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What's the Buzz? Recap of VMware Partner Exchange

Posted by: Chris Ward
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What's the Buzz? Recap of VMware Partner Exchange

By Chris Ward, CTO, LogicsOne

I am just returning from the VMware Partner Exchange conference (PEX) that was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  While this was a partner, as opposed to a customer, focused event there were a few tidbits I felt made sense to share with you so here we go….

Awards:

GreenPages was given the Virtualization of Business Critical Applications (VBCA) award for the Americas this year, which was a great achievement.  For those of you not aware, the VBCA program inside of VMware is focused on virtualizing the 'big boy' mission critical applications such as Oracle, SQL, SAP, Exchange, etc. that have historically been both technically and politically difficult to virtualize.  In addition, GreenPages was given the same award on a Global scale which was very exciting as it marks the first time that GreenPages has won a global award from any vendor partner!  This also marks the 4th consecutive year that GreenPages has won an award from VMware (2010 – Desktop Virtualization, 2011 – Rainmaker, 2012 – Partner of the Year, and 2013 – Global VBCA). The primary reason we won the VBCA this year was due to several projects which included the virtualization of large applications including a 5500 seat Exchange environment and production databases at a major professional sporting league.

End User Computing Updates:

Horizon Suite v1 will be GA by end of Q1 and will include Workspace, Mirage, and VIEW.

The Workspace product is a combination of what was formally Horizon App Manager and Horizon Data (code name Octopus).  For those that do not know, the App Manager side is meant to be an Enterprise App Store which includes SAML integration to various SaaS applications in addition to being able to launch ThinApp apps and VIEW desktops.  Support for launching XenApp published apps will come shortly after the GA date, figure April/May timeframe.  If you are familiar with Citrix Storefront, this is a very similar concept.  The Data (Octopus) side is one of the 'dropbox for the enterprise' apps.

Mirage will be updated to version 4.0 at GA time.  The key feature in this release is individual application layering.  For this, think Unidesk as the concept is very similar but this solution is really meant for physical devices vs. virtual or VDI, at least for now.  There is no real VIEW integration with Mirage yet, but that is coming.  The hold-up is mainly due to performance issues with running Mirage based workloads in a shared VDI environment.  One more interesting tidbit on Mirage is that the license now also includes Fusion Pro.  The purpose behind this is to lay down a Mirage based image to a Mac for corporate use and being able to maintain control/management of that image in a BYOD environment.

VIEW will be upgraded to v5.2 and key features here are 3D graphics enhancements including compatibility with some of the new Nvidia server based cards to offload hefty graphics and improve performance.  Additionally, HTML5 rendering of the desktops will come with this release.  This is the AppBlast piece that was shown at VMWorld back in 2011.  Keep in mind that HTML5 has some pretty major limitations so in most cases you'll still want to deploy the full VIEW client, but in a pinch if you are on some kiosk type machine where installing a client is not possible, then you'll still be able to get to your desktop and perform basic tasks.  Lastly, scalability is enhanced and will continue to expand with future releases.

VMware also announced official Radware and Riverbed Stingray support and reference architectures for load balancing within a Horizon/VIEW environment.  F5 support has been around for some time already.

vCloud Suite Updates:

This one, I was very disappointed in as I had expected to hear some pretty significant changes to the way the suite is packaged, however this didn't happen and seems to have been tabled for some reason so nothing to announce here :(.

Cloud Credits:

Some of you may have heard of these already, but they are basically 'chips' that a customer purchases through GreenPages which can then be redeemed at any one of VMware's vCloud VSPP service provider partners for public cloud IaaS services.

Virsto Acquisition:

Not much was said about this at the event other than the initial focus and use case will be on VDI acceleration.  Stay tuned for more detail here as I find it.

BC/DR:

Big topic here was vSphere Data Protection Advanced Edition (VDP-A).  Like regular VDP, this is based on the EMC Avamar engine but is more scalable to support larger environments.  It is missing some key features currently such as replication, but VMware is diligently working to add these features throughout this calendar year.

Integration Engineering Meeting:

I had the pleasure of meeting with some folks from this internal VMware team.  I will simply say this single meeting made the entire trip worthwhile.  I learned quite a bit about the team and how it works so I'll give you an overview.  First off, in order to be a member of this team you must have a minimum of 10yrs employment by VMware.  Given that VMware has only been around since the late 90s, that requirement greatly shrinks the potential team members, but trust me when I say the guys on this team know their s**t.  Their primary charter is take the point of view of an external customer along with going out and meeting with actual customers and providing very candid feedback to the various product management teams inside VMW.  I love this team because they are a no bull$hit group of people.  If something sucks, they will say it, likewise if something is stellar they will say that as well.  Unfortunately I cannot share details of what we discussed as the majority of it was future/NDA type material but I think it is awesome that this team exists inside of VMware because they really do help make the products better.  As an example, some of you may be aware of the tool recently made available to make the process of applying SSL Certificates to the various VMware architecture components much easier and it was this team that pushed for the tool and helped get it green lighted.

Ok, that's it for now… Back to work!

 

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