Beyond Virtualization: VMware Brings the Cloud to VMworld 2016

I had the opportunity to attend VMworld 2016, hosted for the first time since 2011 in Las Vegas (the last […]

By zivaro|September 7, 2016|0 Comments

I had the opportunity to attend VMworld 2016, hosted for the first time since 2011 in Las Vegas (the last four events were in San Francisco). It being my first go-around with VMworld I didn’t quite realize how big and popular the annual tech meet is. With 23,000 attendees, it comes close to Cisco Live, which I’ve attended many times.


Perhaps the event’s popularity combined with the new venue explains some of the organizational challenges I encountered before and during the event. Many sessions were almost instantly “sold out” upon release of the session builder. That is somewhat perplexing considering the huge Las Vegas conference-focused venue. Did the MGM Grand run out of rooms big enough to host sessions? A side effect of this was long lines in front of sessions where walk-ins waited to take the place of no shows. Fortunately, the top 10 breakout sessions from each day are available online, as are the general sessions.

Organizational challenges aside, the event provided a plethora of learning and networking opportunities.

Product Announcements

Of course, new announcements are expected at these kinds of events and VMworld 2016 was no exception. In the first day, keynote CEO Pat Gelsinger announced the new Cross-Cloud Architecture as part of the company’s hybrid cloud strategy. According to VMware, its Cross-Cloud Architecture will enable customers to manage, govern, and secure applications running across public clouds, including AWS, Azure and IBM Cloud. Similar offerings are available from other technology providers so it wasn’t surprising to see VMware add this offering to their portfolio.

Other major product announcements included:

VMware Cloud Foundation along with IBM’s announcement, by IBM’s SVP, Cloud Robert LeBlanc, of VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud service. Cloud Foundation basically combines vSphere, VSAN and NSX into one unified platform that can be provisioned on premises or as a service in the cloud.

– VMware vCloud Availability, an offering geared toward vCloud Air network service providers allowing them to offer easy cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service for vSphere environments.

– A new release of VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Manager was announced, which holds the attractive promise of providing VMware vSphere users zero downtime application migration to VMware vCloud Air. This should enhance the ability for the seamless, transparent two-way migration of workloads for hybrid cloud users with up to 20-fold performance increases for moving virtual machines.

Hands-on Labs

There’s nothing like hands-on labs to satisfy the tech hungry inner beast and, as such, I spent a good amount of time at the onsite VMware labs. Judging by the numbers it was one of the most popular offerings at VMworld with over 100K labs completed by attendees. Both self-paced labs and expert-led labs were available and in high demand. The labs were extremely well organized and one benefit of the onsite labs was the availability of expert-led labs and the general availability of VMware experts to answer questions and discuss the technology. VMware NSX, Virtual SAN, Horizon 7, vSphere and vRealize automation were some of the top labs in demand.


For folks who couldn’t attend VMworld, there’s great news. While new labs are first released at VMworld, all labs will be available on the company’s website within a few weeks. Sign up online and choose from hundreds of labs available around VMware’s product portfolio.

The Bigger Picture

Michael Dell made a brief guest appearance, which is not surprising with the October 2015 Dell purchase of EMC, which owns 80% of VMware. At 67 billion, the deal could be the largest pure tech industry takeover ever.


It’s an exciting time in tech and, as many other tech companies are doing, VMware is in the process of re-inventing itself as a strategic player in the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). VMware has a proven track record as an innovator and market leader in the virtualization space and I trust it will remain a strategic player and partner as customers transition their infrastructure to cloud-based service offerings.

Thomas Maier is Associate Vice President of Professional Services for GTRI.

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