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Your VMworld 2014 Guide!

August 21, 2014

VMworld_logoIt’s August, which in the vCommunity can only mean one thing, it’s time for VMworld again! Late August is always a really busy and fun time of the year for me. The blog community really gets buzzing in late August, and this year has already proven to be even bigger. I’ve counted at least 5 different “VMworld 2014″ blog posts and mine is just adding to the pile, but I hope you find some good info here that will help you navigate the worlds largest virtualization conference.

Plan your trip
Have you planned your trip yet? Hopefully you have as air fare to SFO is getting more expensive by the day and trying to find a hotel this late in the game is next to impossible. I’ve been to every VMworld since 2010, unfortunately this year I will not be in attendance (at least physically). I just started an MBA program here in Northern Virginia at George Mason University and VMworld week coincides with orientation week. I’m choosing to be the responsible party this go round and miss VMworld. As it gets closer, the pain of missing VMworld grows, but this is for the best.

There are so many options to planning your trip, even if you’re late to the game. Air fare is what it is and you’ll have to eat it if you’re buying a ticket this late. For hotels, you’re not likely to find a hotel within walking distance to the Moscone Center this late, however there are many options such as Airbnb, which allows you to rent out someone’s residence or share a rental with a fellow vNerd (shout out to Pluralsight). Public transit in San Francisco is pretty stellar, there are many options from BART to busses, rail cars and even the trolley (make sure to get your “Full House” trolley picture taken, if you’re a certain age, you’ll get that reference).

The VMworld Schedule builder is available now and you can build out your entire VMworld schedule by using this tool, however, I’ve never once used it and have always had an incredible time (more about this below). There are breakout sessions to attend, expert panels, vendor sessions and training sessions, there is a ton of content available so choose wisely. If you can’t get to them all they’re always online after the conference wraps.

Who’s Who
If you’ve attended VMworld in the past, you know how crazy it can be and how many people are around, this year will be even bigger. If you’ve been paying attention over the past couple of years, you haven’t been able to miss the growth of the community and the blogosphere. The amount of virtualization focused blogs has almost tripled (I’ve been keeping track on Eric Siebert’s vLaunchpad), and isn’t slowing down. With that amount of blogs, there are that many people to meet and rub shoulders with. Our vCommunity is such a great community with so many smart and interesting characters, VMworld is the place where they all gather to share knowledge and have fun. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet some of your blog heroes, one of mine is Scott Lowe and it was awesome to meet him in person and pick his brain at VMworld 2010.

Last year I created a blog posts focused on “Who’s Who at VMworld” that was both praised and vilified. I’m not going to do another one this year, because honestly, the list wouldn’t change that much from last year, and I don’t want to hear all the complaints that people were left off, or that I didn’t include any women, etc, etc. (yes, I received all of these complaints). When you get a chance, take a look at last year’s post, minus a few people, the entire list should be present this year. I will give a shout out to Jane Rimmmer, she wasn’t on my list last year and that was a gross mistake, she’s awesome, but unfortunately Jane won’t be there this year either. At any rate, there are way more people than could fit on one dumb list on my blog that you should take the time to meet.

You Can’t Do It All
vmworld_sessionMy first trip to VMworld, I tried to do it all. I was so excited to be there and planned my trip with the schedule builder tool, I had every minute of my conference planned out before I even boarded the plane in DC. Boy, that came to a screeching halt the second I walked onto the Solutions Exchange floor, it was sensory overload!! That year I ended up attending one, yes one, session. I spent a ton of time on the Solutions Exchange floor, mingling with vendors and partners, talking to some of the top bloggers and hanging out in the hang space. It was better than I even imagined it would be, and I only attended one session. If you talk to any VMworld alumni, they will all tell you the same thing, don’t waste a lot of time attending sessions (no offense to the speakers). There are a few sessions that are a can’t miss event, anything with Duncan Epping… and Meet the vExpert Blogger Panel is a great one that I always attend.

Just about every night there is a vendor or partner party or reception. Sunday night is the opening of the Solutions Exchange floor where there’s food and drinks, you will walk around meeting vendors and getting a lay of the land. This is where you will get an invite (by way of a wristband most likely) to any event you haven’t already been invited to. You can’t attend them all, it’s just not possible. I would usually pick 2 or 3 events that I couldn’t bear to miss (Veeam Party, Wyse/Dell Party, Nutanix Party) and planned on those. If there was time after I left those events before crashing, I would stop by say hello and see what’s going on, otherwise, it was just those 2 or 3 events and that was it. Plan now, pick which parties/receptions you want to attend and stick to those. If you haven’t received any invites, search the web or reach out to your vendor to see if they have passes for you.

See the City!
goldengateSan Francisco is an incredible city, I will really miss my annual trip to the bay area this year. Some of my must see items in the city are the Imaginarium, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Chinatown. If there’s one place you should eat in San Francisco, make sure you don’t miss a meal at Boudin’s Bakery, the sourdough bread is incredible. If you like taking pictures, San Francisco is a photographer’s dream, don’t forget your camera. Along with all of the touristy type locations, just walking around the city is enough to entertain you. Don’t spend all of your time in the Moscone Center, branch out a little and explore the city, there is so much to do and see. VMworld has been in at least 3 different cities that I can think of, I feel like it belongs to San Francisco, it just feels right having the annual conference there.

And the winner is…

August 4, 2014

We have a winner! After deliberation by the vExpert Judges Panel, we have chosen Piotr Ptaszynski! Congratulations! Read Piotr’s entry below:

Piotr Ptaszynski
I admin VMware platform 5 years. Started with 4.0 and since then I have never attended VMworld. I believe this could be life changer for me.

I agree Piotr, this will be a life changer for you, VMworld is an incredible experience especially your first time. I first attended in 2010 and haven’t missed one yet. I will be sending you an email with more details on the travel arrangements and pass registration soon, in the mean time, congratulations and I hope you enjoy your first trip to VMworld!!

A big thanks to Veeam, Infinio and my vExpert Judges Panel (Maish Saidel-Keesing, Jane Rimmer, Shane Williford, James Bowling and Christopher Kusek), I couldn’t pull this off without you all!

Go to VMworld 2014 for FREE!!!!

July 28, 2014

nav-tile-vmworld-2014-sf_upIt’s that time again, my annual free trip to VMworld contest is here! It’s a bit late this year, but better late than never. VMworld 2014 looks to be great this year, I’m positive there will be many incredible announcements from VMware and many of their partners. The Solutions Exchange floor seems to get better every year, the booths are incredible and the giveaways and swag get better every year. If this is your first time going, it is sure to be an incredible experience. If you are a veteran, you already know how it will be, and it shouldn’t disappoint. For those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time, welcome and thanks for stopping by. Each year for the past 4 years I’ve been able to give away an all expense paid trip to VMworld, the worlds largest and best virtualization conference (at least in my opinion).

Contest Details
First and foremost, I have to thank my generous sponsors this year, Veeam and Infinio. Veeam has sponsored the full conference pass for the past 4 years, and I can’t thank them enough for being so generous and willing to give back to the community. This year, I also have to thank Infinio for sponsoring the airfare to San Francisco (SFO). Every year I’ve been able to provide a full all expense trip to VMworld, this year unfortunately, I wasn’t able to drum up a sponsor for the hotel accommodations. Understandably, that’s a big expense, however, if you truly want to go to VMworld, you’ll find a place to stay.

By winning this contest, you’ll get a free VMworld 2014 full conference pass (complete with a famous VMworld backpack) and air fare to SFO up to $400. So how do you win? In years past, I’ve done random picks from a hat, need based applications, and a mixture of the two. This year the winner will be the person that can explain why they should go to VMworld in 140 characters or less, Twitter style! A panel of vExperts will judge your entries and we will pick the best entry to win the contest.

How to Enter
To enter this contest simply leave a comment on this blog post (one entry per person), using 140 characters explain why you should win a trip to VMworld 2014 in San Francisco. Anyone on planet earth can enter this contest, however air fare is only covered up to $400 USD. You will have to find hotel accommodations of your own, which there are a lot of options, check Airbnb for a good option. You must leave your full name (please no nick names or Gravatar names), email address and Twitter handle if you have one. That’s it, nothing else to it. After the contest closes myself and a panel of vExpert judges will pick the winner among all of the entries. Again, only one entry per person please, any duplicate entries will be deleted.

The contest is now open and will run through this week closing on August 1st at 9:00pm EST, any entries after 9:00pm EST will not be considered. Again, thanks so much to Veeam and Infinio for sponsoring my contest, I couldn’t do this without you. The winner will be chosen after the contest closes and announced on Monday August 4th on vDestination.com. If there are other companies out there that are willing to sponsor the hotel accommodations, please reach out to me on my Contact Me page.

Good luck!

iPhone 6 coming soon… SO WHAT!

July 7, 2014

so whatIf you’ve had a heartbeat lately, you’ve most likely heard or read about the iPhone 6 rumors, leaks, pictures and tons of hype. We haven’t heard more than a peep from Apple on the iPhone 6, but the rumor mill is out of control. Apparently, as Apple fans, this is the phone we’ve been waiting for, a bigger screen, lighter, thinner, faster and paired with the release of iOS 8! This all sounds great, but this is what Apple fans like myself and millions of others have been waiting for since the release of the 3GS! So I say SO WHAT, to all of these rumors and the fact the Apple is FINALLY releasing an iPhone with a bigger screen, its way past due! It’s heartbreaking for me to write this post because I’m a huge Apple fan, I have a MacBook Pro, I’ve owned 4 different iPods, an iPhone, 2 iPads and I’ve been an iTunes lover since first laid eyes and ears on it. So the question is, why is an Apple fan writing a blog post critical of their flagship product? Let’s break it down.

iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup
I’ve rounded up most of the rumored specs and leaks I could find on the web below, take a second (if you haven’t already) and browse through them, then we’ll talk more about it:

Screen:
There are 2 possible sizes that we know of, a 5.5 inch and 4.7 inch screen. The screen will feature the retina display and will possibly be made of 100% sapphire glass (Read about Apple’s new Arizona sapphire glass plant).

CPU/Chipset/RAM:
With Apple already having a 64-bit A7 chip using the 28nm manufacturing process, it’s likely we’ll see the A8 chip released with iPhone 6, most likely it will be built with the 20nm process. Yes it will be faster if there is truth to this rumor. As far as RAM goes, doesn’t look like we’ll see an upgrade here, sticking with the 1GB RAM, same as iPhone 5S.

Form Factor:
Here we may see an edge to edge display with a minimal bezel, which could increase the size of the display without drastically increasing the form factor. Apple has tried to do this in the past with the 5 and 5S, making the phone a little bigger but not so much that it made it difficult to reach buttons with one hand. Will the iPhone 6 be the release that finally ditches the home button, don’t count on it. Apple just invested a ton in the fingerprint sensor technology that was released with iPhone 5S.

Good Leaked Pictures/Videos:

Leaked Screen Cover Images

Mockups and Leaked images



Sounds awesome, so why the critical post?
It does sound awesome, only to Apple iPhone owners, why? Because Android users have been experiencing all of these things for years now. Bigger phones, smaller form factors, large beautiful AMOLED displays, it’s nothing new to Android users. So again I say, SO WHAT! As an Apple user I wanted to seen these things with the release of iPhone 4, then 4S, then 5, then 5S… maybe Apple isn’t coming out with a bigger display this time, and the rumors mill has just taken it out of control. Maybe we are starting to believe the lies that the mockups have told us and that’s what we now expect. Either way, I’m fed up with Apple not giving their consumers what they want, and then somehow fooling us into believing our phones are superior.

In the end, I’m holding out hope for the iPhone 6 (hanging onto my 4S for now), not to be the best phone in the world, but to simply put to rest the screen envy I’m having of my wife’s Motorola Droid Maxx (a beautiful phone in its own right). I love iTunes, love the look and feel of the iPhone and feel like the phone build is far superior to any Android phone, I’m just sick of Apple being so far behind the curve.

The Significance of VMware VSAN

April 14, 2014

VMware announced on March 12, 2014 that its VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) product was moving out of beta and would be generally available to customers. A much anticipated product, VSAN offers a huge list of features and addresses a number of customer use cases. So what is remarkable about this product, other than that it serves up a bunch of disk storage to systems providing high performance and other benefits?

To better understand, let us take a brief detour into how we have arrived at this point. In the past, disks were directly connected to systems as Direct Attached Storage (DAS), as shown in the diagram below.

 

DAS

 

This addressed most customer needs but also had several critical limitations. Storage availability was tied to host system availability, and available storage capacity on one host could not be used elsewhere. Data protection needed to be setup and configured manually, or with specialized disk adapters.

In order to resolve these issues, storage moved to the network and storage capacity could now be shared between multiple systems. Specialized storage controllers supported high performance, offered large capacities, supported multiple host platforms, and were highly available. However, more effort was involved with the configuration and setup of these network storage systems.

There are two major types of network storage – Storage Area Network (SAN), and Network Attached Storage (NAS). This classification is based upon whether they serve block storage (SAN) or file storage (NAS). The diagram below shows the various components of a SAN storage system.

 

SAN

 

A summary of the benefits and limitations of DAS, and the solution provided by the network storage approach is listed below.
Snip20140413_1

Over the past few years, the performance of network storage systems has greatly increased. A number of features have been integrated into the storage controllers making them more intelligent. However, newer systems impose larger demands on performance of network storage systems. The storage based on spinning disks is unable to keep up with requests from host systems. Network storage has become quite expensive as well, since it provides a large feature set with most features being rarely used.

During this time, standard systems and disks kept increasing performance and reducing in price. This has created the need for a simple, inexpensive, and policy-driven storage platform, which is what VSAN represents.

The table below summarizes the benefits and limitations of network storage, and the solution offered by the VSAN platform.
Snip20140413_3

VSAN is a distributed DAS solution implemented on multiple systems, but without the major limitations of DAS and network storage. It is simple and inexpensive, but also available and reliable. There are no islands of storage, and performance and capacity scale together. VSAN software enables all the distributed storage to function as a single logical pool. Storage policies can be seamlessly implemented, and solid state disks effectively mask the latency of spinning disks.

The significance of this technology lies in its parallels to other popular technologies. What are these technologies, and why were they revolutionary? Watch this space for Part 2 of the VSAN technology story.

Ravi_PicRavi Venkatasubbaiah is an IT executive and business leader with 20+ years experience helping companies manage adoption of emerging technologies. Ravi serves on the Board of Directors at VMware User Group, and as a leader of the Silicon Valley VMUG chapter. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and India, and is an advisor on Strategy, Technology, and Operations. He currently lives in San Jose and blogs at meluku.com.

Thanks for the votes!!

April 9, 2014

thanksFor those of you who haven’t paid close attention or are new to the virtualization blog game, Eric Seibert over at vSphere-land.com sets up voting for the top virtualization blogs each year. It seems like the amount of blogs grows more and more each year as new bloggers join the conversation and start putting out great content. My vDestination blog, which does not come close to competing with the heavy hitters, came in 3 places better this year at #114 out of 320 blogs. I garnered 29 total votes, so I wanted to take this blog post to thank all of you who took the time to vote for my blog! I’m humbled that anyone is reading my blog, I try to put out good content that I think people will read, some super technical stuff, mixed with less technical posts and some fluff every now and again. Also, I’d like to take this blog post to apologize for my lack of blogging this year, it’s been a super busy year with my new job and a very demanding client. I’ve never worked more hours or been more busy with my day job in all 15 years of my employment history. Thanks for sticking around, reading and following me on Twitter.

What’s to come?
I have some really great things happening on my blog going forward from where it is today. I’ve gained a couple great new guest bloggers/contributors who have graciously agreed to join the blog and share their talents/knowledge with the world through vDestination.com. First off, my good friend from Costa Rica, Larry Gonzalez has really been working hard on the vLATAM page of vDestination along with Celia Cristaldo. Nick Fritcsh of VMware has been recently posting some good content, as evidenced by his EMC World Discount post! Thanks Nick! I’ve also been building a good relationship with Ravi Venkatasubbaiah and he’s come on board and start writing for vDestination. It’s very exciting to have these bloggers onboard and I’m looking forward to 2014 being our best year yet. We a little late to start but you’ll start seeing a bunch of good content coming down the pipe.

New Look
I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be rolling out a new blog format, feel and look on vDestination here in the very near future. I’ve been chained by hosting on WordPress.com so I’m looking forward to self hosting, thanks to all that have helped me realize I need to self host. The new site will be easier on the eyes, easier to navigate and fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and possibly more social networking sites in an attempt to reach as many readers as possible. I spend time and money on my blog in an effort to share my knowledge with others who might be looking. A good majority of my first few months of virtualization work was spent hopelessly digging through blogs looking for help to get me where I need to be.

Again, a big thanks to all my readers and followers, I appreciate all of your questions and comments, please keep them coming!

Thanks,
Greg W. Stuart

EMC World Discount Code

April 1, 2014
tags:

EMC WorldIt’s been a while since I’ve been able to post on vDestination.  For my return, I thought it would be good to giveaway a few EMC World discount codes to the community.  As a member of EMC Elect, I was given three $150 discount codes to EMC World.  In order to win one of the three codes, you need to have already registered or are very close to registering for EMC World.  Second, comment on this post on why you should receive a discount code.  I will select three winners based upon the replies.

Please be aware that you cannot apply this discount code on top of another discount.  If you have already registered for EMC World and received the early-bird discount, using the EMC World discount code that I am giving away will remove the early bird discount along with any gift you received as part of registering early.  Therefore I would not recommend using this discount code if you are already registered and received a discount greater than $150 or a gift.

The contest ends April 3rd.  The discount code expires on April 7th so you’ll only have four short days to complete the registration using the discount code.  Thanks for reading and make sure to leave a comment in order to be registered to win.

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