VMworld 2015: Monday General Session

The VMworld opening keynote or general session has always been the hallmark and rally cry of the conference that I consider the benchmark for all other tech conferences. In fact, if you look back to my take on HP’s Discover 2015 event (and the organization as a whole), you’ll find these words used to qualify what fell short there in Vegas. It’s with that historical context that I apply these words back to VMware and VMworld 2015.

The thesis for this week simply fell flat. It lacked cohesion, passion, and tangible takeaways. I felt bad for Virtustream, which was tagged onto the end of the 1 hour 45 minute session, because a large portion of the room had already left, and the topic flip-flopped back to infrastructure again, after a long stint on DevOps.

Where was the passion of Paul Maritz or Pat Gelsinger? I know, there’s still tomorrow’s session, but this was the kick off, the inspiration, the charge. Ready For Any? Not this morning.

What follows are some polished notes made during the session. LTE was saturated to death and WiFi was non-existent, so posting and editing live wasn’t possible. That, too, was sad and felt like a missed opportunity for one of the many VMware partners who could have put their stamp on a rock-solid wireless infrastructure that for once didn’t disappoint the 23,000 attendees. It’s hard; I understand. But is it truly impossible?

Live Notes & Commentary

Intro: VMware Cloud Academy video with “Nigel McCloud”, focusing on unified hybrid cloud. Very nice metaphor using private/public schooling decisions of parents with their children (apps).

Carl Eschenbach, President & COO, started the session. His blue plaid jacket made for an eccentric choice of apparel, and sadly, it matched a bit of the awkwardness that was his keynote. He is probably an incredible guy and pioneering leader, but he wasn’t the right fit for the kickoff.

2015 stats:

  • 23,000+ attendees, record attendance
  • 50,000+ watching live online
  • 88 countries
  • 6,000 VMUG customers
  • 7,000 partners
  • 20 VMworld loyalists who have been to all 12 VMworlds (plus Carl, as #21)

VMware Foundation, built on philosophy of “Citizen Philanthropists”. Join “Destination Give Back” #vGiveBack + #[Your Cause] of {children, education, health, environment}. Always good to hear these initiatives–keep it up!

Ready to:

  • Run: any application
  • Build: and embrace traditional apps and containers
  • Deliver: any application on any device
  • Secure: accelerate both networking & security to device

VMware’s Commitment: Today & in the future

  • Freedom | Flexibility | Choice

One Cloud

  • Seamless integration between private, managed, and public clouds
  • Solution: Unified Hybrid Cloud

Any Application

  • Traditional
  • Cloud-native
  • Container

Any Device

  • One Cloud is the Architecture for IT, built on the Soffware-Defined Data Center (SDDC)
  • Build-Your-Own – Converged – Hyperconverged

## Transition ##

Commentary: This section felt like a page straight out of HP Discover’s playbook. Thankfully they didn’t saturate the session with it, but it just didn’t add value. I’m glad DirecTV and others are winning with VMware, but it bore neither technical nor business innovation to help the audience.

Business customer focus

  • Education (concept)
  • Pharmaceutical (concept)
  • Entertainment: DirecTV

DirecTV, Mike Benson, EVP & CIO

  • Abstract concepts/examples
  • Adapting to burst demand multiple times a year
  • Example of Mayweather & Pacquiao fight
  • Use of NSX and hybrid cloud
  • Applying efforts from fight to upcoming NFL season and AT&T acquisition

## Transition ##

Keynotes TOC:

  • Monday: Run & Build
  • Tuesday: Deliver & Secure, plus 5 Imperatives for Digital Business (Pat Gelsinger)

## Transition ##

RUN

Bill Fathers, EVP & GM Cloud Services

Unified Hybrid Cloud: more of a long-range strategy, not just connecting SaaS to existing private cloud

Three examples:
Disaster Recovery
Application Scaling
Mobile Applications

Disaster Recovery

  • We as customers have already “absolutely nailed it”

Application Scaling

  • Latency kills revenue
  • Compliance & policies that follow

Mobile Applications

  • Very disruptive to existing industries
  • Example: micro-rental of homes, vehicles, even pets
  • Maintaining security while exposing applications to mobile devices

## Transition ##

The Future: Hybrid Applications
Ragu Raghuram, EVP & GM SDDC

Hybrid Applications

  • Part of the app is running in the public cloud
  • Part of the app is running in the private data center
  • Need a seamless extension, a unified hybrid cloud

VMware is investing in:

  • Simply: turn infrastructure into software
  • Extend: network virtualization, hybrid networking layer, management tools
  • Reach: devices and apps everywhere

## Transition ##

Yanbing Li, VP Storage & Availability
Engineering Innovations

SDDC:

  • Mgmt: vRealize Suite
  • Networking: NSX 6.2
  • Storage: VSAN 6.1
  • Compute: vSphere 6

Announcement: VMware EVO SDDC Manager

  • Brings the SDDC together

EVO SDDC: Simplify

  • Starts “small” with just 8 servers
  • Zero to SDDC in 2 hours
  • Create workload domains: IaaS, Big Data, VDI
  • NSX enables security
  • Non-disruptive lifecycle automation
  • Patching SDDC stack
  • Firmware updates to TOR switching

EVO SDDC: Extend

  • Synchronize: demo of “Content Library” syncing eCommerce template from private data center to vCloud Air
  • Connect: Hybrid Network Services, built on NSX
    • Intelligent routing
    • Strong encryption
    • WAN acceleration
    • VXLAN extension
    • Direct connect
  • Move: demo of “Migrate to vCloud Air” to vMotion core server from private DC to vCloud Air
    • Cross-Cloud vMotion: in tech preview today
  • Manage: vRealize & “blueprint”

EVO SDDC: Reach
(Bill Fathers returns to join Yanbing Li)
vCloud Air DR/Mobile Backend-as-a-Service/Object Storage/SQL

Bill’s summary of this section: completely new way to strategize applications — hybrid cloud

## Transition ##

Commentary: Virtustream is a very intriguing platform and “hosted private cloud”. Brian Carpenter’s The HOT Aisle podcast has a great feature on them, which I feel does more justice than this sandwiched snippet did.

Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream

  • Recently acquired by EMC
  • Created micro-VM definition to better measure resource consumption
  • Break down overhead boundaries

Tenets of Virtustream

  • Performance: pool resources, control IOPS, predict demand, guarantee response times
  • Automation: xStream App Director: complex operations, catalog offering, app & workflow orchestration
  • Security: chip-to-compliance security, tenancy isolation, continuous compliance monitoring, support for popular frameworks

## Transition ##

BUILD

Ray O’Farrell, CTO & CDO

Intro: Digital Transformation: Cloud-Native Applications

Segway: Kit Colbert, VP & CTO Cloud-Native Apps

Why Containers? Drive business agility

  • Opportunity for greater management of micro-services
  • Currently no visibility of containers to infrastructure managers
  • Also limited security visibility and compatibility issues with existing vSphere management

VMware vSphere Integrated Containers

  • Enterprise-grade container infrastructure
  • Extrapolates container engine and Linux
  • VI admin creates “virtual container host”, which is really a resource pool
  • Allows diving into container hosts

Photon OS: 25MB storage
Instant Clone: (Project Fargo) new powered-on VM in jeVM: just-enough VM

Two approaches:

  • Extend vSphere (above)
  • New Platform: VMware Photon Platform

VMware Photon Platform

  • Built and optimized for cloud-native apps
  • Photon Machine: compute host, microvisor based on ESX, includes Photon OS
  • Photon Controller: distributed, multi-tenant control plane, includes Project Lightwave with single API endpoint

<Demo of Photon> Looked interesting, though outside my scope

Distribution Options:

  • Photon Controller: open source (coming soon)
  • VMware Photon Platform: subscription
  • Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Photon Platform: integrated bundle

## End of Session ##

Personal reflection on the first General Session and keynotes:

  • A lot of information and quite a few topics
  • Increasingly big-picture, requiring a cohesive infrastructure + development evolution, integration & acceptance
  • Seemed to fall short of holding the overall audience attention span and standards for VMworld keynotes

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