VMware London User group

Ok, so I attended my first VMware London User Group today, not strictly sure that I should have attended seeing as I’m from deepest darkest Wiltshire (I can put a fake cockney accent on pretty well govna).

Im now typing this on the train home and was left with a few questions……

  • Was it worth the £50 train ticket and £5 parking fees at the station car park ?
  • Was it worth the fact that I got to the train station in plenty of time only to find out the train had been cancelled and I had to catch the next one?
  • Was it worth the tube taking 45 minutes to get to the location meaning I was an embarrassing 45 minutes late after the train fiasco ?
  • Was it worth the tube being delayed on the way home and having to wait 1hr 10 minutes for the next one ?
  • Is it worth me sat next to the guy with the biggest snoring problem in England?

One word……

DEFINITELY !

As I got to the location where the meeting was being held I made my way into the back of the room just as I heard my name being mentioned, there were around 50ish people in the room and I wondered why the presenter was asking If I was there, I later found out that he had recently added me to his list of blogs that he reads (Hi Alaric) and he was telling the attendees to check out the scripts I had written using the VI Toolkit.

Compellent Storage

After finally sitting down and forgetting about the horrendous train journey I started to relax, as Alaric Davis finished his introductory speech (sorry I missed it) Andy Hardy from Compellent took the stage and proceeded to tell us about his company and the Storage equipment they produce, a cutting edge product that it seamed would be suited to most infrastructures looking for a quality storage solution.

All the benefits of VMware’s server virtualisation – from reduced hardware costs and simplified management to robust disaster recovery – can be amplified across the data center with Compellent’s feature-rich SAN. A unique Dynamic Block Architecture makes Compellent a perfect match for Virtualised environments, allowing you to create a virtual pool of storage and automatically manage it at the block level.

This enables the use of both high end and slow disks to produce the most optimal performance which is managed by the SAN itself. Seamed like a great product to me and I will certainly be handing out the information to the contract I am working on at the moment which is undergoing a SAN refresh.

If you’re thinking about storage then I strongly suggest you check out the Compellent products and give Andy a ring, a thoroughly nice guy.

Lifecycle Manager

Next up was Alexy Stokes, a specialist systems engineer from VMware who gave us a great insight into lifecycle manager, a product which is used to request, create, deploy, update, track, and decommission VM’s. It does this using a customisable Intranet portal based application, where users can choose and deploy VM’s which will then follow through a set of approvers, and rules to best place the VM, build the VM and present it to the users.

An interesting product that it seamed to me should be part of a bigger product that should merge Lifecycle manager, Stage Manager and Lab manager.

Lifecycle manager seamed to come in two forms, the locked version which was a set application that could fit into most companies and work along there current procedures to guide and add accountability for the full lifecycle of creating a VM, which isn’t a bad thing as most companies I have worked in or for do not update there processes to account for VM’s which means that the justification that was needed for the physical servers is no longer needed for virtual servers thus leading to sprawl.

There was also the unlocked version of Lifecycle Manager which enabled a tiered solution of deploying machines to meet customer needs and business process allowing for the locked version to be opened up and fully customised (with the help of VMware or some Javascript developers). It can be manipulated to incorporate custom asset, license key databases and other such existing systems.

Both versions can be customised to meet the style of your current intranet allowing the application to seem part of an integrated business application.

Once the VM’s have gone through the process the users are then presented with a webpage which allows them to perform common tasks on the vm such as snapshot, power on/off, reset, console access through http, and rdp to the newly created server.

He then showed us how this fit into the other similar products like Lab Manager & Stage Manager.

I spent quite a bit of time afterwards in the pub talking to Alexey who struck me as a very clever and friendly person, hopefully I will meet him again in the future.

Round Table

Following the excellent presentation on Lifecycle manager there was an interesting QA type round table in which we managed to talk about some of the areas where we had found issues, some of the finer issues in VI and other useful subjects. I found this to be a highly useful part of the meeting which allowed the attendees to pick the brains of the expert panel at the front of the stage. Hopefully there will be a repeat of this in future meetings, this really allowed us to ask the lingering questions and discuss the areas you always wanted to know.

VMworld recap

The bit I had been looking forward too, the VMworld recap, this was presented by Richard Garsthagen and took us through some of the big announcements made at VMworld, still not sure what we are allowed to blog about on this subject so I wont elaborate too much but will provide you a link for the extended presentation by the Richard and all the other slides from the VMUKUG which will be uploaded here, again, I strongly recommend you give a quick look if you are interested in the future developments of VI, he gave a great demo of some of the future enhancements due in the next version of VI (Apparently not being named VI4) Vservices, vNetwork and lots of other vWords.

Conclusion

So, all in all despite the fact that I’m a contractor and don’t get paid to take days off and attend such events, this was a very useful training exercise and highly recommendable to anyone thinking about going to the next user groups, the friendly presenters and attendees made the event a great experience and not just because there was £500 behind the bar afterwards!

If your reading this, thanks very much guys, oh yeah apple and pairs and all that geeza !

As always your comments are welcome, please leave them by clicking the comments link below.

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