VMworld 2017: A Cornucopia of Possibilities (includes video)

vmworld-2017-shot.jpgSome industry shows—perhaps the majority—can come and go with only a section of the IT world knowing (sometimes a bigger or smaller section depending on the nature of the show, but nonetheless only a section). However, such is the breadth of what VMworld encompasses and touches that I can't imagine there are (m)any people involved in IT to any extent who don't know VMworld took place this week. 

It's a statement that is of course a testimony to the central role (I was going to say pivotal, but decided against it!) that VMware has established for itself...and its entire ecosystem; indeed the powerful draw, scale, and breadth of coverage of the event is all the more amazing when one remembers that it is still officially a vendor event, rather than an industry event per se (although everything I have said so far means that it is essentially the industry event for many).


The breadth of the show means that our ESG On Location video is itself an 8-minute whirlwind of coverage: as well as yours truly, there's headline commentary from my colleagues Edwin Yuen, Mark Bowker, Jason Buffington, Terri McClure, and Scott Sinclair. 


Take a look at the video, but then be sure to also check out our dedicated VMworld page for expanded coverage from pre-, during-, and post-show...it also has insights from our colleagues who couldn't attend, covering even more areas. And there's more to come: I certainly have more to add from my own infrastructure perspective and I'll cover that in another blog next week...but for now, we all wanted to get the highlights video posted and available. Enjoy!

Video Transcript

Mark Peters: Hey, and welcome to another ESG On Location video. The first thing I usually do is tell you where we are, but I'm guessing these letters to my left give you a pretty good clue. So welcome to the 2017 edition of VMworld. You know, Henry Ford once famously said that you could have any color as long as it's black. I think the takeaway from this event already is you can talk about anything you like, any product you like, as long as it includes the word "cloud." To get some of the details, over to my ESG colleagues.


Edwin: Hi, I'm Edwin Yuen, ESG analyst for systems management, PaaS, and dev ops, and I'm here at VMworld 2017. And at every VMworld, we're always waiting to see whether or not VMware is moving beyond virtualization. I think this year really is the year that they've come out. They've made two major announcements that have been landing that message. First, they announced the availability of VMware cloud on AWS, which is really the VMware systems, their entire stack running on bare metal in AWS, but then having those AWS services and networks with direct access. And the other is this partnership between Pivotal, VMware, and Google for Pivotal Container Service. And what that is is really blending Kubo, which is an open source management tool, along with the NSX management tool altogether to really build a platform that does Kubernetes management, but really takes care of the day two Kubernetes management. How do you deal with the infrastructure, and how do you manage and deliver systems while Kubernetes delivers those containers? I think these two announcements are big steps in showing that VMware is really moving beyond virtualization.


Jason: One of the things I love about VMworld every year is how many different data protection vendors want to be part of the conversation here. Now what's important to recognize is that we don't live in a data center virtualized world only anymore. And by the way, there's not just one hypervisor. Most organizations will have multi-hypervisors within their private clouds, and they'll have multiple public clouds, including both IaaS hosted, and SaaS offerings. And so the conversation really has been changing from one on, "Can I back up your VM?" Because pretty much everybody can now back up a VM. Now the conversation is, "Can I protect your broader environment, and can I do it in a way that still provides levels of agility and manageability that I'm used to in a highly virtualized data center?"


Mark Bowker: There's three things that I've observed this year at VMworld. First is the approach that VMware has taken. They've really almost taken a step back to the sidelines and let the customers tell the story. So whether it's keynotes, sessions, we see more and more customers telling their story, and it really represents a maturity of the market. The second thing is, from a technology perspective, everybody always asks what's the coolest thing you saw. Ultimately, I think this time it's the Samsung Decks. So this is taking that Galaxy phone, docking it into a docking station essentially, and creating a PC experience through a phone. And they're partnering with VMware and CItrix also, but to also be able to project that Windows environment. And then my third observation is around partners, and alliance partners in particular. So again, VMware has created a community of alliance partners, but interestingly enough, the attraction from an alliance partner perspective is ultimately the sales experience and sales execution value that Dell Technologies and VMware brings. And this is even true with partners and announcements you've seen with the likes of Amazon and Google, who you would think would have that expertise but really are relying on VMware or looking at VMware to help there as well. Keep a lookout for some of the research that we're doing directly to a knowledge worker and IT executives, and we'll have more things coming there this year.


Mark Peters: Having stepped away from the show, it makes you realize how big it is, not just in terms of its physical size, although it's huge, not just in terms of its attendees, it's very big, but in terms of the range, and quality, and size of those that are partnering with VMware, and indeed making announcements. So obviously you have Dell and all the Dell empire contributors, but then you also had IBM involved, HP Inc involved, Pivotal involved, Google Cloud, AWS. When you're talking about organizations like this cooperating and innovating, then you really know you're at something that is at the epicenter of what's going on in IT today.


Terri: I'm looking at VMworld 2017 through the eyes of the converged and hyperconverged infrastructure side of the world, you know, cloud and infrastructure. And it was really interesting to me to hear some of the adoption numbers that they said. I mean, VMware said that they have 10,000 VCM installations around the world, and they're adding 100 new customers a week. That's pretty fast traction. But who better to virtualize the storage side of the world through software defined storage than the people that virtualized the service side of the world? So I'm not really surprised at the traction because they've got a huge install base that they can tap into, and plus they get to use the Dell EMC salesforce to help drive traction through VxRack and VxRail. It's gonna be interesting to watch the HCI product moving forward though. I mean, it's an intensely competitive market. Cisco just acquired Springpath, and they've got a good offering that's a little bit under the radar but has very good traction. You've got certainly Nutanix out there, one of the category pioneers that's out there, and they acquired Calm, and they're going up the I/O stack. And they've got a good competitive advantage there. And of course, Pivot3 with some of the QOS offerings that they have. It's a very competitive market, so congratulations to VMware on that traction, but you had a lot of people out there biting on your heels, so you're gonna have to keep investing and developing to stay ahead.


Scott: The story this week is about a partnership between VMware and Amazon, just simply reiterating the importance of the public cloud for today's IT organizations. Now the big question is how do the on-premises storage providers respond? Many of them are in this expo center here. The gauntlet has been thrown down that IT providers or storage providers that offer predominantly on-premises solutions need to understand how do they embrace a public cloud? Or how do they provide key differentiation in a world that is seeing them more and more as a component of a larger solution rather than something standalone?


Mark Peters: There have been some fascinating phrases that we've seen around here, like, "Every silver lining has its cloud." VMware anxious to tell us multiple times aspirationally that, you know, they would like to be consumer simple, enterprise secure. I get all that. But what could we take away? There's probably another phrase that I'm gonna create that I think summarizes what we heard here. Perhaps VMware together with its partnerships, together with its role in the ecosystem, might just be the company that becomes the software public cloud. Now I would argue that we don't really have a public cloud at the moment. We have lots of individual components of a public cloud, but they need to be brought together. And maybe VMware, together with its partners, can be just that. If there's one thing VMware has done over the years, it has shown an ability to change. And with everything we've seen and heard this week, maybe it can pull this off.


Topics: VMworld