Last week I had the pleasure of attending the VMware Partner Exchange conference, now renamed Empower. It was my first VMware conference outside of VMworld, and it was a MUCH different experience. There are certainly pros and cons to a conference the size and scale of VMworld. Empower was on the opposite end of the spectrum in that it was a lot more intimate and focused, which provided great opportunities to get more in depth with both the technology as well as the networking.
The conference was located in downtown Atlanta, which provided less “distractions” than a huge Las Vegas set up, but still allowed for some great playoff hockey viewing. The focus for the week as delivered in the keynote was on partners and what VMware wants to do to “Empower” partners when it comes to delivering not only VMware products, but the VMware ecosystem as a whole.
From a technology standpoint, the message VMware seems to be spreading is that they want to be the leader when it comes to hybrid cloud. Certainly, most organizations use VMware products to some degree within their private cloud, and with the “cloud” still being one of the leading IT buzz words today, many companies are beginning to dip their toes into the public cloud water even if they aren’t already swimming by this point. Public cloud adoption is something that isn’t close to hitting it’s peak, but certainly is ramping up a lot more than it was 2-3 years ago. VMware realizes it is unlikely that there will be a huge jump straight from private to public cloud, and that for many companies it will be more of a transition or complete hybrid solution for the immediate cloud use case. VMware wants to be the leader in being able to run, manage, connect and secure any app on any cloud to any device.
VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) once again was a heavy hitter at this conference, and there were a lot sessions geared towards that. The VMC offering has certainly matured since it was unveiled at VMworld last year, in that it is now available in multiple regions and has SRM tied into it, making the DR use case even more compelling. VMC makes a ton of sense, but the cost still is problematic for many customers in the SMB and SLED markets. Hopefully there will be some future changes in the minimum cluster size and/or capacity of each host that can help drive the cost down a bit.
The release of vSphere 6.7 was announced, which by now has been summarized and posted about a bunch since the beginning of last week. We got to see first hand via the demo zone and “What’s New” sessions what the new release was all about. You can find a great summary here of what is new in many different areas, as well as post about what is new in core storage and vSAN 6.7.
I also sat in for a bit of a Livefire discussion revolving around VMware SDDC. I had hoped that this was going to be the hands-on Livefire offering, but later realized that I had missed that version of the training the day before. It was interesting to see some of the architecture methodologies behind VCF (VMware Cloud Foundation) and VVD (VMware Validated Design). Hearing the some first hand experience from other partners in this area was eye opening, but since I don’t do much in this space I wasn’t able to add much to the discussion and settled in for a couple afternoon sessions. I will certainly keep my eyes open for another Livefire opportunity in the future.
I had originally intended to post some insights each day as it was more fresh in my mind, but I came down with a bit of a cold that I am still fighting off to this day. Even though I was a bit out of it, it was great to experience the Empower conference for the first time and make some new connections within the community!