VMUG UserCon Sydney: 2015

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to go to the Sydney VMUG UserCON. This was quite an amazing experience. The last time I was in Sydney and outside the airport was when I was 12 on a school camp, and even then I was off the bus, on the ferry and then back on the bus.
So what happened at Sydney VMUG UserCON that made it such an amazing day? Well… lots!! I guess starting and running through the day is the best way to start.

It was a warm sunny morning, the birds were singing, the workers were hurrying across the roads to get to work on time and I was passing by to try and get my 5 seconds of window fame on sunrise…. Alright, fast forward to the event.


0800hrs: Registration:  
This was a great set up, walking into the venue was great, very well presented, the sign-in desk was well set up allowing the member to search their name and print out their name tag, thus one step closer to saving the environment. Breakfast was also available with croissants and muffins, and COFFEE!!! (I walked through the city from 6am looking for coffee, I was at the venue waiting outside very early.) After standing around a little I quietly walked into the main hall for the opening to the day.

0830hrs: Welcome, VMware Updates and morning Keynote: John Troyer
VMUGhq representative Renee did a short welcome introducing the VMUG team and giving a brief overview and then introducing Ryan McBride (Sydney VMUG Leader). Ryan also started off with a welcome followed by a presentation on the updates to VMUG including VMUG Advantage and the benefits along with EVALexperience. Ryan then spoke about the steering team, about the sponsors and what was going to be in store for the day. Next was Tom Hubert from VMware education bringing up-to-date information in regards to the new vSphere 6.0 certification paths. (You can read about the changes in this article.)

All of a sudden, Ryan did not come back on stage, instead Nigel Moreton from VMware was on stage and in no time at all he dropped a big surprise, Sanjay Mirchandani (VMware Senior VP and GM for APJ) was in the house and in no time at all, he was up on stage with so much energy.

On to the Keynote. Mr John Troyer was up, straight away he was in to it. The entire audience was engaged as John delivered The New I.T. There were a lot of funny meme’s that John had put together, and for good reason, they were the exact example of how I.T. is viewed, the team in the dungeon. The key is to change from saying “No” to “Yes, and….” This drops the ego, and it allows you to show your interest to take the next step and progress further. John continued to discuss how there are different technologies that are becoming big and will change I.T. as it is today. There are many ways we use to rely on hearing technology news, we don’t buy the latest magazines anymore, we just google what we want, or read blogs.

The points that John left us with were;

  • Start Side Projects (Create New things)
  • Teach Internally
  • Blog
  • Educate

Move from being the operator and keep moving by doing things that charge you. Don’t write a book first, start small by building in your network where you may only start with one friend reading your blog, but within time, more and more will join until you have thousands.

1055hrs: The Missed Session

Two days before the event, I spent an hour putting together my agenda for the day, trying to work out which events would be best suited to myself and job. Unfortunately, they don’t always go to plan. Fortunately, during the break, I met some very knowledgeable people, Josh Odgers, Ryan McBride and Michael Webster. Within this time, we had missed the call for the next session, but it turned out for the best as the first session I picked to fill in time anyway. We had some great discussions about technology, VMUGs, customer stories, designs, among other things that were just an eye opener to me. This lead into the next session.

1155hrs: Performance Tuning for Monster VMs and Business Critical Apps – Michael (Web-Scale) Webster.

Now I don’t deal with monster VMs that use 40 vCPUs and 512Gb of RAM, but regardless, this session was full of content that related to how you should think about sizing your VMs, and how you can get the most performance out of your databases. Michael broke down how you should assign cores to your VMs, eg. 8 Core CPU = 1, 2, 4, or 8 cores in a VM. 10 core CPU = 1, 2, 4, 5, etc.  vNUMA only kicks in once you start using 9 cores or more.

Michael talked about a series of tweaks that you can perform to get the most out of your VMs, by upgrading to Hardware Version 10 he noticed an 8% increase in performance.

Storage Controllers are a critical choice that needs to be correct as the different controllers, you can read more here: More here.

NIC choices are also an integral part, but if you choose the wrong one, you may be harming your throughput. Again Michael has done up another great post here.

This was another great session as it got me to really think about the way I design my VMs and what I need to configure to get the most out of the VMs.

VMware vSphere 5.5 Virtual Network Adapter Performance

1410hrs: Accelerating Business Critical Apps and VMware Horizon 6 with Web-Scale

After lunch and a bit of spare time walking around talking to some of the sponsors and finding out about their products a bit more, I gave in and went to Josh Odgers, and Michael Websters presentation. I was particularly interested in what Nutanix could do with with VMware Horizon, and I was impressed with the results that were displayed. Up to 2048 VMs in a HA cluster (but this is limited due to VMware limitations). 6 minutes to load 100 or 888 VMs.

Nutanix have designed a really nice little unit that scales really easily, and has great GeoLocation ability.

 

1520hrs: Deploying Vmware Horizon Workspace in the real World – Alastair Cooke

This was a session I was really looking forward to, and it delivered a stack of information. Alastair described a recent project that he worked on for a particular client who was using XenApp. This project involved migrating them across to Airwatch, Horizon 6 and Workspace Portal. During the presentation, Alastair talked about the design, the road blocks and challenges that he experienced. Alastair showed pictures of the Workspace Portal and how it presents a corporate App Store (as everything has an App Store these days) he talked about how customisable it is to work with for the users. The Citrix integration wasn’t very straight forward, but if you read the instructions it is certainly a lot easier. There were several key points that Alastair shared.

  • Put workspace in an internal network first for testing (Firewalls are a huge issue)
  • Learn Distinguished Names
  • Read documentation
  • Know your DNs

 

1620hrs: Closing Keynote: Chad Sakac

Wow! What energy to start a keynote (especially after a long day). This really got me thinking, my entire way of approaching design, operations, work ethic. Chad was a standout guy on stage. So much content packed in. The diagrams that were presented on screen gave a clear picture on how different Storage controllers and designs could greatly impact the data and performance.

4 main types of storage fabrics:

  • Persistence Models: Changing
  • Tightly Coupled
  • Loosely Coupled.
  • Distributed Share

The one thing that stood out to me was the time it takes data to be stored. Even when using FusionIO or ExtremeIO it still is a long time, not humanly noticeable, except Chad broke it down to be noticeable. If moving from CPU to SRAM is 1ns, then it would be 1 Second. If SRAM to DRAM it would be 10 seconds,  right up to All Flash Array that equalled a trip around the the world in a boat.

ChadTalk

The key points that Chad left us with were:

Watch:

  • Increasing Application Delivery
  • Increase Diversity in Compute

Do

  • No time to Dither
  • Start to be Maniacal/clear about workload
  • Accepting the differences
  • Invest time into M&O
  • Use Internal Pressures

This was certainly a great way to close off the entire days worth of sessions.

Congratulations  to all that won prizes from VMUG and the Sponsors.

 

1735hrs: Reception

Beers, who could say “No”?

If you didn’t get a chance throughout the day to meet new people, this was the time. I got a great opportunity to speak with Alastair Cooke, I was able to thank him personally for all his work that he has put into AutoLab. We had a really good conversation about opportunities for building the community for VMUG. A very nice guy who is very passionate about communities and presenting.

The evening was cut short for me as I needed to catch my flight home. To me I felt like I had made new friends in business and personally. I learnt a lot in the one day, and I am really keen to bring that day to the Brisbane VMUG, if not this year, then next year. This was a very enjoyable event for me and I take my hat off to Ryan and his team for making it a great day!

Thank you.

Keiran.

*I do apologise if I have missed some content, this was produced a little later than I anticipated.

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VMware vSphere 6 – Certification Changes

2 days ago now, VMware announced in a live online event, vSphere 6.  This was one huge announcement, there are so many game changers that are part of the latest version that I am not going to go through them right now.  If you would like to see what is new in vSphere 6, you can check out the vExpert blogs here.

 

Certifications have become a large part of today’s education. A lot of companies are accepting certifications in specific area of technology as a way of showing your skills and experience, and also your drive to keep yourself up to date. As much as this is a good thing, sometimes vendors decide to change their certification path by adding/subtracting parts and this can then become confusing for HR officers and Execs who don’t know too much about those certifications as there are so many. (Now hold onto that last sentence, you’ll need it soon)

 

Let’s take a look at the new vSphere 6 certification Path.

Cert_Roadmap_2015Q1_v5_final_WEB

 

There are 4 silo’s (paths) you can choose from. Each one covers a little of the other, but each have a significant difference – especially as your get further up the chain. There 4 silos are,

  • DCV – Data Center Virtualization
  • CMA – Cloud Management and Automation
  • Network Virtualization
  • Desktop & Mobility

VCA – VMware Certified Associate.

Just like the previous VCA exam that came out during last year, this is an online exam. This exam requires only 3 hours of material and is recommended for sales staff, Managers and those just starting out.

VCP – VMware Certified Professional

The VCP is the most common exam that is taken as it was originally the entry level exam, and some consider it to still be. The VCP is no walk in the park exam, it has required a lot of hands on experience for it’s style of questions. To take the VCP you are required to sit an authorized Install, Configure & Manage (ICM) course. This is all fairly much the same as previous versions of the exam, except you are now required to sit a Foundation Exam and a Solution Track exam. If you sit the VCP exam in multiple silos, you can then gain the status of “Elite.”

VCIX – VMware Certified Implementation Expert (Formally VCAP)

This is where the major changes happen.  The VCIX was formally the VCAP layer which incorporated 2 separate certifications with an exam each, VCAP-xxD (Design) and VCAP-xxA (Administrator). The VCIX now includes both exams which are still separate from each other, but are both required to gain the VCIX badge. The VCAP exams were previously 3 hours, however, this has now changed to only 2 hours for the design exam and 3-3.5 hours for the Administration exam. The VCIX badge isn’t necessarily new as it was used for the first set of VCAP equivalent for Network Virtualization.  Remember the sentence I told you to remember above, there is a positive and a  negative with the change of name, HR and Managers might not understand what the level of certification is and they could possibly over look you as they look for “VCAP”. On the plus side, the Expert may help.  As with the VCP, taking multiple of these exams can award you with the “Elite” status.

VCDX – VMware Certified Design Expert

This is the top of the pyramid, only a select few make it this far, but these are the ones who spent countless hours hidden under the stairs working on a design to defend in front of a panel of potential colleagues. The VCDX path requires the VCIX. This isn’t an exam like the others, this is a fully fledge written design document that you submit to a panel who will then decide if you meet the requirement to defend your design. I have heard of stories of short designs that are only 100 pages, but then there are some large designs that are over 1000 pages. On average, the candidate will spend up to 4 hours a day/7 days a week (Obviously more on the weekend) while working and in most cases, raising a family.

 

This is just a brief look at the certification paths that are now available with the vSphere 6 release. You can log on to the VMware Training Portal to find out more information.  For another quick overview, you can also check out here.

 

Thank you.

If you have any questions or suggestions for posts, please post them below.

 

Thank you.

Keiran.