VMware Explore 2022: A New Dawn [Day 2]

VMware Explore Logo on side of Moscone West building

The first full, official day of VMware Explore. I managed to attend a few sessions, as well as the traditional Welcome Reception and a couple after-hours events. In between I met folks both familiar and new. That’s what a conference like this is about!

Learn how to integrate Azure VMware Solution with Native Azure Services [ELW-HOL-2394-03-HBD]

This mouth full of a session was an expert-led hands-on lab (HOL). Emad Younis, and Jeremiah Megie were representing VMware, while Trevor Davis and Carlos Villuendas handled the Microsoft side of things.

We were able to go through a live lab where Microsoft Arc features were deployed to an Azure VMware Solution (AVS) deployment. This allowed VMs and storage to be provisioned within the VMware environment in AVS via the native Azure Portal interface. Some pretty interesting and potentially useful stuff.

A quick couple of notes about connecting your on-prem VMware environment to AVS:

  • While Microsoft’s Azure ExpressRoute used to be a requirement, it’s now recommended. Connectivity can be established via VPN, or even by leveraging the stretched L2 that VMware HCX provides. Officially the HCX connection is recommended to only be used for migration.
  • HCX is included with AVS, it just has to be enabled via the add-ons. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost extra!

Financial Services Workshop [INDB2773US]

This session, though listed as a workshop, was basically a series of fireside style chats with various senior technology folks from financial services enterprises. The two chats I caught were quite interesting.

Harendar Chadha, Sr. Director at RBC said that when he first joined RBC it was a bit disjointed, with different global offices and data centres running different versions of vSphere. That’s all since been unified and they use vRealize Automation to automate and manage the full lifecycle of their VMs across the globe. From a staffing and retention standpoint, Harendar pointed out that finding and keeping talent has been a challenge.

Tom Eck, Sr. VP for Fiserv also spoke strongly in favour of automation. In fact he suggests that folks currently in an operational role should start developing their automation skills right away. Opportunities in “traditional” ops are going to be more and more limited. He also echoed the challenge with hiring and retaining talent, though for Fiserv it’s mostly engineers.

Welcome Reception

The Expo is always officially opened with the Welcome Reception, a chaotic and appetizing event where attendees’ attention is split between vendors and food. This year was not so different, though the space is noticeable smaller than the previous number of in-person conferences, and less vendors are displaying their wares. That being said, it’s easier to chat with the vendors who are there, and there’s a bit more elbow room. Always a good thing.

I managed to chat with some Google engineers, seeing how Google’s VMware Engine worked within the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Also had a notable conversation with folks from Zabbix.

Converged User Group Meeting & VMUG Member Party

After the official convention events of the day ended, I attended the Converged User Group meeting and the VMUG Member Party.

At the Converged User Group meeting, we got to hear an interesting conversation about tech at Top Golf Calloway. Top Golf uses converged infrastructure, Dell hardware running VMware products, to deliver their digital golfing experience. I also got to chat with peers, some who are currently running converged tech and some who are still learning and deciding on whether it’s the right fit for them. Great conversations shared with great folks.

The VMUG Member Party was held at SPIN San Francisco, a ping-pong club. It was raucous, and loud, and ping-pong balls were everywhere! People had a great time mingling, chatting, and challenging each other to table tennis.

The More They Stay The Same

Today looked remarkably like the VMware conference of days past. Just goes to show that things aren’t that different after all. ‘Til tomorrow, as always, stop and say hi. And keep on having a great, safe, conference.

Dee Abson

Dee Abson is a technical architect from Alberta, Canada. He's been working in the field of technology for over 20 years and specializes in server and virtualization infrastructure. Working with VMware products since ESX 2, he holds several VMware certifications. He is a 9x VMware vExpert. You can find him on Twitter and Mastodon.

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