London VMUG Meet up – 26 January 2012


Welcome session attendance - Photo credit - Chris Kranz (@ckranz)


Today’s meetup was the first London VMUG that I have attended. In the past they have unfortunately landed up on days where work commitments took precedence. Running a few minutes late due to a long walk from Bank Underground Station to the venue, I arrived (to my luck) to find that the Introduction had also kicked off a few minutes late, setting most events forward fifteen minutes. I snuck in through a door near the back to listen to the welcome session.


First Sessions of the morning


Attendance was good from what I saw today – all the sessions were quite full and well attended. Symantec did an interesting presentation on ApplicationHA – a talk followed on by a live demo showcasing Application High Availability. The demo entailed bringing down the SQL Server Instance on a VM at first, allowing ApplicationHA to restart the service to sort it out again. This was followed on by another demo – deleting the entire Database and allowing ApplicationHA to pick up the problem and sort out SQL Server by leveraging Backup Exec to restore the Database. Symantec were also kind enough to offer up some NFR licenses for lab/testing use at the end of their presentation. Its a shame I didn’t get a chance to visit their stand during the break, as I was keen on taking a closer look at this in my own home lab environment.


Next up Chris Kranz and Alex Smith did an informative and interesting set of sessions entitled “Would you like fries with your VM?” and “DevOps & Service Management” respectively. They were interesting talks involving some interesting discussion around the traditional “IT Admin” role, compared with the “Virtual Admin” and “Cloud Admin”. Summing up – IT professionals should stay on top of their game and adapt to survive in this ever evolving industry! Alex also shared some interesting experiences and chatted about DevOps and Service Management along with a few other acronyms – determined to drill these into everyone’s head!


During the break I was able to meet up with Gregg Robertson and Jonathan Medd – there was some interesting chat in the short break, after which the next set of sessions began.


Midday Session


This was a set of sessions that conflicted for me – I was really keen on both. I have had a brief look at Auto Deploy before (whilst studying for VCP5), but I also really wanted to see the VMware View session (End User Computing : Today & Tomorrow – Simon Richardson). I ended up attending Alan Renouf and Max Daneri‘s “How to build 1000 hosts in 10 minutes with Auto Deploy” session – there were quite a few slides to go through, but a good overview of the PowerCLI cmdlets used for setting up Image Profiles (working with VIBs), Rule Sets and Auto Deploy in general was given. Max then handled a great demo showcasing Auto Deploy at work.


Post Lunch Sessions


I went to the “Stop the Virtualization Blame Game” session by Xangati (Ben Vaux) next. This was of interest to me, as a couple of weeks ago I deployed the free “one host” Xangati VI monitoring appliance in my lab at home. There were unfortunately a few issues with the projector in our room, but there was still a good talk about how the product works and some interesting questions were answered by the team. Xangati also had a demo set up in the main vendor / lunch area for live demos throughout the day. The product aims to give SysAdmin’s a “single pane of glass” view of the entire VI / VDI environment – where everything can be monitored and looked after. They monitor stats realtime and also offer a handy “record” feature which allows events / issues in environments to be captured, and replayed later on to see what went wrong. Interesting stuff, and I’ll definitely be playing with this product further in my home lab.


The next session I attended was the “Private vCloud Architecture Deep Dive” with Dave Hill and Aidan Dalgleish. This was an interesting and fairly in-depth session discussing the whole VMware ecosystem: vCloud Director 1.5, vShield, Chargeback etc etc. A “reference architecture” was presented on and discussed along with the three network pool methods and their various pros and cons (VLAN-backed, Port group-backed and vCloud Network Isolation Backed (VCNI)). I also wanted to attend Michael Poore’s session on Orchestration, however these two sessions conflicted and I unfortunately had to decide at the last minute as to which one to view!


The final session had me attending the Embotics lab – I had a quick try out of their V-Commander product to see what benefits it offered. I really wanted to see the Cisco UCS presentation so I did unfortunately miss this one. However I will definitely be catching up on this with the slides that will hopefully be made available soon. Gregg Robertson also did his VCP 5 Tips and Tricks presentation, which I hear went down well – I skipped this one as I was lucky enough to fit in an exam and get my VCP 5 done earlier on this month. Whilst on the topic of VCP’s Jonathan Medd surprised everyone as he casually snuck off during lunch to Global Knowledge to write his VCP 5 exam… and passed!


Ending off with vBeers just down the road, I managed to catch up and have some great conversation with a few other guys, including Gregg RobertsonJonathan MeddDarren Woollard, Jeremy Bowman, Michael Poore et-al (sorry to those whose names I omitted i.e. fogot!) All in all, a great day was had with some interesting content!


Edit – the slides are now up from the VMUG – they can be accessed here.

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