We had a great keynote from one of the co-founder of VMWare, Dr. Mendel Rosenblum who talked about about the future of virtualization for usage such as intrusion detection at the virtualization layer and how it could be used to control attacks to the virtual machines. Another interesting direction that virtualization might take is on how applications are delivered by the means of complete multi-tiered environments packaged as virtual machines.
Customer Experiences Implementing Virtual Infrastructure
This session was a panel of people talking about their experiences using VMWare in large scale deployment ranging from 250 to 750 virtual machines running around the world. I was actually surprised that some of them are looking at migrating their whole environment to ESX even for high performance workloads such as SQL Server. They established virtual machine as the default environment when they need to deploy new servers ask themselves why a certain server would need physical hardware to run instead of determining if it could run in VMWare.
VMWare and CPU Virtualization Technology
This session was highly technical as it discussed the different strategies used to virtualize CPU and how hardware such as Intel VT or AMD Pacifica can help in that area. While hardware improvements help, they still rely heavily on their binary translation feature to optimize VM execution.
VMWare with CLARiiON
Another really interesting session on how we can use the various software for CLARiiON arrays to achieve high availability through snapshots and replication. There was also an explanation of how raw LUNs, VMFS and raw device mapping are used to achieve different objecctives. The speaker was really good and knew her stuff very well. This helped to make the presentation very interactive as she was able to answer even the toughest questions.
Resource Management for ESX Server 1
This session covered the different mechanism to control access to resources in ESX such as shares, minimum and maximum at the CPU, memory, disk and network level. A brief overview of memory page sharing and how it works was also given. The question we had regarding was also covered in that session as to wheter ESX is smart enough to schedule SMP VM across two physical CPUs rather than trying to run the SMP using 2 logical CPUs, so yes it can make the distinction.
Provisioning and Migrating Virtual Machines
This was a very straigtforward session as I had the chance to experiment with most of the content covered. I liked the explanation of what are the advantages of using raw device mappings mainly because it answered some of the questions I still had after the CLARiiON session. Also covered the basics of using templates in VirtualCenter.
Troubleshooting VMWare System Problem 3
This was another highly technical session that went in depth on how to analyze the logs in ESX for troubleshooting purposes. It gave quite a few indicators as what are the basic troubleshooting steps used to isolate the stability or performance problem. We covered in great extent log analysis which was really useful to diagnose hardware problems at the ESX host level.