VMworld US 2015: Day 3 Recap

Welcome to The Virtualization Practice’s week-long coverage of VMworld US 2015. Tune in all week for our daily recap of the major announcements and highlights from the world’s premier virtualization and cloud conference.

VMworld US 2015 continued yesterday, kicked off by the general session. End-User Computing’s Sanjay Poonen led the keynote, in which VMware fleshed out what it means by “any application and any device” within the “Ready for Any” theme of the conference. Beginning with the VMware Workspace Suite, VMware talked at length about the growth of mobile computing and how AirWatch, together with VMware App Volumes, enables IT to manage all Windows 10 devices (physical and virtual, mobile or not), as well as iOS and Android devices, from a single pane of glass. Foreshadowing the next speaker, Poonen wrapped up his portion by talking about the synergies between AirWatch, Horizon, and NSX, with policy settings in NSX affecting and being affected by AirWatch connectivity and data access.

The next speaker was the much-revered Martin Casado, SVP of VMware’s Network and Security unit. Casado spoke frankly about the realities of IT, how applications are changing, how applications have become distributed systems unto themselves, and how provisioning these distributed systems is a challenge in many ways, but especially for security. He and a colleague, Tom Corn, spoke about ongoing efforts to improve security by making network encryption ubiquitous and easy and doing the same for data at rest, too.

Last up was Pat Gelsinger, the much-awaited CEO of VMware. He didn’t disappoint. He spoke of five imperatives for business today:

  1. “Elephants must learn to dance.” There are fewer benefits to incumbency nowadays, and startups have nothing to lose as they change or ignore the rules of the game. Companies need to innovate like a startup but deliver like an enterprise.
  2. “Can’t we all just get along?” Unified hybrid cloud is the future, where the rapid app delivery from the public cloud can be combined with the strong governance features of on-premises solutions.
  3. “A renaissance in security has begun.” Aligning security controls to objects like applications, people, and data is the future, not the haphazard way we apply security controls now.
  4. “Ruthlessly automate everything.” All of our technology now is reactive, sitting and waiting for us to tell it what to do. What if it took the initiative?
  5. “Taking risks is the lowest risk.” Businesses of all sizes need to learn to take risks, because not taking risks is itself risky behavior.

Now for the few concrete announcements from VMware:

VMware Project A2 is a tech preview of using App Volumes and AirWatch to provision applications to physical endpoints running Windows 10, in addition to the virtual endpoints it covered before.

VMware Identity Manager Advanced Edition, a standalone identity service solution, hosted in the cloud or on-premises, that helps simplify access control and identity management. It has integration points now with VMware NSX 6.2 for VPN and other types of network access control. As you’d expect, Advanced Edition has more features and possibilities than the Identity Manager included in Horizon Enterprise.

VMware Horizon 6.2 expands the scale of deployments and now supports Skype for Business and the NVIDIA GRID vGPU systems for incredible graphics performance inside a virtual desktop. Touch ID is now supported when using an Apple iOS device as the VDI endpoint. Windows 10 is supported comprehensively, as are the VMware SDDC technologies of NSX and VSAN, offering better scalability and performance through the all-flash VSAN options now available. Security has been improved, both in the deployments (via hardened infrastructure appliances) and in integrations with NSX and VMware Identity Manager (which also includes biometric and two-factor options). VMware has also released Horizon 6.2 for Linux, which now supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1.

There were announcements from some of our sponsors and partners, too:

Atlantis announced version 3.0 of its USX software-defined storage product, which brings a lot of management improvements, like automated software updating and better monitoring and alerting, as well as support for VVOLs. With USX, you can now transform your legacy storage into something much faster and feature rich, using native vSphere 6 technologies.

HyTrust announced CloudControl integration with NSX, which brings the granular role-based access control, auditing, and secure multitenancy capabilities it’s known for into the management of software-defined networking.

VMTurbo announced a new release of its Operations Manager software, which brings its QoS features to hyperconverged infrastructure like Nutanix NX-OS and VMware NSX, further into public clouds, and into packaged applications. Additionally, Operations Manager 5.3 can read performance data from NSX, using that to help make decisions about workload placement and migrations.

HotLink announced its Cloud Management Express software, which allows IT staff to manage public and private cloud resources side by side inside vCenter. Cloud Management Express unifies management operations and provides a consistent view for IT staff into their infrastructure, via the venerable VMware vCenter user interfaces.

Tomorrow, as the major announcements wind down, we’ll look at some of the lesser publicized but very interesting announcements surrounding the next version of vSphere 6, I/O filters for ESXi, and more. Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or in your favorite news reader, for all of our in-depth technology and IT coverage.

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