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October 14, 2015

VMworld Europe 2015: 5 major talking points

List: A major conference for VMware in Barcelona so soon after the one in San Francisco was always likely to lead to fewer announcements. This created more of a focus on strategy and how to use what they previously released.

By James Nunns

With less gimmicks than previous events I’ve attended, but still enough to induce resentment, the company chose to focus on business. Of course the big business it had to talk about being the acquisition of EMC by Dell.

While kicking off a show with cartoon apps attending a make-believe university learning skills, might sound fun – it isn’t. Especially when it is narrated by a character that has a cloud for a head, a character which will haunt my dreams.

Less product announcements but still plenty of talking points, CBR gives you a list of the big topics discussed.

1. Hybrid Cloud

It will come as no surprise that the main theme of the show would be hybrid technologies. In particular hybrid cloud.

It dominated day one and while it was not so frequently mentioned on day two, it was clear that hybrid is the way the company is developing everything.

With its ‘Unified Cloud’ vision, the company is keen to stress that it has taken the complexity out of operating in a hybrid fashion. Management platforms that create a single pane of glass system for controlling what you use is one way the company appears to be creating simplicity.

Whether it is as simple as they say, the customers will decide but the simplicity highlighted in demos’ tended to get a round of applause.

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2. Dell, EMC and what to do with VMware

An unavoidable topic of discussion, Carl Eschenbach, COO, VMware may have hoped to deflect some of the questions with a video of Michael Dell early on day one, but it didn’t succeed.

Dell’s video spoke of the combined power helping the companies to "win the digital economy." But everyone wanted to know what’s happening to VMware.

I mentioned applause for demos’, but the Dell video didn’t get any.

Eschenbach would address this in a press Q&A, saying that VMware would remain a publicly traded company. The gist of his message was for partners not to be afraid.

Eschenbach, said: "The way for Dell to pay off the large debt it has taken on to buy EMC is to make sure that VMware is successful."

Speaking to partners at the event, the general feeling was that of a wait and see approach but hoping it’ll be fine.

3. Announcements

The announcements were thin on the ground, day one saw the company fill out its hybrid portfolio a bit more with focus on management capabilities and accelerating NFV adoption.

Day two brought the single announcement of the acquisition of Boxer, a move designed to integrate easy-to-use applications into its data management platform.

The shortage of ‘new’ releases gave the company the opportunity to demo the releases it made in San Francisco and to wheel out customer success stories. Something which at times gave the conference the feeling of being a prolonged sales pitch.

4. Security

Only passing mentions were made to security on day one, but during day two’s keynote the audience was told by Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware: "We have the architecture for security for the first time."

Of course this was backed up with a customer story, this time the British Army, using NSX to be secure.

The company is keen to let people know that even with the added complexity of hybrid apps darting around, they will be safe.

5. One cloud, any app, any device

This ties into the hybrid cloud approach and the slogan for the show, ‘Ready for any’, with any being, any type of cloud. I assume this as it wasn’t specifically addressed but mentions of ready for any environment was the theme.

Of course the idea is that people will go hybrid with VMware and that instead of having separate silos of public and private, they will become a ‘Unified Cloud’ in hybrid. This would mean easy management, easy conversations between applications and of course in a secure way.

It may not be VMware’s cloud though, with the likes of Microsoft Azure and AWS being far more likely choices. This appears to be something the company is prepared for, with connective and integrated technologies with both.

On the any device front, I guess they don’t mean a BlackBerry device, as Sanjay Poonen, GM end-user computing, poked fun at those that still use the devices by singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen. So any device but don’t use BlackBerry.

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