It's been a few weeks since VMworld Europe, and that's given Sascha and me a chance to digest both the information and the vast quantities of pastries, paella, and tapas we consumed.

 

VMworld was held again in Barcelona this year and came two months after the U.S. convention, meaning there were fewer big, jaw-dropping, spoiler-filled announcements, but more detail-driven, fill-in-the-gaps statements to clarify VMware's direction and plans.

 

As a refresher, at the U.S. event, some of the announcements included:

  • VMware Tanzu – a combination of products and services leveraging Kubernetes at the enterprise level.
  • Project Pacific – related to Tanzu, this will turn vSphere into a Kubernetes native platform.
  • Tanzu Mission Control – will allow customers to manage Kubernetes clusters regardless of where in the enterprise they're running.
  • CloudHealth Hybrid – will let organizations update, migrate, and consolidate applications from multiple points in the enterprise (data centers, alternate locations, and even different cloud providers) as part of an overall cloud optimization and consolidation strategy
  • The intent to acquire Pivotal
  • The intent to acquire Carbon Black

 

Going into the European VMworld, one could logically wonder what else there was to say about things. It turns out there were many questions left hanging in the air after the booths were packed and the carpet pulled up and in San Francisco.

 

Executive Summary

VMware, since selling vCloud to OVH, started looking into other ways to diversify their business and embrace the cloud. The latest acquisitions show it’s a vision, and their earning calls show it’s a successful one. (https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/VMware-Reports-Fiscal-Year-2020-Third-Quarter-Results/default.aspx)

 

Tanzu

At both the U.S. and Europe conventions, Tanzu was clearly the linchpin initiative around which VMware's new vision for itself revolves. While the high-level sketch of Tanzu products and services was delivered in San Francisco, in Barcelona we also heard:

  • Tanzu Mission Control will allow operators to set policies for access, backup, security, and more to clusters (either individual or groups) across the environment.
  • Developers will be able to access Kubernetes resources via APIs enabled by Tanzu Mission Control.
  • Project Pacific does more than merge vSphere and Kubernetes. It allows vSphere administrators to use tools they’re already familiar with to deploy and manage container infrastructures anywhere vSphere is running—on-prem, in hybrid cloud, or on hyperscalers.
  • Conversely, developers familiar with Kubernetes tools and processes can continue to roll out apps and services using the tools THEY know best and extend their abilities to provision to things like vSphere-supported storage on-demand.

 

The upshot is Tanzu and the goal of enabling complete Kubernetes functionality is more than a one-trick-pony idea. This is a broad and deep range of tools, techniques, and technologies.

 

Carbon Black

In September we had little more than the announcement of VMware's "intent to acquire" Carbon Black. By November the ink had dried on that acquisition and we found out a little more.

  • Carbon Black Cloud will be the preferred endpoint security solution for Dell customers.
  • VMware AppDefense and Vulnerability Management products will merge with several modules acquired through the Carbon Black acquisition.

 

While a lot more still needs to be clarified (in the minds of customers and analysts alike), this is a good start in helping us understand how this acquisition fits into VMware's stated intent of disrupting the endpoint security space.

 

NSX

The week before VMworld US, VMware announced its Q2 earnings, which included NSX adoption had increased more than 30% year over year. This growth explains the VMworld Europe announcement of new NSX distributed IDS and IPS services, as well as "NSX Federation," which let customers deploy policies across multiple data centers and sites.

 

In fact, NSX has come a long way. VMware offers two flavors of NSX: The well-known version, which is meanwhile called NSX Data Center for vSphere, and the younger sibling NSX-T Data Center.

The vSphere version continuously improved in two areas preventing a larger adoption; the user experience and security and is nowadays a matured and reliable technology.

NSX-T has been around for two years or so, but realistically it was always behind in features and not as valuable. As it turns out, things have changed, and NSX-T fits well into the greater scheme of things and is ready to play with the other guys in the park, including Tanzu and HCX.

 

Pivotal

Pivotal was initially acquired by EMC, and EMC combined it with assets from another acquisition: VMware. Next, Dell acquired EMC, and a little later both VMware and Pivotal became individual publicly traded companies with DellEMC remaining as the major shareholder. And now, in 2019, VMware acquired Pivotal.

 

One could call that an on/off relationship, similar to the one cats have with their owners servants. It’s complicated.

 

Pivotal offers a SaaS solution to create other SaaS solutions, a concept which comes dangerously close to Skynet, minus the self-awareness and murder-bots.

 

But the acquisition does makes sense, as Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) runs on most major cloud platforms, and on vSphere, and (to no one's surprise), Kubernetes.

 

PCF allows developers to ignore the underlying infrastructure and is therefore completely independent from the type of deployment. It will help companies in their multi-cloud travels, while still allowing them to remain a VMware customer.

 

New Announcements

With all of that said, we don't want you to think there was nothing new under the unseasonably warm Spanish sun. In addition to the expanded information above, we also heard about a few new twists in the VMware roadmap:

  • Project Galleon will see the speedy delivery of an app catalog with greater security being key.
  • VMware Cloud Director service was announced, giving customers multi-tenant capabilities in VMware Cloud on AWS. This will allow Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to share the instances (and costs) of VMware Cloud on AWS across multiple tenants.
  • Project Path was previewed.
  • Project Maestro was also previewed—a telco cloud orchestrator designed to deliver a unified approach to modelling, onboarding, orchestrating, and managing virtual network functions and services for Cloud Service Providers.
  • Project Magna, another SaaS-based solution, was unveiled. This will help customers build a “self-driving data center” by collecting data to drive self-tuning automations.

 

Antes Hasta Tardes

Before we wrap up this summary, we wanted to add a bit of local color for those who live vicariously through our travels.

 

Sascha loved the “meat with meat” tapas variations and great Spanish wine. Even more so, as someone who lives in rainy Ireland, I enjoyed the Catalan sun. It was fun to walk through the city in a t-shirt while all the locals consider the temperature in November as barely acceptable.

Similarly, Leon, (who arrived in Barcelona three days after it had started snowing back home) basked in the warmth of the region and of the locals willing to indulge his rudimentary Spanish skills; and basked equally in the joy of kosher paella and sangria.

 

Until next time!