VMworld Europe is the event of the year for me. A week of meeting up with all kinds of IT professionals from around the world. I believe there were around 9,000 people from 90+ different countries. Apart from all the interesting people, it is geek heaven for anyone interested in virtualisation.

Being a techhead first, I always go head first into the technical sessions. This year, I attended around 18 break out sessions mostly about VMware NSX and automation subjects. Being a hybrid engineer (network & virtualisation), I thoroughly am enjoying what is happening in the networking space around virtualisation. The integration of the network into the virtual space opens up a lot of new opportunities and automation abilities, which will make a lot of people happy (granted, some people won't like the direction this is headed).

One example of this integration is the new EVO:RAIL product. EVO:RAIL is described as a hyper-converged platform that takes all the work out of setting up a virtualisation platform. It is basically a box (from multiple vendor choices, but with the same specifications) that has storage and servers integrated, along with a sprinkle of integration software which installs and configurations ESXi, vCenter, vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight and VSAN (for storage) for you, making it possible to have a virtual platform up and running within 20 minutes. To proof the simplicity and speed of the product, VMworld featured a "EVO:RAIL Challenge" where attendees raced each other to set up a fresh EVO:RAIL. The record was around 16 minutes. Read more about EVO:RAIL on vmguru.

Automation was featured heavily on VMworld this year, as we move further away from the base products and automate our virtual world. One thing was a bit weird; VMware Orchestrator is spreading its roots into almost all the VMware management products, being the mediator between NSX and vRealize Automation Manager, getting a plugin for vRealize Operations Manager to start workflows when certain events happen (automatic resolution of a problem), but there were no real deep dive breakout sessions for Orchestrator. I imagine that this product will soon (if it doesn't already) rule the automation side of VMware, so they could have done better in educating the flock at VMworld. I hope that'll be different next year.

NSX was a major focus for me in the breakout sessions. I was delighted to see VMware open up the VCIX-NV certification track, which will help build the bridge between networking and virtualisation knowledge for engineers going down that track. I also got a lot of best practices from the breakout sessions, which you can read here.

Another interesting development is that VMworld will start hosting vRealize products, beginning with vRealize Automation Manager in their vCloud Air (formally known as vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service) platform. That means that you don't have to go through the process of installing and configuring vRealize Automation Manager yourself. Plus you have the added benefits of workflow catalogs and the support of the automation experts of VMware.

VMware also recently launched the vSphere 6.0 beta and had some cool new features to share:

  • Long distance vMotion - vMotions across lines with 100ms latency (instead of 10ms in 5.5). vMotion your VMs across continents. Available in the Enterprise Plus license.
  • vMotion across different vCenters - vMotion between different vCenters. Basically required for long distance vMotions as different parts of a continent wouldn't be managed by a single vCenter.
  • vMotion across virtual switch types - vMotion across different types of virtual switches. From a standard to a distributed vSwitch or back.
  • Fault Tolerance for up to 4 vCPU and 64GB vRAM - Finally!, but maybe a bit too late as application developers have not waited for this feature and almost every application is distributed by now (FT is still good for legacy).
  • A Content Library – Centralised repository for ISOs, templates and scripts.
  • Virtual Volumes (vVols) - Basically a datastore per VM object, but the storage controller offers a single pool of storage in it's management. Storage vendors need to implement this before usage and current numbers are pretty restrictive (max. 400-500 VMs).
  • Improved Web Client Performance - The usability of the Web Client in pretty disappointing in 5.1 and 5.5, but they have managed to fixed that in 6.0.
  • vCenter Platform Services Controller – A new vCenter core service that holds secondary services, such as SSO, licensing, SSL certificates.
  • Maximum of 6TB RAM - We always need more RAM.


Thanks go to Imtech ICT Communication Solutions for sponsoring me this year and sending a bunch of interesting and awesome customers along. The announcements and new tech will keep us busy for another year. I hope to see you next year!

For more posts about VMworld, check here.

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