VMworld EU 2018 – Wrap Up

Here is my wrap up of my time at VMworld EU 2018. A complete whirlwind of an event, probably my best yet!

Monday

Monday was about one thing, the hackathon. I was in a team with mostly UK folks, along with Dom from Germany. We came third, and built a PowerShell module to work with VMware Kubernetes Engine, PowerVKE. Go find it at; https://github.com/PowerVKE/PowerVKE.

Tuesday

Tuesday was an early start to attend #vBreakfast. I left breakfast early to get a good seat for the Day 1 General Session, as an official blogger I could access the press and analyst’s area and managed to bag a front row seat, which was an amazing place to see the General Session from. You can read my live blog from the General Session here.

After the General Session I headed to my first breakout session, Cluster Deep Dive with Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping. I didn’t blog their session as I knew it would be very detailed and so thought it would be best to either read the book or watch the session back online, rather than read my hastly typed, poorly interpted blog version.

After that I skipped the next session I was due to attend so I could grab some lunch, catchup with the vCommunity over at the VMware Code/VMTN booth and use the opportunity to feature in Joep Piscar’s NSX Roving Reporter series. You can see the video for that here.

I then headed to another breakout session. This session again featured Frank Denneman, but with Michael Gasch this time, and was all about the value of running Kubernetes on vSphere as opposed to bare metal. I did blog that session, which you can find here.

After that I quickly dashed back to the VM Village and specifically the Education area to catch the VCDX discussion panel from 4 VCDX. That was a great session and I think it helped a lot of people in the audience. There was a lot of good discussion following the session as well, which meant I missed Gareth Edwards’ Terraform session over in the Code area. That was captured by the vBrownBag team and is available here.

After that I finished the day attending what turned out to be the last breakout session I could fit in; “Put a Lid on It: Securing Containers and Kubernetes on vSphere and in Cloud”. That was an interesting session to learn more about Cloud PKS and AppDefense’s container integration, which is a partnership with Aqua security. I did manage to blog that session, which you can find here.

Tuesday wrapped up with a brief visit to the vExpert party and then the UK&I VMware party. I left earlyish to get some sleep ahead of Wednesday.

Wednesday

Wednesday I skipped the Day 2 General Session as I had booked to do the vSphere Advanced Deploy 2018 exam (aka VCAP Deploy 6.5). Getting the exam was an important target for me as it completes the prerequisites I need for my VCDX submission. Unfortunately, VMware weren’t running this exam at the conference exam centre, so I had to find a local exam centre that was running the exam and fitted somewhere into my schedule. Thats how I ended up in a 40 minute cab ride to Mira Communications in the North West of the city. The exam centre was well setup and the only real issue I had was being a Brit using a Spanish keyboard with a lab keyboard based on US English. A few occasionally uses of the onscreen keyboard helped, but it wasn’t a huge issue for me. I would recommend reading Joshua Andrews blog on the exam and do his mock questions and run through Graham Barker’s exam simulator. Whilst those mocks are based on 6.0 they were very still relevant for me. Also learn the new features of 6.5, like KMS integration, Auto Deploy GUI, vCenter HA etc. Finally, I would say that if something appears broken in the lab that is likely something you have to fix as part of the question.

I think the exam went really well, despite running out of time. I only probably needed another 5-10 minutes to finish the last question, it’s amazing how 3 hours slips by!

After the exam I jumped in a cab and headed straight to the conference. I grabbed some lunch and then took part in a vExpert exclusive tour of the Hands on Labs.

We meet our tour guide, Jon Schulz from VMware, who took us around the Labs and gave us a load of info about the history of the Labs and how the Labs are run. VMware have delivered 2 million labs in the last 5 years. For this year’s event there are 250 seats at the Labs in Barcelona, and there would be double that at VMworld US.

The HoL are run using vCloud Director from 5 DCs across 3 providers; 1 x IBM, 1 x AWS, 3 x VMware internal (2 x US, 1 x Amsterdam). The aim is for all labs to be delivered with no more than 250ms latency.

Labs are delivered as ‘pods’, containing a base set of VMs (vCenter, domain controller, DNS, etc), and then any additional VMs for the specific lab. The HoLs team use the stats from the most popular sessions to ensure sufficient pods are pre warmed ready for new labs sessions with minimal spin up time.

The Hands on Labs platform has been such a success it’s now available for other education providers, via the VMware Learning Platform, which is currently looking for Beta customers. Find more over at https://support.vmwarelearningplatform.com.

After the tour I headed to the HCI Customer Summit. This was an invite only event from VMware’s SABU team. I had no idea what to expect from this event but it became one of the highlights of the conference. After a presentation from few of the SABU executives, the real fun began! In what was labelled as something like speed dating, engineers, product leads and technical marketing bods moved from one customer table to another every 15 minutes (~8 customers at a table). I took full advantage of this opportunity to quiz some of VMware’s brightest minds on anything I could think of related to vSAN.

https://twitter.com/uprightvinyl/status/1060321286700892161?s=21

I stayed for drinks at the summit so I could make the fullest of the opportunity, then headed to the Customer Party. I spent the event wandering round and catching up with people. Accompanied with music from another good band this year in the form of The Kooks. After that I went to the VIP afterparty, which I somehow managed to get an invite for, then headed to bed.

Thursday

Final day and as I was flying early afternoon, it was just the morning at the conference itself. Through Twitter, Slack and email, we’d managed to get some VCDX mocks organised. So just after 8am, we kicked off mocks for two VCDX applicants, with 6 VCDX playing panel. Whilst I didn’t play the part of defending as my submission is still a little way off, it was a really useful experience and I think those defending found it useful. It was great to be a part of the VCDX community and play a part in pulling these mocks together.

https://twitter.com/uprightvinyl/status/1060451510897819648?s=21

And with that, it was time to say goodbye to a few folks and then head to the airport. What a crazy few days – thanks to VMware for the pass, hopefully I’ll be back next year!

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