VMWorld 2005 Day 2

Troubleshooting VMWare Problems 1
This session was supposed to be an introduction session to the troubleshooting, but it went in quite a bit of depth as to what are the tools that can be used to diagnose the different problems that can occur with ESX. Since the session was given by a support engineer at IBM, a lot of IBM specifics were integrated in the presentation which made some parts irrelevant because they were discussing problems encoutered with specific IBM hardware such as the FastT SANs.
Troubleshooting VMWare Problems 2
This session which should have been the introductory session, did a much better job at explaining the common problems that can be encountered and their solution in a ESX environment. A VMWare instructor was giving the presentation and the greater experience could really be noticed.
ESX Server and VirtualCenter Installation and configuration 101
A very basic session. Overall I was a bit disapointed with the content as they only went through a default installation without discussing much as to why certain options are preferred over some others. The first presenter seemed to stumble at even the most simple questions regarding the installation, which I find quite disapointing. I was impressed by the simplicity of deploying VirtualCenter as it only took a few minute to complete the server installation.
Very interesting session on how to attribute cost of servers in a virtual environment. The speakers in the panel advised to be careful not to go overboard with the cost allocation using the server utilisation method as it can get overly complex to accurately calculate the actual costs. Most of them seemed to suggest that CPU utilization would be a good general metric in most case to establish costs.
Business Continuity and Storage Management for the Virtualized Datacenter
Intereting session presented by Symantec that showed their Veritas products adapted to the VMWare environment and how they can be used for disaster recovery. One particularly interesting topic was the automation of testing of recoveries using their Fire Drill software. This can take a snapshot of your production environement and simulate the complete recover process for validity, while at the same time establish recovery time metrics that can be used as indicators for process improvement and for accurate prediction on how much time is needed to recover a certain environment.
ESX Architectural Directions
Definately the most technical session of the day and very interesting. The presenter was the director of R&D for the VMKernel development. He really knew what he was talking about. During the presentation we were able to see what will happen in the future of virtualization not only from a software perspective but also from hardware point of view. There was an interesting discussion regarding the different ways I/O can be achieve in VMWare and their advantages and tradeoffs. We can see that hardware vendors have a lot of work to do in order for virtualization technologies to achieve maximum performance and efficiency.

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