Tag Archives: vmworld

vCO Custom Workflow Icons

While at VMworld Europe 2014 I noticed in some of the slides in a vCO session that the presenter was using some icons for workflows that did not appear to be standard. I was quite curious how to do this, but couldn’t find much information about it until I stumbled on the below training video.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s how to do it.

1) Get your images into vCO


  • GIF
  • JPEG
  • PNG

Not supported:

  • BMP
  • TIFF

Navigate to the Resources tab and you will probably want to create a folder to store them in.



Then Import Resources





Fill up the folder with the rest of the icons that you need.


2) Update the Workflows with the Custom Icon

Navigate to the workflow you wish to set a Custom Icon for and edit it. On the General tab select the button for the Workflow icon.


The dialogue box will let you select from within Resources with a handy search box to find what you need:


The workflow is updated with the custom icon.


OK, you can’t really see much of a benefit here. The difference appears when you embed your custom icon workflows into a parent workflow, which can now look something like this:




Pretty cool I think; I could have so much fun with this 🙂

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 4

Last day for me and first of all that meant leaving my accommodation. In my pre-VMworld post I mentioned that this time I was trialling staying in an apartment via AirBnB rather than a more traditional hotel. It turned out to be an excellent choice. I saved money, was in an excellent location and had a far more friendly experience than some of my previous stays in hotels around a busy conference, which can also be pretty soulless places sometimes when you’re travelling unaccompanied. I’ll definitely be using their services again in the future.

I managed to fit in one final session around vCAC automation, but generally just hung around the blogger’s area chatting with community friends.

Before taking off home in a real plane, I watched my colleague Ather take part in the charity paper plane All Star challenge given he had been pretty successful earlier in the week. A lot of money was raised by attendees – great idea!




VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 3

Day 3 saw the second General Session for conference attendees. I watched it from the comfort of the Bloggers Area given it was mostly a repeat of the recent VMworld US conference. If you missed either, you can catch up on it here.



First session for me today I went along  to the vCAC Discussion Group. Led by the vCAC Product Manager it was great to hear other people’s stories on how they have used the product in the real world. I’m definitely going to attend more of these types of sessions in the future.

Later on I attended an NSX Reference Design session. Not something I doubt I will ever be doing myself, but I want to learn at least enough to be able to understand what people are talking about. The presenter was great, really engaged the audience, got some excellent information across and left most people I talked to afterwards with plenty to get their heads around.

For some light relief later on in the afternoon I headed to the vExpert Storage Game show. John Troyer and Amy Lewis hosted a storage quiz between teams from Pure Storage and VMware. A fun session and educational too.

(None of my photos came out that great with some of the lighting. This is the least worst and looks like John Troyer is about to be beamed off the planet)


So I borrowed one from John Troyer’s twitter feed.


Final session of the day was vCO and Dynamic Types. A guy from F5 joined the vCO PM to run through an example of this. Having used them on a recent project, it was useful to get some more in-depth info and examples.

Wednesday evening was the VMworld party with the headline act Simple Minds, which seemed to go down pretty well and much better received than some of the bands in previous years.IMG_0153


I saw Mike Laverick down the front waving his records, I hope he managed to get them signed 🙂



VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 2

Day 2 saw the first General Session for conference attendees. I watched it from the comfort of the Bloggers Area given it was mostly a repeat of the recent VMworld US conference. If you missed either, you can catch up on it here.


One of the announcements I did catch was the HP and HDS are now shipping Evo Rail in addition to the previously announced vendors. So a pretty wide range of vendors to get them from now.


During the day I attended some sessions. Those of note that I got the most from were a session on the NSX Distributed Firewall, which had some great info and a lot of participation from the audience with string technical questions. Given the restrictions around getting hold of NSX there is not a lot of external content out there about it, so it was good to find out more.

The other session I found of most use was vCenter Orchestrator (now vRealize Orchestrator) – What’s Next? It was interesting to hear from the Product Manager the roadmap for the product, especially given it’s new found popularity.



Spent some time in the Solutions Exchange, checking out a few vendors and hanging around with some of my illustrious Xtravirt colleagues.


I entered the Red Hat Competition to try and win a Lego Death Star, but unfortunately didn’t win. I did get a hat though.


To finish the day off I headed over to the vExpert and VCDX event at the same venue as the previous. Always a great event to catch up with other people from this community we are involved in.


VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 1

The Monday of VMworld Europe is all about the labs for me. Given it is Partner Day and typically quieter around the conference than the rest of the week, I spend as much time in the labs as possible. Even though they are available online I never seem to get round to taking them outside of the conference.

I didn’t need to queue longer than 10 mins for any of the three labs I took which was pretty good. I expect the queues will be a lot longer from Tuesday.



The labs I sat through were first of all VMware NSX Introduction. NSX is one of my key aims this week for finding out more information. I have spent some time on my current project automating vCNS related things so was keen to see how they mapped to NSX. I enjoyed this lab as it gave me good info on the things I already knew about in vCNS and covered the basics of the more network routing related topics.

The standard time you have to complete a lab is 1hr 30 mins. I used the optional feature to extend this by an additional 30 mins and managed to get through it all in good time, without needing to come back to it. Since I was taking it on a day when there wasn’t much else going on, I was quite happy to use 2 hours of my time on this.


The second lab for me was the below. Again, a key learning point for the week is NSX and vCAC integration so I picked up some good info here. I used pretty much the full 2 hours for this lab too.


Thirdly, I took the Infoblox Partner lab. Have done some work with Infoblox in vCO with the generic REST plugin, so was keen to see what the official plugin could offer.


By far and away the most popular lab today was the NSX Introduction lab. This picture was taken early in the day, but the ration was pretty similar later on. By the time 1000 labs in total had been hit around 200 of them had been the NSX lab with Virtual SAN and Virtual Volumes in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.


For this evening’s event, the place to be appeared to be the PernixData party held at a stylish venue in a square in the middle of Barcelona. Plenty of good chat was held with community chums and catching up with those not seen for some time.



VMworld Europe 2014 – Day 0

First day for me at VMworld Europe 2014 in Barcelona and arrived in pretty decent time so headed over to the conference centre to get registered. It was pretty quiet and I doubt it will be like this the rest of the week.


Even the transit bus was empty and I had a chauffeur drive ride across .


Even still, managed to bump into a few guys from the community and it was good to put some faces to Twitter names already.

Don’t forget to pick up your complimentary 10 trip pass for the Metro from the information desk.


In the evening I headed over to the vRockstar event at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was a great evening and loads of people from the community and some of my Xtravirt colleagues to catch up with.



A big thanks to those who organised it for putting it together, I’m sure it’s a lot more work to put it together than most people realise.



Attending VMworld Europe?


I’m fortunate enough to be able to attend VMworld Europe again this year, so thought I would suggest a few tips based on my previous experience on how to get the most out of the conference.

Some years ago now the first large scale IT conference I attended was Microsoft Teched in Barcelona. Prior to attending I had no real idea what to expect, but fortunately stumbled across these two posts (1 and 2) from Jonathan Noble which were a great help. As it turned out we had a shared interest in PowerShell and he was kind enough to meet up the day before the conference , give me a few more insights and introduce me to some folks since I didn’t know many people in the wider IT community back then.

So hopefully this post might help you in a similar way if you are attending for the first time or maybe even if you are a conference veteran. Since I am funding this trip myself a lot of the advice is around working to a budget.

1) Registration

First up, register as early as possible you may get an early bird discount. Also watch out for discounts if you have the VCP certification and maybe consider the VMUG Advantage package which will give you an additional discount amongst its other benefits..

2) Get there before Monday

The conference is officially advertised as being from Tuesday 14th – Thursday 16th October with a partner day on Monday 13th. So if you work for a partner there are events for you on the Monday, but if not have a look at the Agenda and see what else you might be able to do that day. My personal tip is to make that day the time you spend in the Hands-On-Labs area. Typically it is a lot quieter than the rest of the week so less queuing and also you most likely won’t be thinking I should be in a session / discussion group / the community hang-space now. So get there on the Saturday or Sunday, take a look around Barcelona and there are usually community events starting from Sunday evening to go to.

3) Flights

Book early – that is all. The cost goes up and availability decreases quite significantly from about now, so hurry up 🙂

4) Accommodation

In previous year’s I’ve stayed in various hotels with mixed results. Last year’s experience wasn’t a great one after booking a hotel with a short metro commute to the conference centre I got bumped to one of their sister hotels with a long metro commute because of an issue with ‘a serious water leak in the hotel’ – in other words because I had booked the hotel independently rather than through the VMworld registration (since it was cheaper) I got bumped because it was now overbooked.

Thanks to a tip off from Simon Gallagher this time  I am going to try renting an apartment instead via AirBnB. Since I will hardly spend any time at the hotel apart from sleeping, there is not much point paying for the additional facilities they may offer. Last year I paid ~£320 for 4 nights at the hotel and got substandard service anyway. A quick scan over what’s on offer at AirBnB suggests I can get something suitable for ~£200 for the 4 nights. So we’ll see how that pans out this time.

5) Food

On a similar note there’s no point paying for breakfast at a hotel since you can get breakfast at the conference as part of your pass. Last year on Partner Day there was no food provided if you were not a partner, so if you’re taking advantage of that day in the labs like I suggested above you might want to bear that in mind. Most evening events will have some kind of finger food on offer, if you prefer to eat properly then you may want to sample some of the many restaurants Barcelona has to offer.

6) General

One of the best things about the conference is the chance to network with peers who have similar interests to yourself. As I mentioned at the start of this post I made a good friend at the first IT conference I went to and also met a bunch of people who it would prove very useful to know in the years since. In addition to the official conference events, get along to some of the community arranged events since you will inevitably meet some great people there. Also head over to the community hang space, a great place to meet and chat with many of the people who produce great blog content that you probably read on a daily basis.

Hope to see you there 🙂




VMworld Europe 2013: Day 3

So the final day of VMworld Europe 2013 for me and since I needed to leave not long after lunch I decided to try and get a couple of sessions in before time to go home.

First up was an OpenStack using VMware session with Scott Lowe as one of the presenters. I found this very informative as I didn’t have much of an idea about OpenStack yet and it was very useful to see the integrations with vSphere in the Havana release and good discussion points were raised around where the two might be used together or apart. There was an excellent demo which demonstrated how vSphere features such as HA, DRS etc can still be used when using OpenStack as a tool for provisioning resources for users. I came away from the session much better informed and will be useful for the future.


The other session I attended was around vCAC, something being particularly pushed this conference and I’d like to get more time with it. There was some curious interaction between the presenters however I still got some useful information out of it regarding the costing side and the flexibility of using vCAC with different resource providers.


After that it was time for a quick lunch, a few goodbyes and then off to the airport. I got a lot out of VMworld this year, an excellent mix of lab work, sessions and community discussions. From conversations with many people the few days whizzed past, it really is important to get out there early if you can and make the full use of the additional day on Monday. Getting through all the labs I wanted that day set me up nicely for the rest of the week.

In terms of some practicalities, here’s a few thoughts on some of the small, but important things that can make a difference to your conference experience.


VMware provided shuttle buses to and from the airport to the conference which made that part of the journey easy. Personally I took the Aerobus from the airport straight to my hotel.

Not massively advertised, but very useful, was the availability of a free 10 trip Metro pass sponsored by Veeam – just collect it from the information desk (worth ~10 Euros). Despite the fact I needed to take 2 different Metros this still lasted my whole week.

There was also a handy shuttle bus to and from the Metro to the conference centre. I normally like walking, but it was just that bit too far so made use of this quite a bit. I don’t think I ever had to wait more than a few minutes for one.

I don’t see how realistically transport could have been made any better: 10/10


On the whole this was pretty good and far and away superior to my experience last year in the US, although that might be more down to personal food preferences, e.g. doughnuts (US) or fruit (Europe) for breakfast. Breakfast itself was a good choice of pastries, fruit, cereal bars etc. Pretty handy if you want to sit down or just grab something to take away.

Lunches were two options. Around the sessions area were cold lunches, I skipped those in favour of heading back to the downstairs zone for a hot lunch. I found the choices pretty good the first couple of days, not so good the last day, but again that was personal preferences and typically there was quite a reasonable selection.

There was no food around on the Monday unless you had a Partner badge or could sneak in there. I probably should have been better prepared for this and can’t really complain since the main part of the conference wasn’t open for me that day.

I was happy with this overall so 7/10


Another issue I had last year in the US was the lack of cold drink availability at the conference. Since I don’t drink tea or coffee, availability of other choices is important. The US conference merely had water dispensers and small cups. Having been quite dehydrated after one day of this, I ended up carrying around my own water bottle to refill whenever I needed to.

This year in Europe was far superior for me in this. There were many fridges around the centre containing not just still and sparkling water, but also fruit juices,  Coke and other sugar / sweetener filled crud drinks.

I can’t really comment on the tea / coffee quality, but didn’t hear any complaints, so I’d give this 9/10.

The above may not seem like particularly big things, but some poor experiences with them last year led to a poorer overall experience and this year helped to an excellent one.

My steps for the last day were slightly higher than the previous day, but included steps taken during the journey home.


This brings my total steps for the 4 days of the conference to 43374, so a mean of 10843.5 per day. During the previous week on a typical work day I was seeing between 2k – 4k steps, so worth being prepared for this with some decent shoes.

Overall that was around 20 miles for the 4 days 🙂

VMworld Europe 2013: Day 2

Day 2 and back to the Hang Space to tune into the General Session. This was practically a word-for-word repeat of SF as far as I could tell, so I won’t bother going into much detail here.


If you want to watch it in full you can see it here:

The session I was most interested in today was that around the integration of Puppet and VMware. PuppetLabs CTO Nigel Kersten was one of the presenters. They went through a basic introduction to Puppet and then showed some new integration with vFabric Application Director – I guess this is where the money VMware invested into PuppetLabs has gone.


The other sessions I was interested in were around vCenter 5.5, upgrading to and Deep Dive. Justin King and other presenters gave some good info on things to watch out for when upgrading and some insights into the areas that have been focused on for improvements in this version, i.e. SSO. They claim its much better, I can’t say that I’m looking forward to upgrading any 5.1 installations though.

Onto the VMworld party and we had some professional rollerbladers….

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 23.58.58

…and some not so professional…..@vinf_net and @jeremyjbowman . It’s tough to say which were more entertaining!



And then the pleasure of Taio Cruz


and a balloon fest and some aliens



Finally, my number of steps was significantly down today, must be flagging 🙁


VMworld Europe 2013: Day 1

Day 1 started with the General Session. I expected this to be pretty much a repeat of SF so decided to watch it from the Hang Space. There were some new announcements around the acquisition of Desktop As A Service provider Desktone, vCAC 6.0 and GA of VMware NSX. You can watch the full session here:

I had a fair few sessions lined up for today. First up was a session around Log Insight. I had tried this out in the lab yesterday and liked the look of it, so was keen to find out more. Looks like a good product and plenty upcoming, not sure why it’s been made a separate product though, should be part of OpsManager if you ask me, even if there is some good integration between the two.


After a decent lunch (much better food than I had in the US last year) I was hanging around the Bloggers Lounge and it always pays off to spend some time there rather than at sessions.  Thanks to @virtualisedreal and @h0bbel I joined them and other VMUG leaders on a tour of the Hands On Labs. This provided a fascinating insight into some of the background behind how the Hands On Labs has developed over the years and the way they have been able to improve it using the developments in VMware technology.


After this introduction we were taken round to the Operations Centre and more details on how the labs are put together and monitored for the duration of the conference. The boss man Pablo Roesch had his serious face on; the amount of VMs and what people have come to expect from these labs now of course is a serious nature. It sounds like the team have a lot of fun though, healthy competition on most popular lab and things like that:




Again, it’s well worth hanging around the Bloggers Lounge to catch up with community folks, but also to watch some of the vBrownBag sessions. One that was particularly popular today was William Lam and his #Unsupported session. At the end of the session he announced an upcoming new VMware Fling, VMware Tools for Nested ESXi. This will go down really well with those who run ESXi Nested in HomeLabs.


Ended up going to only 2 out of 5 planned sessions, but much the better for it.

Finally, not quite as many steps as yesterday – we’ll see how that goes tomorrow!