VMworld 2016

VMworld Europe returned to Barcelona this October for another few days of workshops, key notes and announcements. The cloud community held their breath as they anticipated some big announcements which could shape the cloud community for decades to come.

In his opening keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger addressed the audience talking about Digital Transformation and how VMware are expecting the adoption of cloud services to develop over the next five to ten years. He also stated that, “The Digital Transformation is as significant as the industrial revolution.”

Gelsinger said, “Digital Transformation is not a choice between a new world or and old world, it is both. The real question is what is your strategy to win? Cloud-powered IT is leaving the IT nest as all company departments become IT departments. This is the age old conflict of freedom vs control. Users want freedom to choose the services they need and IT needs to maintain some level of control. The aim now is to allow users to work with any cloud across any device.”

VMware estimates of the uptake of cloud services to be slow and steady. Gelsinger quoted an IDC report which suggested 80% of customers are not seen as `leading’ in digital transformation. By 2006 just 2% of IT capability was delivered by cloud services, yet by 2021 this number is expected to be closer to 50%, and that will be of both hybrid and private clouds. Even by 2030, approximately 50% will be hosted on public cloud services.

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Coming into the show, VMware announced a deal which would see VMware Cloud on AWS (Amazon Web Services), it created a real buzz about the event. The strategic move was made to get more enterprises using AWS over its competitors and also to protect VMware’s leadership in the virtual machine space. The partnership will see Vmware’s software-defined data centre software utilised on AWS which means all of VMware’s infrastructure, vSphere, VSAN and NSX, will be available through the Amazon cloud portfolio.

Currently, VMware dominates the enterprise on-premise data centre space but doesn’t own a public cloud service to give users a hybrid option. AWS doesn’t offer an on-premise versions of its services either, so a partnership was a clear win for both companies.

So why now? Despite AWS’s dominance in the public cloud market, the enterprise space isn’t moving its existing datacentre and legacy applications to the cloud as fast as many people predicted. This has led to the fastest growing enterprise trend, the hybrid cloud.

When it comes to AWS and the Channel, VMware’s Distribution Manager for UK and Ireland, Henry Godwin, said it will be “Channel-centric” but added “It is still too early to say what this will look like.”

With such a big announcement made just before the event people were left wondering what VMworld would be left with. They weren’t disappointed!

Talking about the potential of the Cross-Cloud Services architecture for the channel, Colin Bannister, Northern EMEA director of presales at VMware, said there is an opportunity for partners to become brokers of cloud-based services. “There’s a new capability that we’re enabling partners to go and add more value to their customers. We’re providing the technology extraction layer that they can build that on. There’s a whole new market for them.

img_2690“It opens up to all the partners already leveraging cloud-based services, whether that’s with Amazon or Microsoft Azure, it further enhances their ability to build value-added services on top of what they’re already doing.”

From the Floor:

Amid the VMware announcements I managed to roam the floors talking to other exhibitors and visitors at the show. I wanted to know where their Channel strategies were taking them in the UK.

David Cumberworth, VP Worldwide Sales at Atlantis Computing, commented “At the moment our partners tend to be real domain experts. Our new workspace stack is designed to simplify the management and delivery of workspace. That will allow us to interact with a far broader range of partners in the future because it’s easy to go and sell and it’s also easy to architect from a partner perspective.”

On market trends to keep an eye on Cumberworth commented, “All of the same things that have happened in VDI will happen in containers. Given our infrastructure couples with containers very well it makes sense for us to put together a solution in that space. Partners are still figuring out how they money from containers and what they do in that space generally.”

We see containers as the ability to take an application set which is packaged on a virtualisation platform and allow that to be ported into a cloud platform. We will then provide an infrastructure layer which will allow that to be imported when it is ready.”

Edward Hyde, Director Channel Sales, UK, Commvault commented “The Commvault story here is all about the data management suite. I think until recently the storage of data was considered to be an on-premise activity but now people want to be able to consume back-up as-a-service, and those other similar types of services.

Hyde continued, “The key thing for us is to be ready for the transition to cloud and to support customers and partners during that transition.”

Darren Gross, Director of EMEA Channels at Tintri, commented, “For us, this show is bringing the enterprise, SMB and customer community, who all run a lot of virtualised machines, together. This is our target audience. We have a lots of partners here too which is great to get them in front of the execs for their feedback.”

“My role in Tintri is currently to focus on a core set of partners to build mutual relevance. Those range from large integrators right along to the boutique storage guys. The partner programme is great at Tintri but one of the key things we are doing in incentivising the sales people. We are one of the only organisation that is rewarding the sales and pre-sales people and so for our partners that is really powerful.

We are just about to put to co-funded heads with our UK distributors because that’s where it all starts for us. They will be out in the Channel with partners to have those conversations with customers. Partners often get stuck in that treadmill of renewing or selling storage solutions which is fairly black and white with x amount of margin. We are helping them making those calls and outline the differentiators clearly. We are really offering something different so we need to get out there and help those partners improve their margins.”

VMworld 2016 Announcements

VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture – Cross-Cloud Architecture gives customers the freedom and control customer’s need to run, manage, connect and secure their applications across clouds and devices in a single operating environment.

VMware vSphere – VMware vSphere 6.5 will feature a simplified customer experience through increased automation and management capabilities, comprehensive built-in security, and support for new application types including containers. With these new capabilities, VMware vSphere 6.5 offers customers a universal application platform that supports traditional and modern applications — spanning 3D graphics, Big Data, cloud-native, containerized machine learning and Software as a Service — to run any application anywhere.

VMware Virtual SAN – VMware Ready for vSAN certification program to provide customers with the confidence that file services and data protection partner solutions will seamlessly deploy, run and interoperate with Virtual SAN

VMware is also announcing vSphere Virtual Volumes 2.0, which will feature enhanced enterprise-readiness through capabilities like native support for array replication, as well as support for

VMware vRealize Automation – VMware introduced a number of updates to its cloud management platform with significant enhancements to vRealize Automation and vRealize Log Insigh. To better address the needs of developers and IT teams, VMware vRealize Automation 7.2 will introduce out-of-the box support for Microsoft Azure as well as new container management capabilities.

VMware Cloud Services – VMware is also introducing the beta of a new vCloud Air disaster recovery solution designed specifically for the enterprise. The new offering is designed to provide the security and isolation of a dedicated cloud environment combined with the simplicity of a replication solution that is directly integrated into vSphere and optimized with SD-WAN technologies.

Ed Says… VMworld was certainly an eye opener for me. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that everything is going to be in the cloud tomorrow and on-premise solutions have no place in business now. The reality is we are going to be in a hybrid cloud environment for many years which will present a raft of challenges for vendors and businesses in general. However, partners will be in a position to hand hold their customers through this transition… I smell some major opportunities!

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine