Virtualisation and a change of location

Product Engineer Ian Angles walks us through what virtualisation means for the University, how it relates to his job role and his experience at the recent VMworld conference in Barcelona.

“How do you feed 10,000 attendees in under 2 hours?”

Virtualisation is a very old (in computing terms anyway) technique for getting the most out of an expensive bit of hardware. It comes from the IBM mainframe days but has seen a resurgence over the last 15 years as enterprise systems have become bigger and more capable.

Here at the University, we use it to run many ‘virtual servers’ (or VMs) on a single physical server. We have about 40 physical servers that altogether, run over 1,000 VMs which provide such services as My Dundee, SITS, CODA, research group computing and other systems.

Introducing Ian Angles

My name is Ian Angles and I work for UoD IT in the Infrastructure, Security and Research Computing division, Datacentre and Networking Team.

One of my roles is Virtual Infrastructure Product Engineer and that means I work on the provision of infrastructure on which the University runs the majority of its servers and services.

VMworld 2017

Recently, I attended VMworld Europe 2017 in Barcelona, one of the two worldwide trade shows for users of our major virtualisation software, which is supplied by VMware. It’s a massive EMEA event with over 700 seminars, 150 exhibitors, 4 keynote speeches from the CxOs of VMware, and access to hundreds of training sessions. It’s spread over 4 halls and over 50 seminar rooms, with about 15,000 people from all over EMEA attending.

I primarily attended for the content of the seminar series, focusing particularly on the products that we are about to deploy in production. This includes:

  • the latest versions of vSphere – the hypervisor and control applications
  • vRealize Automation – a one-stop catalogue for VMs and services
  • vRealize Operations – a system for monitoring, managing and reporting on VMs and performance


The experience of networking with the key movers and technologists within VMware and the wider community was extremely valuable in terms of new connections both within and outwith the HE sector, and the knowledge I’ve brought back will help us develop and hone our services for the next couple of years.

I’ve said that it doesn’t matter where VMworld is held, it’s the content that matters. Still, I’m glad it was in Barcelona and not Basingstoke.


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