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September 09, 2015

A CTO perspective on VMworld 2015: One Cloud, AnyApp, AnyDevice

Ruben Spruijt - Atlantis


VMworld is definitely the most leading virtualization and datacenter event of the year, it took place in San Francisco September 2015. The 11th VMworld was a packed week with more than 800 sessions, 23.000 attendees from 88 countries, 50.000 live streams and numerous networking opportunities. These are astonishing, and hard to beat, numbers for sure. Atlantis Computing was one of the sponsors of this event, with 29 sessions, 3 receptions including key sponsor for the Software Defined Storage reception. We shot 10 video interviews with CEOs, CTOs, product managers and industry experts for our community blog and had plentiful customer and partner engagements. VMworld was a busy, fun and most important valuable week.

One Cloud, AnyApp, AnyDevice


The theme of VMworld was ‘Ready for any’. “In today’s liquid business world, organizations are challenged to seize opportunities while managing new kinds of risk. How can IT organizations evolve to innovate faster, fully engage customers, and empower employees—all while protecting data,  brand, and reputation? The keynotes on the 1st day and 2nd was structured around four themes: Build, Run, Deliver, Secure — One Cloud, Any Application and Any Device. I personally like these four pillars, because it creates structure in a quite often complex story around modern workspace, modern datacenter and cloud. My experiences in the field is that people need a simple story and structured approach explaining the business value both workspace and datacenter. The modern workspace is all about driving productivity for the business consumer while the datacenter and cloud is enabling the modern workspace. The business consumer in general doesn’t care about the datacenter or cloud. The modern datacenter and AnyCloud should be invisible for the business consumer.

VMworld 2015 - Day 1 keynote.

My observations and highlights of day 1 ‘Datacenter and Cloud’ keynote where:

  • Focus is Hybrid Cloud, SDDC components are multi-datacenter and multi clouds. Project Skyscraper with e.g. Cross-Cloud vMotion and content synchronization was cool to see. You can discuss what VMware means with multi clouds, are these clouds based on VMware only or not, some call it OneCloud others call it AnyCloud. Fact is that the majority of enterprise customers is running VMware in their datacenters and are happy with it. Quite some are in the process of evaluating or using public cloud services. Bridging on-premises and public (IaaS) cloud is on the radar for a lot of customers. Networking, latency, data locality, unified management, security and trust are big topics to cover here.

  • One of the tough nuts to crack was captured in this quote “Networking and latency in hybrid cloud is key to be solved." Although we can’t change the speed of light, I am convinced that there will be smart companies in the industry who can bridge on-premises and public cloud solutions. High storage performance, low application latency, data security and low overall cost for Tier1 applications running on-premises and public cloud is on the horizon.

  • Software Defined Networking, Network Virtualization, with VMware NSX, was mentioned and demonstrated both in the SDDC and End User Computing keynote. NSX is key differentiator between VMware and both Microsoft and Citrix. Customer should focus more on security with different solutions such as micro segmentation and network virtualization. These are two newer and different solutions in the security toolbox. I see business value and demand here, especially with all the security breaches and exploits today, let’s see how fast adoption will be.

  • Update of VMware VSAN 6.1, for instance with stretched cluster support, 5 min RPO a-sync replication and 2 node-clusters for ROBO. There is a lot of customer interested in Software Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI). I have created an overview of the SDS solutions covering Atlantis, Datacore and VMware VSAN. Also an overview of Hyper Converged Infrastructure solutions covering Nutanix, Simplivity, Atlantis and VMware: EVO has been created.

  • VMware vSphere integrated containers and photon platform. Kit Colbert, CTO Cloud Native applications, did a great job explaining the business value of integrated containers, photon platform and the role of the VM. VMware vSphere integrated containers are 1st class citizens on vSphere. A full picture of the cloud-native architecture is shown here. For even more details on our cloud-native application announcements, check Kit Colbert’s blog on the subject.

VMworld 2015 - Day 2 keynote.

My observations and highlights of day 2 ‘End-User Computing’ keynote for me where:

  • This keynote had three segments:

    • Deliver the Modern workspace ‘people-centric computing — EUC’ by Sanjay Poonen and Noah Wasmer. They talked and showcased provisioning applications and content to people, regardless of device. Project A2 was introduced, A2 is bridging traditional (PC) and Mobile into a single user and management experience. Jim Alkove Corporate VP from Microsoft was on stage talking about Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility Management, e.g. Microsoft EMS/Intune, AirWatch. It’s interesting to see Microsoft entering the stage, while Citrix didn’t had any Microsoft presence at their customer event Citrix Synergy last year.

    • Secure the Workspace; VMware Identity Manager, AirWatch and VMware NSX. Securely distribute content, SSO to all applications, per-application based secure VPN solution are some of the key themes here. I am looking forward to see these technologies merged together and enter the Modern Workspace.

    • Innovation and trends in the business by VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger. Topic he covered are: Rate of connectivity, mobile share of web traffic, connected devices per person (202 = 5.9 devices/person), Application industry where iOS apps revenue is bigger than Hollywood. 5 billion people (out of 8.1) will be online in 2025, 80% of world population is globally connected.

      The 5 imperatives, must does, for digital business:

      1. Asymmetry in Business — Technology rules are rapidly changing and to continue to succeed businesses are need to innovate. Innovate like a startup, deliver like an enterprise. Change the rules of the game. Mobile-Cloud technology changed the business.

      2. The Professional Era of Cloud — Bridging the silos of the public and private clouds is required to deliver a professional cloud experience. The unified hybrid cloud strategy is designed to bridge this gap. Common Network, Common Management, Common Security — seamless platform extending across multiple clouds.

      3. Security Challenge: Protecting People, Apps, and Data — Security can’t be bolted on. It must be architected in and virtualization enables this. Virtualization enables alignment and ubiquity.

      4. Next Wave of IT Innovation: Proactive Technology — today’s technology is fundamentally reactive. Future technologies like smarter software and Artificial Intelligence (AI) I will enable businesses to become proactive. Apps, Analytics and BigData are building blocks for proactive technology. Automate everything, predict (almost) anything.

      5. Tech-driven Change Reshapes the S&P 500 — half of today’s Tech 100 list will be gone in ten years. How many years can anyone expect to remain in S&P 500? 2015 = 17 years. Inaction is the greatest risk and IT needs to drive transformation. As a tech expert this is your time to lead. Be the entrepreneur and innovator for your business

      The complete and awesome session from VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is recorded and can be viewed online. Personal note: I have deep respect for Pat Gelsinger and his view on being a Christian, father, business man while being very active in this high demanding and awesome IT industry as thought leader. Business Insider wrote a great blogpost about him, worth reading it gives great insights. I am learning every day, this blog post is inspiring.

Random highlights:

Some random highlights of VMworld 2015

  • VMware Cloud Academy where apps learn the basics in mobility, security, agility and creativity to adjust to the ever-changing tech landscape. Video One and video Two are used in the keynotes, some consider these as fun …. I prefer a more high tech

  • Storage at VMworld covering VVOLs, Software Defined Storage, Hyper Converged, All Flash, with a lot of interesting partners at the solutions exchange. A lot of interest and a lot of sponsors at the solutions exchange, a great market space to be part of with unique solution capabilities and awesome team of colleagues. We released Atlantis new solutions and shared this with the industry:

    • Atlantis USX 3.0 is released, added e.g. SmartSnap (de-duplication aware volume and VM level snapshots) and remote replication to the solution. Also VMware VVOL is fully supported, we are the only SDS and HCI vendor in the space with full VVOL support.

    • Colleague Priyadarshi Prasad (PD) did a great video interview with Trilogy Tech Talk covering USX v3.0 ‘What’s new’.

    • Community Experts Viktor, Marco and Dane wrote blogs posts sharing their view on Atlantis USX 3.0

    • Two new solution overviews; One for Software Defined Storage (with Atlantis, VMware VSAN and DataCore) and one for Hyper Converged Infrastructure (Atlantis, EMC, Nutanix, Simplivity, VMware) feedback or questions? Let me know.

    • Colleague Timm Hoyt wrote an interesting blog post ‘Disrupting the Disruptors...’

  • Project Enzo: A Next Generation Hybrid Cloud Architecture Designed to Transform Virtual Workspaces. Enzo is a project code name for re-imagination of desktop management the integration of: Management platform, Admin UI, Managed capacity, optimized provisioning (project meteor), Desktop content management (WEM), integration into wider identity/catalog (vIDM). Smartnode software will be added the Hyper Converged solutions such as VMware EVO and Hyper Converged Infrastructure solutions from partners. A technical overview of the Smartnode technical can be found here. I expect more Project Enzo announcements and content in the upcoming VMworld(s), looking forward to that.

  • Various videos:

    • Seth Knox, VP of Product Marketing at Atlantis, interviewed by LoginVSI talks about LoginVSI, VDI, Reference Architectures, QA, scale numbers with Horizon View and XenDesktop running HyperScale at 120$/desktop.

    • Ruben Spruijt, CTO at Atlantis, interviewed by LoginVSI talks about Software Defined, HyperConverged, TeamWork, Modern Datacenter, User Experience. “We demand a great User Experience”.

    • More videos will be released soon. Check

  • ‘User Experience is king’ is the title of a session I did. I talked about Business consumers, their view on Modern Workspace, how we can meet their ‘User Experience’ expectations, the role of communication, process, and technology. I showcased the impact of storage in consistent and high performance virtual workspace. When you want to receive the presentation, just let me know, happy to share the content.

  • Graphics for Virtual Desktops and Apps

GPU Virtualization and Desktop Virtualization seems to be trending, time to update Team Remote Graphics Experts (TeamRGE) whitepaper. The release of the updated whitepaper is soon, keep close eye on @TeamRGE

What’s next: VMworld 2016 will be in Las Vegas August 28 — September 1st.

VMworld was a blast, thanks for reading my perspective on VMworld 2015. Feedback or questions? or twitter @rspruijt

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