VMworld 2019 – The Tourist

VMworld 2020 will be returning to San Francisco next year. Back at the Moscone Center starting August 31st through September 3rd. I figured it would still be valid to post a touristy article. Perhaps, some others will be interested in doing activities outside of VMworld. I stayed in San Francisco until Sunday and had a lot of fun.

Thursday was the last day of VMworld. The solutions exchange and many other areas were closed this day. However, there was still a good half day of sessions and such. I didn’t waste any time after VMworld to start sightseeing that same day.

I started off by going to Pier 39. There were many attractions to check out; sea lions, little stores, and restaurants. The main reason I went there was to go to the Aquarium of the Bay. It was nice, but I feel there are better options if you are short on time. The best part was the tunnel with animals surrounding me from the top and sides. The aquarium ticket came with a free ticket to Madame Tussauds, which was nearby.

Friday was one of only full two days for sightseeing so I wanted to maximize what I could do. I started off with the San Francisco Zoo. It was well worth the drive from downtown. The zoo was even less expensive than the aquarium and spent twice as much time at the zoo. The zoo had a very nice African exhibit among many others. The Pacific Ocean was just a few minute walk so I definitely had to check it out being that I am from the east coast.

The Golden Gate Park was up next for Friday afternoon. I wish I had more time and energy to spend there. It’s 3.5 miles wide so a lot of ground to cover. The California Academy of Sciences is within the park and was my favorite attraction. It had everything there; a rain forest, an aquarium, a planetarium, an earthquake simulator, and a natural history museum. I recommend having at least three hours there and to pick up the included planetarium ticket when you first arrive. That way you can choose what time and specific show you want to see. The rain forest and aquarium were absolutely beautiful.

Then I ended the night for dinner in Chinatown. Amazing that it’s the biggest Chinatown in the United States. Fun to walk around there. A lot of interesting foods and stores to check out.

I wanted to cover a lot of ground on Saturday so I rented a car. I first made a quick stop at the painted ladies, which is the iconic houses displayed in the opening credits for Full House. Then I went to Coit Tower for an amazing view of the city. Be prepared to wait for a little while to get to the top of the tower and not much parking on the top of the hill. Lombard Street, the famous winding street, is nearby so a good opportunity to drive down the road. Finally finished this area with lunch at Ghirardelli Square.

A lot of people recommended going to Muir Woods National Monument. It is the closest area to see redwoods. I went over the Golden Bridge to get there and I wasn’t impressed with the bridge. It seemed like a lot of other brdiges to me. Muir Woods was very nice. Amazing to see the huge trees. After going past the visitor center, there were a few looped trails. Boardwalks paved the way for some of it so it was an easy walk. The best advice I can give is to make a parking reservation as far in advance as you can. The reservation is only $8 and there are not many other parking options.

The last stop of the day was at Twin Peaks. It’s the second highest mountain in the city. I call it the lazy man’s hike because there’s a road that drives towards the top. Then there are several places to park and can hike to the summit. A nice view from a different side of the city.

I tried to make the most of my trip from the work side to the personal side. I greatly enjoyed my trip. I recommend everyone to venture deeper into the city next VMworld.

VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMworld is much more than the business side. I wanted to take moment to go over somethings outside of the usual keynotes, sessions, labs, etc. Also, to mention some other information and tips that didn’t fit in my other articles.

I recommend getting to San Francisco on Saturday to get the most out of the event. Give yourself some time to get settled in. There were a lot of events on Sunday, especially if you’re a TAM customer. Then you can be one of the first to hit the solutions exchange that night. Depending on your schedule, you may not have a lot of time the rest of the week for the solutions exchange. Also, more likely you will get a t-shirt in your size 🙂

Registration was quick and easy. I never saw a long line there whenever I passed by. Don’t go out of the way to pick up the official bag until you need to go to the west building. There were plenty of them so save the steps.

Be prepared to walk a lot. I was walking around 15,000 to 20,000+ steps a day. Even more tiring when carrying a bag of swag or a laptop all day. Wear sneakers and sit down whenever you can.

I never saw a session full. I don’t even think I saw a room 80% full. This is excluding something like a session with a very limited amount of seats, such as a raspberry pi based session. I am not a fan of how session reservations work. Don’t let a session marked as full to hold you back. Just have a backup plan with something else to do if it is actually full. Also, you can always watch the session online later on.

The breakfast and lunches provided by VMware were not good and lacked variety. Greasy breakfast sandwiches and pastries in the mornings. Mostly sandwiches for four days in a row for meat-eaters. The vegetarian and gluten-free options were combined for some odd reason. That one was some sort of tofu salad from what I saw on some days.  The lunches had bulky one-use plastic containers that were a huge waste. I hope VMware/Moscone Center can have a more environmentally friendly version in the future. There are a bunch of restaurants nearby that are better alternatives.

There is no shortage of entertainment. Multiple parties every night. Then the big VMworld Fest on Wednesday night. Billy Idol and One Republic were great. I don’t think the performers knew what the concert was for. Hopefully, VMware can book a nicer venue next time.

I did not worry once about my safety outside of the Moscone Center or anywhere in the city. Several people warned me about aggressive homeless people and issues on the streets. I did not see anything different from where I live. I am guessing people that were worried probably live in a rural area. Obviously, take normal safety precautions. I definitely recommend to branch out of the area and not be worried. My final article next week will be on fun things to do around the city.

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side
VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange
VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange

I was amazed by the size of the solutions exchange, but surprised with the limited hours it was opened throughout the week. I wish I would have had more time to talk to additional companies. Fascinating to see what companies had to offer and what gimmick to get people to listen. A few companies had magicians. A lot of companies had a raffle at the end of a 10-15 minute presentation, which reoccurred often.

I thought it was amusing the lengths backup companies went with their booths. Rubrik and Cohesity both had two-story booths and sport related contests. Commvault had a therapy dog park between the Moscone buildings.

I wanted to share some photos of the most interesting areas of the solution exchange and also the square.

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side
VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange
VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side

VMworld2019_GS1

I went to VMworld for my first time and had a blast. The event was great, but not without its flaws. I tweeted during the event and I may start tweeting more often. Also, when I post a new article. However, I never got around to posting an article during the event.

Monday’s general session presentation fell flat for me. Project Pacific and Tanzu Mission Control were already announced earlier that day. Then the keynote felt too scripted. After looking past the superficial side, the content was huge. Project Pacific will have Kubernetes embedded in the hypervisor. This is a great move by VMware to work more closely where the industry has been heading. Their latest acquisitions definitely tell what they are up to; Pivotal and Carbon Black. Then Tanzu Mission Control will give central management for Kubernetes clusters on-prem and in the cloud.

Tuesday’s general session highlighted some of the prior day’s announcements and went into additional news. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is now available. It was previously announced at Dell’s conference, but this is the first time I heard about it. Dell will send an engineer to deploy a rack of hardware at a customer’s location and it shows up in a customer’s SDDC. Then Dell manages the hardware and ESXi stack. I really like this model. The best both worlds in my mind; a cloud-like architecture on-prem. NSX Intelligence was announced. VMware’s new CTO, Greg Lavender, was even announced on stage.

There was no shortage of sessions. I liked that VMware had each session labeled according to the technical level. My company has a TAM so I was able to attend additional sessions, which were under an NDA. I attended mostly them since they are not recorded. I am looking forward to watching many of the recorded sessions later on. Below are my favorite non-TAM sessions that I attended.

William Lam and Emad Younis hosted a great session on ‘The Next Generation of Lifecycle Management for vCenter Server’. Here are a couple nice additions to vSphere 6.7, which are currently available. Display the topology view of all vCenters and PSCs in an SSO domain (U2). This is under administration and system configuration. Now able to change the hostname and IP address of a vCenter Center (U3). Then they went into potential future additions in tech preview. A better summary page for vCenter, which includes; notification for vCenter updates, last updated, last backed up by the native file-based backup, summary totals at this level, and overall health status from the 5480 page. The screenshot below is from their presentation. They said there will be a permission to set to enable the update available notification so it can be easily hidden from a client or whoever. My favorite tech preview was the vCenter interoperability built into vCenter. No more going to the HCL for some components. Some potential new features are desired state for vCenter, improved host profiles, and easier NSX install. I am looking forward to all of this. Hopefully in the not too distant future.

vCenterTechPreview.PNG

I attended the Intro to Raspberry Pi and Run K8s on VMware. I figured both would be good since they were hands-on. I already have a Raspberry Pi running RetroPi. I figured this would help me get more motivated to do something else with my new Raspberry Pi I received in my vExpert bag. I definitely want to think of a home project for it. The Kubernetes session had a lab and was actually the first time I got to use Kubernetes. It served as a good intro. The lab was on VMC on AWS so it was legit.

I decided I will work a few more articles on VMworld. One of the solution exchange. Then the fun side of VMworld. The final will be on personal travel after VMworld. I stayed a few extra days to check out the city. I thought this may help others interested in doing the same since VMworld 2020 is back August 31st to September 3rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

VMworld 2019 – The Business Side
VMworld 2019 – Solutions Exchange
VMworld 2019 – The Fun and Random Side

VMware Cloud on AWS – Software Defined Data Center 2019 Badge

I recently passed the VMware Cloud on AWS Management Exam 2019 (5V0-31.19) with a score of 411. The exam is scored the same as every other VMware exam. There are actually no prerequisites to take the exam and the exam is taken online. I assume VMware has these two differences to appeal to a larger crowd that are not on the traditional VMware certification tracks. The exam is only 30 questions, but only 45 minutes to complete the exam. Definitely have to think quick and harder than I expected. The exam followed very close to the exam guide. I previously took the VMware Cloud on AWS: Deploy and Manage class, which I feel helped me prepare for the exam. However, the class only has lab simulations that are basically click through animations. I did have access to a real VMware Cloud on AWS account so that also greatly helped me to get ready for the exam.

vmware_Skill_AWS_SDDC_2019

 

vExpert 2019 and VMworld

I am proud to announce I was selected for the vExpert program for the second year. I was selected for my blog and contributions on the VMTN forums. My goal with this blog was to make an impact with issues I resolved. Can be frustrating to come across a problem that seems to be unsolvable. Perhaps, something I managed to figure out and wrote about will help out someone.

I have another announcement. I am going to VMworld for the first time. VMworld in San Francisco is only a few weeks away and I am very excited to go. I was able to register for most of the sessions I wanted and double booked for most nights.

vExpert2019

Inaccurate Statistic in vSphere Flash Client

I mostly use the vSphere Flash client and was monitoring my vSAN performance with it. I noticed TCP inbound loss rate was ranging from 1-10% on the vSAN host TCP packet retransmission and loss rate graph. My VMs did not seem to be impacted. Also, there is bound to be some loss with TCP. However, this number seemed high to me.

I had a case open with VMware GSS and they could not figure out what was the underlining issue. They blamed my Cisco UCS servers. Cisco didn’t have any ideas. Nothing seemed wrong with my physical switches.

Then one day I used the HTML5 client and looked at the same graph. The numbers were much lower. I went back to the Flash client and the numbers were high. I followed the graphs over multiple time periods, on every host, and noticed the numbers were always off by a factor of ten. See the two screenshots below. You can see the flow of the line graph is the same, but with the y axis on a different scale. Also, every exact time I hover over is always off by a factor of ten.

I have a cluster on VMware Cloud on AWS. That of course is using vSAN so I decided to check it out. Same exact problem! Therefore, it has nothing to do with my on-prem configuration or version. I reported the issue to VMware and didn’t seem like they will do anything about it. After all, the Flash client will be deprecated in the next major release of vSphere. Though, still frustrating that I chased what I thought was a problem for a while and it turned out to be a bug with the graph. I hope no one else falls for this too.

Flash Client (Flex)
Flash_vSAN_TCP

HTML5 Client
HTML5_vSAN_TCP

Integration between vRealize products and vCenter Server

There is very useful integration between vRealize Operations, Log Insight, and vCenter Server. The products can be tied to each other to make them more seamless and easier to navigate. A few roles are required to be created to restrict permissions. I have the broad steps and links to the VMware articles below that detail the specific permissions and documentation. Go through the steps and then you will be able to launch in context.

As defined by VMware; launch in context is a feature in vROps that lets you launch an external application via URL in a specific context. The context is defined by the active UI element and object selection. Launch in context lets the Log Insight adapter add menu items to a number of different views within the Custom user interface and the vSphere user interface of Operations Manager.

vROps_LI_Intergration