I may not have been VMware's first choice to cover this
Other Veeam Vanguards from VMware's Technical Marketing team were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts, so when VMware management went looking for who else might be able to swing booth duty, another Veeam Vanguard like me seemed to be a decent second choice. Awesome, I love Chicago, sign me up! I actually enjoy talking to people. I'm one of the newer folks around at VMware, starting as a vSAN Systems Engineer just 16 months ago, always glad to be given an opportunity to be with customers.
Major Weather Delays
Things were a bit short-staffed at the evening reception on day 1 at VMware's booth at the VeeamON 2018 conference in Chicago, due to poor weather for folks flying in on Monday. I made it in alright with a mere ~3 hour delay though, and still didn't miss the chance to head straight to Lou Malnatti's famed deep dish pizza upon arrival downtown. Managed to squeeze in a quick stop at Portillo's later in the week for a taste of my first authentic Chicago hot dog and Italian Beef Hot, thanks to @CTOAdvisor Keith Townsend for the recommendation!
Speaking for hours can be a challenge, especially if you're showing off a product you don't believe in. I can't imagine working like that, but we've all been to booths exactly like that. VMware's booth wasn't like that. I personally enjoyed the constant stream of visitors who showing a LOT of interest in vSAN and all things vSphere 6.7. My voice held up much better than it would have in dry Las Vegas. It was all good, very good. And actually fun.
Sporting my MVware vSAN shirt and my stylish new Veeam/VMware socks seemed only appropriate. Sure, many folks stopped by just to get their free socks, but usually they stuck around for between 15 and 60 minutes anyway, especially on the third day. A lot of questions about how vSAN works, and how vSphere upgrades work. Impromptu and normally unlikely pairings of folks, like a very technical CEO, and an IT sysadmin from Ottowa. They swapped stories with me, and even better, with each other. That's the magic of in-person interaction, gaining perspectives from folks whose jobs may be quite different than your own.
Some other VMware folks pitched in
Now for the trip highlights. For me personally, it was the chance to meet so many new-to-me folks, each with their own stories. On day two, I had the chance to do my thing nerding out about storage for a group of a few VMware customers I had been talking to for a while, and just then up walks Duncan Epping. He encouraged me to ignore his presence and to keep going, but I briefly paused from my chatter about the glories of NVMe SSDs to introduce him anyway. Gladly, I had a chance to talk to Duncan one-on-one for a while later on with friend and colleague Emad Younis, and it was good. Very good. Even bumped into VP Anton Gostev, Co-Founder Ratmir Timashev, and Co-CEO and President Peter McKay in the elevator!
Later on, I even had a chance to have an extended side-bar conversation with ex-VMware Veeam guy Michael White, who has also gotten a lot of value from his three Bundle 2 Xeon D SuperServers. We talked about all sorts of stuff, personal and professional, which was very valuable, and if you haven't seen his amazing newsletter yet, check it out. Where else can I go to talk to somebody about the latest Xeon D 3.68 IPMI release that I had just tweeted about? A conference like this, that's where.
Day 3 capped off with Duncan mentioning me and the latest in SSD technologies including NVMe and NVDIMMs, during his presentation about what's coming soon to vSAN. What an honor!
Later on, I also got to catch up with @stu Stu Miniman of theCUBE, along with a bunch of conversations with huge home lab enthusiast @importcarguy Tony Reeves, @jhoughes Joe Houghes who helps lead the VMUG in Austin TX and who tweeted some really nice things, well-dressed Indy VMUG Leader Ken Nalbone @KenNalbone, and even Matt Crape @MattThatITGuy, again! I had many folks from across the globe stopping by too, including a few from Brazil, the land of @homelaber, who (learned from a VeeamON attendee) has just joined VMware! I even had some time with ex-Veeam VP @VMDoug Doug Hazelman, who is now at CloudBerry! What incredibly nice guys, all of them. Enough with the name-dropping, and I'm so sorry to all those I may have missed.
How do vSAN and Veeam go together
You might also be interested in some technical resources that dive into why vSAN and Veeam work well together. In short, the integration allows optimized intelligent backup based on the vSAN’s data placement rather than the VM location, reducing data transfer sizes and backup window durations, details here and here.
Lots of questions at the VMware booth, and some observations
With a significant chunk of my time invested in talking with hundreds of visitors to the vSAN booth, here's some informal observations I made that you might also find interesting:
- about 25% of those visiting were still on vSphere 5.5, but most of them knew about the End of General Support for vSphere 5.5 (51491) on September 19, 2018
- a majority of visitors gave very positive feedback on the big move to HTML5/Clarity UI as soon as possible, which was shown in a click thru demo on my booth's monitor, where I took the opportunity to mention the recently published bold article, Fully Featured HTML5-based vSphere Client Coming in Fall 2018 by Himanshu Singh posted May 8, 2018
- a majority were interested in saving $ (shocker!)
- about 33% of those visiting were also interested in seeing samples of M.2, U.2, and PCIe based NVMe SSDs that I had laid out for folks to inspect, along with an assortment of associated cables. More than 90% had never seen a U.2 drive before. As far as who had heard of NVMe before, a slight majority. But the majority of visitors had never heard of Optane, 3D XPoint, or NVDIMMs
Like at last year's VeeamON 2017 back in New Orleans, I again had a chance to talk to Brad Sams and Paul Thurrott of thurrott.com. This was great, having listened to them both on podcasts for years, and reading much of their work. Even cooler that they apparently got to interview one of Veeam's home lab and Xeon D enthusiast Anthony Spiteri, who flew in all the way from Perth Australia!
See also my extensive, picture-filled @paulbraren #VeeamON timeline.
- All articles about Veeam.
- Coming soon, unboxing of the world's first SYS-E300-9D SuperServer, in 4K!
- Featured on "Home Gadget Geeks" Episode #340 "Paul Braren and Vintage Tech, 70s thru 90s Head Phones, Cell Phones, Camcorders and Video Games – HGG340"
Jan 07 2018
- VeeamON 2017 - Availability Suite v10 announced featuring backup of NASs and built-in Management for new Veeam Agent for Windows v2, unifying VM & PC backups
May 31 2017
- Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series can be ultra fast vSAN cache, storage, or RHEL/SLES 8x memory extender using Intel Memory Drive Technology
Mar 21 2017
- VeeamON 2018 Recap
May 21 2018 by Anthony Spiteri at Virtualization is Life!
- Newsletter: May 19, 2018
May 19 2018 by Michael White at notesfrommwhite.net
- Instant Clone in vSphere 6.7 rocks!
May 01 2018 by Duncan Epping at Yellow-Bricks.com
- vCenter Server 6.7 What’s New Rundown
Apr 17 2018 by Emad Younis at emadyounis.com
All of my expenses for VeeamON 2018, including food, transportation, and lodging, were covered by VMware. I did not receive any compensation to write this article, nor was I asked to write this.
Veeam has been an advertiser on many virtualization sites for years now, and at times on TinkerTry too. All TinkerTry advertisement goes through third party BuySellAds. None of my articles are sponsored posts, and note that there are currently no affiliate links for Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, or any of their other products. TinkerTry.com, LLC is not a Veeam Pro Partner, but I am a Veeam Vanguard Program member who received only an early briefings for this conference. There are no commissions for any Veeam products folks buy after reading one of my articles.
I reserve and exercise the right to freely write about topics that I choose, whenever I choose to, an essential part of what makes blogging about home virtualization labs, storage, and backup so much fun for me. I tend to feature products that I actually use for a while, and have proven value for my home lab and home.