Lakeside Software is leaving VMworld 2018 on a high note. Literally. I’m writing this over the Mojave Desert, surrounded by members of our team, swiftly (hopefully) returning to our home base in Michigan.

There’s a strong blogger and press presence at VMworld, and sites like BrianMadden.com have already published great live blogs and recaps. To make this worth your while, I’ll of course be covering Lakeside happenings, but also focusing on announcements and keynotes from three perspectives: EUC, exhibitor, and VMworld newbie (Lakeside has been attending for many years, but this was my first time).

SysTrack 8.4 Launch + Lakeside Highlights

Let’s start with the fun stuff—talking to all of the customers, partners, and IT professionals who stopped by our booth. Although I don’t personally have previous shows to compare it to, I’ve heard from our team that the attendees this year were particularly knowledgeable and engaged. Their thoughtful questions led to many wonderful conversations and kept our live demo stations busy throughout the conference.

If you were among the attendees who stopped by—thank you! Whether you were reeled in by the elevator pitch, Nintendo Switch box, or genuine interest in hearing about the features we unveiled at the show, we’re truly glad that you made time with us out of the dozens upon dozens of sessions, events, trainings, exhibitors, etc. open to you at any given time. Your excitement is the wind beneath our Boeing 737 wings.




Enough gushing—here are some of the highlights:

  • Monday, we announced the release of SysTrack 8.4, including new and expanded features like Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), survey sentiment analysis (building on SysTrack 8.3's experience feedback surveys), our self-help app, and IBM Watson training as well as expanded product integrations with Splunk, ServiceNow, OMS, and SCOM.

    8.4 expands IT's ability to be proactive and to automate low-level, repetitive tasks by applying AI processing to SysTrack's rich dataset. ​We also see these features enabling support's journey to Level 0, where incidents can be remediated before they ever reach the help desk through a combination of end user self-help and self-healing automation.

    Less manual work + more actionable data = less downtime and more time for IT to focus on higher-value initiatives. 

 


  • Geoff Young, VDI Admin at Nordstrom, and Dan Thomas, EUC Enterprise Architect at Geisinger Health, both delivered powerful presentations on how SysTrack is providing visibility into their environments and helping them address their organizations' IT challenges. Young spoke about how virtual desktop demand fluctuates with sales associates' needs, and how their IT team needed clarity on what end-user experience was really like on those endpoints. Thomas reminded us of the importance of ensuring positive desktop performance in healthcare, as "seconds save lives." 
     
  • Our Head of Product Marketing, Patricia Diaz, spoke in the Solutions Exchange theater about the steps IT can take towards a proactive, self-healing help desk.
     
  • TechTarget judges selected SysTrack 8.4 during the Best of VMworld Awards ceremony as the finalist in the Digital Workspace category.

VMware Announcements and Keynote Impressions

Day One Keynote

At the first keynote on Monday, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger detailed the company's history of developing solutions that bridge across siloed areas, including servers (ESX and vSphere), BYOD (Workspace ONE), network (NSX), and cloud migration (VMware Cloud). Gelsinger then brought AWS CEO Andy Jassy to the stage to introduce near-term developments to VMware Cloud on AWS, including rolling the service out to more regions as well as storage and network improvements with Amazon EBS for vSAN and integrating ESX with AWS Direct Connect. 

This led to the major announcement of the keynote: Amazon RDS on VMware. The integration will bring Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) capabilities to on-premises VMware environments. 

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Top keynote at VMworld 2018. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger on stage celebrating VMware's 20th birthday
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger celebrating the company's 20th birthday
 

Other announcements:

  • Project Dimension (in preview), which brings VMware Cloud services to on-premises data centers and edge devices.
  • VMware is acquiring CloudHealth Technologies with the intent to construct a cloud operations platform to support multi-cloud environments. 

There were also several neat demos on the stage, including one showing how a machine learning application (in this case, image processing) could be run more efficiently by re-allocating resources when they're not in use (i.e. outside of normal working hours). By moving the standard VDI workloads in vSphere and increasing the vGPU available to the machine learning application, image processing could occur at a much faster rate. 

The other demo that drew an enthusiastic response from the audience was one that showed the potential to extend ESX way out to the edge with ESXi on 64-bit Arm.

Digital Workspace Keynote

Although the morning's keynote touched on some EUC topics, they left most of the depth for the afternoon one on the digital workspace. That included digging into Dell Provisioning for Workspace ONE, which is meant to reduce the time it takes to onboard an employee by pre-loading their apps in the Dell factory. All the employee has to do then to access their apps is log in to their new device. 

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Digital Workspace Keynote slide showing how productivity demands (including flexible workstyles, apps everywhere, and device choice) have created a disappearing management perimeter
The "disappearing perimeter" caused by anytime, anywhere, any device availability raises security and management challenges for IT

The rest of the keynote focused mainly on management and security using Workspace ONE. A new feature is the ability to manage Windows updates based on application compatibility. Within Workspace ONE, you can see application crashing and launching details as well as the forecasted success rate of the update. They also showed a demo of a security patch dashboard that includes a list of current vulnerabilities and the ability to trigger an email to security operations from within the interface.

Expanding on security, the keynote turned to a discussion of zero trust inside of the digital workspace, which VMware is integrating through partnerships with security providers such as Okta.

Day Two Keynote

VMware COO Sanjay Poonen opened the day two keynote with several customer panels and also took some time to assure the audience that VMware loves Kubernetes. Responding to questions of competition he said, "We actually think [Kubernetes is] a headwind that's going to become a tailwind for us."

The big draw for the keynote was Nobel Peace Prize winner and female education activist, Malala Yousafzai. Was it strange to see her at a tech conference in Las Vegas? Yes. However, it was also a welcome change of perspective. Poonen interviewed Yousafzai, bonding over their favorite sport (cricket) before turning to the incident that placed her in the international spotlight and catalyzed her activism. After the interview, Poonen announced that VMware would be supporting the Malala Fund by finding a technologist for them and adding the fund to VMware's internal funding portal, which the company matches. 


We look forward to speaking with some of you again at VMworld Barcelona in November. But there's no need to wait to see our award-winning solution—you can request your SysTrack 8.4 demo today.