My experience at VMworld 2016 US

Posted by Paul Braren on Aug 30 2016 (updated on Sep 12 2016) in
  • Virtualization
  • VMworld
  • You will find this article updated, please come back and refresh!

    Community. That's why I'm here. I've spent a lot of time this past year refining the process of installing and running tiny clusters of Xeon D, and I'm pleased that I finished preparing my Supermicro & Intel NUC demonstration on Sunday, just before my direct flight to Vegas. I even got those sound and watt measurements done, which people have been asking about. I'll be adding those to the detailed comparison table. DONE! Suffice it to say that the mini-tower form factor is still champ when it comes to versatility and quietness.

    Not only did all the gear arrived safely, but it continues to work well in my staging area, aka, hotel room. This is good!

    So far, you'll see much about what I've been up to here at VMworld 2016 US from Twitter. My focus has been on meeting with folks in the vendor area, and some technical presentations, including Micron, NVIDIA, QNAP, Sandisk, Samsung, Supermicro, and Synology. I've also been to some VCSA related sessions.

    Eric Sindelar, Paul Braren, and Greg Kincade, photo courtesy of Micron's Tim Hughes. It would seem that not only did Supermicro and Micron adopt TinkerTry green this year, but apparently Cohesity and VMware have done the same ;-

    I've also been doing some hunkering down to get some last-minute foam posterboards printed up using the updated information, so visitors to my demonstration at VMworld tomorrow will, including the latest noise and watt burn measurements. People will be able to see the many Xeon D variants, at a glance. I also have an engineering sample surprise, for visitors with inquiring minds.

    New Bundle Announcement

    I have been working on finalizing the new Wiredzone Supermicro SuperServer bundled offering, to be announced at 9am Pacific on Wednesday, August 30th via twitter and a brief post here at TinkerTry. Yep, that's one hour into my 8am to 1pm live demonstration, at the Social & Communities area of the VMvillage. I'll be the guy standing in the green shirt. Ok, more specifically, I'll be the vExpert with a blogger pass and a logo'd shirt, standing next to a tiny home datacenter that looks a lot like this:

    Click twice to zoom waaaay in. Every system has VMware ESXi 6.0U2 running, at idle. 3 SSDs in the SYS-5028D-TN4T 8 core mini-tower, 2 in the rest of the systems. Under Windows, watt use would be about 20%-40% lower at idle, and about the same under heavy load.

    Aug 31 2016 Update

    Another great day at VMworld, with an exciting start to the day, when I announced this big news for TinkerTry readers:

    It was very inspiring to have roughly 200 folks visit my demonstration over a 6 hour period, and a whole lot of fun for me to show all the components of this little datacenter.

    Had some rough spots, with difficulties lugging the gear up and down many elevators on the 1 mile wheelie-bag-hostile route to the VMvillage. This set me back a bit when it came up to finishing up setting up my little network configuration, so the first hour or so of visitors didn't get to see a live demo. Didn't seem to bother them much, as there was instead plenty of focus on the physical aspects of the design of each of the servers. Many people did return later to see everything fully operation, including the new HTML5 based ESXi Host Client and vSphere Client UIs.

    The question about price came up often, which I highlighted on the posterboard I made of the Intel Core i7 Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK spec comparison with all current Xeon D-1500 Supermicro SuperServers suited for home labs.


    Overall, I discussed Xeon D with about 8 folks from VMware, 3 from EMC, and 2 from Dell. Each conversation was pretty in depth, and a lot of fun, with a lot of interest in vSAN and NSX for traveling demonstration labs. Yes, the SYS-E200-8D with room for one M.2 NVMe and one 2.5" SSD would be a natural choice, but the hold-up right now is the lack of M.2 NVMe drives that are on the vSAN HCL that are 2280 in length. Micron is planning to adddress this, seen in my VMworld 2016 video interview.

    "TinkerTry IT @ home" houses were given away. Ok, tiny foam houses, but still.
    Paul Braren and Iwan Hoogendoorn.

    Iwan Hoogendoorn has what must be one of the most impressive LinkedIn profiles out there, including 6 CCIEs!

    The day ended with a fun evening at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where I quite enjoyed gawking at the cars, and hearing Capital Cities perform Safe and Sound live. Great way to end the day!


    Sep 01 2016 Update

    Once again, I made a magic moment happen at a VMworld lunch table. Like last year, I scoped out which table looked more sociable than others, with folks actually talking to one-another, and plates full of food, having just sat down.

    What do you know, a VMware employee who works with Supermicro. Yes, we had LOTS to talk about ;-)

    Sep 02 2016 Update

    Early today, just hours before my early AM flight, I USB transferred my iPhone's MOV files to my PC, then uploaded them to YouTube from my Luxor Hotel room as-is, unedited, in the interest of getting these published promptly. Enjoy!

    Sep 04 2016 Update

    If you hadn't read about this already, see:

    Heading out of LAS/McCarran looking north at 8:05am, the huge solar array atop the Mandalay Bay Convention Center was readily visible. This is where VMworld 2016 US had just taken place, and where VMworld 2017 US will be held. Photo by Paul Braren, Sep. 2 2016.

    My flight path, LAS to BDL.

    Image from Google Maps - Earth view.

    Above image from

    Sep 05 2016 Update

    Getting ready to return to work, there's that feeling of regret for all the people I spotted on line or in person at VMworld, but never got to catch up with in person, such as Roger Lund @rogerlund, who has a great post on his site that I just happened to run into via the Googles very recently:

    Sep 10 2016 Update

    Came across this great article that features his terrific little video:

    VMworld US 2016: Las Vegas Edition. A video by @lenzer.

    See also at TinkerTry

    See also