So today was the first "proper" day of VMworld Europe 2010, and the first thing that struck me was how much work went into the Solutions Exchange area between 5pm on Monday and 10:30am on Tuesday - when the VCI day was over the area looked far from being ready and yet this morning everything was setup and ready - a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.
After chatting to Chris Skinner from VMware on the Metro on the way to the Bella Center, I spent the first hour "walking the floor" of the Solutions Exchange area with Linda Smith - the Business Development Director for virtualization at Global Knowledge UK. We caught up with people from VMware, Quest, and Veeam amongst others, then we split up and headed off to breakout sessions.
The first session I attended was Virtual Machines Outperforming Physical Machines with the always-impressive Scott Drummonds and Dave Korsunsky, where Scott highlighted the impressive volume of performance improvements from ESX 2.5 through to the vSphere 4. Dave and Scott then presented how those enhancements had enabled various workloads to run better in virtual machines rather than be run in the traditional physical manner. Some of the gain was related to scalability issues that are directly related to the applications themselves and other gains were realised by the VMkernel being able to take advantage of the latest hardware technologies. The session emphasised the importance of finding "the sweet spot" for each application in terms of sizing the virtual machine - and Scott highlighted that in most cases these days a 2-way or 4-way VM gave the best scalbility and performance of most virtualized workloads.
I attended my first "group discussion" session later in the afternoon, Storage with Chad Sakac, where Chad led an interactive Q&A and discussion session on storage protocols, filesystems, best practices, challenges, as well as trying to gather feedback on how VMware and storage vendors could support their customers better. Chad also discussed some potential future enhancements to vSphere that could allow some of today's limitations to be removed or circumnavigated.
I really enjoyed both sessions - I deliberately chose them based on the subject as well as the presenters and wasn't disappointed!
I also spent a little time today in the Bloggers Lounge, behind the Solutions Exchange area, where I chatted to Vladan Seget, Alex Mittell, Mike Laverick, and Simon Long to name just a few...
Whilst most people were attending the Welcome Reception in the Solutions Exchange area, I attended the CTO Reception for the current batch of vExperts - the VMware CTO is none other than Steve Herrod, and Steve brought many principal VMware staff and engineers with him. I spent my time chatting with other vExperts, and also got to meet John Troyer for the first time - John works incredibly hard with social media, the VMware community forums, the VMTN blog and podcast, as well as managing the vExpert program.
Once we had finally left the Bella Center for the day, Linda and I ate a really tasty meal, then headed back to our hotel to re-charge our batteries, ready for another busy day tomorrow!