Top 10 Must-See Sessions at VMworld 2014

After missing last year, I am headed back to VMworld in San Francisco. By the looks of the schedule builder bursting with a whopping 375 sessions, not counting repeat sessions, in only 19 timeslots spread over four days, it’s going to be a busy week.blackkeys153056990

When telling people unfamiliar with VMworld about it, I always liken it to a vWorld Series, vSuper Bowl or the vOscars. It doesn’t hurt that headlining this year’s VMworld Customer Appreciation Party at the Yerba Buena Gardens is the rock band Black Keys. That’s a must-see for sure.

Last year while sitting on the sidelines, I had plenty of digital resources to take in, and I gained a fresh point-of-view that hundreds of thousands of vfolks unable to attend VMworld will experience during the conference. But who wouldn’t rather be there sharing as opposed to creeping on the conference site, Instagram and Twitter for any cool tidbit, photo or tweet of interesting information.

So I’m doing my part to guide attendees and non-attendees alike, since VMware is great about sharing VMworld activities, and the vfolks love the Twitter.

While all the sessions look interesting, here are some that made my schedule and I think you’ll find interesting to follow:

The vExpert Storage Game Show (STO2996-SPO)
This will surely be one of the most talked about VMworld sessions in years. While they’re not the Black Keys, one of the highlights of VMworld for me will be seeing two teams of vExperts competing against each other in the vExpert Storage Game Show. Team VMware includes Cormac Hogan, Duncan Epping and Rawlinson Rivera, who will go up against Team Pure Storage comprised of Vaughn Stewart, Cody Hosterman and Craig Chapman to see who knows more about FlashArray, VSAN and vSphere configurations. Two lucky attendees chosen randomly from the audience will join each team. They are also allowing audience members to answer questions for prizes. TechReckoning CEO John Troyer will serve as master of ceremonies, while Splunk’s Friea Berg and Cisco’s Amy Lewis are contest judges.

Smells Like Team Spirit: Achieve Hybrid Operations Nirvana With vCloud Hybrid Service (HBC2609)
Looks like the “Gary and Jay Road Show” is making a stop at VMworld, featuring VMware’s Gary Coburn, the infrastructure guy, and Jay Marshall, the developer. Together, they will build a basic Web application from scratch, architect the corresponding application blueprints in Application Director for repeatable deploys, and publish everything into vCloud Automation Center to illustrate control over who gets to deploy what, when and where. Developers get the agility they need while IT gets the control they want, so everybody’s happy. This session is one of five Starting Point sessions in the Hybrid Cloud track. The others are HBC1534, HBC1917, HBC2066, HBC2577 and HBC2609.

Hitting It Out of the Park: vSphere and Major League Baseball’s MLB Network (VAPP2457)
Baseball’s MLB Network reaches nearly 70 million homes and features a completely file-based broadcast content workflow. This year, MLB Network was challenged to rebuild this infrastructure on open systems platforms and applied emerging IT technologies, including vSphere 5.5 and converged infrastructure, to reach the operational efficiencies needed for the future. MLB Network’s Director of Media Management & Post Production, Tab Butler, will share their experiences in planning, building, managing and maintaining its cloud infrastructure, focusing on how it maximized its investment.

Software Defined Storage – What’s Next? (INF1864-SPO)
Confused about the future of file, block, pNFS, Object storage, HDFS, iSCSI, FCOE and where to leverage Flash as well as Virtual Volumes? EMC’s Senior VP of Global Systems Engineering Chad Sakac is going to try to help clarify the new landscape of “software-defined everything,” but particularly examining where Software-Defined Storage is today and where it is headed.

Boeing’s Success on the Road to ITaaS – IT as a Service (OPT1897)
I love an intriguing case study, and aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s move to ITaaS last year, which resulted in multimillion dollar cost savings, has my interest piqued. Boeing’s IT director Enes Yildirim will share how Boeing did it by using virtualization technology with guidance from VMware’s Accelerate Advisory Services team.

Cloud – Whether Private, Public, or Hybrid – Infrastructure Matters (INF3011-SPO)
Kelly Beavers, Vice President of IBM’s System x Software will discuss how System x solutions help deploy services faster in the VMware virtualization and cloud infrastructure, across a spectrum of critical workloads including VDI, infrastructure applications, enterprise solutions, and high performance computing.

Ask the Expert vBloggers (SDDC1176)
A popular session that’s in its seventh incarnation and allows no PowerPoint slide decks and no sales pitches, offers up a chance to ask experts in the industry any question from software-defined data center to end-user computing or third-platform applications to storage, networking and security. On tap for the session are VMware’s William Lam, Duncan Epping and Scott Lowe as well as sister company EMC’s Chad Sakac and Rick Scherer.

How Facebook Successfully Virtualized Microsoft Exchange Server (VAPP1339)
Facebook’s Alex Fontana along with VMware’s Deji Akomolafe guide this session and discuss what to focus on when considering whether or not virtualization is appropriate for an organization’s Microsoft Exchange infrastructure.

Hadoop as a Service: Utilizing VMware Cloud Automation Center and Big Data at Adobe (VAPP1428)
Leading this session is Adobe’s Compute Platform Engineer Chris Mutchler and Andrew Nelson, who works with VMware’s Office of the CTO focused on High-Performance Computing. Adobe’s Marketing Cloud enables marketers to have a complete view into their campaigns. As demand grew for data across the various solutions comprising the Marketing Cloud to be real time, it became obvious that a unified Hadoop offering was necessary. The unified Hadoop PaaS that utilized VMware Cloud Automation Center and BDE within the Adobe DMBU enabled engineering teams and big data researchers to focus more time on customer issues. In this session, we’ll learn more about best practices for virtualizing Hadoop clusters and lessons learned in providing a Hadoop PaaS.

DevOps Demystified! Proven Architectures to Support DevOps Initiatives (OPT2668)
Earlier this year, VMware engineers conducted a field-validated DevOps architecture and best practice methodology. VMware’s Director of Solutions Architecture Ryan Shondell and VMware Systems Engineer Aaron Sweemer will present the results of VMware’s field exercise with architecture diagrams and a step-by-step methodology for supporting the DevOps initiatives through the vCloud Suite and open standards such as OpenStack.BeAForce-Shirt

If you’re attending VMworld, stop by to see us at Booth #534 in the Solutions Exchange. We’ll be giving away an Alienware 14 gaming laptop. While at our booth, pick up one of our awesome free #BeAForce T-shirts, custom-designed by artist Tom Whalen, and then wear it to the VMworld Customer Appreciation Party and Black Keys concert!

If you can’t make it, be sure to follow us at @GKonTheCloud for updates from VMworld 2014.

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