VMworld US 2019 – Mind Maps & That’s a wrap

The dust is settling and announcements being processed.   VMworld US 2019  was amazing.

I was honored to have the pleasure of attending the VMworld 2019 US event in San Francisco this year, 

I enjoyed catching up with colleagues and customers from around the world.

It was a busy event and I had a packed schedule, with presenting 3 breakout sessions on vSAN, VVD & VCF. 

I also assisted with a longer vSAN Operations workshop.

As promised I have uploaded the mind maps I used while speaking at the event.


Now to prepare for VMworld 2019 EU


HCI Technical comfort using vSAN, VVD, and VCF at my VMworld 2019 US Sessions.

It has been exactly a year this week since I joined the Advanced Customer Engagement team at VMware.   It’s been a fast-moving and fun experience.   

A lot of my time has been spent working with customers on their larger projects with a focus on the vSAN and HCI deployments, growth, design considerations, etc.   I have also had the opportunity to present a fair few operationalizing vSAN/HCI workshops throughout Europe.

When the VMworld US Call for papers came along,  I thought I would base my submissions on this experience,  namely achieving Technical comfort and creating predictable infrastructure when using VMware HCI products.   

I am excited to say I have 3 sessions at the US event this year.   2 solo breakouts and a 3rd with a colleague of mine from the vSAN GSS team.  

I’m looking forward to discussing everything HCI  at the event.   If you would like to register for any of the sessions,  the  info is below and you can confirm in the schedule builder  using this link  




vSAN Specialist 2019 exam review, checklist mind map & useful links

As part of my role at VMware,  vSAN is a core focus area of mine.   

I originally completed the vSAN specialist certification at VMworld US in 2017.  Today  I managed to get a chance to take the newly updated 2019 version. 

The 2019 vSAN specialist certification comprises of a single  2 hour  60 multi-choice question exam.  It was a very enjoyable test with a mixture of design, product theory, and operational questioning.  

The style of the exam is similar to a VCP  (In fact it assumes an active VCP-DCV),  It is based on vSAN 6.7 / 6.7U1  and concentrates on the tasks a vSAN admin needs to know to run a production platform.

As shown below in my objective checklist the exam blueprint gives an overview of the areas to concentrate on. 

A good method of study for this exam  would be to take each objective, 

  • Understand the use case from a business perspective (DR, Performance )
  • Review the design decisions from the VMworld videos, or deep dive guide.
  • Practice related operational tasks using a session on the  VMware Hands-on labs.
  • Review the use of the vSAN release notes.  interoperability guide,  HCL.
  • Review vSAN tooling ( Sizing tools, vROps,  Support insight, pro-active alerts).
vSAN Specialist 2019 blueprint study checklist

 I would expect someone who has some real hands-on experience with day to day vSAN tasks and exposure to good infrastructure design could pass this test with some theory study and lab practice.

As an architect, I would recommend anyone who is looking to design or help a team support vSAN to have a go at the certification for validation of skils.  

A list of resources I would recommend reviewing prior to the exam is shown below.

Recommended VMworld Videos
Useful Articles 
Trim/UnMap info1 & info 2 
Mind Maps

NSX-T enablement mind map, & useful links

Following the amazing release of  NSX-T 2.4  and the recent VVD / VCF  enhancements that now support the network virtualization platform, I have recently spent some time reviewing and self-enabling deeper on NSX-T.

NSX-T Architecture Mind Map

From an architect perspective, the maturity of network and security features within NSX-T across platform architectures make it a requirement to be well versed.   

With the introduction of HCX being supported from 2.4.1 allowing the mass onboarding of workloads from vSphere, and NSX-V,  the use within larger-scale  HCI platforms is going to be more common.

Below is a list of my recommended links & my architecture overview  mind map .

There is also a new VMware Education course released for the 2.4 version.

Due to the dynamic and fast-moving nature of the NSX releases the below content is useful for understanding,  however, features change & improve between releases.  They will need to be reviewed against the NSX-T release notes to ensure the approaches and facts are valid with the specific build being used.


NSX-T use case & Architecture  – great overviews of components, &  data flow.

Feature deep dives ,  packet walks, & good practices.
Operational considerations – Upgrades, automation & monitoring.
Design Thoughts  – Reference architecture discussions.  
NSX-T  2.4 Update Videos  & demos.
Useful related Articles 

Cork Technical Support Summit 2019

This week I have had the great pleasure of working with the VMware Cork team for the yearly Technical Support Summit.  

The 2-day event was held this year at the amazing Páirc Uí Chaoimh conference center.   It was a great chance to talk directly to the teams who help support VMware products in the field. 

Some amazing technical insights and stories were told with some exceptional deep dives on a variety of subjects from vPostgres  & vSAN performance to NSX-T migrations in the packed breakouts.

I was also honored to be asked to present on the main stage my thoughts on “Operationalising vSAN & HCI”,  How to link design methodology with operational enablement using software-defined storage and HCI platforms as the new technology.

As promised during my session here are the  follow up info links and mind maps I mentioned.

Thanks again to everyone at VMware Cork and I hope to see you all next year.