While searching through files on an old laptop, I came across the session that I presented at VMworld EMEA 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am posting the content and my experience here for ‘internet eternity’, primarily to reminisce, but also to help others that may have the opportunity in future.
In early 2010 our Virtualization Solutions team (Ken Gould and myself) had completed a very interesting (and highly enjoyable) EMC Proven Solution around Business Continuity solutions for Virtualised Microsoft Exchange on EMC CLARiiON storage. The testing included a bunch of performance testing with tools and products such as JetStress and LoadSim, Microsoft ESRP submissions, Navisphere Analyzer, Exchange 2007, vCenter, RecoverPoint, SRM, and Replication Manager.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to present the solution at VMworld EMEA.
The solution components were as follows:
- VMware vSphere v4.x
- VMware vCenter v4.x
- VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
- EMC RecoverPoint
- EMC Replication Manager
- Microsoft Exchange 2007
- Windows 2008
- EMC PowerPath/VE
- EMC CLARiiON CX4-480
The session objectives to be demonstrated and discussed were laid out as follows:
- Fully automated Remote Disaster Recovery
- EMC RecoverPoint & vCenter SRM integration
- Fully automated Local Business Continuity
- Enabling Application consistent local replicas
- EMC Replication Manager and RecoverPoint
- Application Performance
- Design considerations
- Application Consistency
- Consistency Groups
- Component Inter-dependencies
- Best Practices
The presentation can be downloaded and viewed from the link below:
The presentation included the following video, demonstrating the setup, configuration and recovery between 2 sites:
Some lessons learned from my experience of speaking at VMworld:
- Keep it simple
- This presentation tried to cover far too much content. I was too caught up in the engineering side of the solution where I considered EVERYTHING to be worthy of inclusion.
- Keep Animations and Demo content to a minimum. While the animations worked fine, the demo video failed to play for me as for some reason the videos were stored on a network share and not local with the presentation. That got real awkward!
- This presentation relied heavily on the presenter filling in the detail and pointing out various datapoints for many slides. The deck was reworked afterwards for use in customer EBCs and EMC World 2011. Part of that rework was to include a lot more callouts for specific areas on some screenshots, as well as including some initial overviews of the various technologies used by the solution. We live and learn.
- Plan the presentation duration for no more than 40mins. This allows time for Q&A and also gives attendees time to get to their next scheduled session. it also means that you don’t have to rush through your content.
- Listen to your mentor
- The VMworld team assigned me a session mentor (Lee Dilworth). Lee was great, and gave me great advice, some of which I didn’t fully appreciate or follow at the time. Gotta love 20/20 hindsight eh! Lee had warned about the above points. End result for me was that the session had too much content, the demo video failed (which threw me off), and time ran on for 50mins, which also meant that I was rushing it towards the end.
- Know your audience
- For a general VMware audience, this presentation had too much content unique to EMC. I had not appreciated beforehand that the VMworld audience was far more varied across multiple vendors, and that these non-VMware products would be new to the majority of attendees. My colleague presented this content at EMC World the following year and it was much better received and understood (though Ken is also a great presenter, so …!).
- Calm the nerves
- This session was in a room for 500 people, with approx 320 actually in the room. A small podium, a spotlight, and an ear-piece all contributed to scaring the life out of me.
- Before the session began, I decided to start a conversation with some attendees close to the podium. We chatted about why they were at the session, what they were expecting, and what kind of related challenges or solutions they had. This really helped me to relax.
- Once I finished, I wanted to do it again. it felt great, but I wanted to do it over, better.
Overall it was a great experience. Nerve-wracking beforehand, but it was a privilege to be on the agenda, and I learned a lot from it. Hopefully I will get another opportunity to speak at a tech conference at some stage. And hopefully I will heed my own and others advice better!