Reflections on Dell Technologies World 2018

It’s been a long time since my last blog post that I felt it was time to put some thoughts down on my recent trip to Dell Technologies World. I don’t always get a chance to reflect on long, exhausting and informative events but this year was a different year and I wanted to focus on the 1st Dell Technologies World.

The Main Event

Vegas is always a tricky place for the UK customer base to get to but for those that went I’m sure they have some good insightful memories and great stories to tell.

This year was different for me as I was honoured to have the task of helping out with a unique programme in the UK delivering a bespoke customer track for delegates that wanted to do something a little different and more tailored. Thankfully I wasn’t on my own and had the support of a good colleague and a great marketing team.

For me, the message came alive when it was clear that this was a less product centric event and more of a customer transformation event with future looking visionaries invited to talk about how they see the adoption of AI and IoT in the work place. Stories of companies turning fiction into fact is what really draws customers in. It was clear that this direction creates impactful messages and I was happy to see that the keynotes were focused on this higher level talk track.

The Social Village was perfectly staged with plenty of spots to relax and watch The Cube interviews or simply try and do some drone racing with some awesome looking VR headsets.

The expo floor was an abundance of vendors all offering something different from Microsoft to McLaren to even a few stands selling laptop bags. I think it was a good mix allowing attendees to feel it wasn’t just Dell centric but they had a pick of many partners.

Products…products…products

It wouldn’t have been a show without some major announcement and the major one that was top of mind was the next generation in all flash array – The Powermax. Built on the solid base of VMAX engineering this really is the next generation storage array. I hear Tier 0 mentioned now and again and it’s hard to fathom what you’d use the array for but think of real time analytics, next generation computational sequences, AI and high demanding workloads. The introduction of end to end NVMe is a major game changer and the new SCM drives that come out later in the year will make this one heavyweight champion in the storage world. Certainly one that cannot be knocked out for the the title belt. If you want to find out more, head on over to the product overview – Right here

Customer community

This really was a bit different this year especially as traditionally there was no real community champion track similar to the vExpert or Cisco champion programme. It was good to see UK customers interacting and sharing knowledge and ideas with one another which makes a difference to vendors pitching products. I think having this on a global level would make it more appealing to new customers to engage with one another. I’m all about community and empowering our users to talk with one another so was very proud that some of the work I was helping with elevated the conversation to individuals sharing their personal war stories. Long may it continue !!

Wrap Up

I took away a lot of good memories and it was good to see friends and colleagues from other countries. The best moment was meeting 3 colleagues from Lebanon, Denver and Nashville who I met almost 3 years ago at bootcamp in Boston. Keeping friends and acquaintances in this industry is paramount for me and so I’d encourage everyone to keep their network alive and growing.

In my eyes, what seemed like a long and draining week was an immense success especially to all the UK partners and customers that felt the energy and got to converse with execs in the business along with watching Sting perform live. It’s an event that everyone has something to learn from or gain a new bit of knowledge and I’d encourage anyone to attend. Here’s to 2019…..

 

VMworld 2017 EU – Day 2 Recap + Interviews

It seemed like a whirlwind few days at VMworld but Day 2 was an eye opener for many reasons which I’ll go into here.

Keynote

The theme was kept similar to previous years and Day 2 enhanced the Day 1 keynote by delving deeper into the solutions and technologies unveiled the day before. This format provides the audience with the knowledge and know how of concepts they perhaps didn’t key understand on Day 1. In this case VMware showcased a fictitious company called ‘Elastic Sky Pizza’ and how they used Cross cloud, HCX, Network Log Insight and various other products on stage. It’s good to do this as it reinforces the key messages from Day 1 and shows real use cases to the wider public. Chris Wolf, VP & CTO, and Purnima Padmanabhan, VP of Products (Cloud Business Unit) both played a part in demonstrating the provisioning of workloads, portability, monitoring and the extensive use of the product sets. Personally, I felt there was a lot of content here and the audience did start to feel a bit lost towards the latter part of the presentation so keeping the content light and digestible is a key element here but difficult to achieve in practice.

Dell EMC Elect Podcast

I was asked to appear on the podcast as were a few members of the community and I didn’t hesitate to say Yes. It’s always great to catchup with Mark Browne who runs the programme and it was good to give my feedback and thoughts on the event. You can hear my interview below after the 9 min mark on iTunes or via the the player below.

Itunes

Interviewing the VMware execs

My highlight of this VMworld was being able to interview some special guests for the Opentechcast podcast that I co-host with my good friends (Alex Galbraith, Ather Beg, Kev Johnson & Gareth Edwards). Now I always like to try and do something different at each VMworld I attend and this one really knocked it out of the park. What was a simple idea and something that seemed unachievable was eventually planned and executed just the way I imagined. Arranging these interviews was difficult as I was also on holiday whilst the fine detail was being planned but I was happy that I got in touch with the right people at the right time and all the pieces finally fell in place.

First up was our interview with Pat Gelsinger, CEO VMware, which was a monumental episode and was every bit as exciting as it sounds. Here’s a link to listen to it via the OpenTechCast webpage or iTunes.

OpenTechCast Ep6

iTunes

Second up was Sanjay Poonen, COO VMware, who I’ve always admired from his stage presence and candid nature. I just don’t think I’ll ever play the piano as well. Links below.

OpenTechCast Ep7

iTunes

Thanks for reading my impressions of VMworld 2017.

VMworld 2017 EU – Day 1 Recap

It was a busy and hectic day as usual but Day 1 was very insightful. Over 11,000 attendees so it was a busy conference already.

Being on the other side of the tech circle and now in the vendor world meant I wanted to learn a bit more about the ecosystem and less on the features and functions of the new releases. Of particular interest was how VMware’s vision ties into the ecosystem and the wider Dell Technologies umbrella.

Pat Gelsinger was keen to draw our attention to VMware’s ambitions to be the glue that bridges the multi-cloud world. It’s evident that the messaging is now encouraging customers and partners to understand that this is not a closed eco system but one where VMware can partner with all the clouds of this world.

HCX not HDX

Pat announced HCX which can bridge the app mobility gap between on and off premises worlds. This is not a GA product yet looks to have a bright future. You can read more below. At the moment IBM and OVH have the prime focus but this will spread to other clouds I’m sure – https://cloud.vmware.com/vmware-hcx

Dell EMC + IBM – say what ?

Close to my heart was the news around Dell EMC and IBM. Personally I never knew this was being worked on but hearing that there is now an integrated cloud solution with vCenter – you can read more on what this entails and how Dell EMC is reselling services to the IBM Cloud by going here – https://www.emc.com/about/news/press/2017/20170912-03.htm

VMware on AWS

As a follow on from last year there was a lot more focus on this managed service from VMware. There were a number of breakout sessions as this is now GA but I didn’t manage to get a space. I did hear that at GA not everything is available to seamlessly migrate workloads using NSX but this is a heavy piece of engineering and is something that will come in time. As yet the focus of this announcement is around offering choice and flexibility and the vibe around the conference was one of enthusiasm especially for existing VMware and AWS customers.

VR that Datacenter…

It was good to see a mix of content and this year Alan Renouf’s pet project got a major boost as he was featured on stage with Pat showing how an HTC Vive could be used to migrate a virtual machine to the cloud and also destroy a virtual machine. It was a really good demo but will we ever see this adopted in the workplace. Hmmmm..not sure on that one but at least the APIs can be used to control vSphere workloads in an alternative way.

Wrap Up

For me Day 1 was a great job by the marketing and events team at VMware. Keynote was executed to the highest standard and there was a real focus on simplicity and choice. Pat also had VxRack and VxRail references in his presentation so the synergy with Dell Technologies is ripe and evident this year. As shown above my mission statement is clear on how I intend to help the ecosystem…

VMworld 2017 is almost here

It’s been rather quiet lately in the world of tech but all of that is about to change next week when the US VMworld event kicks off and our Twitter timelines go crazy for a few days.

So can we really expect a ton of new products and features ? 

Well – it’s a good question and we know that announcements have been few and far between but expect some more VMware on AWS updates. I also think that EUC is a prime revenue generator so we may see more with Workspace One and not forgetting NSX of course.

Traditionally there would be a lot of enhancements to core product lines and over the years this has been well received but now practitioners and managers alike are seeking more innovative and disruptive means to modernise and fuel their digital growth so I think VMware will be focusing in on how they stay relevant especially in the world of IoT and AI which has everyone talking right now.

Although I won’t be in Vegas this year, I will be in Barcelona for the European event so am very much looking forward to the european announcements. I will also be building more bridges and extending my network so if you’ve never met me before and you follow me on Twitter (@amitpanchal76) or follow my ramblings on tech here then please be sure to say hello. I am also recording a few podcasts this year in the VMvillage with the @OpenTechCast group which will be a welcome change and very much looking forward to this.

Final notes – pack light, don’t squeeze in all the sessions you can and above all wear comfortable footwear !!

Look forward to meeting you if our paths cross.

The vRetreat Pt 2 – What did Veeam bring ?

Veeam – So what’s new ?

So in the 2nd part of the vRetreat blogpost I’d like to discuss what Veeam presented on the day.

Many of you will know Veeam very well and I’m hoping that at least some of you have heard of backup before. Instead of talking about the what the company does I’d like to focus on the message that Michael Cade (Technical Evangelist) was keen to relay about the change in direction for the company. » Read more

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