Why Bother With VMworld 2021?

VMworld is VMware’s flagship event, typically attracting 20,000+ people in the US (San Francisco) and 13,000+ in EMEA (Barcelona). As with 2020, VMworld 2021 is virtual and online. The annual conference is in its 18th year, currently focused on accelerating business innovation by delivering and securing modern applications, managing multiple clouds, and seamlessly supporting an anywhere workspace.

This year at VMworld 2021 the content catalogue is a reflection of how fast technology and society have moved as events unfolded over the past 12-18 months. There is an increase in sessions focused on enabling the anywhere workforce with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), as well as break out sessions and customers stories on responding to the global pandemic. Noticeable additions also for sustainable data centres and operating carbon neutral businesses and IT. Modern applications and multi-cloud continue to grow whilst there are a lot of new topics and trends coming out of the security business unit across all of VMware’s solutions. Finally, Raghu Raghuram will lead the VMworld 2021 key note in the first flagship event since Pat Gelsinger made the switch to Intel.

The general pass for the event is completely free, which opens the content up to more people who previously could not get funding or could not take time out to travel. A Tech+ pass is also available for certain sessions. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend VMworld in-person in 2018 as a customer, and 2019 as a partner and speaker. In essence the benefits of VMworld haven’t been taken away. Technical content ranges from levels 100 through to 300 delivered in breakout sessions, panel discussions, meet the expert roundtables, design studios, and tutorials, ensuring there is something for everyone. Expert-led Hands-on-Labs provide sandpit environments for you to test and break with someone on hand when you need assistance. These types of sessions for someone like me who learns ‘doing’ have always been more beneficial than reading a textbook or completing a training course.

The entertainment elements of the event are still there although this time you can bring family along too. Clearly what’s missing are mass social gatherings with peers to build relationships and talk tech over a drink. But there are no hangovers, no hefty bar tab, no sore feet, and no queueing. All in whilst I’m looking forward to VMworld in-person again one day, the virtual event is absolutely worth the effort, for training, certification, and development, for industry announcements on the latest tech, for career progression, and just for taking some time out of meetings and emails! I’ve picked out some of the sessions I’m looking forward to below, you can register now and view the content catalogue at vmworld.com.

Starting with application modernisation, these 3 sessions look like they’ll give a great overview on deploying VMware’s Kubernetes runtime across platforms, first by enabling it in vSphere, and then at the edge with VMware Cloud Foundation. EDG1294 in particular will include a customer story around supporting the Ministry of Health in the midst of a pandemic.

  • Cloud Infrastructure Transformation with VMware Tanzu Basic and Tanzu Standard [APP2454] Technical level 100
  • Deploying VMs and Kubernetes with VMware Cloud Foundation at the Edge [EDG1294] Technical level 100
  • Get Started with vSphere with Tanzu [MCL1648] Technical level 200

Onto security, and I think it’s worth looking at how far NSX has come since the Distributed Firewall, with Network Detection and Response, Distributed IDS/IPS, and Layer 7 firewall capabilities, and another customer example from William Hill. The final session I’ve picked demonstrates the implementation of security guard rails across AWS accounts and Azure subscriptions using CloudHealth Secure State.

  • The Last Line at VMware – The Security AI in Our Pocket [SEC2103] Technical level 200
  • NSX IDS/IPS – Design Studio [UX2555] Design studio
  • Get Connected Rapidly with Airtight Security, Featuring William Hill [SEC2087] Business level 200
  • Detection to Response: Operationalizing Cloud Security Posture Management [SEC1397] Technical level 200

My 3 wildcards now and I’ve gone with the completely unglamorous Oracle and SQL licensing on VMware, because this is actually useful to customers. Project Monterey is certainly worth checking out if you’re interested in data centre hardware and how ESXi will run on SmartNICS. Then finally one of a number of sessions around SASE and SD-WAN, this one though focusing on how both a distributed workforce and distributed systems can be joined together and secured.

  • Licensing Oracle and SQL Server on the VMware Hybrid Cloud [MCL1997] Technical level 200
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Project Monterey [MCL1833] Technical level 200
  • Cloud First: Secure SD-WAN & SASE – Complete & Secure Onramp to Multi-Cloud [EDG2813S] Technical level 200

All of the sessions above are included in the free general pass. I also picked out an additional 4 deep dive sessions that look great but are open to Tech+ pass holders only:

  • Architecting Multi-Cloud Horizon [EUS1547] Technical level 300
  • Azure VMware Solution: Deployment Deep Dive [MCL2036] Technical level 300
  • Detecting and Preventing Threats with NSX Advanced Threat Prevention [SEC2208] Technical level 300
  • Using Contextual Search and the MITRE ATT&CK Framework to improve Public Cloud Security [SEC1518] Technical level 300

In summary, for VMware customers or anybody interested in the industry, this is a great opportunity for technical teams to get up to speed on the latest technology innovations, and capabilities of solutions they either already manage or are looking to deploy. If you’re working towards being VMware certified then this really is a no-brainer! There are over 800 sessions listed in the content catalogue as it stands and expect more entertainment sessions to be added over the coming weeks.

VMworld Online 2021

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