VMworld 2015: Day Two Recap

In this post, I’ll recap Day 2 of VMworld 2015 (you can find a recap of day 1 here).

Over the past several years, Tuesday’s general session has been focused on the End User Computing space, and this year was no exception. Sanjay Poonen, the head of VMware’s EUC business unit, kicked things off by talking about how the overall VMware SDDC strategy is making the desktop/application virtualization story stronger than ever. He highlighted tighter integration between AirWatch, Horizon, and NSX as being keys to the future success of the EUC business unit. There was a lot of focus on VMware’s recently released Identity Management solution.  This solution comes in two flavors, one being embedded in specific editions of the AirWatch mobile management platform and the second being a standalone product which does utilize some of the Airwatch back end functionality. Both are primarily SaaS base offerings. In my mind, this is a shot across the bow of Microsoft as more and more customers continue to migrate data into O365. VMware sees this as a huge threat, not because of the email migration, but because many customers are also deploying O365/Azure based Active Directory services and they see Microsoft “owning” or becoming the authoritative source for all authentication to all apps.  VMware wants to be in the game of being that hub at the center of the authentication chain. 

Sanjay then brought up Jim Alkove from Microsoft to the stage.  So, you’re probably thinking, based on the last paragraph, “why would VMware and Microsoft be holding hands on stage at VMworld?” Well, Microsoft is a big company and while there is a lot of competition between the two in some areas (Azure, Hyper-V, etc), there is a good amount of cooperation in others (Windows 10 in this case). Jim and Sanjay talked about how VMware has made use of some of the new Windows 10 embedded management features to greatly expand the AirWatch platform capabilities around Windows 10 management. While this won’t have an immediate impact, as organizations make the move to Windows 10, AirWatch can provide a very solid management platform that spans just about any type of device a user could have (iOS to Android to a Windows based desktop/laptop/tablet). Along with this was the announcement of Project A2.  This is a combination of AppVolumes application virtualization capabilities being managed by AirWatch to enable virtual apps to be pushed to physical Windows 10 based machines.  Again, a big expansion of mobile management into a more traditional desktop/laptop platform.

Next up, finally, was Pat Gelsinger (CEO of VMware).  His presentation was much different this year as he focused very high level and in general (non-VMware specific) terms about 5 imperatives for businesses across any vertical to succeed in the mobile/cloud world.  Below is a synopsis of those 5 imperatives.

1. Innovate like a start-up, deliver like an enterprise: Nimble startups are thriving in the mobile-cloud era, while large, stagnant corporations are being threatened for failing to innovate. As Eric Pearson, CIO of IHG, said earlier this week, “It’s no longer the big companies beating the small companies, it’s now the fast beating the slow.”

2. Embrace Unified Hybrid Cloud: The journey to the cloud is maturing as the industry shifts from experimentation to professional delivery. Unified hybrid cloud is bridging the gap between personal and private cloud so that organizations can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

3. Architect with security in mind: Instead of adding security in as a last minute feature, organizations need to choose solutions that have robust security capabilities built in from the start. Virtualization helps provide the foundational level of security to protect the people, apps, and data that keep organizations running.

4. Automate everything to predict (almost) anything: The next major wave of innovative technology is automated smart technology that knows what to do before you tell it to. Apps, big data, and analytics are the building blocks behind these emerging forms of proactive technology, and the businesses that know how to use them will come out on top.

5. Take risks to stand out: Businesses that don’t take risks and focus on innovation will not survive the next decade. And, as IT professionals, we must constantly lead the charge for change.

In the next post, I’ll summarize all the major announcements around the VMware solutions set that came out of the event.


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By Chris Ward, CTO