Monthly Archives: August 2019

VMworld 2019 – Top Session Picks

VMworld 2019 is happening tomorrow (It is already Saturday here) and as I am just about to embark on the 20+ hour journey from PER to SFO I thought it was better late than never to share my top session picks. Now with sessions available online it doesn’t really matter that the actual sessions are fully booked. The theme this year is “Make Your Mark” …which does fall in line with themes of past VMworld events. It’s all about VMware empowering it’s customers to do great things with its technology.

I’ve already given a session breakdown and analysis for this years event… and as a recap here are some of the keyword numbers relating to what tech is in what session.

Out of all that, and the 1348 sessions total, that are currently in the catalog I have chosen then list below as my top session picks.

  • vSphere HA and DRS Hybrid Cloud Deep Dive [HBI2186BU]
  • 60 Minutes of Non-Uniform Memory Architecture [HBI2278BU]
  • vCloud Director.Next : Deliver Cloud Services on Any VMware Endpoint [HBI2452BU]
  • Why Cloud Providers Choose VMware vCloud Director as Their Cloud Platform [HBI1453PU]
  • VMware Cloud on AWS: Advanced Automation Techniques [HBI1463BU]
  • The Future of vSphere: What you Need to Know [HBI4937BU]
  • NSX-T for Service Providers [MTE6105U]
  • Kubernetes Networking with NSX-T [MTE6104U]
  • vSAN Best Practices [HCI3450BU]
  • Deconstructing vSAN: A Deep Dive into the internals of vSAN [HCI1342BU]
  • VMware in Any Cloud: Introducing Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud VMware Solutions [HBI4446BU]

Also wanted to again call out the Veeam Sessions.

  • Backups are just the start! Enhanced Data Mobility with Veeam [HBI3535BUS]
  • Enhancing Data Protection for vSphere with What’s Coming from Veeam [HBI3532BUS]

A lot of those sessions above relate to my ongoing interest in the service providers world and my continued passion in vCloud Director, NSX and vSAN as core VMware technologies. I also think the first two I put in the list are important because in this day of instant (gratification) services we still need to be mindful of what is happening underneath the surface…. it’s not just a case of some computer running some workload somewhere!

All in all it should be a great week in SFO and looking forward to the event… now to finish packing and get to the airport!

Veeam @VMworld 2019 Edition…

VMworld 2019 is now only a couple of days away, and I can’t wait to return to San Francisco for what will be my seventh VMworld and third one with Veeam. It has again been an interesting year since the last VMworld and the industry has shifted a little when it comes to the backup and recovery market. Data management and data analytics have become the new hot topic item and lots of vendors have jumped onto the messaging of data growth at more than exponential rates.

VMware still have a lot to say about where and how that data is processed and stored!

VMworld is still a destination event and Veeam recognises VMware’s continued influence in the IT industry by continuing to support VMworld. The ecosystem that VMware has built over the past ten to fifteen years is significant and has only been strengthened by the extension of their technologies to the public cloud.

Veeam continues to build out own own strong ecosystem backed by a software first, hardware agnostic platform which results in the greatest flexibility in the backup and recovery market. We continue to support VMware as our number 1 technology partner and this year we look to build on that with support for VMware Cloud on AWS and enhanced VMware features sets built into our core Backup & Replication product as we look to release v10 later in the year.

Veeam Sessions @VMworld:

Officially we have two breakout sessions this year, with Danny Allan and myself presenting a What’s Coming from Veeam featuring our long awaited CDP feature (#HBI3532BUS), and Michael Cade and David Hill presenting a around how Backups are just the start… with a look at how we offer Simplicity, Reliability and Portability as core differentiators (#HBI3535BUS).

There are also four vBrownBag Tech Talks where Veeam features including talks from Michael Cade, Tim Smith, Joe Hughes and myself. While we are also doing a couple of partner lunch events focused on Cloud and Datacenter Transformation.

https://my.vmworld.com/widget/vmware/vmworld19us/us19catalog?search=Veeam

Veeam @VMworld Solutions Exchange:

This year, as per usual we will have significant presence on the floor as main sponsor of the Welcome Reception, with our Booth (#627) Area featuring demo’s prize, giveaways, as well as having an Experts Bar. There will be a number of Booth presentations throughout the event.

Veeam Community Support @VMworld:

Veeam still gets the community and has been a strong supporter historically of VMworld community based events. This year again, we have come to the party are have gone all-in in terms of being front and center in supporting community events. Special mention goes to Rick Vanover who leads the charge in making sure Veeam is doing what it can to help make these events possible:

  • Opening Acts
  • VMunderground
  • vBrownBag
  • Spousetivities
  • vRockstar Party
  • LevelUp Career Cafe

Party with Veeam @VMworld:

Finally, it wouldn’t be VMworld without attending Veeam’s legendary party. While we are not in Vegas this year and can’t hold it at a super club, we have managed to book one of the best places in San Francisco… The Masonic. We have Andy Grammer performing and while it won’t be a Vegas style Veeam event… it is already sold out maxed at 2000 people so we know it’s going to be a success and will be one of the best parties of 2019!

While it’s officially sold out ticket wise, if people do want to attend we are suggesting they come to the venue in any case as there are sure to be no shows.

Final Word:

Again, this year’s VMworld is going to be huge and Veeam will be right there front and center of the awesomeness. Please stop by our sessions, visit our stand and attend our community sponsored events and feel free to chase me down for a chat…I’m always keen to meet other members of this great community. Oh, and don’t forget to get to the party!

VMworld 2019 – Session Breakdown and Analysis

Everything to do with VMworld this year feels like it’s arrived at lightning speed. I actually thought the event was two weeks away as the start of the week… but here we are… only five days away from kicking off in San Francisco. The content catalog for the US event has been live for a while now and as is recently the case, a lot of sessions were full just hours after it went live! At the moment there is huge 1348 sessions listed which include the #vBrownBag Tech Talks hosted by the VMTN Community.

As I do every year I like to filter through the content catalog and work out what technologies are getting the airplay at the event. It’s interesting going back since I first started doing this to see the catalog evolve with the times… certain topics have faded away while others have grown and some dominate. This ebs and flows with VMware’s strategies and makes for interesting comparison.

What first struck me as being interesting was the track names compared to just two years ago at the 2017 event:

I see less buzz words and more tracks that are tech specific. Yes, within those sub categories we have the usual elements of “digital transformation” and “disruption”, however VMware’s focus looks to be focuses more around the application of technology and not the high level messaging that usually plagues tech conferences. VMworld has for the most and remains a technical conference for techs.

By digging into the sessions by searching on key words alone, the list below shows you where most of the sessions are being targeted this year. If, in 2015 you where to take a guess at what particular technology was having the most coverage at a VMworld at 2019…the list below would be much different than what we see this year.

From looking back over previous years, there is a clear rise in the Containers world which is now dominated by Kubernetes. Thinking back to previous VMworld’s, you would never get the big public cloud providers with airtime. If you look at how that has changed for this year we now have 231 sessions alone that mention AWS… not to mention the ones mentioning Azure or Google.

Strategy wise it’s clear that NSX, VMC and Kubernetes are front of mind for VMware and their ecosystem partners.

I take this as an indication as to where the industry is… and is heading. VMware are still the main touch point for those that work in and around IT Infrastructure support and services. They own the ecosystem still… and even with the rise of AWS, Azure, GCP and alike, they still are working out ways to hook those platforms into their own technology and are moving with industry trends as to where workloads are being provisioned. Kubernetes and VMware Cloud on AWS are a big part of that, but underpinning it is the network… and NSX is still heavily represented with NSX-T becoming even more prominent.

One area that continues to warm my heart is the continued growth and support shown to the VMware Cloud Providers and vCloud Director. The numbers are well up from the dark days of vCD around the 2013 and 2014 VMworld’s. For anyone working on cloud technologies this year promises to be a bumper year for content and i’m looking forward to catching as much vCD and VCPP related sessions as I can.

It promises to be an interesting VMworld, with VMware hinting at a massive shift in direction… I think we all know in a round about way where that is heading… let’s see if we are right come next week.

https://my.vmworld.com/widget/vmware/vmworld19us/us19catalog

Quick Fix – Issues Upgrading VCSA due to Password Expiration

It seems like an interesting “condition” has worked its self into recent VCSA builds where upon completing upgrades, the process seems to reset the root account expiration flag. This blocked my proceeding with an upgrade and only worked when I followed the steps listed below.

The error I got is shown below:

“Appliance (OS) root password is expired or is going to expire soon. Please change the root password before installing an update.”

When this happened on the first vCenter I went to upgrade, I thought that maybe there was a chance I had forgotten to set that to never expires… but usually by default I check that setting and set it to never expires… not the greatest security practice, but for my environments it’s something I set almost automatically during initial configuration. After reaching out on Twitter, I got some immediate feedback saying to reset the root password by going into single user mode… which did work.

When this happened a second time on a second VCSA, on which I without question set the never expires flag to true, I took a slightly different approach to the problem and decided to try reset the password from the VCSA Console, however that process fails as well.

After going back through the Tweet responses, I did come across this VMwareKB which lays down the issue and offers the reason behind the errors.

This issue occurs when VAMI is not able to change an expired root password.

Fair enough… but I don’t have a reason for the password never expires option not being honoured? Some feedback and conversations suggest that maybe this is a bug that’s worked its way into recent builds during upgrade procedures. In any case the way to fix it is simple and doesn’t need console access to access the command line… you just need to SSH into the VCSA and reset the root password as shown below.

Once done, the VCSA upgrade proceeds as expected. As you can see there we have also confirmed that the Password Expires is set to never. If anyone can confirm the behaviour regarding that flag being reset, feel free to comment below.

Apart from that, there is the quick fix!

References:

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/67414

VMworld 2019 – Still Time To Go for FREE*!

VMworld is rapidly approaching, and for those that have not secured their place at the event in San Francisco, and for whatever reason have been hindered in terms of purchasing an event ticket… there is still time and there is still a way!

We (Veeam) have been running a competition that gives away three FULL conference pass over the course of the last few months but ends on the 19th of August so time is running out!

Head here to register for the chance to win a FULL conference pass.

For a quick summary of what is happening at VMworld from a Veeam perspective including sessions, parties and more, click here to head to the main event page that contains details on what Veeam is doing at VMworld 2019.

*The Prize does not include any associated costs including but not limited to expenses, insurance, travel, food or additional accommodation costs unless otherwise specified above.

I went on Holiday (Vacation) and Managed to Switch Off!!

The jet lag has almost passed… I’ve nearly caught up with the backlog of messages on my various social platforms… expenses are almost done… and i’m about to hit Outlook and clear my email inbox. Yes, I’ve just come back from nearly 4.5 weeks away on holiday (vacation) and barring a few conversations on Teams with my team, I managed to switch off almost 100%… In fact this is my first blog post in more than a month!

To be honest, this is something that I thought I would ever do and on one side I feel somewhat ok about it… while on the other I have a case of mild agita over needing to catch up and get back into the groove of work life.

“Don’t F*cking Tell me to Switch Off!!!”

This was the original title of the post (modified to soften the blow) and mainly relates to the bucket load of messages and comments telling me to switch off while on leave as I started this trip. This is something I have experienced throughout my career and I see it all the time when people make the “mistake” of checking into Twitter, or posting in Slack when they are on vacation.

There is almost nothing I find more frustrating than people telling me (or others) how to spend my time… be it on holiday or otherwise and especially when it comes to work related matters. I’ve written before about work/life balance and how I have struggled to achieve that over the years and in fact the whole work/life balance in IT has become a real topic since then and there have been many people that have written about their own personal struggles.

To that end, when people tell me to switch off, I tend to respond with what is stated above and the immediate thought that resonates in my mind is that I’ll switch off when and if I damn well please! And if I don’t, then that is ok as well! If I feel balance and I am ok in myself, then it’s something that is in my control and not the place for others to try and dictate to me.

Regardless… I Did Switch Off

When it comes to my thoughts around switching off… it comes down to the fact that my hobby is also my job and my career. Tinkering is how I learn and an important component of learning is staying connected and engaged with the various online communities and content sources. This is why I find it hard to completely switch off. I don’t deny that there is a physiological side to this which equates to an addiction… it’s well documented that we thrive on the hits of dopamine that come from social reward.

For us as techies, that social reward is linked to emails, messages, Tweets, likes, hits, views etc. I’ll be honest and admit that I do crave all those things as well as social interaction with my workmates. However as I settled into my holiday I began to replace the need for technical reward with that of personal and family rewards that generated different types of dopamine hits.

 

The max hit came while at a local village feast in Gozo where memories of my childhood trips to Malta came flooding back… and as I ate my third Imaret I was at max switch off level and knew that I had succeeding in doing something I thought not possible! Total disconnect!

I captured that moment below in the fourth picture… this is for me as a reminder of where I can get to if I ever feel the need to switch off again.

Ultimately I was able to not touch my MBP for work all holiday and I let myself drift away from my connected world without much thought or fear of missing out… for the most 🙂

I still did a bit here and there, but not nearly as much as I had thought. Now that I am back, it’s time to get into the connected world and get back to what I do… stay engaged, stay connected and stay switched on!