August 2015 archive

What’s New in VMware VSAN 6.1

VMware has revealed the next version of Virtual SAN (VSAN), 6.1 at VMworld US 2015. This incremental upgrade from the current 6.0 version that was announced back in Feb. may seem small compared to the last update but their are a few big things in it that I wanted to highlight.

Who’s using VSAN today?

The first thing I wanted to point out from VMware’s marketing slide for VSAN is the fact that they claim 2,000+ customers. That seems like a pretty small amount which is around the typical range that a 1-2 year old startup might expect to have. But given the fact that VMware is not a startup, they have been marketing the hell out of VSAN which has been available now for over a year and a half and it’s built into vSphere that number seems pretty low.

I can think of at least 2 reasons for the low number, the first is cost, VSAN is still pretty expensive to license and when you start adding up the storage and license costs for each host you’re near the ballpark of a physical SAN. The second is what I call the comfort blanket, people get attached to what they currently use (physical SAN) and are very reluctant to change it despite all the promises of wonderful things that something else might bring. As a result they tend to stick to what they know and what they are comfortable with instead of venturing outside that comfort zone into unfamiliar territory.

VSAN61-1-editWhat’s New in Virtual SAN 6.1?

If you want the quick overview of everything new in 6.1 the below slide illustrates that. The big things that stand out are support for Stretched Storage Clusters (i.e. vMSC), support for 2 node VSAN clusters, support for multi-vCPU (SMP) Fault Tolerance, vRealize Ops integration and new enhanced replication with lower RPO’s. Continue reading for more details on all these.

VSAN61-2Stretched Clustering

Prior to version 6.1 you were limited to deploying a VSAN cluster to a single site as it did not support higher latency between VSAN nodes. Now with support for stretched clusters you can spread your VSAN nodes farther apart to provide a higher level of storage availability that can survive not just a single node failure but also a site failure. This is very similar to a vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC) solution, the difference being that vMSC is intended for external storage arrays and this solution is built into vSphere hence no need for it to be vMSC certified. Just like vMSC however this is intended for metro distances only as it is limited by latency (5ms).

VSAN61-3The VSAN Stretch Cluster solution is available in either VSAN configuration (hybrid or all-flash) and utilizes synchronous replication between sites to keep all nodes continually in sync. It is also based on an active-active architecture so storage is usable at either site. As with just about any multi-site storage solution a 3rd party quorum is required for quorum and decision making to resolve split brain situations when a site failure occurs. The witness can be deployed as a virtual appliance at a 3rd site or hosted in the cloud via vCloud Air. As the 3rd site option is often not available for many companies who only have 2 sites the vCloud Air option is a nice alternative.

VSAN61-4As mentioned the requirements for this solution is the two sites must have less than 5ms latency between them, this is pretty much standard for any type of synchronous replication solution as the storage at the two sites must stay synchronized at all times and higher latency between sites can impact performance. The requirement for the connection to the 3rd site witness appliance is 100Mbps but realistically as there is not heavy data flow between the witness and storage sites it can probably be much lower. The requirement for the connection between the 2 storage sites is 10Gbps which is pretty high and is the primary reason why this solution is metro distance limited. Note because this is an active-active solution both DRS & HA are supported between sites.

VSAN61-5While having continuous availability is critical to some customers there is often the need to extend that out further to protect against regional disasters. You can combine a VSAN stretch cluster with VMware’s vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Solution that utilizes vSphere Replication (asynchronous) to replicate your VSAN stretch cluster to a cloud based failover environment. This provides you with double protection against either a single site failover or a regional event that might impact both your stretched cluster sites.

VSAN61-6In addition to replication to a vCloud Air based DR cloud there is also enhanced replication to an offsite location using vSphere Replication with Site Recovery Manager. This improved replication is more efficient due to the new VSAN vsanSparse snapshot mechanism that was introduced in vSphere 6.0 and VMware is claiming that RPO’s as low as 5 minutes can be achieved as a result.

VSAN61-7SMP-Fault Tolerance

I don’t know that many people use the vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT) feature that much due to the many limitations and restrictions that it puts on VMs. Support for multi vCPU (SMP) VM’s was finally introduced in vSphere 6.0 but VSAN was not supported with Fault Tolerance (even single CPU VM’s). Now with 6.1 you can use the FT feature with VSAN if you so desire including SMP VM’s.

VSAN61-8Support for Application Clustering Technologies

VSAN now supports certain application specific clustering technologies including Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC), Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server. Note for Exchange and SQL the only supported configurations are those that use the file share quorum witness, Failover Cluster Instances (FCI) are not supported..

VSAN61-92-Node ROBO Solution

While VMware has worked to scale VSAN on the high end up to 64 nodes the minimum supported nodes has remained at 3 nodes until now. VSAN now supports a 2-node cluster but this is only meant for a ROBO solution as it does require a witness node in the same manner as a stretched cluster does which is deployed at a central location and managed by vCenter Server. With this solution each node will be in a Fault Domain and each ROBO cluster will have it’s own independent witness node with all management done by a single vCenter Server instance. This is great for ROBO deployments that have many sites where companies desire to keep as little infrastructure as possible at each site. This solution is not intended for standalone 2-node deployments where the minimum nodes remains at 3 nodes.

VSAN61-10Virtual SAN Management Pack for vRealize Operations

Virtual SAN now has integration with vRealize Operations (vROps) for enhanced health, performance and capacity monitoring. The integration isn’t native to vROps and SAN integrates the same way that every vendor does through a Management Pack that is installed in vROps that provides support for VSAN. This provides some much needed better monitoring for VSAN and includes a Global View that provides visibility across multiple VSAN clusters for monitoring, alerts and notifications as well as capacity monitoring that can monitor disk usage and SSD wear out across all VSAN hosts and use advanced capacity planning based on “what if” scenarios, historic demand and stress trends. In addition the health monitoring provides proactively notifications on failures, performance or policy compliance issues on an ongoing basis, with root-cause analysis and remediation strategy.

VSAN61-11VSAN61-12VSAN61-13VSAN61-14Some additional new things

Some additional smaller things included in VSAN 6.1 include support for new higher performance flash devices such as SanDisk’s UltraDIMMs that supports NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) which is a specification that allows SSDs to connect to the PCIe bus instead of through traditional SAS/SATA interfaces. By using the PCIe bus it allows for much lower latency and support for multiple queues and higher queue depths, the end result improves performance and helps eliminates bottlenecks.

VSAN61-15VSAN 6.1 also allows for non-destructive file system upgrades from previous versions of VSAN which makes upgrading much easier.

VSAN61-16VSAN 6.1 also makes it easier to claim disks into a VSAN node by allowing you to choose many simultaneously instead of choosing them one by one.

VSAN61-17Finally health reporting has been improved with new information, configuration options and support for stretched clusters.


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Top vBloggers going to VMworld – wear your commemorative coin

If you’re a Top vBlogger going to VMworld this year what better way to tell the world that you’re a Top vBlogger by wearing your commemorative coin bling. Don’t have one yet? There were at least 15 people that never filled out the shipping form so if you don’t have one and will be at VMworld (US) come find me (tweet me) and I’ll meet up with you to make sure you get one.


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Vendors you don’t want to miss at VMworld: StarWind Software

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: StarWind Software

VMWARE_free_230_160You may not be familiar with StarWind Software, but they’re a player in one of the hottest virtualization segments right now which is Software-defined Storage, aka Virtual SAN or Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA). StarWind released their Virtual SAN product in 2011 back when the SDS market was still relatively new with very few companies offering software only storage appliances. Today they offer their Virtual SAN product along with a Virtual Tape Library and a hyper-converged hardware offering with their Virtual SAN. StarWind also supports more than just VMware vSphere environments with additional support for both Citrix Xen Server and Microsoft Server (Hyper-V). In addition they support deployments as small as 2-nodes which is great for smaller companies and ROBOs. StarWind also offers a free version of their Virtual SAN that is limited to 2 nodes and is self-supported that is great for home labs.

You can check out StarWind while at VMworld by visiting booth #442, on Monday and Tuesday you will be able to participate in short sessions held by fellow vExpert, Mike Preston. Also don’t miss out on a chance to leave VMworld with a Sony PlayStation 4.

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

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: SolarWinds.

1082819.gifSolarWinds Virtualization Manager was originally born as Hyper9 back in 2007 that worked to develop a new breed of virtualization management tool that helps administrators discover, organize and make use of information in their virtual environment. I remember meeting with the original founders of Hyper9 over dinner back before the product launched and was impressed with their fresh approach to virtualization management that used unique analytics, dashboards and search algorithms. Hyper9 was acquired by SolarWinds in 2011 who was equally impressed with their product and renamed it Virtualization Manager to help fill a gap in their management tools product line around virtualization.

Over the years they have continued to develop and mature the product and more importantly integrate it into their suite of products to provide an end to end management framework that includes servers, storage, networking, applications and virtualization. The end result is SolarWinds Virtualization Manager delivers integrated VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V capacity planning, performance monitoring, VM sprawl control, VDI performance monitoring, configuration management, alert remediation, and chargeback automation—all in one affordable product that’s easy to download, deploy, and use.

To find out more be sure and stop by booth #2429 at VMworld and also sign-up for the SolarWind’s Experts and Espresso event which is being held at Jillian’s on Monday & Tuesday morning from 7:30am-9:00am before the VMworld general sessions. There you will hear from SolarWinds experts and Head Geek’s including my good friend and fellow vExpert Kong Yang on a variety of topics including DevOps, containers and database virtualization. What better way to start your mornings at VMworld with a fresh brewed espresso or coffee, sweet swag, and knowledge from a few IT superstars. So what are you waiting for, go sign up now! Also don’t miss their breakout session as well: VAPP4696 – Will it Blend and Scale? Monster Database Virtualization Techniques

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How to experience VMworld without attending it

As much as everyone would love to attend VMworld many people can not go for a variety reasons but you can still get a lot out of the show even if you do not attend. I thought I’d highlight some of the many resources that are available to tele-VMworlders to be able to participate in the show from the comfort of your home or office.

vmworldThe bloggers

There are hundreds of bloggers that write about VMware technology and there is no shortage of bloggers that attend VMworld and report on what they see, hear and experience at the show. You can expect bloggers to write about anything from thoughts and opinions on products and companies to what parties they attended to live blogging about sessions they attend. VMware has a special list of VMworld bloggers along with feeds to keep you informed of all the latest blogger posts.

You can also keep an eye on the Planet v12n feed directly but you’ll have to sort through non-VMworld posts as well. Also be aware that Planet v12n only keeps the latest 100 blog posts so when you have a lot of blog posts coming in a short period of time around events such as VMworld it will only show the last day or two before posts roll off it so you will want to read up on it daily and not wait until the end of the week or you’ll miss out.


If you’re not on Twitter by now, why not? You may not be that social or the chatty type but its a great way to listen in on the thousands of people on social media all talking about VMworld. So if you don’t have an account, sign-up now before VMworld and then use the many VMworld focused twitter resources to listen in and participate in real time. The @VMworld account is the official account for VMworld so make sure and follow it, you also might follow the most popular bloggers as well to see what they are saying about VMworld. You can see the top bloggers here along with their twitter handles and also check out my list of the Top 100 VMware/virtualization people to follow.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on hashtags that flag tweets that related to a specific topic. The most used hashtag for VMworld is #vmworld, there are also hashtags specific to each session (#sessionID) and fun ones such as #vmworld3word and #vmworldselfie. VMware also has a Social Stream of Twitter feeds available that is like a giant tweet billboard that you can watch to see the latest Twitter action at VMworld.


theCUBE is kind of like the ESPN of tech events and provides live coverage and interviews throughout the whole event. Hosts John Furrier, Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman interview high profile guests from VMware, partners and others and talk about all the latest trends, announcements and action that happens at VMworld. Head on over to their VMworld 2015 landing page and you can watch a special preview of the event and see the whole lineup of guests which includes well known people such as Pat Gelsinger and Stephen Herrod.

Live streams

VMware doesn’t live stream breakout sessions but they do live stream the 2 main general sessions which are where all the new product announcements are made. The opening general session (Monday) is historically more focused on VMware’s high level vision and strategies as heard from Robin Matlock, Pat Gelsinger and Carl Eschenbach. The 2nd general session (Tuesday) is more focused on the details and specific products and technologies and typically features more techie speakers such as VMware’s CTO, Ben Fathi and others like Kit Colbert. The Thursday general session is more a fun one without VMware speakers and featuring super smart folks from places like MIT and Stanford to talk about cool hi-tech science and technology, this one is not live streamed.

To sign-up to view the general sessions live head on over to VMware’s general session live streaming reminder page where you can put in your email address and be sent a calender invite for them. Note the invite doesn’t have a specific link to view the session but I suspect if you go the the main page right before each general session starts there should be a link there to view it live.


In prior years VMware had a camera crew roaming around VMworld recording content for VMworld TV which was narrated in part by the famous Mr. Sloof. Every day they featured a nice roll-up of the days happenings that summarized what happened using the recordings that were made throughout the day. Unfortunately VMware decided to cancel that show so you will not be able to see that great video coverage this year. They still do have a YouTube playlist for VMworld 2015 that currently features some “Why Attend VMworld 2015” videos but I suspect they will still be posting video content there throughout the show so keep checking that playlist and subscribe to the VMworld YouTube account to see what they post this year.


What is a BrownBag? It’s what you pack your lunch in so you can bring it somewhere and eat while doing something. As it relates to technology that “doing something” is watching someone speak on a specific topic, essentially a lunch and learn. The vBrownBags have been around for many years and were born as a podcast series for virtualization experts to share knowledge and experiences with others. That has since carried over to live events and you can find vBrownBags usually at VMUG Usercon’s and VMworld events.

The vBrownBag sessions will be held throughout each day at VMworld and feature vExperts, bloggers, product experts and more talking on a variety of topics. You can view the entire vBrownBag schedule here and the best part about it is you don’t have to be there to watch them as they will also be live streamed. So don’t miss these informal, educational sessions where you’ll learn all sorts of great stuff, just be sure and pack your own lunch.

View recorded sessions

Almost all breakout sessions at VMworld are recorded as it’s impossible for attendees to see more than a small fraction of the amount of total sessions (700+). The recordings allow attendees to watch each session after the event is over to check out all the great sessions that they could not attend while at the event. The audio for all sessions is recorded and presented along with the slides for each session, in some cases for more popular sessions they have video recorded them as well at past VMworlds.

The sessions are only meant for registered attendees and are posted soon after the show ends but there are several ways for anyone to view sessions if they so desire. First off VMware always releases all of the prior years recorded session to the general public right before the current years VMworld begins so anyone can watch them. Despite being a year old there still is lots of great content in there. You can view all of the 2010-2014 sessions on the VMworld website (free account required).

Don’t want to wait a year, there are still ways to view this years sessions sooner. VMware typically posts some of the most popular sessions in batches over time on the VMworld YouTube channel shortly after the show ends so keep checking there, you can see the playlist from last year here. In addition VMware has also offered a season pass to people so they could subscribe to all the session content for around $700, not sure if they’ll do that this year or what the cost will be, check the website after the show and they may have some info on that.

Finally if you purchase a VMUG Advantage subscription which has a lot of great benefits one of the “advantages” is that it includes access to the recorded sessions.

As you can see not attending VMworld doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the exciting action that occurs there. The one thing you do miss out on (besides the parties) that is hard to re-create virtually is the face to face networking but their is plenty of options available that allow you to soak in the conference and still get good value out of it from afar. So if you can’t attend be sure and check out the resources that we covered here and look on the bright side, you’re also missing out on the crazy expensive hotel rooms, the mediocre lunches and the hangovers.

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VMworld back in Las Vegas in 2016

I happened to join the VMTN community podcast today to catch up on VMworld stuff and one thing that was mentioned is that VMworld will be in Vegas next year (2016). The reason for this is that despite VMware having a long term contract to be at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the Moscone Center is undergoing renovation next year so it will be moving temporarily back to Las Vegas.

I for one (and I suspect many others) welcome this, I previously wrote about how I was getting tired of San Francisco (below) and would like to see it elsewhere:

[important]I’m getting pretty tired of San Francisco and I’m sure others are as well. It’s a nice enough city but all the street people that are in your face and the walking all over the place gets old fast. The hotels in SF also get booked up very fast and are very expensive ($300-$600) and you usually end up far away from Moscone. I preferred it back in Vegas that is much better equipped to handle large numbers of people at conferences, I usually never had to even leave the hotel in Vegas. It may be convenient for VMware to have it in SF as it is nearby their HQ in Palo Alto, but maybe its time to quit being selfish and think of your attendees instead.[/important]

Well for one year at least we get a reprieve from SF and get to go back to Vegas where I attended my first VMworld in 2008, the last VMworld in Vegas was in 2011. See you in Vegas baby!


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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.

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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!

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