The Ultimate Blogger's Guide to VMworld 2013

There are a number of posts out there on the WWW with great guides on how to make the most of your time at VMworld, two of them are mentioned here below:

These are great resources. vmw-web-vmworld-social-media-toolkit-400x100-CTA

I would like to share with you, some advice of how I would make good use of my time, AS A BLOGGER, while at VMworld.

This year I will be part of the Cisco Social Media effort at the conference.

Get Social with Cisco at VMworld 2013 (Your Ticket to Community Activity)

Why would attending VMworld be any different than for a regular attendee?

For a number of reasons.

  1. As a blogger, this is the Virtualization conference of the year, and being there not only provides a huge amount of energy for you and your blog but also a huge amount of material for you to write about.
  2. You have your view, that most of the attendees do not, sometimes positive, other times not so. Your interests will be different from those of the regular customer, the regular attendee.
  3. You are at an advantage, because being part of the media (albeit not the traditional kind), people want to talk to you, hear your opinion, and get your feedback. It is important to them.

It was stated perfectly in the song Class of 99..

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99 '13
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen attending VMworld have been proved by scientists
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering

I will dispense this advice now.

Don't attend too many sessions

Why? I thought that was the reason that we were coming to VMworld, wasn't it? Well Yes and No. All the sessions are recorded, and are available afterwards for your offline viewing.

The only exception to this rule (IMHO) are the group discussions (the sessions that are marked as GDxxx). The reason being here is that they are not recorded, you have a (relatively) small intimate group of usually highly technical people with direct access to the SME on that particular subject who is interested in hearing your feedback, and will be providing some really good information on the subject.

These sessions are not recorded (or at least they have not been in previous years) so if you miss it, then that's it.

HOL (Hands on Labs)

This used to be a must on my list, but not any more. VMware has stated that the labs will be available for consumption after the show, and I am pretty sure that as an attendee, you will have access. I would find a quiet time to go and do a single lab, something that really interests you, and that can write something about. Remember, you are going there to have fun, but your ulterior motive should be to create content.

General Sessions

Bloggers will get special treatment as part of the Press with a "good seat" and perhaps access to a table and media Wi-Fi. Assuming that is if you go into the main hall to attend the session.

I would advise against it.

There will be thousands of people in the session. Yes, you will have the whole splashed in you face with these huge screens. Yes, you will get to see Stephen Herrod Pat Gelsinger on stage.

Ok.. And…

I prefer to this from the comfort of the hangspace.

  • The screen is more than big enough.
  • There is place at the blogger tables, usually with better internet.
  • You will be able to exchange your views with other bloggers and like-minded people who are sitting next to you.

Bloggers Table

Make time in your schedule to go and sit at the the bloggers tables in the Hangspace area. At any time of the day, you will always find a familiar face, to talk, chat and just have a good laugh. We are all going to VMworld to work, but also to have a good time.

The area is big enough , but not too large, which gives you enough quiet to get some writing done and catch up on the huge amount of news that will be coming out of the conference.


The vBrownbag Techtalks were a great success last year. Personally, I think one of the highlights of the conference. This year's schedule is no less spectacular.

Speaking to the presenters, the vendors who are there, and the people who just come to listen/watch. That is what it is all about.

Social Parties

This is one with mixed feelings for me. There are so many different gatherings and meetups, and so many of them are overlapping one another, that it will be impossible to attend them all. Not enough time in the day night.

Solutions Exchange

Do you homework beforehand. Go over the list of vendors that will be at the conference and pick out those that interest you, and that you would like to go and speak to.

My list for this year is as follows:

  • Skyera
  • Xceedium
  • Vormetric
  • Maginatics
  • Metacloud
  • Scality
  • ElasticBox
  • Cloudpassage
  • Asigra
  • Actifio
  • AirVM
  • Cloudbyte
  • Parasoft
  • PlumGrid
  • TwinStrata
  • Zadara
  • Kaminario

Usually - these companies will not be in the middle isles - where of course it costs a imagelot more to have a booth. They are on the sidelines, go at seek them out, and speak with them.

Reach out to the companies beforehand and ask if they can set up some time with you during the show, to get a more detailed overview of the product, or perhaps even a small briefing before the show. VMworld is a mad house. From a vendor standpoint they would like to get their message across to as many potential customers as possible, so your time can be limited, and perhaps a detailed meeting would not be best at the show.

Go and introduce yourself, and if need be get the name of the person you would like to speak after the show.

It is always beneficial both to your blog, and to the vendor, to get an deep dive into their product.


Say no more!

Blog Posts

This one might come as a shocker to most of you, but here goes.

Do not expect that content you publish during the show will get the amount of publicity you expect, and let me explain why.

The amount of posts that will be going out during the week of VMworld, will be at least 5 times the usual. Why because everyone is there, there are going to be so many announcements made (hint, hint) that will make your head spin.

People cannot read it all. It is physically not possible. Your post will be one of 20 that will say the same, "VMware has announced…. ", "VMware plans to dominate the world …."

Several bloggers are already privy to information beforehand, due to them being part of certain focus programs, and they have already put together a batch of blog posts on X, Y or Z beforehand.

My advice would be to prepare your content, gather the material, gather your thoughts and get your inspiration from the conference.

Tweet as much as you like, Share, interact, but if you want your post to get the exposure you are hoping for, do not post it during the conference.

I would suggest letting the hype die down slightly, and then get your message out there.

Live Blogging

I know very few people who can actually live blog a session, Scott Lowe is one of those few.

If you are good at this - and are able to portray the message from a session - then go for it. Your audience will thank you.

And last but not least…

But trust me on the sunscreen...



Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts On Twitter

I just found out that I was included on the Huffington Post's Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter.

I was surprised (to say the least) to be included in a list with a number of familiar faces on Twitter:

The full Twitter list can be found here.

I am humbled to be included in such a list with an amazing group of people! There are so many other worthy people that should have been on this list.


Virtualizing the Management Layer with Intigua

About two weeks ago I spent a very interesting hour with Shimon Hason (Co-Founder & CEO),
Phil Neray (VP of Marketing) and Tomer Levy (Co-founder).

Intigua? Where have you perhaps heard that name before?

Intigua won the Best of VMworld 2012 in the New Technology category.

So what is Intigua? The blurb from their website says…


Intigua was founded in 2010. Currently they have an R&D facility in Herzliya, Israel and their headquarters are located in Boston (and not in Palo Alto).

They secured $8.6 million funding in January 2013. They revealed their product at VMworld last year, and that is where I first met them.

(The following is my summary and understanding of the solution they provide)

What is this management stack that they speak about?

Let's take a look at the typical enterprise environment. Your virtual machines could possibly (and probably) have the following agents installed

  1. Anti-virus Agent
  2. IPS/IDS Agent
  3. Backup Agent
  4. Monitoring Agent
  5. Software Management (LanDesk/Altiris for example)
  6. VMware tools
  7. Configuration Management

There could be more, there probably are (here is a list of currently supported applications).
There also could be less, your mileage will vary according to your environment.

There is a great chance that each of the above agents come from a different vendor, and therefore that will require a separate management application to manage all your agents. And of course this will require a separate GUI that you will login for each and every application.

There is a very big chance that each and every of these are managed by different teams, different people, and there is a chance that none of the teams has insight or knowledge of what the other applications are doing.

Virtualization separated the operating system from the underlying hardware - through the use of a hypervisor.

VMware can encapsulate applications (ThinApp) and allow you to separate the application from the underlying OS and have it essentially run in a bubble. This of course is great for a VDI environment.

What caught my attention was something that was said during the session

"5 minutes to deploy a VM - 5 weeks to prepare for production."

Here is one of the slides that explains it a bit more. 

Too long to go to production

All of the above are a highly resource-intensive, mainly human resources.

Looking at he slide above you can understand why the deployment of a VM is so simple, but getting it just to the correct configuration, and compliance can take time, a considerable amount of time.

And here is what Intigua does.

Intigua Architecture

They have developed a virtual container that is installed in each VM.
On top of this virtual container all the above agents are installed and interact with the underlying OS.

So why another layer? If you actually think of this, it is actually very necessary.

Take the following example.

DeveloperA spins up a VM, by default VMware tools gets installed, Antivirus of course. The VM will not need monitoring, no backup, no IPS.

The VM then goes from Development to Staging.
The machine now needs to backed up, but still does not need monitoring or IDS. Policies

Off go the emails to the relevant parties, "Please install this and that but make sure you don't install X or Y".

Why not have a Central point of management that will do this for you?

If you could take the VM, tag it with the Staging Tag, and all the correct agents would be installed. I'll take 3 of those please!

Let's look at another scenario..

You have 4 agents on a VM, and during the backup window, the Backup agent consumes 100% of your CPU, causing a number of alerts to go out to your NOC, because your monitoring agent is not available. Up until now, there was not much you could do.

Intigua has the ability to throttle each and every agent under its control.


So here I can set a limit that my agent will never consume all the available resources on the VM, affecting the applications, or other agents. Or waking me up at 03.00 in the morning!

How about agent upgrades? A vulnerability was exposed in one of the agents, and you need to upgrade all across the board. You could do that with the native tools, or just add a new package , with the new version, edit the policy and it will go out to all the current servers. And if the update cause problems? Rollback? Very simple!

The concept reminds me of VMware Mirage where the operating system is sliced into layers, allowing for maximum portability and flexibility through upgrades.

But it is not only a one way street, i.e. Intigua manages everything, but the backend management application does not have any knowledge of the underlying agent. As of late they have added two way functionality that will also update the backend application of all the changes done on the agents as well. It can also manage the policies and settings on these backend applications. If you would like to create a new Virus scan schedule on you SEP server, Intigua will be able to do this.

With their REST API, the Central server can interact with your orchestration platform and handle all of the installations for you, report back to the management application, a good two way conversation!

A typical flow could possibly be:

  • User deploys from self-service portal.
  • Chooses Machine type (Dev/Staging/Prod)
  • Passes information to Intigua REST API - which will in turn through the VMware API deploy all the correct applications and policies needed for this VM.

So can benefit from this solution? Intigua is aiming for the Enterprise market, the customers that have compliance requirements and have a number of challenges in this area. This kind of solution can reduce so much complexity in managing the lifecycle of your applications.

Of course Cloud option are also there - each endpoint can be managed regardless of it being in your Private Cloud or at a Public Cloud provider.

Intigua will be at VMworld in San Francisco and advise you to go by their booth, and have a look at their product. I am sure you will get a much more detailed (and definitely a better sales pitch) overview from them when you drop by.


Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this review. The information here was taken from a personal briefing I had with the 3 gentlemen above. I was asked if they could take me to dinner at VMworld, but I have not yet decided if I will accept that invitation. I wrote this because I find the technology interesting and see potential in this product. (and I am also a bit of a softy for Israeli startups.. )


Access the DCUI from a Remote SSH Session

I posted a tweet tonight.

I needed to restart the management agent on a ESXi host (it would not reconnect to vCenter)

Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host (1003490) is the correct KB for information on how to do it.

If you are at the console - you go in through the DCUI.

There is a not well known fact that you can also invoke the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) from a remote SSH session as well.

Accessing Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) from an SSH session(2039638)

Very simple, just type dcui from the shell prompt. When you are done, Ctrl+C.


SSH session


DCUI invoked

Exit with Ctrl+C

Just have to read the KB's…