Key Takeaways from VMware Explore

United Kingdom, Nov 29, 2022

By Mark Benson, CTO, Logicalis UKI

So it has been 2 weeks since I attended VMware Explore in Barcelona and looking back there were a number of key announcements that were made at the event. Firstly, it was great to see so many people at an event after the last few years and also being from the rainy north of England, it was great to enjoy a little Spanish sunshine whilst taking in the learnings from the three days.

From a products perspective, the main announcements for me were:

vSphere 8 and vSAN 8

VMware utilised the event in Barcelona to announce that both vSphere 8 and vSAN 8 were GA. The main features from a vSphere perspective are:

  • Introduction of vSphere Distributed Services Engine (Project Monterey)
  • DPU offload for network, storage, and management services to improve performance
  • Enhanced Kubernetes run-time with TKG (Tanzu Kubernetes Grid) 2.0 and 2.1
  • VMware Cloud Console integration of vSphere 8 Admin Services (Project Arctic)

From a vSAN perspective, it was all about the Express Storage Architecture (ESA). With NVMe becoming more mainstream due to the price falling and also its fantastic performance, the ESA provides an independent pool of NVMe drives. Good news for organisations that want to leverage this technology.

VMware Aria

VMware has recognised the fact that the majority of their customers are utilising cloud computing and, in many cases, they are utilising multiple clouds to deliver services. VMware Aria is a brand-new unified management solution for cloud native applications and multi-cloud. There are many component parts to Aria but the main ones to highlight are:

  • VMware Aria Graph provides a near-real time single source of truth for all operations and events, with unified GraphQL API for developers and operations
  • VMware Aria Hub provides centralised views, relationships, and controls for managing the entire multi-cloud environment from a single interface, powered by Aria Graph
  • VMware Aria Guardrails – enforcement automation for networking, security, cost, performance, and configuration across clouds
  • VMware Aria Migration – assessment, planning, and execution automation for the multi-cloud migration journey
  • VMware Aria Business Insights – full-stack event correlation with AI & ML analytics to present relevant business insights across clouds

Autonomous Workspace

Positioned as the future of Hybrid Working, the Horizon stack from VMware was put on steroids and now provides a self-configuring, self-healing and self-securing environment for customers. The announcement came with a raft of new features which are highlighted below:

So that’s the products covered off, but one other major observation for me was the activity in the vendor expo. I always like to use these events to see what stands or technology are hot and what appear to not be as hot. There was one clear technology that was driving footfall and that was data protection. Vendors such as Veeam, Rubrik and Zerto had people queuing at the stands and given the rise in ransomware and cyber attacks this was no surprise.

The other area that attendees seemed to have an interest in was the CX and UX technologies. These tools allow you to observe what is going on in your infrastructure to provide a better experience to staff and customers alike. ControlUp were in a great position at the front of the expo but the number of people waiting for demos was alarming, but again this is not astonishing given the fact that most people now work in a hybrid world and companies are trying to get ahead in providing the best service.

The final thing to say is that it was a great event for both partners and customers alike, and it is clear VMware is looking to be the dominating technology in the Multi Cloud world. Some of you may be thinking ‘why have you not addressed the elephant in the room, the Broadcom acquisition’. Well, that is a challenge to comment on as there is some way to still to go, but the good news is that the VMware share holders have approved the acquisition. I will leave that narrative to another blog and lets just bask in the glory of VMware’s new technology.

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