Best of VMworld 2010 awards Ceremony.

I was supposed to be a judge at the awards again but as you know I could not get to San Fran this year,  but the winners were announced on Wednesday.  The following video compared by Mr Brian Madden was taken live at the ceremony


now the video is just over 23 minutes long,

for a full list of the winners and runners up visit

VMworld 2010 – TA8623 “Storage Super-Heavyweight Challenge”

Well this was supposed to be mine and Cody’s session, but due to circumstances beyond my control I had to drop out of VMworld San Fran this year.  My thanks go to Mike Laverick for stepping in at the last minute to be joint moderator and compare. I have to admit his eccentric manner was perfect for the session.  I especially liked the opening sequence, shades of HBO there,  I think he has missed his true vocation.  The four panellists are Gods of the Storage area,  now I mean Gods no mere Demi-Gods for this session

  • Adam Carter @ HP
  • Chad Sakac @ EMC
  • Eric Schott @ Dell (formerly EqualLogic)
  • Vaughn Stewart @ NetApp

Now this session was not one your normal run-of-the-mill sessions.   For a start there were over a 1000 people in there :O.  The format of the session was open question, however and this was the rub, to prevent any body going into verbal diarrhoea mode (You know I am looking at you Chad here 😉 ). Any question the punters wanted to ask had to be answered in two minutes and then in one minute during the lightning round.

In the words of Chad “The questions were, shall we say, hard-hitting :-)”

Well – watch for yourself.

Thanks to Chad for this video.

If you thought the session was good and informative please comment after watching the video of course and see if we can get VMware to change their mind and get in on the lists for Copenhagen.

VMworld 2010 Day 3, 4 and Closing Thoughts

While everything is starting close down, the solution exchange is now closed and the final sessions are starting up, here are a few closing thoughts while combining day three and day four.  Day three was composed of a few sessions but my day to really browse around the solutions exchange to see if I could fill some needs at my company.  I thought one of the better sessions I attended during day three was the “Storage Best Practices, Performance Tuning and Troubleshooting.  While it was given by an IBM employee, he kept away from really selling their products, besides a few jokes here and there.  Being someone who is getting more into our storage systems I’m learning a little bit here and there regarding calculating IOPS, what does and doesn’t matter and better options to go down.  Of course there was the VMworld party Wednesday evening, which is the primary reason of no day three write up, the adult beverages were flowing quite freely…  I will say while I enjoyed the main band of Foreigner more last year, the overall party was better than 2009.  They brought in more games, more things to do, expanded into the Metreon and their arcades.

Day four for me, like some may know, was a very long morning just trying to get to the conference unfortunately.  I live about 45 minutes outside of San Francisco so I had been using public transportation (BART rail) to get into the city which hasn’t been too much of an issue since Moscone center is only a few blocks from a station.  This morning started off with a small earthquake (3.3) in the Bay Area and a region of BART’s rail lines which caused an immediate halt of all BART trains for a 5-10min period followed by current inspection of the rails by trains out on the tracks, which meant the train I was on went under half the speed it would normal go.  Finally was nearing my stop and got up to realize “Where is my VMworld badge….?” I worked backwards and figured I left it at the station where I got on the train.  Headed an hour back to that station, luckily someone turned it into lost and found and then got on the next train back into the train for another hour ride to San Francisco… by the time I got to the Moscone Center it was close to 12:30pm and I have missed the two sessions I was really looking forward to this morning.  I guess what’s nice about VMworld you can always just watch them from your couch at home later on.  I was able to catch my last scheduled session which was TA8133 – Best Practices to increase Availability and Throughput for VMware which was hosted by Vaughn Stewart, NetApp and Chad Sakac, EMC.  These two storage powerhouses put on a great session which, for a reason I can’t explain, I didn’t pull out my Flip video to record because it was quite an informative session.  I would say that was the best one for me all week.  If you get the sessions from VMworld 2010, I would defiantly say check out that session for great storage tips.

Overall 2010 was another great VMworld.  The weather this year has been pretty weird in California all year but this week really showed the true “California weather” and how nice it can be here.  I even broke out the shorts today, something that you may never get to do all year here.  I find myself very lucky to have attended the last three conferences even with the down economy.  While there were some changes that were implemented I didn’t quite agree with or understand, next year will be at Vegas which I think can handle such a large conference a lot better.  This year there was over 17,000 attendees I think which was up from last year and I’m sure even more next year as virtualization continues to grow.

On a personal note, while I wasn’t too upset earlier this year when I wasn’t reselected as a vExpert 2010 after getting it in 2009 I found myself really missing it especially when they had the vExpert session before the party and everyone I knew disappeared to the “not-so-secret” location.  Hopefully this conference gave me the motivation to get my participation up in the VMTN forums and here on the blog side.  Also, coming from a SMB environment and not finding as much material for my type of builds I’m looking forward after bouncing ideas from some fellow friends about going for a session in 2011.

That’s it from VMworld 2010, looking forward to 2011 and another great conference.  Maybe next year Tom can make it from across the pond to share some slush puppies in Vegas!  Now it’s off to settle a score with Brian Atkinson (VMroyale from VMTN) from VMworld 2008 at the go-cart track!

VMworld Day Two

As day two starts to calm down and the last sessions start to end a lot of news was presented to the VMworld attendees.  Some of the highlights of the keynote from this morning was the release of vCloud Director (formerly known as project redwood), release of security suites from edge to endpoint, acquisition of Integrien, and the introduction to the “cloud stack”.  A lot of this information was anticipated but still a lot of information to take in during the keynote.  A big thing I noticed from Paul Maritz he was pushing a lot of these changes to the cloud was going to happen with or without VMware but they want to be the one to push the issues.  The replay of the keynote this morning can be found at

Another busy day at the sessions around the Moscone center, with sessions at capacity again.  For the most part things seemed to run a bit smoother today as people calmed down and realized they were going to eventually get into all the classes they wanted to get into.  I spent the day trying to adjust to this “cloud” idea moving away from our cluster setup.  I decided to switch a session from vSphere best practices to moving your cluster to private cloud.  Unfortunately I ran into a session where the speaker didn’t speak on anything that was in the subject of the session.  There were quite a few angry people, like myself, leaving that session.   Besides that most of the other sessions I was in were informative and useful, and was able to take a few things here and there that I could implement.

After a few years of VMworld I’ve learned a few things about not burning yourself out on sessions early on in the week and allow for networking time where you learn quite a bit.  I made sure today was a shorter day as tomorrow will be long with the VMworld party scheduled and one more day after that.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a quiter day in the solutions exchange as I have mapped out some vendors I would like to sit down with and really learn more about their product.  I’ll have a beer or alcoholic slush puppy  for everyone who wasn’t able to make it down to to VMworld 2010 tomorrow at the party.

VMworld 2010 Day 1

Being the third VMworld I have attended I had a pretty good idea what to expect when I arrived.  I know there were some changes to the setup of sessions and labs going from a sign up format to pick your sessions and first come first serve gets in.  Also with this new format change came many repeat sessions for those who couldn’t get in during their first try.  I have some mixed feelings regarding this new change as I feel the scheduling has fallen into the hands of the lazy attendees who didn’t bother to sign up for sessions before they filled up, but on the other side it allowed everyone a fair chance to get into sessions regardless when they signed up.  What came of the change were extremely long lines for almost every session, making those in line wonder if they were wasting their time in the back trying to get into a popular session.  Along with the long lines you had no idea if you were in the correct line for your session.  All the sessions I was in line I was able to get into.  Another by product of this new setup I think were improved attendance per session as before those sessions that might have shown “full” in past years causing people to not even consider showing up, now everyone is showing up and filling up the rooms.  All sessions I was in today were nearly completely full at the start.  While that is a good thing having full sessions it felt more crowded than a middle row, middle seat of a 747 jet in the back of the plane.

Long lines for sessions made it extremely hard to move around the VMworld conference since most lines were 100-500 people long wrapping around corners and zigzagging through the grounds.  Another crowded space was the eating area. I know it’s hard to compare this year’s conference from past VMworld’s such as VMworld Vegas 2008 which had a giant eating area where everyone could find a seat.   This year lines were extremely long to get into the eat area to just get food let alone trying to find a spare seat or two.

Once 4pm rolled around the solution exchange opened up for the first time and the area filled with attendees, vendors, guests along with everyone asking to scan your badge.  It was busier than usual to the point it was hard to just move around the area let alone talk to any of the vendors with them trying to give away free gear with hopes of winning money or another popular item, the iPad.  It got to the point after 15-30min of wondering around, uneventful booths and less than interesting “shwag” it was time to get out of there and come back later to get some decent information from the vendors later on.  If I get that chance to win the iPad later in the week so be it, but the less spam I get over the next year the better.   According to sources there might be a couple big announcements tomorrow at the key note which I’ll try to get a video for the site.  Until tomorrow and day two of VMworld…

VMworld San Francisco and Copenhagen – which one will you choose?

There have been many Tweets and Blog posts (here’s just one example) about the two events being so close together and the impact on attendance and this is my view on the discussion. The general consensus seems to be the San Francisco VMworld is the “better” one as it has far more lab time, probably due to it being a day longer. But also it is the first one and therefore the news will be announced there and Copenhagen will just be a regurgitation of the San Francisco content.

Having the two events virtually back to back is a mistake in my view. Firstly, the perception that Copenhagen is a lesser event due to fewer days and secondly, because both events will suffer in terms of attendee numbers. By holding the events so close together VMware also loses the opportunity to announce major news twice in one year.

Other than lower attendance numbers, VMware also runs the risk of lower income from the sponsors. For some of the smaller eco-system partners, that would have attended both Cannes and San Francisco, having both events so close together is a huge impact on their resources, not just financial but also human. The smaller sponsors, in all probability, would have at least 50% of their staff, if not more, attend both events. They cannot afford to have those folks out of the office for over 2 weeks virtually back-to-back. The other consideration is the type of sponsorship package they would take. If the events were separated by 6 months or so, they would probably take a larger booth at VMworld SanFran and may take a slightly less sponsorship at VMworld Europe. However, I personally know of vendors that have decided to take a considerably smaller sponsorship at VMworld Europe as they too feel Copenhagen is a “lesser” event. This is probably mainly true of US-based vendors but it should still be a concern for VMware. One vendor actually told me when the decision was taken to move the European event from February to October that it would be the death knell for VMworld Europe.

Apart from the overall decision in timing to be a mistake, I also think the location is a mistake. Again, there have been many Tweets about the Copenhagen event being more expensive, for less content, than VMworld SanFran. In part this is due to exchange rate, coupled with the Nordic region being generally expensive. Moreover I think it is a mistake because Copenhagen in October can be pretty unpleasant weather-wise (this is true of most of Northern Europe, so I’m not picking on Denmark, honest!), and the event location is a distance from the main town. Whilst the Palais de Congres in Cannes may be a 1960’s concrete architectural nightmare, at least the location enables VMware to brand the whole area in the local vicinity and the weather in February in the French Riviera is most pleasant!

I do believe there must have been much debate about this internally at VMware and I think that most people agree with me (and many others) that holding the two events so close together is a mistake. But I do hope for the person (or department) that took the decision to ignore the majority of input on moving from February to right after VMworld SanFran, their decision will be right and we will be wrong. However, I will make a prediction; next year, if not the following, the VMworld events will revert to being 6 months apart again.

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , a strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry.

Storage SuperHeavy Weight Challenge

A you may already know, Myself and Cody Bunch have actually managed to get a session accepted for VMworld,

The TA8623’s session details are shown below

Session Details:

Title Storage Super-Heavyweight Challenge
Abstract Panel session to discuss all things storage, panelled by some of the best known storage experts from the major vendors.
Moderators: Tom Howarth Owner PlanetVM.Net
Cody Bunch Owner
US Speakers: Adam Carter Worldwide Product Manager HP Storage Hewlett Packard
Vaughn Stewart Virtualization Evangelist NetApp
Chad Sakac Vice President, VMware Technology Alliance EMC Corporation
AN Other To be announced Dell
Technical Level: Technical
Track Technology and Architecture
Subtopic Storage

Now the format for this fun packed session is open format questions from the floor, however some times you little session attendee’s are a little bit shy in coming forward to ask the questions, so I am opening this up to the community. Please add any questions that you would like to ask the panellists as comment to this post, 

Cody and I will choose the best 5 to be used as filler questions, 

so thanks in anticipation.

My Session has been accepted

Well one out of my three submissions have been accepted for VMworld San Fran and Copenhagen 2010

Title: Storage superheavyweight challenge

Session Id: TA8623

Abstract: Panel session to discuss all things Storage, panelled by some of the best known storage experts from the major vendors, including Chad Sakac (EMC), Vaughn Stewart (NetApp), and Adam Carter (HP)

Type: Panel Session

Track: Technology and Architecture

Speaker Detail: Tom Howarth & Cody Bunch

I am really happy at this, in fact I have been grinning inanely all day, now however there is only one shadow on the horizon, that of funding to get to the conferences, Yes the fact that my session has been accepted removes the entrance cost of the conference, but it does nothing to remove the associated travel and accommodation costs.  and these are quite large for a UK based independent consultant,

So if some kind vendor wishes to sponsor this little old Brit all donations gratefully accepted.

VMworld 2010 – the time to chose is upon us

This year in a change to the normal schedule,  we mere mortals are being allowed a chance to chose some sessions for VMworld.  Can you feel the power of democracy at work.  Now many who follow me on twitter @tom_howarth will  be aware of my position on Cloudworld 2010,  I personally believe that there is way too much focus on what is in reality just a marketing term.  Anybody remember ASP in the ‘90’s and the bubble ( just a little bit of history repeating…. ) sorry I digress, back to the task at hand 😀

Voting for what you want to see/hear at VMworld, first my election pitch.

Continue reading “VMworld 2010 – the time to chose is upon us”