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3.2 min to readCloud ServicesPublisher Advisory Services

Top 5 highlights of VMware Explore Barcelona

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Marco VogelBusiness Development Manager
Publisher advisory

After a break of 2 years, VMware’s flagship conference VMware Explore (previously VMworld), convened again as an in-person event in Barcelona. Although VMware Explore is organized by VMware, it is seen more as an industry event, and felt like a class reunion of the IT industry.

In addition to "veteran" VMware tech partners like Dell, Veeam, IBM, etc., this time the hyperscalers were represented as Diamond sponsors of the event and omnipresent in many sessions and meetings. VMware's intention was less V(irtualisation) and more C(loud), and here they delivered. From VMware on Azure, AWS, Google, Alibaba, and Oracle, to cloud-agnostic Kubernetes distributions, FinOps, and multi-cloud management – all this was not only present, but also clearly in the foreground compared to years past.

I don't know who reads VMware press releases all the way to the end, but they haven’t said anything about virtualisation for a long time now; instead: "VMware is a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. As a trusted foundation to accelerate innovation, VMware software gives businesses the flexibility and choice they need to build the future." But I realize I'm writing myself into the equivalent of a runners high here (which I've never had, by the way, and is probably an invention of the running shoe industry).

VMware Explore Barcelona 2022, the VMware customer and partner event for the EMEA region, was designed for just over 6,000 people. However, well over 9,000 came, and the crowd was buzzing on the exhibition grounds. For the first time, the EMEA event was similarly well-attended as the US version two months earlier. SoftwareOne started things off on Monday evening by welcoming nearly 300 people from 17 countries to our exclusive kick-off event. Thank you to everyone my colleagues and I were able to welcome there in person.

I thought I would share my personal top 5 highlights from the show from my point of view.

Top 5 highlights of VMware Explore 2022

VMware and cloud management: VMware multi-cloud management aka VMware "Aria”

Yes, VMware has management tools – with emphasis on the plural – for operations, automation, business, networking, etc.. They have been quite cleverly done so far, mostly as plug-ins for vCenter, but not universally. And of course, the tools only work for VMware environments, not cloud environments. VMware Aria (the opera reference is deliberately chosen) promises "OneVoice," i.e. centralized and orchestrated management – regardless of whether it is a normal workload or a container, regardless of whether it is on-premises or on cloud, regardless of which application and where it is running.

From my point of view, this initiative is one of the most important from VMware. vSphere is old hat, even if vSphere 8 is better and faster. Where it runs is now also beside the point: on-premises, at service providers (now sovereign cloud partners/providers), or at the hyperscalers. But the ability to act as a glue between VMware's own world and the hyperscalers could become VMware's killer app in the coming years.

VMware and containers or Kubernetes: Tanzu

VMware and containers are already have more than a fleeting relationship. Virtual machines still exist, of course, but containers are standard practice now for developers, and the number of containers is increasing every month. If you want to phase in the IT environment of these developers into the corporate IT estate and not build a parallel environment for containers, the Tanzu portfolio is on the short list for almost every company – particularly if you want to keep the Kubernetes distribution platform-agnostic. Previously, Tanzu Mission Control was only available as a cloud subscription, but for larger customers and service providers, it is now also available as an on-premises variant! With the support for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure from TanzuKubernetesGrid, VMware also brings another hyperscaler in the Kubernetes ecosystem on board.

VMware, hyperscaler, and sovereign cloud provider: VMware Cloud on X

Azure VMware Solution, VMware Cloud on AWS (but also on Dell, IBM, Oracle, Alibaba, etc.) have been available for a long time, albeit with varying degrees of maturity and penetration. VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal (VMC-E) now joins the ranks of another global service provider. VMware's customers now have a choice, and a global one at that. Any combination of on-premises, service provider or sovereign cloud, and hyperscaler is conceivable and feasible. As is so often the case: technically, a lot is feasible, but commercially, VMware still has some homework to do to get as many offers as possible under the Cloud Universal Shield so that customers can switch flexibly here without having to buy new or twice.

VMware and security – was there something and is there more to come?

Did anyone notice that long-time companions like Trellix (McAfee) or Trend Micro were not represented at Explore, or not as much as in previous years? Somehow, one had expected a security announcement in the context of the intended Broadcom/VMware acquisition (which did not happen), but with NSX and Carbon Black, VMware already has a few security heavyweights in its own portfolio. The network virtualisation/firewall solution has been proving itself in the hybrid cloud for several years now. Now VMware has also announced innovations in Carbon Black: VMware Carbon Black XDR (Extended Detection and Response), a powerful tool that supplements Carbon Black EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) in the Network Visibility and Detection segments, is coming soon.

The success of VMware Carbon Black XDR will depend primarily on how quickly and well this solution is incorporated into existing VMware products and supports other industry standards. Since XDR in general (not necessarily from VMware) is a big topic for the coming years (according to Forrester, three out of four organisations do not yet have XDR in use), VMware also has an opportunity to further expand its circle of influence with customers through its penetration rate in the data centre alone.

Subscription instead of classic licenses becomes the new VMware "normal": Even VMware vSphere can now be rented

This is something every VMware customer will need to deal with. License sales, i.e., the actual license plus a maintenance contract, will be obsolete in the medium term. Like many other software manufacturers before them, VMware is gradually switching to a subscription model. The customer essentially purchases the right to use the software, including support, for a predefined period. At first, this sounds like a sleight of hand compared to the old model – and to be honest, there are also some "term-based licenses" that are almost identical to the old license products in terms of functional content. However, with many offerings, VMware drills down significantly on the content.

For instance, vSphere Enterprise Plus (license) vs. vSphere + (subscription): At first, it sounds similar, but the "+" variant includes an unlimited number of vCenters in addition to vSphere Enterprise Plus (for those who need it), but there are a considerable number of cloud services that supplement and further enhance the on-premises functions. On top of that, there is also the support and subscription. All this is in one product SKU. All subscription offers have one thing in common: you only purchase the usage time for a certain period of time, after which it may be over from one day to the next. Especially in the case of cloud-based products, this is where the term "compelling event" is redefined. Oh yes, the licensing metrics are also changing drastically: VMware is moving from CPU to cores, so it wants to continue to profit from the use of more modern hardware.

What is true for vSphere is also true for vSAN, VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Cloud Universal and, of course, VMware's end-user products. My advice here: Deal with the subscription products now. As a rule, VMware will not abruptly force you to switch to the new model immediately. However, VMware will gradually retire the old perpetual models, and longer-term planning will help to keep the tech and commercial changes on an even keel. VMware also has a history of making the license conversions easier for early adopters.

VMware Explore 2022 conclusion

VMware really succeeded in re-launching its industry event. I'm looking forward to the Explore 2.0 reunion again in 2023. Significantly more customers and partners came to the first re-launch than originally planned. The atmosphere this year was excellent, and the new Vitamin C (cloud) helped to add new attendees to the established VMware fan base. SoftwareOne and its customers will definitely be there again. Oh yes, for those who want to learn more, I also recommend the official link to the Explore recap.

SoftwareOne and VMware

SoftwareOne is a long-standing VMware partner. We hold the highest achievable status as a Principal Partner and are also partners with all major cloud providers. For your current challenges, we support you in all phases of your IT project with VMware – from planning, procurement and implementation to subsequent management and cost control. Together we will find the right solution for your business.

We offer a series of workshops where we present the VMware solutions in detail in a demo environment – remotely or at your site. We present the solutions in depth for everyone to understand and answer your questions. We look at your environment and discuss your challenges and goals. We can collect additional key figures and data in a more in-depth assessment. This will provide you with valuable insights into your IT infrastructure and suggestions for optimisation. You determine what interests you most and what you would like to look at in detail.

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Marco Vogel
Business Development Manager