VMware VMworld EMEA 2016 – Day 2 – Solutions Exchange


An awesome day finds his end after visiting the VMworld Solutions Exchange today. At day 2 at VMworld you can visit the Solution Exchange. Here you will find the many booths from different hardware and software vendors, VMware partners and more. I circled mostly around the Veeam booth today and walked around to get a rough overview of this overwhelming presentations all around.

Veeam at VMworld booth #P207

I’ve learned some great new things today. How about using the ReFS filesystem on a Windows Server 2016 as a backup repository for Veeam? It gives you so many benefits, you just want to get started with it. Fast cloning gives a real boost to the synthetic full backup. This feature doesn’t move or copy files, but instead references just the backup file blocks already existing on the filesystem. Another great new feature is the spaceless full backup. You can now have more full backups on disk which are sharing the same data blocks. You can lower costs for backup storage and get more speed than using deduplication storage (data rehydration process). Last but not least the data integrity streams. Veeam Backup & Replication enables data integrity streams automatically. These streams are used in the background by ReFS data integrity scanner. It scans your whole archive and not only the latest restore point. As Rock Vanover says: “storage-level corruption guard feature on steroids”.

When Veeam Backup 9.5 is generally available i’ll do some more detailed blogging about these new features. Veeam is my first choice backup and availability software, even at the customer or in my homelab.

Intel at VMworld booth #D303

I’m getting used to SSD disks (solid state drives). They are much faster then normal spinning disks and the price per gigabyte comes down more and more. I’ve got them in my home computer, in all of laptops and running also an all-flash vSphere homelab. Today i visited also the Intel booth here at VMworld and got a nice deep dive about actual and future SSD development. They had a 8-node vSphere cluster running completely on NVMe disks. It delivered about 750k IOPS when they did the benchmark for several hours. Did you know that you can, depending of the Intel SSD model, write 2TB to 8TB of data daily for about five years? Five years of constant writes, with full manufacturer warranty!

This was it, my short overview over the day.

Please read the other VMworld posts to:

VMware Certification – How to fail the third time at VCP exam

My journey to VMware certification began in October 2013. Yes, i’m relatively new to that. I work at a system integrator as a system engineer, supporting customers from 50 to 150 users. The main support runs over my table, ranging from printer with paper jams to virtualization infrastructure. All of them use VMware virtualization in a smaller scale. It isn’t the American small and medium business size here in Switzerland. Its more a European SMB or at least a Swiss one. With me are also working about twenty people, half of them in sales and administration, the other half in technics. We are a VMware partner on the level of Premier Solution Provider and Enterprise Service Provider. Just 50 cents to my history and background.

Why am i doing that blog post?

Why am i blogging about my three fails in the VCP exam? Well, there is one good reason for me. Keeping self motivation and getting more of it!

In October 2013 i failed the first time, trying the VCP5-DCV exam. Exactly two years later i failed the second time at the same exam. And today, when i attended VMworld 2016 in Barcelona i took another chance to get certified. And failed miserably. Ok, that sounds harsh. But its annoying. Learning, reading, watching videos, doing courses and since a few months having a small homelab too didn’t help me to prepare so that i can pass. It shouldn’t be an excuse. But all these features questioned in the exams we are not using at our customers. They are just to small for that. And troubleshooting is not each time knowing the exact CLI command or so. Its researching and trying out.

Meet people at VMworld

Attending VMworld is not only good for seeing hardware, listening to keynotes and collecting swag. Well, that too. But not only. At VMworld you can meet people from different countries, from different companies and with different knowledge. And today after failing the exam i had some good talks to exactly those people. I know them since few months from Twitter (also a good way to “meet” people and stay connected) and VMworld was a great chance to meet these people live, personally. These people can answer your questions like no one else can do. These people are highly certified, decorated and honored in many ways. And they failed sometimes too on the exams. And they can give you tips for the preparation for your certification. This benefit i took with me today.

Special credits

I’d especially like to thank to Kev Johnson which motivated me to jump over my shadow and do this special blog post. He and his VMUG buddy Chris gave me some great insights, tipps and knowledge how to better prepare for the next try.

Guys, thank you very much!

VMware VMworld EMEA 2016 – Day 1 – Partner Exchange


Today its the really first day of VMworld in Barcelona. The event kicked off with the Partner Exchange. In this part of the exhibition, especially designed for partners, you will get some insights in marketing, development of products. Also there will be deeper insights in actual cooperations between VMware and other companies. And for sure, tons of numbers. How bigger your sales can be? How your customer can benefit from VMware products? Just to name a few. There were some interesting breakout sessions today.

But its not only the products, the sessions and all that information. Its also the community. There are so many people here, from different countries, with different interests and ideas. Bloggers, gurus, specialists, sales professionals and technicians. It is always a good idea to join a chat or discussion, to learn people and perhaps get a new sight at a specific topic.

Today i was really overwhelmed about the huge amount of stuff to do and to see. You can attend the sessions, you can learn with VMware Hands-On Labs, even self paced or led by a teacher. And there are quite a some challenging ones.

If you wan’t to get certified you can profit from the discounts here at VMworld. Some 50% off a certification exam isn’t bad at all. And even if you fail you will gain experience. And don’t forget the discounts on specific on-demand courses online. If you wan’t to access those courses in a on-demand manner, when you have the time to, then why not profit of these discounts?

And last but not least the exhibition itself. So many vendors of hardware and software are here in Barelona with their own booth, showing off the latest invention in server hardware, storage, backup and restore, availability solutions.

If you are here at VMworld and not using the official VMworld app for your smartphone you should probably get it in the app stores. With this app you can access your personal schedule, if you scheduled it their website. You will get notifications about the upcoming sessions you scheduled, you can schedule a session you missed or wan’t to attend through this app too.

How to get the app:

Go to the website http://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/mobile-app.html and there you’ll find the download links. Its available for iOS and Android devices.

Now have fun and enjoy the first day here in Barcelona at VMworld 🙂

Please read the other VMworld posts to:

VMware VMworld EMEA 2016 – Day 0 – Travel to Spain


VMworldToday i traveled to Barcelona, Spain, to attend one of the biggest IT tech events on the world. I’ll attend VMware VMworld this week, the little sister of VMworld in Las Vegas.

The travel itself was nice and comfortable. Having a nice view out of the train windows and a good coffee at the SWISS Business Lounge before flight was great. It was my first visit in the Business Lounge. I don’t flight often, but when i do, for short trips, i’ll book business class. The tickets aren’t that expensive as you might think. But you’ve got some good benefits, as extra hand luggage, more leg room, the Business Lounge and some other things. Think about it the next time you’ll do a short trip.

I started my travel from Zurich Airport, one of the bigger hops in Europe. I was a little early, as always, and the gate information wasn’t available at this time. So i spent the time waiting for an update here in the nice Business Lounge with a coffee and my blog.

I don’t know what to expect from VMworld. It is my first visit ever of a VMworld. I will meet some people i only know from Twitter but not yet personally. I’ll try to attend some VMware Hands-On Labs (perhaps also some challenging ones). There will be tons of informations to literally soak up. Whats the next trend on cloud computing? What are the features of new vSphere and other VMware software solutions? I will also meet up with some guys of Veeam at their booth, having a good talk.

Sure there are some parties too. And as i heard they are legendary. The first one will start today evening. The famous #vRockstar party at the Hardrock Cafe is one of those. On Tuesday there will be the Veeam party and on Wednesday there is the VMware party directly at the event hall.

Oh, in case you missed it: VMware has now a strong partnership with Amazon Cloud Services, Amazon AWS. You can run your vSphere, VSAN and NSX directly in the Amazon Cloud, using your known management tools.

I hope to see some of you, my dear readers, at VMworld this year! Have a nice week!

VMware vSphere Homelab – erste Gehversuche

VMware Workstation 12 Pro

Gestern Abend habe ich meine ersten Gehversuche mit einem VMware vSphere Homelab gestartet. Ja, Gehversuche. Weil ich keine unlimitierte Hardwarekapazität zu Hause habe, und nicht hunderte von Dollar in ein virtuelles Lab in der Cloud investieren kann und will, musste ich mir erst mal Gedanken machen wie ich das ganze angehen soll. Also musste ich ein Proof of Concept für ein Homelab erarbeiten.

VMware Workstation 12 Pro - Homelab
VMware Workstation 12 Pro – Homelab

Ich musste meine Idee zu Papier bringen, um zumindest die grössten Fallstricke im Vornherein zu erkennen und zu lösen. Welche vorhandene Hardware kann ich nutzen und wie kann ich sie erweitern? Wie installiere ich einen Hypervisor als virtuelle Maschine und wie verwalte ich das ganze? Brauche ich dazu einen Domaincontroller? Wie mache ich das mit dem Storage?

Das waren einige der Fragen die ich mir für mein Homelab stellen musste und auf die ich auch Antworten gefunden habe. Anschliessend habe ich viel Zeit mit Recherchen verbracht, im Internet gesucht wie das andere Leute gelöst haben. Viele interessante Ansätze, technisch anspruchsvolle Lösungen und verschiedenste Hardware konnte ich so kennen lernen. Und natürlich auch mit meinen Ansätzen vergleichen um zu sehen ob es noch weitere Fallstricke gibt.

Somit werde ich als übernächsten Schritt meine ehemalige Workstation mit zusätzlicher Hardware aufrüsten. Die ersten bestellten Teile sind bereits eingetroffen und warten auf die Montage. Die CPU-Basis ist gut, genügend Cores sind vorhanden. Dazu gesellen sich dann 64 GB Ram und verschiedene SSD-Disks sowie ein SAS-Controller. Weitere Details dazu liefere ich sobald diese Maschine zusammengebaut ist. Und wer weiss. Vielleicht wird Version 2.0 meines Homelab ja auch aus einigen kleinen Intel NUC’s bestehen…

Die ersten Schritte im Homelab

Parallel zur Hardwareplanung und -Beschaffung habe ich mit VMware Workstation eine kleine Version meines Homelabs auf meiner aktuellen Workstation eingerichtet. Mit diesem Minilab arbeite ich am Proof of Concept. Wenn die Hardware mal zusammengebaut ist, will ich nicht tagelang mit der Installation beschäftigt sein, dann will ich die Ressourcen schnell nutzen und mit dem Lab produktiv arbeiten. Der Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf Tests von verschiedenen Szenarien als auch dem Ausprobieren der Technik und Software sowie der Vorbereitung auf Zertifizierungsprüfungen.

Jetzt aber mal los…

Zuallererst kümmerte ich mich um die Installation eines Domaincontrollers. Aufgrund eines bereits vorhandenen Server-Templates auf Basis von Windows Server 2008 R2 konnte ich hier den Zeitaufwand drücken. Folglich war rund eine Stunde und einige Windows Updates später eine Domäne inkl. DNS-Server eingerichtet.

Dank dem Blog von William Lam konnte ich auch den Zeitaufwand für die Installation von virtuellen ESXi Servern auf ein Minimum reduzieren. Nach etwas weniger als zehn Minuten waren drei ESXi installiert, konfiguriert und bereit. Auch auf dem Blog von Florian Grehl habe ich gute Tipps gefunden wie man schnell und einfach eine vCenter Server Appliance in Betrieb nimmt. Das Deployment an sich war einfach. Allerdings habe ich mir dann doch ernste Gedanken gemacht ob das Ding jetzt läuft oder nicht, als sich nach 10 Minuten der Ladebalken noch keinen Millimeter weiter bewegt hat. In den Kommentaren zum Artikel von Florian Grehl habe ich aber dann gelesen dass es gut mal eine Viertelstunde dauern kann bis vCenter das erste Mal gestartet ist. Puhh, nochmal gut gegangen.

Homelab Troubleshooting und erste Bilder

Heute Abend werde ich den Fehlermeldungen im vCenter auf den Grund gehen. Insgesamt sind elf Warnungen und Alarme vorhanden welche Virtual SAN betreffen, alles Integritätsalarme. Ich bin gespannt was dabei rauskommt. Nun folgen aber erst mal einige Bilder des “Setups”. Mehr Informationen zum Troubleshooting gibt es zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt.