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VMworld US 2012: The Day 1 Buzz

VMworld US in San Francisco is in full swing today with about 20000 expected attendees.

Eric Sloof is happy to Welcome everyone to VMworld.

The conference kicked off with the launch keynote  featuring VMware’s soon to be outgoing CEO Paul Maritz, incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger and CTO Steve Herrod. This was billed as IT Transformation as the Enabler of Business Transformation.

You can watch the keynote at VMware Now, which is VMware’s new online destination for breaking news, product announcements, videos and demos: http://vmware.com/go/now.

Paul Maritz talked about the evolution of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) which continues VMware’s theme of working towards a world where all infrastructure is virtual and delivered as a service

The morning was packed full of announcements, the major one being the vCloud suite which is a bundle of vSphere 5.1, vCloud Director, vCloud Networking and Security and Site Recovery Manager all now versioned at 5.1.

vSphere 5.1 now supports VMs with up to 64 vCPUs and more than 1 million IOPS, enhanced vMotion which doesn’t require shared storage (the answer to Microsoft’s shared nothing live migration) and includes the new vSphere Data Protection for backup and recovery, vSphere Replication for DR (a standalone product not longer just available as part of SRM) and vShield endpoint.

vCloud Director has some major scalability enhancements including elastic VDCs that span clusters and up to 30,000 VM. Enhanced APIs have been added and further connectivity to third-party infrastructure services all great news for the big Public Cloud providers.

vCloud Networking and Security is a now separate component for the networking infrastructure bringing together VXLAN and vShield Edge.

The default client going forward will be the new vSphere Web Client which is getting rave reviews.

There have been plenty of posts regarding the announcements so worth reading some of them.

Official PDFs.
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Networking
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Platform
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Storage
What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 – Performance

Other links:

VMworld 2012 Announcements
What The Software-Defined Datacenter meets VMworld
VMware vSphere 5.1 – Virtual Hardware Version 9
vSphere 5.1 Announced with Enhanced vSphere Web Client
Enhanced vMotion with vSphere 5.1
EMC: What does SDDC mean for Storage?
New 5.1 Distributed Switch Features
Announcing VMware vCloud Director 5.1!
vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1 new features and enhancements
SRM 5.1 and vSphere Replication as a Standalone Feature
VMware vSphere Data Protection

Cloud Ops was also announced which is billed as a new operating model for IT. This is creating a service model to provide customers with consultancy to help them design and implement cloud solutions with a whole list of partners taking part.
http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-vmworld-vcloud-operations-082712.html

VMware vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus is a bundle targeted at SMBs which is sold as “Advanced virtualisation in a simple package” This contains the vSphere Storage Appliance, vSphere Data Protection which is a new backup and recovery solution, vSphere Replications for as it says creating disaster recovery for virtual machines and vShield endpoint for security.

Another SMB bundle is vSphere 5.1 Standard with Operations Management which adds vCOPS and vCenter Protect (patch management and asset inventory management for virtual and also physical systems)

Introducing the New VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1 for SMBs
Introducing the New VMware Go Pro for SMBs!

The other announcement that was made official was that the vRAM tax is going to be scrapped which was leaked last week.

This is an interesting one as VMware has spent a huge amount of time and effort explaining the rational behind their licensing model after the initial announcement last year. Yes, it wasn’t handled very well from a PR perspective at VMworld US 2011 and overshadowed the other announcements. Ultimately the backlash caused them to increase the RAM allowances but they still pursued a consumption based licensing model. I understood the reasoning because if we are talking about (or already are) moving to a cloud model where everything is deployed, operated, managed and payed for by what you actually consume, then having a license structure to reflect this is not unreasonable. However any licensing change whether it causes you to lose money or not is disruptive, needs further explanation and makes you question the value of the product you are purchasing and maybe makes you look elsewhere. So to change this now is an interesting move. What hopefully will change is that they will be able to bundle more products into the offering. I really want to be able to use vCOPS/SRM without having to purchase separate per VM licenses. Some of this was announced today but only for SMBs so hopefully this bundle approach going forward will be for Enterprise customers as well.

It does seem that VMware is now seeing the nipping at the heals from Microsoft at least in a licensing way with Hyper-V being able to provide maybe enough virtual infrastructure so VMware needs to be seen to provide more for the price.

No More vRAM Entitlement Licensing!

Here you can find out more about using your own laptop and iPADs (BYOD) to the Hands on Labs.

I then attended SS1022 – From Ideas to Reality, a Closer Look Inside VMware Innovation. As my personal theme for VMworld is looking into the future this session is certainly interesting. The session looks at some of the projects that VMware is undertaking to try and in their words be at the forefront of IT innovation.

Julia Austin VP Innovation in the Office of the CTO (cool title!) presented on how VMware handles innovation internally. She talked about how VMware actively develops a culture of innovation and how some of the initial products were started with people within VMware having some bright ideas and forming a skunkworks. She then went on to talk about how VMware needs to have exposure to good ideas. Water cooler chats of the past are far harder in a global environment so in the modern tech world this requires social media interaction using Socialcast.

Funding of good ideas was covered, people with great ideas can present to the office of the CTO and if successful get to quit their existing job and work on the project full time but what’s interesting is you become a founder and have a stake in the project and then if it is successful you get to sell it back to VMware. If not, well you quit your job so you better have had a good idea!!

There’s also an annual innovation event where everybody gets together to share the latest ideas. Some of the engineers who were involved were brought on stage to talk about their projects with the inevitable disclaimer that none this could ever see the light of day.

Anne Holler talked about Environmentally Aware Computing to increase datacenter utilisation, automating capacity reduction and other ideas.

Ravi Soundararajan who presented in the keynote talked more A Social-Media Approach to Virtualization Management. This is all about management and performance. All your VMs and hosts send their updates to Socialcast which can analyse the data and find correlation and relevance to cut through all the noise. You can “follow” particular VMs which then creates all the links behind the scenes to what infrastructure they run on to simply aggregate the messages so you only get to see what you care about. You can then turn it around and due to things being linked can see in advance who would be affected if something would be down. It will be interesting two see how this plays out as we all know the massive stream of performance information needs to be tamed.

Last up was Melina McLarty talking about Location Aware Calendaring for Zimbra. Basically use your current location to automatically book a nearby meeting room and give you directions on how to get there if you are in a new building.

Also announced was the Open Innovation Contest which is finding new flings suggested by the VMware community which VMware will take on.

There’s more to see about VMware innovation in the Solutions Exchange so go and see the VMware innovation area at their stand #1730.

Lunch time was outside where Gabrie van Zanten and I bumped into Simon Long and talked EUC. Lunch, well, it was something to eat…

INF-VSP1196 – What’s New with vCloud Director Networking with Kamau Wanguhu from VMware. Again, I wanted to look at what’s going to be happening in networking and vCloud Director has a fairly powerful yet complex networking components. This session talked about how all the different layers need to come together to create a vCloud Director network platform on which more complex and flexible tenant networking can be created. This followed on the announcement this morning of  the new vCloud Networking and Security which combines vCloud Director networking with vShield App and Edge Virtual firewall.

VMware is also now bringing VXLAN into the mix. VXLAN basically works around requiring a VM to change IP address when it moves to another subnet. It is a layer 2 overlay placed over layer 3 using what’s called an overlay network. this is transparent to the VM so the VM can be moved across physical subnets but maintain its existing IP address. VXLAN routes the traffic transparently across Distributed Vitual Switches or also physical switches that support VXLAN. This is pretty interesting stuff which is something I’m going to need to spend more time learning.

INF-NET3457 – Nicira and the Future of Software Defined Networking with Martin Casado from Nicira. Today’s networking theme continues and arguably the most important future looking session with VMware’s recent announcement of the Nicira acquisition which was only officially inked on Thursday evening. Software defined networking is billed as revolutionising communications as virtualisation did for serving applications. Martin Casado was the presenter and is the Co-Founder and CTO of Nicira. He went through the challenges of time consuming deployment with the traditional method of network deployment which is physical switches and also limited placement as you’re in the physical world. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is the answer by moving all control into software. Nicira has a product called Network Virtualisation Platform. Switches are physical devices ( like server hardware is with ESXi) also from different vendors like Cisco, HP, Juniper etc. and the software routing is then all done in the network virtualisation layer (equivalent to ESXi) with another operations/management layer above this (equivalent to vCenter/vCOPS) with amazing visibility across the whole network. You can integrate firewalls and load balancers within this ecosystem either as virtual appliances or physical devices and make them very scalable and highly available as its all in software. The business benefit is less physical devices and associated support which means less cost.

What I do wonder is with all the new announcements with the continuing development of vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) how Nicira will fit in. Yes it solves a lot of the challenges that current networking has including those with vCNS but how is this going to be incorporated in vSphere and yet still be kept open with OpenStack. These things take many many years to develop but certainly worth keeping up with developments.

The VMworld Community is also a phenomenal user driven virtualisation community which I am lucky to be an active part of. Here’s an overview from VMworld TV.

There’s plenty of Community presentations happening in the Community Lounge which is part of the Hangspace. These are presentations that didn’t make it into the main VMworld session schedule and are presented by enthusiastic community presenters.  Definitely worth popping down to see some other interesting presentations.

Next up was a vExpert meeting which I was very much looking forward to meet fellow vExperts.

Next, why not some parties…VMworld is busy!

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