Brush up on this ultimate list of takeaway trends and topics that came to light this year, and see what it all means for virtualization in 2016.


VMworld, VMware’s annual technology conference, took place in San Francisco and Barcelona this year, drawing 30,000+ VMware customers and partners. This conference continues to draw a strong crowd of users, architects, and executives. The U.S. event seems to draw a higher diversity of users, whereas Europe seems to have a higher concentration of service providers and partners.


This year’s theme of “Any” didn’t just deliver a repeat corporate message highlighted in our VMworld U.S. recap here, but this show’s message stole the show in Barcelona for VMworld Europe when the news broke of the mega-merger of Dell and EMC. Michael Dell snuck in an interesting address to the keynote here.


Let’s park the merger hysteria for a bit and level out what we really take away from VMware’s two big annual shows. I’ll attempt a merger of my own here on the takeaways in the form of key questions to ask yourself:


What does VMworld’s “Any” really mean?

“Any” is a broad term. An IT organization can take away the imperative VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger outlined here and turn it into a set of principles to address Executive VP of VMware’s SDDC Division Raghu Raghuram’s three objectives: To simplify, extend, and reach. So what the heck does all that really mean?


VMware is outlining further execution of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) strategy. Here’s the state of where organizations are coming out of this year’s VMworlds:

  1. Software-defined Compute | check
  2. Software-defined Storage | Silos or tiers of hardware? Sure, you can software-define those but it’s not dynamic, not elastic, and not very incremental. A true SDDC would ask for more. We’d present that SDDC, cloud, or the next generation data center all look like this: node-based, scale-out, shared nothing, fully API-programmable, implied efficiencies (you should expect this), performance that is natively multi-tenant and guaranteed, and built for multi-platform (VMware and OpenStack), mixed workloads. Scale-up and legacy storage are not what winning clouds are built on today.
  3. Software-defined Network | We’re just getting started with VMware’s NSX and Cisco’s ACI.
  4. Automation | IT is working through manual modes looking for friction to be taken out of operations. Look to the easiest actions first, like task automations through PowerShell. Over time, explore more ways to take friction out of IT’s processes (outlined nicely here and here).
  5. End user computing (Horizon View, Horizon DaaS, etc) | Costs and complexity of storage has been the issue. Flash is required and the cost and complexity of persisting a faster-than-desktop user experience as you scale is front and center. The three keys to unlocking flash for EUC are:
  6. Agility | We have a wide chasm here. IT agility has been written about extensively (here and here). Moving at the speed of business means moving nearly instantly. The real-world example I like to use: How long do you want to wait for a cab? Or do you just call Uber?
  7. Open Source and the future | Containers (Docker), Mesos (Mesosphere), Kubernetes, and OpenStack are all leading a revolution of IT innovation for agility. VMworld presented an interesting approach for IT organizations to plug into:
    • VMware Integrated OpenStack 2: Based on Kilo enhancements such as load balancing as a Service, Ceilometer, and Heat AutoScale.
    • Project Lightwave: Open Source identity and access management for cloud-native apps in containers
    • Project Photon: Built for DevOps and SaaS providers, features Photon machines that are ESX “microvisors” managed by Photon controllers that are multi-tenant and API-driven.
    • vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC): VIC consists of several different components for managing, executing, and monitoring containers, combining the benefits of container flexibility with central management.
  8. Delivery of IT as a Service | VMware’s “Any” would direct you into two routes for delivery and consumption of IT as a Service

The rise of the IT service provider? Absolutely!

The emergence of the IT service provider is clearly driven by organizations worldwide wanting to consume faster and move to OPEX. Businesses, governments, and organizations worldwide that want IT to adopt VMware’s “Any” vision need look no further than the service providers.


VMware boasts more than 4,000+ service providers under the vCloud Air Network program, and SolidFire sits squarely at the center of its rise. Since 2010, SolidFire has provided a Software Defined Storage platform for the VMware service provider, as can be attested by Calligo’s Julian Box, our first client.

There you have it. Let us know in the comments or find me on Twitter to share what you think of the state of virtualization, and whether VMware’s “Any” predictions from 2015 will play out as claimed.

Keith Norbie

At NetApp Keith drives Strategic Alliances in partnership with the business units and currently leads VMware, Data Protection (Veeam, Commvault, Rubrik) and SAN/Brocade. This applies strategy development, advising/collaborating with product managers, incubates new offerings, cross functional solution development, and executive interlocks. All of this is to drive GTM net new revenue to NetApp via partners in key areas like Private and Hybrid Multi-Cloud, EUC (VDI), Modernized Data Protection and Next Gen SAN for Enterprise Apps.

Keith joined NetApp in February 2016 with the acquisition of SolidFire and previously had 20 years in the channel as an executive including a successful acquisition built from a startup. He delivers a passion for delivering results through clarity, focus (less is more), relationships, intense curiosity, and seeking signal from noise.

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