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VMworld 2015: 5 Trends To Watch

  • VMworld floors in San Francisco next week, taking up residence at the Moscone Center as well as most habitable space in a 5-mile radius. The VMware user conference has become a must-attend event in IT, growing in leaps and bounds from 1900 attendees in its first year to more than 20,000 expected to flock to the Bay Area in its ninth annual event.

    The theme of this year's show, "Ready for any," kind of sums up the vague apprehension I have in attending. While my main focus is to meet with readers and industry experts face to face, the options for where to go and what to do are truly overwhelming. The session catalog boasts 870 sessions given by 925 different speakers. Revealingly, one of these is the "V Welcome" orientation session to help new participants navigate the schedule. And then there are the 249 exhibitors, as well as dozens of auxiliary programs, charity events, social soirees and meals hosted by organizations outside VMware. Ready for any, indeed. 

    Further complicating things is VMware's expansion into all things IT. Although VMworld is billed as an educational experience for technologies based on virtualization and cloud, just about anything on your radar -- networking, storage, security, mobility, you name it -- is covered at length. VMware has become a floor wax and a dessert topping, all in one. 

    So if you're heading off to VMworld, you may want to narrow down the possibilities. I've identified five major topics I have my eye on and hope to learn more about. If you see me there, flag me down. I'll be easy to spot -- just look for the woman with the wide eyes and confused expression on her face.

    (Images: VMworld Social Stream)

  • What's going on with NSX?

    VMware jumped into the deep end of the networking pool with its NSX technology at VMworld 2013, but the solution soon became part of the larger concept of the software-defined data center, with a goal of security rather than network automation. How are customers using the network virtualization platform and where is it headed next? I'll be looking for the answers at the sessions:

  • The Case for Network Virtualization: Customer Case Study

  • Advanced Network Architecture in SDDC to Deploy Highly Automated IT Service Delivery Based on NSX and

  • The Future of Network Virtualization with NSX.

  • Security in the spotlight

    The security landscape grows more frightening every day, and VMware isn't shy about getting in the mix. The company points to security as the biggest driver for network virtualization and claims that "NSX has become the platform and framework for enterprise security integration." That may be a tiny bit of an exaggeration at this point, but I am interested to find out exactly how VMware expects virtualization and microsegmentation to solve all our security woes. The security sessions at VMworld are plentiful, so there's a lot of opportunity to find out more. The following are on my list to check out:

  • Infrastructure Security Panel Discussion
  • The Future of Trust and Security
  • Essilor of America Case Study: Why the Right Security for the Right Infrastructure Makes All the Difference
  • From Architecture to Operations, Weaving Security into the Datacenter Fabric
  • Micro-Segmented Applications and Services: Enabling The Future of Security
  • Will anyone ever buy EVO:RAIL?

    EVO:RAIL was the darling of last year's VMworld, as VMware attempted to launch a version of hyperconverged infrastructure without alienating too many of its partners. However, products based on the architecture have been slow to materialize, and HP gave up on its EVO implementation last month. It looks like VMware will shift attention to the larger EVO:RACK product, which was also announced last year but has yet to be released. The conference program offers the deep dive, EVO: RACK -- An In-Depth View, indicating that more information is forthcoming. Those who would like a look at the bigger picture may want to check out VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: From vSAN to EVO:RAIL and EVO:RACK.

  • Storage, storage, storage

    As storage technology goes virtual and becomes more integrated into the rest of IT, VMworld has turned into the place for up-and-coming storage vendors to strut their stuff. Of course, you can meet the vendors on the expo floor, but some sessions also promise a broad point of view. Storage Upstarts: More than a "Flash" in the Pan features an all-star panel of storage industry luminaries and is moderated by our own Howard Marks, so you know candid opinions will be expressed. The session includes representatives from hot storage companies like DataGravity, SolidFire, Tintri and Tegile, For even more fun with storage, head over to The vExpert Storage Game Show, a Family Feud-style game show with Vaughn Stewart of Pure Storage as the host asking the embarrassing questions.

  • What the expert community is thinking

    VMworld may be a vendor conference, but it has an intense community feel and offers tons of opportunity to network with expert technologists, from both within and without the company. For a decidedly independent view of the industry, check out these events:

  • Ask the Expert vBloggers provides an expert panel to answer any and all questions from audience members
  • Ask the Expert Industry Titans takes the above concept a step further, with an additional chance for attendees to have technical questions answered by a different panel of experts
  • VMunderground Opening Acts is a series of panel sessions "by the community, for the community" hosted on Sunday afternoon as a warm-up to the conference
  • vBrownBag community tech talks will be held in the Hang Space throughout the conference
  • Tech Field Day Extra will gather industry influencers for briefings from a wide range of vendors in virtualization, cloud and storage
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