UK VMUG 2015 Report – part 3

Following on from parts 1 and 2, this covers the last 2 sessions I attended and the closing keynote.

The mid-afternoon session I chose to attend was “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Migrating from vCloud Director to vRealize Automation” by Ricky El-Qasem (@rickyelqasem) and Alec Dunn (@LegoYoda) of Canopy Cloud.

Canopy’s private cloud was originally on vCD, with vCAC used as a user catalog frontend. Due to VMware’s stance that vCD is for Service Providers, not Enterprise usage, Canopy had chosen to migrate from vCD to vRA. The session walked through the required functionality which would be required in vRA to replace vCD

  • Standard User – Build VM from scratch, not from blueprint
    • Start with blank blueprint and use Advanced Service Designer to orchestrate the process
  • Upload an ISO
    • Create a web portal/ftp site
  • Build own catalog
    • Use a blueprint to request a blueprint be added to custom catalog
  • Create an organisation – dedicated groups of users, with separation
    • Series of catalog entries to request new Tenant, Add user, Change Tenant, etc. Reservations used for Separation .
  • Dynamically spin up a vDC
    • Currently a work in progress, but should be achievable
  • Spin up dynamic network
    • Using NSX – vRA is integrated out of the box, workflow to build new edge when a VM blueprint is executed
  • Active/Active Stretched Metro Cluster
    • Wasn’t possible with vCD!
    • Another WIP – need to define which DC to run a VM on, use affinity to keep it there except in DR
  • Migration of existing workload from vCD
    • Difficult as vCD vApp ≠ vSphere vApp ≠ vRA “vApp”
    • Manual process, but VMware PSO working on bulk export/import method

It was an interesting session for me, as I’ve only had the most superficial exposure to vCD/vCAC/vRA, so this was great exposure to some in-depth issues and highlighted just what can be done to bend the products to fit requirements.

The final session I chose was “vRealise Automation – Lessons Learned” with Frank Buechsel (@fbusechsel).
Whether it was just me being ‘punch-drunk’ from all the previous sessions, I don’t know, but I found this one quite difficult to take in. The main thing I took away was that a vRA managed infrastructure is quite difficult to shutdown and start up! Sorry Frank…

And so on to the closing keynote “Architecting your IT career” with John Troyer (@jtroyer).

I notice that at this point, the video and slide deck from this presentation aren’t available – I do hope that changes as it was another great session.

John began by talking about what ‘Architect’ means in relation to IT, then moved on to what’s termed ‘T-shaped’ experts – people who have one strong skill area, and a wider but lower general skill base (an inverted T). His suggestion was that as those skill areas can change rapidly, and skills become stale, we should also have an ‘Interest’ skill, to make us π shaped experts.
The next topic was Convergence and Divergence in architecture, where we’re seeing the end of separate technology silos, new solid-state storage arriving, and a Convergence on platforms (hyperconverged) as well as dispersion (rack-scale).

Moving on to Cloud, automation and scripting are key, and an observation that while there are a large number of platforms, AWS is 10x bigger than it’s competitors combined.
No talk about the future of IT would be complete without a mention of DevOps, and John talked about ‘The Phoenix Project’ which a significant proportion of the audience had read, and the importance of time-to-value. He also mentioned the importance of Cloud-native apps and Containers, Cloudfoundry vs Docker, the choice of single cloud (mainly AWS) vs multi-cloud (the stance of everyone else but AWS), and how this affects operations and infrastructure requirements.

How do you learn all this? John suggested side projects, and to gather a team – mentors, peers, meetups and open source projects.

His final recommendations:

  • Shift from operator to creator mindset
  • Do things that charge you up
  • Look Up! ie don’t keep your head down doing what you’re doing now.
  • Be a communicator and collaborator
  • To get the job you want, kick ass at the job you have

It was another great presentation from an accomplished and knowledgeable speaker that certainly left me buoyed up for the future of IT.

UK VMUG leader Alaric Davies then took the stage, with the 4x VMworld ticket giveaway. Congratulations to all who won, I know you’ll have a great time. Finally there was the shock announcement that 3 of the 4 UK VMUG leaders would be stepping down, and an invitation to apply for the roles.
A slightly sad note to finish on, but they’ve done a fabulous job for a number of years and I can’t begin to imagine the time and effort it takes to put on an event of this quality as volunteers. Whoever takes over will have pretty big shoes to fill…

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