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VMworld Europe 2015: The Day 2 Buzz

October 14th, 2015

Day 2 kicked off after breakfast with again sort of a repeat of the VMworld US keynote kicked off by the engaging Sanjay Poonam, the EUC boss .

Sanjay has really lit a fire under VMware’s EUC, started talking about the amazing effect of smartphones, AirWatch is the tech VMware bought which now manages mobile devices but Windows 10 is on the cards as announced at VMworld US. This will bring together mobile and PC management which could be very attractive for enterprises.

Announced Boxer acquisition which is simple, secure access to email, content and apps.

The Boxer team, which will join the AirWatch team, has developed a mature personal information management (PIM) solution for enterprises that offers a container approach to mobile application management and security. Boxer has partnered with industry leaders and supports market leading productivity, enterprise and social networking solutions including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Gmail, iCloud, Salesforce, Twitter, Outlook and Yahoo, just to name a few.

Rory Clements, Solutions Engineering Director for EUC then went through the same demo that Microsoft came on stage for in the US version and demoed AirWatch managing Windows 10 as well as using App Volumes on physical as part of Project A2

Single sign-on across multiple devices and applications (over 40) with AirWatch.

Sanjay and Rory then showed a windows application remoted on a Tesla and then the mixing of AirWatch and NSX network security.

Sanjay then tried to get the crowd chanting “EUC will Rock You” with the backing of some drummers!

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Martin Casado, Networking Boss and OpenFlow (NSX is a derivative of it) inventor extraordinaire highlighted the importance of the network especially with cloud native applications, the application is the network he says, something I don’t quite subscribe to. The application is always more  important than any underlying infrastructure to deliver it. More messaging around infrastructure evolving into software. We heard from customer Novamedia again how they are using NSX. Then Martin talks about security, the topic that VMware is really trying to push with NSX. They announced distributed network encryption with NSX at VMworld US as well as VMDK data encryption at rest, both part of NSX 6.2.

Martin brought on stage customer Funs Kessen,Mission Critical Engineer (nice title) from Shuberg Philis.

Guido Appenzeller, chief technology strategy guy for NSX who was in Martin’s class when he taught at Stanford talked about connectivity across multiple clouds which is a VERY important consideration. NSX is now available on AWS (along with vCloud Air obviously) which is very interesting. I believe Azure is coming.


Pat Gelsinger, CEO, was then up on stage, recently flown over after I would presume a busy few days with the Dell acquisition.

What I thought was interesting is the big picture messaging from Pat is only done on day two and a the end of the keynote and doesn’t actually lead the conference. Not quite sure what to make of it but VMware is obviously trying to shake things up, normally the CEO leads out the vision and we get to the technical filler details during the second day but VMware is doing thinks differently.

Pat talks about how internet connectivity has grown. Healthcare, education and so many other areas are improved by connectivity. By 2019, half the world’s population will be connected to the internet, take a pause & realise that’s still only half. People are using more devices, iOS app revenue has passed film revenue. This connectivity revolution is changing economics, massive tech companies will disappear (does this include Dell + EMC/VMware)!

Pat also highlighted the focus on Open Source accelerating with the Cloud Native Applications from VMware.


VMworld Store

I had a look at what was for sale in the VMworld Store.

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DevOps Day

2015-10-14 10.42.39 Day 2 at VMworld has also been handed over to DevOps, there’s a full day track of sessions in the Hang Space aligned yet separate from the rest of the usual conference sessions. Other than the sessions which took over the vBrownbag session stage, there was a hackathon which was all about creating solutions using vCloud Air. All the talks are being recorded for live or later viewing.

  • Application Release Automation using vRealize Code Stream
  • Puppet with vSphere
  • Removing the Barriers for DevOps
  • Model a Container Runtime Environment on Your Mac with VMware AppCatalyst
  • Ansible with vCloud A
    Here are the Hackathon prizes:

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    I then attended a panel session:

CNA5379 – Panel: Enterprise architecture for Cloud-Native Applications

2015-10-14 11.01.25EMEA CTO Joe Baguley led the discussions with Martijn Baecke, Aaron Sweemer, Chris S exsmith and Robbie Jerrom all from VMware which was to highlight VMware’s vision for next generation application development and hosting. The chat went through micro-services, 12 factor apps and how they could be deployed using PaaS and/or containers.


HA, FT so longer required. no resilience in infrastructure is required but pushed to the Developers to create. This then becomes everyone’s responsibility to coordinate which isn’t an easy thing to do, I see more passing the buck!

There was some background on how agile makes things faster.

There was an interesting discussion which is typical for enterprise applications in that there’s no way you can make the entire application cloud native. There may be backend databases for example or even customer records on a mainframe which will never reach the cloud native world. Joe mentioned he is seeing a lot of traction for changing the middle of a 3 tier app so not messing with the back-end or the front end but breaking apart all the middleware into microservices so make them more efficient. Going cloud native for an application doesn’t have to mean going all in.

There was a questions about how small the microservices should be. Answer was depends (of course). This reminded me of the talk on Day 0 when it was suggested using business logic as a boundary for a microservice.

2015-10-14 12.28.40 Question about how close Dev and Ops should work together and Devs understanding of infrastructure. Answer was traditional IT can’t serve the needs of the developers at the moment so infrastructure needs to build a common platform to support both. VMware wants infrastructure to be able to offer microservices as a service. This means developers can come to IT and ask for as many microservices as they need (via API) without having the provisioning time associated with traditional VMs which require approval, enterprise architectures need to evolve.

Interesting discussion about state and containers. If you are doing transactional workloads for example to move money, what happens when a container dies. Sure you can spin up another container but the transaction information that was held in the now dead container is lost. A watchdog service to, well, watch the container system is required which will have stateful information to have a state of record to roll back and forward transactions. Something developers also need to understand with cloud native and container apps.

How to transition enterprise customers? Many have about 100s applications, answer was a journey, a step by step approach.

Importance of CI/CD to be able to test effectiveness of change.

Management of applications.containers at scale has to be automated.

Joe Baguley came up with what he’s calling Baguley’s Law: All IT problems as they get bigger become people problems! (nicked from Godwin’s Law)

Was generally a useful session although as usual some questions set off tangents that weren’t particularly interesting to me (but hopefully others).

DevOps and Puppet

I quickly headed back to the Hang Space to the main DevOps track to hear about Puppet with vSphere by Reid Vandewiele from Puppet Labs. Puppet is one of those companies that has taken enterprises by storm by being an automation technology that can span all aspects of not just infrastructure but application delivery. I had stopped by their stand yesterday. I’ll post the video here once it has been posted.

Ask Chad Anything

I didn’t have a chance to attend but Chad Sakac had a session at the EMC stand. He’s always a great speaker, hopefully it was recorded!

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Lunch and nibbles

Some more grub shots, you know this is important! Food has been pretty good, well at least compared to VMworld US!

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I then attended

CTO6630 – VMware CTO Panel

Guido Appenzeller – Chief Technology Strategy Officer of Networking & Security, VMware, Inc.
Joe Baguley – CTO EMEA, VMware
Paul Strong – VP & CTO Global field, VMware

Ray O’Farrell was sick so couldn’t make it, hope he gets well!

My notes, hard to encapsulate as it was a pretty broad discussion!

Paul Strong led the panel and went through each CTO and asked about their role

Guido, NSX.

Joe: EVO:Rail, IoT and unikernels

Paul: Connecting R&D to partners and customers. integration back into R&D

Guido: Networking previously virtually integrated (same stack) unlike servers. Networking sales model changing to be like servers.

Local switching is easy, future is all about global connectivity with security built in.

Joe: talking about second effect, for example having virtualised networking what will that mean, like cars being the enabler for Walmart which couldn’t exist without people being able to drive to out of town Walmarts yet the invention of the car couldn’t have predicted Walmark..

Joe also looks at taking new technology and fit it into correct process vs. changing processes to use new technology

Paul – evolution of technology and how it intersects with buiness and life. being able to move things around within the network from center to edge to other clouds.

What excited Joe about VMware? Great people and even back then 4.5 years ago was amazed how VMware was filled with experts in distributed systems.

Software defined decision making talked about, VMs coming together or moving apart based on what they do at particular times.

The “One Cloud” branding is about single operational management not necessarily using only a single cloud.

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Joe talked about a hackathon he worked with the UK retailer Sainsbury’s where he really drove home the idea of hackathons and innovation. Sainsbury’s put up signs in each store inviting people to take part so not just targeting existing developers. They had a wide ranging group of people from truck drivers and shelf stackers who had ideas and had done some coding in their spare time. The whole board was there to see what this hackathon thing was about. Once some of the ideas had been coded and shown, they were asked, when could this be put into production? Two days was the response which freaked out the IT department! The point is DevOps can be far reaching and getting into a mindset of continuous delivery means everyone needs to be onboard.

Also talk about eBay using NSX and containers together as they have such massive scale they run out of IP addresses and need NSX to solve this with the way you can create multiple networks with the same range.

Paul also talked about innovation being a numbers game that you need to be able to try different things but the challenge is how to bias your organisation to take advantage of the numbers

Lots of talk about embracing failure, Quote: “Failure is the currency with which you acquire knowledge”. Start with no punishing failure but always honestly learning from it

VMware is working hard to make installation if its software easier, EVO:RAIL and EVO:SDDC are examples of this. More work being done with the new vRealize Automation 7.

VMware says its competition is the user experience that clouds provide, they need to be able to offer a better experience.

I asked about whether customers will still vote with their money by paying VMware for hosting cloud native applications where you don’t need the advanced availability features that the VMware of IaaS is well known for.

Answers from all three CTOs were that VMware is still the best platform for CNAs, provides better isolation than native containers and better networking with NSX. I asked about whether customers are going to be willing to pay VMware for cloud native application and use the Photon Platform when they don’t need HA/DRS and can just use bare metal or any other cloud. Guido said you need to consider network security as well as containers really needing to run in VMs for isolation. Paul and Joe talked about vSphere being the interconnection between developers who want to just see a Docker API vs infrastructure people who need to manage the storage, network, security, some availability etc. at the back end. Photon Platform is this, giving both sides what they want. I’m starting to soften my stance on the relevance of VMware in a cloud native apps world where enterprises are really struggling with DevOps.They want to be the bridge between IT and developers. Developers point their tools to Docker for example which is abstracted on vSphere infrastructure with vSphere Integrated Containers or Photon Platform. IT can look after this platform and provide the important bits of security, availability, connectivity etc. underneath and have the same management overview for both sides with a common infrastructure that developers can consume like any cloud. Containers in VMs on vSphere are way better than containers on bare metal, the short version!

Time will tell whether this is true, will these lacking features present themselves in bare metal containers but for now I do actually think VMware has a good story to avoid another silo and provide great infrastructure in a developer friendly consumable format.

I then attended:

CNA5479 – Running Cloud-Native Apps on your Existing Infrastructure

2015-10-14 14.04.32This session was delivered by Martijn Baecke and Robbie Jerrom, both from VMware, who were on the earlier panel. The session started talking about the transition from the client/server era into mobile/cloud. There have been huge changes in how software is being engineered, witness VMworld having a DevOps day today. There still needs to be a way to host both the apps of what they call yesterday (in reality 99% of apps running anywhere!) and the new generation of cloud native apps. VMware wants to ensure it can provide the platform to support both these worlds. The term used was future proofing so the idea is to build an infrastructure for your current workloads that can also be extended to deliver the new cloud native apps. The work needs to be done to transform current infrastructure but keeping one management later.

They looked at various strategies such as starting with a new cloud and rebuilding apps but this is a good choice for cloud native only. something not feasible for many companies. Greenfield can be done, start again, but yet this is another environment to manage with upfront investment. Unsurprisingly they suggest using vSphere as the cornerstone of your infrastructure. Use software defined storage with hyperconverged/VVols and NSX for networking. Having a single platform makes it much easier to automate and orchestrate.

Automation=Speed, Orchestration=Control

Things in the mobile-cloud era are so much faster you need to be able to deliver infrastructure quicker.

They went through Photon OS/Photon Platform. Project Bonneville & Lightwave.

Developer as a service.was talked about. This is facilitating developers with self-service using their APIs (what I had asked about previously in the CTO panel) yet provide the underlying applications to support the scale.

Monitoring also important, of course using vRealize Operations showing what I had seen at the VMware Booth on Day 0 with showing containers natively within vRealize Ops.

It’s all about a developer-enabled SDDC.

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DR is all about redeployment and running in an active/active state for cloud native apps yet using SRM / VDPA to protect traditional workloads but with a common management layer.

It’s also not about the tech but working towards proper DevOps my evolving people and processes.

It was a generally interesting session but I think I have enough of a handle on cloud native apps to anticipate how this affects the transformation and how to run both on your existing infrastructure.

I then headed off to a group discussion:

MGT6401-GD – DevOps and Continuous Delivery

This was held by Thomas Corfmat from VMware who currently works with vRealize CodeStream although the discussion wasn’t product specific.

Group discussions by nature aren’t presentations but rely on everyone giving input.

The session started with introductions from everyone to get an idea of what kinds of companies are in the session, as the introductions started quite a few people left immediately.

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A poll was done as to where people were on the DevOps journey. 6% said they can release code into production within the hour 60% were split between having no DevOps and starting to look at it and the rest where somewhere further along on the journey.

Some people shared stories about how they started, from changing from waterfall to agile approach, others being forced by the business.

The consensus was to start with continuous integration to get started, establishing toolsets like TFS or Jenkins for example and work on the people and process.

3 phases to get to DevOps nirvana!

1. Configuration Management
Patching and configuration management
2. Continuous Delivery
Infrastructure lifecycle automation (infrastructure as code)
Application lifecycle automation
3. DevOps with Microservice
DevOps services for PaaS and container environments

    Went through top barriers to DevOps adoptions:
  • Rigid or siloed organisations
  • Different orgs manage infra middleware and apps
  • Insufficient automation/scripting/dev skills
  • No executive sponsorship
  • Not enough resource time/budget
  • No appropriate CD/release automation tools
  • Lack or provisioning/deployment tools
  • Monolithic/old generation application architecture

Back to the DevOps area for last official session of the day by Massimo Re Ferre’, one of the sanest living in the real world VMware Tech Marketers!

CNA1764-DevOps – Ansible with vCloud Air-DevOps

This session went through what Ansible does and then use it to configure deployments into vCloud Air. As I had been seen the Puppet session earlier in the day, it was good to see another automation product, Ansible.

I’ll post the recording once it is available:

Solutions Exchange Hall Crawl

Another meet the vendors session plying you with food and booze to open your ears!

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VMworld Party

This was held at the venue (often a dreary choice). Surprisingly for VMworld Europe which is legendary for having no or unknown bands (not necessarily bad bands when they have them, but certainly not big name) this year VMware brought out Faithless from the UK which is a pretty huge band and was awesome to hear. Interestingly outside the UK Faithless isn’t known I gathered. Fantastic lighting and sound for a conference venue with God is a DJ and Insomia which was actually very cool to hear.

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