Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vendor Shortlist for VMworld 2015

VMworld 2015 is next week! Social media vibrates with anticipatory tweets and puerile prognostications as we fall all over ourselves to predict what announcements will be made from temperate San Francisco. If you're a virtualization evangelist, it's truly the most wonderful time of the year.

I'm skipping VMworld this year, but wanted to share a short list of the vendors that I'll miss visiting and interacting with. And I'll admit right away: this list is driven primarily by the people I know and have developed a respect for, not purely the technology or the solutions each vendor offers. In fact, I'll argue that the people are the reason to go to a conference, with the technology a distant second. And while I've shed the vExpert title, I still carry the PernixPro and SolarWinds MVP designations. But that's for a good reason, which I'll explain later.

And now, the list.


It's so simple that it's easily overlooked. VMworld brings all of the vendors out of the woodwork, and it's understandable to forget that VMware itself is a vendor. They just happen to be the platform vendor. And even though it's easy and fashionable to criticize the company lately, VMware has a reputation for innovation that is undeniable. Take time to visit the VMware floorspace. And I highly recommend catching all of Jad El-Zein's VMworld sessions. Jad's sessions are always great, he's a dynamic presenter, and he's smart as hell.


PernixData's FVP revolutionized the way we think about storage performance for vSphere. That's not an opinion, either. Overnight, FVP turned those 42U stacks of SAN hardware into a big, stupid bucket. Server-side caching, coupled with VM-aware intelligence, reminded us that storage performance is a server issue, not one to relegate to a storage network and array of increasingly complex devices. Two years ago I said that PernixData was a solution in search of a problem. Today that problem is pervasive, persistent, and solved.

PernixData isn't satisfied with solving the storage performance problem. At VFD5 in Boston this summer, we got our first view into the company's next killer app: PernixData Architect. It's a solution for the problem of building, managing, and maintaining virtualized environments. And PernixData Cloud is an ambitious attempt to break the silo you forgot about: your workplace.

Andy Daniel has been with PernixData for as long as I can remember, and it's always a pleasure to run into him at VMUG events. This VMworld, Andy is presenting "Solving Application Performance Issues with Infrastructure In-Memory Computing." Go check it out!

And it goes without saying that any session that Frank Denneman is presenting, or co-presenting in this case, is going to be killer. He's got a great talk lined up with Duncan Epping this year titled "5 Functions of Software-Defined Availability." It also helps that he's hilarious. Just ask him what he thinks about BlueJeans web conferencing software.


I really like SolarWinds. A lot. I don't get to use their software nearly as much as I would like (actually, that's true for PernixData, too). But I can honestly say that I've used SolarWinds tools since the very first day of my IT career, which was... a while ago, in those heady, hazy late 90s when nothing could go wrong with an Internet startup. Anyway, SolarWinds has a reputation for building the right tools for whatever technology you're managing. And they have the best collection of subject matter experts in the industry. Lots of great people with the experience to help you out. It's what makes Thwack such a great place to hang out.

At VMworld, the infamous Thomas LaRock will deliver a session titled "Using Virtual SAN to Maximize Database Performance." Tom is the person you want to talk to about all things database. I mean, he's the SQL rockstar, after all.


Make every effort to catch these sessions, or queue up if you didn't register in time. And remember that it's the people that make VMworld such a great experience; the technology is just an excuse. Have fun in San Francisco, and I'll see you there in 2016!