AirWatch Connect London 2015 October 28th

Well today I find myself at my first AirWatch Connect Conference event in London, this is a two day event for me, Day 1 (today) has been full of sessions covering all aspects of AirWatch and mobile device management. Day 2 tomorrow is AirWatch Certification Training which will hopefully give me a head start to achieving the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Associate.

Today’s highlights have been several sessions hosted by the two main speakers Dor Zakai @DorZakai and Thibaut Bekkin @thibaut_bellon. Both of these guys are Sales Engineering Managers for AirWatch and are passionate about AirWatch and what it can do for you, which make’s listening to them easy. I saw Dor at VMworld so was keen to hear him speak again and wasn’t disappointed.

“Identity Management built for the Mobile Cloud Era” There was certainly a lot of posts on the Connect application and Twitter about this session by Dor. It introduces the VMware Identity Manager and how it can integrate with AirWatch, bringing you easy application deployment and SSO. VMware Identity Manager is free if you are a Blue or Yellow AirWatch Suite user, so I urge you to check it out.

Dor also introduced the Per App VPN that allows you to configure seamless logons to your private applications by a seamless VPN that combined with SSO, allows the user with just one click on the Icon to logon to your Private applications. Taking this even further you can then containerise the applications so that only work data can be opened with work applications and users personal applications cant integration with this data.

After lunch Dor took us through “Enterprise Innovations for Apple IOS and OSX “which introduced how Apple Device Enrolment Program (DEP) can give you out of the box device enrolment in to AirWatch and your environment. And how the AirWatch Unified App Catalog can bring the same applications and user experience to the devices.

Then it was over to Thibaut who gave us “Android to Work”. Android for Work from Google allows you to run 2 separate user personas on a device, one the work persona with work applications and one the user’s personal persona that lets them do what they like on the device. One thing to mention is that Android for Work requires Android 5 or above, however Android 4 users can also download the Android for Work App that brings most of the functionality to the devices.The coolest function here is bulk enrolment feature that’s coming in the next release of Android Marshmallow. This allows you to bulk deploy new devices with your image using NFC. Just bump the out of the box device to your master device and that’s it your build is deployed!

This was followed up by Thibaut showing us what AirWatch can do for Windows 10 Devices and by devices we are talking about laptop and tablets as well as mobile phones. This for me was a real eye opener and requires a radical rethink to how you deploy new devices, but the benefits are huge especially if you want to maintain application compatibility and security on devices.

To close the day out there Dor brought us “NSX and AirWatch” and “Securing your enterprise with VPN and Networking” there is a great deal of overlap on these subjects but basically by bringing NSX to AirWatch you can start to secure your applications using the Micro Segmentation that NSX brings you. For example You can create a Software defined Network on NSX then switch to AirWatch and simply configure your applications to only allow access to devices that are on this network. I for one see a future where all this can be managed by one console. Regarding VPN app tunnelling this requires upgrading to the new AirWatch 8.1 Linux Mag that supports the VPN app tunnelling. It has been hinted that in the future this appliance may well come in the form of a OVF file so ready to deploy, as someone who is a Windows person and not a Linux person this is something that I really want ASAP.

This wouldn’t be a conference without the free swag and Networking Party and AirWatch didn’t disappoint bringing us vouchers that we could spend on swag of our choice at the stand and an excellent reception in to the evening.

Airwatch Swag

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my thoughts and experiences of VMware Europe 2015

I thought I should blog my thoughts and experiences of VMware Europe 2015 (Barcelona)

This was my first VMware and as I had blogged previously I had won my Ticket through the Generosity of VMware by winning one of the EVO:Rail Challenges. Although not my first conference I attended a Novell Brainshare in Barcelona many years ago.

So what was it like, well I had done my research on previous people blogs, taken all the advice, picked all my sessions in advance, downloaded the app, worn what I thought were good comfortable shoes, but nothing quite prepared me for the vastness of the Fira Gran Via and the sheer time it took to get between halls . This really took a toll on my feet through the week and I did get a couple of blisters despite wearing casual shoes that were worn in. so lesson for next time if there is one.

So what were the highlights?

Pre event (Sunday – registration and Monday October 12th – the partner day so not a real day for attendees.)

I arrived on the Sunday before the event started so I could check in, pre-register and be fresh for the next day, From my apartment I could see the Fira Gran Via so it was an easy start in the morning, I prefer to be close as possible rather than be in the centre of town and have to travel out in the morning. so Monday arrives and I have 3 Expert lead workshops (ELW) and an exam booked, I did fail the VCP 5.5 exam however I always thought it would be tough but I booked the exam as it was so cheap (see previous post) so I could use the experience as a learning exercise should I really get the chance to take it again.

Well as a keen player of CloudCred I had to stop by the CloudCred stand and say Hi to Noell Grier @CloudCredGeek, she was very welcoming and like me likes to meet the people she emails and put a face to them.Andy and Noell

At VMworld CloudCred has a special Hands on Lab (HOL) competition so as I was doing 3 ELW’s on the first day I was confident that that would give me a chance at the top spots on the leader board, as there were some cool prizes up for grabs and it did. However someone else had the same idea so in the end I had to settle for second place. It was great to meet the winner Martin Ausillo @MrQbit by the way and I met a few other players as well while I was there. (more later)

I completed my 3 ELW’s AirWatch – Explore and Deploy Workshop, VMware NSX Introduction Workshop and VMware EVO:RAIL Introduction Workshop and gained the points for the HOL competition even managing to pick up my CloudCred Lab Badge along the way so another bouns:

lab badge

The solution exchange wasn’t open on the Monday in fact a great deal of the venue was not available which mean I could focus on the labs in hall 7. Weather it was because there were less people there or the air con was set to maximum chill I did find the Venue quite cold so the the rest of the week I did take a fleece to keep the air con at bay. Also as it was a partner day there wasn’t a lot of food or tea and coffee for the attendees in fact I was turned away from the hot food lounge which meant by the time I finished my last ELW I was famished and left promptly to find a café.