VMworld 2019 Thoughts and Observations

CloudBolt sponsored and attended VMworld 2019 in San Francisco (with 12 CloudBolters in attendance!) and it was an energy-packed event. I’ll summarize some of the news and talk from the conference here.

VMWare’s main announcements

Last week, VMware announced the release of:

  • Tanzu – their Kubernetes orchestrator, essentially an answer to Google’s Anthos.
  • Project Pacific – the effort to embed a container runtime into vSphere and provide visibility into both containers and VMs from within the vSphere UI.
  • Updates to VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AKA VMC on AWS) – including accelerated GPU Services and a new study showing cost savings in moving to VMC on AWS.

Analysis of VMware’s Direction 

Shift of focus from IT to developers

VMware has traditionally focused on selling products and services to IT departments, but their messaging and product direction are steering toward selling to developers. This is likely in response to VMware’s observation that the locus of decision-making and the budget for technology are shifting toward development teams over time. 

I even got to play some Robotron on the floor of VMworld 2019.

Embracing of containers

With both Project Pacific and Tanzu, it’s clear that VMware is now betting on containers and does not want to miss that train. These two projects will embed a container runtime in vSphere and provide a Kubernetes cluster management tool (playing in the same space as Google’s Anthos).

Emphasis on VMC on AWS

VMC on AWS is a key part of the hybrid cloud story that VMware is delivering. The idea is to keep running workloads on VMware ESXi, and using vCenter to manage them, but the servers run in data centers owned by AWS instead of customer-owned and operated data centers. This is appealing as it allows large organizations to swap their capex spend out for opex, and to do it without making major changes to applications to run using modern public cloud services and/or containers. The possibility remains that organizations could move applications off VMC on AWS to just AWS or a different cloud, so it will be interesting to see how VMware handles that long-term.

vRA 8 Announced

VMware officially announced vRealize Automation 8, the rewrite of their Cloud Management Platform. We talked with a lot of vRA 7.x customers who are wondering what the path forward looks like for them. vRA 8.0 will have some good new features (like more agnostic public cloud support, more flexible blueprints than vRA 7, and potentially enhanced extensibility), but that it will have a subset of the features of vRA 7. It remains to be seen when upgrades from vRA 7 to 8 will be supported, or how difficult they will be when that day comes. It’s also unclear whether old-style extensions will be supported.

What this Means for CloudBolt

Since 2011, CloudBolt has been focusing on meeting the needs of both:

  1. Empowering developers with a simple self-service way to obtain the resources they need to do their job AND
  2. Turning the central IT team into superheroes, giving them unmatched visibility and the ability to orchestrate and automate everything

At CloudBolt, we are passionate about the themes VMware brought up. Here’s how CloudBolt stacks up in these themes:

ThemeCloudBolt’s Support
Empowering developers & IT admins✅ Since 2011
Easy upgrades of CloudBolt✅ Since 2012
Agnostic hybrid cloud support✅ Since 2013
Infinite and easy extensibility ✅ Since 2013
Solid support for GCP and Azure✅ Since 2014 (plus 6 other public clouds in the ensuing years)
Flexible Blueprints✅ Since 2014
Kubernetes support✅ Since 2015, and getting deeper in every CloudBolt version
VMC on AWS supportComing in CloudBolt 9.1 in December

Summarizing, CloudBolt has been focused on the themes that matter most to IT and developers and the product has matured over many years of releases and management of production environments for global 2000 companies.

What’s Next

We look forward to heading back to VMworld in 2020, and in the meantime you can find us at upcoming VMware User Group (VMUG) gatherings in Boston (9/25), Atlanta (10/2) and Phoenix (10/30) this fall. Stop by to chat with us!

Want to see how CloudBolt stacks up with vRA? Download our datasheet today.

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