VMware vFORUM 2017, Part#1

Sometime back I had read a LinkedIn article by State Bank Of India(SBI) CTO on some of the modernization initiatives, which are largely based out technological foundations. I don’t remember how I landed on that blog, but it did talk about how they are transforming by adopting virtualization and private cloud technologies. It was amusing to learn that SBI had aptly christened their private cloud as Meghdoot, an obvious reference to Indian classic drama text of the same name. Since decade and half or bit more than that, virtualization technologies like the ones from VMware have transformed businesses in the western world. The similar wave is now taking place in India’s businesses as well with Digital India initiatives. So when I learnt about VMware’s conference in Mumbai, I was too excited to join and witness the latest from VMware.

It has been long time since I had attended VMware conference. The vFORUM conference has been around since last 4-5 years, and is typically followed by VMware World conference in the USA. This one was in Mumbai, and ran over two days. The first day had opening keynote address from Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, which ran 90 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by that, he doing that long a keynote. He covered many topics right from the fact that how technologies are changing around us, to all the way up to talking of some of the newer products from VMware. He was involved in a chat with CIOs of two of his biggest customers in India-SBI and Airtel which was very interesting to hear their stories of transformation.

VMware vFORUM Mumbai

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in conversation with SBI CIO Mrutyunjay Mahapatra

The next was a technology keynote was from VMware’s CTO for Asia, Pacific and Japan Bruce Davie. His was a technology keynote mainly focusing on a theme called infrastructure as a code, which is the genesis of software defined data center(SDDC). He also touched upon container services initiatives by VMware. He also touched upon NSX and security technologies, who it is helping organizations to manage consistent network and security across various clouds. Then followed a showcase keynote which included a session by VMware COO Raghu Raghuram. His theme was around multi-cloud strategy and what VMware is doing for it, with addition of hybrid cloud support from VMware. He also observed that public clouds are new silos, by giving analogy of Unix world when there many flavors of Unix operating systems, and some of the technologies from VMware which addresses these things for consistent infrastructure and consistent operations across.

Post lunch sessions were three parallel breakout sessions, with themes such as Modernize Data Center, Transform Security and Empower Digital Workspace. The last one I skipped completely, as it was more towards IT landscape. I was more interested in earlier two themes, being a technologists. I began with a first session of track#1 which was for Modernize Data Center. The presenter began talking of traits of innovative business which include agility, differentiation, innovation, speed, pragmatism. To support these traits, he spoke of what VMware is doing via VMware Realize suite of products supporting automation, service catalog, intelligent operations via metrics analytics etc.

After this for next three sessions till end of the day, I stuck to track#2 which was about supposed to be on security. Not sure how, NetApp Hyper Converged Infrastructure(HCI) related session was schedule here though. I anyways listened to it with amusement. Technology trends are funny sometimes and they go full circle at times. Similar things have happened for non-converged and converged ecosystems, having advocates for both parties. I wondered why NetApp, which is mainly a storage vendor, forayed into HCI market. And I could not find satisfying answer than anything else but Me Too! Anyways, next one this track was one from Palo Alto Networks, which was on NSX integration. I went with little bit of skepticism, as to why would anyone want anything on top of NSX which is so advanced and takes care of almost everything in the terms of modern software defined networking aspects, including security, which is what Palo Alto Networks is about. As things unfolded in the session, the speaker spoke of VM-Series for NSX, which is basically managing advanced security for multiple NSX in the IT landscape, came as a striking point. The last session I attended in the same track was on NSX again, covering some of repeated topics earlier, as to who NSX helps in hybrid and multi-cloud strategy, with a bit of deep-dive.

All in all, the day#1 was OK, more was expected from day#2. This is supposed to technology roadshow by VMware. The crowds were huge, but I did not find more than 3-4 partners showcasing their offerings, wonder why. I will share a note on day#2 as well soon right here, come back and have a check.


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