F3 Technology Partners | Transform your IT Infrastructure

Navigating the Future of IT: Insights from UserCon 2023

Picture of Michael Hlasyszyn

Michael Hlasyszyn

Director of IT Automation & DevOps Solutions

All Posts
A closer look at virtualization and networking innovations

The 2023 Boston VMUG User Conference (UserCon) was held at The Westin Boston Waterfront on September 19th. The VMware User Group (VMUG) is a global organization that helps members maximize their use of VMware and partner solutions. The one-day conference brings together hundreds of VMware users to attend educational sessions and learn about VMware and partner products. It is a prime opportunity to stay up to date on VMware’s innovations, network with like-minded individuals, and gain insights to enhance IT infrastructure and operations.

During my time at the event, I had the opportunity to attend several technical breakout sessions. These sessions covered a range of topics, from cloud cost optimization and cybersecurity to the application of AI in DevOps. In this blog post, I’ll provide a brief overview of these sessions, sharing key insights and my perspective on how they can benefit developers and IT professionals. Let’s explore the takeaways from these informative sessions:

    1. Optimize Costs and Protect VMs and Datastores on VMware Cloud with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP
    2. PowerShell for the Blue Team
    3. Better DevOps with Generative AI

Optimize Costs and Protect VMs and Datastores on VMware Cloud with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

In this session, experts discussed practical ways to optimize costs and safeguard data in the VMware Cloud environment, using Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. The speaker offered a technical review on how NetApp ONTAP aids in cost savings by reducing storage requirements through deduplication and compression. Additionally, its data tiering and snapshot technologies help developers manage data access and protection efficiently. An emphasis was placed on the growing partnership of Amazon and NetApp in the data storage domain.

Insight: The growing partnership between Amazon and NetApp signifies a shift towards more integrated and efficient cloud data management solutions. Organizations should keep an eye on this collaboration for potential advancements that could simplify hybrid cloud deployments and enhance cost-effective data storage.

Caution: While the benefits of deduplication, compression, data tiering, and snapshots are clear, organizations should carefully plan and fine-tune the implementation of these features to ensure they align precisely with their specific needs. Overuse or improper configuration may unintentionally impact performance or data accessibility.

PowerShell for the Blue Team

In the breakout session, we explored PowerShell, a versatile scripting language vital in IT operations. The session focused on differentiating Windows PowerShell from PowerShell and introduced practical techniques like using the Start-Transcript command. Start-Transcript enables users to create logs of PowerShell sessions, recording all interactions and commands. This offers numerous benefits, including troubleshooting, auditing, and documentation. However, it’s important to be mindful of the potential drawbacks, such as increased storage space requirements for log files, especially in extensive or long-running sessions.

Note: “Windows PowerShell” and “PowerShell” are related but have key differences. Windows PowerShell, associated with Windows OS, served as a scripting and automation tool until version 5.1. In contrast, “PowerShell” (PowerShell Core) is a cross-platform successor, introduced in 2016, designed for versatility across various OS, offering improved performance, and open-source compatibility.

Insight: Execution policies in PowerShell offer a critical layer of security by controlling how scripts are run. By setting appropriate execution policies, organizations can enforce a secure script execution environment, ensuring that only trusted and authorized scripts are allowed to execute, mitigating the risk of malicious code execution.

Caution: As with any scripting language, malicious scripts can potentially harm systems or compromise security, highlighting the importance of script validation and security practices. With PowerShell being present on all Windows operating systems, it will be a tool that you need to be aware of from a security perspective and the power it holds.


Better DevOps with Generative AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a supportive tool for software developers. It does not replace developers. Instead, it complements their efforts by streamlining processes, reducing manual tasks, and expediting software development.

During this session on Generative AI in DevOps, the room recognized that AI serves as a valuable assistant, allowing developers to focus on higher-order tasks and engage in more creative problem-solving. Many event attendees offered their experiences with using generative AI in their work. It raised many questions over private company data security and the policies being created to govern generative AI usage in the workplace. The dialogue underscored the importance of responsible AI adoption.

The breakout session highlighted a vital theme: generative AI is not just about enhancing productivity; it is about fostering better operators. By responsibly integrating AI into their workflows, developers can elevate their roles and create a more efficient development environment.

Insight: Enhancing generative AI by providing it with a rich context about your specific job, environment, cloud configurations, and existing libraries can significantly improve its ability to generate tailored and efficient code. This contextual input empowers AI to align more closely with your project’s unique requirements, leading to more accurate and effective automation in software development.

Caution: While generative AI holds promise, it’s essential to validate and thoroughly test the code it generates. Relying solely on AI-generated code without proper review and testing can introduce unexpected bugs and vulnerabilities, potentially compromising the quality and security of the software. Developers should maintain a balance between AI assistance and human oversight in their coding processes.

Observations from the Exhibition Floor

Explore the exhibition floor with us and discover the VMUG event through the eyes of our F3 sales team. They’ve shared their candid observations from engaging conversations with event attendees.

“During the event, attendees were curious about VMware’s future post-Broadcom acquisition, seeking ways to balance cloud and on-prem workloads, exploring job opportunities amidst industry layoffs, and looking for efficient AI and automation solutions to meet growing business demands in IT.”

Chris Ferreira, Director of Sales

“My big takeaway was that nearly everyone we engaged with at the booth emphasized the importance of determining the best mix of on-premises and cloud solutions for their hybrid cloud strategy. Additionally, there was a significant demand for further insights into Horizon VDI, reflecting interest in virtual desktops and applications.”

Steve Cunningham, Account Executive

Our experience at the UserCon 2023 event has provided us with valuable insights into the cutting-edge realms of virtualization and networking. At F3 Technology Partners, we are driven by a steadfast commitment to our customers. We see ourselves as catalysts in their technology journeys, equipped to guide them through the dynamic landscape of emerging technologies. As we continue to explore innovation, we remain dedicated to being a trusted partner in our customers’ technological evolution.

Verified by MonsterInsights