For data center professionals, VMware’s annual conference, VMworld, is one of the go-to events of the year. The 2015 VMworld, held at the Moscone center in San Francisco, drew record attendance of 23,000 people from all over the world.
VMworld taught us some key points about the direction of VMware and how’s it’s changing its focus moving forward. Here are three things that VMworld gave us insight to about VMware.
1. Extending its reach
VMware is the incumbent virtualization vendor in the data center, and VMworld 2015 saw the company continuing its move beyond just server virtualization.
Product announcements over the past few years have seen VMware take on major aspects of the infrastructure layer beyond compute, with VSAN for storage, NSX for network, and vRealize for management. This concept of the software-defined data center (SDDC) was even further realized with the introduction of EVO SDDC Manager which extends the capabilities of EVO: Rack as an automated software suite.
Additionally, an emphasis on the future of NSX shows that the company is serious about its investment in network virtualization.
VMware is positioning itself to better control major operations in the enterprise, providing a full, out-of-the-box solution for data center deployment and management. Whether its reach exceeds its grasp remains to be seen.
2. The mobile-cloud era
During the second keynote address of the conference, VMware’s Sanjay Poonen was joined on stage by Windows’ Jim Alkove to talk about Windows 10. This Gorbachev vs. Reagan moment set up an announcement that VMware was releasing new tools for app delivery and to assist with Windows 10 adoption.
The initiative was a part of what VMware called the mobile-cloud era, which apparently is best represented by Windows 10 and its cross platform UX. Poonen went as far as to say: “Mobile is the new desktop.”
The tool they previewed, Project A2 combines Airwatch EMM with new app delivery tools. Additionally, they announced the VMware Identity Manager Advanced Edition, which they split off from Airwatch to offer as an independent product. While the split of Identity Manager is a move forward for VMware, they will have their work cut out for them in competing with Microsoft Azure and Active Directory.
To counteract potentially disruptive technologies, VMware tends to embrace them head on, and that trend continues. Previously we saw the company integrate OpenStack and begin heavily contributing to it, now VMware is targeting containers to present as a complementary technology to VMs.
Two main announcements signified VMware’s push to integrate containers — VMware vSphere Integrated Containers and the VMware Photon Platform.
Integrated Containers in vSphere basically maps a single container engine to an individual VM to improve visibility. Out of the gate, VMware is offering integrations with major players in the space such as Docker, Kubernetes, and Cloud Foundry.
VMware also announced a tool called the Photon Platform to help run cloud native apps. This tool also allows integration with frameworks from major container companies as well. All in all, it’s a smart move for VMware to head off a technology that is often perceived as threat or competitor to virtual machines.