Today was a crazy day, good, but crazy. The schedule didn’t allow for much to do other than sitting down at breakout sessions and meetings with possible new partners or customers. In short, the keynote by Pat Gelsinger, five breakout sessions, partner/customer sessions, vExpert meeting, the vExpert party and the Benelux appreciation party.
General Session – Keynote
In the morning I decided to sleep an extra hour to have a healthy energy level, especially with todays schedule. That meant I wouldn’t be in time to be at the keynote (physically), however, like previous years VMware supplies a livestream for attendees to view. You can guess what I was watching during breakfast.
As always, the VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger lead the official keynote and gave us an insight into the road VMware is taking, or rather the vision. Opening up with some smashing numbers crushing all the competition and explaining what developers want and can do on the new upcoming feature base.
A short list of big topics in random order:
- Project Galleon
- Project Maestro
- Project Pacific
- VMware Tanzu
- Workspace One Virtual Assistant
- NSX IDS/IPS Expansion
- Intrinsic Security
By now, any of the topics above are generally available to the public, in the future I will dedicate some posts to specific topics. Also on a personal side note, I don’t know who designs these slide shows, but they are on a whole different level!
This session was one of the odd ones out. There hasn’t been much talk about anything quantum computing at all, from my point of view at least. When session registration opened up a month ago this was the first session I subscribed to after yesterdays Kubernetes workshop.
This session is easily the most interesting I’ve visited in a long time. Starting off with a short introduction from speaker David Ott, I soon found myself in a quantum story. From the second slide forward, all known scientific facts were off the table and turned into approximations and exclusions of wrongs filtering out the rights. By this time half of the room couldn’t follow or dazed off (no joke).
David eventually explained some real world working facts with quantum computer research and projects. It was soon made evident that the threat of quantum computing for our security is way more evident than I initially expected, everything we know in cryptography right now can and will be history in the coming five to ten years. Crypto’s like SHA and AES will be able to cope a bit longer by upgrading the difficulty (key size) but will eventually need to be replaced. On the other side, public keys like RSA and DH will instantly fail with near publically available quantum computers, no matter how small or “slow”.
It will be a whole new world for cryptography, the answer is being worked on though and a new quantum fit cryptographic standard might just be in time.
When I went into this session I wasn’t really sure what blockchain could do for me. Of course I’ve heard about it, like half the world I knew that cryptocurrencies were the prime example of blockchain. But what use-cases are there? I didn’t have a clue. Another question I had was, how does VMware offer blockchain as a product?
During the session a lot was explained as to how blockchain works, what blockchain does and where it came from. All of this was nothing new for me and was craving to get answers to the above mentioned questions. Eventually it hit me that the clue was in the name of the session (which is too long to add to the header), one word: trust.
Trust is the main use-case for blockchain right now. To decentralize data and expect there to be non-trusted sources inside the network. The only way to mitigate this is with quorum of blockchain. This means that if there are eight datasources that have the correct hash for a file and there is a single source that has a different one, it (for the sake of making a point) means that single source is wrong. First question answered.
My second question was not mentioned during the session, fortunately there was enough time to ask some one-on-one questions as the rest of the attendees ran off very quickly. The answer I got was that VMware Blockchain is provided as a service (SaaS) with possibilities to run on-premises nodes.
Next-Generation Machine Learning
The machine learning session was interesting in a few ways, unfortunately not much because of ML. The session started off with some basic understanding of what ML is and how neural networks are incorporated to make decisions, which is great for someone new to ML.
I was hoping to hear some information of how VMware would incorporate ML into a product which could be leveraged to run on vSphere. Unfortunately the only solution that came forward was to “run vSphere Cloud Foundation (VCF) because it’s the ideal platform for ML”. And to “use Project Pacific to run your ML workloads”. Somehow I was expecting some more I guess.
One other very interesting thing I heard was that (as some of you might know) Bitfusion was recently acquired by VMware. Now you might say, what’s interesting about that?
“Bitfusion will enable remote use of GPU power running on a dedicated GPU cluster, this functionality will be added in the next major vSphere release.”
That means a lot of interesting possibilities! On top of this, it should run on any GPU, not just specific cards. Even though not everything turned out as I was expecting during this session, it was good and had a nice surprise.
Around 7:00PM the last vExpert whisper sessions ended and everyone was getting ready to go to the vExpert party. Although the party already started at exactly this time, we still had to grab a cab and travel there. We arrived about twenty minutes later, got settled and had a few chats with other vExperts.
To my surprise Pat Gelsinger walked into the room and was personally greeting each and everyone of the vExperts. Me and my colleague Robin got a picture with the VMware CEO too.
This was also the first time I met Corey in real life. Since I got my vExpert certificate there is a steady flow of great updates in the vExpert program, all of these updates are coming from Corey. It was nice to meet Corey and thank him for his great work on the vExpert program.
Some time later during the night there was the Benelux party at the local Moritz beer brewery. It’s at the same place as last year and it’s quite a nice (and unexpected) little spot, in the basement.
This event is mainly used for networking purposes and having some conversations with peers from the Benelux area.
End of the day
This was a long day! My step counter reached well over 15.000 steps, walking around, sitting, listening, blogging and partying took well over 20 hours today. At least it was a good day and all worth it. I even scored some goodies/swag, unfortunately the vExpert swag was already gone for today so I will have to try again tomorrow!
Time for sleep. Tomorrow will be kicked off with another keynote and mainly some sessions I (unfortunately) can’t blog about. Good night.