VMware – VMworld 2017 – Monday General Session Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2017 – US.  My flights were paid for by ActualTech Media, 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 are my rough notes from the Monday General Session at VMworld US 2017. You can grab a PDF of them here.

There’s was a “Rock cello” introduction to get the audience excited. Pat Gelsinger then takes the stage. He welcomes the 20000+ people in Vegas fro the conference along with those watching the live stream remotely. This is his 6th VMworld. He offers his thoughts and prayers for the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.


Market Changes

Science fiction is becoming science fact. The exoskeleton from Alien is now a reality. What is the most profound change of them all? Self-driving cars have gone from mind-blowing to mundane. Tech has left the nest. Digital media and entertainment is only now surpassing traditional media. Digital retail is now only 10% of the traditional retail market. 50% of IT is going into new customer experiences, with 50% used for “keeping the lights on”.

200+ years ago over 80% of Americans involved in agriculture. There are a lot less nowadays. We’re busily working to change the quality of life for people. The new three Rs are “read, write code, and [a]rithmetic”.


The Edge

VMware‘s mantra recently has been “Any device, any application, any cloud (with intrinsic security)”. We’re seeing a shift again from centralisation to decentralisation, after the last decade of the cloud heavily influencing the move to centralisation. According to Gelsinger, the edge (via the Internet of Things) is forcing us back the other way. VMware are focused on “cloud-to-edge” where the physical world meets the digital, and connecting people to applications and services.

Workspace ONE is designed to be “consumer simple but enterprise secure”

  • Applications and identity
  • Management and security
  • Desktop and mobile

It’s already supported on Apple, Android, Samsung, Microsoft, Dell, and Chromebooks. Today VMware announced a partnership with HP Inc. Dion Weisler talks about the partnership via a pre-recorded video. VMware’s endpoint management solution will be incorporated with HPi via a device-as-a-service offering. Jennifer Manry from Capital One then takes the stage to talk to Sanjay Poonen about her experience.

A gag video of “Early footage from those first VMware sales calls” is then played.


To The Cloud

Private Cloud

Gelsinger talks about how VMware “turned the DC into a private cloud”, making it:

  • Easy to deploy;
  • Easy to manage; and
  • Easy to secure.

He briefly touches on VMware Cloud Foundation Version 2.2. You can read more from Chad on that here. He also mentions the new vSAN ready node. Read more about that here. He touches on improvements in vSphere 6.5, including improved backup (!) and High Availability for vCenter.


Public Cloud

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, takes the stage with Gelsinger to talk about the “general” availability of VMware Cloud on AWS. With VMWonAWS you can “take the private cloud and move it to the public cloud”. This gives you the best of both worlds and is cost effective (I need to crunch some numbers more before I agree with this statement). It is available today in one availability zone in the west region (Oregon). They’ll be making it available in the East Coast as well and then internationally (within the next 12 months).


Cloud Strategy

VMware’s cloud strategy is as follows:

  1. Make private cloud easy
  2. Deep partnerships with major cloud providers
  3. Expand vCloud Partner network

They’re focused on delivering consistent operations and consistent infrastructure.


VMware Cloud Services

VMware are tying together some key services under “Cloud Services”, including:

  • Discovery
  • Cost insight
  • Wavefront
  • Network insight
  • NSX cloud
  • AppDefense
  • Workspace ONE

VMware Cloud

  • Consistent infrastructure across clouds
  • Consistent operations across any cloud
  • Richest network of VMware based global cloud service providers
  • Delivering IT agility while reducing complexity and risk

Karine Semmer from Medtronic takes the stage to talk with Sanjay about her experiences.



Gelsinger says that networking is central to everything we’re doing now, particularly NSX. We’re moving “from data centres to centres of data”. He says that “[w]hat vSphere was to the first 20 years of VMware, NSX will be to VMware for the next 10 – 20 years”.

Matt Nikolaiev from Sysco takes the stage to talk with Sanjay.



But how do we protect our critical applications and data when everything is mobile?


Cyber Hygiene

Gelsinger spent some time talking about the importance of “Cyber Hygiene”.

  • Least privilege
  • Micro-segmentation
  • Encryption
  • Multifactor authentication
  • Patching

They are focused on Users, Devices, Network, Storage, and (now) Compute. By “Chasing bad” they are “Ensuring good”.


VMware AppDefense

Capture, Detect, Respond (automated). Marc van Zadelhoff from IBM takes the stage to talk about what they’re doing in the security space.

VMware are focused on:

  • Cyber Hygiene
  • Integrated Ecosystem
  • Secure Infrastructure

We then see a Red Cross video talking about their capability and challenges operating as a largely mobile organisation.



Sanjay Poonen takes the stage again to talk about CIO priorities for spending:

  • Cloud – modernise data centres, integrate public clouds;
  • Mobile – empower the digital workspace; and
  • Security – transform networking and security.

“Realise what’s possible”


Conclusion and Further Reading

Pat Gelsinger delivered this keynote with a lot of energy, but it didn’t feel like a lot of massive announcements were really made during this session. That said, I think there are some gems buried in this that are going to be more interesting as time goes on. The lack of widespread availability of VMware Cloud on AWS is a wee bit disappointing, but we’re a long way progressed from the slide ware that was announced last year. I’m looking forward to reading more about AppDefense, as I think this is going to be a really interesting solution. I hate the word “cyber” (unless it’s in a William Gibson book), but I like the promotion of Cyber Hygiene principles. It’s also interesting to see the focus on private cloud from VMware, along with their fascination with edge workloads. They aren’t alone in talking about this, and I think there’s plenty of room in the market for a hybrid approach. Solid performance. 3 stars.

Scott Lowe did a typically thorough post on the Monday General Session that you can read here. Frank Denneman has a good technical overview of VMware Cloud on AWS that you can read here. Tim Smith also did a pretty good overview that you can read hereChad Sakac (as usual) has done a bunch of useful posts covering some of the key announcements from the show – you can grab them here.