Yesterday was my final day at VMworld 2016 in Barcelona despite the conference actually ending today. I have always found that the final day seems a lot quieter and without a general session I don't feel I miss too much, so normally leave a day before the conference finishes. The final general session yesterday followed suit from previous years and there was a lot more technical detail than that of the first day. Sanjay Poonen, VMware's GM for End User Computing (EUC) took to the stage to update the audience on VMware's vision for EUC, he reminded us that technology is transforming every business and that the users are demanding freedom and flexibility whilst IT demand security.
VMware bill themselves as being able to overcome this conflict within business with their Workspace ONE suite being at the heart of their EUC portfolio. Workspace one is the amalgamation of AirWatch, VMware Identity Manager and Horizon (Depending on licensed version). Effectively you are able to manage mobile and physical device configuration and control with AirWatch, offer an enterprise application catalogue including cloud and mobile apps with Identity Manager and publish desktops and applications with Horizon. Sanjay demonstrated this functionality on stage end to end.
Also demonstrated on stage was graphics enhanced desktops with NVIDIA GRID, this was nothing new but was a great demonstration that VDI is now ready for all use cases. What was new and discussed on stage was the news that VMware is working with Microsoft on tighter integration and a better user experience for Skype for Business, including Office 365! This is an area that VMware has fallen behind Citrix on in recent years, so it is great to hear that we are going to see this fixed, albeit not until 2017.
The general session then moved on with VMware CTO Ray o'Farrell talking about the updates to the vSphere platform including vSphere 6.5, VSAN and vSphere integrated containers. Amongst the many updates included in this release vSphere now includes several security enhancements including, at rest encryption of VMs, encryption in motion with vMotion and enterprise class logging. The biggest update with VSAN included iSCSI access allowing non virtualised workloads to take advantage of you VSAN storage and 2 node direct connect allowing VSAN to be utilized in small environments without the need of expensive 10Gb switching.
See below the recording of the second VMworld keynote presentation:
Moving on from the general session I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet the VMware VP for End User Computing, Pat Lee with the EUC Champions program. We spoke about the VMware EUC portfolio and he was really keen to hear my feedback as to the product set and where they should be going next. Pat also had one of the SwiftPoint GT mice that is supported on an iPad in conjunction with Horizon. I need to get one of these for myself now! It would work fantastic with my iPad Pro!
Security is a big talking point in the industry at the moment, with a number of well-publicised data breaches it is moving to the top of the agenda for many IT Managers. VMware have a number of offerings that are able to help improve security but both AirWatch and NSX were main focuses during the conference. I was lucky enough to be invited to an influencers panel discussion which focused on the issue in hand and how you can help mitigate risks. On the panel were a number of well-respected individuals ranging from a security analyst, to VMware head of NSX and a customer who has a large responsibility for security across an enterprise organisation and has adopted NSX to assist.
There was a number of important points raised during the panel discussion, you can see my highlights in the doodle below.
I spent the remaining time at the conference meeting with vendors in the Solutions Exchange and identifying key technologies to help my customers moving forward. I was also lucky enough to interview several execs from some of the exhibitors. I will be editing these videos over the coming weeks and will post on the blog when completed.
I will also be doing a final blog post and doodle regarding my final considerations from the conference. For me, the conference was brought to a close with the VMworld customer appreciation party with headline act, Empire of the Sun.