Build Day Live with SuperMicro

First off, let me give you a quick rundown of what Build Day Live is. The vBrownBag crew takes a product or piece of equipment, and does a real-life day-1 build. It doesn’t always go right, there’s usually troubleshooting involved, and it’s a look at what an implementation engineer runs into.

vBrownBag at Supermicro

I will admit, before watching this Build Day Live, I was not terribly familiar with Supermicro’s offerings. I do know there are quite a number of manufacturers that use Supermicro under the hood, but I never took the time to look deeper at their servers. When I’m doing consulting by day, they’re not a vendor I normally work with.

Two things really caught my eye:  The modular design of the enterprise-ready Ultra series, and networking. Yes, I found out Supermicro does networking.

Ultra Modular

Jerry Dien talked about the modular design of their enterprise-class Ultra series: the single motherboard across the series, with different configurations of backplanes, risers, and form-factor of 1U or 2U to make completely different servers.

Depending on configuration, you can build 10 (1U) or 24 (2U) drive configurations, with SAS/SATA backplane, or NVMe (also called direct-attached).

It can be really nice to have that familiar server and management, with different configurations depending on your needs; consider: Datacenter or general compute clusters, versus application and desktop delivery (Horizon, Citrix), with similar management.


The other thing that I was completely blindsided by was their networking solutions, from 1GB to 100GB switches. It turns out they have some L2 and L3 switches, 10gig, 25gig, aggregation, and bare-metal switches that will ship without an OS.

Switches have both a web UI for the interface people, and CLI for those who prefer command-line. I haven’t seen what the web management interface looks like, but Alastair said he was able to figure out what he’s doing without much trouble.

With a quick search, I found their CLI guide which has syntax that looks pretty familiar to me.

There isn’t any centralized/unified management (yet), but they’re integrating it with their blade networking management systems, slated for later this year.

There was a lot covered in the Build Day Live, including their GPU enabled servers, their management software, and blades. Check it out, maybe you’ll pick something up too.

Almost Ready for VMworld 2017

VMworld 2017 is coming in just a few short days! I am planning to be a lot more active with blogging and live tweeting (@anthonyrhook) – so check it out while I’m there. There’s also 3 relevant posts from around the community on the bottom – read on!

If you’re still reading and don’t have a Twitter account: get one.

I’m getting ready for a week of learning, speaking, and a little bit of fun. Here’s my take on the whole thing.

Prepping for VMworld


Don’t forget to set your out-of-office email for the week while you’re there. I don’t find a lot of time to catch up on emails and things while I’m there, so I try my best to have projects either closed or on hold. I did agree to following up on some work while on the plane while there, though.


I’m headed out for just shy of a week, so I have to make sure I have things squared away at home. I’m mowing the lawn tonight, and make sure all is set for my wife, daughter, and dogs. Change your light bulbs, make sure your security system is working, that kind of thing.

Wear comfortable shoes.

You’re going to be walking a lot. Whether it’s through the Solutions Exchange, to-and-from the events every day, or even just in-between sessions. I bought new shoes just for the occasion, and I’ve been breaking them in all week this week.

Hygiene is important. There’s a lot of people… in a hot place… stuffed indoors (yes, there’s AC). You smell what I’m stepping in, here?


If you’re headed to VMworld, remember that you’re going to get a backpack while you’re there. You also have the opportunity to pick up a TON of swag: t-shirts, water bottles, and I’m also going to take a wild guess that fidget spinners will be the craze this year. Consider bringing an empty suitcase for all the swag you may want to bring back.


Make sure to drink water while you’re traveling, this is a general rule of thumb for any flights. You’re headed to a hot desert, you may have some adult beverages when you get there, and you’ll want to avoid any hangovers if you can.

Drink water

Actually, while you’re at it, drink a lot of water during the conference too.

Check for Uber or Lyft codes at the airport for some percentage off the ride from the airport to your hotel, there’s usually big banners. Can’t miss ’em.

Partner Exchange 2017

PEX 2017 beings Sunday with partner bootcamps. Check now to see if any relevant sessions are available. With the Partner Exchange pass, you have exclusive access into the Partner Exchange Lounge open all week, starting on Sunday at 9:00AM. The lounge is a great place to relax, refuel, recharge your devices, and request a meeting room.

VMworld 2017

Allow yourself extra time to get to places. Book your sessions in the Content Catalog now, if you haven’t. Even if they’re full, add them to your favorites list, and a lot of the time you can get in anyway. Learn all the things, and meet all the people.

You have an opportunity to meet the people that literally write the books on these technologies.


I’m giving a #vBrownBag TechTalk, Wednesday, August 30th, 10:45 in the VMvillage.  Even thought the Content Catalog says the session is full, I’m sure they’ll be room. There’s TechTalks all week, and they’ll be streamed online as well, so see if there’s topics you like, and show up!


The week gets long, and it’s hard to remember everything you may have learned, and the people you met. Take notes, and have a blast!

Here are some other takes from people around the community:

Catch Me at VMworld US 2017!

Getting ready for VMworld and Partner Exchange 2017

See you at VMworld!