Take Five With Tom Fenton

Top Takeaways from VMworld 2018

Tom Fenton shares his top takeaways from attending and speaking at VMworld 2018.

VMworld 2018 was held Aug. 26-30 in Las Vegas, and this year drew in more than 21,000 attendees from 86 countries and 5,280 companies. The conference went well; people seemed to enjoy it, and I got a chance to see some of the newest technology form VMware and its partners, touch base with some old friends and make some new acquaintances. I always enjoy hearing from the people on the front lines of technology. Here are my top five takeaways from VMworld this year.

VMware still has a soul. JVMware, as headed by Pat Gelsinger, is a little bit different than other companies. I truly believe Gelsinger walks the walk when it comes to being a good corporate citizen. Yes, VMware has a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders, but to the furthest extent possible Gelsinger provides opportunities to his employees to do good. This was exemplified at VMworld by bringing Malala Yousafzai to the stage, not to talk about technology but to discuss her life and struggles. Her life story was truly inspirational, and it was the highlight of the event for me. While I heard some people complain about the VMware closing party being a little weaker than expected, I believe that if the money went toward bringing speakers like Malala to the event, it was the right decision to make.

VMware wants to abstract the cloud layer. Just as VMware has made the specific type of server you run your application on irrelevant, it now wants to make the cloud that your application runs on just as irrelevant; the major thrust of the keynotes was multi-cloud. In the same way that VMware abstracted away servers, it appears as though it wants to do the same for the cloud.

No ground-breaking announcements were made. Yes, vSphere Platinum, VCF 3.0, and vSphere 6.7 U1 were announced, and vROps 7.0, vRA 7.5 and Lifecycle Manager 2.0 were released, but we really didn't see any really jaw-dropping announcements at VMworld this year.

VMware is in good fiscal health. The week prior to VMworld, VMware announced its Q2 earnings. VMware stated that NSX license bookings, including VeloCloud, increased more than 40 percent year-over-year, and that 82 companies in the Fortune 100 have adopted NSX. The vSAN license increased 70 percent on a year-over-year basis and more than 60 percent of vSAN customers are now using vSAN to run business-critical applications. On the EUC side, bookings were up in the mid-teens, driven by the performance from Workspace ONE in the marketplace. This was fantastic news for VMware as it headed into VMworld.

It looks like VMware is headed back to San Francisco next year. I have mixed feelings about this change. While I love the convenience of having the convention in Las Vegas, I am sick of having too small of chairs to sit comfortable in at the sessions, as well as running into the blatant money grab tactics Vegas hotels use (resort fees, no coffee makers or refrigerators in the rooms and a "suggested" 18, 20, or 22 percent tip for an overpriced buffet). It will be interesting to see how having VMworld on the west coast next year affects attendance.

On a final note, I would like to thank those who attended my session at VMworld. The room was packed, and the feedback and comments were kind, so thank you. If you missed my session on using VAMI and vimtop to maintain the uptime of your VCSA in Las Vegas, I will be delivering it again at VMworld Europe in Barcelona the first week of November.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 30 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 20 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware in Staff and Senior level positions. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on X @vDoppler.


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