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VMworld 2016 Recap: Sessions You Might’ve Missed

VMworld is a monstrous IT conference. With tens of thousands of folks in attendance, it’s difficult to logically map out your time to make the most of the show. Luckily, this year’s conference creators made it easier on everyone by making recordings of key sessions available online. This is fantastic for the community and for those looking to advance their VMware skills who weren’t able to attend. And for these individuals who didn’t have the advantage of attending like I did, I’d like to share some of the gems that truly shined.

VMware NSX

As Pat Gelsinger (CEO at VMware) described in his opening keynote, NSX is one of the technologies that has truly entered the tornado phase for adoption. And while NSX feature updates weren’t a direct focus of the conference, discussion around some of the elements that are coming to the platform were.

Although there were several sessions focused on NSX over the course of the conference, there was one in particular that brought some very interesting integration possibilities to the table.

NSX – The Network Bridge to the Multi-Cloud Future

I love sessions with demos and this one really takes the cake. Scott Lowe, a true industry great, took the stage for 10 minutes to show off exactly what CTO at VMware, Guido Appenzeller, presents as the future of NSX. Over the 10 minutes while on stage, he showed off integration with NSX and Kubernetes, Pivotal, and Docker. The awesome thing about this session was that it truly showed how application-aware NSX can be moving forward. You can watch this session here.

Automation

As I’m part of the Cloud Management and Automation team at AHEAD, I’m a huge fan of automating general IT processes in any way possible. Several of the big misses that I see on a daily basis when reviewing customers’ vSphere environments are so easily remediated with just a bit of automation or PowerShell. What I’ve found is that figuring out how to harness tools to automate can sometimes be overwhelming.

I was pleased to see a renewed emphasis in the amount of sessions devoted to PowerCLI at VMworld this year. PowerCLI is a PowerShell-based package created by VMware for managing VMware products programmatically. For administrators familiar with PowerShell, PowerCLI should be easy to grasp. For administrators with no programming experience whatsoever, it shouldn’t be a problem since there was a great session introducing PowerCLI to beginners (see below). Here are some of my favorite sessions related to PowerCLI worth mentioning:

Getting Started with PowerShell and PowerCLI for Your VMware Environment

This session, led by Kyle Ruddy and Chris Wahl, covers the very basics of PowerShell and gets into working with PowerCLI in your environment. I found this session to be a great place to start for people who want to learn about PowerShell and PowerCLI. I highly recommend taking the time to get to understand PowerCLI and how you can leverage it to begin automating simple things in your environment. This is a must see session for all vSphere administrators. You can watch this session here.

Enforcing a vSphere Cluster Design with PowerCLI Automation 

This session led by Duncan Epping and Chris Wahl gets a little more into the automation weeds. The first 20 minutes of the session were dedicated to the things that you should consider when configuring a vSphere cluster. The remainder of the session was devoted to leveraging Vester and PowerShell/PowerCLI to configure hosts and clusters while also verifying those configurations. I recommend jumping in and taking a look at this session and then perhaps leveraging these tools to verify that DNS/syslog/NTP settings are correct on all of your vSphere hosts today. I’ve yet to see an environment where this is the case across the board, and these tools are free to help you avoid problems associated with not having these basic settings configured correctly. You can watch this session here.

Hands-On Labs

Every year at VMworld, VMware does a great job of putting together hands-on labs. These self-guided training modules allow you to touch and learn the new technologies that can be leveraged today in your environment in a safe sandbox. There are currently several labs available today for you to leverage to build your knowledge. All labs are free of charge and available here.

NSX

As I mentioned above, NSX was big at this year’s conference. NFV/SDN technologies are here to stay and now is a perfect time to start learning about how these technologies can impact your VMware environment in the future. For people new to NSX and the concepts around NSX, there are a few labs available for enrollment. Check out HOL-1703-SDC-1 as it gives a comprehensive overview of the platform. To get more advanced, HOL-1703-USE-2 and HOL-1703-USE-3 cover firewall and micro-segmentation and operations management, respectively.

Mobility

Sean Massey, Technical Architect at AHEAD, did a great job trumpeting some of the newest announcements for VMware’s Mobility Suite. You can explore a plethora of hands-on labs available that cover Horizon 7 in details here.

At AHEAD, we’re big proponents of learning new technologies. As disruptive tech enters the marketplace, we’re constantly evaluating and creating solutions that are meaningful for your organization’s advancement. Set up a time to meet with us today in the AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center where we’ll educate your team on these new solutions.

AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center