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Experts make predictions for VMworld 2016 US

Our Advisory Board experts offer their predictions and ideas on what VMware will present at its annual user conference in Las Vegas.

VMworld 2016 U.S. is just around the corner and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will be kicking things off with his keynote before you know it.

As usual, expectations are high for VMware's annual user conference. The hybrid cloud, software-defined data center and end-user computing will make up the majority of the conference's news.

Rumors have been swirling around the next version of vSphere, news about NSX and a development with vSphere Integrated Containers. What steps has VMware taken since last year's big show? Our Advisory Board experts have no shortage of their own predictions about what we'll see at VMworld 2016 U.S. and opinions about what VMware should do to impress attendees and users around the world.

Anthony Poh

VMworld 2016 U.S. is upon us, and this year the theme is "be_TOMORROW" -- I'm guessing the theme is trying to get you to embrace tomorrow's technology today.

It'll be an interesting conference this year, given the Dell-EMC merger is in full motion and there have been a number of redundancies within VMware -- plus a number of senior management leaving since VMworld last year. I believe VMware needs to have something amazing on show at the conference as too many end users are losing confidence with VMware, and with all the bug issues recently, it seems VMware has a small hill to climb -- and it doesn't help that Microsoft is snapping at its heels.

All of that aside, VMworld is still the place to be for VMware and IT admins as there is so much information that can be gleaned from breakout sessions, keynotes and the vendor solution exchange.

Just like last year, the main tracks are the software-defined data center (SDDC), hybrid cloud, end user computing and DevOps.

The key products to watch at VMworld 2016 U.S. are NSX and VSAN and, as expected, there are loads of sessions on these two products. Networking is undergoing a huge transformation with vendors and customers looking at transitioning from hardware- to software-based solutions.

My recommendation would be to get in on sessions that focus on network virtualization, what the use cases for NSX are and how to automate network and security with NSX. Let's be honest, architecting, implementing and managing networks is not an easy task, so VMworld is a great place to get some help.

I'm expecting some announcement around how NSX-V will be integrated into the common codebase that was released with NSX-Transformer, so that could possibly mean a new release of NSX. With the withdrawal of NSX 6.2.3 and no news of a replacement, I can only guess that a new version of NSX will be launched at VMworld 2016 U.S.

VSAN has really come leaps and bounds since its launch only a few years ago, as it's currently an enterprise-ready storage offering. VMware recently said there are over 5,000 customers running VSAN or their HCS offering with a 200% year over year growth.

I'm expecting a new version of VSAN to be announced with additional features such as deeper integration with NSX, possibly Photon and containers. Rumor has it that there could be an encryption feature and possibly the ability to present VSAN data stores as iSCSI storage -- perfect for those still running physical servers.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is a hot topic as always and this year even more so, given how many end users are now looking at HCI offerings for new projects or even hardware refreshes. VCE's VxRail has sold quite well since launch, which is surprising given how poor the EVO:RAIL uptake was. With Cisco releasing HyperFlex a few months ago, I'm expecting the likes of Nutanix, Simplivity and other HCI vendors to be showing new code in the Solution Exchange.

I'm eagerly expecting an announcement regarding an update to vSphere, possibly 6.5. Hopefully this new version will include the recent HTML5 Web Client Fling that's proving to be very popular since its release by the engineers at VMware Labs. I've also heard there will be a new release of Virtual Volumes with the next release of vSphere -- so it will be good to hear what new features will be available, such as snapshot and replication.

Rob Bastiaansen

Like every year, it's interesting to see how some of the announcements and technology previews from last year's VMworld have evolved and to see if they have turned into real products. For some this has already happened, like with the forking technology that is now available as the Instant Clone technology in Horizon 7. Others can now be found in the session catalog, so it's to be expected that they will soon be available, such as vSphere Integrated Containers.

Since the early part of 2016, VMware has been working with customers on a vSphere beta-project, so I'm anticipating that some newer version of vSphere will be released, which could be version 6.5 if there aren't any complex updates.

Then there are also some things happening in the general industry that will impact what VMware is doing and has already started working on. Hyper-converged is one of those topics, and with the announced rack offering VxRail following the EVO line, it will be interesting to see what this has become.

There was also a recent announcement of the acquisition of Arkin for which I see sessions scheduled for vRealize Network Insight, so that will likely be a high profile topic during the keynote presentations.

Stuart Burns

Personally, I can see several specific things going on at a company level at VMworld 2016 U.S.

First, as expected, its cloud everywhere -- but more than the average cloud fare. It seems that VMware is pushing a lot of end-user computing information as well as the revamped vCloud Air. It comes between the lines of a lot of the communications from VMware. I don't really expect any major announcements around the classic on-site infrastructure.

The secondary push is the SDDC, along with all the ancillary components. This war over control of the SDDC is only just getting started and there are billions of dollars at stake. It will feature prominently in a lot of conversations, both with industry influencers and conversations in general.

As for new products, I am not sure, but I am not expecting any.

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