Monthly Archives: June 2019

Why you need to go to VMWorld (and me too).

VMware’s big tech conferences, VMWorld, are on the horizon again, the US edition in San Francisco, August 25-29, 2019 and the EMEA edition in Barcelona, November 4-7, 2019. These are massive events with a lot of people attending and an incredible amount of things to do. The content catalogue for the US has just been published, but in my opinion the sessions are the least compelling reason to go! Allow me to explain from my 7 years attending Barcelona as a speaker, HOL captain and exhibitor and 1 year in San Francisco.

Networking.

No not NSX or anything. The people thing. Yes even for techies, nerds, and other life forms generally not into interacting with real people. VMWorld has thousands of attendees. There are customers, technical people from large and small organisations from all countries you can talk to, exchange ideas with, you can even HELP each other. And of course a lot of VMware and VMware partner attendees, ranging from your local contacts to PSO engineers, but also R&D engineers, product managers, executives…. Where else are you going to meet these people and talk to them? There are booths, briefings, roadmap sessions, panel discussions and more! And on top of that you get the same from industry partners, most of them have a booth in the Exhibition hall. But that is a paragraph on it’s own. I could spend all my time there and, granted, the last 3 years with Blue Medora I had too.

I could go on and on here, there are so many events and opportunities on the VMWorld floor and beyond. During lunch, at a coffee break and yes the parties. Oh boy the parties. You can go to more than one every night. Especially Barcelona is very dangerous here. I don’t want to sound like your mom, but pace yourself. Everyone goes home exhausted anyway, but I know people who do not have recollections of some days in Barcelona…

Hands-on Labs.

The labs! Oh my God, this is a reason to go all by itself. You know that VMware invented this beautiful thing of having a whole area in the conference dedicated to labs of course. Since then a lot of others try to imitate but the HOLs are constantly evolving and ahead. Of course you can take labs from your coach, but at VMWorld the new catalogue is available! And there are instructor-led sessions and swag… The setting is so impressive! It looks like an evolved version of the bridge of the USS Enterprise…. Connected to multiple data centers, with a team of engineers onsite! You can sit down at a terminal or bring your own device and launch a lab where you can test out a product in a complete vSphere environment that is provisioned on the fly! So you can stick to the scenario or try out some stuff… There are some of the smartest people at VMware behind this and they give tours! I worked the labs both as a floor slave (sorry proctor) and lab captain and I hugely enjoyed it every time! I really wish I could do it again!

Exhibition hall.

I love these at conferences and VMWorld is no exception. VMware has a lot of booth space and demos of course, but everyone is here: startups, VMware R&D, cloud providers, hardware vendors,… There is a welcome reception here and hall crawl, no to be missed because this is where you need extra bags to travel home with all the goodies you got! And again you get to interact with people, see demos, learn things.

Sessions.

Of course there are a lot of sessions to attend. These are great opportunities to hear from engineers or product managers on new products or hear other customers talk about their experience! I did both, presenting on Log Insight back in the day when I had a great customer case in Belgium and presenting with News UK on their very scientific approach to vRealize Operations. For me it is as much fun presenting and interacting with people as following other sessions.

There is so much more to tell, the exams you can take there, the vBrownbag tech talk sessions and more. If you are working with VMware products day to day, VMWorld is simply not to be missed. If you plan a few trainings per year my personal opinion is VMworld is a better value. You can learn but also interact with key people directly. And a tip if you are in EMEA: I really like the Barcelona version! You get the same sessions and activities, not a watered down version and you get Barcelona on top of it! Also there are cheap airline tickets from all European destinations and hotels are reasonable (especially if you reserve everything now!).

So let’s make our mark together! Hope to see you there! And bring comfy shoes…

VMware vExpert 2019 Two Subprograms Are Now Open!

VMware vExpert 2019 Two Subprograms Are Now Open!

A few days ago, the vExpert 2019 second half application. Now the vExpert Cloud Management and vExpert NSX subprograms are open. Please note this is based on your past year contribution on the two specific categories namely NSX and Cloud Management. This year Cloud Management is new into the…Read More


VMware Social Media Advocacy

Datadog part 1: Who let the dogs out?

TL;DR Datadog is a SaaS monitoring solution with an impressive list of integrations, including vCenter and AWS. Their agent is open source. They have impressive dashboarding and now feature logging and APM.

As part of my newly won freedom from vendors this year, I am looking at some options to manage your VMware environment. Of course vRealize Operations is still my baby, but choice is a good thing and in some cases you might be interested in looking at other solutions. Like when you look at prices to manage your full stack environment…

Datadog home screen.

Datadog is a very popular choice at the moment. You see their booths at DockerCon, AWS Summits and their engineers do a lot of public talks. Founded in NYC by two French, their claim to fame is that they are a SaaS solution. Yes, you install agents in your infrastructure to send data to their cloud engine. A few things stand out here:

  • The agent is open source! So you have complete visibility in the very optimised code they use and you can even change it if you want.
  • The SaaS model has it’s advantages: think about all the metrics you want to gather in your infrastructure. Do you really want to maintain servers and storage to keep those? Datadog keeps them in a – dare I say – data lake and allows you to do some nifty stuff with it. More on that later.
  • They have more than 250 integrations! I was used to the Blue Medora plugins catalogue but this is insane ! I am not going to list them all, just look at their page.

Datadog is very strong in cloud solutions, they are an AWS partner, but also shine in cloud native solutions. They are now venturing in logging and APM! It all reminds me a bit of what Blue Medora is trying to do with Bindplane, but you do not have the connectivity out to other monitoring systems (safe Grafana) but you get very cool dashboarding. Really cool dashboarding! This is where the solutions feels really different to me. You can build very beautiful and responsive dashboards, you can play with metrics in a notebook, you can even annotate a graph or part of it for your colleagues. It feels very much like monitoring for Millennials. You can also tie in comms systems for your monitors like Slack or PagerDuty. The system will also send you mails with daily updates.

In the next article I will dive into some highlights of integration with vCenter and AWS. If you want to try it out yourself get a trial on their home page. I am available as an independent contractor to work with you on evaluating a monitoring environment.