I had the opportunity to participate in two tech events last week in London, the first tech.unplugged conference on 22-Apr-15 and the London VMUG on 23-Apr-15.
My experience from both events was overwhelmingly positive. Besides the social aspects of the event (meeting new great folks and also meeting IRL with twitter friends), my goal was to learn about the latest developments in the IT world from an infrastructure perspective.
Please note that this is a blog post that relates to my personal experience, my personal knowledge (or lack of knowledge), personal interests and perception of things. I hope you do not feel forgotten or offensed, I am blogging as a private end user and attendee, I am not representing any company or interest group.
This event was organized by Enrico Signoretti from Juku Consulting. A first timer that went wonderfully well. My only suggestion, thinking back was maybe the need of a coffee break in the afternoon which is, you’ll admit, a proof that the event was smoothly and cleverly organized. My preferred presentations were those of the invited speakers, I hope to develop on these soon. Presentations will soon be available.
- Nigel Poulton’s hilariously great presentation on containers was a wake up signal. Whether we are container fanatics or we are reluctant about this new technology, we should at least have a look at what containers are and how they work so that we are not surprised in three to five years, once this will become common in the data center.
- Hans De Leenheer’s presentation on hyper-converged platforms helped deconstruct the perceptions, misconceptions and hype that goes around such platforms.
Definitely worth mentioning were the presentations from Chris Evans and Martin Glassborow on storage. I’m currently a bit estranged from the storage world, but these offered insight on what to look in when looking for a new storage solution, and how to cope with neverending and always growing storage capacity demand.
My first VMUG and a brilliant experience either. Props to Alaric Davies for reminding me how I love british humour! The event was fast-paced (in a good sense of the word), leaving no space for boredom. The “clou” of the event was certainly the final panel with VMware EMEA CTO, Joe Baguley, who brought “awesome” to new levels. Just loved the man’s sense of humour, and the genuine interaction with VMUG attendees. Presentations are available here. You should also listen to the “In Tech We Trust” podcast recorded at the event.
- The VSAN 6 (VSAN 2.0) presentation from Simon Todd, clarifying the misconception between Storage Virtualization and Software-Defined-Storage, then going along the (huge) improvements brought into VSAN from v1 to v2 in just one year. An interesting aspect was how to mix and match SSD drives using high-endurance write-intensive SSD drives for caching and cheaper, read-intensive SSD drives for data storage, thus creating an all-flash architecture based on VSAN. The presenter was very honest about the issues encountered with the first version of VSAN (especially the trouble with controllers on HCL and the issues you may have read about controllers not being able to handle workloads properly/ not enough deep queue). It was good to have a presentation coming from an engineer and not a salesman.
- The vSphere 6 presentation from Julian Wood, “Hand on with vSphere 6” – Very relevant to me as I had no chance to fiddle around with the Beta. Light was shed on the latest improvements, emphasis was put on the vSphere 6 upgrade process complexity and on the changes brought to SSO, with the introduction of Platform Services Controller(s) and the topologies which should/shouldn’t be used. A huge mine of first hand information on vSphere 6 from a practical point of view.
A general comment about sponsors
Vendor presentations were very unequal in quality, ranging (probably as usual everywhere) from interesting to straight bland. If you as a sponsor pay money to present at an event, why not make the whole thing more interesting? Why not explain us what your product does for your customers, how it helped solve a specific use case? On the paper, all solutions are great but please explain me why should I care.
Maybe the point here to educate the audience. Explain what is the issue, how it affects us, how you help solve it. Engage with the audience, make me want to find out more and why not, get in touch with you afterwards. Do not show me your software’s GUI, do not show me how your replication topology works – I’m sure it’s interesting, but instead tell me a story, please? You sponsor to have customers get interested in your solution, I pay my travel/accommodation to hear something interesting, so why not make it a win-win?
Related to this, props to Atlantis at the VMUG who did a great job, basing all their product preso on how their solutions helps a customer deliver more for less. Props to PernixData for a cool presentation as well, you managed to engage the audience in a nice way.