VMworld 2014 public voting and my 6 sessions

As I am sure you heard, voting for VMworld 2014 sessions is now open! Based on my count this morning, it looks like 1,179 public sessions are available to select from (though only 1,178 to vote on as session 1645 appears to have been submitted by accident). All in, I have 6 sessions up for public voting! Now you may be wondering why I submitted 6 public sessions, how many private sessions I submitted, and what I will do if they all get accepted. Read on to hear the reasoning behind my approach this year.

My Sessions

1826 Four steps for building powerful Log Insight content packs (Breakout Session) – Steve Flanders
Collecting logs within an environment is easy, but being able to quickly identify problems, patterns and trends is challenging. VMware Log Insight has the notion of content packs, or plugins, which contain knowledge about a specific subset of messages within an environment. Content packs contain powerful visualizations, complex queries, the ability to provide structure to unstructured messages through the use of fields, and functionality to alert based on defined queries. Any user of Log Insight can create a content pack through the use of Log Insight’s intuitive HTML 5 interface.
This session will discuss how to build powerful content packs in Log Insight. In addition to a walk through on what can be saved in a content pack, best practices and performance considerations will be discussed in depth. You will leave the session with the knowledge you need to build content packs that bring immediate value to log messages.
1833 How to perform troubleshooting and root cause analysis using Log Insight (Breakout Session) – Steve Flanders
Environments consist of a variety of devices including compute, network, and storage as well as virtual machines. Each of these devices generates log messages. The number of log messages a device generates depends on the device and the device’s function, but can range from a single event per second to a hundred or more events every second. A typical environment may generate a million or more events each day. Log Insight has been built from the ground up to handle the demands of the modern datacenter. Not only does it scale to support ingestion needs, it also provides a powerful query and analytics engine making it possible to quickly identify and address environmental issues.
This session will demonstrate how troubleshooting and root cause analysis of environmental issues can be done entirely through log messages. You will leave this session with the knowledge of how Log Insight can add structure to unstructured data, query over data quickly and easily, visually manipulate data results, preserve knowledge extracted, and notify when problems are found.
1831 Solving Real World Problems with Log Messages and Log Insight (Panel Session) – Steve Flanders and 4 customers
Do you collect system and application logs? Do you have an easy way to search for, display, alert, and share important information in these log
files? Log messages provide a plethora of information about your applications and perhaps more importantly your entire environment. This information can be used to proactively address issues in your environment that might otherwise go undetected until it is too late.
This panel will take a close look at VMware’s Log Insight, a log aggregation, correlation, alerting, and reporting product. You will hear from customers and watch live demonstrations of how Log Insight brings immediate and lasting value to any environment. You will leave the session with a better understanding of how Log Insight puts your logs to work. This session is ultimately about understanding how you can leverage Log Insight to easily gain knowledge about your environment that you may be missing today. Since this session will focus on how others, and in turn you, use Log Insight, ample time will be available for your questions.
2119 Troubleshooting vCloud Automation Center with Log Insight (Breakout Session) – Kim Delgado and Steve Flanders
How do you troubleshoot VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC)? vCAC deployed in a distributed fashion is made up of a lot of components including the identity appliance, vCAC appliance, infrastructure web server, infrastructure manager server, infrastructure DEM server(s), infrastructure agent server(s), vPostgres appliance, MSSQL database server, vCloud Application Director, and IT Business Manager appliance. All of these components and their associated dependencies can lead to a potentially complex management plane. When the need arises to troubleshoot, which component do you start troubleshooting first?
Everything you need to troubleshoot and resolve vCAC issues is available in vCAC logs. In this session, we will discuss the vCAC architecture and all its components, we will highlight how to configure vCAC to forward its logs to a Log Insight instance and we will demonstrate how to troubleshoot real vCAC issues you may experience through the use of Log Insight and its powerful content packs. You will leave the session with ability to troubleshoot vCAC through the use of log messages and Log Insight.
2707 Scaling Big with Log Insight : Configuration Guidance and Technology Deep Dive – Chengdu Huang and Steve Flanders
While providing tremendous value for monitoring, alerting, and troubleshooting, centralized log management in Software Defined Data Center is very challenging because of volume of data streams and diversity of data sources. In a typical large scale data center, thousands of applications, operating systems, hypervisors and devices can generate log streams simultaneously and continuously.
Imagine collecting and aggregating log messages provides from all components across the whole SDDC stack in your entire data center, and running search and powerful analytical queries across all the sources, all in real time! vCenter Log Insight, with the new scale-out architecture, can bring that vision to reality.
In this session we will present the new scale-out architecture of Log Insight. You will learn about the techniques of setting up and managing a Log Insight cluster, such as configuration, critical statistics for monitoring, relevant system alerts, etc. We will also demonstrate the elasticity of Log Insight clusters by explaining how to increase and shrink the cluster size. You will leave the session with a deep knowledge of the scale-out architecture of Log Insight. You will learn techniques on how to setup and tune Log Insight for extremely large scale real-time log data aggregation and analytics.
2526 How VMware Log Insight Incorporates Customer Feedback – Leila Tudury, Jeff Anderson, Christopher Chua, and Steve Flanders
VMware Log Insight has consistently delivered quality software through an iterative & agile development practice. Customer feedback is critical to the process for both short-term development & roadmap planning.
Product Management will lead a discussion with customers & developers on what it takes to have a successful product release through the practice of beta releases and ongoing collection of feedback from many different channels. Customers will discuss the most effective ways for them to have their feedback heard & incorporated into the product. Developers will participate to include how the feedback is received & processed.

My Approach

Coming into the call for papers for VMworld 2014 I was trying to decide what I wanted to present on. For Log Insight, a lot has happened since VMworld 2013 and the GA of Log Insight 1.0. Trying to narrow down topics was becoming challenging and I did not want to cram too much information into one session. Taking a step back, I realized that VMworld was not about me and what I wanted to present, it was about the attendees and giving back to the community. With this in mind, I decided to take a different approach then most of the recommendations I had heard in the past. Instead of trying to submit one or two sessions and focus all my effort on just getting a session accepted, I decided to submit several sessions on a variety of topics and let the community decide what topics they want to hear about.
After call for papers, all public sessions are subject to public voting. After public voting, internal VMware voting takes place. While the algorithm for how the sessions gets ranked is unknown, it is safe to assume that public voting weighs heavily in the decision as to whether a session gets accepted or not. Since I want to give back to the community, it only makes sense to me to let the community decide what they want to hear about. While I would be honored if all 6 sessions were accepted, I do not expect all 6 sessions to get accepted. If more sessions gets accepted than I expect, well I will figure it out!

Other Log Insight Sessions

2220 Powerful Monitoring and Root Cause Analysis for Windows and Windows Applications using Log Insight – Jon Herlocker
Do you aggregate and monitor Windows Events and application log files on your Windows servers and desktops? If not, you are ignoring a massive source of information on the health of your Windows IT ecosystem and creating a security blind spot. Unlike numeric metrics, Windows Event and application log files contain deep context on the activities, successes, and failures of the applications that are running on your Windows machines. Log Insight 2.0 provides a hyper-small Windows agent that can stream log messages in real time from application log files and Windows Event infrastructure to a central Log Insight cluster. Log Insight provides an easy-to-use user experience that leverages sophisticated machine learning to automatically discover the application event types and then allows database-like queries and superb data visualizations across potentially massive numbers of Windows machines. Log Insight also comes with pre-built dashboards and alerts specifically for Windows. Log Insight can also be used to do ongoing monitoring and alerting based on conditions within log files. Imagine knowing the that your customers are having issues with their applications before they do! Come to this session to learn about the Log Insight capabilities for Windows and how to get started.
2052 Troubleshooting Without Darts: Slash problem resolution time with VMware Log Insight – Alan J Castonguay and Steve Sykes
Methodical problem definition and investigation will always outperform dart throws.
Through two case studies we will discuss a framework used at VMware Support with four dimensions: Magnitude, Duration, Frequency and Spread.
Critical thinking techniques are used to cut problem spaces using evidence from logs, helping to provide relevant and detailed direction for all problem collaborators.
This methodology allows all stakeholders to align regarding the problem statement and accomplish the objectives of understanding what happened and preventing future outages.
1348 Analyze Anything with Log Insight using the new API (Beyond VMware!) – Jay Patel
Log Insight provides an easy-and-enjoyable user experience for analyzing large volumes of log data. As such, Log Insight is quickly gaining foothold in today’s software-defined data centers (SDDCs) to aid in troubleshooting complex environment issues.
With the introduction of REST-based ingestion API in v2.0, Log Insight can help users gain intelligence over a multitude of data. In this talk, we demonstrate how Log Insight can provide answers to a wide variety of analytical questions with point-and-click simplicity. By walking through a couple of scenarios facing SDDC operators and architects, we show that a large set of programming tasks related to data analysis can be eliminated by leveraging Log Insight v2.0.
2594 Nothing Beats Log Insight for VMware Log Management – Jeff Anderson and Leila Tudury
After several failed attempts with other log management solutions, Integris discovered VMware Log Insight and realized that nothing comes close to helping them manage VMware log data. Integris Credit Union is the third largest credit union in Canada.
1504 Beiersdorf AG: Experience and Best Practices with vCenter Log Insight – Bill Roth and Joerg Meier
This talk will present an overview of the experience of one of the earliest Log Insight customers, Beiersdorf AG. The first part of this talk will review Beiersdorf and its businesses, then lay out their business challenges. Next, it will describe their environment, and the solutions that were considered before choosing Log Insight. This talk will then focus on the installation and deployment of Log Insight, and its upgrade experience. The talk will conclude with a discussion of best practices gleaned from Beierdorf’s experience, and the presenters will take questions from the audience.
Beiersdorf is today a global skin care company with more than 150 affiliates and over 16,500 employees worldwide. Our international success is founded on strong brands in all the relevant skin care categories. NIVEA in the mass market, Eucerin in the pharmacy segment, and La Prairie in the luxury skin care segment. Today – 100 years after its creation – NIVEA is one of the largest skin care brands in the world and available in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Jeff Anderson, the Senior Manager of IT at Integris, will discuss how Log Insight has been used to quickly detect long-standing & pervasive infrastructure problems. He’ll also describe how VMware has helped Integris become the first Credit Union in Canada to achieve a complete data center fail over.
1640 Enabling End to End Predictive Analytics With vCenter Operations Manager Adapters, Hyperic Plugins and vCenter Log Insight Content Packs – Byron Schaller and Sean Gilbert
A ticket lands in your inbox saying email is slow for user John Doe. This happens all the time. Someone reports a subjective issue and you have to run through all of your interconnected systems checking each one for performance issues in hopes of resolving the ticket. Don’t you wish there was a better way?
There is. vCenter Operations Management Suite is the better way. By leveraging the freely available adapters for vCenter Operations Manger, Hyperic Plugins, and vCenter Log Insight Content Packs you can build a complete service management system based on predictive analytics.
This is not just another way to monitor your virtual machines. The management system we will teach you to build will give you insight into possible future bottlenecks, performance issues, and failures across your entire enterprise; from the disk spinning in the SAN to the application presentation layer and everything in between.
We will walk through how to avoid that exact ticket from John Doe. We will demonstrate how to connect vCOPs, Hyperic, and Log Insight, as well as enable insight into the SAN, Host hardware, the Windows Guest, Active Directory, and Exchange. Afterwards we will discuss predictive analytics and vCOPs fingerprinting, the best proactive protection you can have in your environment.
2024 Leveraging the power of VMware vCenter Log Insight 2.0 – Brandon Godby and Jason Page
Are you struggling with troubleshooting issues? Would you like to learn how to reduce your time to resolution? The Teradata operations team was plagued by these issues. We were truly living in a reactionary culture. VMware vCenter Log Insight was the catalyst to drive Teradata to operating in a proactive way, delivering a new approach of innovation and customer focused solutions. This session is targeted to System Administrators, Engineers, and Operations Managers. Join us in a technical deep dive, including a live demo of the newest version of vCenter Log Insight. Learn how Log Insight integrates with other VMware technologies such as vCenter Operations Manager, Virtual SAN, and NSX!!!
2470 Milcobel: Experience and Best Practices with vCenter Log Insight (Breakout Session) – Bill Roth and Alain Geenritz
This talk will present an overview of the experience of one of the most innovative Log Insight customers, Milcobel. The first part of this talk will review Milcobel and its businesses, then lay out their business challenges. Next, it will describe their environment, and the solutions that were considered before choosing Log Insight. This talk will then focus on the installation and deployment of Log Insight, and its upgrade experience. The talk will conclude with a discussion of best practices gleaned from Milcobel’s experience, and the presenters will take questions from the audience.
2174 Monitoring and Troubleshooting Horizon View with Log Insight – Chris Todd
Managing the complexities of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure can be a challenge. Do you run a Horizon View Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and spend your time digging through logs to improve your user’s virtual desktop experience? Learn how Log Insight can simplify your job of administering, monitoring and fine tuning Horizon View. We will cover how to integrate the logs from the View servers and the virtual desktops, how to use the Log Insight Content Pack for Horizon View to quickly uncover hot spots and stay ahead of capacity planning. Learn how to use the Log Insight to troubleshoot problems, build custom dashboards to monitor system health and generate automated alerts to let you know if something goes wrong.
1525 Feel empowered-Effectively resolve the complex issues in your Infrastructure using vCenter Operations Manager & Log Insight. – Siva Prasad and Mohit Kataria
a) Identify key issues around storage, network & performance.
b) Build an effective troubleshooting workflow through data collection, root cause and resolution
c) Review case studies of real time incidents/outages.
1464 VMware Log Insight 101 – How to Start Learning About Your Storage Machine Data – Scott Sauer
Are you new to VMware Log Insight? Find out how you can utilize this powerful tool to help monitor your internal storage infrastructure’s machine data. Find out what’s really going on under the covers by being able to query trending health data, that your entire infrastructure is logging on a daily basis.
1265 Improving Cloud Operations Visibility with Log Management and vCenter Log Insight – Bill Roth
This session will present a panel of enteprise customers who will talk about their log management implementations with vCenter Log Insight. Topics will be covered will be enterprise topology, configuration, log collection performance, most valuable queries, dashboard construction, and comparison to other log management solutions.
The panel will include 3-4 Log Insight enterprise customers who will be interviewed by a moderator.
2735 VMware vCenter Log Insight – Third Eye and Brain of VMware Cloud Infrastructure. – Karthik Balachandran
Lets discuss how vCenter Log Insight’s Real-time, actionable operational intelligence and deep visibility equips you in better managing your Environment and help you avoid Potential pitfall Proactively. Along with the Troubleshooting Tips and Trips straight from VMware Support

My Call for Action

In total, 19 Log Insight sessions are available to vote on and they come from a variety of source including the Log Insight team, VMware employees, partners, and customers. I encourage you to look over the list above and vote for the sessions that you really want to see this year! If a session you really want to see does not make it this year, do not fret as other opportunities will be presented to cover these topics. Also, if you feel like a topic is missing from the above list, leave a comment and let me know. Finally, I would be interested to hear what you think about my approach.

© 2014, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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