VMware Forum 2011 in Washington DC

A couple months ago I received a VMware marketing email about VMware Forum 2011 in Washington DC.  Not a lot of buzz about it on Twitter or in the VMware communities but the agenda looked interesting and the registration price was right on budget (FREE).  So I submitted the registration, received travel approval from my employer, and made the arrangements to attend.

The Forum was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center just a block or so off the National Mall.  As with just about every other building in DC security was a bit of a hassle in the morning, but other than that it was a pretty good venue.

Registration was quick and then it was on to the partner pavilion.  I checked out the VMware vCenter Operations demo and the iPad VDI demo, pretty cool stuff.  Wyse and Panologic were there showing off their thin and zero clients.  EMC had a demo of their vCenter plugin.  Coffee, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches were available.

vKernel was showing off their Monitoring, Optimization, and Capacity planning product, which really got my attention.  I use to be a vKernel customer but replaced them with a different product a couple years ago.  I have not been 100% happy with the replacement and have recently abandoned using it.  After seeing the way the vKernel products have matured I will be giving them another look.

The keynotes were good but I did not take any notes during them.  One thing that I did take away from it was the concept of “show back”.  In cloud usage it is usually referenced as “charge back”.  You guys that work in a smaller environment know that using the word “charge” can scare the hell out of folks.  I really like the concept of “show” – showing your internal users/departments the resources they are using along with the operational costs associated with those resources.  There is also a bit of a shift from focusing on public cloud and more emphasis is being placed on the building of your private cloud.  Lot of mentions of/references to the Amazon cloud failures of recent weeks.

The first session I attended was Automating Infrastructure and Operations Management.  This session was basically an overview of the vCenter Operations product.  I had hope for a bit more technical how than product marketing.  Even though most of it was an overview of features (and features to come) there was some good information on operations management.  Unfortunately no real discussion on automation – except for alarming and patching. Here are my notes from the morning session: Session 1 – Automating Infrastructure and Operations Management – vCenter Operations

EMC sponsored a box lunch and the partner area was open during lunch.  I had planned to seek out the live lab during the lunch break but I ended up chatting with the folks at the lunch table about VMware HA.

After lunch I attended the NetApp partner session. This session was actually pretty good.  My shop is pretty much HP, Cisco, EMC, and VMware but I like to see what other vendors have to offer.  I enjoyed this session and my notes can be found here: NetApp – Your Roadmap to the Cloud

The afternoon session was great, specifically the panel discussion.  The panel was comprised of the following folks: David Young, Jason Langone, Jad El-Zein, and Devin Henderson. Lots of good information on VDI planning, Zero and Thin clients, local mode, and VoIP support (currently not officially supported but it can/does work).  This was the best part of the forum for me. Here are my notes from the afternoon session: Session 2 – Optimize and Secure the Desktop

Overall VMware Forum 2011 was a pretty good event.  There was a great turn out, a lot more people than I expected see there – VMware reported 1400+. I did not come away with anything really new or ground breaking but I did gather a lot of good information on VDI and cloud computing.  It is always good to hear what and how other people are doing things. I had hoped to get to the live lab, but I just never made it there.  I heard there was a good lab/demo on VDI installation and configuration.

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