Why We’re Excited for VMworld 2019

VMWorld 2019

VMworld is the marquee VMware event of the year.

The conference showcases the technology and solutions providers that are transforming the IT landscape. From mobility and the cloud to networking and security – VMworld offers a glimpse of what’s happening in IT now – and what’s coming next.

The annual US conference kicks off in San Francisco on August 25 and Softchoice has a team of VMware experts attending. We asked a few of them to share what’s got them most excited about this year’s event.

Here’s what they had to say…

Scott Mathewson, Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Practice Lead

There are a lot of exciting announcements coming from VMware this year.

I’m especially curious to see what’s new and upcoming as it relates to VMware’s SDN strategy and roadmaps, especially NSX.  Being able to automate network provisioning and have network and security settings wrapped around applications provides efficient, error-free provisioning with “set-once” security policies. This means that IT can reduce the time and effort needed to provision new workloads or move applications to the cloud.

New versions of VMware NSX will also allow for greater flexibility in software-defined network (SDN) configuration for high availability and backup across multiple clouds. NSX services, firewalls, routers and load balancers will now be consumable in the cloud as a service. The on-prem and cloud versions of NSX come together and provide the ultimate options for a customer when it comes to networking and security. Businesses can now choose the networking and security services that are critical to the business – whether they are in the cloud or on-prem.

Meanwhile, VMware Cloud on AWS is growing. New features like Elastic Block Storage (EBS) integrated into VSAN and Relational Database Support (RDS) native to the virtual machine enable much greater application flexibility.  Customers can now truly take advantage of software services to modernize business applications. They can also reduce costs and increase performance and agility for business applications. VMC on AWS has a robust global scale. And it’s the only solution that allows companies to get the cloud within hours instead of months and years by having the ability to immediately drag and drop applications with VMware from on-prem to the cloud.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about announcements relating to VMware on Azure and Google cloud. I see this development making VMware the provider of choice for many organizations looking for a fast, secure solution for moving applications to the cloud. VMware and the CloudHealth platform will also play an important role in managing applications in the cloud.

John Long, VMware Technical Architect

At this year’s conference, I’m excited for content and sessions that dive deeper into two emerging products: VMware VeloCloud and VMware CloudHealth, (whose acquisition was announced at VMworld last year).

VeloCloud is an SD-WAN solution that can be deployed in minutes from remote sites. It’s has taken the market by storm. It’s arguably the most strategic purchase VMware has made since it acquired Nicira (now called NSX) in 2012.

VeloCloud is changing the way we think about internet connectivity and the way customers are bridging between data center to co-location, data center to the cloud, and cloud-to-cloud. NSX provides the ability to stretch Layer 2 networks over Layer 3. From there, VeloCloud comes in to ensure connectivity through multiple connections that upgrade ordinary broadband connections into enterprise SD-WAN.

It also assures optimal application performance – a growing requirement for VoIP, video and other bandwidth-intensive applications. One of the most compelling reasons we are excited about VeloCloud is how the quality of service (QoS) is provided through public and private cloud-based management as a service. Branch deployment is also virtually automated.

But the VeloCloud SD-WAN “secret sauce” is Dynamic Multipath Optimization. This provides continuous path monitoring along with automated bandwidth discovery. In turn, this enables application-aware dynamic per-packet steering as well as on-demand remediation with QoS.

It’s certainly feature-rich as it exists today (with SD-WAN artificial intelligence and machine learning). But we’re excited to see how this offering will evolve in the coming months and year.

At the same time, CloudHealth is fast becoming one of the most trusted multicloud management platforms. Some organizations are transitioning to hybrid cloud strategies. But many are moving to multi-cloud. With so many clouds to manage, there is a need for a solution to wrangle all of them before a storm happens.

CloudHealth provides customers with cloud visibility, cost management, security and governance. By providing visibility into usage, performance and the way each workload consumes resources, CloudHealth can support decision-making on workload placement. This, in turn, helps to save management resources and enable organizations to make decisions faster. This visibility extends into container orchestrators, such as Kubernetes, Mesos or Amazon ECS and EKS and helps to maximize utilization of container platforms.

CloudHealth also allows enforcement of security policies to minimize risk along with governance to maintain control over cloud environments through policies and workflows.

Organizations building their multicloud strategy should consider the value CloudHealth could play. So should those who are already on this journey,

Learn more about hybrid vs. multicloud and get help with your strategy.

 

Jacy Townsend, Sr. VMware Technical Architect

I’m very excited for VMworld this year! No doubt there’ll be several new product and feature announcements.

In anticipation of this year’s conference, I spent some time going through the catalog of sessions. There is a lot of content and themes that piqued my interest. What I’m most excited about this year is seeing the direction VMware is headed when it comes to supporting the industry shift toward containerization of workloads.  I’m most looking forward to “Architecting VMware PKS on HCI Powered by vSAN”.

For those who don’t know, VMware PKS is also known as “Pivotal Container Service.” It’s an enterprise Kubernetes platform that simplifies container orchestration on any infrastructure. On the other hand, vSAN is the policy-based storage piece of VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure solution. I’m very curious to see how these play off of one another.

See You in San Francisco!

VMworld is full of exciting sessions, labs, keynotes and exhibits all focused on technology that will take IT to the next level. The Softchoice team is excited to see you there! Learn more about VMworld.

Attending VMworld US and want to connect? Reach out at vmware@softchoice.com

 

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No Silver Bullets: The Case for Enhancing Office 365 Security

No Silver Bullets: The Case for Enhancing Office 365 Security

All solutions have their pros and cons. Office 365 has more pros than one can count. For example, Exchange Online pulls Exchange Server into the cloud as a hosted multi-tenant cousin of its on-premises self. Not having to worry about your email server’s hardware and upgrades is a dream come true for many. Office 365 also bundles a bevy of rich solutions, including SharePoint, Skype for Business, OneDrive, Teams, Office applications and more. At the same time, you have the ultimate SaaS-worthy solution if you’re ready to migrate off premises.

But, what of the ‘cons’?

I’ve personally worked with Exchange Server on-premises for two decades and have never deployed Exchange in an enterprise environment and walked away. Instead, I’ve bolstered its security through the surrounding third-party ecosystem. My team and I have always won praise from Microsoft for our valid and valued solutions. These include security gateway, archive, monitoring, availability, and backup/recovery solutions. The list goes on. We never considered it “anti-Exchange” to say we prefer to enhance it with other software, appliances, or cloud solutions. The same mindset holds true for Exchange Online.

So where are the gaps? What holes are we looking to plug with bolted-on, third-party solutions? We see many of the same gaps we have with Exchange run on-premises. These are security, compliance/archive, backup/recovery, monitoring, continuity and so forth. To be fair, Microsoft has more control over their own Exchange environment. For this reason, they’ve improved and continue to improve their security story in many of these cases. The question for you is whether there is a gap wide enough to warrant added budget for third-party help.

There is. Let me make my point using Security as the prime example.

The defense-in-depth approach

Today, security is paramount. Ransom-ware, spear-phishing, and impersonation attacks have increased in cadence and sophistication. Office 365 includes basic Online Protection (EOP) for free. This has the effect of blocking malicious email from entering. Beyond that, Microsoft has a for-pay solution called Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). This offers a “safe attachments” solution and a static block list of “safe links.” But, even together, EOP and ATP provide less protection than a third-party security gateway like Mimecast.

Only a “defense-in-depth approach” will protect you in this insidious and ever-evolving world. With this method, you locate points of weakness and bolster those points. For instance, you protect the end-user, end-point, the DNS level, infrastructure (patches) and the gateway. To achieve this, you must start with your weakest link – your people. Ensure your employees have the right training and redundancies. You must be sure to update and guard your infrastructure. And, you must be certain to protect your email solution. This is the easiest way into your organization for weaponized attachments and links.

Filling in the gaps

3rd party services will help you make the most of Office 365 – whether it’s adding advanced archiving capabilities, improving eDiscovery, ensuring 100% up-time or more critically augmenting it’s security to enable a “defense-in-depth-approach”. At this point, you should be somewhat curious to hear the rest of this story. Join me, on Tuesday, September 19th at 2:00 pm EST as we dive deeper into the story of  “Taking the Defense-in-Depth Approach for Office 365 “ and how Mimecast’s solutions can help.

By: Guest Blog by J. Peter Bruzzese (Office Servers and Services MVP)