Viva Las Vegas and Viva VMworld! VMworld 2016 was held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas this year in contrast to the past few years where it has been held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There is nothing like being in Vegas in August – thank goodness for industrial strength air conditioning. For those who have never attended the conference before, it’s quite an incredible event. Once at the conference you immediately realize you are surrounded by some of the brightest and most creative minds in the information technology field which are helping shape the future of digital business. Whether VMware employees, vendors, partners, or customers, 23,000+ of us were there to learn and exchange our knowledge in our shared pursuit of delivering the best application experiences for our users enabling our companies to transform, modernize, and innovate.
One of the benefits of attending the conference is the exposure to the technology from the source. The keynotes delivered excellent content on VMware’s vision and product direction. But afterwards, the breakout sessions allow you to get into the weeds with the technology refining your knowledge and the applicability of the technology in your own data center enabling your company to achieve their goals in new and constructive ways. I’ll summarize my top 3 highlights from the conference below:
- VMware Cross-Cloud Services. Last year, the theme of the conference was Any Application, Any Device, Any Cloud. This year VMware gave us a sneak peek into how they will accomplish this with their technology through a demonstration. From a VMware Cloud Services portal, users are able to link their respective cloud accounts and pull back data about their instances running in the Amazon, Azure, and Google public clouds alongside their own private cloud. This allows a unified management plane for all workloads regardless of where they reside.
Once discovered, VMware demonstrated how they can then take the security policies created in NSX in the Private Cloud and extended them into the public cloud to encapsulate these workloads through the deployment of an NSX Gateway. Moreover, they then demonstrated how you can clone workloads between clouds to protect them across different providers all while maintaining your security posture and management from a single space:
All of this is very exciting as the Private and Public infrastructure services are combined into a single, consistent hybrid platform where application workloads are secure and portable regardless of where they live in the physical world.
- VMware Workspace One. While VMware Cross-Cloud Services addressed the application stack, Workspace One brought harmony to End-User Computing (EUC). Workspace One is VMware’s end-to-end EUC solution which integrates many VMware products into a single user experience regardless of their device. This consists of VMware Identity Manager, VMware AirWatch for MDM, and Horizon products.
The result of which is impressive. Users now have the freedom to use whatever devices they want in the Enterprise while IT has the control it needs from a security standpoint for device management, role based access control, and data integrity. Applications can be delivered from SaaS providers as well as from traditional IT infrastructure yet everything is combined and managed into a single user experience with a single login.
- VMware Integrated Containers. Although the technology is still in Beta, VMware Integrated Containers (VIC) gave us a sneak peek into the benefits of running container-based services on VMware infrastructure much like VMware Integrated OpenStack. VIC gives an organization the agility and portability of Docker based containers while extending and delivering a common management pane and policy based services which already exist for traditional application workloads. This allows an organization a couple of advantages:
The first advantage is a common infrastructure platform for service instantiation. Regardless if virtual machine or container, VMware can enable either uniformly with the same security policies and isolation. The second advantage is that this technology builds a bridge between legacy applications and container-based applications. For many organizations, deploying and migrating to container architecture is a journey and not a forklift.
VMware accomplishes this task through the use of Instant Clone technology in vSphere 6 as well as through the use of VMware Photon OS stored on the Virtual Container Host. Photon gives the container just enough of the operating system to instantiate without the additional bloat of a full Linux OS. This balance of a dynamic container boundary in conjunction with a very small operating system allows the instantiation of containers in mere seconds.
By hosting both types of application workloads simultaneously, VMware is building a bridge between the two architectures for the IT organization reducing technology and friction in the Enterprise.
VMworld 2016 was an excellent event this year and really delivered on a unifying vision for the Enterprise. From cloud to end-user computing to containers, VMware has done an excellent job and not only cementing their relevance in these new spaces but also demonstrating how they have harnessed these trends to deliver and end-to-end solution which will serve as the foundation for the modern data center. This year set the bar high for VMworld and I look forward to seeing what is in store for VMworld 2017.