With VMware Explore Las Vegas 2023 now behind us, Robin Gardner, Xtravirt’s Sales & Strategic Services Director, shares his own experience from the event. In this roundup, Robin talks about his highlights from this year’s event, the key sessions he attended, insightful conversations and the latest VMware announcements.
How many VMworlds / VMware Explore events have you been to?
“This is my third VMware Explore, I’ve attended the event in San Francisco, Barcelona and now Las Vegas. I have been to Las Vegas on a personal basis before (exploring the city), but this was my first time for a conference. The Venetian was a fantastic choice of venue and the logistics were really efficient considering the large number of attendees.”
Year-on-year, how have the events evolved?
“Explore 2023 had a different tone to it – there was less fanfare and more focus on the business outcomes being delivered. Alongside innovation, a good number of the announcements focused on maturing capabilities and responding to customer feedback which was really positive for customers wanting to see benefit now, rather than in future roadmaps.”
There seem to be a lot of changes coming to some of VMware’s product sets, what impact will this have for customers, existing and new?
“I think that this year VMware has really focused on taking and building on customer feedback. The introduction of large capacity disaggregated storage and NVIDIA GPU enabled on-premise data centre solutions, providing key roadmap components for customers developing their data and AI strategies mean that customers who are not progressing an aggressive cloud migration strategy will have ongoing confidence in their ability to deliver strategic solutions from their own data centres.
It’s also great to see Tanzu move from being an early-adopter solution into a cohesive, mature product which supports the needs of both Developers and Platform Managers through a comprehensive and structured framework – I’d recommend that those with an interest check out the updated demonstrations that are now available online along with all of the other Explore sessions.”
Sumit Dhawan, President at VMware, estimated that workloads running on VMware platforms grew by 30% in the last 12 months which would make VMware the fastest growing cross-cloud platform. What do you think is making VMware platforms increasingly popular to new customers and existing users?
“Many forget that approximately 85% of global workloads still reside on a VMware virtualised platform and as technology use grows this will inevitably expand the VMware footprint. With VMware presence now available on all of the hyperscalers, there is no requirement to refactor applications and services to run natively if the business case doesn’t support that investment, so we are seeing an increasing volume of VMware workloads relocate rather than be replaced. This approach results in a smarter use of budget and ensures customers make best use of their internal skills.”
What sessions did you attend? Were there any that particularly stood out?
“The investment VMware has made in Tanzu particularly stands out. I have watched this platform mature over the last 2 years to a point where it now presents a significant and compelling value proposition for customers, bridging the interface between Developers, Infrastructure and Platform Managers while also embedding infosec and governance requirements. This came together in both mainstage and break-out sessions which clearly demonstrated how Tanzu App Platform, Tanzu Mission Control, Aria Guardrails and Aria Cost (Cloudhealth) integrate to simplify and support secure code development, deployment and operational management.”
To summarise, what were your key takeaways from VMware Explore Las Vegas 2023?
- “Embedded within its cross-cloud strategy, VMware continues to be class-leading in delivery and support for solutions and innovation in the data centre.
- vSan support for large capacity disaggregated storage provides much needed integrated support for the increasingly large datasets fundamental to today’s business applications.
- VMware Cloud brings together the VMware virtualisation story across private and hyperscaler platforms with increasingly standardised offerings and access to license portability with Universal licensing putting flexibility in the hands of the customer to put their workloads in the best location without losing management and control capabilities. New support for VMware Private Cloud (VPC) peering which means access to extended storage such as On-tap doesn’t have to go through a transit gateway removing egress charges.
- Private AI Foundation sees VMware partnering with NVIDIA and leading OEMs to offer a certified hardware and software platform for virtualised GPU-powered AI/ML workloads with bare metal performance providing access to full customer value from AI while protecting key corporate intellectual property.”
Going forward, what does this all mean for Xtravirt and its customers?
“Our conversations with customers increasingly reflect the uncertainty of their future needs. Only 6 months ago, many would not have included AI within a 3-5 year strategy, but now it is front and centre – perhaps with a question mark as the implications are still yet to be understood. VMware has shown once again this year that its products and solutions provide a technology framework that will flex as needs and priorities change. Universal licensing providing cross-cloud flexibility, rapid enhancements to support new business needs, and visible responses to customer priorities all evidence this commitment.
Xtravirt continues to evolve to meet the changing needs as customers head into this future. Our Managed Services offerings are now increasingly being adopted by customers to support skills gaps and to allow them to release capable internal teams to focus on generating value rather than day to day operations. Consultants ensure our engagements deliver business value rather than just the completion of a list of technical tasks and, with our focus on customer success, we can partner on the full path to business case realisation rather than drinking champagne and walking away when the project goes live.
We recognise that our and VMware’s customers are all at different stages of their IT journey and we have a great opportunity to work together to help each customer identify the announcements that are going to be beneficial for them as they review their priorities for the rest of this year and set out their goals for next.”
All round, it’s clear that VMware Explore Las Vegas 2023 has been an insightful event. With it, bringing even more anticipation for the upcoming VMware Explore Barcelona event, 6th – 9th November 2023. Xtravirt is excited to share that the team will be out in full force at the Barcelona event and hope to see you there.