began my IT career by migrating the company I was working for off of mainframe
and onto a client/server environment. That was a major shift in how IT was done
at the beginning of the Internet era. During that time, individual business
units at many companies stood up their own LAN servers (e.g. Novel NetWare and
Microsoft Windows NT Server). You could call this the first instance of “Shadow
IT”. At some point, IT departments brought those servers and applications under
IT management. VMware then came along and helped those servers and applications
to run more efficiently on vSphere.
cloud emerged, many individual business units started consuming cloud resources
at Amazon, Microsoft, and Google and exposing sensitive company data. I was
working for EMC at the time as a vSpecialist and remember one of my colleagues
talking to a customer about “Shadow IT”. Many IT departments scrambled to gain
control of those company assets to secure them. For a while now, VMware has
helped IT with its Hybrid Cloud strategy to help support, manage, and secure
public and private cloud resources.
the mobile space, for a long time, many companies would issue cell phones to
their employees. Then Apple and Android phones became popular and workers
demanded these personal devices be able to access company applications and
data. VMware helped IT provide secure access and control with its Mobile Device
Management solutions using AirWatch and now Workspace ONE.
Internet of Things (IoT) has been going on for 20+ years back as long as I can remember when my first university internship was helping to build SCADA systems for a power company. Back then and until recently, each IoT use case was implemented and managed by the vendor providing the solution. My friend and colleague, Grant Challenger, posted a blog on the evolution of IoT in the enterprise here: What is IT’s role in IoT? He talks about the challenge with what he calls “Shadow IoT” and how now there’s a need for IT to get involved. Grant also coined the phrase “IT runs IoT” which means that it’s now time to bring IT disciplines to IoT, just like they did for LAN, Cloud, and MDM. This is the problem VMware is now targeting to help IT solve. There are millions of Edge gateways and IoT devices that need to be onboarded, managed, and secured and VMware Pulse IoT Center does just that.
When I was in a meeting last week and “IT runs IoT” came up again, I was sitting next to another long time colleague who was drinking his favorite coffee. So, I had my resident graphics artist create the image you see at the top. I hope you like it!
This is a result of some great work by our Edge and IoT product and engineering teams to test and validate gateway vendor hardware with our Pulse Agent and Pulse IoT Center.
I think VMware does 2 things really well.
1) Provides world class software to manage infrastructure and help it run more efficiently
vSphere provides an efficient and secure compute platform
for hybrid cloud and vCenter is a centralized platform for managing vSphere
environments across hybrid cloud. Workspace ONE delivers and manages any app on
any device with an integrated digital workspace platform. And now with the emergence
of Edge and IoT, Pulse IoT Center provides a secure, enterprise-grade solution
for IoT device management and monitoring.
2) Maintains an extensive VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG) of vigorously tested hardware from many different vendors that is supported by VMware software.
If you browse the VCG for Servers/Systems you’ll find Dell, HP, Cisco, Lenovo, and many many more. If you search for vSAN you’ll find thousands of HDD and flash media listed. If you search for End User Computing you’ll find various Thin Client vendor hardware listed. And now for Edge and IoT, you will find a list of devices supported by Pulse IoT Center. This is only the beginning. The VCG will be updated to reflect the rapidly expanding Edge and IoT market as new hardware is certified and new versions Pulse IoT Center are released.
About a year ago, an astute college at VMware, Kevin Lees, reached out inquiring about writing a book on Operationalizing VMware vSAN. He had created a book on Operationalizing VMware NSX and thought writing one on vSAN would be a good idea. His extensive background in consulting and expertise in operationalizing infrastructure makes him a perfect fit for this series of books. I of course said it was a great idea and we talked about the topics to cover. I kept in touch with the project for a few months and scanned an early draft. Many others jumped in after than and helped create the book that was just recently released. Its a great read so check it out here:
IoT is an emerging topic and much has been written about all the exciting use cases around manufacturing, healthcare, smart cities. You can read some of VMware’s perspective here: Transform Your Industry with IoT. Many of these exciting use cases include the use of the Raspberry Pi and in some instances, there are hundreds to thousands of them. VMware is working with one manufacturer that has 400 Raspberry Pis in a single manufacturing plant.
Onboard, Monitor, Manage and Secure
While it’s fun to think about how these are being used and the amazing business value that is being achieved, it’s also important to talk about how to onboard, monitor, manage and secure these devices. That’s where VMware Pulse™ IoT Center™ comes in. What vCenter does for data center infrastructure, and Workspace One does for EUC, Pulse IoT Center does for IoT and Edge. VMware Pulse IoT Center is a secure, enterprise-grade, end-to-end IoT infrastructure management solution that allows OT and IT to have complete control over their IoT use cases, from the edge all the way to the cloud.
A few months ago I made a significant career move within VMware. I love working for VMware, it’s a great company (#39 on Fortune 100 Best) with great people and leadership (#2 Fortune Business Person of the Year) and an amazing culture with its EPIC2 values. VMware is constantly innovating and encourages its people to help shape the company future. I was lucky enough to be one of the first vSAN SE’s in the world and help the evolution of that product from 0 to 14,000+ customers (as of Aug 2018). I was also extremely lucky to work with the amazing SABU product team, sales leadership, and fellow SE’s. After 5 years on the vSAN team, I discovered an opportunity to join the IoT and Edge team at VMware. This is a relatively new group with some equally talented people on the product, sales and SE team and I’m thrilled to be part of it. This group will form the VMware IoT and Edge strategy and deliver products to solve exciting problems customers will face with their IoT and Edge projects. It’s a whole new world for me that is very exciting and interesting. IoT has been around for a long time, but, it’s now becoming mainstream and taking off in a big way. I’m a startup guy and can see that this is going to be fun.
Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know the folks at HyTrust pretty well. They are a great VMware partner and provide a critical piece to the vSAN and VM encryption puzzle for VMware customers. VMware doesn’t have an encryption Key Management Server solution so we rely on 3rd party vendors like HyTrust. They have a solution that provides highly available KMS servers which is essential to maintaining data availability. You can get more details here:
For this session, Dave Siles, VP, Business Development / Alliances, opened up discussing the details around GDPR and factors to consider when architecting solutions to meet the requirements. If you don’t know Dave, he’s as smart and technical as they come. He could spend hours discussing all the details but for this session he did a great job breaking it down to its simplest form. I then discussed VMware technology that aligns with GDPR requirements including Workspace One, NSX, vSphere, vSAN, and the vReailze Suite. I spent the majority of time discussing VM encryption and vSAN encryption for Data at Rest Encryption. Dave then shared some of the details about HyTrust products to meed specific needs and we then fielded questions from the audience.
We had a great time at VMworld 2018 during the vSAN Technical Customer Panel with these 4 great vSAN customers:
They introduced themselves, discussed how they are using vSAN in their environment, and the benefits achieved. After that, we had a stream of questions from the audience that provoked some interesting discussions. If you want to check it out you can view the recorded session here:
This is the third year in the row I’ve been fortunate enough to host this session. This year was the best attended and had the best audience questions. FYI, my colleague, Lee Dilworth, will be hosing this session in Barcelona so we look forward to a good crowd with more good questions and discussion.