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

“What did you think of the show?” (VMworld 2018 Edition)

My thoughts on Workspace One news, trends I noticed, EUC buzz, and overall feelings from VMware VMworld 2018.

On Wednesday night after the VMworld 2018 expo hall closed, I went up to my hotel room to write down some thoughts about the show. I already shared commentary in our live blog and podcast, but now I’ve had more time to see more of the event. So, here’s what I would say if you approached me in the expo hall or if we were chatting over beers, and you asked, “What did you think of the show?”

Workspace One

Last year on our VMworld 2017 podcast, Gabe Knuth and I were giddy about the overall Workspace One message, as well as all the work VMware was putting into managing Windows 10 devices.

This year, Workspace One got some cool, important features that I can’t wait to dig into. Many of these center around Workspace One Intelligence, as well as Windows 10 features. Also, the old AirWatch Agent is turning into the new Workspace One Hub, and you’ll be able to install the Workspace One agent in Horizon, too.

However, many of the major components (enterprise mobility management; Horizon) are already mature, though. And some of the year’s most interesting announcements (AirLift; Okta integration) came already in the spring.

So, the result was less giddiness, more business as usual. And this is a good thing, of course, and like I said, there are other things to get excited about, which I’ll address next.

Big conversations

The most thoughtful conversations I had at the show were how to get organizations on to the modern “workspace” end user computing train. I’ve made the case that mobility is important to everyone now, and almost all organizations have a reason to do things like MDM and modern identity management, but a whole “workspace” is a lot to bite off and chew.

Of course the answer, as it came up in several conversations, is to start with key pain points, projects that already have funding, and easy wins. Maybe it’s an EMM or desktop virtualization refresh, or finally bringing Macs under management. Then you can expand from there.

However, I think the key point that still isn’t stressed enough—even though there’s been a lot of talk about it already—is how important and transformational the zero trust / conditional access / BeyondCorp / identity-defined perimeter / or whatever you want to call the concept is.

This aligns with VMware Identity Manager and Okta, but of course it’s about way more than just IDaaS; think also of all the automation and policy options from Workspace One Intelligence.

The zero trust (or whatever term you prefer) concept might be pretty far out for a lot of organizations, but we should be hailing it as the next big thing for EUC after the cloud and mobility. I think it’s just as important as these things,  and that’s why I find it exciting. (Maybe the problem is that the industry needs to agree on a name for it. And I realize now that I need to be putting this importance into words and writing about it more, too.)

EUC at VMworld

There was a lot of talk about how there wasn’t enough of an end user computing presence at the show. (Brian joked about how the EUC community event was in the basement of the hotel next door.)

But really, the content catalogue was very full of all types of EUC sessions (so I have a lot of catching up to do) and I had plenty of great conversations with attendees, vendors, and VMware folks.

One thing that really was missing, though, was the wide range of mobility partners that used to show up at AirWatch Connect. The mobility zone was pretty small, and for that matter, there weren’t a huge number of other EUC vendors, either. As I wrote last fall, there’s still just a huge need for a dedicated EUC conference.

EUC partner news

The smaller number of EUC vendors meant fewer other announcements at the show.

One that I did note was Lakeside SysTrack 8.4 with AIOps. (I recorded a 15-minute podcast with Lakeside CEO Mike Schumacher, which I’ll post on Tuesday.)

Just before the show, Liquidware soft-announced some new features in FlexApp 8.6 (which I wrote about in the Friday Notebook for August 24), but otherwise, that was it for partner announcements.

Overall show feeling

While some aspects of the show felt just slightly quieter or more business as usual than in the past, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

As I mentioned in my previous posts, there were some non-EUC things that were new and exciting, like AWS Relational Database Service on VMware on premises(!), Project Dimension to bring VMware Cloud Foundation on premises, ESXi on 64-bit ARM, and a lot of the edge and IoT stuff in general. (Hmmm, I seem to be noticing a trend!)

(Speaking of ESXi, I also learned that it can also run on bare metal Apple Mac hardware, and a company named MacStadium is using this to do VDI with macOS virtual machines.)

Anyway, overall it was okay if the show was lacking in (EUC) surprises—we’re seeing the work of a company that’s executing well on a wide variety of products.

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