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VMworld US 2016: The Day 4 Buzz

September 1st, 2016

General Session: Seeing and Creating the Unimaginable

Today is the wind down to VMworld when all the announcements are out. I usually love the final day general session as it gives us a peak at what else is happening outside the VM/cloud/IT bubble. Today’s talks covered satellites hunting lost cities, 3D printers building robots and synthetic biology, a much needed look at something else!

Sarah Parcak, Satellite Archaeologist, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Sarah talked about her work using satellites to hunt down lost ancient sites, how’s that for a cool job, think of that next time you’re hunting down ancient snapshots!

Daniela Rus, Director, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT

Daniela works on distributed robotics which can be used already with transportation, security, underwater exploration and agriculture. She has recently been working on printing robots, let that sink it a little bit. If you can 3D print a robot, you can create it anywhere from a plan downloaded off the internet. 3D printing has already been used on the space station  to create replacement parts, imagine being able to create the exact kind of robot you need in any location

Neri Oxman, dnDirector, Mediated Matter Research Group, MIT Media Lab

Neri brings together fabrics and biology, we couldn’t see much of what she was showing from the VMVillage screens and she asked that no-one takes photos or tweets about what she was showing, so that’s a bit strange for a keynote but she seemed enthusiastic about what she was showing that we could see.

vExpert Daily

I was asked to be on an impromptu vExpert daily panel with Thomas Bryant, Eric Wright and Gregg Robertson. This was actually great fun and felt a good conversation. I’ll post the video when its available.

This meant unfortunately that I missed the session I had planned on attentind:

Extreme Performance Series: vCenter Performance Deep Dive [INF8108]

I found someone who had attended, This was all about getting serious about vCenter performance, some may say this shouldn’t be an issue if it was architected in a distributed, self-scaling manner but that’s not yet the case so we need to ensure we can eek out all performance for large environment.

VMware’s Priya Sethuraman from Performance Engineering as well as Ravi Soundararajan went through the requirements for vCenter Server which is at the heart of your cloud deployment. You need high responsiveness, be able to accommodate rapid provisioning of VMs and apps as well as be highly resilient. They say although the out of the box settings should be good enough for most deployments, there are some best practices for performance and scale. I couldn’t get details of them so will update this post once I have a chance to find out more.

Looks like good buddy Derek Seaman was there and took great notes.

Sessions I wanted to attend but couldn’t due to too much on at the same time, need to watch the recordings or find out what was said:

  • An IT Architect’s Guide to the Software-Defined Data Center [SDDC8472]
  • VMware’s Solution Strategy on Mobility’s Evolution to Internet of Things into 2016 and Beyond [EUC7870]
  • vSphere Client Roadmap: Host Client, HTML5 Client, and Web Client [INF8172]

VMworld Store

I took some pictures of the things for sale in the VMworld Store, one of the ways to buy presents for your kids

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20160830_224028751_iOS 20160830_224042120_iOS

20160830_224101690_iOS 20160830_224109709_iOS 20160830_224139503_iOS

20160830_224151408_iOS 20160830_224201745_iOS 20160830_224212349_iOS

20160830_224219118_iOS 20160830_224221853_iOS


 That’s All Folks

VMworld 2016 is a wrap for me, as usual its been a whirwind of ideas, talking, questioning, learning, community, tech and friends.

I arrived at VMworld a little sceptical this year. So much is changing in IT, cloud and DevOps is actually delivering the promises of a better way to do things, I wasn’t sure VMware was up to the task of pivoting/extending beyond being the best VM hypervisor/management company around.

Cloud Native

I do see tons of things happening at VMware. Cloud native apps and container management are being worked on furiously as the immediate existential threat to the VM being the unit of IT consumption. Is this enough? Do we need to manage containers as VMs or should we be doing things differently? Squashing your existing applications into containers just as a packaging format and then having to back them up doesn’t really move the needle, you’re just moving the unit of consumption to a container yet with the same “restrictions” you had with your VMs.

It was a real shame Docker wasn’t on stage and relegated to a small booth. Docker has developer mindshare and is dying to get into enterprises, surely VMware and Docker can work together, Microsoft doesn’t seem to have a problem with this.

Although things are moving extremely quickly in IT nowadays, there is very much a long tail because if applications need to be rewritten to take advantage of this cloud native world, it’s not going to happen any time soon.

Yet, because new applications can be written much more quickly and delivered to customers much more quickly, business have more more choice and agility when it comes to changing the software/services they use so that long tail may dwindle quicker than VMware would like.

Does VMware have too much inertia and legacy to truly reinvent (pun intended), the jury is still out? After this week, I haven’t come to any finite conclusions, I haven’t been blown away or truly excited by the announcements, I was disappointed that vSphere Integrated Containers only moved to a more public beta and Photon Platform isn’t out yet. If we have to wait for another year for vSphere 7 to see this, it will be far too long. We shouldn’t even need a separate vSphere for Integrated Containers as well as a Photon Platform, I would hope these would converge and sooner rather than later.

Make the Core Cool Again

The great news is there is a palpable sense VMware is refocusing on the core vSphere and is working hard to make it much more simpler to install and operate as well as integrate more seamlessly. Things like VCSA and Cloud Foundation (think a VMware SDDC Azure Stack) when it grows up a little and actually becomes a cloud are great. VSAN has an excellent future as a platform for storage for many uses cases. I heard from a VMware employee that there was a realisation they had become complacent and the company was really pulling together to integrate more to make products easier to consume for customers, good to hear.


Cloud wise, they really are fumbling, way too late to the true cloud game, only really focused on enterprise legacy applications and moving VMs between clouds. Enterprises are getting rid of their on-prem apps and moving whatever they can to SaaS, if they are rewriting apps they should be using PaaS (containers may underpin the PaaS). They shouldn’t be lifting and shifting VMs and saying they are doing “cloud”. SaaS providers unlikely use vSphere. PaaS runs great on vSphere but also runs great on any other cloud. Enterprises will question paying for vSphere when other simpler options are available when the PaaS handles the deployment availability.

There are plenty of clever people at VMware and a leadership I have faith in, they just need to execute much quicker than they currently are.

My blogging has taken on Chad Sakac verbosity so to summarise:

VMworld Hot

  • The Community
  • Cloud Foundation for a future private cloud
  • NSX seems to be maturing
  • vRealize Network Insight
  • Cross-Cloud Services
  • Much more integration between SDDC components
  • Hyper-Converged
  • Opening Acts
  • VMware Validated Designs
  • VSAN
  • VSAN Analytics
  • The food (way better than Moscone)
  • Portable Snapshots
  • Exoclones
  • Conditional Access
  • Corfu Distributed Shared Log
  • Pat Gelsinger answering questions at vExpert Party
  • IoT
  • VMDK encryption
  • Migrate 2 VCSA
  • VMVillage

VMworld Not

  • Fumbling cloud story, changes every year, at least we have “Any Cloud” rather than “One Cloud”
  • Not many announcements (heard they’re being held back to boost VMworld Europe attendance)
  • Keynotes meh.
  • Focus on mainly legacy apps, shunting VMs at an IaaS layer between clouds
  • vRealize Automation making progress but still hard and lost features since v6
  • Only 20,000 out of 500,000 customers use vRealize Suite. That’s only 4% of customers using your private cloud product!
  • No Docker on stage, small booth
  • vSphere Integrated Containers only more public beta
  • Photon Platform not released
  • No, “we are the best place to run PaaS…because…”
  • Very little developer focus, small on-stage demos used the UI!
  • Annoying their partners by all the new cloud stuff only on IBM SoftLayer
  • Still annoying their partners by competing with them with vCloud Air
  • How does Virtustream fit in?
  • Pre-recorded “Live Demos”
  • Not showing off the Web Client in the keynote

Thanks for having me VMworld and if you made it this far in my post, thank you for spending your time!


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