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By all accounts, 2016 will be remembered as a year of highs and lows for VMware. Midyear earnings reports indicated vSphere revenue was down, and experts began to wonder whether the virtualization giant's reign was nearing its end. Recent cloud-related ventures -- including Cross-Cloud Architecture and VMware Cloud Foundation, along with vSphere 6.5 -- restored hope for some doubters. And, of course, NSX remains as hot a topic as ever, especially now that adoption rates are on the rise.
Let's take a closer look at some of the biggest tips, stories and releases for VMware in 2016.
Ace your administrator interview
Becoming a VMware administrator is the long-term goal for many an IT professional. However, the job market can be competitive and the interview process difficult, so it takes a particularly knowledgeable and determined candidate to succeed. The payoff is well-worth the effort, as VMware is the leading name in enterprise virtualization. So, how should you prepare for an interview?
First and foremost, be prepared to showcase your working knowledge of VMware platforms. Although you don't need to be an expert at handling all VMware offerings, hands-on experience with vendor-specific products indicate your dedication and skill level. It doesn't hurt to have a technical background with competing technologies, either.
Prove to the interviewer that you not only have the requisite experience, but also the chops to implement VMware technologies effectively. And, finally, demonstrate your monitoring and reporting capabilities; being able to quickly identify and resolve problems within a virtual structure is a skill essential to any qualified VMware administrator.
VMware makes moves with the vSphere HTML5 Web Client
The vSphere C# client has officially gone the way of the dinosaurs. Released back in 2003, it was revolutionary for its time, but has struggled to keep up with the rapid evolution of mobile technology, limiting users to a Windows-based machine. VMware tried to supplant the C# client with the Web Client in vSphere version 5.1, but poor performance and Adobe Flash-related security issues have made it overwhelmingly unpopular with administrators.
Enter the HTML5 Web Client. VMware realized the HTML5's Flash-free approach and singular management interface would provide a broader level of support. So, it began working to incorporate it into the Platform Services Controller, vCenter Server Appliance and Host Client in vSphere 6.0 U2.
Most recently, VMware has released the vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling, now known as the vSphere Client. So far, the reviews have been positive, and VMware has eliminated the C# client and Web Client in favor of the new vSphere Client in the latest version of vSphere released by the company in 2016.
Decline of vSphere comes with serious consequences for VMware in 2016
Prior to the release of vSphere 6.5, VMware experienced a sharp decline in vSphere revenue; while VMware has other products to fall back upon, vSphere is its juggernaut, and the company's success or failure is largely dependent upon its returns. The impact of this decline in revenue has been felt in the job sphere as well, and VMware experts are advised to plan ahead should things continue to go south.
Although IT enterprise technology fortunately has a long tail, you can't realistically ride that forever. The best way to safeguard yourself is to make sure you are regularly updating your skill set in order to remain viable and relevant. It's also important to embrace new technologies. The future of IT lies in the cloud, especially the public cloud, so it's recommended that you try to anticipate what public cloud services your organization is likely to utilize. Acquiring relevant cloud-related knowledge will make you an asset to your team and will help streamline your business' inevitable transition to the cloud.
Last, but not least, keep your pre-existing VMware skills fresh. While many services will move to the cloud, some will remain on premises; by making your on-premises infrastructure easier to use, you can ensure it stays in use for new workloads for years to come.
VMware streamlines vSphere version 6.5
When VMware debuted vSphere 6.5 in November, the company made it clear it had three specific goals it intended to accomplish with the update. Chief among these was a simplified user experience. The new vSphere Client goes a long way toward helping accomplish this goal by offering users a simpler navigation hierarchy, as well as better overall performance.
VMware has also eliminated the need to install the Client Integration Plug-in (CIP) -- a cumbersome process in its own right -- in order to deploy vCSA. Many CIP-dependent features have been integrated into the vSphere Client. Improvements to the vSphere Update Manager, new REST-based APIs and greater High Availability in the newest version of vCenter all contribute to a more straightforward user experience and greater customer satisfaction.
Major security enhancements in vSphere 6.5
In addition to providing users a more straightforward experience, vSphere 6.5 offers greater security with new features, including VM Encryption and Secure Boot. In a nutshell, these features make it easier to protect data via VM encryption and to authenticate ESXi kernel digital signatures.
VMware has also introduced a new universal platform in the interest of allowing users to run any and all applications on the same vSphere host. While these and other vSphere 6.5 features have earned praise from customers, it remains unclear as to why, from the Adobe Flex vSphere Web Client to the vCenter Server Application Management Interface, VMware continues to rely on so many management user interfaces. Perhaps the company will decrease the amount of interfaces it utilizes in a future version of vSphere.
Check out the top VMware tips of 2015
Tracking the rise and fall of VMware
The biggest news out of VMworld 2016 US