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VMworld Buzz: Day 2 General Session – Raghu Raghuram

October 19th, 2011

IMG_0731 Day 2’s General session was presented by VMware’s Raghu Raghuram who is the Senior VP and General Manager of Cloud Platforms. It was time to sit down and enjoy breakfast at the same time!

This wasn’t a technical session like yesterday’s keynote so no cool demos of new products. This premise of the keynote was taking about the Software Only Datacenter. Lots of talk about how over time CPUs are getting faster, VM resource requirements are getting bigger, graphs showing more and more…OK so nothing we don’t know.

The talk then went onto the VMware “how we see the future and we will have the products to do it all” .

This doesn’t mean you should stop listening. I think this session is the one you should be listening to and then telling your CTO to listen to so they are seeing the future of where datacenters are going to and can think long term and plan accordingly.

Raghu talked about the hypervisor as a commodity which is something I’ve been mentioning for a while. So, when a hypervisor is a commodity, the next step up is PaaS which will be scalable to host more and more services. He compared Google and Facebook which have built a fantastic PaaS layer but only for a single application but VMware wants you to build many other applications without having to have an army of PHDs to do it.

This I suppose is the message then saying your datacenter is software only as all your management is at the PaaS layer (vFabric).

VMware is also looking towards software driven storage encompassing, local disk, scale out storage, blob cloud storage (like Amazon S3, the standard for web server file storage)

Next would logically be software driven networking, so you don’t have to pre-wire a network, but manage and add to it all in software. This also needs to be scalable bringing together telephony and IP networking and VMware says VXLAN is where this is going to be providing true network mobility

Raghu compared this to your home phone which is tied to your physical location (at least your local telco office) and mobile phones which have portable numbers which can be migrated even across providers. VXLAN will due the same thing to separate the IP address from the VM by encapsulating the MAC address in IP packet. Extensions of this are security & secure isolation for networks but all in software and also federated into hybrid clouds.

All this datacenter software needs to be scaled across datacenters with relevant SLAs, intelligent policy management, security and compliance in the hybrid cloud model.

Operations challenge require new statistical management techniques. Raghu said traditional enterprise management software can’t cope which was the plug for yesterday’s announcement of vCenter Operations Management Suite.

Raghu then finished with the desired state of the datacenter as seen by VMware.

“Just like all matter can be assembled from a few standard sub-atomic particles, so the datacenter of the future will be assembled from standard components, all managed by intelligent highly automated software. VMWare’s goal to lead and help you get there.”

OK, so a different kind of session but if you take some of the obvious product placements out of it, its actually quite an important thing to start thinking about. Cloud computing was the promised future and turned out to be something extremely difficult to define let alone implement and lost some of its message as it was too intangible.

Thinking of the future of your datacenter and planning for it to be all about managing scale, resources, storage, networking etc. but only with software is a simpler way to understand actually what the physical layer is all about which is going to be the part that is largely so abstracted you don’t need to worry about it so much.  Bye-bye hassling with the hypervisor, we are all going to be up in the platform now!

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