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Category Archives: Events

VMworld Barcelona Session TAM1657 – What’s Next for vRealize Automation



By Adam Eckerle

This morning we were able to announce vRealize Automation 7.0 during the opening keynote of VMworld Europe. It is an exciting release and is packed full of new features. TAM customers received an exclusive deep dive into this new release from Naomi Sullivan, Group Product Line Manager, and Becky Smith, Senior Product Line Manager.

You can find more information about these new features and functionality on the official vRealize Automation blog. The highlights include:

  • Simplified configuration process
  • Unified service blueprint and design canvas
  • NSX integration
  • Blueprints as code
  • Improved extensibility

Becky and Naomi started out the session by taking customers through the upgrade paths while being open and transparent about when to upgrade vs. re-deploy and migrate. There were quite a few questions from customers regarding the upgrade process which led to a fruitful discussion for both attendees and the VMware product team. Becky and Naomi also showed a demo of the simplified deployment which really shows how quickly customers can deploy vRealize Automation (vRA). It really is simple!

We also saw demonstrations of the new unified blueprint canvas and deployed a multi-tier app complete with NSX micro-segmentation to show off the new capabilities. Next we took a look at the new VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) integration and customers really responded well to the capabilities shown. Becky and Naomi polled the audience several times to get a feel for how customers were deploying our products and many of the attendees indicated that they had both vRA and NSX in production which led to really great questions from the customers.

The session wrapped up by spending some time discussing and demonstrating what is possible with the improved extensibility features. If it wasn’t already clear by now, it absolutely showed the focus of improving usability in this 7.0 release. The customers shared some really great use cases after the demonstrations.

This was a really great session which was completely full with about a dozen more standing in the back. As is typically with TAM Customer Central breakout sessions, it was more of a discussion with customers and PMs than it was a presentation. The excitement around vRealize Automation was very clear and customers can’t wait to start planning their upgrades!


Adam is currently a TAM for VMware who works with a small number of large Enterprise & Government customers as a consultant within the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO). Adam provides technical guidance and advocacy to his customers and provides customers access to exclusive content, access to road maps & product managers, as well as being the single point of contact for everything VMware-related. He currently holds VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DTD, EMCISA, and several Cisco Data Center Specialist certifications. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

VMworld US 2015 Wrap-Up


By Adam Eckerle

What an amazing week! VMworld is now officially behind us, and we wish everyone safe travels back to wherever you call home. As the dust is settling, let’s reflect on some of the key takeaways from this year’s event.

First, we should all have a clear understanding of the VMware vision – One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device. With VMware’s Unified Hybrid Cloud strategy the focus is clearly on bringing private and public clouds together in a single, seamless entity that is the future of how applications are delivered. This vision is extended by the Cloud-Native Apps toolset including VMware vSphere Integrated Containers and VMware Photon Platform. We also saw the official release of EVO SDDC (formerly EVO:RACK), which will accelerate our customers’ ability to deliver a true hybrid cloud based on the VMware Software Defined Data Center model.

The other narrative being established is that VMware is not just about virtual machines. VMware is providing thought leadership and innovation to the industry as these next-generation technologies mature and go to market. Customers want options and VMware is keen to provide those options while also using its lineage and support to create palatable products for enterprise-class customers. But VMware has not forgotten about the other end of the spectrum as it introduced the Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.1 release. Among the many new features comes support for two-node clusters for SMB and ROBO applications.

As VMworld has entered into its 12th year, one might say that some of its luster is gone. But if you look at the anticipation, attendance and continually vibrant ecosystem of partners, competitors and customers, it is clear that VMworld remains one of the marquee events in our industry. Next year the event will be held in Las Vegas to the delight of many attendees who have enjoyed San Francisco the past few years but are looking for a change of scenery for 2016.

Also, we can take a look at TAM-specific events that took place throughout the week to see excitement levels and engagements were at an all-time high. TAM Day was the largest yet, and customers continually tell us that TAM Day is the single most valuable day of the VMworld event. But TAM Customer Central was not to be dismissed; product managers and engineers were trying to get added to the agenda even after the event had started. This illustrates the incredible importance of TAM customer interactions, not only to customers, but also to VMware. Customer feedback is invaluable and TAM customers really are partners who shape the products!

Our first NSX TAM booth at TAM Customer Central was well received despite the fact that it was not directly or heavily promoted. Nevertheless, we did conduct in-depth NSX discussions with six customers who were quite valuable. We had planned for 30-minute discussions; however, most went on for at least an hour due to customer interest and engagement. The process enabled us to collect NSX Readiness Assessment input and then have an immediate discussion with the customer about the findings. The team was able to have very focused conversations around NSX and network virtualization challenges, and highlight the expertise the NSX TAM service can deliver. The customer was also provided a copy of the analysis delivered to their email while the analysis was underway.

Finally, there were quite a few TAMs who presented sessions and also provided blogs, analysis, and plain old great customer service during the event. Many TAMs stayed right with their customers – abusing their pedometers while still maintaining a high level of energy! It’s easy to see that TAMs love their job and customers, and are outstanding thought leaders and strategic resources.

In summary, VMworld was a stage where the traditional vSphere announcements were overshadowed by Cloud-Native Apps and the One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device mantra. The market has been changing, and VMware is showing that it is working hard to adapt itself while staying true to its core and customers. We’ll see some additional announcements in about a month’s time as VMworld heads to Barcelona in October. But for now we all get to take a breath and reflect on the value that these recent announcements can add to our own organization.


Adam is currently a TAM for VMware who works with a small number of large Enterprise & Government customers as a consultant within the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO). Adam provides technical guidance and advocacy to his customers and provides customers access to exclusive content, access to road maps & product managers, as well as being the single point of contact for everything VMware-related. He currently holds VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DTD, EMCISA, and several Cisco Data Center Specialist certifications. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

VMworld 2015: Day 3 –TAM Customer Central Sessions

It’s tough to believe that VMworld US 2015 has nearly come to a close. Tonight, we’ll celebrate our experience with our customers at AT&T Park during the Customer Appreciation Event. Throughout the conference, we’ve had some great sessions and Wednesday was no exception. Today we heard from experts regarding the newly announced EVO SDDC solution, as well as discussed current and future options for vCenter High Availability.

EVO SDDC Best Practices

Presented by Anil Kapur, EVO SDDC Product Management and Jason Lochhead, EVO SDDC CTO, this session focused on the processes and automated best practice configurations that are built into EVO SDDC. Anil presented to a small, but very engaged group, and collected feedback from the audience throughout the presentation that will be used to prioritize the next round of automated services.

Anil highlighted the major challenges for customers implementing SDDC as the up-front setup, the bring-up and lifecycle management. The problem is that configuring a workload domain is non-trivial and complex, and that’s where EVO automation comes in. EVO SDDC is designed to work with EVO Racks, and automates the more common and time-consuming configuration activities. During the session, he showed a demo illustrating the process for creating an IaaS workload domain. The current built-in best practices handles IaaS, Big Data and VDI workload domain configurations.

Utilizing the EVO SDDC Manager UI, Anil was able to quickly define the availability, performance and security requirements from a list of dropdown parameters. These parameters, in turn, select, acquire and deploy the correct resources to meet the defined requirements automatically. Policies are then set automatically from the standard choices. For example, availability can be configured from simple requirements like Low redundancy, Normal redundancy and two levels of High redundancy. Behind the scenes, the automation allocates, configures and enables the appropriate resources to meet these availability requirements.

Anil also went through scenarios showing examples for a typical EVO Rack configuration and how to scale out the workload domains.

It appears the first workload domain automated best practices were right on the mark, as a poll of the attendees revealed that IaaS and SQL configurations were identified as the first and second most time intensive tasks, respectively.

Anil asked for suggestions from the audience about what other tasks they would consider their next challenges on SDDC. The number one response was Internet App Logic workloads, and overwhelmingly, the audience agreed that the ability to standardize and maintain consistent workload builds was the most important to them.

Keep EVO SDDC on your radar! More best practices for automation to standardize and save time are on the way!

vCenter High Availability

Madhup Gulati, VMware Product Manager for vCenter, discussed the current toolset and options for providing High Availability to vCenter in vSphere 6. There were quite a few interesting exchanges between Madhup and the audience regarding who was comfortable with the current options and who wanted better tools and capabilities. This initial discussion also showed that very few customers are using Oracle as the external database for vCenter, and also that quite a few customers are at least testing the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA). In general, however, customers agreed that they wanted more capabilities to protect their vCenters.

Throughout the session we also discussed High Availability, specifically for the Platform Services Controller (PSC). The PSC is a critical component because it contains the Single Sign On (SSO) feature. Therefore, if there is a PSC failure, user and solution authentication will not be possible creating substantial usability issues within vSphere. Madhup reviewed PSC replication capabilities and the high availability topologies included supported load balancers. Finally, he provided a roadmap of what will be coming in future releases, which were very well received.

This session was very interactive and provided many insights into customers’ requirements and challenges as the criticality of vCenter and the Platform Services Controller has steadily increased. The audience learned how to better protect these components in vSphere 6 as well as the exciting new features coming in future releases.

Be sure to follow @VMwareTAM for all of the latest news, tips, and event information!

VMworld 2015: Day 2 –TAM Customer Central Sessions

Everything You Wanted to Know About VMware + Openstack

A TAM Deep Dive session titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About VMware + Openstack” was delivered today to a TAM audience of about 30 attendees. Arvind Soni, VMware Product Line Manager, presented this session to show how aligning the desire for an open vendor-neutral ecosystem combined with VMware’s leading datacenter technology can help IT differentiate and enable deployment. The key message was that VMware is delivering Openstack awareness to its datacenter products to support Openstack innovation while providing a foundation of tools that build on existing operational skills, knowledge and experience.

Arvind posed this common question to the attendees: “What is the best technology to pair with Openstack?” His answer was simply, whatever technology you know best and know how to operate. The biggest benefit of the VMware Integrated Openstack (VIO) is that it provides that Openstack experience on the VMware systems management tools.

Arvind noted that VIO is VMware’s implementation of Openstack which includes the VMware drivers, optimized reference architecture and integrated tools, to drive responsive support for customers using Openstack. By providing a VMware implementation, we can make support issues impacting our customers a priority – something that may not be the priority from the Openstack community. In his response to a question regarding the lag-time between Openstack updates and VIO implementation, Arvind suggested a goal of 5-6 months, depending on the size and scope of changes.

Additionally, Arvind outlined some of the key benefits of VIO 2.0, which simplifies Openstack deployment, integrates SDDC differentiation and features, as well as provides a production-ready, secure and supportable environment.

Finally, Arvind showed a few demos to illustrate the VIO implementation process and the upgrade enhancements being delivered in VIO 2.0.   VIO 2.0 is expected to be generally available by the end of Q3.

HTML5-based ESXi Host Client (TAM6762)

Today, Will Pien, VMware Sr. Product Manager for ESXi, provided our audience an overview of why the HTML5-based ESXi Host Client was being developed. The audience immediately became engaged, and we discussed some of the missing features in the existing fling along with the roadmap into 2016. We also discussed the priorities and development strategies the team is working with in order to better understand some of the tradeoffs that are being dealt with.

While most of the audience hadn’t yet used the ESXi Host Client Fling, Will went into a live demo to show a few of the functionality features such as licensing, host services, and VM functions. The general audience feedback was that the UI was familiar to those who had been using the vSphere Web Client and also intuitive. One of the “crowd favorite” features that is already available, is that any object within the Host Client such as VMs, Datastores, or Performance Charts are able to be bookmarked in the browser. This feature enables a user to go directly to that object without having to navigate through the rest of the Host Client that enhances the operations efficiency of an admin. Customers in attendance were looking forward to the additional functionality that would be forthcoming in updates to the fling.

Will also discussed when the fling would graduate to be a part of the product and everyone was happy on that timeline including the pace of development.

You can find more information on the HTML5-based ESXi Host Client here.

vSphere 6 Web Client and the Future

Dennis Lu, VMware Sr. Product Manager, and Yavor Boychev, VMware Manager R&D joined a packed room in TAM Customer Central this morning to talk about the current state of the vSphere Web Client and some things we will likely see in the future.

With the release of vSphere 6 and the vSphere 6 Web Client, customer feedback has been very favorable.  Of the improvements made in vSphere 6, a few get mentioned more than others.  First, the new Web Client significantly reduced the complexity of the action menus.  We have flattened the menus and grouped similar actions together. This makes the action menus more intuitive and more what customers are used to seeing in the legacy vCenter Client.

Also popular, the UI was tweaked to allow customer to change the layout of the Web Client.  Now, users are able to click on a widget or on a pane and drag it around, allowing you to customize the UI to your preference.  These UI customizations are persistent for the specific client where you make the changes, across sessions.  These are unique for each system, so you can set up your desktop UI differently from your laptop UI for example.

Lastly, in addition to the UI improvements – performance and responsiveness of the vSphere 6 Web Client has greatly improved over past iterations.  In the examples shown on-screen during the session, summary view and action menu response times have improved many times over.

Looking to the future of the vSphere Web Client, there was some really exciting news.  As mentioned earlier, the HTML5 vSphere Host Client for ESXi has been totally rewritten in HTML and JavaScript (no Flash!), and is served directly from the ESXi host.  The look and feel of the future vSphere Web Client will appear very similar to what you are used to seeing today in the current web client but the performance will be greatly improved.  If you are interested in seeing more about the development of the vSphere Web Client, we invite you to visit Dennis Lu‘s unofficial wiki where you can learn more and help shape the future direction of the client.

If you missed this TAM Customer Central session and you’d like to hear more, please attend the following session, presented by Dennis Lu and Yavor Boychev.

vSphere Web Client – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (ID INF5093)

Wednesday September 2nd at 11am, Moscone West Level 2, Rm 2020


Day 1 – VMworld : TAM Day

Customers and Senior VMware Leaders Set the Stage for TAM DAY 2015

TAM Day is an invitation-only event held on the Sunday prior to the VMworld conference. This year Andy Nederveld, Director, Americas TAM Services and Bret Connor, Americas Vice President of Professional Services took the stage to welcome TAM customers, as well as kick off the 11th annual event, the largest to date with over 1,200 registrations. Below are some highlights from the day:

Dedicated TAM Customer Breakfast

The 3rd annual TAM Day VIP breakfast kicked off this year’s VMworld with an enthusiastic audience of 55 from 17 Dedicated TAM customer companies. Although we made an early start to what will be a fast-paced TAM Day, there were several lively discussions around TAM services and ongoing TAM activities.

The breakfast was hosted by Paul Strong, VMware’s CTO, Global Field Services. Paul’s emphasis was on the work his team is doing to connect VMware R&D with our customers, and more specifically, our TAM customers. The mission of his initiative is to drive better customer intimacy through building relationships between engineers and customers who use our products and services.

The keynote speaker, Suzan Pickett, Director Platform Engineering and Operations from Nike, Inc. covered her experiences with technology and organizational transformation at both her former company, Columbia Sportswear, Inc., and her current company, Nike. Her stories highlighted a technology philosophical dichotomy between Columbia which was 100% virtualized and strongly supportive of a virtualization first policy encompassing Windows, SQL and SAP with her new organization whose largest project was to move from a 15 year old outsourced environment to an insourced one.

She extolled the value of Columbia Sportswear’s SRM deployment in facilitating systems movement, high availability and disaster recovery and driving better overall reliability. They were also early adopters of vBlocks, VCE and hybrid clouds.

At Nike, her challenges are centered on supporting the transition from outsourced to insourced. These activities have helped Nike realize faster service delivery, reduced costs, improved agility and flexibility, improved availability and security, predictable purchasing and budgets, financial transparency and improved operational efficiency.

TAM Day Opening Executive Keynote

Ray O’Farrell, VMware CTO and Chief Development Officer

The TAM Day opening keynote was delivered by Ray O’Farrell, VMware’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer. Ray’s presentation highlighted a couple of important industry trends. The first trend, “Creating an Amazing Customer Experience” encompassed Big Data, Systems of Engagement and Mobile Applications. The second trend, “Delivering and Updating Product Continuously”, comprised of Everything As A Service, Agile Development and Open Systems. The challenge for IT organizations is how to deliver to these trends effectively, reliably, consistently and securely.

Through VMware’s philosophy of “One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device”, customers are able to realize an integrated process to deliver on these trends. According to O’Farrell, the current cloud has largely been driven by Lines of Business, which have ultimately resulted in “Silos of IT”. Private clouds have the advantages of providing a secure and compliant environment, but at the expense of applications agility. Public clouds drive faster application development, but can be lacking in security and compliance. The VMware Unified Cloud supported by vCloud Air and SDDC, can span the gap between Private and Public clouds, maximizing the benefits of each while mitigating the weaknesses.

Security is a common challenge across all IT organizations. O’Farrell described the security event lifecycle:

  1. Intrusion – unauthorized accesses and break-ins
  2. Propagation – the spread of the contagion throughout the infrastructure and storage
  3. Extraction – the process of sending purloined information to collectors on the outside
  4. Exfiltration – the process of covering up the intrusion and tracks

O’Farrell noted that 80% of security investment is spent to prevent and detect intrusion, while only 20% is invested in the other security stages, which he asserts may not be the correct mix. The damage caused by the few intrusions that are missed still cause extensive damage and loss. In many cases, new attacks are placing even more priority on exfiltration, as the stolen information retains a higher value the longer its loss is undetected.

He noted that older security models founded on a monolithic security stack needs to evolve into a zero trust model as technology moves from multi-tiered distributed architecture to converged services and converged infrastructure and NSX is a solution that provided the required security granularity while enabling application agility.

Cloud-Native Apps @ VMware

Kit Colbert, VP & CTO Cloud Native Apps

Kit Colbert, VP & CTO Cloud Native Apps, opened the session welcoming the group of customers, stating that the DevOps community was so strategically important to his role at VMware that he was happy to see the volume of people in attendance and the excitement around the cloud native application space.

Kit discussed “the why” of the products. What is driving Cloud Native Apps and DevOps within businesses across the globe? Kit highlighted a business case – where a company is driving brand value by using cloud native apps. A large manufacture of farm equipment has a long history of quality products. Today, the value of those products are changing. No longer is it “just a tractor”, but the value of the product is the data that the tractor can collect: farm yields, soil nutrient levels, environmental variables … all of that data is sent up to the cloud where it is tracked and analyzed. In addition to the hardware that produced, their use of big data, advanced analytics systems and cloud native apps – to help customer drive optimization is the software transformation that is driving product development.

Finally, Kit discussed in detail the VMware Cloud-Native Apps Stack, including some really exciting NDA product announcements that will be detailed tomorrow as VMworld 2015 opens to the general public. It was great sitting in Kit’s session, watching as customers excitedly scribbled down notes about the new product announcements. I am looking forward to seeing these product announcements as the week unfolds.

Carl Eschenbach’s TAM Day Closing Remarks

It’s been a long, but exciting, day and TAM customers have enjoyed some great events. As we wrap up an amazing TAM Day, our President and COO, Carl Eschenbach, took to the stage bringing the energy level back up. Carl focused his message on thanking our great TAM customers and describing the value of the TAM program from his perspective. He also spoke about several key ideas that he predicted TAM Customers would walk away with from TAM Day and VMworld 2015.

First, Carl highlighted the high satisfaction rates and increased successes our TAM Customers have had. He then talked about some of the improvements and ideas that VMware is working on in response to the feedback customers have provided through TAMs. Next, Carl gave a great explanation of the “Ready for Any” VMworld credo and shared his vision with our TAM Customers. Finally, he closed with the message of the vastness and openness of the VMware ecosystem that provides our customers with freedom and choice.

TAM Day has been another great success. If you are interested in hearing more stop by TAM Customer Central this week!