The iconic VMworld conference and exhibition is going virtual this year – but it offers attendees as much if not more than they would experience at the physical event.

Ian Jansen van Rensburg, senior systems engineer and lead technologist at VMware, says visitors to VMworld 2020 will get all the value they expect from the event without having to leave their homes.

And a general pass to the event, which will take place from 29 September to 1 October, is free.

There are many compelling reasons for delegates to take advantage of this offer, Jansen van Rensburg says. “Companies that innovate in a time like this are those that will succeed,” he says.

The global pandemic has led to many CIOs reconsidering their operations, and how they deliver services to staff and customers.

Jansen van Rensburg believes this is driving new demands for application modernisation. “Think about the phone or apps you use these days and the type of application you use,” he says. “The apps you use on your smartphone defines who you are.

“Some of these apps are clever and innovative, giving people the ease of use they want. So modernising applications is key to drive business forward and innovate.”

Another big trend is cloud, he adds. “Cloud has not gone away and won’t go away any time soon. Today we are talking about cloud anything, specifically in a multi-cloud environment. We don’t believe a company can have a one-cloud strategy. It’s like saying you can only have one hardware vendor.”

The telcommunications space is a big trend this year, specifically around 5G, Jansen van Rensburg says. “Telco/5G is a major thing on everyone’s radar at the moment. If we want to use applications in a multi-cloud environment, the connection is needed. “5G is going to deliver much better speed and functionality; it will take us to the next level of being interconnected.”

The edge is back in the news, he adds. “We are talking about the device edge or the cloud edge or the data centre edge.

“The data centre is moving closer to the device and the end user. Soon it will be on the oil rig, in the factory, in the cell phone tower. The form factors of computers are getting smaller and virtualisation is now allowing us to run more workloads on those form factors – so you could even have a data centre in your house.”

He believes one of the big issues this year, and one that will be popular at VMworld, is the digital workspace. “In light of the pandemic and the new way of working, we are able to provide companies with the ideas and the capability to achieve workforce modernisation.

“The goal is to work seamlessly at your desk wherever it is. If you have your laptop in front of you, you should be able to work as if you are in the office.”

There will be seven tracks at VMworld:

* Vision and innovation – this will include emerging trends and will feature a number of announcements around cloud partnerships.

* Application modernisation.

* Digital workspace.

* Intrinsic security – security has a massive role to play in the modern application and working environment, and there will be some announcements in this space.

* Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) – this encompasses software-defined WAN, software-defined load balancing and advanced load balancing, switching, routing and more. What Jansen van Rensburg describes as all the network functions combined into one.

* Multi-cloud.

* Telco/5G.

There will also be demo zones – including a fully kitted-out Cloud City – and hands-on labs that delegates can access. Personal meetings, including with executives, can be set up.

“There will be 275-plus live sessions, 30 hand-on labs, and one-to-one expert consultations and teachers on hand,” Jansen van Rensburg says.

“In addition, there will be 10 solution areas with live chats and VMware demo zones. And there are 50 sponsors to visit – delegates can still walk around, look at sponsors, get goodies and stand a chance to win prizes.

“The event may be virtual, but it is still fun and exciting.”

Delegates can register and attend for free on a general pass, or they can upgrade to a premier pass which offers a wealth of additional value, including a 50% discount for an exam voucher.

Register for VMworld here.

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