My VMworld 2012 To Do List

I haven’t been to a ton of tradeshows, but VMware’s user conference, VMworld 2012, which is coming up in San Francisco’s Moscone Center next week, seems to have more than the usual amount of extracurricular activities. 

I’m talking a dodgeball—wait, make that vodgeball—tourney, the main event featuring a Bon Jovi concert, and tweetups galore, including the #vFlipcup tournament.  

Despite the many distractions that VMworld offers, there are hundreds of sessions to fill the most dedicated vgeek’s week.  

With the goal of setting “a clear vision for where virtualization and cloud computing can take us today” and tomorrow, VMworld’s keynote sessions will open strong. Monday’s session features outgoing CEO Paul Maritz as he shares how VMware is helping customers succeed and CTO Steve Herrod demonstrates the “technology at the heart of the software defined datacenter.” Can’t wait.  

Thursday’s session is a geekfest with three of the nation’s top researchers: Chris Urmson, the lead researcher behind Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, Dr. Dennis Hong of Virginia Tech’s Robotics Lab, and Kevin Slavin of gameplay innovators Area/Code. You’ll definitely be able to get your geek on in that crowd!  

Among the 300-plus breakout sessions available next week, the best title goes to Cisco’s RTP-based systems administrator Josh Atwell with his Become a Rock Star with PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator. He has seen the future of cloud. In his session, we can learn how to identify areas that are primed for less admin attention. Even novice vgeeks can learn how to successfully wield the considerable power of combining PowerCLI and VMware vCenter Orchestrator. Essentially, Atwell is going to show us how to work smarter, not longer.  

VMware VP Ramin Sayar gets his own Spotlight Session entitled Simplify and Automate How to Manage Services Across Multiple Platforms and Clouds or, in other words: if managed properly, cloud can transform how you deliver and operate IT services. At VMware, Sayar is responsible for product strategy, R&D, operating P&L, product management, product marketing, and business operations for the company’s cloud management products. He sounds like a busy guy, so I’m sure his session will be worth my time. During it, he’ll demonstrate new VMware technology that simplifies cloud operations and managing services across the cloud, whether based on VMware, Amazon, or Microsoft.  

I’m also looking forward to hearing Dave Hitz, the founder of data management giant NetApp, who will introduce NetApp’s next-generation storage platform during his Spotlight Session entitled How to Transform Your Business with an Agile Data Infrastructure. Luke Norris, the CEO of the IaaS pioneer PeakColo, and a VMware customer, will also be on hand with his endorsement of the platform’s successful integration. NetApp, celebrating its 20th birthday this year, will unveil its converged, virtual storage infrastructure at a time when IT departments are struggling to manage the scope, scale, and complexity of their infrastructures in today’s increasingly data-driven world. In addition to their Solutions Exchange booth, NetApp will have a Demo Booth (#334) showcasing their new storage platform, FlexPod, and virtualized desktop as a service. I’ll be stopping by!

If you’re interested in big data, catch EMC VP of Product Operations Jeremy Burton’s VMworld Spotlight session Cloud Transforms IT. Trust Transforms Cloud. Big Data Transforms Business. Big data is much like the hot topic that cloud computing was two years ago and is likely to grow in coming months. EMC says they understand that IT departments across the globe are struggling to deal with big data. Burton will discuss EMC’s technology direction and roadmap as well as how those innovations integrate with VMware. Like NetApp, EMC will have an Interactive Demo Booth (#229) in addition to their Solutions Exchange booth.  

For you data center fans, Cisco’s David Yen will have a Spotlight Session called Cisco’s Unified Data Center Architecture: Innovations for a World of Many Clouds. An alum of Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems, Yen is General Manager and Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Server Access and Virtualization Technology group. Cloud computing demands massive scale, resiliency, automation, agility, and security. Yen will tell us how Cisco’s Unified Data Center provides a flexible and scalable cloud infrastructure that simplifies IT, allows applications to engage across data center resources, and extends within and between data centers.  

Gartner analyst and virtualization thought leader Chris Wolf’s breakout session sounds intriguing. Wolf covers server and client virtualization and private cloud computing for Gartner. His session entitled VM Scare? Heterogeneous Virtualization’s Impact will address organizations looking to diversify current VMware investments with virtualization options from vendors like Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat, or Oracle. He’ll present technical and operational barriers that could possibly hinder heterogeneous virtualization environments, and he’ll share ways to improve multihypervisor adoption.

Barnaby Jeans and Wanda He, both VMware solutions architects, will speak during the breakout session Virtualizing Highly Available SQL Servers. They’ll tell us about high availability options, including VMware HA, Application HA, vMotion, DRS, SRM, SQL Server failover clustering, and database mirroring as well as the latest SQL Server 2012 AlwayOn technologies. This session will feature demos and scenario-based solutions. I’m all in.

Between sessions, be sure you check out the TechTalks and TheCUBE that will be in the Community Lounge in the Hangspace. If you can’t make it to VMworld 2012 this year, you can sign up for VMwareNOW to stay up to date with what’s going on each day.  

During VMworld, you can also follow Global Knowledge’s cloud twitter feed to stay abreast of VMworld happenings, or you can follow me for official (and some not so official) VMworld updates.

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