VMworld 2015, including the new integrated Partner Exchange, took place in San Francisco from August 29th to September 3rd and the theme of the show this year was “Ready for Any” and VMware truly lived up to this moniker.
On Saturday August 29th I took part in an all-day session on the VMware campus in Palo Alto which, for me, revolved around the new and improved VDI (Horizon Suite) solutions that were updated in conjunction with vSphere 6. For me, while the increases in speed and capacity around the VMware product lines were notable (and not unexpected with a new version) the main “wow” moment was when I was introduced to AppVolumes. For those who do not know what AppVolumes are, think of them as “App Containers” that can be attached to a Virtual Desktop image which will then show up on a user’s desktop as if they were an integrated part of the image versus being attached after the fact. This really innovative and unique feature allows enterprise admins to give application access, singly or in app groups, to users based on their login identity, and they can be attached or detached on the fly with the applications appearing (or disappearing) in seconds on the virtual desktop. In addition to this functionality on VDI images it can also be used, as we saw later in the week, on physical desktops running Windows 10. For administrators in large VDI or Windows 10 environments this is going to drastically reduce the administration time not only from a per-user perspective but also from an image maintenance perspective since every user can use a “gold image” and then applications can be attached to the desktop post image boot or deployment.
Up in the Clouds
Over the last few years the term “cloud” has buzzed around within the VMware product line but never really felt as if it were integrated into the actual product stack, rather opting to be bolted on after the fact; but all of that changed this year. vCloud Air, VMware’s cloud offering, became much more integrated into the stack and can now be used as if it were an extension of VMware’s core products as it should be. One of the more impressive moments was seeing a live virtual machine being migrated from an on-premise cloud into the vCloud Air offering and missing nary a beat. For organizations that are looking for near instantaneous disaster recovery or failover (outside of Site Recovery Manager or the vCloud Air Disaster Recovery as a Service offering) this is an exciting and welcome new feature and one that I am sure we will begin to see more and more organizations using to their advantage to maintain or improve their uptimes, schedule local site outages for maintenance, and introduce a lot of small to medium size businesses running VMware to the benefits of their cloud ecosystem. While I do still have reservations regarding their pricing models I do believe that VMware has some of the better pricing structures in the “cloud” market.
Security Front and Center
As we have all seen over the last few years, security concerns abound even in what most would believe to be highly secure corporate environments. From end-users writing down passwords to highly evolved and sophisticated hack attacks that have siphoned millions of user details (including private information like social security numbers and credit card details), security is now, most definitely, front and center of many CIO, CTO and CEO minds.
VMware introduced identity management across both their physical and cloud platforms with their VMware Identity Management as a Service (IDaaS) stack. In VMware’s own words:
“Identity Manager is an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) offering, providing application provisioning, self-service catalog, conditional access controls and Single Sign-On (SSO) for SaaS, web, cloud and native mobile applications.”
Being able to have a single sign on for on-premises, mobile, and cloud apps will prove invaluable at not only locking down the corporate infrastructure but also cloud and mobile device access as well. Of course a large part of this was due to the acquisition of the AirWatch platform/application, but VMware has pulled this out of the AirWatch product and made it a standalone type application that can help enterprises and the administrators be more conscientious of managing their infrastructure and access to it as a seamless and integrated environment versus a fractured and siloed approach which most enterprises use today by having multiple passwords to remember and use on a per site or per app basis. The fact that it also integrates seamlessly with their vCloud Air products is a bonus and once again shows that VMware is most definitely embracing, pushing and advancing the adoption of cloud technologies in their stack.
Overall as someone who has seen a lot of technological advancements and is hard pressed to be “wowed” by a large portion of technology today, what I saw in San Francisco impressed me and made me look forward to what was to come in the virtualization environment from VMware and their ecosystem! I look forward to seeing what VMware has up their sleeve over the next year and seeing it in Las Vegas during VMworld 2016!
If you have questions or comments regarding VMware and virtualization, please contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.