My #VMwareEMPOWER experience – Atlanta, GA

Cloud to Ground in ATL

Last week I headed out to Atlanta, Georgia to go to a partner only event from VMware called EMPOWER 2018.  It was held at the CNN Center at the Omni Atlanta Hotel.  Since I live in Florida, I decided to take the opportunity to rent out a Tesla and take Autopilot for a nice 20 hour test drive!  You can read about that adventure here:
But this particular blog post is about the event itself. 

EMPOWER 2018 is the first reboot of the VMware PEX event.  Partner Exchange was a solid technical focused conference held for VMware Partners to gain knowledge and direction direct from the VMware mothership.  Many partners had voiced concerns that VMworld had become too customer focused and sales-y so the PEX was born.  With the reboot of PEX, VMware hopes to go even deeper into the technical training and is offering the same training, boot camps and ramp up sessions that it holds for it’s own internal VMware SEs in it’s professional services organization.

They spent time talking about all of the learning opportunities that they have been putting together such as the Advanced Learning Center in Palo Alto and the big push to keep getting everyone certified and trained up.  Cloud was front and center of course and the concept of ‘Cloud to Ground’ came up which I had never heard of.  The idea of bringing cloud services down to the on-prem data rather than ‘traditionally’ bringing the data up to the cloud.  A great example of that was AWS Greengrass which allowed offline Lambda functions to continue to work locally.  The demo by Chris Wolf was very good.

As more and more services start to blend between on-prem and cloud, certificates and security will become increasingly important.  Authentication, security and certificates are things that are on my radar to continue learning this year.

vSphere 6.7 also dropped when we were at the conference.  Some of the things I took notice of were:

  • New VMFS6.  The VMFS upgrade will require storage vMotions since in place upgrades will not be possible.
  • the last Windows Based vCenter.  VMware has stated that 7.x will be appliance only.
  • Embedded Linked Mode!  This effectively means you can now use embedded databases with your PSCs, up to 15 vCenters all connected via linked mode in a single SSO domain.   Nice!

For our part, while at EMPOWER, the whole IPM crew took the opportunity to become certified in the VMware Cloud on AWS Solution competency.

Congrats to Chris Monfet, Chris Hahn and me. 🙂

The conference had what felt like about 1000 people and the reception was held at the College Football Hall of Fame.  We also were able to do the 30 minute walking tour of the CNN Studio tours that was connected to the Conference area. I thought both post events were fun and interesting.

As a full time remote employee, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to reconnect personally with colleagues, peers and vendors.  I feel as though I do a great job maintaining those relationships remotely but it’s always nice to reinforce them in person every so often.  (but not too often!) 😉

See ya Next year EMPOWER!