I’m excited for VMworld 2021 and this is why!

While I’m writing this, It’s the final week of August, which meant that I normally would be attending VMworld 2021 in the US. Although it’s going to be another virtual edition this year, my week (like last week) was still mainly focused on VMworld. I got 4 sessions in the content catalog, which means that a lot of slides, demos, stories, etc needed to be created, rehearsed, and recorded before the attendees of the world’s biggest virtualization event can watch them. Although it’s a virtual edition, I’m still excited about the event and in this post I’d like to explain why.

Set your mind to it!

VMworld to me is always one of the highlights of the year (both professionally and personally), not just to present and attend sessions, but also because of the VMware community, meet-ups with friends and customers, and the general atmosphere of such an event. It’s very hard to capture the same vibe in a virtual event, but if you set your mind to it and keep your schedule clear from other responsibilities, it might be a fun week as well. That’s what I have planned. I’m blocking three days to attend sessions, jump on viewing parties for the keynotes, and still try to meet up with people of the VMware community as well. I would surely recommend to subscribe to the ITQ YouTube channel, because we have something really awesome lined up during the week of VMworld!

Favorite sessions

There are already a lot of blog posts out there with sessions that people look forward to. I think that most of those posts are really interesting because they give me inspiration to fill my own agenda with topics I didn’t really think of when making a first selection. I won’t be covering those sessions, but I will share my own sessions first and my personal favourites as well.

VDI Nerdfest 2021: Demos That Make Admins Drool [EUS1289]

Abstract

A VDIscover Experience session. At VMworld 2020, Johan Van Amersfoort presented The Nerdfest VDI Demo which blew the audience away because of the great demos which involved Horizon, Bitfusion, GPUs, ML, etc. The Nerdfest VDI Demo was an enormous success and deserves a 2021 edition. For The Nerdfest EUC Demo, Johan has teamed up with mobility expert Jon Towles to bring you a next-level, demo-packed session that will combine the slick Day 0/1 onboarding experience, with some custom-built Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub Virtual Assistant (AVA) workflows, and integration into VMware Horizon for modern managed, full clone desktops. This session promises to show you a mix of real-life use cases and some serious “Art of the Possible”.

My take

This might be the session I am most excited about. Because the 2020 edition was such a success, I wanted to step up and offer the audience 25 minutes of pure awesomeness. EUC is more than just VDI, which meant I wanted to include as much of the innovative VMware Workspace ONE stack as possible. In my opinion, there was only one person in the world to reach out to, who has a shared passion for VMware EUC, but from a Workspace ONE perspective, and that was Jon Towles, aka Mobile-Jon. We created a story you will surely enjoy with some face melting demos! This session is a simulive session, which means that it will be broadcasted at fixed times, in all different geos.


Nerd Tours: A Tech Deep Dive of the VDI NerdFest 2021 Extravaganza [EUS3107]

Abstract

Have you ever attended a session and were left asking “What are they using there?” For the first time ever, Master Jedi Obi-Jon Kenobi and the Elusive Rapscallion Jo-Han Solo are going to share their secrets with you! In session EUS1289, they have amazing demos that bring so many technologies together to deliver an amazing experience. Now, our EUC heroes will team up and take you for an exclusive backstage tour of their VDI NerdFest 2021 Extravaganza! Come watch how you can build Day 0 onboarding in the real-world while integrating it with your backend systems like Workday, Service-Now, and more. But wait there’s more!!! You will see how you can tightly integrate VMware Horizon, Project VXR for Virtual Reality, and so much more. Buckle your seatbelts and grab some snacks because this is going to be a bumpy ride!

My take

Showing face melting demos is quite doable in 25 minutes. But, we wanted to show you how we built them as well. This is why we are taking you on a Nerd Tour. Put on your seat belts and enjoy a 60-minute on-demand breakout session to learn how you can become a demo jedi yourself!


Blasting your way into the Extreme with VMware Horizon [EUS1834]

Abstract

Ever wondered where the “Extreme” bit from Blast Extreme is referring to? In this session, seeing is believing. You will witness VMware Horizon hosting insanely intensive workloads, from cloud gaming and immersive VR training to movie making and warfighting simulation. We will show what it takes to extend VMware Horizon beyond your typical VDI use cases and into the realms of media production, gaming, simulation, training and more. You will also learn how customers are utilising VMware Horizon, Blast Extreme and more to deliver next generation services during a global pandemic. Oh, and did we mention that we will show you some demos which will blow you away? This is a must-see session for any EUC enthusiast!

My take

Matt, Spencer, and myself regularly talk about some of the weirdest use cases we’ve seen running smoothly on a Horizon-powered virtual desktop. Especially when I was busy writing my second book. Now, earlier this year we had an idea to maybe show the audience some of these use cases so they can actually see how extreme use case can perform with VMware Horizon, Blast Extreme, and NVIDIA vGPU. Although the session wasn’t selected at first, we won a VMworld People’s Choice Award and the session got to the content catalog 🙂


Multi-Cloud VDI Beyond the Reference Architecture: Field-Tested Practices [EUS1961]

Abstract

A VDIscover experience session. The public cloud, especially a VMware-based public cloud service, is an ideal place to run virtual desktops and published application workloads. But deploying an end-user computing solution into a hybrid or multi-cloud scenario adds new considerations and complications that impact user experience. In this session, VMware End-User Computing technologists Sean Massey and Dan Berkowitz will join with leading community members to discuss the key considerations and field-tested practices for delivering a good user experience in hybrid or multi-cloud VDI environments.

My take

This is another simulive session where we will discuss some of the gotcha’s of multi-cloud VDI migrations. It was a lot of fun recording a session with these EUC legends 🙂


The EUC session I really look forward to!

These are a couple of sessions I really look forward to as well. From an EUC perspective, there are two main tracks you want to surely check out. The first is the VDIscover track. It contains mainly sessions that will dive into Horizon with its integrations to other solutions. The other track is the DeskCon track. These sessions will focus on Workspace ONE with its integrations to other solutions. Both tracks are kickstarted by the solutions keynotes, presented by Shawn Bass.

Solution Keynote Part 1: Vision and Announcements [EUS2470]

Abstract

Building on the Anywhere Workspace keynote, Shawn Bass, CTO for VMware EUC, will go in-depth on the vision and announcements for VMware Workspace ONE and Horizon. Part 1 cover the critical relationship between employee experience and zero trust security, as well as the role of automation. For anyone involved in EUC, this is an essential session! This also serves as the start of our DeskCon track.

My take

I will say just this.:

Shawn Bass + Vision + Announcements = a must-see


Solution Keynote Part 2: Technical Deep Dives on SASE and Horizon [EUS2467]

Abstract

The EUC Solution keynote continues with a deep dive into two important topics. First, Shawn Bass will talk about VMware SASE, VMware Secure Access, and what they mean for end-user computing strategies in a world of distributed work. Next, we will take look at what’s new in Horizon, and a deep dive into what’s coming next. These are sure to be crowd-pleasing topics for EUC and VDI pros! This session also serves as the start of our VDIscover track.

My take

Again: Shawn Bass. But this time with technical deep dives. Another must-attend session.


Freestyle Orchestrator

It’s my new favorite tool in Workpace ONE UEM. It enables you to use runbooks to customize modern managed desktops, virtual desktops and base images. Instead of focusing on a single session only, I would suggest you look for all sessions from “Brian Link” (who is the Senio Director for this solution):

  • Don’t Sweat. Automate: Automating Task Sequencing for Savvy Win Admins [EUS2097]
  • Freestyle Orchestrator [EUS2634]
  • Freestyle Orchestrator: Top 5 Use Cases You Didn’t Think Were Possible [EUS2163]

Zero Trust essentials at VMworld 2021

VMware has a strong focus on Zero Trust and maybe even part of just a handful companies who offer a solution (The Anywhere Workspace) which can help bringing Zero Trust to an enterprise with one of the most important aspects: employee experience. There are a couple of sessions related to Zero Trust, which I look forward to.

Solution Keynote: The Future of Hybrid Work Made Possible Today – VMware Anywhere Workspace [VI3130]

Abstract

Supporting secure, productive workspaces for our employees working anywhere has become a necessity. But, easier said than done as customers struggle with perimeter-based security and management constructs. Join Shankar Iyer as he brings to reality VMware Anywhere Workspace – an integrated solution featuring cloud-native endpoint management, endpoint protection, and SASE technologies. You will learn how Anywhere Workspace empowers your distributed workforce with secure, frictionless experiences; and your IT teams with the power of ruthless automation.

My take

In may 2021, the Anywhere Workspace was announced with the primary goal to bring Zero Trust to customers. Zero Trust with employee experience as key aspect. I’m interested to hear what new features and innovations will be announced during this keynote.


A Practical Guide to Implementing Zero Trust [SEC1028]

Abstract

What is Zero Trust, and how can you get started? A new model of working from anywhere on any device requires a new model of network security. Zero Trust, born from the concept of “never trust, always verify,” assumes that no device, person, network or packet can be trusted, and builds access privileges from there. Zero Trust network access moves from a network-centric security process to an identity- and context-based security approach. These modern concepts help leverage the security and benefits of a cloud-hosted solution, while easing IT deployment and maintenance of costly remote access services. In this session, we will take a practical approach on how to start on your Zero Trust journey using VMware Secure Access.

My take

Zero Trust isn’t a product or feature. It’s a strategy you can implement in your own organization, but in many different ways. I’m interested in this session by Peter Björk because he will explain what VMware’s approach is behind this security strategy.


Continuous Authentication with Workspace ONE Makes Zero Trust a Reality [SEC3213]

Abstract

Join this session to hear about our latest strides we have taken to make Zero Trust more real than ever. True Zero Trust requires the ability to continuously verify threat and to enforce policies and restrictions in response to it. VMware’s breadth of capabilities gives us the unique ability to do this seamlessly and effectively.

My take

I’ve seen this in beta a while ago and am really interested to see and hear how it has developed. Peter Björk is also one of my favorite presenters at VMworld.


A Practical Approach for End-to-End Zero Trust [SEC2733]

Abstract

Digital transformations around app modernization, multi-cloud infrastructure, and remote users has accelerated the need to move away from perimeter-only security to a more distributed security with tighter access controls to resources. Zero trust approach aims to address the security challenges but can seem complex – from where to start and what’s in scope. In this session, we will discuss specific capabilities that will enable you to achieve a zero trust architecture that’s aligned to the NIST guidance and covers secure access for users as well secure access to workloads. 

My take

Three VMware CTOs explaining how they collaborate on bringing security to customers. I’m not expecting a tech deep dive, but rather some insights into the Intrinsic Security strategy.


Secure End-User Computing Part 1 – VMware Workspace ONE and VMware Carbon Black [SEC2651]

Abstract

This session will take you through technical use cases and a demo on securing Horizon VDI and RDSH by integrating VMware Security technologies used to automate quarantine and remediation to protect your VDI endpoints. Enable end-to-end Zero Trust across any device, application or location in your environment by leveraging Horizon and VMware Security. Gain a better understanding of how to instrument your security and IT teams for hardening, prevention, detection and response.

My take

Zero Trust in EUC doesn’t just mean you focus on applying security measures at the front door. As an EUC solution has multiple layers, it’s important to add security measures to the individual layers, integrate them, and bring the best user experience from a security perspective. This session does that. It’s the first part of two sessions focussing on delivering zero trust in the different aspects of EUC.


Secure End-User Computing Part 2 – VMware Horizon, NSX, and Carbon Black [SEC2653]

Abstract

Learn how VMware Carbon Black uniquely overcomes the challenges facing your security when securing VDI. Join us for an end-to-end demo of the Horizon & Carbon Black integration and receive a sneak preview on future functionality to take the experience to the next level.

My take

Part two of those EUC sessions focusing on security!


Other sessions I would surely check out

Next to EUC, I have a strong focus on AI and helping customers to run their data science workloads on top of the VMware technology stack. A lot is happening in this space, which is perfectly reflected in the content catalog at VMworld 2021. These are a couple of sessions I am surely going to check out:

Tanzu and NVIDIA AI deliver AI-Ready Enterprise Platform [APP2170]

Abstract

As enterprises modernize their data centers to power AI-driven applications, VMware and NVIDIA have partnered together to deliver an AI-Ready Enterprise platform. In this session, we will discuss how Tanzu Kubernetes Grid now supports GPUs and NVIDIA networking, the new features in VMware vSphere with Tanzu that enable enterprises to easily perform and integrate AI workloads into their existing data center deployments, and finally how to operate the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite. Attendees will learn how to leverage Tanzu Kubernetes Grid with the GPU and Network Operators from NVIDIA to create a multi-cloud GPU-enabled platform, and see examples of the AI Enterprise frameworks that can be deployed on top of these clusters to run workloads.

My take

NVIDIA AI Enterprise got announced in the end of August 2021. I’ve been working closely with both VMware and NVIDIA on bringing AI to our customers since 2018. Where these deployments were quite challenging at first, it has evolved to something streamlined, integrated, manageable, and seriously enterprise-ready.


Got GPUs? Learn How to Set Up Self-Service Access for AI/ML [VI2222]

Abstract

As enterprises increasingly adopt AI, there is a growing need for IT admins to manage GPUs for data science workloads. These GPU resources need to be dynamic, easily provisioned, and made available to data scientists via self-service. VMware, Dell Technologies and NVIDIA are jointly crafting solutions that deploy AI apps in a multi-cloud environment. In this session, see how NVIDIA GPU resources with multi-instance GPU (MIG) can be configured and provisioned with VMware vRealize Automation, enabling private and multi-cloud environments to use a common virtualization platform. We will demonstrate how IT admins can integrate vRealize Automation Cloud with NVIDIA NGC resources, allowing data scientists to deploy enterprise-grade containers, pre-trained models, and ML SDKs on rightsized GPU resources through a curated self-service catalog.

My take

Delivering self-service to data science teams is essential to shorten the time needed to analyze data. Together with my colleague Christiaan Roeleveld, we’ve built a similar solution for a customer, but I’m keen to see what others have done to solving some of the challenges with vRA, GPUs, and NGC containers.


10 Things You Need to Know About Project Monterey [MCL1833]

Abstract

Project Monterey was announced in the VMworld 2020 keynote. There has been tremendous work done since then. This session details how Project Monterey and SmartNICs will redefine the data center with decoupled control and data planes for management, networking, storage and security—for VMware ESXi hosts and for bare-metal systems. We will discuss 10 things you need to know about Project Monterey to help accelerate your business. Find out how it helps to increase performance, security and manageability for the entire spectrum of VMware vSphere and bare-metal infrastructure management. We will cover and demo the overall architecture and use cases.

My take

Project Monterey is going to be a game changer in terms of the concept of consuming hardware resources, sharing them, and offloading certain tasks to them. The partnership between VMware and NVIDIA (among others like Intel), enable for new use cases, especially for AI workloads. I’ll probably watch multiple sessions about Monterey, but will start with this one.


60 Minutes of Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) 3rd Edition [MCL1853]

Abstract

Although we enrich the stack with multiple layers of abstraction, obtaining consistent performance boils down to understanding the fundamentals. This requires the admin and the architect to focus on individual host components again. In this session, we dive into the impact the Multi-chip Module (MCM) has on scheduler behavior and workload sizing. Learn the underlying configuration of a virtual machine and discover the connection between the General-Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) and the NUMA node. Determine how the cores-per-socket impact a virtual NUMA configuration. We will look at the impact of heterogeneous clusters on workload performance and how you can detect faux-wide virtual machine configurations. You will understand how your knowledge of NUMA concepts in your cluster can help the developer by aligning the Kubernetes nodes to the physical infrastructure with the help of VM Service.

My take

Data science apps generally require a shit ton of resources. As computational resources have innovated a lot in the past year (new AMD CPUs, new Intel CPUs, new GPU types, new GPU sharing methods), I’m interested to see how these innovations impact the performance a sizing. Frank is my go-to guy for these topics, so a sure-to-attend session.


VMware vSAN – Dynamic Volumes for Traditional and Modern Applications [MCL1084]

Abstract

In this session, Duncan and Cormac will explore the possibilities of using VMware vSAN for traditional virtual machine applications as well as new modern/containerized applications. They will look at how vSAN continues to evolve and at some of the more recent features. In particular, they will discuss vSAN File Service, which can now be used to deliver both NFS and SMB file shares, while continuing to offer block storage at the same time. They will also demonstrate how vSAN File Service integrates with the VMware vSphere container storage interface (CSI) in Kubernetes to dynamically provision read-write-many volumes for Pods that need shared storage. The session will incorporate some common how-tos, best practices, and gotchas to avoid to enable you with the smoothest experience possible with vSAN File Service.

My take

I’ve worked a lot with VMware Tanzu and NVIDIA AI Enterprise in the past year, and look forward to see how storage can be optimized for containerized data science applications.


Solution Keynote: What’s Next? A Look inside VMware’s Innovation Engine [VI3091]

Abstract

In this keynote, you’ll learn about what’s on the horizon from VMware’s innovation engine, with intriguing technical demos in emerging technology areas inclusive of edge computing, security, machine learning and more! New technology reveals have long been a staple of the VMworld CTO keynote. You won’t want to miss this session!

My take

This was one of my favorite sessions of 2020. It gives you a great insight into the future of VMware’s technology stack.

Johan van Amersfoort

Johan van Amersfoort

Johan van Amersfoort is a VCDX-DTM, VMware EUC Champion, vExpert, and NVIDIA NGCA member, working as a Technical Marketing Architect and EUC Geek at ITQ Consultancy. He is the author of the VDI Design Guide. More about Johan can be found on the about page.