This year I attended my first VMWorld, and it was quite an incredible experience. For the purposes of comparison, I’ve been lucky enough to attend 6 EMCWorlds; I can honestly say this was the best technology conference I’ve attended. With over 20,000 in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas, there were plenty of great sessions for everyone.
The Monday morning Keynote by VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger was a great way to get the conference started.
Mr. Gelsinger spoke over an hour to a packed house and summarized exactly what to expect at this year’s VMWorld sessions.
Not surprisingly, the clear focus for the entire conference revolved around the SDDC (Software Defined Data Center).
I quickly noticed a much more productized focus of the SDDC wrapped in the VMWare Cloud Foundations (VCF) package. VCF is clearly built for customers that have completely embraced the VMware ecosystem and want it from Core to the Edge to the Cloud and everything in-between.
I also noticed a surprising lack of focus on the DellEMC version of VCF (VxRack SDDC), although it was mentioned in passing in a few breakout sessions I attended.
The ultimate goal of VMWare Cloud Foundations is to provide customers with everything they need to build an on-premises cloud built entirely with VMWare’s Hypervisor, Virtualization Management and Orchestration, Software Defined Networking (NSX) and Software Defined Storage (VSAN 6.6), and Log Aggregation, all with a hardware agnostic approach. This means customers can purchase any compute and networking hardware (on the approved HCL) and layer on the SDDC Software packaging to become a fully supported VCF stack.
Some of the benefits will include a truly centralized method for updating and patching the entire stack in a truly automated method with no downtime or manual intervention.
Think automatic Windows updates for the entire SDDC. Very Very cool! I can personally think of a half-dozen customers who would kill for this today.
In my opinion, this is the promise converged infrastructures like VBlock have strived for and have never been able to deliver on. Now Hyper-Converged Infrastructure can do this due to the Software-Defined nature.
Now, imagine taking this versatile and simplified architecture and give customers a simple way to run the same Hypervisor, Software, M&O, SDN etc. in the cloud. That is the concept of VMWare on AWS. Not only can you have both VMWare-based clouds running both on premises and in the cloud, but customers can now manage both from a single vCenter instance in vSphere 6.5 with the improved native vCenter Server.
Think DR without a managed Data Center or CoLo. Think true Hybrid Cloud where customers can actively move workloads from on-prem to the edge or out to the cloud. This is the versatility which has been promised by the SDDC and is now easier than ever.
On a totally different topic, VMware is taking a unique approach to application security in their new product called App Defense. After the Monday Keynote, I was intrigued by what VMWare might be doing in this area, and the App Defense session I attended did not leave me disappointed. The concept is all about preventing any and all application activity which is not allowed by the application.
Think about how that would have to be done. App Defense would need to know exactly what tiers, servers, services, ports, communication protocols, code, etc. are supposed to be present in an application. It would need to be able to recognize undesired activity in real-time and both prevent the activity and notify administrators of the event. Well, that is exactly what App Defense does but in a very simple and intuitive way.
Pat Gelsinger spent a few minutes on this and I didn’t hear a lot of buzz – but I have a feeling that once customers have time to see this demonstrated, it will be something we will need to be ready to discuss.
A couple of other parting thoughts about VMworld 2017:
- Look out for VMWare’s Workspace One, with the goal to simplify and enable mobile users to access any application from any device in a secure and manageable way.
- Keep an eye out for what VMware is doing in the DevOps space. Although it isn’t what I believe is the best way to go, VMware has some unique offerings from VMware Integrated Containers (ability to manage tiny VM’s running a single container as an application VM), and now Kubernetes on VMware and the ability to automate the deployment using the new BOSH powered functionality.
- Lastly, Wednesday’s customer appreciation event was a concert at T-Mobile Arena. The Bleachers opened for a great performance from the hard-hitting punk band Blink 182.
Many thanks to VMware for a great conference. I look forward to attending again!