Take Five With Tom Fenton

Take 5: VMworld 2020

Tom Fenton lists his top five takeaways from VMworld this year.

VMworld was originally scheduled to be held in San Francisco and Barcelona this year, but due to conditions these two events were combined into a single online event held Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2020. VMware has yet to release any numbers on attendance to this year's event and it will be interesting to see how it compares to last year's and see if it continues to decrease in attendance from more than 23,000 attendees in 2018 to around 20,000 in 2019. This year was heavily focused on Kubernetes (K8s) and hybrid technology, there was also a fair amount of emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI), edge and 5G networking. Below are my top five takeaways from VMworld this year.

Take 1 – VMware is continuing its big bet on Kubernetes (K8s). On the first day of VMworld 2019, VMware announced Tanzu. Tanzu is a suite of products that make it easier for VMware customers to build, run and manage applications on K8s on vSphere. Since then VMware has pushed hard on informing their customers and potential customers on the value proposition of Tanzu. This year they announced Tanzu Service Mesh and other enabling technologies for it.

Take 2 – Tanzu support for VMware Cloud. As I said after last year's VMworld VMware is dead set on making public clouds just another resource that will be managed by their products. The big announcement this year around this concept was that VMware had updated their support for Tanzu on VMware Cloud on AWS, previewing Tanzu on Azure VMware Solution, and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. In the long term it will be interesting how agnostic VMware can be to its cloud partners.

Take 3 – SaltStack. VMware announced that it will acquire SaltStack, saying that SaltStack will complete their automation story. SaltStack provides infrastructure automation, and provides services that are somewhat comparable to Ansible, Puppet or Chef. VMware has invested a fair amount of money in Puppet Labs (the company) over the years, and some of the upper management of Puppet has come from VMware so it will be interesting to see what this means for Puppet.

Take 4 – Project Monterey. VMware announced Project Monterey. This is a forward-looking initiative without a timeline for a deliverable. This will further abstract the compute hardware layer by offloading networking CPU activity to a new hardware technology called SmartNIC not only will it streamline the network flow it will also take on some network security roles. A SmartNIC will have an ESXi instance running on it, and that instance will be able to run VMs.

Take 5 – VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery. VMware has had various cloud based disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering in the past to protect on-premises vSphere workloads this one is based on technology they acquired from Datrium which they acquired earlier this year. It will use VMware Cloud on AWS and use cloud storage with SaaS-based management and be a pay-when-you-need-failover capacity model for disaster recovery resources.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 25 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 15 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He previously worked at VMware as a Senior Course Developer, Solutions Engineer, and in the Competitive Marketing group. 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 Twitter @vDoppler.

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