VMworld 2021 – My Personal Top 10 Sessions

As much as I would love to attend an in-person conference this year, we get to enjoy VMworld from the comforts of our own home again. Even though I am not as excited as usual, there are some great sessions scheduled, and will definitely try my best to to attend to every single one of them. The catalog has close to 1000 sessions this year, so I went through a lot of them and I wanted to share my top picks with you!

I will warn you that I do have a strong bias for “meet the expert” sessions, in fact, those live panels are usually my favorite, every single time.

Also, if you have not registered for VMworld 2021, what are you waiting for? Please go ahead and register ASAP following this link here

Top 10 Sessions (in no particular order)

Best of Innovation – 10 Things You Need to Know About Project Monterey [MCL1833]

SmartNIC content…do I even need to say any more!?

“Project Monterey was announced in the VMworld 2020 keynote. There has been tremendous work done since then. This session details how Project Monterey and SmartNICs will redefine the data center with decoupled control and data planes for management, networking, storage and security—for VMware ESXi hosts and for bare-metal systems. We will discuss 10 things you need to know about Project Monterey to help accelerate your business. Find out how it helps to increase performance, security and manageability for the entire spectrum of VMware vSphere and bare-metal infrastructure management. We will cover and demo the overall architecture and use cases.”

Best of VMware Cloud – Accelerate Your Cloud Migration with VMware Cloud on AWS [APP2836S]

Workload portability, multi-cloud availability, same virtualization density that you have on-prem…I am sold!

“Cloud is increasingly becoming the new normal for enterprises. Many enterprises are migrating to VMware Cloud on AWS to achieve IT cost savings, improvements in productivity, business agility, and operational resilience. In this session, explore strategies, methodologies and best practice patterns to accelerate your VMware Cloud migration journey. Learn how to plan a VMware Cloud on AWS migration, mobilize your VMware Cloud on AWS foundation, and execute migrations at scale.”

Best of Tanzu – The Future of VM Provisioning – Enabling VM Lifecycle through Kubernetes [APP1564]

Are the days of deploying VMs using standard templates over? Definitely has my attention!

“In this session, you will learn where we are today with VM provisioning and where we are going. You will learn about the new VM service built into VMware vSphere with VMware Tanzu and how it can enable you to include VM-based workloads in your modern applications while still using Kubernetes APIs to deploy, configure and manage them. Additionally, you will learn how to get involved in the project and influence the roadmap as we talk about the open source initiative behind it and community-first development.”

Best of non-technical – Achieving Happiness: The Quest for Something New [IC1484]

Amanda Blevins and Steve Athanas are hosting this session…if you do not know who they are, please attend this session, you can thank me later!

“Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career” has been a staple of VMworld and VMware User Group (VMUG) conferences the past few years. However, the changes in how we live and work due to the pandemic have significantly changed what is under our control and what is not. Therefore, we can influence our personal happiness, career trajectory, and brand in different ways than we did before. A critical component to our happiness is adding variety and new opportunities into our lives. This talk will cover how to evolve your brand and career in a way that is relevant for 2021 through alignment to your individual happiness.

Best of SQL – Meet the Experts: Virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server on vSphere – Stories from the Trenches [MCL1318]

SQL server has been virtualized and perfected over the years, but I still like to attend every single year to one of these just to make sure I hear what might have changes. David Klee is also one of the speakers, which is a BIG plus!

“Virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server (the most virtualized mission-critical application) on VMware vSphere has become the standard for SQL Server deployments around the world. As vSphere continues to be the target platform for most SQL Server workloads and, with vSphere now being available in all major public cloud infrastructures, it is a given that you will virtualize your SQL Server workloads. The degree to which you will achieve bare-metal performance is up to how well you align SQL Server with the underlying infrastructure. This session (based on more than two decades of field experience) presents the common pitfalls you need to avoid and those you need to embrace as you run (or plan) your SQL Server instances on premises or in one of the various hybrid cloud options based on vSphere available from AWS, Microsoft, Google, and more.”

Best of Security – Meet the Experts: vSphere Security Best Practices Straight from the Experts’ Mouth [SEC1388]

Security, security, security…ever since covid lockdowns started, this has been a HUGE topic for every organization. I had to make sure to at least sign up to one of these sessions, and the fact that Bob Plankers is one of the speakers, made my decision that much easier.

“Come hear it straight from the experts: security best practices, guidelines, and holistic approaches for leveraging the unique security features of VMware vSphere, VMware vCenter, and VMware ESXi to set up a safe and secure environment amidst all the new threats every organization faces.”

Next Gen Load Balancers – Best Practices on Load Balancer Migrations from F5 to VMware [NET2420]

This is a session that I MUST. Even though I am not a network engineer myself, I am definitely curious and would like to better understand the difficulty required to migrate from F5 to NSX load balancers, specially since this is something a lot of our customers are currently looking into (or will be looking into as their F5 contracts come to an end). I mean, how can you compete with the simplicity, the way they scale, and the analytics that come out of the box included with them? Good luck!

“Load balancer migrations can be tricky and fraught with risk. This session will cover best practices and show how to streamline the migration from a legacy, appliance-based load balancer to modern, multi-cloud load balancing with VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer. The session will cover migration automation tooling, iRules, configs, common mistakes and pitfalls, and when to leverage PS.”

Are you embracing this way of thinking already? You should! – A Guide to the Cloud Operating Model [MCL1115]

Cloud is not a destination, it is a mindset…are you sure that you understand what that cloud operating model means?

“This session will provide an overview of the key considerations to successfully implement a consistent cloud operating model across VMware Cloud as well as multiple public clouds and across both modern and traditional apps. You will learn how VMware cloud management technologies can help you break down silos, and optimize and automate service and app delivery across your multi-cloud environment.”

Want to optimize your workloads performance? Of course, we all do!

These Next two sessions will go over all those small tricks that you need to be aware of to help you get there.

Deep Dive: VM Performance and Best Practices [VI2158]

“This session will provide a very detailed and technical explanation of the utilization of resources by VM, how to evaluate the performance indicators using ESXtop, and how to better architect and create solutions for performance issues.”

Extreme Performance Series: Performance Best Practices [MCL1635]

“Are users complaining of poor application performance? Demanding more resources to compensate? Do you know where to start looking for issues? Are you confident you have the right configuration in place? Attend this breakout session, delivered by VMware’s most experienced performance gurus, to answer these questions and more. This session will explain the most important performance practices that need to be applied across the stack, from application to hardware. Based on real customer case studies, the goal of this session is to empower you to identify the most common performance issues and remediate them by applying best practices. Leave with the tools, methodologies, configurations and confidence you can provide maximum performance to all your users and their applications.”

Honorable mention: App Modernization Deep Dive with VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Tanzu [MCL2290]

This one is a no brainer if you want to hear more about VMC on AWS with Tanzu, by one of the biggest community contributors, Mr. Lam himself. Even though I have tons of sessions already scheduled, I will make sure to squeeze this one in as well.

“Application modernization is top of mind for all enterprises that want to deliver value to their customers quickly. However, many organizations struggle to begin their application modernization journey due to a variety of reasons including legacy systems, lack of knowledge of the application, and application dependencies. In this session we will show how organizations can leverage VMware Tanzu and VMware Cloud on AWS to discover, analyze, and map dependencies, convert to containers and ultimately deploy a modernized application on an API driven infrastructure, while still realizing the TCO benefits that come with VMware Cloud on AWS.”

Link to the entire sessions catalog here

Do you have any other sessions that you would like to recommend? Please go ahead and comment them below!

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