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These seem to have got a lot of attention on twitter and at the conference today. I generally create these for my benefit to help me note down key takeaways from the sessions, but I am pleased to share them and if others find them useful thats great! I am creating them with Penultimate and my Evernote Stylus, they are created in real time and are probably full of spelling errors etc.



News Conference

News Conference

Blogger Panel Session

Blogger Panel Session

Customer Panel Session

Customer Panel

EqualLogic Session – Growing your EqualLogic with SSD and Hybrid Member

Growing Your EqualLogic SAN with SSD and Hybrid

As always this time of year Eric Siebert has worked tirelessly and set off this years vSphere Land Top vBlog of 2014 competition, full details can be found on his website here >>


As ever if you read my blog and like what you read I would really appreciate your votes. My top vote as I am sure many others is Duncan Eppings, his ESXTOP and VSAN resources have been invaluable to me over the last few months.

Good luck to all involved.  

Once again I will be attending BriForum London taking place at etc Venues St.Paul’s. Read my previous blog posts with information of my past experiences here>

BriForum Pano

The favourite aspect for me with regard to BriForum are the technical sessions, I have always found these extremely insightful and taken a lot away, I hope there is a a good mix of content but for me I will be particularly interested in VMware View specific sessions.

If you would like to come along be sure to sign up now prior to 28th February for the Super Early Bird pricing


Simon Eady, Jeremy Bowman, Michael Poore and I recorded a Google Hangout today regarding the launch the South West UK VMUG and discussed our VMworld Experiences.

Whilst contemplating my VMworld conclusions blog post including the results of my SMB challenge I thought I would share a few of my non VMworld photos from Barcelona. If you didn’t make VMworld this year it will be back in Barcelona next year.

The Wednesday session follows a night of partying for most with Veeam’s bond style party leaving many feeling a little worse for wear after a late night / early morning drinking. The Wednesday session has traditionally been the opportunity for the VMware CTO previously Steve Herrod to wow us with technology and demonstrations, this year without anybody in an overriding CTO position the lead fell to Carl
Eschenbach COO with Joe Bagley and Kit Colbert joining for demonstrations. During the demonstrations there were a number of technologies covered with a focus largely on automation utilising VCAC, as well as business integration with the VMware IT Business Management Suite. I really enjoyed the demos and explanation alongside them although they possibly went on for a little too long to keep me fully engaged. I did miss the demonstrations around EUC that in previous years we had seen by Vittorio Viarengo, who has since left VMware.


Most of my time today was spent in the solutions exchange engaging with various companies, I spent a long time with Fusion IO discussing the use of their cards in VDI environments and also their soon to be released ioVDI software, with the ioVDI software the FusionIO flash placed in your server is intelligently utilised to offload most of the reads and up to 80% of the writes in your VDI environments. For more information check out the link below. We can see that Fusion IO has its place in your stack whether it is delivered through one of their OEM partner agreements raw inside your servers or as part of a larger intelligent appliance like Nutanix. I think in the raw form it has its place in non-persistent desktops and it will be interesting to see if there soon released software could also offer a solution for storage of persistant desktops.

Next on my list was Dell whom I do a lot of work with in a professional capacity, I spent a long time talking to Sean Copeland Solution Manager for Desktop Virtualisation solutions, we spoke regarding the Dell VRTX shared infrastructure platform that now features ivy bridge processors and when configured as a VDI solution with Horizon View can now deliver up to an increase of 36% in user density for Windows 7 and a massive 61% for Windows 8 over previous processors. I really like the idea of using the VRTX for smaller infrastructures or branch offices and Dell are putting together references architectures to cover these scenarios. Sean heads up the team that creates the reference architectures for Dell’s VDS division, I look forward to engaging with these guys in the future particularly on the subject of SMB VDI and the many possibilities with the solutions in Dells toolkit.

I also met with a number of people from Dell’s DaaS business, it was interesting to learn Dell are one of Desktones biggest customers particularly after VMware announced the acquisition of Desktone yesterday. Dell have recently enhanced their platform with the latest features of desktones offering. For me it was interesting to learn Dell can offer a lot more than a desktop as a service but also the ability to create supporting server infrastructure with your VMs like domain controllers, file servers etc and that it is also possible to buy a desktop on standby service to act as a DR for your production VDI environment.

Whilst on the Dell stand I also took a look at the new Venue tablets and I must say I do like them a lot, I am a big fan of my Surface RT but the Venue with a Core i3 / i5 processor and Windows Pro, still in a tablet form factor this would offer amazing flexibility especially with the options for rigid keyboard and battery dock and the desktop dock. My decision maybe down to Surface Pro 2 or Venue now.

After the Dell stand I visited Nutanix and met with Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude) who is vice president of channel for Nutanix. We discussed how Nutanix are growing and attracting a lot of big virtualisation community names into their business included Steve 5 times vExpert himself. Nutanix certainly seem to have a very strong proposition that is attempting to radically change the way we think and implement our virtualisation solutions. With their Google based, software driven, intelligent block based solution you get the benefits of being able to scale your solution as you need it, whilst getting not only capacity but performance through their intelligent software based tiering and protection over the different storage mediums and compute nodes in the group.

My final notable vendor of the day was Atlantis ILIO, I met briefly with Gregg Holzrichter VP of Marketing to discuss SMB virtualisation, I had previously understood Atlantis offered a storage accelerator for VDI however it is more than that. The intelligence in Atlantis is the way it de-duplicates and optimizes the data that is written to your existing SAN, meaning that Atlantis can help companies from big to small, at the SMB level by utilizing Atlantis you may be able to host your desktops on your existing SAN whilst Atalantis is able to help you achieve the performance that is required by VDI, if you are a larger company with an all flash array for example Atlantis can de-duplicate the data written allowing you to get greater density out of your expenses flash array. I won’t pretend to fully understand this technology yet but I am determined to learn a lot more particularly the use cases and costs for SMB.

Prior to the VMworld party I attended Andre Leibovici’s session on designing enterprise class VDI environments, this was a really good session that gave lots of good pointers for what you should look for when designing your VDI solution.


The day closed with the VMworld party in the main hall which had been changed into the Super Club, the theme was pretty similar to last year to be honest but with a roller disco instead of pedal kart racing, the music was delivered by High on Heels a UK based group that delivered dance music with a DJ, Singer as well as a number of musicians, the violinist was particularly good I thought and they played music I liked. Following them was the headline act Taio Cruz who played a short 30 min set of some of his songs, I’m sure if you are a fan of his it was very impressive that he was in attendance for me it was a good opportunity to catch up with a few people prior to leaving early to miss the mass exodus.

Tomorrow I fly back, I’m unsure if I will make it to the conference for a short time tomorrow but I will follow up with a blog post over the weekend summing up my VMworld 2013 experience.

Today’s steps were 17,272, approximately 7.7 miles.

VMworld Day 1

October 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

[more pictures to be added when I have a decent internet connection!]

Wow that was quite a day, certainly a lot to take in and absorb! Today started with the general session hosted by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger for his second EMEA VMworld since taking over the realm last year. VMworld EMEA is normally where VMware announce their End User Computing and Management updates and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The major stand out announcements today for me were surrounding EUC and the Horizon Product line, announced today was Horizon View 5.3 along with Mirage 4.3, although these may represent small dot releases the functionality added to these products especially from the View side was certainly significant. We are finally seeing initial integration between Mirage any View with Mirage now able to successfully integrate with View and manage the layering, protection and patching of fixed desktop within View, this is of course is a baby step but it is clear where this is going to go, when we are able to fully utilise Mirage alongside linked clones it makes for a useable scenario were persistent desktops would make sense and ease adoption over the sometimes more complex to implement non persistent desktops that usually make more sense today.

We are now seeing full support for VDGA dedicated pass through graphics cards for high intensity graphics within View and the start of VMware reducing the overall cost of VDI with the inclusion of VSAN (tech preview) and VCOPS for VDI now included within the Horizon suite. The inclusion of the VSAN technology for View for me makes a lot of sense for VDI workloads where you can utilise servers as combined compute and storage building blocks for your VDI infrastructure offering a very clear design to build and scale VDI implementations whilst gaining the benefits from the hybrid nature of the VSAN technology for the VDI workloads. As mentioned at present VSAN is still in beta and this functionality for View is only Tech Preview but I do think this has the potential for starting a shift within VDI design particularly at the SMB / SME level. I am really looking forward to trying out these technologies in anger and will be adding to my lab as soon as possible.

I would highly recommend you take a look at the link below to fully understand today’s announcements and I will be looking to do a deeper dive over the coming weeks.

The compute and combined storage solutions such as those mentioned above aren’t restricted to what VMware is doing in the software defined datacentre space, we are starting to see an increasing number of vendors in this space, the first I saw a number of years ago offering an appliance like solution was Pivot 3 who are exhibiting their solution at VMworld again this year but since then we have seen Nutanix grow from strength to strength and new to VMworld EMEA this year is the year old start up Simplivity with their offering in this space. Jeremy Bowman, Micahel Poore and I spent over an hour with Mario from Simplivity watching a live demo of their combined server and compute solution that also encompasses a built in backup functionality between datacentres and its concepts are all built up around what sounds like a very intelligent and preformat inline deduplication solution. Of course solutions like this have long been possible with the likes of the Lefthand VSA but we are defiantly seeing this technology come more and more to the forefront tempting to change the way with thing of delivering storage alongside our compute and offering more intelligent ways of doing it than we have had previously.

Outside of the general of the general session I attended a focused session of end user computing visions which further expanded on the future vision of delivering the desktop, apps and data to the users how they want it, where they want it in an increasingly simple and seamless manor and in hopefully a more affordable solution. We saw a demo of potential new improvements to unity touch, the technology that adds a touch friendly interface over your windows desktop, when accessed on a tablet. VMware will be looking to take this a stage further from where they manage the overlay for the start bar, with offering an administrator definable ribbon for your applications and the still planned improvements for data input.

I spent a large amount of my time today in the Solutions Exchange catching up with the vendors, today I was mainly concentrating on getting updates from the vendors I was aware off, it was really good to finally meet Raymon Epping in person and discuss how Nutanix are growing and enhancing their solution, I really love the idea of their solution for scaling VDI workloads, one node at a time.

As per my comments in previous years Nimble also again really stood out for me as someone that is growing and making a difference within the storage industry, their hybrid arrays really make sense to me with the intelligence to manage the data and using the various components within the SAN, the SSD, NVRAM and Spinning disks to handle your data intelligently, they have recently released their 2.X stream of firmware adding a lot of very good UI improvements alongside the ability to offer scale out now alongside their traditional scale up method. This alongside the modular nature of their arrays now means you can use Nimble as you need within your environment to design the solution that works for you and even in the future where your needs may change and grow your Nimble array can transform with your workloads. If you are at VMworld be sure to see Devin, Nick or Charlie on the Nimble stand these guys have many years’ experience with many vendors in the storage industry and are great guys to talk to about the technology. I will be very shortly be releasing a blog post covering Nimble as a technology.

I was also lucky enough today to get a tour of the labs, for me whilst very familiar with the labs it was great to hear how the labs have really helped VMware define many aspects of their products and now how the lab team is growing and adapting to the technology that they have been able to create and tune over the many VMworld’s and now of course though the year round online labs.

My day finished with the vExpert / VCDX welcome reception in central Barcelona, this offered a good location to catchup with many old friends and meet some new faces, I won’t name people individually for the fear of forgetting someone but this was great catching up with everyone and huge thanks to John, Corey and team for managing an amazing community at VMware.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow, this will be my last day at the show and I hope to meet some more vendors and speak to many more people before enjoying the VMworld party in the evening. Hopefully catch some more of you tomorrow.

By the way my step count for today was down on yesterday but was still 16432 steps, 7.3 miles.

Today was the partner day at VMworld EMEA taking place in Barcelona, this is my third VMworld and my second in Barcelona. With VMworld being back in Barcelona the show seems to have been tweaked somewhat for the better, with the Solutions Exchange being directly above the Sessions and the Hang Out Space, Hands on Labs and General Session, this should hopefully limit somewhat the walking from one side to the other but with the size of the venue this is still going to be inevitable.

Today as usual the show started with the Partner only day but the Hands on Labs being open to all, I started my day taking lab 1309 as a refresher on Mirage, in this lab you follow through many actions in Mirage such as creating and deploying an application layer, upgrading an XP desktop to Windows 7 and reviewing the new web interface. I have sat this lab before on Project Nee but it served as a good refresher, if you are looking to get a better understanding of the Horizon Suite I would recommend the lab.

Passing between the labs and the sessions halls you will pass the VMware time machine where you are able to go back in time to see VMware’s journey to where they are today.

The day offered a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and new faces in the bloggers lounge.

Photo By @JeremyBowman

Whilst in the blogger area I used the opportunity to try one of the labs using my tablet, as Firefox was recommended I actually worked in the lab via a View desktop from my Surface RT, the lab I concentrated on was 1308 which concentrates on the VSAN, this was a really interesting lab for me and I am going to be interested to see how the VSAN progresses out of beta into a finalised product, from both a technical and pricing perspective. If priced appropriately it could certainly offer a serious alternative to traditional shared storage. I didn’t complete the lab due to time but I look forward to coming back to this lab at a later time.

The rest of my day at the show was spent on various partner sessions generally focusing on a firm passion of my end user computing, what is very apparent in end user computing is there isn’t a single solution that fits all use cases and that a hybrid approach is the only way you are going to have a successful end user solution. As such the Horizon suite is looking to fill this gap with View for VDI, Mirage for physical and Workspace brining all the components together including SaaS and data. It was made apparent during the sessions that we can expect some End User Computing announcement during the course of the show.

The partner day finished with the partner keynote focusing on the success of VMware with its partners and how it continues to build on its partnerships and finally a partner appreciation style that took a street theme with street painters and performers, this theme is being taken throughout the show through to the party on Wednesday. It was also announced that VMworld would be back in Barcelona next year during the same week in October.

My evening was spent catching up with lots of friends at the Pernix Data party at beach club boo which offered a lovely beach front location with views over Barcelona, I look forward to learning more about Pernix over the course of the week.

Along with a number of community members I have been tracking my number of steps using my FitBit One the total for today was 20,236 which was approx 9 miles.

I’m looking forward to day 1 and if you see me about please say Hi, I am particularly interested to hear your end user computing stories and compare notes on what does and doesn’t work when it comes to VDI.

Today was the second and final day of BriForum London 2013, today for me was largely about the sessions as I had visited many of the vendors yesterday.

I attended a total of four sessions today kicking off with Hyper-V for VMware Administrators by Mike Nelson, whilst I’m quite happy with the features and functionality of Hyper-V 3.0, I was keen to know if my somewhat biased opinions when it comes to vSphere vs Hyper-V were indeed correct. I found the session really insightful and it was good to get engagement and different opinions from delegates as well as the presenter. Of course the outcome as expected is there is only one hypervisor worth looking at being VMware vSphere (I joke). It was good to hear about the different configuration maximums as well as the meaningful comparison between features and functionality and the considerations when deploying a Hyper-V solution. The general feeling seems to be Microsoft have done a good job with Hyper-V 3.0 but the pricing and packaging regarding the management tools can cause further cost considerations to be a barrier and still leave vSphere a cost effective solution.

My next session was Brian and Gabes 5 x 15mins sessions covering many topics, a few of interest to me were are user installed applications really a requirement, all wifi users should be treated as external users and VDI vs RDS. This was a great session again with audience interaction but it was also great to see how Brian and Gabe work together, with Brian happy to make radical and sweeping statements and Gabe standing back and taking the considered approach, between them they are sometimes able to agree on the middle ground. Im not going to micro analyse this session but if you were at BriForum London and missed it check out the video or be sure to attend Chicago.

During the break I had a chance to catch-up with the few vendors I missed yesterday one stood out for me and that was Lakeside Software, I met these guys at VMworld last year and was pleased to learn that as of July 2012 they now have a UK based EMEA team which has grown significantly since I last saw them, prior to this it was ran purely from the US and this made engagement very difficult. Lakeside make desktop analysis and monitoring software. I have used many other solutions in this space and was pleased to see how Lakeside works in comparison, their UI looks slick and purposeful and I was particularly impressed by the dashboards, reporting and tools that not only help you get the information to plan your desktop refresh but also have tools that help you compute that information to make the final decisions. I’m looking forward to following this conversation up after the conference and seeing it working in my lab. Watch the blog as a blogpost is sure to follow.

My final two sessions were by the guys from PQR and Login Consultants that run the Virtual Reality Check, if you are not aware of what these guys do, I strongly recommend you head over to their website as ever their sessions were insightful and backed up heavily with their various findings. Watch out next week for some new white papers from them.

This was the end of BriForum finished off with a final word from Brian Madden, no announcement was made about next year but hopefully I will be able to attend again.

I have now been using my Surface for around 3 months, and I’m pleased to report I’m still loving it as a device. I wanted to post a short blog post specifically about my use case while traveling with it as a primary device during BriForum.

I had originally planned to get on with some work on the train to London but unfortunately my lack of access to my business documents and poor internet connection had meant I was unable to collect them via VMware View, this does highlight the importance on the availability of users data to be productive on mobile devices, as even though I had a device capable of editing and working on my documents I was let down by the fact they were only stored on a CIFs share rather than another more available platform or at least a method for receiving one document over a low bandwidth connection. There are of course a number of solutions to this such as a VPN, Sharepoint Server or something more modern like Horizon Data, AppSense Data Now etc.

During my day I was able to effectively use it for tweeting, emailing, connecting into View sessions to catch up with work where needed, taking notes, I was surprisingly also able to charge my iPhone twice without draining the surface and also download my photos via the USB cable to use in a blog post written in Word. So far I have no regrets only bringing my RT based device.