Fun and Learning at VMware Explore 2022

VMware Explore US is this month! I am excited to be at an in person VMware event for the first time in three years. I have been planning out my schedule and it’s jammed packed as always. There are a lot of great sessions to chose from during the day and a lot of entertainment at night (party list).

Content catalog has 814 sessions, at the moment, spread across the four days and a VCDX workshop on Monday. Hard to do it, but I narrowed down what I could squeeze into my schedule. Keep in mind only up to three ‘Meet the Expert’ sessions can be added. I like to focus on sessions that I can apply what I learn as soon as I get back to work. Below is what I have on my schedule.

A First Look at Building Your Own Management Pack without Writing Code
Advanced Troubleshooting of ESXi Server 7.x for vSphere Gurus
Networking and Security Analytics, and the Evolution of the NSX Platform
Advanced Topics in VMware vRealize Operations
Automated VM Rightsizing with Ease
Advanced Topics in VMware vRealize Log Insight
PowerCLI and REST APIs – A New Beginning

The sessions I am most looking forward to are the VMware Code sessions that involve a NUC. The sessions are similar to what they did in 2019 with the Raspberry Pi sessions. You get to work on a NUC focusing on two different topics. There is limited availability for each session so register soon. If you are waitlisted, still show up. Worse case is you sit on the side line and listen to the presentation. If you are a vExpert and answered the program survey on attending, you will be given a NUC to take home.

VMware {code} Intel NUC Home Lab with Smart Sensors
VMware {code} VMware Tanzu on Intel NUC Lab Environment Setup and Application Building

The online events over the past two years were good filler, but it’s hard to match the networking that is done at this event. I am looking forward to learning from and hanging out with the best in the industry. I am sure the expo area will be full with vendors and a great party on Wednesday night hosted by VMware. I wonder what big announcements will be made and what artists will be at the official party.

My Top Picks for Sessions at VMworld 2021

VMworld is virtual for the second straight year. The event is October 5-7 and will have content around the clock to accommodate various time zones. There are two types of passes available; the general pass is free and the Tech+ Pass has a charge. Some of the sessions are only available with the Tech+ Pass. The content catalog has been released so it’s nice to get an idea of what’s happening to plan ahead. I like to focus mostly on sessions that will help me add value to the work I do today. Some sessions will be pre-recorded and some will be live via Zoom. As always, there’s a lot of sessions to choose from. I went through them all and below are my top picks.

Deep Dive: VM Performance and Best Practices [VI2158]$
Extreme Performance Series: Performance Best Practices [MCL1635]
Extreme Performance Series: vSphere Advanced Performance Boot Camp [MCL2033]$
It’s good to see sessions based on the fundamentals of vSphere and then taking those fundamentals to the next level. All three sessions sound similar and rated at the highest technical level. Both extreme performance sessions are hosted by Mark Achtemichuk and Valentin Bondzio, and one of them is free. Mark is a VCDX, and whenever a VCDX speaks, I pay attention. These sessions should deliver useful information for all VMware admins. Mark and Valentin both work for VMware so I am sure they have seen a million different problems and can help people better troubleshoot when they face these problems.

Core Storage Best Practices Deep Dive [MCL2071]$
VMware vSAN – Dynamic Volumes for Traditional and Modern Applications [MCL1084]
VMware Storage Queue Tuning [VMTN2862]
The first session I listed above will be hosted by Cody Hosterman and Jason Massae. I have watched Cody present before at a local VMUG and other events, and he always delivers. He works for Pure, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s there to only promote his product. He always gets to the crux of storage that applies to nearly everyone. Duncan Epping, VCDX, and Cormac Hogan are presenting the vSAN session. They will be discussing the newer vSAN File Service and more cutting edge integration with vSphere Container Storage Interface. I am very interested in what storage tips all of these rock stars will give that I can apply at my job.

The Clock is Ticking on NSX Data Center for vSphere [EDG2721]$
NSX Data Center for vSphere to NST-T Data Center – Migration Approaches [NET1211]
NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T: Strategies to Make the Move [EDG1515]
NSX-V reaches end of support on January 16th, 2022 and that’s the basis of these panels. Jayson Block, VCDX, is hosting the third session linked above. If you are still using NSX-V, you have to attend at least one of these sessions. All three sessions will give good advice on developing a migration plan. Hopefully, this will help to jumpstart your planning and migrating to NSX-T before support ends.

A Field Guide to Health Check vSAN to Operate, Upgrade and Transform [MCL1825]$
A technical Review of PSC. VMDIR, Replication and Snapshots [VI2447]$
Troubleshooting with vRealize Operations and vRealize Log Insight [MCL1286]$
All three of these sessions are in the meet the expert category and will give deep dives in their respective areas. Paul McSharry, VCDX, is presenting the vSAN session. This session looks valuable for anyone using vSAN to hear from an architect that has many deployments under their belt. The PSC has come a long way, but I still feel I don’t know everything I need to know about it. I always come across some sort of problem that support needs to help with. The PSC session looks to give the deeper understanding that I have been looking for. A lot of companies have vROps and vRLI deployed, but I rarely see anyone use the two products to their full potential. Using one or both of these products together is very useful for troubleshooting. I am looking forward to fine tuning my troubleshooting skills with this session.

Solid sessions make a virtual event and VMworld delivers again. I rather it be in person. However, it being virtual has some benefits, such as there’s a free option and more accessible to a wider audience. I will be again missing out on collecting a suitcase full of swag, but there will be giveaways from VMware and vendors, even during a virtual event. I won an official VMworld backpack last year!