VMworld 2017 Summarized in Four Words: Cloud, Partners, Security, and Workspace One

By Jim Lundy

(Aragon Research) – I attended VMworld 2017 in Las Vegas and have to say it was one of the best VMworlds in recent memory. Clearly, cloud messaging was in the air and even the partner landscape started to reflect this.

The biggest takeaway for us was the strategy that VMware is executing on: It was clear and precise with real deliverables, and customers were liking it—a lot. This blog summarizes what we saw at VMworld 2017.

VMware NSX can now manage both Amazon and Microsoft Azure workloads.

Cloud: VMware Doubles Down on NSX

If last year’s VMworld was the rehearsal, 2017 was the year that VMware really came out swinging on cloud. NSX has been enhanced and now supports both Microsoft and Amazon workloads.

Amazon was on stage with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and commented that this partnership was real (unlike many others). VMware is ready for the cloud, and now with the ability to manage both Azure and AWS app deployments, we expect enterprise IT departments and vendors to start to leverage NSX to streamline cloud operations.

Partners: Amazon, Google, IBM, and More

As mentioned, Amazon is now solidly in the VMware camp but this was not the only news at VMworld. With VMware’s increased focus on security, they turned to long-term partner IBM, whose $2 billion security business is beginning to make a mark. The surprise at the event was Google.

Google has been pushing their open-source Kubernetes container management offering and they were happy to be onstage with both VMware and Pivotal (with Michael Dell looking on). The big discussion after the keynote was about containers and container cloning. Google has a winner with Kubernetes and given the partnership, Pivotal and VMware appear to agree.

Did the Amazon Partnership Steal the Show?

If there was a partner of the event, we’d probably say it was Amazon. The power of VMware is with Amazon—it can now offer a Software Defined Data Center: vSphere, VSAN, and NSX will now run on Amazon hardware in the Amazon cloud.

Moving workloads off of an 0n-premise data center just got easier. The extra benefit is that for IT pros (who already know NSX), it makes it easier to manage.

Security: Introducing AppDefense

VMware followed the trend of making security part of a service. Its intent-based AppDefense offering will make detection of anomalies more automatic. As part of the announcement, VMware indicated that AppDefense will integrate with IBM’s QRadar security analytics platform and they also announced that the RSA NetWitness Suite will be interoperable with AppDefense.

Enterprises need to look at all of their cloud services for application security approaches like what VMware is adding. Cisco made a similar move in June with their Intent-based Networking. Overall for VMware, this makes VMware NSX a no-brainer.

Workspace One: UEM for Windows, Mac, and Chrome and Analytics

VMware did more than just add advanced unified endpoint management (UEM) for Macs and Chromebooks—they added advanced analytics, too. That said, VMware customers at the event indicated that besides managing all of their mobile devices with AirWatch, they are looking to manage all Windows 10 and Macs with Workspace One. We would note that Aragon feels that the Workspace One analytics (e.g., insights into application deployments, app usage, device security, and end-user experience) will become a market requirement by YE 2018.

So, all in all, one of the best VMworlds of recent memory. The cloud story is clear and customers are liking it. To us, Pat Gelsinger and Sanjay Poonen have developed a strategy that can be monetized.

There is more to come from VMware—we will be covering all of this as part of our AI, cloud, and digital workplace agendas.