This article is part of our Essential Guide: VMworld 2018 conference coverage

VMworld 2018 First impressions: EUC isn’t totally ignored

EUC doesn’t feel quite as overlooked as I was led to believe, even though one meeting happened off-site and saw little promotion (it was VMworld 2018’s best-kept secret—you missed out).

As VMworld 2018 draws to a close, I’ve put together my initial thoughts on some of what I witnessed at this year’s conference (this isn’t meant to be exhaustive, just coverage of some things I liked).

I attended the first day’s two keynotes (missed the second day’s) and breakout sessions, and walked the show floor, seeing all the different vendors.

Let’s just jump right in.

Conference thoughts

When I attended Citrix Synergy 2018 in May, it was both my first week on the job and my first conference, so I didn’t have a lot to compare it to. Now, nearly four months into my job, I’ve been to three shows (Google Cloud Next was the second). I think I’m starting to get the hang of attending conferences, even as each one has been bigger than the last.

VMWorld 2018 was just so massive; there’s no other way to put it. I stayed in the convention hotel and it was still a five- or ten-minute walk to the main convention center every day.

At the show floor, or Solutions Exchange, I visited multiple vendor booths. While I could talk about the ones with the best swag, what really stood out to me was Lakeside Software. Jack had a meeting with CEO and founder Michael Schumacher on Monday and I tagged along to just check out their booth since I didn’t know much about them.

I ended up talking with CMO Tal Klein about SysTrack 8.4 with AIOps, which sounds pretty interesting. This new release features a focus on Level 0, and aims to give IT their time back. It helps users solve common IT issues and troubleshoot basic issues automatically, rather than require users fill out a helpdesk ticket. Expect to see further coverage from Jack next week.

Keynotes and EUC

The opening keynote covered a wide variety of announcements, with EUC definitely seeing some time. I admittedly wasn’t sure what to expect, given what people kept telling me ahead of and during the conference that EUC doesn’t quite get as much respect at this conference as it deserves.

That said, there were a couple EUC-focused events (progress?). On Monday night, they had a keynote focused on EUC announcements, and on Tuesday, Brian Madden hosted a fun and lively community talk (in “the basement of the Luxor” as he liked to joke).

On to actual announcements we heard.

One that definitely got attendees buzzing was the AWS partnership and bringing the Amazon Relational Database Service to on-premises VMware customers. They talked about provisioning databases, scaling compute, and deploying high availability, with the added benefit of later being able to migrate it to the cloud, if you want.

Adaptive micro-segmentation, bringing together AppDefense, NSX, and vRealize Network Insight capabilities, also interested me. I got to see it at work in a couple of the breakout sessions, and its announcement reinforced VMware’s push toward less reactive security efforts and reducing attack surfaces. There was a definite push toward the idea of resilience at VMworld 2018.

At the evening EUC keynote ,they covered cybersecurity efforts, Workspace ONE Intelligence Hub, expanding existing Horizon deployments across the cloud, and more. EUC CTO Shawn Bass talked about redefining modern management and employing zero-trust framework (basically everyone should just be super paranoid all the time). There were a lot of interesting feature updates that we’ll cover further once more information gets released.

Breakout sessions

In all fairness, EUC was well-represented in the breakout sessions, and I attended several each day, on topics ranging from Android Enterprise to security (sense a theme yet on what I gravitate toward?).

While the sessions were all informative, the one that I found the most interesting was “Transforming Security in a Cloud and Mobile World.” In it, the presenters first hit the conference talking points (“reduce attack surface,” “security shouldn’t just be reactive,” etc.), but also showed off a live demo of how AppDefense, NSX, and Workspace ONE work to thwart cyberattacks. Instead of just talking about the capabilities, the presenters held a live attack demo (apparently they’ve done it at previous VMworlds), showing off how adaptive micro-segmentation, part of Workspace ONE Intelligence, works. Attendees saw both sides, including what the attacker sees as they look to gain access to the application itself and the database, as well as how to prevent such an attack in the first place.

1:1s

I spoke with a few VMware executives and product managers, including Shawn Bass, about the various announcements made during VMworld 2018.

First, up I asked Adam Rykowski, VP of product management for unified endpoint management, about mobile security questions. Given how it remains top of mind here at BrianMadden.com, I asked him about Fortnite for Android and installing from unknown sources. While we don’t yet know if Epic Games kicked off a trend with avoiding the Google Play Store, Adam noted that he’d recommend against organizations allowing employees the ability to sideload apps. Shawn agreed when Jack and I sat down with him.

On the whole, malware on mobile devices isn’t as pervasive as one might believe, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The day Fortnite officially started rolling out on Android devices, imposter Fortnite apps containing malware started appearing.

Closing thoughts

Conferences move blindingly fast. Blink and a session or new major announcement is over and you’re on to something else. You take in a whole lot of information real fast and don’t have a ton of time to digest it properly and break it down. So these were just my initial impressions, covering what managed to stand out to me against everything else announced.

My only disappointment was that I had to miss the second day’s keynote with Malala Yousafzai, as well as a session with Tony Hawk, to record our podcast (though the podcast was fun, too).

Over the next couple weeks, expect more in-depth coverage of VMworld 2018 announcements and other things Jack and I learned. For the moment, if you’re eager for additional coverage, check out the special VMworld podcast Jack and I did with Brian Madden and Gabe Knuth, as well as Jack’s live blog covering the first day’s VMworld keynote.

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