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VMware Explore Europe took place once again last week (Mon 7th Nov to Thu 10th Nov) in Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via following a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. I’ve not attended since 2018 and despite the venue being a little more compact this time around following two years of Covid and the worry that attendance would be lower than usual, not only did numbers far exceed expectations (word on the street is they mirror, if not beat, the San Francisco event), but the session content and the ability to finally meet up with customers, partners and friends within the community in person, was absolutely fantastic.

This year’s event, without a doubt, held a huge focus on hybrid and multi-cloud adoption and transformation, with a specific focus on not just moving from Cloud Chaos to Cloud Smart but also on how public cloud is able to combat climate change by reducing carbon footprint and, as a further positive, help to drive down energy costs.

Not only did the initial opening General Session focus on these topics, but the theme of cloud transformation throughout the week was palpable. There were some truly wonderful audience-led discussions focussing on just this during the Virtually Speaking Podcast session – ’60 Minutes of Virtually Speaking LIVE: Accelerating Cloud Transformation’, facilitated by your hosts Pete Flecha and John Nicholson, and with a jaw-dropping panel consisting of VMware’s William Lam, Frank Dennemen and Duncan Epping, along with the great Kelsey Hightower of Google. Well, WELL worth a watch!

There was much interest in the upcoming VMware Aria platform, initially announced back in August, and which is set to advance the current vRealize offerings via a new SaaS-based and centralised platform. I’m a massive fan of vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Network Insight (to name just two within the vRealize Suite), so I’m excited to see how Aria progresses.

Lastly, data sovereignty was another area with heavy interest, more so in Europe and the EU. With further announcements around the new Sovereign Cloud roadmap, as well as new partnerships with cloud providers and partners (as well as the recent announcement for VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal), VMware is working hard on solidifying solutions which enable customers to meet national data residency and data sovereignty requirements by placing sensitive and regulated workloads on a secure, compliant national cloud.

Other sessions I attended focused naturally on VMware NSX, multi/hybrid cloud, multi-location, and general design. Hey, I’m an NSX guy. As a Veeam Certified Architect, I also made sure to check out messers Vanover and Cade’s session on the notable and exciting enhancements of v12, due for release in January 2023. Check out some of the key sessions I attended:

  • Design Your Network for Hybrid Cloud – Nimish Desai, VMware, Sr Director NSBU – From the software-defined data center (SDDC) to hybrid cloud, enterprises of all sizes and VMware have collaborated to design and implement a highly automated, hybrid cloud powered by VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware NSX. Focusing on the networking aspect of VMware Cloud Foundation, learn about building a core architectural design covering workload, automation and scale from single site to multi-site covering VMware NSX-T federation. Discover how leading insurance, banking and media companies build agile, resilient hosting infrastructure that enables service and application owners to deliver products in a predictable, consistent manner. The hyper-converged solution simplifies infrastructure management and provides automated estate and lifecycle management.
  • The Journey: Veeam and VMware – Cloud, Security KubernetesRick Vanover, Sr Director Product Strategy, Veeam Software, and Michael Cade, Senior Technologist, Veeam Software – Michael Cade and Rick Vanover are back together, in person, with an update on the data protection innovations Veeam® Software is bringing to the fore with regards to cloud, security and containers. In this session, we will look at how Veeam supports hybrid cloud deployments and enables Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) on VMware Cloud and Cloud Director, including a look at what to expect from future releases. We will touch on security in today’s complex IT environments and how Veeam offers tooling to enable workload and data protection. Finally, we will look at the leadership Veeam offers when it comes to Kubernetes data management, including a closer look to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and all things native to the cloud.
  • Disaster Recovery in the Ransomware Era – Andrea Siviero, Principle Architect, VMware – This session was a Customer Enablement session, so wasn’t recorded, however, look out for more about VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery. Such a cool solution!
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery with Multi-Site/Multi-Cloud NetworkingDimitri Desmidt, Senior Technical Product Manager, VMware – The days of 9-to-5 application access in one region and manual failover processes are behind us. As applications become the revenue source for the business, network availability and resiliency become critical. In this session, we will discuss how to implement multi-site and multi-cloud networking to enable disaster recovery (DR) capabilities from a data centre to a secondary data centre using VMware NSX federation, as well as the important design decisions that govern the implementations. I am a huge fan of Dimitri’s, and the man has literally written the book when it comes to VMware NSX, multi-site and multi-location via NSX Multi-Site Lite and Federation.

The Party was, as always, fantastic. A time to unwind, meet up with customers/partners/community and enjoy some great food and music. The latter of which was, this year, provided by Simple Minds. Now, I wouldn’t have usually been able to name a lot of their songs (I’m honestly a little too young to remember, but it was an eye-opener to realise just how many songs I recognised!

A huge shout out as always to the vExpert programme and to Cohesity for supporting with such an amazing gift in the form of an Intel NUC. Such hardware enables the community to learn and develop and to continue to create content for the wider community. Thank you both!

Finally, the trip wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Xtravirt. Thank you for your continued support and guidance and for enabling me with continuing opportunities. Getting to catch up in person for an extended period of time with the team was a rare pleasure. Thank you again!

So, until the next time, Gracias y adiós Barcelona. Te veré de nuevo pronto. Gracias por todas las tapas!

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