I’m really looking forward to attending VMworld 2014 in a few weeks.  Its a great time to catch up with friends and meet new ones.  For me the week kicks off on Thursday at the VMware SE Tech Summit.  Then vOdgeball on Sunday afternoon with a team of former EMC vSpecialists.  This is a great event to help out a great cause, the Wounded Warrior Project.  We’ll also be honoring our two vSpecialist friends, Jim Ruddy and Stephen Hunt, that were recently involved in a tragic accident.  Then the main event starts Sunday night.  It should be fun and exhausting.

Virtual SAN (VSAN) is sure to be one of the highlights of the show.

I know we are revamping the already excellent VSAN Hands-On-Lab so make sure you check it out.  Below are 21 sessions focusing on VMware Software Defined Storage and Virtual SAN.  I’ve listed them in order that they are offered Monday through Thursday.  Two of the sessions are so good they are offered twice.  There are so many really good sessions that it’s hard to point to any specifically.  Kind of like picking your favorite child.  But my Top 9 suggested sessions would be (in order of date/time offered):

  • STO1853-S – Software-Defined Storage: The Transformation of Enterprise Storage Has Begun
    (Monday, Aug 25, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
  • STO2521 – Virtual SAN Best Practices and Use Cases
    Monday, Aug 25, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • STO3354 – Data Protection for Virtual SAN
    (Tuesday, Aug 26, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
  • STO3098 – Virtual SAN Best Practices for Monitoring and Troubleshooting
    (Tuesday, Aug 26, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
  • STO1279 – Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive
    (Tuesday, Aug 26, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Wednesday, Aug 27, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
  • STO2480 – Software Defined Storage – The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back
    (Wednesday, Aug 27, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM)
  • STO2462 – Virtual SAN – Customer Panel
    (Wednesday, Aug 27, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
  • EUC2551 – Re-Imagining VDI Design: Architecture for Next-Gen Desktops
    (Wednesday, Aug 27, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Thursday, Aug 28, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)
  • STO1424 – Massively Scaling Virtual SAN Implementations
    (Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM)

Here is the full list with detailed descriptions and dates/times.

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STO1853-S – Software-Defined Storage: The Transformation of Enterprise Storage Has Begun
Server virtualization transformed compute freeing up apps from infrastructure and delivering tremendous cost savings and flexibility. Storage hasn’t caught up yet, but things are rapidly changing. Software-defined storage is a new architectural and management approach that unlocks the next level of efficiency. In this session we will discuss what software-defined storage is, VMware’s vision for it and  how it will addresses today’s challenges. In addition we will provide an overview of key technologies in VMware’s roadmap for Software-defined storage and showcase partner solutions.
Vijay Ramachandran – Director of Product Management, VMware
Alberto Farronato – Dir. Product Marketing, VMware
Monday, Aug 25, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
 
EUC1874 – Reducing the Cost of Virtual Desktop Deployments with VMware View and VMware Virtual SAN
This session will cover how you can reduce the total cost of ownership of deploying virtual desktops using VMware View and VMware Virtual SAN. A comparison of functionality and performance of VMware Virtual SAN vs. traditional storage methods will be presented. In addition, a demonstration of the latest VMware View and VMware Virtual SAN features will be given.
Pradeep chikku – Senior Member of Technical Staff, VMWare
Bryan Young – Product Line Manager, VMware
Program Location: US
Monday, Aug 25, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
 
SDDC3245-S – Software-Defined Data Center through Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
The Software-Defined Data Center is the indisputable future of IT. The question for you then becomes how to get your company and IT organization there and where do you start. Key consideration factors include choice, flexibility, time to value, ongoing maintenance, ease of use and budget, amongst others. With these in mind, and understanding that there is no single “one size fits all” solution, VMware offers several ways to get you to the Software-Defined Data Center. In this session, Chris Wolf, VP and Americas Chief Technology Officer, and Mornay Van Der Walt, a Vice President in Emerging Solutions, will dive deeper into new solutions based on vSphere and Virtual SAN that will transform the end-to-end user experience as you know it today—from initial purchase to deployment to ongoing maintenance and support.
Chris Wolf – VP & Americas CTO, VMware
Mornay Van Der Walt – VP, Emerging Solutions, Vmware
Monday, Aug 25, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
 
STO1809 – Virtual SAN 101 and Building a Business Case
Come learn about Virtual SAN, a disruptive product that gives customers a new approach to managing storage in virtual environments. Virtual SAN is radically simple shared storage product delivered as software through a hypervisor-converged architecture that can deliver a simple and high performance storage tier to provision and manage storage while dramatically reducing the total cost of ownership. We will also discuss how to you can structure a business case around Virtual SAN. We will deep dive on the value proposition of VSAN and how it applies to the different use-cases in specific, as well as go into a detailed analysis of where the capital and operational cost savings are coming from.
Joseph Russell – Product Marketing – Software-Defined Storage, VMware
Rafael Kabesa – Product Marketing Manager, Vmware
Monday, Aug 25, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
 
STO2521 – Virtual SAN Best Practices and Use Cases
Virtual SAN (VSAN) Best Practices and Use Cases. In this session, we will walk you through best practices, sizing considerations and performance recommendations for building Virtual SAN solutions for different use cases such VDI, DR Target, and others. The goal of this session is to provide you with all necessary information to make you successful with VMware Virtual SAN.
Rawlinson Rivera – Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, VMware, Inc
Kiran Madnani – Product Line Manager, VMware
Monday, Aug 25, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
 
STO3354 – Data Protection for Virtual SAN
With ever-increasing data growth and a real threat of data loss, a reliable data protection strategy is a top IT priority. This session will cover recommendations and best practices for backing up, recovering and replicating virtual machines running on Virtual SAN, using VMware technologies and partner solutions.
Jeff Hunter – Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware
Pooja Virkud – Product Marketing Manager, Vmware
Tuesday, Aug 26, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
 
STO3098 – Virtual SAN Best Practices for Monitoring and Troubleshooting
In this talk you will learn how to leverage the vSphere Web Client, RVC and VSAN Observer to monitor and troubleshoot your Virtual SAN deployments. We will start with the basics of how to validate your hardware against the VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG, aka HCL), then dive into troubleshoot VSAN cluster configuration, including networking and multicast. We will recap how VSAN handles failures, and how to observe how VSAN is affected by them and how to watch how VSAN is remediating them automatically. Finally, we will show how to use the VSAN Observer to observe performance issues and drill down into root causing them.
Christian Dickmann – Staff Engineer, VMware
Christos Karamanolis – Principal Engineer, Vmware
Tuesday, Aug 26, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
 
STO1429-SPO – SanDisk Experience on Virtual SAN for VDI and Enterprise Workload
VMware Virtual SAN is new concept in software defined storage space (SDS). This session will discuss in detail how VDI and Enterprise workload can run in Virtual SAN environment and benefit them. We will discuss the test results of VDI and Enterprise workload on virtual SAN. Our observation on it and at high level how storage administrator may see this potential Virtual SAN solution. VDI workload is VMware Horizon View and the Enterprise workload chosen based on high storage IOPS requirement and part of SanDisk corporate IT production workload. We will also brief about SanDisk product offerings in Enterprise Storage space.
Biswapati Bhattacharjee – Technical Marketing Manager, SanDisk Corporation
Martyn Wiltshire – Director, Strategic IT, SanDisk
Tuesday, Aug 26, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
 
PAR2984 – Partner SDDC 204: Positioning and Selling VMware’s Storage and Availability Solution
In this session, you will learn about VMware’s holistic strategy to storage and business continuity and how to position VMware solution to capture this rapidly growing opportunity. Software-defined Storage (SDS) is changing the game of how storage infrastructure is architected and managed. We will discuss how VMware partners can take advantage of VMware Virtual SAN to deliver unique value to customers capitalizing on the rapidly growing opportunity of hyper-converged infrastructure. Additionally we will review how partners can leverage VMware’s business continuity solutions such as Site Recovery Manager (SRM), vSphere Replication and vSphere Data Protection Advanced to ensure reliable data protection and disaster recovery for both software-defined storage and SAN/NAS environments.
Satya Vardharajan – Partner Readiness Manager, Storage and Availability, VMware
Robin Liong – Sr. Product Line Marketing Manager, vmware
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
 
STO1211 – Virtual SAN Ready Node and Hardware Guidance for Hypervisor Converged Infrastructure
Are you looking to select a hardware platform for your Virtual SAN that is within your budget and is best suited for your use case? Do you have growing performance, capacity and availability demands for enterprise workloads that you plan to run on Virtual SAN but don’t know where to start in terms of putting together the right hardware that meets your needs? In this session, we will help answer the above questions and simplify your hardware selection process for your Virtual SAN environment by means of providing prescriptive guidance for choosing a preconfigured hardware platform for Virtual SAN called the Virtual SAN Ready Node. Virtual SAN Ready Node is a preconfigured single or multi-node server hardware configuration that includes the type and amount of CPU, Memory, Flash, Magnetic Disks and I/O Controller devices designed for a specific workload profile. Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are designed for different workload profiles that fit into one of five solution categories – Low, Medium and High for Server workloads and VDI-Linked Clones & VDI-Full Clones for Server workloads. Virtual SAN Ready Nodes conforming to guidance in the above five solution profiles are available from all leading OEM Server vendors and are listed on the VMware VSAN Compatibility guide. Attendees will learn the criteria and methodology for classifying their use cases and workloads into one of the five aforementioned solution profile categories. The session will also cover infrastructure sizing assumptions and design considerations used for defining the Ready Node profiles. Furthermore, this session will also illustrate how to go about selecting the right solution profile category and the best Virtual SAN Ready Node within that category that not only meets the demands of the current enterprise workload but also accounts for future growth. In doing so, we will also go over sample use cases that map to specific examples of Virtual SAN Ready Node configurations from OEM vendors listed on the VMware VSAN Compatibility Guide.
Wade Holmes – Senior Architect, VMware
Rakesh Radhakrishnan – Product Management – Software Defined Storage, Vmware
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
 
STO1279 – Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive
This session will cover the architecture of Virtual SAN (VSAN) and the technical details of the various functional components of the product. You will learn about VSAN’s clustering and scalability properties; about the algorithms used to distribute data across the cluster so as to meet the availability and performance requirements of applications; about the distributed protocols utilized to guarantee data availability and integrity under any combination of component failures. You will hear how VSAN achieves all that while consuming very low CPU and memory resources on ESXi hosts. The session will also highlight the integration of VSAN with the rest of vSphere, including features such as HA, DRS, (s)vMotion, vSphere Replication and many more.
Christian Dickmann – Staff Engineer, VMware
Christos Karamanolis – Principal Engineer, Vmware
Tuesday, Aug 26, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday, Aug 27, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
 
STO2480 – Software Defined Storage – The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back
Storage is one of the key pillars within every datacenter. Leveraging software-defined storage is key to unleashing the full benefits of the software-defined data-center. But as with any new technology, one must understand how software-defined storage fits into their current datacenter architecture. VMware Certified Design Experts utilize an architectural methodology that eases the adoption of new technology to meet your business needs. Join us to learn how to design, implement and integrate the latest VMware software-defined storage technologies into your existing datacenter, the VCDX way.
Rawlinson Rivera – Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, VMware, Inc
Wade Holmes – Senior Architect, Vmware
Wednesday, Aug 27, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
 
STO3038-SPO – vSAN is Good – Make it Better with a Properly Designed All Solid-State Drive Solution
Are you considering implementing vSAN? Not sure where to start? The IT administrators and SSD engineers from Micron will give you a tutorial on how to put into service an optimized vSAN solution using all solid state drives and DRAM. At the end of the session you will walk away with a cost effective and performance focused suggested bill of materials for a optimized virtual platform. See the future of vSAN today.
Jared Hulbert – Software Development Manager, Micron
Scott Shadley – SR. MANAGER ENTERPRISE STORAGE MARKETING, Micron
Wednesday, Aug 27, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
 
STO2462 – Virtual SAN – Customer Panel
This session is a panel discussion comprised of several customers that have deployed Virtual SAN in their environment. They will discuss their experiences with Virtual SAN, specific use cases that were relevant to each customer, and answer any questions that are posed to them.
Chuck Hollis – Chief Strategist, Vmware
Wednesday, Aug 27, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
 
STO1153 – Performance best practices to run virtualized applications on Virtual SAN
Server-local storage has made a comeback in recent years, motivated by the popularity of large-scale distributed computing environments and made viable by the large storage capacities built into today’s servers. VMware’s VSAN allows us to aggregate all local storage in a cluster into a single datastore and present it for use by VMs running on any server in the cluster. Applications can use this clustered storage without any knowledge of the underlying storage hardware or the physical location of data objects within this storage. Needless to say, this shift in storage paradigm demands that we re-assess application performance. We have investigated/characterized the performance of  VSAN for a spectrum of benchmarks ranging from IO-intensive microbenchmarks to representative transactional, analytics and mailserver applications. We used resource usage data and application metrics to determine the factors that affect key performance indicators (e.g., throughput, response time, etc.) of these applications. We will present our findings in the form of experimental data, performance best practices, trade-offs and optimization and troubleshooting techniques.
Priti Mishra – Performance Engineer, VMware
Amitabha Banerjee – Performance Engineer, VMWare
Wednesday, Aug 27, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
 
EUC2551 – Re-Imagining VDI Design: Architecture for Next-Gen Desktops
Virtual Desktop architecture continues to move forward as new developments like VMware Virtual SAN, layering, and application remoting enable exciting new options. Learn how powerful new technologies in Horizon 6 come together to drive a more efficient low cost desktops with uncompromising user experience. This sessions explores new design options that leverage vSAN and application layering for a dynamic assembly desktop. We’ll look at several new emerging hardware technologies including GPU, Protocol accelerators, and FlashDIMMs that can drive the best user experiences. Putting all these new software and hardware innovations together doesn’t need to be complex – this session looks at several easy to implement designs that capture the new innovation and turbocharge your next-generation desktop design.
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Daniel Beveridge – Sr. EUC Architect, Office of CTO, VMware
John Dodge – Director, End User Computing Technical Enablement, VMware
Program Location: US
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Thursday, Aug 28, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
 
STO3007-SPO – Unleashing the Power of VMware’s Virtual SAN on the Latest Industry Standard High Performance  NVMe/PCIe SSDs
Explore different software defined storage configurations to optimize the performance and latency capabilities of the latest PCIe SSDs designed to use SSD optimized NVMe drivers on VMware’s Virtual SAN. Includes a demo of a dual socket Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 based platform outfitted with the latest high speed/low latency NVMe SSDs to optimize the power of VMware’s Virtual SAN. Performance and latency results will be reviewed based on different hardware and VSAN configurations.
John Hubbard – Data Center Usage Model Architect, Intel
Wade Holmes – Senior Architect, Vmware
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
 
STO1424 – Massively Scaling Virtual SAN Implementations
With an upcoming large global refresh and no existing SAN infrastructure a product group within Technical Operations department of the Adobe Digital Marketing Business Unit turned to the compute platform team to come up with a solution that will better take advantage of newer technology, provide a lower MTTR and give a better operational view of their application. Adobe engaged VMware and took part in the VSAN beta to architect a solution that will fulfill these products requirements without the need to stand up SAN infrastructure. This breakout will provide feedback from an objective hands-on experience at large scale and the lessons learned from hardware configuration to following the HCL as well as the management aspects in a large VSAN environment combined with actual data to emphasize the practicality. The breakout will also provide information on standup automation and how that enables VSAN to scale to be in the same realm as large scale SAN infrastructure.
Frans van Rooyen – Compute Platform Architect, Adobe
Andrew Nelson – HPC, Office of the CTO, Vmware
Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
 
TEX1985 – Lessons Learnt from a Real Life VSAN POC at Trend Micro
This session, by one of VMware’s leading VSAN technologist and a lead IT architect from Trend Micro, will discuss the lessons learnt from deploying VSAN as a proof of concept (POC) in various used cases at Trend Micro. The session will discuss issues encountered, workarounds, gotchas and how to get the most out of your VSAN POC. For anyone thinking of deploying VSAN in their own infrastructure, this session is a must attend.
Arsenio Mateos – IT Architect, TrendMicro
Cormac Hogan – Storage Architect, Vmware
Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
 
HBC2232 – Accelerate Your Migration to “Application-centric” Storage-as-a -Service from VMware vCloud Service Providers
Powered by VMware Virtual SAN, the “application-centric” storage-as-a-service is a great alternative to businesses of all sizes that lack the capital budget and/or technical personnel to implement and maintain their own storage infrastructure. VMware Virtual SAN, a foundational component of the storage-as-a-service, is a radically simple software-defined storage optimized for virtual environments that brings an application-centric approach to storage consumption. Unlike traditional storage services, it enables differentiated service levels based on individual VM policies; making consumption as simple as specifying the capacity, performance, and availability requirements for each application or virtual machine. VMware VSAN powered storage-as-a-service is ideally suited for several use cases in virtual environments such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), test/development, and disaster recovery.   Join us in this session and learn how you can accelerate your migration to the application-centric storage-as-a-service to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), address storage pain points, enable common use cases, utilize pay-go pricing model, and achieve key business benefits.  We will feature a guest Service Provider who will share their experience delivering VMware Virtual SAN Powered storage-as-a-service. The presentation will demonstrate how software-defined storage service delivers exceptional reliability and performance while reducing TCO and complexity.
Sanjeev Desai – Senior Product Marketing Manager, VMware
Neil Cresswell – CEO, IndonesianCloud
Thursday, Aug 28, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
 
STO1685 – Virtual SAN Hosted on Cisco UCS as the Virtual Desktop Architecture at a Major Call Center
To change direction or stay the course? Facing an IT business requirement to enable increased rapid growth in global markets with reduced costs, greater ease of execution, and quicker deployment times, a major call center provider evaluated the benefits of Virtual SAN technology on Cisco UCS in early 2014. The VDI and Virtual Server requirements that drove the evaluation included: · reduce infrastructure acquisition costs · reduce incremental growth deployment time · tighter alignment between incremental business growth and the associated VDI acquisition growth costs · reduce administrative complexity · improve hosted desktop density · maintain and or improve administrative and user performance · maintain and or improve overall resiliency · support a flexible workload mix consisting of varying VDI images/user types combined with VMware Virtual Servers
Pete Burns, Virtualization Architect
David Billot – Consulting Systems Engineer, Cisco Systems Inc.
Thursday, Aug 28, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM