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7 Key Takeaways from VMworld 2016

LAS VEGAS – VMworld 2016 still has several days to go as I write this, but most of the big news announcements have been made, so it's safe to discuss the main things I learned about VMware's strategy in the near term as outlined in both keynotes, as well as discussions I've had with multiple company executives.

  1. VMware is determined to make this "cloud" thing work. Despite the lack of uptake for vCloud Air in the public space, it hopes that its "software-defined" tech, like NSX software-defined networking and VSAN software-defined storage, will find a place in the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure platforms. This is not mere hope, either: both technologies are cloud-ready and enhance cloud computing. It's also smart, in that if customers like what NSX/VSAN offer, they may look at other products having it, like hyper-converged appliances.
  2. IBM isn't a bad place to plant the Cloud Foundation flag. VMware's Cloud Foundation – a suite of products including vSphere, NSX, SDDC Manager and VSAN – is being made available first on IBM's public cloud. Although IBM is generally considered to be the fourth-place public cloud platform, behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, it's an up-and-comer, and feels like a good fit for Cloud Foundation. IBM remains an exceptionally strong brand, and partnering with it helps burnish VMware's public cloud image.
  3. It's amazing (at least to me) how important NSX has become to VMware. I doubt that many believed that VMware's purchase of Nicira in 2012 would yield such ripe fruit. It was clear that software-defined networking (SDN) would be big, but one could make the case that it's become VMware's most important product going forward. It's the main driver for so much of what the company's doing in both cloud and end-user computing. Its micro-segmentation abilities are crucial for security, for example.
  4. vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) has a bright future. Admins and developers both love containers, and VMware has embraced the hot new technology fully. It showcased some of VIC's new technologies, including a private container registry for better ease-of-use and security, and a management portal. The updates address significant user concerns, and managing containers on top of an environment they already know in vSphere will encourage further use of containers, both Docker and alternatives..
  5. With the clearing of the final regulatory hurdle, Dell and EMC will be united in holy matrimony on Sept. 7. That means that just as VMware employees are starting to recover from VMworld 2016, another wave crashes into them in the form of the long, possibly torturous process of integrating with the new Dell Technologies behemoth. No rest for the weary.
  6. I truly do not believe that Michael Dell is going to be gumming up the VMware works. I asked him and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger about possible interference point-blank at a press briefing on Monday. The response I got, combined with discussions with many, many sources over the past year, leave me feeling confident that VMware will be left alone in much the same way it has been under EMC's stewardship.  
  7. I like Las Vegas as a venue, mainly because I can stay in the same hotel as the show. I like San Francisco a lot, too. Both are fine destination cities. But would it kill you, VMware, to hold a VMworld on the east coast in the future? Pretty please?

Posted by Keith Ward on 08/30/2016 at 7:11 PM


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