My first Interop is underway, and so far I was able to register, bump into some friends, and even attend some workshops. I thought things were starting out pretty smooth until I tried to get into my first workshop “Building Infrastructure for Private Clouds”. I figured I should check it out just to see if I could learn anything new, and also to see just what caliber of material a random Interop session contained. I figured I might as well “audit” a session I might actually know a little about.
Well that was the plan, but somehow I ended up in the adjacent ballroom. Woops. The good news is that I learned a lot about WireShark, and network troubleshooting thanks to Mike Pennacchi (@mpennac) and his “Deep Packet Inspection with WireShark” workshop. In the end I’m really glad I made the mistake! The only thing that I would add is a little information around capturing packets in a virtual world. In a VMware environment customers who have standard switches are pretty much out of luck like Mike and an audience member mentioned (at least in terms of port mirroring). However with VMware distributed switches as well as NSX you can actually do port mirroring and even Netflow collections. I wont go as far as saying I know how do these captures in detail, but I have been studying for the VCPN610 exam and do recall some documentation on how the NSX controllers can capture packets to a pcap file. Overall though a GREAT session.
As my day progressed things got better, I managed to make it into the sessions that I intended to, the food was better than most conference food offerings, and overall the pace and feel of the conference just felt nice. Not rushed or cramped like others.
I managed to tour about 50% of the expo hall before getting a work call, so I will certainly have to check back in there, but I liked what I did get to see. Typically the conferences that I get to attend are centered around a particular vendor, and most if not all of the expo vendors are people who in no way compete with the main vendor. Interop is much different, there are direct competitors right across the isle, and there are vendors showing off stuff that I literally have no idea what it does. But that’s a good thing as sometimes we filter so much out that we neglect to investigate all of the possibilities out there.
So far I am having a great time, and learning a lot. I think for any IT person, especially in the small IT shop where they might not get to go to 3-4 conferences a year… Interop is definitely the way to go to maximize exposure to a wide variety of IT related vendors and knowledge.
On to day 2!