and with VMware. Look for me to be participating in one as well soon representing HP.
  • Tintri is doing a VVol webinar this week entitled “Top 5 VVOLs Myths and Misconceptions”, I don’t know that there are many myths about VVols floating around but I am sure there are some misconceptions so you might check it out. As Tintri touts their storage as being able to work at the VM level without VVols I’m sure the myths might be tied to that in an effort to promote their implementation. This one is also on May 14th at 9:00am PST so you’ll have to pick which one you want to watch live.
  • NexGen is doing a series of events in various cities from May 19th – June 24th with storage veteran Howard Marks entitled “Putting VVols to work – Storage Best Practices for vSphere 6 and Beyond”. If Howard is doing these they have to be good so be sure and attend if it comes to a city near you, right now they have listed Dallas, San Diego, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Santa Clara and Denver.

Now for some other VVol info:

  • VMware has just published a new KB article detailing interoperability between VAAI offloads and VVols storage. It’s a bit short as it summarizes it, you can find a much more detailed version of it in this blog post from Rawlinson at VMware.
  • VMware has published another KB article that details how UNMAP works with VVols, however it might not be what you think. With VVols there is no longer the need to perform UNMAP operations as was necessary with VMFS using the vmkfstools and esxcli commands as the storage array sees VMs as objects and knows when they are deleted or moved so it can automatically reclaim that space. This KB article covers UNMAP from within the guest OS which is now possible as UNMAP commands initiated by a guest OS that supports UNMAP are passed back to the storage array to be reclaimed. I asked Cormac Hogan at VMware about this about a year ago and he confirmed this would work but know we have confirmation of it. In addition this apparently works with VMFS as well now in vSphere 6 as Cormac details in this blog post.
  • Veeam announced that they now fully support vSphere 6 and VVols with their new Update 2, so naturally I was curious and tried to find out more detail around their VVol support. They have listed as a new feature “Quick Migration to VVol datastores”, right now the only migration path from VMFS to VVols is using Storage vMotion so it sounds like they are doing something similar to copy a VM from VMFS to VVols. The Veeam Quick Migration feature is not a live migration like a Storage vMotion so there is a brief disruption as they pause the VM after it is copied and then resume it. I’m guessing they are using the vSphere 6 VDDK which now supports VVols to be able to do this as I don’t think they can have a backup appliance connect directly to a storage array using a Protocol Endpoint similar to the Direct to SAN method in VADP. I’ve reached out to Rick Vanover to clarify their support for VVols and how it impact’s their Direct to SAN backup method.
  • Still only 7 vendors listed in the VMware HCG for VVols support, I wonder when EMC, Dell, Pure and others will finally join the VVol support club.

That’s all for now, read lots more about VVols in my ever growing VVols link page.

Update from Rick Vanover at Veeam:

1) Does this mean you support the Direct to SAN method to backup a VM that is in a VVol storage container? If so are you establishing a protocol endpoint from your backup appliance/VM to the storage device?

>> Hot Add and NBD only. This is due to the VDDK capabilities.

2) What’s your quick migration method from VMFS to VVols? As it stands Storage vMotion is the only way to move a VM to VVols, are you simply doing a backup/restore or something else? Is this cold or hot?

>> VVols or VMFS makes no difference as VDDK abstracts that for us, so our prior logic still applies. In short, we create a new VM and stuff its virtual disks with data from the source VM (same as our replication jobs do). Migration “temperature” will depend on migration scenario and engine used: hot for VMotion, “warm” for Smart Switch, cold in other cases.

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