As you may know, I was for two days in Milano last week to attend the ICT Festival 2015 and the VMUGIT UserCon 2015. Several articles have been written that accurately describe both events, so I will focus on a different topic (keeping however my event impressions below).
Why was I there? This was said earlier, but I wanted to educate myself on new trends, see how other users/companies work and get experience from the field, and finally do some networking, meet my great friends at VMUGIT and last but not least hook up with the VMUG organization. So here we go in an unstructured manner. Apologies in advance!
VMUG UserCon 2015 sessions
Breakout Block #1 – Best Practices for Security in a Virtual Domain
The event was fully packed, a great success for the VMUGIT team. After the introductory meetings led by PJ Spagnolatti and Mariano Maluf, I headed to the “Best Practices for Security in a Virtual Domain” session by Webroot. The content was interesting, nevertheless it didn’t match my expectations which were kind of based on the title’s assumption (I currently work in an enterprise-class environment where these security considerations are a core topic) and the presentation ended up focusing on an antivirus solution. Good nevertheless to keep awareness on this emerging company. Looking back I should’ve rather attended Vaughn Stewart session, but then again, the speaker who was originally meant to present couldn’t attend, and the person who replaced him did a great job.
Breakout Block #2 – Strategic Private Cloud in SKY UK
The reasoning behind selecting this session was very clear: we already leverage Nutanix in the company I work for, and belonging to the core team who introduced this technology I wanted to avoid any redundant information/presentation. I also thought that Tintri’s session (whether I am right or wrong) would be similar, and the strongest motivator was that I wanted to get experience from the field. Now having been at the ICT festival 2015 the day before and staying at the same hotel where VMUGIT colleagues were, I met Alan Civita (this session’s speaker) the day before and was quite intrigued to hear someone speak about a real implementation of OpenStack – this raised my awareness and there I went.
I won’t go into the details of Alan’s presentation (and I’ll be looking forward to read a blog post from him about it), but what struck me is the vision of the company, which makes sense. Having two virtualization platforms serving different purposes can be a plus, with one platform leveraging OpenStack for on-demand, instant and automated provisioning of similar workloads while the second one, leveraging VMware, is more related to specific kind of workloads. I’ve tried to lead a reflection on the topic during my limited time and with my limited abilities, what hit me up is that although you can drive the adoption of a platform such as OpenStack, you can’t really shove it down the throat of business stakeholders and developers, but rather be a consensual decision. This branches to the discussion of what developing tools, which technologies and instruments/platforms are used by a company’s developers, the expertise of these developers and also whether the company itself, its developers and business entities are willing to take the leap toward newer technologies, some of them coming from the open source world, while letting go the legacy heritage of heavy monolithic apps based on very lucrative closed database systems (ehm ehm).
The illustrative slides provided by Alan also showed a clear policy in place for workload placement (cloud, OpenStack platform, VMware virtualization platform) which is certainly of great help towards infrastructure services consumers. I’m quite enthusiastic to have attended this session and it gave me some motivation to look deeper into OpenStack. And finally, Alan also had a wise word on the use of OpenStack, which I’ll try to transliterate as I understood it: “by removing the cost aspects from software, OpenStack allows the companies to focus financially on hiring and investing into people to do the right thing”.
This was for me the best moment of the day. Your mileage may vary, but we’re all here for different reasons after all 🙂
Due to my limited time, I unfortunately had to skip Lee Dilworth‘s SRM session as well as the other remaining sessions, but I had the opportunity to do some networking and speak a bit with Duncan Epping, Vaughn Stewart and an extensive discussion on Nutanix with Lukas Lundell.
Worth mentioning is that this event was a catalyzer for launching the first Czech VMUG meeting. I hope to speak more about it in an upcoming blog post! It was a pleasure meeting Mariano Maluf (VMUG President), Brad Tompkins (VMUG CEO) and Andrea Roth (VMUG Programme Manager).
Festival ICT 2015
Good potential, missed opportunities. I didn’t like the location and organization. The setup chosen by the organizators would have been more suited for some different kind of event – definitely not one with sessions. I didn’t attend much, I rather strolled around occasionally and manned the VMUGIT stand. The overall impression was few vendors, mainly service providers, with a non-techie, manager-oriented target audience, medium-to-low technical content. Yours truly provided the VMUGIT team will well-deserved Pilsner Urquell refreshments.
VMUGIT UserCon 2015
Much has been written and all is spot on. Taking place in fully renovated conference premises, the event was organized in a very professional manner (quite a contrast with ICT Festival, considering they’re supposed to be the pros). No hiccups, great content, great place, awesome food, wine & coffee, awesome presenters/sponsors and many attendees. so many wins in one day!
Thanks and acknowledgements
It is needless to say that these two days were wonderful. The time spent with the usual suspects plus top-notch industry experts was invaluable. A big thank goes first of all to Pietro Piutti and Andrea Mauro, who convinced me to show up (and kick off things with CZMUG) despite initial unplanned hardships, as well as Francesco Bonetti. I’d then extend to the other VMUGIT members that I already knew or met for the first time, namely PJ Spagnolatti, Lino Telera, Antonio “Mr. Baba” Amoroso, Alan Civita, Massimiliano “Max” Moschini, Giuseppe Guglielmetti and also Enrico Signoretti, Luca Dell’Oca, Alessandro Lombardi & Fabio Chiodini. (They’re all linked to twitter, make sure to follow them!)
A big thanks also to the VMUG Headquarters team, will look forward to cooperate, and to Lukas Lundell (Nutanix) for the very nice discussion.
Special note to my new friend Calvin Zito: “leave the vVols, take the cannoli!”
This was not just a great conference, but a great human experience, the kind that is possible only in Italy. I love these events because it provides a unique way to interact with your online peers, mentors and influencers. 140 characters are great, human interactions are invaluable. Go to your local VMUG, if there isn’t one, create it, and go beyond your countries or area boundaries!
And if you’re into this kind of things, join the unofficial #teamsasizza revolution!