In-Depth

VMworld 2016 Must-See Sessions

Tom's learning about containers and new storage options, among other goodies.

VMworld 2016 is just around the corner, and it's shaping up to be another excellent year for the event. Hundreds of breakout sessions will be held, lots of vendors will be present to chat up their wares, and, most importantly, there will be thousands of like-minded people in one place to discuss virtualization with.

With so much new technology to catch up on and learn about, it's important to key in on which topics you want to investigate and delve into at VMworld. This year, for instance, I'm going to dive deep into everything I can about containers and  Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) devices.

I'll tell you why I'm excited about these two technologies (and why you should be too), then I'll list some sessions I'm most looking forward to attending that you may also want to put on your agenda.

Containers, as you probably know, are still a nascent technology show great promise, particularly in running virtual OSes. Companies such as Docker and RancherOS are leading the way in this technology.

On the hardware side of the fence, NVMe devices have burst on the scene with a bang, as some of their performance numbers are absolutely mind blowing. For a primer on this technology, read my articles on NVMe devices in the datacenter at and the aggregation and sharing of NVMe devices over Fabric. That said, here are my must-see sessions at VMworld 2016.

  • Containers and VVols: A Technical Deep Dive on New Technologies That Have Revolutionized Storage for vSphere [STO9617-SPO]. This session promises a technical deep dive into how containers and Virtual Volumes (VVols) can coexist and benefit each other. The presenters are veterans who should do a fantastic job unraveling these two technologies.
  • Introducing Virtual SAN for VMware Photon [STO8256]. The Best HCI Platform for Containers and Cloud-Native Applications. Photon is a infrastructure management tool designed for container and cloud-native applications. Photon is built on top of a new and optimized version of the VMware ESXi hypervisor called VMware Photon Machine; it doesn't use vCenter, but instead uses VSAN for storage. It should be exciting to hear about this new product.
  • Extreme Performance Series: Evaluate the Performance of Your Cloud with Weathervane and VMware vRealize Operations [VIRT8443]. This year, VMware is hosting a series of "Extreme Performance" sessions, and this particular session introduces a tool new to me: Weathervane. Weathervane is a performance exploration and benchmarking tool from VMware that, when used with VMware vROps, will help you better understand the performance characteristics of your cloud or virtual infrastructure. I am always on the lookout for new tools and it looks like this may be a good one.
  • The Latest in High-Performance Desktops and Applications with Horizon 7, Blast Extreme Protocol, and NVIDIA GRID vGPU [EUC7998]. This session will feature the latest advances in 3D desktops and applications with VMware Horizon 7, Blast Extreme protocol and NVIDIA GRID.
  • Horizon for Linux Technical Deep Dive [EUC7453]. This session will be a deep dive into using Linux in a VDI environment, something that I and many others have been dying to learn more about.
  • The Future is Here: Turbocharge All Flash Virtual SAN with Next Generation Hardware [STO7953].  Searching the catalog for sessions based around NVMe didn't give many hits, but this one definitely looks like a winner. It will discuss all things flash, including NVME. I'm especially hoping that they give some performance numbers during this session.

There you have it: my list of sessions that I am really looking forward to attending. If these sessions aren't your cup o' tea, don't fret: VMworld 2016 is chock full of sessions on a wide range subjects and technologies. If you aren't able to make it out to Las Vegas, many of the sessions will be recorded for viewing at your leisure. I'm hoping to do a writeup on the sessions I found most appealing.

Remember, VMworld is not just about technology, it's also about meeting friends, old and new, and  relaxing. Make sure to check with your vendors to see if they're going to be sponsoring any after-hours events, and definitely be sure to check out the VMworld Party where the band Fall Out Boy will be performing. Hope to see you there!

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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