I was lucky enough to attend the UK VMUG user conference on the 18/11/14. This was located as usual at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham airport.
It was the first time that I have attended this particular event as circumstances have colluded against me in previous years however I have attended numerous previous VMware based events.
To say the event is well represented is a massive understatement. VMUG appear to have spared nothing to bring the vRockstars to town and give the UK a mini VMworld.
When the list is as long as this you know it was going to be a great event…. In no particular order:
The event was also well represented by the usual sponsors and it was definatly good to chat with some of them and find out whats on the horizon in their product portfolio.
The day started with the keynote being done by Joe Baguley (VMware CTO EMEA) Despite saying we are all out of a job in the not to distant future his speech was very informal advising that policy based and automation are the future. He also managed to get a reference to chickens and kittens.
The next session that I went to was a small informal breakout by Simon Seagrave on using EMC storage simulators in your homelab. I will defiantly be trying some of his suggestions and he has multiple blog posts on doing this to help anyone interested. One of the things I love about the VMUG events and the VMware community as a whole is how helpful everyone is. Simon’s session overran a little bit and some people went to go and see the next presentation. I stayed and Simon and I chatted more in depth about the EMC appliances and he suggested things to try. We also chatted about our homelab’s and our love of HP Microservers. We discussed some of the other equipment we use and how we have set it up. This was incredibly useful as I am looking to make some changes in my lab to reduce noise and the electric bill but also to get a bigger WAF.
Lunchtime gave me some time to catch up with the various vendor’s and see some of the new product offerings.
I then went to another breakout session with Jonathan Medd all about automation for vCAC This is a product I know little about so with Joe’s comments ringing in my head it was one that i thought i should pay attention to. The presentation was very much driven by the attendees with Jonathan’s guidance on what is possible from the product. It was cool to have some end users in the audience who seemed very knowledgable.
During the break I caught up with Grandpa discussed some of the developments in my homelab with him ( Its gone FC since we last talked) and discussed Daren’s move over to Nutanix. I got the low down on the product and from what I have seen so far am really impressed. I will be speaking to my management to try and get a POC live. I also suggested I would be happy to try it in my lab but this didn’t go down as well :p One of the features that i thought come across well with management is that its Hypervisor agnostic. They have some plans to put a few environment’s Hyper-V as this is what our customers have requested.
The penultimate session I went to was by Frank Dennerman who is now with Pernixdata. I have seen a Pernixdata session at our local VMUG but the product has developed a bit since then. I see a lot of potential in the product and a huge number of use cases. Its another product I will be speaking to our architects about. The way I see it is that what they have is incredibly easy to add to your existing environment. It will accelerate reads and writes via either Ram or SSD and there is almost no management required. This either allows you to extend the life of your current infrastructure or possibly even reduce the performance requirements the next time you refresh your storage. From a business perspective these are huge benefits.
Lastly Chris Wahl had the closing keynote rounding off the day this was again reinforcing Joe’s earlier message about embracing automation and Orchestration.
Just before I left i did a 2 min Video interview for VMUG on the benefits of attending. Something that I cannot stress enough. The sessions have some great content but the best bit is everyone is accessible. I implore you to go and speak to people whether it be the presenters some of the sponsors or the attendees. VMware even sent members of the support team over from Ireland who were happy to answer support/technical questions.
They all bring something to the table and its a valuable learning experience. I will certainly be attending next year.
I would like to thank all of the organisers and the presenters on a fabulous job