VMworld Europe 2019 – Day 2 recap


Fred Hofer ‘imported’ the idea of a joint breakfast where some vCommunity members could start their day together with some coffee and snacks from Shane Williford who introduced this nice tradition in VMworld US. The first Barcelona edition took place in 2015 with only three people, and the now world famous ‘grumpy waiter’, who has his own Twitter hashtag now. Over the years the event grew bigger and is now usually sponsored by RuneCast (third time in a row). It was a fun experience and great way to have a chat or even meet new people.

vBreakfast Europe 2019

Tuesday General Session key note

After a brief introduction by Jean-Pierre Brulard (Senior Vice President & General Manager, EMEA) VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger took the stage of the general session, supported by Principal Engineer Joe Beda (back at VMware after their acquisition of Heptio, where he was CTO) and COO Sanjay Poonen with a couple of guests providing insights on how VMware has and will continue to change the areas of cloud, mobility, networking and security.
If you don’t have time to view the recording of the session here are the topics in short form:

  • VMware strategy: Customers should be able to run any app using any cloud on any device with intrinsic security. This strategy has been around for ca. six years, but their portfolio is broader than ever. It is now organised into five blocks: Build, run, manage, connect and protect.
  • Force for Good initiative: VMware has the mission that technology impacts humanity in a positive way (i.e. sustainability, education). They bring education to lesser developed regions like Africa.
  • VMware Tanzu: The Cloud native portfolio consists of various new products focussed around Kubernetes:
    • Build Modern Applications with a Modern Software Supply Chain: Pivotal, Spring, broad ISV ecosystem, pre-tested application catalogs (Bitnami and the newly announced enterprise quality Project Galleon)
    • Run Modern Apps: vSphere with Native Kubernetes and App-focused Management (Project Pacific)
    • Manage Multi-cloud, Multi-cluster Infrastructure: Tanzu Mission Control (Supporting all Kuberentes platforms, like AKS, GKE, OpenShift etc.; Currently in closed beta) and Velero (Backup tool; formerly called Heptio Ark)
  • Project Pacific performance: vSphere with Native Kubernetes can be 30% faster than Kubernetes on KVM and up to 8% faster than Kubernetes on Baremetal Linux Servers because of better CPU/NUMA scheduling.
  • Cloud computing analysis: CloudHealth (now part of VMware) offers cost management, governance, automation, security and performance reporting in a SaaS model.
  • Hybrid cloud: VMware introduced Cloud Foundation as a consistent SDDC platform available both on-premises and from CSPs
    • With ‘Cloud Director Service’ partners will be able to consume various infrastructure providers with a single portal.
    • The global presence of cloud data centers using VMware technology has reached over 10.000 (with AWS having the biggest footprint).
    • No expensive refactoring of legacy applications is needed when these already run on a VMware based platform and should be migrated to a VCF based cloud. Customers can then modernise their architectures at their own pace.
    • Thomas Saueressig (Board member at SAP) talked about the journey of his company together with VMware, e.g. how their business model has changed. SAP products are now used more often running on cloud infrastructure than on-premises data centers. For next goals they target containerise their software, Hyper-individualization and industry 4.0.
    • Access to CSP specific services like DBaaS (e.g. AWS RDS) etc. can be used when running workloads in a VMware based cloud. The services offered vary between the CSPs (IBM, Azure, GCP, AWS etc.) resulting in many customers making use of multiple CSPs (Mix-and-match), resulting in a Multi Cloud strategy.
    • Another trend of Hybrid Cloud is to bring CSP specific service also to private Clouds, e.g. AWS outpost.
    • Sari Granat (EVP, IHS Markit) gave insights and lessons learned into the company’s cloud journey heavily involving VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) with the long term goal to reduce their own data centers. Being an early adopter of VMC and having plenty of VMs (accumulated because of company acquisitions) they already have about 30% of workloads migrated to AWS.
  • VMware and Microsoft cooperation: After Azure VMware Solutions (allowing you to run VMware workloads natively on Azure; supported by HCX) introduced earlier this year the following services were presented: Azure SQL 2019 (on premises service), VMware SD-WAN (Velocloud) and Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN working together, e.g. for Azure IoT Edge and Workspace One for Microsoft Endpoint Manager for Windows 10.
  • DC-as-a-Service: With VMware Cloud on Dell EMC (based on VCF & VXrail) Dell EMC offers enterprise services (e.g. Hardware-as-a-Service) to simplify the operation of on-premises data centers.
  • Hybrid cloud services: Several vRealize products can be consumed directly out of the cloud instead of running them locally to monitor and manage deployments. Other services offered by VMware include HCX, DRaaS, Appliances and Cloud Marketplaces, Wavefront, Horizon DaaS, Data protection.
  • Edge computing: VMware is defining use cases where running applications in the Edge cloud make sense and group their offerings in thick, medium and thin (e.g. Pulse IoT Center).
  • 5G: The upcoming standard for mobile broadband internet will be affecting everything from daily life (e.g. retail experience) to manufacturing & automotive. How this will affect VMware’s product and ecosystem remains to be seen.
  • Telco cloud: With Project Maestro VMware plans to extend the engagement with telecommunication providers. It is an orchestration and operations framework leveraging a consistent cloud infrastructure to deliver services to (currently) over 100 ISPs.
    Another offering for mobile network operators is Uhana (Ai-powered predictive analytics for Radio Access Networks)
  • NSX advancements: VMware’s SDN portfolio consists of NSX Service mesh (Microservice interoperability), SD-WAN (Velocloud) and NSX Datacenter, which will be extended by the following:
    • Advanced load balancing to (AVI networks, acquired earlier this year)
    • NSX Distributed IDS/IPS
  • NSX opportunities: By replacing dedicated network and security appliances with NSX solutions CAPEX and OPEX have been reduced by more than 50%.
    • A customer perspective into this was given by Pauline Flament (Global Network Director of IT at Michelin) explaining how the company first introduced Micro segmentation using NSX and then SD-WAN for their branched using Velocloud.
  • Intrinsic security: According to VMware the IT security in general is “broken”; The landscape of infrastructure components supposed to deliver security is too complicated for most customers and often not effective. It needs to be built into the entire stack and enhances with intelligent components (interpreting information from network, workload, endpoint, identity and cloud platform to provide analytics)
  • Cloud endpoint security: VMware aims to bring next-generation antivirus & rogue device detection and compliance reporting with product resulting from the recent Carbon Black acquisition, in addition to what AppDefense already does today (introspection of application behaviour in guest VMs to detect anomalies). Some of the features on VMware’s roadmap in this context are:
    • Agentless workload security for vSphere (even for Antivirus)
    • Unified workspace security for Workspace One (client side)
    • Embedded network thread analytics (NSX)
    • Integrated cloud security solution (Secure state)
    • Managed security devices (Trusted devices by Dell: Secureworks)
  • Endpoint Management: VMware is the only company offering management of all popular devices for customers (MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS) using Workspace One in a simple and secure (enterprise grade) way.
  • Digital employee experience: Onboarding new employees and using day-to-day tools and processes shouldn’t be annoying. A good digital workspace should increase the employee’s engagement and productivity. The new AI powered ‘virtual assistant’ and ‘intelligent hub’ offered by Workspace One can help with this.
Tuesday General Session key note – Announcement of NSX Distributed IDS/IPS

Inner Circle Panel & Luncheon

The ‘Inner Circle’ is a platform by VMware which invites participants to give feedback to the company’s products and services. The goal is to improve on quality in various areas, like UI design, licensing models, interaction between solutions etc.
During VMworld five leadership representatives from different areas were available for a Q&A in a panel.
Afterwards, during lunch, they joined the guests at different tables, which each had a topic assigned, to have a discussions regarding that topic.

Inner Circle Panel & Luncheon

Odyssey Hands-on Lab Competition

The guys behind the VMware Hands-on Labs introduced a new variant of the platform which lets you test drive products in a browser based VDI setup, called Odyssey. The idea behind Odyssey is to have a competition where contestants have to solve the goals provided in a Hands on Lab with goal to be the fastest. The labs are however modified that the steps and description how to accomplish the goals usually displayed in a lab are not available.
During VMworld several rounds of this competition in various knowledge areas were held. I took part in a round with other bloggers/vExperts with tasks focussed on vSphere performance optimisations. Over the course of the week a elimination tournament with small teams was held, called the Odyssey Cup.
I think this is a great idea und fun way to compare your skill with others, and a much better way to give away goodies than e.g. a raffle.
Odyssey will be touring across vForums and VMUG Usercons around the world.

Hands-on Labs Tour

A large portion of the VMvillage floor space is dedicated to the Hands-on Labs. Here you can take a lab on your own or schedule a classroom like experience, where usually one of the creators of each specific lab is eager to help and explain the individual contents. Also you can take brand new labs during VMworld, which will then be released only a short while after. This time new additions were focussed on “Project Pacific”, “NSX-T” and the bleeding edge versions of the vRealize Suite.

Hands-on Labs

Additionally on taking a lab you could also have a glimpse behind the curtain to meet the people and the technology which bring the Hands-on lab to life. At the entrance of the tour you were given a wireless headset so the tour guides didn’t have to shout.
The different stations we visited were the monitoring stations where admins could make sure the experience was as expected. This is especially interesting when you know that all labs are hosted in Cloud environment either hosted by VMware or a partner like AWS. A specific amount of lab instances are always pre-provisioned, so that users don’t have to wait until the required resources are provisioned when they start a new session. Used bandwidth, latency (using Thousand Eyes) and availability of the individual links and providers are some of the KPIs which are monitored.
Another stop the tour covered is the Help desk where issues of lab users are solved and hardware (e.g. MacBooks) is given to people who are interested in a demo of the BYOD-provisioning service of VMware Workspace One.

Hands-on Lab Tour

The tour finished at the Command Center which is a wall of displays showing various parameters of the technology components involved in delivering the labs, like bandwidth, amount of resources used in parallel or summed up. All dashboards make use of VMware’s own products.
Ibrahim Quraishi recorded a video explaining these in more detail.

Hands-on Labs Command Center

vExpert NSX Briefing

If you were currently a vExpert and also selected for the Network Virtualization sub-program were invited to a special briefing, where upcoming news and the SDN portfolio of VMware was teasered. Also the leadership of the NSBU (network & security business unit) present tried to answer questions from the vCommunity members, as well as they could (future release timeline and feature details are kept secret of course).

vExpert NSX Briefing

vExpert Celebration Party

As this was my second VMworld, but my first time being in Barcelona while being a vExpert, being at the ‘vExpert Celebration Party’ was a premiere for me. It was held at a nice little restaurant/bar at the beach directly underneath the famous W Hotel and was visited by ca. 70 vExperts in total, including ‘Mr. vCommunity’ himself: Corey Romero.

vExpert Celebration Party – Christoph, me, Corey & Andy

It was great to meet all of the people I mostly knew from Twitter and had a great evening chatting. To put the cherry on top later Pat Gelsinger showed up unannounced, started to sing Happy Birthday for Yves Sandfort and took the time to talk to everybody. Of course we took the opportunity to take a selfie with him to capture this special moment…

vExpert Celebration Party – Selfie with Pat

Veeam Party

To finish off a great day one more highlight took place in a venue not far from the Plaza de España: The annual party sponsored an organised by backup & recovery software vendor Veeam.

Veeam Party – Outside

The party had plenty of finger food and drinks and was music-wise a good mix between a DJ duo and a fantastic cover band, which would return to VMworld Fest two days later.

Veeam Party – Inside