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


Power your business with IBM POWER9 servers!


It’s fairly obvious that IBM’s POWER9 processors are, well, powerful. Staggeringly powerful. The evidence is straightforward: the Department of Energy’s Summit is the world’s fastest supercomputer, and it runs on POWER9 cores. Every day, Power Systems advance the frontiers of science on behalf of the world’s leading superpower.

However, if you’re not the world’s leading superpower, can you make use of POWER9? This is the question facing enterprises that are considering POWER9 scale-out servers in response to increasing demand. The answer is yes. Leading enterprises from a huge variety of industries count on Power Systems to handle their high-intensity workloads. Let’s take a look at a few case studies.

Making the Money Move

Success can make life complicated. Just ask Global Payment Services, one of the largest payment processing firms in the Middle East. In 2016, they processed 40 million transactions, and in 2017, they processed twice that many. It’s a level of growth that made their competitors envious and gave their IT team a lot to think about.

Moreover, as the company’s activities increased in scale, they also grew in complexity. Money isn’t what it used to be. Technologies like Blockchain are disrupting the global financial system, and regulations around international currency exchange are constantly changing. As a result, Global Payment Services needed everything at once: power, ease, and scalability.

They achieved it with two Power Systems S924 servers. Their performance goals were met instantly: upon installation, GPS’ average payment processing time decreased by 50%. That came hand-in-hand with ease of operation. IBM’s virtualization tools allowed them to create operating system instances for each institution they worked with, making security and data management simple. Moreover, the servers brought about a new level of reliability. Previously, GPS struggled with downtime, experiencing a half-hour per month on average, but POWER9 gave them near-perfect availability.

Mainstreaming the Supercomputer

Lots of companies can benefit from machine learning and artificial intelligence. Far fewer have the computing infrastructure to do it themselves. That gap is filled by Nimbix, a High-Performing Computing (HPC) platform company that makes it easy for enterprises of any size to secure the processing power they need to do their heavy lifting. Increasingly, they’re recommending that their customers use containerized HPC applications running on POWER9 hardware.

According to Nimbix CEO Steve Hebert, their Power Systems stack is achieving levels of performance that surprise even experienced users of HPC platforms. He says this about a San Diego research group that used HPC’s applications to train a neural network: “The research team was so impressed with the Nimbix cloud, they said that it was the highest-performance system that they had ever run their model on.” This performance differential is confirmed by tests that Nimbix has run, showing a 2.5x performance increase over what’s available from commodity cloud providers.

Furnishing the Future

Japanese interior design company Nitori has always been innovative. In the 1980s, it became the first firm in its industry to open a multi-tiered, fully automated warehouse. Now, it’s managing a multi-continental balancing act: simultaneously expanding into America and growing its domestic operation. The company plans to have 1,000 retail stores open by 2022. This is an immense undertaking, given that Nitori manages everything: design, manufacturing, storage, and deliver—and, as of 2018, it was a little too immense for their old server infrastructure.

To handle the increased workload, they chose the IBM Power Systems E980. Its scalability made it perfect for a company that deals with spikes of seasonal demand, and, with upgraded IBM DS8886F all-flash storage, the E980 will effortlessly manage the huge influx of data required to power a global supply chain for years to come. The choice was also driven by simplicity: with assistance from IBM Systems Lab Services, database and application migration was a smooth process, and the server required little configuration to achieve optimal performance.

For Every Kind of Complexity

These diverse use cases show that POWER9 servers are a great choice for high-intensity workloads at any scale, whether you’re tracking global furniture sales or global weather patterns. They provide extreme performance with the five-nines reliability that brought previous generations of IBM Power Systems to 80% of Fortune 100 companies. Whatever you’re doing, POWER9 can probably do it faster.

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