VMware – VMworld 2016 – CTO7516 – Ask the Experts – Titans of Tech

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2016 – US.  My flights were paid for by myself, VMware provided me with a free pass to the conference and various bits of swag, and Tech Field Day picked up my hotel costs. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.


Here’re my rough notes from “CTO7516 – Ask the Experts – Titans of Tech”. The panel-style session was moderated by Rick Scherer, Lead Global Architect at EMC. The participants were:


The content of this session is driven by the audience questions, so if my notes are a little weird, that’s my excuse.


What’s the future of the composable (yes, I know it’s not a real word) infrastructure market?

Chad – it has a fit with on-premises variations of cloud-native stacks, creating highly programmable, low-level infrastructure APIs. “Right now, composable is more buzzword than reality.”

Matt – this been around for a long time. You need to be down in the deep optimisation bowels – this happens with the hyper scale providers

Jason – hyper scale vs traditional IT.

Matt – modularity of composability


Storage and network has gone down cost-wise, but not compute? Is this hindering cloud?

Chad – AWS and Azure are profitable. The pricing war ($/GB) has tapered off.

Matt – compute price has dropped the fastest the furthest over the last few decades. Cost of cloud is rental economics. For the same reason we don’t furnish our houses with rental furniture (except maybe if you need it short-term, like when you’re selling your house).

Chad – the cost of WAN has been the slowest to drop. Latency is still a problem, so you still end up with compute co-located with storage/data.

All the different public cloud options feels like going to different operating systems in the old days.

Kit – a lot of people have very specific functions for things. Some people are fine with going all in, knowing they’ll be “locked in” (everything requires effort to move on and off). Other people have rules for developers around what they can use from a public cloud service perspective.

Matt – we haven’t done a good job of providing a framework for evaluating what we need. Portability’s the holy grail to which we’ve never really gotten.

Jason – traditional view of IaaS and PaaS is gone. We’re in an expansion phase.

Chad – it’s all about benefit relative to complexity to move. How long does an app live in an enterprise? 20 years. What about your kid? 20 years. You just had a “cloud baby”. Prophylactic (Cloud Foundry) forces you to not bind to a specific service.

Rick – originally trying to solve a problem that they might not actually have.

Jason – move towards more application-centric view of the world. People are thinking about what the application needs, and having the infrastructure adapt to that.

Matt – altitudes of developers have shifted in the last 15 years in terms of where they slot in to the infrastructure.

Kit – evolution and standardisation of the hardware stack. Linux is becoming a more standard way of doing the OS. With containers – the importance thing is the application and the required libraries.

Chad – “OpenStack has lost a little of its mojo.”

Matt – it was all about running your infrastructure, not about applications, etc.

Kit – what does OpenStack want to be when it grows up? An on-premises version of AWS? A cheaper version of VMware? Trying to be everything to everyone.


Gartner’s IaaS Magic Quadrant refers to Google as also-ran, SoftLayer as also-ran/niche? Are they on track?

Matt – it’s all about sourcing models. What you source from whom and where. Buzzwords are bad for clarity in the industry.

Jason – MQ says more about Gartner than it does the industry. People are doing more than just IaaS though – so what did they evaluate?

Chad – Gartner do not believe in degrees of hybridity – it’s all going to public. Chad disagrees with this, the workloads will go where they’re going to go.

Matt – It’s a useful tool to provoke debate.

Chad – Gartner and IDC have built their taxonomy forced vendors to change the way they counted their products (including SKUs) for nonsensical reasons.

Rick – Now that they’re Dell they’re leaders in 21 MQs :)


What’s the next big thing?

Chad – 3-5 years talking about maturity of tech that is fringe today. Containers, eg. NoSQL. Probably still be trapped by Larry 5 years from now.

Matt – CIOs getting closer to CEOs. Seeing interesting combinations of apps, tech and business processes. IoT in fishing, big data in farming. Starting to get over the hump of being overwrought with IaaS.

Kit – NVRAM – persistent storage with RAM latency. FPGAs. GPGPUs, e.g. Nvidia. As these technologies converge, what does that mean? How do we make it accessible for developers and application teams?

Jason – the whole AI space – the impact of that will be huge.

Chad – Check out dwave – Canadian startup – starting to reach commercial application.

Kit – Quantum crypto.

Jason – IBM has a quantum computer they put on the cloud – check out BlueMix.


Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Chad – it is the largest inhibitor to tech adoption. Can give organisations near-death experiences. Individuals who are empathetic but passionate and driven, they can effect change ridiculously fast. We want to get here, but our culture stops us. But why? You need the right person at the right level to make that change happen.

Kit – no company is special in this regard. It takes the “heroic” acts of some people to get changes done. Fail whale in the early days of twitter. There was a guy who fixed it up – needed a big change though.

Chad – people underestimate the power of the individual even inside giant corporate machines. People rally to good ideas.

Jason – micro-services is a people problem. Getting people to work together in a different way through technology.


SDDC and the military. What is the future of “industry certifications” (particularly in security) now that we’re all about hyper converged infrastructure?

Chad – it’s a matter of time and effort. It’s not a technology problem – it’s policy and governance.

Kit – we saw this with virtualisation as well. It takes time.

Chad – There are people whose job it is to lobby the govt on this kind of thing. “I don’t know how they jump out of bed every day”. “You want to buy two for twice the price?”


Interesting session. I’d like to revisit some of these topics in the near future. 4 stars.