With more than 23,000 attendees, VMworld 2016 provided a chance for IT professionals to network and collaborate. By sharing ideas, attendees try to evolve with industry changes, exceed present limitations and push to meet future challenges. By reflecting on my experience at VMworld 2016, I hope to share some takeaways and empower technology leaders to make the best possible decisions for their enterprises.

Changing the paradigm

I’ve been to VMware’s annual global conference a few times. At this year’s conference, I’ve noticed a growing variety of attending technologists. This increased diversity stems from VMware’s efforts to build towards its SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center), a concept where all data center infrastructure will be virtualized and automated by software.

Core components of the SDDC are server virtualization, storage virtualization and network virtualization. These core components are facilitated by three products: vSphere for server virtualization, Virtual SAN for storage virtualization and NSX for network virtualization.

By bundling these components into one SDDC solution, server, storage, network and virtualization engineers are collaborating to meet the new SDDC requirements. This means silos are dissolving as virtualization technology improves, and end-users will benefit from improved IT.

The next big game changer in the technology industry

Similar to virtualized server environments, NSX provides a virtual network platform that includes functional services such as switching, routing, firewalling, load balancing, VPN (virtual private network) and connectivity. With NSX, VMware hopes to provide automation beyond software defined networking capabilities, IT security through micro-segmentation between apps, and business continuity and disaster recovery services through cross data center connectivity.

Potential benefits from NSX are revolutionary, but the industry will need to overcome:

  • Team silos: For organizations to truly capitalize, a paradigm shift will need to take place within the ways teams are currently completing work. Traditionally, network, storage and server teams are siloed. NSX technologies will require a different approach and force a more collaborative team. Technology leadership will need to restructure their teams to work in what may be novel territory.
  • Licensing and pricing: Cost might be prohibitive for organizations that want to be at the forefront of this technology. This is especially true for small to midsized businesses. When the market matures, competition will inevitably reduce prices for this technology; however, as it stands, fees may present a roadblock. If you want to license a two socket server with VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus license and add NSX Enterprise and vRNI (vRealize Network Insight) with production support, the compounding price will make it difficult to justify. Organizations will have to consider gains from innovating early in relation to the cost of this emerging technology.

If organizations implement smart change management and new competition/market demands reduce costs or change the licensing structure, the SDDC may very well grow as envisioned. One thing is for sure, nobody can question the ingenuity of VMware’s development team and the commitment to learning shown by the diverse set of VMworld attendees.

As technology rapidly evolves, you have to transition into the future. IT teams must be guided by clear organizational goals and possess the ability to strategically align solutions to get the job done. At T2 Tech Group, we specialize in leveraging technology as an asset and can provide consultation on virtualization services. View our virtualization expertise page here