VMworld Europe 2013 – PowerCLI Best Practices – A Deep Dive session

PowerCLI at VMworld


Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens led a more advanced PowerCLI session first thing on Thursday morning. There was a good turn up, even after the VMworld Party the night before. This session was of more interest to me, covering off the more advanced features of PowerShell and PowerCLI.

Some of the content I found of interest was:

  • Event filtering with PowerCLI and the handy GUI/utility Alan/Luc have made to help navigate the events objects. (Event objects in the vSphere API start off on a base object “Event” type, with different derivatives that inherit from this base type for different kinds of events). Interesting for me, as I have actually written an iPhone (iOS) application that uses the VMware SDK to filter out and display information about different kinds of events from your vSphere infrastructure.
  • VMware Fling called “Web Commander” – this is a web application which appears to be running off PHP as far as I could tell. It gives end users the ability to easily call various PowerShell / PowerCLI scripts from a UI – which is great for operators, or those that are less comfortable playing with a shell 🙂 I can see a good use case for this in just about any environment. It allows users to call scripts and use textboxes to pass parameters over to your scripts.
  • PowerShell remoting and PSSession creation/disconnection and reconnection to help improve execution times for scripts. Luc showed a nice way to setup a remote machine which can initialise PSSessions, and allow them to be reconnected at a later stage.
  • New vSAN cmdlets coming out with the newer PowerCLI iterations

You can find more information about the session from Luc and Alan’s personal blogs:

Virtu-al.net and LucD.info

VMworld Europe 2013 Day 2 and the VMworld Party

Sessions summary


Here is a list of sessions I managed to attend on Wednesday:

  • Getting started with Horizon Workspace: Use cases and Configuration
  • Demystifying VMware Mirage: Tips and Tricks for Success

Horizon Workspace is really quite well featured, and provides a centralised location for the workforce to access all the apps, desktops and data that is relevant to their role in the company. VMware use this internally, and it is a great example of how one can mobilise a large workforce.

The Mirage session felt quite lengthy, but it did have a wealth of information and best practices tips that were discussed. The session did start to feel a little bit tedious toward the end, but that was mainly due to the many slides of tips & tricks. Perhaps a slightly higher level look at the best practices would have suited the session time better. However, anyone who attended should now have a very good idea of how to approach a Mirage deployment from the start to the finish.


Vendor time / Solutions Exchange

I had a good wander around the solutions exchange and chatted with various vendors. Some of the interesting areas I looked at were:

  • Nutanix
  • Simplivity
  • PernixData
  • nVidia
  • PuppetLabs
  • Cisco
  • VCE

I must say thanks to Simplivity and Nutanix for their vExpert gifts – I collected an awesome Raspberry Pi, and vExpert Beer glass from both 🙂


Hands on Labs

I got some more time on the HOLs section and managed to do some more PuppetLabs modules. This is a great framework/product and I’ll definitely be looking into it further in the future. It was also good to catch up with Steven Thwaites at the PuppetLabs stand – previously known from Xsigo, and have a chat with him around all the awesome PuppetLabs framework and functionality.



Bloggers / Community lounge

I spent a bit of time early morning catching up with other bloggers and networking. I had a good chat with Erik Bussink, and we also had a bit of a look at some troubleshooting his vMetrics plugin he grabbed from this blog which was having trouble connecting to WordPress. Incidentally, he has some awesome information about Infiniband and using it in your lab environment with ESXi – go check out his blog for more info if you are interested!


VMworld Party

Hanging around after the main conference event until 7pm, meant we could jump straight across to the VMworld party. The event was put together well, with some impressive layouts.

In the center area was a large roller disco, with the main stage up front hosting two or three acts throughout the evening. Food and drinks were plentiful and there were various arcade games scattered around the area. I had to fire up some old school Street Fighter, so we had a few vs. games of that among others.

Left to right: Darren Woollard, Michael Poore, Gregg Robertson, Paul, Daragh, Sean Duffy, MrX?, Ather Beg, Curtis Brown
Left to right: Darren Woollard, Michael Poore, Gregg Robertson, Paul, Daragh, Sean Duffy, MrX?, Ather Beg, Curtis Brown
Roller disco
Roller disco

VMworld 2013 Party

Taio Cruz - not my first choice in music, but great to have a live act none the less :)
Taio Cruz – not my first choice in music, but great to have a live act none the less 🙂

VMworld 2013 Party

VMworld 2013 Party
Aliens on stilts walking around the party

VMworld Europe 2013 Day 1 and the vExpert / VCDX Reception

General session and keynote


Lasers, lights, and fog aside, there were some interesting announcements made at the opening keynote.

  • VMware acquires Desktone, and will offer DaaS in their vCHS offering.
  • vCHS spreading to the European datacenter region with a new location opening soon in the UK
  • VMware NSX officially launched now as a result of the collaboration of work between VMware and their acquisition of Nicira a while back. Number of Virtual Ports now exceeding number of Physical according to their slide. Not surprisingly, Cisco did not feature as a partner on the list of logos in the slide deck. (As pointed out to me by colleague Curtis Brown)

VMworld Keynote

Sessions summary


Here is a list of sessions I managed to attend on Tuesday:

  • General session as per above
  • vSphere UI Platform Best Practises: Putting the Web Client SDK into Action
  • Deep dive into vSphere Log Management with vCenter Log Insight
  • Automating the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC): How do I get started?
  • William Lam’s “Not Supported” vBrownBag session at the community lounge

The session on the Web Client SDK was interesting for me, as I have recently started looking into what would be involved with web client plugin development. Some good advice was given out, and we got to see the road map ahead, where predictably, Flex is being cast out as Adobe are dropping support, and HTML5 will be taking its place with the vSphere web client. VMware plan to release “HTML Bridge” as private beta in November, which will help bridge the gap, and allow developers to start implementing their UI fully in HTML, or via a combination of Flex and HTML for the time being. The middle tier and back end systems for plugins will still be developed as they have been, so nothing is planned to change here.

The vCenter Log Insight session was well presented by Simon Flanders, and was interesting enough to get a good idea as to what the product does. It does seem fairly straight forward to use though, so I am not sure I would have called it a deep dive myself, apart from the delve into the architecture of the product, which was quite interesting to see how logs were dealt with in a circular fashion, or when archiving was implemented.

Automating the SDDC: How do I get started – this session was nicely presented, and provided me with a little bit of interesting detail on vCAC and vCO, however the PowerCLI content was very high level – as the title of the session would indicate, so this content was less relevant for me. I am however looking forward to the PowerCLI deep dive session on Thursday which should be far more applicable!

Lastly, I attended William Lam’s session “Not supported” session at the vBrownBag area, which was also live streamed. Two interesting things came up here which will be really useful for my role at Xtravirt:

  • VCSIM “2.0” released with vSphere 5.5. This is the vCenter Simulator, and the new iteration allows for configurations to be saved and restored, along with some new customisation functionality. Immensely useful for a development environment! Previously, the older VCSIM did not allow for some of this functionality, therefore was of less use to me
  • VMware Tools has been implemented for virtual ESXi hosts by a member of the VMware enginneering team – William showed us a quick look at this – it is available as a VIB and can be incorporated into ESXi image builds. Great news for those wanting tighter integration and ease of use in managing nested or virtual ESXi hosts.
William Lam presents his Not Supported session for vBrownBag


With things closing off, I headed back to the hotel for a quick 30 minute break, and then set off for dinner in the city with colleagues Ather Beg and Curtis Brown. We chose the same location as the vExpert / VCDX reception so that we could cross over straight to that after our meal and meet colleagues Gregg Robertson, Darren Woollard and Michael Poore. Here I met up with tons of contacts I knew via Twitter, but had never met in person before, including but not limited to: Erik Bussink, Andrew Mauro, Lee Dilworth.

VMworld Europe 2013 vRockstar Party, Partner Day, and PernixData Party

After a quick flight over from the rainy UK, I arrived in Barcelona along with fellow Xtravirt colleagues traveling from Gatwick airport, Darren Woollard and Michael Poore.

With very little time before the Sunday night vRockstar party commenced, we reformed and took a taxi down to central Barcelona to meet up with others at the Hard Rock cafe. It was great to meet some new faces (if you exclude Twitter profiles) for me – Fred Hofer, Lars Troen, Damian Davis, Patrick Redknap, Juan, et al as well as catching up with old – Jonathan Medd, and others.

Drinks and snacks were provided free, and the team that put everything together for the community did a really good job of keeping things running smoothly. Many thanks go out to them, as well as all the sponsors! Here are a few snaps I took at the event.

vRockstar Party #1

vRockstar Party #3 Prize draw

vRockstar Party #4

Early Monday morning meant Partner day had soon arrived, so after catching a taxi down to the conference center, registration was soon complete.

VMworld Europe 2013 entrance

Walkways were fairly empty at this stage, which was great for mobility and exploring the venue layout.

Darren Woollard and Curtis Brown, fellow Xtravirt colleagues walk the travellator
Darren Woollard and Curtis Brown, fellow Xtravirt colleagues walk the travellator

I took the time to complete a few Hands on Lab sessions – targeting down Puppet Labs, VMware vCO and vCAC, as I really do enjoy my automation topics. The hands on labs were predictably fairly quiet on partner day, so this was a good time to get them done. The sign up process was smooth and the staff handled things well – guiding people in to the BYOD or traditional HOL sections and getting everyone setup. Soon the VM counter had risen from around 7, to 1000 virtual machines deployed.

Hands on Labs, VMworld 2013

HOL - Cloud topics

An interesting wall mural/interactive VMware Timeline seen – I can place myself as really starting off with learning VMware technologies around 2007-2008 when VI3 was the “in thing” 🙂

VMware timeline
VMware timeline

The day ended after speaking with/meeting some new faces at the Bloggers lounge and us heading off to the PernixData party at the El Boo beach club in Barcelona. Many thanks to the guys at PernixData for putting this event together. The atmosphere and location were awesome, and so was the selection of food and drinks.

VMworld Europe 2013

Finally, I have the chance to attend the much anticipated VMworld Europe conference. I’ll be attending along with a few work colleagues and have pre-booked all my sessions using the VMworld.com schedule planner.

It looks to be a very busy week up ahead for me with conference sessions, hands on labs, and solutions exchange events booked one after the other, followed by various parties and events every evening.

A few of the sessions I am really looking forward to are: surprise surprise, the PowerCLI sessions, Puppet labs, and VMware vSphere web client SDK related sessions. All relevant to my interests in automation and programming 🙂

With regard to evenings events, I will be going to the vRockstar Pre-VMworld party/gathering on Sunday. I’ll also definitely be attending the vExpert/VCDX reception on Tuesday evening (15th October). Both should be great opportunities to meet others in the community and have a catch up with those whom I have met at previous VMUGs and events in the past. Other than those two, I’ll probably tag along with others to the EMC party and from there see what else is on the cards.

I plan on doing one or two blog posts based on what I get up to or see at the conference, time permitting, so watch this space for more on VMworld Europe 2013!