Day 1 began with the general session, which was a lot different than the previous year where the VMware Executives laid out their vision for the partner community. This general session was focused more correctly on the audience in attendance.
VMware's CTO, of Global Field and Industry, Chris Wolf began the general session. Chris is responsible for shaping VMware’s long term technology vision, while ensuring that Research and Development priorities align with customer and industry needs. With this being a technical partner conference, I felt this was the right choice for leading the general session. Last year, it felt more like a sales pitch and less technical. I am not sure if this was due to feedback that VMware received after last years conference. In my opinion, this demonstrates that this conference is now correctly aligned with the audience attending the event.
VMware Empower 2019 is bigger, and with much richer content than 2018. Now, with over 90 breakout sessions, first time instructor led VMware labs along with VCDX experts on hand to talk with, and opportunities to take a certification exam.
Chris spoke about the nature of applications, how they are changing with an unprecedented growth. Applications are more diversified and the demand is increasing more than ever before. The application needs and requirements are driving IT initiatives within customer business.
Chris continues the general session with talking about the hybrid and public cloud journey. VMware approaches cloud through a consistency within the infrastructure, operations, and a native developer experience. This allows for workloads and user experience to be consistent across both hybrid and public cloud offerings. With bringing consistency within the infrastructure and operations, customers can more easily bring in Service Integration for managing cloud through business KPIs across the customer organization.
Automation allows customers to set guardrails by line of business and manage via policies. Automation also brings with it the ability to re-mediate and to conform to standards, follow best practices, and adhere to industry standards. Governance and Security allows for reporting on compliance and fixing misconfigurations. Governance and security also brings compliance by teams and allows for proactive monitoring of security and compliance risks. The last one, Cost and Visibility, allows IT to accurately allocate costs and find unused resources. IT can optimize costs and infrastructure, automate cost control, and continue cost optimization based on strategy.
VMware Cloud Foundations brings complete cloud integration with vSphere, vSAN, and NSX. Chris talks about how vSAN adoption is growing with more than 38% of the market now and how Cloud Foundations is the right choice for building a consistent cloud experience. Through this platform, IT can more easily manage and deploy automation, governance, and security, all while controlling costs.
VMware demonstrates these abilities through CloudHealth, as seen above. CloudHealth, acquired by VMware, is a crucial multi-cloud management platform that works across AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, giving customers a way to manage cloud cost, usage, security, and performance from a single interface.
CloudHealth has over 80 billion workloads managed through this platform today and are the leader in multi-cloud management. CloudHealth has perspectives on optimization for right sizing with cost controls, downsizing, and reserved instances. Customers can build out policies to control things like low EC2 utilization.
Chris talked about traditional network challenges businesses face today and the need to bring in automation and intrinsic security into the security fabric of networks.
SD-WAN has seen large momentum with 2,000+ customers, with more than 70+ countries. Chris demoed deploying SD-WAN into remote locations. This was very easily deployed and took only minutes to provision in front of a live audience.
Chris spoke about VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS and the benefits of this platform. He spoke about some use cases like data-center evacuation, disaster recovery, applications integrating with AWS offerings like AWS Lambda, which is an event-driven, server-less computing platform provided by Amazon as a part of the Amazon Web Services. It is a computing service that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the computing resources required by that code. VMC on AWS is now available in Singapore and Canada. You can see the full roadmap and further information from the VMware Cloud on AWS site from VMware, here.
The VMC on AWS provider partners are growing as you can see from the slide above and it's important to note that these partners are VMware Cloud Verified, which means that when you see the VMware Cloud Verified logo, you'll know you can easily access the full set of capabilities of VMware's Cloud Infrastructure. Get the ultimate in cloud choice through flexible and inter-operable infrastructure, from the data center to the cloud.
Chris spoke about simplicity and choice for customers at the edge. He spoke about AWS Greengrass, Azure IoT, Data Analytics, and Hybrid Applications running on that consistent infrastructure of vSphere and spoke about Azure IoT Edge running on vSphere.
The day was ended with a demonstration of edge devices. VMware demonstrated running vSphere on a Mac Mini and a demonstration of ESXi running on an Intel Compute Stick. They performed a vMotion across WiFi which was amazing to witness.
Overall this was one of the better events I have attended from VMware. The sessions along with the general sessions are very technical. I am excited for the next few days in Atlanta.
Day 1 began with the general session, where VMware Executives presented to the partner community and reinforced the importance of the partner as the unsung heroes helping to drive the VMware business and most importantly driving value for their customers.
VMware's Brandon Sweeney, Senior Vice President , WW Commercial and Channel Sales took the stage to a packed room and began the day talking about the journey VMware has taken over the past 20 years. Founded in 1998 VMware has continued to innovate and be a disruptor in the industry. Introducing vMotion in 2001 to NSX and Airwatch, the leading mobility platform to-date, to vSAN being introduced in 2003 and now the VMware and AWS partnership which is leading the transformation for customers to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Brandon spoke about the tremendous growth of the product lines such as NSX up 50%, EUC up 30%, and vSAN up 130%. These products are the fastest growing portions of VMware's business making up for more than 65% of their business.
He spoke about how VMware has again transformed their business and this transformation involves deeper partner ecosystem. VMware is changing the way they do business within the partner community, with things like the Center for Advanced Learning.
Robin Gunn, Vice President of Global Education Sales and Delivery took the stage to discuss how VMware is investing in its partners through technical enablement which is where the Empower event came from, giving partners their own technical event.
The Center for Advanced Learning will allow partners to have access to the same training that VMware gives to its own employees. This also includes things like Live Fire events which are hands-on training for products like VMC, NSX, and SDDC. I have taken several of these and can state that these are of high quality. There are several of them at the Empower event.
Robin spoke about a new Learning Zone which is a social platform being launched where participants can earn points that can be used toward things like exam vouchers and passes to VMworld.
Matt Stepanski, Vice President of WW Professional Services, joined the stage after Robin to talk about how VMware is transforming their business to really focus with partners on "Solutions and Outcomes" to business challenges. Customers are transforming and VMware is transforming to better align with the business needs of its customers through better partnership within the building blocks to Partner-Led Service Delivery.
Matt spoke about one example in particular, the PS credit program, where VMware will transfer PS credits to its partner to deliver solutions such as EUC, NSX, and VMC. PS credits are part of the ELA sold to a customer with the expectation that those get transferred to a Partner to do the work.
VMware continued the general session, bringing Chris Wolf, Vice President & CTO on stage to talk with partners about the products driving transformation within the business.
Chris started by talking about Cloud-to-Edge principles for things like Native API access, Docker, Openstack, Service APIs, and embracing opensource, and Kubernetes.
VMware wants to deliver consistency across all these platforms in a safe and secure way to deliver the best value to the developer community while maintaining operational consistency and control for IT.
Workspace One is an example of this, delivering over 1.5 million applications, whether it be Windows, Virtual Apps, SaaS, Legacy, or Mobile applications across a unified platform while allowing for IT to maintain Identity, Security, and Compliance.
Connecting people to content, applications and each other through a combination of AirWatch, the market leader in mobility, and Horizon.
VMware Cloud is another example of how VMware is helping customers deliver consistency to Run, Manage, Connect, and Secure Any App on Any Cloud to Any Device. With VMware Cloud Services delivering the cloud management, allowing for Visibility, Operations, Automation, and Security to the cloud environments while allowing for choice in the cloud infrastructure with partnerships with AWS, IBM Cloud, OVH, Microsoft Azure and Google.
Chris spoke about the VMware Cloud Services offerings which cover things like Wavefront a metrics monitoring and analytics platform, NSX Cloud, Network Insight, Workspace One, Cost Insight, and Appdefense, and how these tools are helping customers transform their hybrid-cloud to gain better visibility into the costs associated with cloud, securing the infrastructure with NSX, and gaining better insight into how to best deliver a hybrid-cloud infrastructure with products like Network Insight and Wavefront.
Chris spoke to the complexities of making applications "Cloud Ready", and how costly that can be. With VMC on AWS customer's gain native a native platform running linked mode vCetners with further integration with native AWS services without the complexities and costs associated with re-architecting applications.
VMware is on a very aggressive roadmap to delivery more abilities faster and faster.
He then spoke about one of the latest acquisitions of VeloCloud and how this is solving a problem for customers around SD-WAN. This is a cloud-delivered SD-WAN which enables enterprises to securely support application growth, network agility, and simplified branch and end-point implementations while delivering high-performance, reliable access to cloud services, private data centers and SaaS-based enterprise applications.
Chris also spoke about containers and how they are helping to transform how customers build and service applications through Opensource Kubernetes, and Pivotal Container Services. He describes NSX as the fabric bringing full automation to these environments automating the network for Cloud-Native applications.
Chris ran through a demo of containers on VMware as you can see from the above video.
Chris ended with talking about Partner-Led Solutions and what VMware's vision is for this. He spoke about edge computing, where the digital and physical worlds collide, and how IoT is driving this along with the importance of data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. He spoke about the drivers being time, data, network, privacy, and of course control in this new age of technology where products like VeloCloud and SD-WAN play an integral role bringing a consolidated solution for IoT which includes the management of IoT infrastructure itself, automation, and operational technologies.
Overall this was an excellent general session for the first Empower event, which is meant to empower VMware's partners to deliver the best solutions in the market to their customers.