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VMworld Europe 2014 – Keynote Day One

When I got approval to come to VMworld Europe, I set myself a couple of challenges; one of those was to try to blog the key note. This is my attempt!

The keynote opens with a quote from Arthur C Clarke followed by some fighty/dancy people… (sigh) I still genuinely don’t get this phenomenon at tech conferences!

Maurizio Carli, Senior VP and GM for EMEA confirms we have around 9,000 people at the conference today, continuing to increase year on year (2013 attendance was approx 8500 if my sources are correct!). Even with many EU economies struggling at the moment, to still be increasing attendee numbers is a really positive sign.

Maurizio draws comparisons between the fact that Gaudi had no limits, and us exploring the possibilities of technology and expanding our knowledge and expertise, No Limits being the theme for this year’s VMworld event.

The strategic priorities for VMware in the next year will be SDDC, Hybrid Cloud and EUC. We wonder if the latter refers to the year of VDI, but Maurizio is actually referring to the recent purchase of AirWatch. Phew, that was close!

A quick reminder to sign up to your local VMUG. I would echo that, the London VMUG has been an amazing way for me to meet like minded individuals.

VMworld Opening Keynote

The VMware foundation is collecting money this year for the 5 causes of Children, Education, Environment, Women & Girls and Human Rights. Go down to the hang space to throw your own paper aeroplane and raise money for these charities. The further they go, the more money the charities will receive!

Maurizio introduces Pat Gelsinger and reminds us of the endless possibilities, a key theme for this year’s VMworld.

Pat starts by drawing comparisons between the tech world and water, the fluidity and constant, accelerating change. He discusses examples of the challenges of some of VMware’s big name customers such as Cancer Research UK, Lufthansa, Ministry of Education in Malaysia, most interestingly pushing 25,000 virtual desktops to 1200 schools in 5 months, many of which as being accessed from remote locations.

A Liquid World

The courage theme from VMworld SFO seems to be in effect again at VMworld EU, talking about how we need to be brave in IT. Several customers were asked to stand up for congratulations on their bravery, none of whom looked particularly comfortable! Pat challenges the crowd to “Go Bravely” to, not risk taking but being bold in decision making.

Pat makes reference to the multiple silos which still fundamentally exist in IT today, from traditional vs modern apps to support vs developers to on/off premises etc. Another marketing message with “The Power of &”. (I can’t help letting out a second small sigh.)

When it comes to SDDC, Pat says VMware will not be done until every customer is 100% virtualised, a challenge indeed; I suspect we will get close within the next few years but some of the newer scale-out technologies are definitely challenging this paradigm.

The announcements begin with compute:

  • VMware vCloud Suite 5.8
  • vSphere 6.0 Beta
  • VVOLs and VSAN 2.0 Beta
  • Federation SDDC solution (with EMC and Pivotal).

Next, the vRealize Suite (covering management, ops and business). Some new vRealize branded products include:

  • vRealize Air for hybrid cloud management
  • vRealize Compliance
  • vRealize Operations 6.0 with an 8x improvement in scalability
  • vRealize Code Stream, enabling the new DevOps models, governing code releases through dev, test and Production

Hyper-converged infrastructure was next up, with a reiteration of the EVO messaging from SFO. Then the anticipated announcement that HP will indeed be providing an EVO:RAIL appliance, along with HDS. HP was starkly missing from the SFO announcement, and generated some buzz as to whether there was a specific reason behind this, as opposed to just not being ready yet. Definitely worth checking out the EVO Zone if you are at the event this week; interestingly the HP EVO appliance is sitting front and centre of the floor. I guess as they sell over 50% of all servers on the planet, it’s probably important to give them a good space!

From an EVO:RACK perspective, VMware are contributing to the OCP (Open Compute) project. Not a huge amount of details on this yet though.

Next, announcement that VMware Integrated OpenStack is now in Beta. They already have one customer announcing their own stack based on this, CSC.

Pat reminds everyone that containers are a very fast growing sector. The SFO announcement always reminds me of the Scotland No Campaign “Better Together”. I bet the marketing folks were so happy about that! With Docker, Google, Pivotal, VMware announce a common platform for container, Project Fargo, to provide “Containers without Compromise”. Again, not much detail, but I’m sure there will be plenty on the blogosphere to consume imminently!

NSX is up next. Pat asks if we have VMs (Virtual Machines), why not VNs (Virtual Networks). I’m sure that’s not going to get confusing on conference calls… the partnership list is growing on NSX though, adding to the existing line up of companies like F5, is Palo Alto Networks. Bringing the distributed firewall functionality with PA security tech not only on premises, but available on vCloud Air too. Microsegmentation on NSX (the ability to create firewall rules within zones, not just between zones) is a very useful feature for hardening your core application platforms, and something which may help to drive customer adoption. It’s certainly a lot more flexible than using Isolated PVLANs.

In the very short nod to EUC, we’re reminded of the Cloud Volumes procurement. All of the EUC products / components are coming together with the “Workspace Suite”.

Finally we come to Hybrid Cloud, and as the slide says, “The Future is Hybrid”. There will be a tight integration between vCloud Air and EVO:RAIL, enabling integrated access to vCloud Air services from EVO:RAIL, including DRaaS credits bundled with your EVO:RAIL appliance [“for free?”]. What a great way to encourage customers to use DR, and at the same time encourage them onto VMware’s own platform, making them extra sticky!

That’s it from Pat, who then introduces Bill Fathers (Executive VP and GM for Hybrid Cloud).

Bill Fathers vCloud Air

Bill reminds us that vCloud Air is targeted to provide:

  • DRaaS
  • Desktop-as-a-Service
  • PaaS

From 2009 to 2014 the rate of public cloud adoption for VMs has only gone from 2% to 6%, despite all the hype. VMware believes companies are now moving from the “Experimental” phase, into the “Professional” phase, with an explosion in public cloud adoption imminent. Bill says “For someone who is British, this is about as excited as I get!”.

Bill asks why some customers are stuck in the Experimental phase? Developers are spreading out across multiple public clouds; the security, governance, performance and costs concerns are significant; all of this generates an ever increasing size of footprint to manage and protect. As this happens, Lines of Business become more and more independent, developing apps which are entirely silo’d from your primary platforms. VMware believe the way to drive this forward is by adopting a hybrid strategy, with a hybrid platform for consistency across all your environments, and putting the IT Professionals back in charge of making compute strategy decisions. This way the people who are actually accountable for these platforms are the same ones who actually make strategic decisions around what  to use!

The ability to move workloads between your private and public clouds is seen as the answer to this problem by VMware. vCloud Air being the solution, as it is based on the same technology (vSphere) both on and off premises. This significantly simplifies workload migration. On average since launch, a new vCloud Air location has gone online at a rate of one per month, the latest being Germany. Germany + UK will be the main locations for servicing the EU market.

There are now 3900 service provider partners worldwide, part of the newly rebranded vCloud Air Network. I just so happen to work for one of these, who made it onto the main vCloud Air Network partner slide (Claranet), nice. 🙂

Ben runs through some of the vCloud Air offerings including:

  • DevOps services
  • DBaaS – Database-as-a-Service on MySQL or MS SQL, which will include a DR component from on-premises
  • Object storage, provided on EMC technology, which is in beta now and will go GA around the start of next year
  • Mobility services including AIrWatch MDM platform available on vCloud Air, as well as Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Ben mentions that the VMworld app has been running on the vCloud Air platform.
  • vRealize Air Automation, offering the vRealize suite as a SaaS offering on vCloud Air.

The latest announcement for vCloud air is VMware’s Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand service, based on monthly billing with pay-per-minute granularity. For more info go to www.vmware.com/go/ondemand. From 17th November this will be available in the US and EMEA.

From a compliance perspective, the vCloud Air platform is fully complaint with many major compliance requirements, such as PCI-DSS.

Lastly, Bill introduces Sanjay Poonen (Exec VP and GM, EUC).

The three pillars of VMware EUC are desktop, mobile and content. Underpinning this are Workspace Services. The announcements over the past year have included:

  • Horizon View – VDI and Application publishing on a unified platform
  • DaaS expansion with Desktone (vCloud Air Desktop-as-a-Service) available on vCloud Air
  • Real-time app delivery, with Just-in-time desktops based on Cloud Volumes, which works on both VMware and Citrix desktop environment.
  • NVIDIA Grid Virtual GPU Platform – Working with Google and Nvidia to provide a better 3D experience for remote desktop access, including via ChromeBook.

The newest announcement is Horizon Flex, combining tech from Fusion and Mirage with AirWatch to launch secure containers for offline access to a desktop; designed for “Road Warriors”.

Next up is announcement of a new partnership with HP and AirWatch.

To finish up, Sanjay  introduces Kit Colbert (CTO EUC) who does a demo of the use of a combination of the VMware  EUC products on a variety of devices.

Unfortunately I had to drop out at this point as I needed to head to the main breakout area for my first session of the day…

Overall it was definitely an interesting keynote, but I have to say I’m slightly disappointed with the lack of major announcements. For me, the anecdotes and the partnership announcements were probably most interesting. HP joining the list of EVO:RAIL partners, and Palo Alto firewall functionality for NSX will make a number of customers very happy indeed!

VMworld Europe 2014 – Day Zero Roundup (Partner Day)

24 hours later I’m sitting in my hotel room, nursing my swollen feet, with a belly full of tapas, reflecting on the ups and downs of my first full day of VMworld, and I can indeed confirm it was in fact brilliant!

The Downs:

  • The lacklustre breakfast at my hotel
  • Mistakenly thinking that “Fira Barcelona” was at the Plaça Espanya, just a brisk 20 minute walk from my hotel, then arriving there looking like the sweaty wreck of the Hesperus and wondering why I couldn’t see any VMworld signs…
    Fira Barcelona

    Fira Barcelona (*cough* easily mistaken…)

    It didn’t take long before I clicked that the actual event was actually at the “Fira Barcelona Gran Via” (North Entrance – Hall 8), which is actually over 3km away! For any other soul who makes the same error, simply jump on the FGC Subway service directly beneath the plaza, and go three stops to the Europa | Fira station. From there you can catch a 5 minute shuttle bus to the conference centre. (I would point out that I’m normally pretty well prepared, but I guess not today!)

  • The vast distances between the breakout sessions and the hang space, which may as well be measured in leagues!
  • Lunch time queues…
  • Distances between evening event venues in BCN!

The Ups:

  • Attending my first VMworld breakout session (TEX2254) on NSX Extensibility; very interesting indeed, though from experience, some of the partners need to consider reducing their virtual edition license costs methinks… (no names referenced to protect the innocent!)
  • Catching up with a number of the #LonVMUG crew at the bloggers hang space and partner lunch
  • Bumping into one or two old colleagues, almost inevitable in our seemingly incestuously small industry!
  • The Expert-Led VSAN Hands on Lab session – there are sessions on all manner of different VMware products throughout the week. I definitely recommend this as you can ask as many questions of the experts as you like. It was more about the interaction than the lab content to be honest (and that was great). Note however, there is only room for about 20-30 people in the lab room so I suggest you get there early for a session if you do want to do one!

    Expert-Led Hands on Labs

    Expert-Led Hands on Labs

  • Brief tweetups around the #vBrownbag area including Alastair Cooke, Josh Atwell, GS Khalsa, (Man)fred Hofer, etc. Always great to put a face to a twitter avatar after so many years. I will definitely be trying to take in some of the sessions there this week. They will primarily be on Tuesday and Wednesday only as I understand it?
  • The unusual rotating balls entertainer at the partner evening event, both mesmerising and creepy at the same time!
  • Eating copious amounts of tasty tapas for dinner whilst setting the tech world to rights, and wondering if I should have stopped before that last bowlful of potatoes!



  • Using a HailO cab on the way home. The app makes it incredibly simple as you just hail a cab via the app. They arrive at your GPS coordinates within an estimated time (you can actually see where the cab is on the map), you pay with your credit card via the app, (optionally) automatically including a tip, and it conveniently emails you a receipt so you can claim back your expenses at a later date. Perfect! The icing on the cake was the price of taxis in BCN, which seems to be far more reasonable than those at home in the UK!

First impressions

If today was anything to go by, the rest of this week is going to be awesome!

Finally, it may be obvious but I wont be posting any of my session notes from today as it was partner day, so unfortunately NDAs etc… hopefully tomorrow though!

VMworld at Fira Barcelona Gran Via

VMworld at Fira Barcelona Gran Via (of course!)