Take Five With Tom Fenton
5 Big Trends from VMworld 2019
VMware's regular release cadence makes VMworld less of a can't-miss event than it used to be, but that doesn't mean a shortage of major announcements.
VMworld 2019 returned to San Francisco this year and was held the week of Aug. 25. Attendance was down to around 20,000 this year from more than 23,000 attendees last year. The drop-off in attendance could be due to the change in location from Las Vegas or because VMware, like most other technology companies, now releases products and features on a regular cadence throughout the year rather than holding them back for its biggest annual shows.
That said, VMware did make a few big announcements. Below are my top five takeaways from VMworld this year.
VMware is doubling down on Kubernetes (K8s). On the first day of the conference, VMware announced VMware Tanzu and Project Pacific. Tanzu is a suite of products that will make it easier for VMware customers to build, run and manage applications on K8s on vSphere. Project Pacific is in tech preview and is an effort to allow K8s to be integrated into and managed by vSphere.
To further drive home the point that VMware is serious about containers and K8s, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger tasked his company's existing chief technology officer, Ray O'Farrell, with leading VMware's cloud-native effort.
VMware wants to abstract and manage the cloud layer. VMware is dead-set on making public clouds just another resource that will be managed by its products. The big announcement was VMware Hybrid Cloud Platform, a product that will allow it to do that on all the major public clouds and many of the smaller ones.
VMware has shown interest in the past by allowing its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) product, Horizon, to use virtual desktops housed on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). At this conference, it stated that a product released in preview, Tanzu Mission Control (see Take 1), will allow its customers to manage all K8s clusters, whether they run on-premises or in public clouds, from a single management point.
Frenemies. VMware has had an interesting relationship with the "Super 7" (the world's seven largest cloud providers), especially Microsoft and AWS, with whom VMware has many competing products and services.
At VMworld this year, VMware announced a full desktop as a service (DaaS) offering on AWS, Horizon cloud for Windows Virtual Desktops and that Azure VMware services will be further expanded this year.
End user device management. VMware made big announcements around Workspace ONE. VMware spread its bets around the table when it acquired AirWatch, a leader in enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology. I didn't quite understand the acquisition, but it now powers VMware Workspace ONE.
At VMworld, it unveiled major enhancements to the capabilities of Workspace ONE, including automation and day one support for many OSes and devices, as well as zero-trust security for end user devices.
VMware is in good fiscal health. The week prior to VMworld, VMware announced its Q2 earnings. NSX adoption increased more than 30 percent year over year (YOY) and vSAN license bookings grew 45 percent YOY. vSAN was included in eight of its top 10 deals, and now its customer count has exceeded 20,000. End user computing (EUC) license bookings were up 20 percent YOY, and EUC was included in all of its top 10 deals. VMware credited the growth to robust performance from Workspace ONE.
VMware also stated that it has around $3 billion in cash and cash equivalents, so if the executive team wants to acquire anyone else, it has plenty of money to do so.
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.