VMware EMPOWER 2018

Well it’s over… The first “VMware’s elite technical event for Partners” aka VMware EMPOWER 2018 is behind us. For people who are not familiar with what VMware EMPOWER is:


VMware EMPOWER has replaced the technical aspect of Partner Exchange (PEX) previously held at VMworld. EMPOWER 2018 is taking place at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta. The event is only available for VMware partners and is the place to be to get in-depth, technical deep-dives into VMware products and solutions. The event is focussing on people with a technical background such as SEs and Architects.

You can read the full story here

During the event our hands where itching to blog and tweet about all the goodness that was presented during all the session, but unfortunately all the NDA disclaimers prohibited us to do so…

EMPOWER 2018 Summary

General Session

Brandon Sweeney kicked-off the general session and explained how important partners are for VMware. It was nice to see the recognition by VMware for the VCDX certification, including the mention of the VCDXs attending VMware EMPOWER. After Brandon Robin Gunn and Matthew Stepanski took the stage and talked about the portfolio of technical training for partners and successful services delivery. Chris Wolf closed the General Session with some cloud-to-edge principles, VMware Cloud, Functions as a Service (Faas) and the importance of all partners on this journey.

Partner Networking Reception

The Partner Networking Reception was held at the College #Football Hall of Fame. Which was a really cool location with loads of stuff to see and to do. Then some good food, good music and an awesome atmosphere of people enjoying themselves kept us busy the whole evening.


All sessions were recorded and a link will be send out to all registered attendees in about one or two weeks after the event.


  • The content delivered was GOOD! In my opinion the content was much better (more technical) than at VMworld
  • FREE EXAMS!! An awesome perk of attending the event is that there was a voucher for a free VCP or VCAP exam included
  • The timeframe of around 6 months after VMworld is in my opinion a perfect moment to plan this event and have a summary of what is happening with all things VMware related
  • No vendors!! I think keeping the vendors out is a positive thing, it really keeps the focus on the VMware and not the whole ecosystem
  • VMware really listened to the feedback of partners and the EMPOWER team really took a step in the right direction to empower the Partner Ecosystem
    The event was spot on, it is the ultimate technical training event of the year for partners. Would I recommend it to other partners? Most definitely!

    Room for improvement?

  • The 60-second “unrehearsed” questionnaire was not well received…
  • For my EUC focussed colleague Hans Jaspers it was quite difficult to fill his agenda with sessions from the EUC track
  • My company, ITQ, invests heavily in all the Solution Competencies available, but these Solution Competencies were never mentioned or explained during this partner event. As #1 leader of the Partner University Arie-Jan Bodde would like to see more information about the importance and necessity of the solution competencies and what benefit it could bring for the Partner Ecosystem
  • The LiveFire sessions looked really good, but they took the whole day, therefore planning these sessions with other shorter sessions was not possible
  • Include Partners in the sessions for their war stories and lessons learned from the trenches
  • WiFi… Yes, the WiFi was horrible the first day but luckily it was improved the next day. Because having a technical event without proper WiFi is asking for a riot

    Some fun facts

  • The event was put together in 90 days
  • Almost 1,000 attendees
  • 57 countries represented
  • 74 technical sessions completed on the first day
  • 802 backpacks distributed
  • 58 gallons of coffee consumed on the first morning
  • 350+ VMware Certification Exams booked

    All in all me and my colleagues had a blast and left Atlanta a little bit smarter then we arrived so mission accomplished!

    Read More

    How to prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam

    Time does fly… It has been a couple of weeks since I took and passed the AWS Certified Solution Architect exam. But it was such a good experience and that’s why I want to share how I prepared and sat the exam.

    AWS Certified

    The Exam

    Having done all different kind of VMware exams, the whole AWS exam was refreshing! Instead of asking really specific questions what certain products could do, this AWS exam goes into more detail about how you would solve an issue for a customer. That is just a completely different approach and was quite interesting to say the least.

    For the exam itself you can follow the basic exam rules:

  • Read the question in full, no really read them in full!
  • For multiple choice use the eliminate process
  • Flag the question when in doubt and move on
  • Don’t stress, I’m serious just try keep your calm and take a deep breath you’ll be OK!

    Study Resources

    Exam Guide

    Download the latest version of the Exam Guide here and read it carefully. At the time of writing there are two options for the exam:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (Released February 2018)
  • Please do read the Exam Guides carefully because the exams are quite different!

    AWS Free Tier

    When you don’t have a lot of real life experience under your belt with AWS, where do you get started then? Well my advice is that your first step is to sign up for the AWS Free Tier. The AWS Free Tier gives you free, hands-on experience with the AWS platform, products, and services!

    So what are you doing still here? Go sign up!

    A Cloud Guru

    And then? What to do next? I went for the video course approach and watched the whole A Cloud Guru – AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate course within a week (luckily I had to travel a lot that week 😉 ). It is one of the best video courses I’ve done and I have the uttermost respect for all the work Ryan Kroonenburg and his team put in to it!

    AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide

    What about a good old trustworthy book? I’m personally not a real fan of books (sorry I would rather see the movie 😉 ) but I did borrowed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide from my colleague Jeffrey Kusters (thanks again Jeff for your help, otherwise it would have been a train wreck!). It contains some good practice questions that have a similar style as the questions in the exam.

    AWS FAQs

    Amazon has some superb FAQs containing tons and tons of information and also contains essential information for the exam!

    STUDY TIP: Focus on the following FAQs *wink wink nudge nudge*

  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon VPC
  • Amazon Route 53
  • Amazon RDS
  • Amazon SQS
  • So what’s next?

    For me the whole AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam was just an awesome experience! It gave me a new boost in pursuing new and different kind of exams. At this moment I just want to get some more hands on experience first, with al the spiffy AWS services before sitting the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam. So next up I think it is the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching exam, an exam I’ve been pushing back for years… To be continued!

    Read More

    vSAN Memory Consumption Calculator

    I ran into a strange issue today, a host was consuming way to much of RAM while running a single VM running on it. And that single VM was only configured with half of the RAM of the host?!? After some basic troubleshooting a colleague (thanks Satish) pointed me to the KB article KB2113954 which explained the issue.

    vSAN Memory

    The host in question was configured with 128GB of RAM and had 4 disk groups with 7 large capacity disks. If you do the math it required 48GB of RAM to run this vSAN configuration. In other words, it explained what we saw! vSAN was gobbling up more RAM than was anticipated!

    To calculate vSAN memory consumption you use this equation:

    BaseConsumption + (NumDiskGroups * (DiskGroupBaseConsumption + (SSDMemOverheadPerGB * SSDSize))) + (NumCapacityDisks * CapacityDiskBaseConsumption)

    Easy right? Well let me make it even easier for you:

    vSAN Memory Consumption Calculator

    Note: In the vSAN 6.2 and 6.6 releases, encryption and deduplication features have no impact on memory consumption.

    Read More

    VMworld 2017 EU Day Two

    *BEEP BEEP BEEP*… That moment your alarm goes off at 7am while it feels you just went to bed… But never mind, it’s time for VMworld 2017 EU Day Two! Let’s go!

    VMworld 2017 EU Day Two

    Queue the “General Session” for day two and again we (Johan van Amersfoort, Sam McGeown, Matthew Bunce, Niels Hagoort and Giuliano Bertello) were doing our thing on the CrowdChat which you can read here: #VMworldDayTwo

    If you missed the “General Session” you can find the replay here: General Sessions – VMworld Europe

    The rest of the day for me was filled with meetings, round tables and whisperer sessions so the day flew by before I knew it.

    In the evening my employers from ITQ organised an awesome trip to Mara Nostrum Supercomputer. So you would think OK supercomputer nice but not special… Well actually this is one of most cool supercomputers you will see, because it is located in a church!

    And it has some impressive numbers:

  • Speed 13,7 PFlops
  • Storage 14 PB
  • Power 1,3 Kw
  • OS SUSE Linux

    Unfortunately, there were not a lot of new announcements made on day two. But I found the following articles interesting, so I would like to share them with you.

  • Security in the Age of Internet Separation
  • VMware Continues to Drive Momentum for NFV in 2017
  • Read More

    VMworld 2017 EU Day One

    No time to recover from VMworld US because it’s time for VMworld EU Day one again!

    VMworld 2017 EU Day One

    I flew in on Sunday afternoon which gave me some time to get settled and enjoy some proper tapas before the Partner Exchange began on Monday. Like every year my employers from ITQ organizes a good diner for all 30(!!!) employees that are attending VMworld EU. It’s amazing to work for a company that puts so much time and effort in getting people at VMworld, because they simply see the benefit of people attending this event. For example where else do you have the opportunity to meet up with peers from the IT industry and share knowledge. Or attend sessions led by the experts in their field.

    On Monday there was one meeting in my agenda that I was really looking forward to, a meeting with Pat Gelsinger. It was arranged by the NSBU as part of the NSX Partner Summit and it was something special, we could ask him anything we wanted! It was really interesting to listen him talk about all kind of topics and boy he know his stuff, in depth? No problem, High Level? No problem. Eirik Vada perfectly describes it in tweet:


    So now I’ll Fast forward to Tuesday morning and the general session. I’ve been asked to be one of the hosts on a VMworld 2017 EU Day One Crowdchat for VMware EMEA together with Matthew Bunce, Rebecca Fitzhugh and Sam McGeown which was pretty fun to do. You can find it here: #VMworldDayOne

    If you missed the keynote you can watch it here: General Sessions – VMworld Europe

    As I did in VMworld US, I’ve gathered some of the interesting announcements made on the first day, which you can find below.

  • VMware Speeds Customer Time to Value for SDDC and Multi-Cloud Management with New vRealize Suite 2017
  • VMware Unveils New Innovations to Cloud Provider Program
  • GDPR and Addressing Data Security Gaps with VMware
  • VMware Offers Communications Service Providers the Fastest Path to OpenStack for Network Functions Virtualization
  • Read More

    VMworld 2017 Day Four

    Yay I made it! VMworld 2017 Day Four! While the dust starts to settle at Mandelay Bay and a big chunk of the attendees are slowly returning home, there are still a lot of cool things to do like the Hand on Labs. It will give you the opportunity to play with the newest addition to the VMware family VMware Appdefense.

    VMworld 2017 Day Four

    Today I attended another VMware Design Studio session, this time the topic was “vSphere: Next Generation Lifecycle“. It was a Deep dive into ESXi lifecycle challenges like: VMware Update Manager (VUM), Host Profile, Auto Deploy, HCL, firmware and other co-create solutions. It was an interactive small group session with the VMware User Experience team. The goal is to provide the VMware User Experience team information about your stuggles and issues with your day-2-day work, and to help them understand your needs as a customer, consultant and / or architect. These sessions are also held in Barcelona in 2 weeks, if you would like to attend these sessions look for the link in my other post VMworld 2017 Day Two.

    My ITQ colleague Johan van Amersfoort aka “The Bearded VDI Junkie” has created a really cool video blog with some of the highlight of VMworld 2017 US. Enjoy!

    Some cool VMworld 2017 US numbers:

  • 11024 Labs Completed
  • 109991 VMs Completed
  • 500+ breakout sessions offered
  • 4,910,976 pixels in the VMware booth LED wall
  • 375 exams completed
  • 200+ sponsors and exhibitors
  • 500+ sessions replays watched at the re-run bar

    VMworld 2017 US you were fantastic! Met a lot of new people, met up with old friends, learned a whole lot and walked more than what was good for me! Now I must get ready for VMworld 2017 EU in Barcelona which starts little over a week from now, looking forward to see you all there!

    Read More

    VMworld 2017 Day Three

    Pfew VMworld 2017 Day Three… The best way to describe VMworld is a triathlon, you easily walk more than 10K+, you try to soak up all the knowledge and finally you party hard at all the available appreciation parties! But it’s all worth it! Meeting up with all the community people from all over the world and sharing knowledge is something really cool. If you haven’t attended VMworld before, it would be definitely something that I would advise you to put on your “To Do” list for 2018.

    VMworld 2017 Day Three

    VMware also announced plans to deprecate vCenter Server for Windows and the Flash based vSphere Web Client with the next major release (not update release) of vSphere. I can’t say that I’m sad to see the Flash based vSphere Web Client go… Mind you that is completely my personal opinion but I don’t think I’m the only one happy with this news 😉 .

    Finally, I’ve gathered the announcements made on the third day, which you can find below.

  • Introducing VMware Skyline
  • How VMware AppDefense Enhances Security Across Clouds
  • Harnessing the Benefits of Network Virtualization With VMware NSX
  • VMware Delivers Industry-First Unified End User Experience, Management and Security Solution for All Endpoint Platforms
  • Read More

    VMworld 2017 Day Two

    While VMworld 2017 Day Two continues at full speed and I’m trying to go to as much of the outstanding sessions as I can. But unfortunately there are only 24hrs in a day. I can’t wait for all the sessions to come online and watch them all!

    VMworld 2017 Day Two

    Somehow it’s always the Tuesdays that is the bussiest day and funny enough also the day with the best parties. I was able to attend the Rubik party at the Marquee Nightclub and it was a good party. My props to the Rubrik party planner.

    Another thing what I did today was participating on a VMware Cloud on AWS design session. Which was an awesome thing to do! If you are going to VMworld Barcelona and you didn’t sign up for it yet do it here: Become Design Partner VMware Cloud on AWS. It will give you the opportunity to provide feedback on advanced topics to the VMware Cloud on AWS Design Team.

    Finally I’ve gathered some of the announcements made on the second day, which you can find below.

  • General Sessions Day Two – VMworld US
  • VMware AppDefense: Transforming Security in Virtualized and Cloud Environments
  • VMware, Pivotal and Google Cloud Collaborate to Unveil New Kubernetes-based Container Service – Pivotal Container Service (PKS)
  • Introducing New Digital Workspace Innovations
  • Read More

    VMworld NSX Announcements

    It’s that time of the year again, it is time for VMworld!
    And it’s going to be something special again this year, especially for everything Network Virtualization related. Everyone did their best to not spill the beans on all new nifty features that will be announced during this VMworld.

    What will be announced at VMworld 2017

    Some of the NSX related announcements that will be made are:

  • NSX-T 2.0
  • VMware Cloud Services Secure Networking
  • VMware Cloud on AWS
  • VMware AppDefense (previously known as Project Goldilocks)
  • vRealize Network Insight 3.5

    What’s new with NSX-T 2.0

    In case you missed the initial announcement of NSX-T you can read it here or register for session NET1510BU.

    Some of the new features of NSX-T 2.0 are:

  • Multi Domain Networking
  • Automation with OpenStack
  • CNI Integtration for Kubernetes
  • Improvements of On-Prem deployments
  • Support for Multi Off Site Clouds

    VMworld NSX-T

    VMware Cloud on AWS

    VMware Cloud on AWS is a VMware Service which is joint engineerd and a one stop shop for Customers.


    This Service includes the following:

  • VMware SDDC running on AWS bare metal
  • Sold, operated and supported by VMware
  • Support for containers and VMs
  • On-Demand capacity & flexible consumption
  • Full operational consistency with On-Prem SDDC
  • Seamless workload portability

    NSX Vision

    The image below gives you an glimps into what the Network Security Business Unit (NSBU) has in store for NSX.

    NSX Vision


    AppDefense will be one of the biggest announcements on the first day of VMworld. So what is AppDefense you ask? Well in short, AppDefense provides an intent-based security capability that is able to detect and block potential malicious actions and applications. The AppDefense system understands and learns what is a known good process and is also able to determine when the runtime behavior of an application deviates from its intended state. In other words, AppDefense was the missing link to provide Enterprise Security.

    Some of the features of AppDefense are:

  • Application Control
    • Comprehensive view/grouping of VMs in the datacenter
  • Runtime Anomaly Detection and Response
    • Monitor the real time state of the OS and user Applications
    • Alert and control process, network, and kernel events
  • Process Analysis
    • Built-in Process analysis engine gives overall process maliciousness as well as specific traits that are potentially suspicious
  • Orchestrate Remediation
    • Our infrastructure reach provides a more effective way to orchestrate remediation during a security incident
  • AppDefense will be (initially) deployed as SaaS service, this could be quite benefitial due to the amount of information gathered by other customers. A Proxy will be deployed on-premises to gather the information.

    What’s next?

    Like I desribed in an earlier blog post on the ITQ website, my main focus this year will be VMware Cloud on AWS and NSX. So please keep and eye on this site and get all the latest information on these topics.

    Read More