VMworld Europe 2015 Review

Steve Evans

Friday 16 October 2015

This week saw Barcelona play host to VMworld Europe 2015, where cloud computing, virtualisation and software-defined data centres dominated the agenda.

Professionals from across the virtualisation industry came in their numbers this week to Barcelona for the annual VMworld Europe conference. Over 10,000 people have attended this year’s event  featuring talks, classes, networking events and hands-on labs.

The theme of the event this year was Ready for Any, with VMware being keen to highlight the importance of businesses being fully prepared whenever dealing with technology.

There was, for instance, a sharp focus on technological innovation and, more particularly, on how it’s disrupting traditional business models. These innovations are now enabling companies to develop new business models while reducing upfront costs. As a prime example, many startups these days have very little infrastructure of their own; instead they rely on online services to provide what they need. This reduces the costs associated with running a business  savings that can then be passed on to the customer.

When VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger took to the stage on day two of the conference to deliver his keynote speech, he also touched on the notion of digital transformation and how it’s affecting businesses across the world. In particular, he emphasised the fact that these developments are helping the smaller businesses take on larger ones by virtue of them being more agile.

“It’s no longer the big beating the small, it’s the fast beating the slow,” he said. “Elephants must learn to dance. They need to innovate like a startup while delivering like an enterprise.”

One way to enable this transformation  to help companies be Ready for Any  is by ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place for them to achieve their goals. That was the message Lenovo took to Barcelona, using the event as an opportunity to showcase the infrastructure Lenovo provides for supporting the VMware platform.

Hardware on show included the X6 Server, which features eight sockets and up to 12TB of memory as well as a machine that uses all-Flash storage. These, and many more products, form part of Lenovo’s product line that offers reliability, performance, and security for virtualised and cloud environments.

Lenovo also ran a couple of Breakout Sessions at the show with Tikiri Wanduragala, senior consultant for server systems at Lenovo, hosting an event dedicated to the benefits of virtualisation and software-defined environments.

Wanduragala’s colleague, Igor Marty, hosted a session called “Increase Agility on Your Journey to a Software-Defined Data centre” in which he spelt out the advantages of a software-defined approach to the data centre.

In the session, Marty demonstrated how companies can use virtualisation and software-defined approaches to get the best out of their existing hardware. Simplicity was the main message, and how combining agile infrastructure with virtualisation technologies can help companies achieve a more simplified data centre; one that will be much better prepared to cope with the demands of modern businesses.

Another big theme dominating speeches on days one and two was Unified Hybrid Cloud. In his keynote, Gelsinger claimed that the industry is now entering an era of professional cloud deployments, but that businesses need to use a combination of private cloud platforms with offerings from public cloud providers. This is where VMware’s Unified Hybrid Cloud strategy comes in.

“When we talk about One Cloud, we don’t mean a giant homogeneous cloud but a seamless integration between a private cloud and one or more public clouds, whether that is AWS or Azure or one of our vCloud Air Network partners. We call this Unified Hybrid Cloud, because it can make it seem as if you are accessing one logical cloud, and this changes your world,” according to VMware COO, Carl Eschenbach.

As well as the key ideas touched upon above innovate like a startup, deliver like an enterprise and Unified Hybrid Cloud being the future Gelsinger also laid out other ways companies can take advantage of digital transformation.

One, he said, is security. It’s so vital in every business these days, of course, but the shift to mobile and cloud has led to new kinds of threat. Security should now be built in, rather than bolted on, he insisted. Being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to technology and digital transformation is another imperative; the increase in automation and prediction will help in that regard.

Finally, Gelsinger spoke about inaction being the biggest thing holding companies back, and the greatest risk they face today. Ultimately, that’s what events like VMworld Europe 2015 are all about: showcasing the technology solutions that can help businesses take control of their own destiny.

Whether it’s hardware or software, for example, or public, private or hybrid cloud computing, VMworld Europe 2015 was a chance for VMware, Lenovo and many other companies to showcase their solutions for helping companies take advantage of the digital transformation and to be truly ready for anything.


Building the next-gen data centre

Where traditional and web-scale apps co-exist