VMware Explore US 2022 Experience

I had a blast at VMware Explore US. There was a lot to do in a few days, especially with the event being one day shorter compared to past events. Registration went smoothly and good that materials pickup was now located directly by registration. The welcome reception and hall crawl were fun. This allowed more time to be spent in the expo area. The official party was at the Chase Center with great food which was a huge step up for the venue and food compared to VMworld 2019. This was some of the fun parts and now let’s dive into the meat of the event.

vSphere 8 and vSAN 8 were announced. I was glad to see VMware’s core products had announcements on stage during the general session. It’s been years since this has happened. I will write another article that goes into these new product versions. VMware Aria was also announced on stage. The Aria family includes familiar names, such as CloudHealth, Operations, Log Insight, Network Insight, and Automation. This is more than a rebranding and will offer a unified platform for cloud management called Aria Hub. There are also new solutions with Aria: Guardrails, Migration, and Business Insights.

There were many informative sessions. I stuck to my plan that I did the previous event with attending TAM sessions, which are not recorded and under a NDA so I will note some other sessions. Ariel Sanchez delivered the best presentation I heard during the event. He covered upgrading from vSphere 6.7 to vSphere 7.0 U3 and it’s all detailed in a GitHub repository of his. Session ’10 New and Exciting Things About vSphere That You Absolutely Need to Know’ was scheduled right after the general session. Prior to the event I figured it had to be about announcements in regard to the next major version of vSphere and it was! This was the only session I ever attended that was completely full and had to deny people from entering. vSphere 8 is all about the DPUs (Data Processing Units), aka smart NICs, and referring to Project Monterey. There are a lot of sessions that I will be watching over the next few weeks as there was only so many that I could squeeze in during the event.

I attended a couple of the vRealize Hands-on Labs Expert-led Workshops and learned a lot from them. They quickly filled up registering a head of time, but both of my labs had open seats so worth stopping by if not registered for future reference. Keep in mind these labs are a bigger time commitment and can be done at home. Therefore, you have to make sure it’s something you really want to do at the event and come with questions to ask the experts leading the lab. Computers are provided for these labs. The Hands on Lab course numbers are displayed on the content catalog so you can look them up after the event.

I wanted to spend as much time as I could in the expo to check out the products offered by the various vendors. Be sure to click on the panoramic photo of the expo hall that I have below. There wasn’t as many extravagant booths are previous years, but the products were there to shine and also the swag was generously given out. Cohesity and NetApp were very good to vExperts. Lego sets were the main giveaway for a lot of vendors and Zerto had the biggest of them all with the AT-AT set pictured below and a Millennium Falcon set.

The food was extremely better than the 2019 event. In 2019, there were sandwiches pretty much everyday in huge plastic containers. This time it was a hearty bowl of food three of the four days. There was 2-4 meal options everyday. It was also a lot easier to eat for people with some specific food allergies and mostly served in a compostable bowl. Breakfast was a little better than the past.

I won’t be at VMware Explore Europe in November, but I am eagerly awaiting what VMware will announce next at this event. Then will be interesting to see if there will be any changes to next year’s event with the Broadcom acquisition of VMware. I am exited to see VMware continue to develop it’s multi-cloud strategy and Explore is the place to be to learn it all.

VMware Explore US Tips and Info

VMware Explore US is a little over a week away. I am excited to be flying out Sunday the 28th and registration is open on-site from 12p-7p that day. Then the event kicks off the next day. A few more parties have been announced so be sure to check out the party list again. The official event app has been released. Search your phone’s app store for ‘VMware Explore’. The food was not good at previous events and difficult for people with allergies to have a good meal. I found out that this year VMware has worked hard to enhance options for specials meals, which are available at the back of Moscone West, level 1. On top of that, if that isn’t good enough, they have vouchers that can be used at Trader Joe’s, which is a few minutes away from Moscone West. The vouchers can be picked up at the info desk. Last bit of info I have is that the Hands-on Labs Expert-led Workshop is providing computers to use. It’s tiring enough to talk around all day so great that you don’t need to lug around a laptop. See you in San Fran!

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.

vExpert 2022 and VMworld

That time of the year again for this article. I am now a vExpert for five years in a row. After two years of only online events, VMworld is back in person and will have some sort of virtual option. Will be interesting to see how the king of hybrid cloud will handle a hybrid event. Starting August 29 – September 1 in San Fran and then November 7-10 in Barcelona. I imagine proposals should be starting soon and then more details to get everyone pumped up.

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!

vExpert 2021 and VMworld

I earned vExpert status for the forth year in a row. I was selected for my blog and contributions on the VMTN forums. I will continue my mission, which is writing articles that will assist someone that is facing the same issue I had.

VMworld will be only online again this year. It will be October 5-7, 2021. Not much has been announced so far for this event. I hope it is more interactive than last year’s online event. I definitely miss attending in person VMUGs and VMworld.

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