New stuff introduced at VMworld 2011

Today Paul Maritz is takes the stage for the VMworld 2011 general session in Las Vegas. In line with this years motto “Your Cloud. OWn IT” he laid out the direction things will be going according to VMware, starting today. This is definitely the bigger picture.


I must say that I’m a bit sad about the deep techie stuff becoming less and less visible on VMworld. But that is what is neccesary for the next phase in “IT life”. Ever seen a Star Trek movie where they needed to debug their wapr drive? Nope. As technology develops, the “simple things” just vanish into the background. The cloud is here.

VMware Hands-on-Labs

VMware is definitely eating its own dogfood: The entire VMware Hands-on-labs are run externally from cloud providers, one of which is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands! With latencies around 190ms, that is certainly a great effort. PCoIP is definitely standing its ground here.

So, VMware is ready for the Cloud. And… With the new stuff announced here, so are you!

More virtual stuff

Paul notes that this year we are breaking the barrier: There are more virtualized workloads than there are physical ones. Wow. One VM is born every 60 seconds, 5.5 VMs are vMotioned per second. That is more than human births and planes in flight respectively. Wow again.

The force driving even more workloads to be virtualized is of course vSphere 5. As you will probably have read already, vSphere 5 once again pushes the limits on virtualized workloads. Now even “monster VMs” can be virtualized, removing more and more limitations here.

You said the C-word!

For a very long time people have been talking about cloud computing. In fact the word “cloud” is now so very much overused it’s like barf in a lot people’s mouths. And with good reason: A lot of different definitions exist for the word “cloud”. A lot of people are looking for a direct interpretation of the word Cloud; not having a single definition makes it unclear for people what to expect of it. Both VMware and EMC have been working very hard for a long time to actually be able to get to a cloud computing model both technically and through evangelism. Today at VMworld in Las Vegas yet another very important step was taken in enabling customers to be able to actually take the journey.

vCloud Global Connect and vCloud powered services: enable your Hybrid Cloud!

The next step that is to be taken in order to enable customers to continue their journey to the cloud this time round it isn’t all that much about face-melting technology. Even though the recently released vSphere version 5 helps even more, the biggest message from VMware this year at VMworld is about a more services orientated one: the vCloud Global Connect service and vCloud powered services!

VMware has been building out vCloud Director (vCD) to enable customers to be able to build their private clouds with more ease. As more abilities are incorporated in the product, VMware came to the conclusion that most cloud providers today cannot be used for most workloads. This seriously limits customers into being able to build their hybrid clouds (where some workloads run at an external cloud provider and some run in the customers private cloud), or even “cloudburst” (where a customer can quickly shoot out workloads to a cloud service provider to counter bursty needs in resources).

The main problem is that most common cloud providers (like Amazon, Azure) cannot deliver SLA-based services. As a company starts to even consider moving certain workloads into the cloud, things like backup, security and disaster recovery quickly popup. VMware is building out their products to be able to have SLAs connected to workloads more and more, but this can only become successful if cloud providers are able to meet such SLAs. One should be able to “tell” a cloud service provider that a particular workload needs to run of storage with a certain level of availability, replication and backup. But also considering things like guarantees for CPU and networking resources.

vCloud Global Connect

The vCloud Global Connect Service will enable just that. All around the world selected cloud computing providers are leveraged to build out cloud services which can handle a certain number of SLA items. So far the following cloud providers will deliver these services:

USA – Bluelock
Europe – Colt
Asia/Pacific – Singtel
Japan – Softbank

Furthermore, Dell, Verizon and CSC is said to be included in the construction of data centers for providing these vCloud services.

“vCloud powered”

Next to vCloud Datacenter Services, providers can join in the “vCloud powered” program. These service providers have less constraints in the construction and SLAs delivered as opposed to the vCloud Datacenter Service providers. Up til now, it is very hard to find such providers. With the help of the “vCloud powered” program it is much easier to find and select potential providers for a secure, SLA-enforced vClouds providers.

What VMware is trying to realize is the next step in Cloud computing, and I think they are succeeding: Apart from delivering the technology that is needed to build clouds, they now also start to deliver a “brand” of compatible service providers, so that customers can actually start to take their first step into a hybrid cloud model much more easily: Instead of having to find a cloud provider, a lot of details have to be worked out before workloads can securely migrate. With the model VMware is now proposing, this is getting almost as easy as buying your next laptop online: Through a GUI you can select your favorite service provider from an almost “à la carte” menu. Find the cheapest. Find the cheapest can will adhere to your SLAs. Migrate not only from your private cloud out, but also migrate between different cloud providers to match these SLAs and price.

No techie stuff?

Although this all may seem not such a deep technical story as I usually post, I hope that everyone sees where we are going, what we can do today and what we’ll be able to do tomorrow. So no techie stuff today? Well, a little bit. With the new version of vCloud director 1.5, we will also see the birth of vCloud Connector 1.5. vCloud Connector 1.5 will feature a new, agent-based transfer architecture. This makes it easier to move workloads, and it has a more robust retry mechanism etcetera. The idea is that your local vCenter uses this agent, and that that agent is able to communicate directly with agents at cloud providers. So yes, still some extra tech stuff in order to get this show on the road!

Some more new cool stuff

CloudFoundry is a new layer defined to enable easy cloud development. Every developer should have it on his laptop! Ehm on his VDI desktop I guess 😉 . Running on top of VMware, but potentially also on other infrastructure clouds as well. Could this be THE first step to all cloud providers actually working together? Time will tell I guess, but I have a good feeling about it.

Also on the horizon is… Horizon. This technology will basically enable you to build a desktop within a browser. Horizon will talk to your local domain, which makes it easier to give people the stuff they need (and deny all they shouldn’t have). My take on this? I think that VDI may be very well on his way out… The browser will be king after all I guess.

Where is this all going?

It is an interesting development right? As clouds get less foggy, and you see the first steps into what it is actually all about, you’ll probably start to think: Where is this all going? Can you imagine a world where you use VMotion to migrate your workloads online from your datacenter into some cloud datacenter, and you still know your backups will be made, offsite replication will still work to your specifications? It really is not all that far away.

For example: look at EMC’s VPLEX product. This product delivers you true read/write access anywhere. You can actually already hot migrate workloads between data centers with this product, but today you meet physical appliances at both data centers. What if they made a VPLEX virtual edition? Exactly, you could first upload a VPLEX into the cloud, sync up your data and then… VMotion your workload! Still in the works, but believe me, products like these will be coming and getting more and more face melting!

Looking at products like VMware vCloud director and EMC VPLEX even today… You’ll find out…

Maybe the future isn’t here… But it is coming in FAST!

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