VMworld Labs - Addendum

As always the VMworld labs are always a hit. Everyone wants to try out the new technology, see the new stuff, and get a hands on feeling with the latest and greatest. To add to my HoL post from VMworld, the Fast Pass was gone within a very short time, so my apologies about that one.

Borrowing from Duncan Epping's post VMworld Labs 2011.

2011 Labs Prelude

The labs were (as they always are) impressive, two monitors at each seat, with a thin client. A great user experience, albeit a bit sluggish at times. The aquarium was nice touch and a good visual aid as to what was was being deployed during the show. By the way - the racing car dashboard from last year - beats the pants off the aquarium. Just sayin..

One of the sessions I attended was LAS4000 VMworld Labs Hardware Architecture. Here I learned several things some I found surprising, and others not. The not first.

  1. The entire infrastructure was running in the cloud. Why was this not surprising - because - Cloud is what VMware is selling, it is their vision. It is what they are betting their chips on. So they have to (and rightfully should) present solutions using this technology.

I was surprised to hear..

  1. The entire Lab Environment  was running on NFS. Not FC, not FCoE, only NFS. That is change from previous years. If my memory serves e well, last year is was mostly FC and a small amount of NFS storage.
  2. EMC was not the only player for the underlying spindles. Nexenta (a much smaller company) was used to power a good amount of the storage used for the labs. I was originally led to believe that it was only Nexenta storage, but that turned out to not be entirely accurate.

A few closing comments regarding the organization.

  1. Extending the labs to provide options to test also the partner integration is a great addition - just it should be kept to a minimum (like it was). 
  2. Waiting in line for 45 minutes to get a lab seat is not good. Not for those who want to take the labs. That time spent in line is wasted - it could have been spent on the floor, or in a session. There has to be a better way of doing this. Perhaps pre-register for labs (like sessions), but also allow for walk-by's as well. Those who have pre-registered will get quicker access. That way those who really want to do the labs, and close off time on their schedule and are there on time - do not have to spend an hour in line.
  3. The real world scenarios - were perfect!!! Whoever had that idea - brilliant!! Well done!
  4. Looking at the number above from Duncan's post I noticed something which troubled me. On his post VMworld Labs wrapup 2011 – Las Vegas2011 Wrapup 
    I noticed that the number of Labs was less than last year and the number of VM's was only slightly higher, despite the fact that there were more hours, an increase of 2% despite the increase of 13% more lab hours. Again a record was broken, but not by much.


But what really troubles me is the huge difference in goal vs actual. 148,000 vs. 225,000, that is a really big miss. It would be nice to hear what actually was the reason for not achieving the pre-defined goal. Was it performance? Was it architecture? Was it logistics? Was it over-zealous goals?

I do want to stress again. The labs are amazing - the technology behind it is amazing. The option of trying something hands-on is wonderful - and for some it is the main reason to come to VMworld. If the post-mortem analysis could be shared - I am sure that this is something we would all benefit from. This is not to criticize any of the the VMware Integration Team in any way. So if someone could share more details on why the big differences, I would be grateful.