Analyst Learnings From VMworld 2020

By Patrick Moorhead - October 22, 2020

VMworld, VMware's annual customer conference, happened virtually from September 29th to October 1st, 2020.

It has been a busy year for VMware. The strategy to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to help customers modernize applications and infrastructure led to a successful first fiscal quarter 2021 ended May 1st, despite the coronavirus pandemic, with revenue up 12 percent year over year to $2.73 billion.

VMware has been rapidly adding new capabilities to its flagship products, stemming from a slew of new technology acquired over the past 18 months from Carbon Black, Pivotal Software, Veriflow, Bitfusion, Avi Networks, Octarine, and Bitnami.

In a previous article, I discussed why VMware is well-positioned to lead in the cloud-native space. Building on the company's footprint in enterprise IT, VMware delivered enhancements to VMware Cloud Foundation, vRealize, and vSphere as well as the launch of a new Kubernetes portfolio, Tanzu.

On the security front, which I recently noted was one of the company's best-kept secrets, VMware is tightly integrating security into every product, a strategy it dubs as intrinsic security. Early in the year, we saw VMware Cloud Foundation updated to include new security capabilities from Carbon Black and NSX.

With that backdrop, I was curious to see whether VMware could continue the strong momentum with VMworld 2020 announcements.

VMworld 2020

VMware and NVIDIA partner to bring AI to every enterpriseVMware and NVIDIA today announced a broad partnership to accelerate AI adoption. Enterprises will extend existing infrastructures for AI, manage all applications with a single set of operations, and deploy AI-ready infrastructure across the data center, cloud, and edge.

Through this collaboration, AI software on the NVIDIA NGC hub will integrate into VMware vSphere, VMware Cloud Foundation, and VMware Tanzu.

Azure VMware Solution commercially available

In May, Microsoft previewed Azure VMware Solution, and now it is available.

With the Azure VMware Solution, organizations benefit from the cost savings of Azure Hybrid Benefit, integration with Microsoft Office 365, and other native Azure services, as well as Azure console integration.

There is now a production VMware footprint in every public cloud: AWS, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Azure. 

Project Monterey

VMware announced Project Monterey, an initiative that aims to enhance the performance and reliability of next-generation technology.

The initiative is centered around three use cases:

  • Support SmartNIC technology (also referred to as data processing units or DPUs), a new architectural component that offloads processing tasks that the server CPU would generally handle. 
  • Rearchitect VMware Cloud Foundation to enable disaggregation of the server, including extending support for bare metal servers. An application running on one physical server can consume hardware accelerator resources such as FPGAs from other physical servers.
  • SmartNICs capable of running a fully-featured stateful firewall and advanced security suite. Since this will run in the NIC and not in the host, up to thousands of tiny firewalls will be deployed and automatically tuned to protect specific services that make up the application, wrapping each service with intelligent defenses can shield any vulnerability of that particular service.

VMware will collaborate with Intel, NVIDIA, Pensando, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Lenovo as part of this project.

Intrinsic security architected into everything  

VMware unveiled VMware Carbon Black Cloud Workload, a new security solution designed to reduce cyberattacks and strengthen overall security posture.

The solution uses agentless security that alleviates installation and management overhead and consolidates telemetry collection for multiple workload security use cases. Security and infrastructure teams can automatically secure new and existing workloads at every point in the security lifecycle while simplifying operations and consolidating the IT and security stack.

VMware announced its intent to acquire SaltStack  

Once closed, SaltStack will allow VMware to deliver full-stack automation from infrastructure to applications with the ability to do software configuration inside VMs and containers.  SaltStack’s cross-cloud orchestration and advanced configuration management technologies to allow for more seamless cloud migration and onboarding experience for VMware customers.

Wrapping up

VMware has tremendous momentum. There were several important takeaways for me. 

First, VMware has built strong strategic cloud partnerships with AWS, IBM, and now Microsoft to drive market adoption for its cloud, networking, end-user computing, and security solutions.

Second, I support VMware's Intrinsic security strategy. I think its holistic approach is right in line with its often-stated overall goal as a company: to enable customers to build, run, manage, connect, and protect any application, on any cloud, on any device.

VMware is well aligned to the multi-cloud, hybrid cloud future. As customers deal with the pandemic and the resulting new normal, I expect some acceleration of cloud transformational activities. VMware's ability to be private, public or hybrid is a powerful value proposition to help customers transition to the cloud quickly.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.

+ posts

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.