Change was the operative word as VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger welcomed more than 20,000 makers, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and technologists to Las Vegas for VMworld 2017 US. The jam-packed week was full of surprise announcements and new possibilities. Here are the highlights:
- VMworld opened with a bright bang this year as Danny Bitman, VR artist and filmmaker, took the stage in a VR headset to create VMworld 2017-inspired artwork with Google Tiltbrush. The piece came to life on a giant screen as attendees swarmed into the massive auditorium at Mandalay Bay.
- CEO Pat Gelsinger began the opening keynote by arguing that “tech has left the nest” and is now interwoven with everyday life. The themes of his talk—accelerated change, disruption, our changing perceptions, and the possibilities enabled by technology—carried throughout the conference.
- There were several major announcements around an expanded set of products and services as part of VMware Cloud™ that are available through VMware and partners. All center around VMware’s mission to help enterprises succeed in the multi-cloud era.
- In other highly-anticipated cloud news, Gelsinger was joined on the main stage by Andy Jassy, CEO ofAmazon Web Services (AWS), to announce the immediate availability of VMware Cloud on AWS™, what Gelsinger called “the ultimate hybrid solution.”
- Cybersecurity also got its moment in the spotlight with the announcement of VMware AppDefense™, a new solution that promises to be a security game-changer.
- Alternating with Gelsinger on the main stage, Sanjay Poonen sat down with customers, interviewing leaders from Capital One, Medtronic, Sysco, and the American Red Cross. All shared their positive experiences working with VMware teams and products.
- New to VMworld this year were a series of four Showcase Keynotes, designed to share VMware innovations and solutions across business-critical topics. Sumit Dhawan and Shawn Bass led the first showcase keynote, Delivering New User Experiences With Digital Workspaces, which introduced new digital workspace innovations.
- The first day was also shadowed by the tragic events in and around Houston, Texas, and calls to donate were present throughout the conference. For those who want to help, please visit the VMware Foundation Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief page to learn more.
- Gelsinger opened the Day 2 general session along with Michael Dell to answer attendee questions from themain stage. Topics included the future of technology, commitment to an open ecosystem, and new synergies with the Dell Technologies family of companies.
- The session also featured the unveiling of VMware Pivotal Container Service™ (PKS), a collaboration among VMware, Pivotal, and Google Cloud. The companies say this will address the industry’s need for a flexible container option that functions both on-premises and in the cloud.
- In a novel take-off on the traditional demo, Ray O’Farrell, Chris Wolf, and Purnima Padmanabhan ofVMware took the stage and worked through real-life business challenges with a fictitious pizza company. Demonstrations showcased VMware products and solutions in a variety of scenarios, including a data breach, disruptive competitors, and changing customer expectations.
- The afternoon featured three showcase keynotes, hosted by a number of VMware executives, focused on transforming networking and security for the digital era, simplifying and accelerating a multi-cloud strategy, and transforming the data center to deliver any application on any platform.
The third day of VMworld is when many attendees dig deeper into specific tech and business issues addressed at the show.
- The Hands-On Labs, always a popular destination, offer attendees free opportunities to take online tutorials, try out VMware technologies, and connect with VMware experts. This year, attendees completed more than 6,400 modules and created more than 64,000 virtual machines.
- Others at VMworld prefer to dig into specific challenges featured in the numerous break-out sessions. Popular sessions this year included A Deep Dive into vSphere 6.5 Core Storage Features and Functionality and VMware Cloud on AWS—The Painless Path to Hybrid Cloud.
- The third day also featured a smaller, invitation-only event called future:net, which brought together a cadreof networking experts to discuss the future of networking. Forward-looking ideas, such as intent-based networking, animated a discussion around a field that is changing quickly and dramatically.
The last major day of VMworld, which traditionally highlights innovation, featured an inspiring keynote from three individuals using technology to positively impact human health: Hugh Herr of the MIT Media Lab, Rana el Kaliouby of the University of Cambridge, and Peter Weinstock of Boston Children’s Hospital.
VMworld 2017 Las Vegas by the Numbers
- 20K+ total attendees
- 4,000 + VMUG members
- 6,000 + partners
- 230 + exhibitors
- Over 80 countries
- Over 800 sessions
- 830 speakers
- 200+ customer appearances on stage and in breakout sessions
- Almost 6,500 Hands-on Labs completed
- Pat Gelsinger interviewed by CNBC and Bloomberg TV
Watch the highlights of VMworld 2017 US below, and tune in for coverage of VMworld Europe, in Barcelona (Sept. 11-14).