VMworld first thoughts kickoff session

[Edited for readability. RLL] The drummer band was great at the start but we couldn’t tell if it was real or lipsynched. It turned out that each of the Big VMWORLD letters had a digital drum pad on them which meant it was live, in realtime.

Paul got a standing ovation as he left the stage introducing Pat the new CEO.  With Paul on the stage, there was much discussion of where VMware has come the last four years.  But IDC stats probably say it better than most in 2008 about 25% of Intel X86 apps were virtualized and in 2012 it’s about 60% and and Gartner says that VMware has about 80% of that activity.

Pat got up on stage and it was like nothing’s changed. VMware is still going down the path they believe is best for the world a virtual data center that spans private, on premises equipment and extrenal cloud service providers equipment.

There was much ink on software defined data center which is taking the vSphere world view and incorporating networking, more storage, more infrastructure to the already present virtualized management paradigm.

It’s a bit murky as to what’s changed, what’s acquired functionality and what’s new development but suffice it to say that VMware has been busy once again this year.

A single “monster vm” (has it’s own facebook page) now supports up to 64 vCPUs, 1TB of RAM, and can sustain more than a million IOPS. It seems that this should be enough for most mission critical apps out there today. No statement on latency the IOPS but with a million IOS a second and 64 vCPUs we are probably talking flash somewhere in the storage hierarchy.

Pat mentioned that the vRAM concept is now officially dead. And the pricing model is now based on physical CPUs and sockets. It no longer has a VM or vRAM component to it. Seemed like this got lots of applause.

There are now so many components to vCloud Suite that it’s almost hard to keep track of them all:  vCloud Director, vCloud Orchestrator, vFabric applications director, vCenter Operations Manager, of course vSphere and that’s not counting relatively recent acquisitions Dynamic Op’s a cloud dashboard and Nicira SDN services and I am probably missing some of them.

In addition to all that VMware has been working on Serengeti which is a layer added to vSphere to virtualize Hadoop clusters. In the demo they spun up and down a hadoop cluster with MapReduce operating to process log files.  (I want one of these for my home office environments).

Showed another demo of the vCloud suite in action spinning up a cloud data center and deploying applications to it in real time. Literally it took ~5minutes to start it up until they were deploying applications to it.  It was a bit hard to follow as it was going a lot into the WAN like networking environment configuration of load ballancing, firewalls and other edge security and workload characteristics but it all seemed pretty straightforward and took a short while but configured an actual cloud in minutes.

I missed the last part about social cast but apparently it builds a social network of around VMs?  [Need to listen better next time]

More to follow…


VMware’s CEO at EMCWorld

At EMCWorld earlier this week, Paul Maritz CEO of VMware took center stage and talked about what they were doing to help customers in their journey to the cloud. From his perspective, there seems to be 3 phases to the journey but it all starts with virtualization.

When companies start down this path they often start with virtualizing stuff they don’t have to ask to get virtualized.  Such things as file and print services are first to get virtualized and generally cap out at 20% of the servers being virtualized in the data center.  This ends phase 1.

After that, it gets harder

The trouble comes when IT is considered a tax on the rest of the business.  As such, there is little incentive from any application owner/business unit to make IT services more efficient.

Then the catalyst to further virtualization often is the failure of physical infrastructure.  IT quickly responds to such problems with virtualization as a temporary solution to getting the service back online.  But as the application owner sees the speed of response and provisioning with no concurrent loss in SLAs, applications are left on virtualized infrastructure.

Once one business unit takes the plunge with the advantages readily apparent, the rest follow.  Then the data center quickly goes from 20% to 60% virtualized.  This ends phase 2.

There wasn’t a lot if discussion on what it takes to go from 60% to 100% virtualized which he calls phase 3.  But everything VMware is rolling out new these days is to make that final transformation even easier.

VMware solutions to get data center 100% virtualized

It all starts with vSphere the management interface for a multitude of VMs that now populate the data center providing resource pooling and scheduling of virtualized machines on physical server environments.

Next comes vShield that surrounds these virtual machines with a logical security perimeter that can migrate along with the VM as it moves from server to server or from the data center to the cloud and back again.

Finally vCloud Director which provides for seamless movement of VMs from private to public cloud and back again.

As proof of all this becoming more important to the data center, Paul showed a slide where more and more of VMware’s automated services are being used in their biggest customer environments. For example, since 2008

  • the use of vMotion (VM migration) has gone from 53% to 86%
  • the use of HA (high availability) has gone from 41% to 74%
  • the use of DRS (dynamic resource scheduling) has gone from 37% to 64%
  • the use of storage vMotion (data migration) has gone from 27% to 65%
  • the use of Fault Tolerance has gone from N/A to 23%

Evidently, automation is becoming more important to many VMware customers.

Application development changes as well

But the transformation of applications will be even more significant. In the past, developers had to concern themselves with the complexity of O/S interfaces, physical hardware, networking and storage infrastructure and end-user interfaces.

But today developers have moved beyond these concerns to reduce the complexity in application development and by using technologies such as SpringSource, Ruby on Rails and other development frameworks. These frameworks are optimized for development and de-emphasize the compiling and physical optimizations needed in the past that today’s hardware no longer needs.

To this approach, now VMware adds an open source project they have been working on for some time called Cloud Foundry.  To become the new cloud O/S of the future one will now need only to code to Cloud Foundry services but then can operate anywhere on any cloud compatible infrastructure. The Foundry is released with Apache 2 open source license and is available to anyone to use.  [How does this differ from OpenStack?]

End-user computing changes

The final transformation is in the end-user computing delivery platform. As Paul said, the post-PC world has arrived.  Mobile environments are becoming more pervasive and thus, deploying computing/application services to these environments are taking higher priority from the more normal desktop deployments.

To this end, VMware is working on two projects Horizon and MVP.  Both of which are attempts to create easier end-device deployment.  One capability he discussed was a virtual smart phone that can be secured and deployed on any number of mobile devices providing a standard set of smart phone services that can be used by application developers to create one app for all smart phones [at least that’s the vision].


I had taken notes at Paul’s keynote session but held off blogging about it until now as they didn’t seem to be anything specific on EMC announcements.


VMworld 2010 review

The start of VMWorld2010's 1st keynote session
The start of VMWorld2010's 1st keynote session

Got back from VMworld last week and had a great time. Met a number of new and old friends and talked a lot about the new VMware technology coming online. Some highlights from the keynote sessions I attended,

vCloud Director

Previously known as Redwood, VMware is rolling out their support for cloud services and tieing it into their data center services. vCloud Director supports the definition of Virtual Data Centers with varying SLA characteristics. It is expected that virtual data centers would each support different service levels, something like “Gold”, “Silver” and “Bronze”. Virtual data centers now represent a class of VM service and aggregates all VMware data center resources together into massive resource pools which can now better managed and allocated to VMs that need them.

For example, by using vCLoud Director, one only needs to select which Virtual Data Center to specify the SLAs for a VM. New VMs will be allocated to the virtual data center that provides the requested service. This takes DRS, HA and FT to a whole new level.

Even more, it now allows vCloud Data Center Service partners to enter into the picture and provide a virtual data center class of service to the customer. In this way, a customer’s onsite data center could supply Gold and Silver virtual data center services while Bronze services could be provided at a service partner.


With all the advent of VM cloud capabilites coming online the need for VM security is becoming much more pressing. To address these concerns, VMware rolled out their vShield services which come in two levels today vShield Endpoint and vShield Edge.

  • Endpoint – offloads anti-virus scans from running in the VM and interfaces with standard anti-virus vendors to run the scan at the higher (ESX) levels.
  • Edge – provides for VPN and firewalls surrounding the virtual data center and interfaces with Cisco, Intel-McAffee, Symantec, and RSA to insure tight integration with these data center security providers.

The combination of vShield and vCloud Director allows approved vCloud Data Center Service providers to supply end-to-end data center security surrounding VMs and virtual data centers. Their are currently 5 approved vShield/vCloud Data Center Services partners today and they are Terramark, Verizon, Singtel, Colt, and Bluelock with more coming online shortly. Using vShield services, VMs could have secured access to onsite data center services even though they were executing offsite in the cloud.

VMware View

A new version of VMware’s VDI interface was released which now includes offline mode for those users that occasionally reside outside normal network access and need to use a standalone desktop environment. With the latest VMware View offline mode, one would checkout (download) a desktop virtual machine to your laptop and then be able to run all your desktop applications without network access.


vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)

VAAI supports advanced storage capabilities such as cloning, snapshot and thin provisioning and improves the efficiency of VM I/O. These changes should make thin provisioning much more efficient to use and should enable VMware to take advantage of storage hardware services such as snapshots and clones to offload VMware software services.

vSphere Essentials

Essentials is an SMB targeted VMware solution license-able for ~$18 per VM in an 8-core server, lowering the entry costs for VMware to very reasonable levels. The SMB data center’s number one problem is the lack of resources and this should enable more SMB shops to adopt VMware services at an entry level and grow up with VMware solutions in their environment.


VMforce allows applications developed under Springsource, the enterprise java application development framework of the future, to run on the cloud via Salesforce.com cloud infrastructire. VMware is also working with Google and other cloud computing providers to provide similar services on their cloud infrastructure.

Other News

In addition to these feature/functionality announcements, VMware discussed their two most recent acquisitions of Integrien and TriCipher.

  • Integrien – is a both a visualization and resource analytics application. This will let administrators see at a glance how their VMware environment is operating with a dashboard and then allows one to drill down to see what is wrong with any items indicated by red or yellow lights. Integrien integrates with vCenter and other services to provide the analytics needed to determine resource status and details needed to understand how to resolve any flagged situation.
  • TriCipher – is a security service that will ultimately provide a single sign-on/login for all VMware services. As discussed above security is becoming ever more important in VMware environments and separate sign-ons to all VMware services would be cumbersome at best. However, with TriCipher, one only need sign-on once and then have access to any and all VMware services in a securely authenticated fashion.

VMWorld Lowlights

Most of these are nits and not worth dwelling on but the exhibitors and other non-high level sponsors/exhibitors all seemed to complain about the lack of conference rooms and were not allowed in the press&analyst rooms. Finding seating to talk to these vendors was difficult at best around the conference sessions, on the exhibit floor, or in the restuarants/cafe’s surrounding Moscone Conference Center. Although once you got offsite facilities were much more accommodating.

I would have to say another lowlight were all the late night parties that occurred – not that I didn’t partake in my fair share of partying. There were rumors of one incident where a conference goer was running around a hotel hall with only undergarments on blowing kisses to any female within sight. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to leave home.

The only other real negative in a pretty flawless show was the lines of people waiting to get into the technical sessions. They were pretty orderly but I have not seen anything like this amount of interest before in technical presentations. Perhaps, I have just been going to the wrong conferences. In any event, I suspect VMworld will need to change venues soon as their technical sessions seem to be outgrowing their session rooms although the exhibit floor could have used a few more exhibitors. Too bad, I loved San Francisco and Moscone Center was so easy to get to…


But all in all a great conference, learned lot’s of new stuff, talked with many old friends, and met many new ones. I look forward to next year.

Anything I missed?