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VMworld US 2014: The Day 1 Buzz

August 26th, 2014


Started the day with Run VMworld to work out last night social efforts. Plenty of anticipation among everyone for what is being announced.


VMworld TV has its customary welcome to VMworld.

Breakfast was croissants.

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General Session

I then found a space at Hangspace for the General Session which traditionally kicks off VMworld. Robin Matlock, VMware’s chief marketer started the show talking changes in IT and talked through the theme of this year slogan: No Limits. CEO Pat Gelsinger then had his a chance to highlight VMware’s vision and announcements. Pat talked about how the Software Defined Data Center is moving from a vision into a reality with customers realising the benefits and actually implementing it. He used a liquid analogy to say that things are always changing and we need to adapt.

The Hang Space


No Limits is the theme of VMworld 2014, Pat expanded on this message by talking about the “new possibilities” from the enterprise to the data center and from a unified user environment to the hybrid cloud with a number of announcements.



Pat then announced what the hotly rumoured and anticipated VMware Marvin is, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance built by hardware partners running VMware software called EVO:RAIL. Hardware partners listed are. Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HP, inspur, net one, Super  Micro. I’m pretty sure HP is in on this so perhaps they have an another announcement but very strange they were not in the keynote. Perhaps waiting for Gen9s to be released.

I covered this extensively in:

VMware vRealize

vRealize is a new cloud management platform which will take management beyond your on–premises vSphere environment to be able to manage your workloads in Public and Private Clouds as well as non-VMware infrastructures. VMware vCloud Suite will provide the infrastructure for on-premises implementations and the recently rebranded vCloud Hybrid Service, now called vCloud Air will provide the public cloud infrastructure. VMware vRealize will be able to seamlessly manage both environments.


vCloud Suite 5.8

There is no new release of vSphere but rather an update to 5.8 for the vCloud Suite which beefs up business continuity and disaster recovery by adding a planning portion along with with self-service, policy-based provisioning.

Hadoop 2 Big Data extensions have been added to enhance what VMware is calling next-generation applications.

There is improved interoperability with NSX with customisable provisioning of NSX firewall and routing services as well as easier ways to bridge networks to for example onboard tenants for hybrid cloud.  Micro segmentation is a big focus for NSX by being able to not only have a data center perimeter firewall but distributed firewall capabilities throughout your data center where you can group VMs together by function rather than physical network location without any change to the underlying physical network. All this is controlled via policies which align to security groups not location.


VMware is also putting a huge amount of focus into OpenStack with plenty of multi-hypervisor management around OpenStack being announced. OpenStack has a number of services which require underlying components  like hypervisor, storage, network and VMware wants to make sure VMware products can be used for those underlying components. VMware is writing open source drivers for this integration.



VMware is also creating a VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) .OVA package which you can easily import and have everything you need to deploy and manage an OpenStack cloud.

vCloud Air

vBill Fathers who is the boss of the recently rebranded vCloud Hybrid Service, now called vCloud Air explained the plan for the Hybrid Cloud strategy with four phases of cloud adoption: Experimental, Professional, Mass Market, Legacy where vCloud Air is just moving customers from Experimental to Progressional. This includes not just hosting servers in a Public and Hybrid cloud model but encompassing Desktops as a Service and providing common management between on-premises vSphere and vCloud Air from VMware or their other partner.

President Carl Eschenbach then brought on stage customers Medronic, MIT and Ford to talk about their successes implementing software defined architectures and solutions.

A great wrap up post about all the announcements from the guys at UP2V.


  1. Announcement of EVO:RAIL. An appliance installed with software based on vSphere, VSAN with a nice HTML5 interface. Initially 6 serverhardware vendors will sell and support.
  2. vSphere 6.0 Beta
  3. Virtual Volumes and VSAN 2.0 Beta
  4. Introduction of vRealize Suite, a cloud management platform
  5. Announcement of Site Recovery Manager 5.8 and vSphere Data Protection 5.8
  6. vCloud Suite 5.8
  7. vRealize Cloud Management Platform
  8. vCloud Air OnDemand GA 2015. Beta program starts August 25 ! Join the beta here
  9. vCloud Air for Government  Services (FEDRAMP certified) will roll out in US in September
  10. Tech Preview: vCloud Air Object Storage based on EMC Viper technology.
  11. vCloud Air Database as a Service
  12. AirWatch available on vCloud Air
  13. introduction of vRealize Operations Insight (“vROI”)
  14. VMware NSX for vSphere 6.1 . Info here as well
  15. VMware is  Now an Open Compute Project Gold Level Member
  16. VMware Partners With Docker, Pivotal And Google To Bring Container Support To Its Platform . See also this Docker blog.
  17. Project Fargo, for faster, more compliant, lighter-weight containers on VMware’s SDDC platform
  18. Announcement of a technical preview of EVO:RACK. The big brother of EVO:RAIL.
  19. Announcement of private beta of VMware integrated OpenStack (VIO)

A few days before VMworld started the following listed below was announced.

  1. The rebranding of vCloud Hybrid Services to vCloud Air
  2. The acquisition of CloudVolumes by VMware
  3. Ubuntu available on vCloud Air

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    See the recording of the keynote:


vExpert Daily

I was then a panelist on the vExpert Daily which was a panel discussion to discuss the news of the day, particularly the General Session announcement.


#vBrownbag Tech Talk

I was then honoured to be the first person to kick off this year’s #vBrownbag Tech Talks in the Community Area.

I talked about my recent blog post about How Policy drives the Software Defined Data Center and how Policy is a tenet of the SDDC and its ultimate aim, not just an add-on for automation but at the heart of provisioning and management.

The vExpert Storage Game Show

For some lighter relief I then attended: STO2996-SPO – The vExpert Storage Game Show

2 teams of vExperts were pitted against each other in what was billed as a jeopardy style game discussing the latest in storage technologies.

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John Troyer who used to be the vExpert and Community overlord at VMware and has now started his own consultancy called TechReckoning was the jovial and dapperly dressed master of ceremonies the judges were Amy Lewis from Cisco and Friea Berg from Splunk.

Duncan Epping, Cormac Hogan and Rawlinson Rivera represent team VMware who went head-to-head with team Pure Storage made up of Vaughn Stewart, Cody Hosterman and Craig Chapman to see who knows more about FlashArray, VSAN, and vSphere Storage Configurations. Audience members could tweet out answers to questions to join the panel. I made sure I wasn’t called up.

It was chaotic, muddled, technically went completely wrong but was great fun. Some good relief from the serious that can pervade VMworld.

Software-Defined Data Center through Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

I then went to hear more about the new EVO:RAIL and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure from Chris Wolf, VMware’s newish American CTO, Mornay Van Der Walt from Emerging Solutions and dave Shanley, the lead Engineer for EVO:RAIL. Part of the secret reason for going was to hear the dulcet tones of a fellow South African (Mornay)!

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As I had blogged about EVO:RAIL I was pretty up to date but the audience seemed excited at the possibilities.

There was a tech preview of EVO:RACK which will have the full vCloud Stack installed with vSphere, VSAN, NSX, vCOPs, vCAC and the new vRealize cloud management. A similar slick user interface as EVO:RAIL. It will also have physical and virtual network capability. Bringing the simplicity of hyper converged to an entire rack and be up and running in 2 hours is the goal. Use cases initially are VDI and IaaS, expanding into PaaS and Big Data in the future.

I asked about the conflict between the VMware partnership in VCE and EVO:RACK specifically. they said there was a market for all and in you need specific SAN storage requirements then something like VBlock is still important. As the future use case for EVO:RACK is Big Data which is pretty much as performant as you can get, this can’t last for long. As I alluded to in my post about EVO:RAIL, i think the VMware involvement in VCE is doomed, VCE wants to do Hyper-V and VMware wants to expand converged offerings further and control the full software stack.I did wonder whether VCE could become a hardware provider for EVO:RACK (not sure how storage would work though).

The VMworld store has a number of things on for sale:

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Ask the Expert vBloggers

Last official session of the day was another unrehearsed panel discussion with a number of well knows fellow vExpnert Bloggers answering audience questions. Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping and William Lam from VMware and Chad Sakac and Rick Scherer from EMC.

IMG_4758Questions about whether NSX was only suited to Service Providers, and whether it was overkill for smaller customers. Scott Lowe said security was the use case, using micro-segmentation. I could see this for enterprises which have very complicated existing security policies which can be made more scalable with a distributed firewall.

Many questions about Marvin=EVO:RAIL, all the answers were about driving simplicity as the reason for creating the system. Chad mentioned people are going to lump all converged (VCE) and hyper-converged (EVO:RAIL) in the same place which is wrong says. Different applications will need different data services which would dictate the platform.  Also point made about the difficulty of creating a hardware appliance and having that global support/spares backup which is why large partners are involved. Plenty of explanation from the panel that VMware is not becoming a hardware vendor. 16 node limit is to simplify testing.

Questions about certification and VCDX, panelists mentioned buddying up with other people to get help read the blueprints but create your own design otherwise you will get lazy using templates and not be able to defend.

Nice question about how the panelists keep up and not work all the time with the amount of stuff they need to produce. Duncan said he buys his wife gifts to compensate for the time he has had to take to get where he is. Others echoed the sentiment. Best to always make sure when you do take time away from work is to properly disconnect and look after yourself and your family. It’s a hard job to keep up to date and still have a life.

It was a surprisingly good session, I suppose it all depends on the questions from the audience.

That was the end of the official conference, it was time to start socialising and networking of the human kind.


I went first to a Craft Beer Tasting with SolidFire which I had attended last year. SolidFire have a All Flash super-duper-fast storage appliance and have brought on a number of well-known employees over the past year such as Josh Atwell, Keith Norbie and Jeremiah Dooley, so they must have an interesting proposition. The Beer was certainly good and great to hear more from them after being introduced last year.

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Then I headed to the annual vFlipCup Community tournament which is a fun excuse for quickly downing beer. the competition was expertly won by Actifio.

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Last up for the evening was the Nutanix Wanna Be Web-Scalin’ Somethin’ party. There was no sign of any concern with VMware’s EVO:RAIL announcement, in fact boss, Dheeraj Pandey said ECO:RAIL is a gift from VMware to Nutanix and himself personally. Oh, it was also his birthday.

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For fun I have a Jawbone UP this year which tracks my movement, I did 22,333 steps and walked 22.27km

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