VMworld 2021 Session Previews


So, my favourite event of the year is nearly upon us again (Sounds biased but I loved it even before I joined VMware). Again, its online, and although I miss the face-to-face side of things, registration is free so there are no cost barriers to attending, which is a great thing.

I’ve put together a list of some of the more interesting sessions and why those sessions are particularly exciting, so read on if this is right up your street! There are currently 891 sessions available right now, so unless you’re crazy, you’re going have to choose carefully. This should give you a helping hand I hope!

Before I get started with the session previews, you can sign up to VMworld 2021 here and all of the sessions are up and available to favourite. For those of you eager to get your favourite sessions confirmed, from 8th September you’ll be able to register yourself onto those sessions plenty of time ahead of the event from October 5th – 7th with the Schedule Builder.

Some of these sessions fill up quickly, so definately one to put into your diaries. I’ve tried to break up the sessions into different subject areas for ease of reading, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll join anything that excites you!

Oh and on a side note, one of my heros from my childhood Michael J. Fox is also attending talking about how tech and research is helping to pave a path for a cure for Parkinson’s disease, something he has suffered with since 1998. If you ever watched Back to the Future, his face will be very memorable!

EUC – End User Compute

EUC Solution Keynote Part 1: Vision and Announcements [EUS2470]

EUC Solution Keynote Part 2: Technical Deep Dives on SASE and Horizon [EUS2467]

Having been fortunate to watch sessions with Shawn before, these two keynotes will be superb. Shawn has got a superb grasp on all things EUC and the challenges that are facing customers across the globe and how securing access from anywhere is pretty much the topic on the tongue of most desktop-focused engineering teams at the moment. Definately worth tuning into.

Ask Me Anything from the End-User Computing Experts [EUS2636] – Tech+

Although this session requires a Tech+ pass (more detail here), sessions like these are always excellent to get some focused time with the specialists at VMware, and Spencer Pitts is someone I’ve spoken to in the past few weeks, and boy does his know his apples. If you’ve got a specific question to ask, get yourself along to this session and keep Spencer on his toes!

Zero Trust Based Alternatives to a Legacy VPN [EUS2674]

I’ve thrown this one in, mainly because I can’t think of anything more relevant right now. I’ve worked from home and on the road for long enough to realise that a VPN leaves a business exposed as you explicitly trust the VPN with the client on. This should be a really good session!

Deep Dive into Domain Join from Home [EUS1152]

This is something very familiar to me from my time at Stagecoach and had some great success particularly during the lockdown periods in the UK shipping devices to home. Adarsh is incredibly knowledgable and appears on the rather good YouTube series ‘The Ascent’ with Brooks Peppin, so this is sure to be a good session with demos and a console walk-through.

Don’t Sweat. Automate: Automating Task Sequencing for Savvy Win Admins [EUS2097]

For me, this should be a really exciting Breakout session showing the ins and outs of Freestyle Orchestrator. Still, for me, the most exciting feature coming to the WS1 platform. Never before have you see true automation in a EUC platform, and this brings it in spades to Windows and macOS.

What’s New with VMware Horizon 8 [EUS1492]

I think the ‘What’s New’ sessions are always worth your time, especially if you’re already a Horizon customer because not only do you get to see what has just been released, there is normally a bit of a sneak preview into the next release too. Worth stopping by for this one

VDI Nerdfest 2021: Demos That Make Admins Drool [EUS1289]

Everyone hates slides and loves demos right? This is basically a full-on demo-packed session with demos showing some awesome onboarding, some nice WS1 workflows and integrations for modern managed desktops. Quite looking forward to this myself.

Management Hackers: Modern Management Tips and Tricks for Windows Admins [EUS2473]

This Breakout session is presented by fountain of all knowledge when it comes to Windows 10; Josué Negrón. And boy does he know his stuff. When it comes to how Windows works under the hood, Josué is your man. His enthusiasm is infectious, and I can guarantee you will learn a lot!

Networking / NSX

7 Key Steps to Successfully Upgrade an NSX-T Environment [NET1915] – Tech+

This is another Tech+ session, but has the granular detail you need to plan your upgrade of NSX with some great technical resources on hand. Sessions like these are where you can really get great value out of the Tech+ pass.

Deep Dive on Logical Routing in NSX-T [NET1443]

Having come from more of a server and virtualisation background, I’m often in awe of those who can talk in stupid detail about OSPF and BGP. If you’re one of those folk that loves knowing the latest developments in the networking space, but likes hearing about how it can work in the real world – this session is definately for you.

What’s New for NSX-T 3.2 – Network Simplicity and Security at Scale [NET2354]

Much like the EUC What’s New sessions, this is another cracking session if you’re a NSX-T or VCF customer – it’s well worth a watch.

Cloud Management

A Big Update on vRealize Operations [MCL1277]

Having never seen vROps until a few weeks back, I’ve been really impressed with its capability, despite the length of time its been on the market. If you’re in the same position as me, this should give you a good overview of its capability.

Event-Driven Config Management Using vRealize Automation SaltStack Config [MCL1934]

The acquisition of Salt last year was a huge one for VMware, and fills a big gap in the automation offering. SaltStack Config, from what I’ve seen of it looks really powerful and it’s inclusion in the vRealize product makes it accessible, and free to a lot of customers. Given how hot code-driven config management is at the moment, this should be a good one.

vRealize Automation – Now and Into the Future [MCL2448]

Another of the vRealize suite of products I hadn’t seen before joining VMware and have been very impressed with its usability and interopability between clouds and coding platforms. These sessions are always useful as a good overview of the products and to see where they are going, and seeing what benefit they can bring to your workloads.


Security Deep Dive and Emerging Capabilities in VMware Cloud on AWS [SEC1362] – Tech+

This may be a Tech+ session only, but its going to go into huge detail around the new features in VMC on AWS. If you’re a VMC on AWS customer, this should be a really good session on new features such as L7 and identity firewalling (integration with AD) and intrusion detection.

Azure VMware Solution: Networking, Security in a Hybrid Cloud Environment [MCL2404]

AVS, essentially VMC running on Azure is a reasonably new platform and if you’re someone who has workloads across both Azure and vSphere this should be right up your street.

Get Connected Rapidly with Airtight Security, Featuring William Hill [SEC2087]

This is a mandatory sign up for me. I’ve been fortunate to know Ben Fairclough and the team at William Hill for a couple of years and this is guaranteed to be interesting. Ben has vast experience with VMC on AWS running a huge platform for Will Hill and its worth listening for a hands-on customers perspective on how the networking and security aspects of VMC on AWS has paid off for them.

Migrate and Modernize Applications with VMware Cloud on AWS – What’s New [MCL1379]

This session, led by Matt Dreyer should be a cracking breakout session showing the capabilities of VMC on AWS and its integration into native AWS services. I’ve sat in a couple of sessions with Matt when I was a customer, and found his style very engaging, so I’ll be tuning into this one again.

VMware Multi-Cloud Vision & Strategy [VMTN2807]

This one is aimed at the architects amongst my readers but its there to rightly show that VMware aren’t just there to run VMs on vSphere, that we can help modernise your apps with Kubernetes/container workloads across different clouds. Its a pretty unique offering, and although I’m still learning it having not come from a dev background, its pretty awesome really.

App Modernisation

Get Started with vSphere with Tanzu [MCL1648]

For those infrastructure guys and gals who have been looking at vSphere since the dawn of time, this is a good opportunity into getting started with Tanzu on vSphere. It’ll take you through setting up a basic config so you can deploy a K8s cluster and app too – should be a good learning opportunity,

App Modernization Deep Dive with VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Tanzu [MCL2290]

The legend that is William Lam is one of the speakers in this session. If you’ve not come across William – which rock have you been living under? 😉

This will take you through leveraging VMC on AWS and Tanzu to show an end-to-end process converting your legacy apps to modern apps that are API driven and running in a containerised environment. This should be excellent!

Build a Compelling Modern Apps and Managed Application Cloud Business [APP1080]

Another app modernisation session, but this time one aimed at those director level folk, understanding the business value in modernising your applications. Definately a different session but should be an interesting one if you’re trying to understand the direction to take for your application estate in your business.


What’s New in vSphere [APP1205]

This is pretty much everyone’s go-to session at VMworld and is always very popular. With the release of vSphere 7 last year, customers are upgrading their estate at a rate of knots and this session will take you through some brilliant customer successes.

VMware vSphere – What’s New [GWS-HOL-2211-01-SDC] – Tech+

This is a Hands-on Labs equivalent of the above session, allowing you to explore the new features in ESXi and vCenter such as the vSphere Pod Service which enables Kubernetes in your vSphere environment. I love that we run these kind of sessions.

Automate and Improve Day 2 Operations with vSphere Lifecycle Manager [MCL1274] – Tech+

With Lifecycle Manager being introduced in vSphere 7, this should be a good kick off to show you its capabilities and how you can use it to update ESXi and firmware on your hosts as opposed to using Update Manager. It also helps you keep the VM hardware and VMtools up to date too, which from experience is well worth doing as you can sometimes squeeze a little bit of extra performance here and there.

vSphere as a Service-Centric Platform – Design Studio [UX2575]

This is a quite unique session in that this is presented by VMware product designers wanting your input into a proposed concept around looking at vSphere from an application view rather than the traditional infrastructure view. The idea being that this could help you better support your dev teams. A good opportunity to have genuine input into the future of vSphere.


Mount a Robust Defense in Depth Strategy Against Ransomware [SEC1287]

Amanda Blevins, if you’re not already, is one to follow on Twitter (her tweets are really insightful) but also her sessions at VMworld are always really engaging. She’s with Rick McElroy who has years of experience as a CISO and over 5 years experience in Carbon Black so this pairing will be full of detail on how to defend your business against ransomware across all tech stacks.

Create Virtual Security Zones with NSX Firewall [SEC1786]

I’ve put this here because I love the way NSX goes about this feature. The ease of zoning your data center is soooo easy and scales incredibly well. Add the micro-segmentation to this, and it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to ensuring your workloads are secured and easily managed. If you’ve got a bit of time, get yourself in on this.

Simplify Endpoint Security with VMware Carbon Black Products [SEC2662]

If you’ve been stuck with a legacy anti-virus solution that is cumbersome to manage, heavy on your endpoints – Carbon Black is well worth a look. Its been a Gartner leader for years now, and now under the VMware umbrella its thriving further. Justin will be sharing all the latest features and developments and how it can make security that little bit easier!

Innovation, {code} and Others

Edge Computing in the VMware Office of the CTO: Innovations on the Horizon [VI2484]

The OCTO, or Office of the CTO is dedicated to innovating and looking at technological innovations, then bringing them to market. Chris Wolf leads a lot of this fantastic work and he’s going to give an insight into the work done in Edge Computing and is following this up with a live Q&A. Given how relevant Edge is going to be over the coming years in a lot of industry verticals – this should be really interesting.

Upskill Your Workforce with Augmented and Virtual Reality and VMware [VI1596]

With the advancement of AR and VR in consumer gaming in recent years, I’m interested to see how it can be used to improve employee productivity in the enteprise world. I’ve seen a lot of work from Alan Renouf in the past, and its always been really engaging, I expect this to be no different.

Modern vSphere Monitoring Using InfluxDB, Telegraf, and Grafana [CODE2745]

Having spent much of my career in operational IT, I was a big fan of Grafana. This session by blogger and Veeam SE, Jorge de la Cruz should be a fun side-project using docker to monitor your vSphere estate. Here’s the blog post in question if you fancy a bit of pre-reading.

The Cross-Platform SRE – No OS Left Behind! [CODE2796]

If you’ve not seen of the great stuff Patrick Kremer has done, then you really should do – just recently he’s been working on the Python Client for VMC (PyVMC) and the SDDC Import/Export for VMC on AWS, so you’re in excellent hands for this session. Patrick and Michael will get your started in the world of being an SRE (Site Reliability Engineer) whether you’re a Windows or Mac user. Guaranteed to be lots of fun!

Sustainability as a Strategic Differentiator for Organizations [IC2792]

Sustainabililty is something that really interests me, and what is even more interesting is how huge organisations such as VMware and AWS are now experiencing growing demand for solutions and services that are sustainable. Joe Baguley, if you’re interesting in perfecting your presentation style, someone you should watch. He’s really down to earth, very relatable and very engaging – should be a cracking discussion.

Live Coding: Terraforming Your vSphere Environment [CODE2755]

Terraform has been growing in popularity over the past few years and having Kyle Ruddy, host of vBrown bag, and ex-VMware architect should result in a really engaging session. He’s going to show you how to get started with Terraform in a vSphere environment, something I’ve done myself in recent years too. Should be very interesting

Integrating Backup Into Your GitOps CI/CD Pipeline [CODE2809]

Last but not least, is a session by Michael Cade, Senior Technologist at Veeam. Veeam have recently aquired Kasten and Michael has been doing a sterling job teaching himself all number of languages and getting himself up to speed with all things containers. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching Michael present, he’s got a really engaging style and he’s usually hot on demos, so this will be a good one to follow

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