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VMworld US 2014: The Day 2 Buzz

August 27th, 2014


Another Run VMworld with an ever bigger group and plenty to talk about.


American style breakfast, hey there was fruit though!

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General Session

IMG_4806 The second general session which is usually the more technical show-and-tell of the mass presentations was led by VMware’s CTO Ben Fathi making his first VMworld keynote appearance. Wearing jeans and talking to the engineers in the audience, his job is to show some of the technology announced. He went through the story of businesses stuck in silos battling the change from traditional apps to cloud-native apps. VMware wants to make things much easier to deploy all kinds of workloads from your private data center using vCloud Suite to Public cloud with vCloud Air but with a common management framework and toolset covering both. Quite a bit of time spent talking about the power of “and”, saying you can use multiple things (hybrid cloud) over having to make a decision and being stuck with “or”.

He then brought on EUC head honcho Sanjay Poonen who talked about their vision of “Secure Virtual Workspace for Work at the Speed of Light” with 3 pillars of desktop, mobile and content. Then them talked about what they are calling “Next generation architecture” to enable EUC with a unified approach of VDI and App Publishing (Horizon View+RDSH), Real Time App Delivery (Cloud Volumes) and a rich user experience.

Sanjay announced a Google, NVidia and VMware partnership who are collaborating to make this a reality. NVidia GPUs within VDI, Google Chromebooks as the client device and VMware software linking it all together. He showed rich 3D content with plenty of moving animation but to be honest nothing we haven’t seen before although it is now all with an HTML5 client on a Google Chromebook.

SAPs Kevin Ichhpurani then came up on stage to talk about the work VMware and SAP are doing to integrate mobility offerings with AirWatch, this segment wasn’t particularly exciting.

Content Syncing was mentioned. VMware had developed their own technology Project Octopus which became Horizon Data and was then pretty much sidelined for AirWatch Secure Content locker which will provide the secure data syncing.

Kit Colbert, EUC CTO came on stage. Sanjay and Kit talked about the EUC business strategy and how they are integrating their expanding enterprise mobile platform. You certainly get the impression there is renewed vigour in the EUC business unit since Sanjay and Kit took the helm. Kit and Sanjay went through a demo of a doctor moving around using various devices, desktop, mobile and tablet to look through patient information around the hospital, obviously with confidentiality and security being handled seamlessly. All handled with Horizon and AirWatch.

VMware announced last week that they had purchased CloudVolumes which provide a layered technique for instantaneously presenting applications to users. CloudVolumes attaches a VM disk into a running VM and magically and instantaneously installs one or multiple applications. This is a very quick way to manage installations across your users. You can add multiple layers for multiple apps. Currently this is used to slot in applications for VDI but could be for any application really, even for servers I would think. Kit did a demo of how CloudVolumes can be used to provision hundreds of apps instantaneously.

There is also another project I had spotted in the CTO stand in the Solutions Exchange about a technology called VMFork or called Project Fargo to rapidly clone running desktops in under a second of rapid provisioning.

Desktop as a Service is already live after the acquisition of Desktone. Applications as a Service was a new product announced but not much details on that. I wonder how it would work. Is it just a SaaS offering or is it a way to deliver your existing installed applications but as a service? Is it CloudVolumes delivered apps in a cloud? Will have to find out more.

Raghu Raghuram who is the top boss of the SDDC division talked about some of the use-cases of VMware technologies in the data center.

He said NSX now had more than 150 customers, vRealize is the suite for cloud (private & public) management. EVO:RAIL was mentioned again with a demo and went through some of the information about EVO:RACK which I had covered yesterday. 20% of the Hands on Labs runs on EVO:RAIL.

A biggish segment on OpenStack about vCenter integrated OpenStack (VIO) with the message that OpenStack runs best on VMware.

Raghu then went on to talk about some of the features of the mostly unannounced vSphere 6.0 which is in beta at the moment.

He announced that at last vSphere will be able to have Fault Tolerance for Multi-Processor VM which I’ve covered in: What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Multi-CPU Fault Tolerance

Also announced were extensions to the use cases for vMotion to include cross vCenter vMotion and Long Distance vMotion. I have covered this in: What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Cross vCenter and Long Distance vMotion

Briefly shown in a demo but not explained at all, another new feature of vSphere 6.0 called Virtual Data Center where you can combine resources across clusters which I cover in : What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Virtual Data Center

Obviously Docker needed to be brought Up. VMware says as expected that Docker runs best on VMware. Docker does not replace virtualisation but enhances it. It’s more a case of Docker “and” VMware rather than an “or”

Raghui reiteratedt that The Software Defined Datacenter vision is a single platform for any application, running on VMware, OpenStack or Cloud Foundry.

Simone Brunozzi then came on stage to talk about the Hybrid Cloud and vCloud Air with integration with vCAC showing cost comparison across clouds, private, public & AWS.

VMworld TV Interviews Ben Fathi, VMware CTO


Recording of the Keynote


Next up was an End-User Computing for the Mobile-Cloud Era session which expanded on the morning keynote from execs Sumit Dhawan, John Marshall and Kit Colbert. Desktop, mobile and Content all tied together as a Workspace Service. VMware Workspace Portal is now the VMware Suite for EUC. Ben Goodman did a demo of the new client functionality with Chromebook and mobile showing how applications can move between devices.

IMG_4704-001Next up they covered the concept of what they’re calling Just in Time Desktops, delivered desktops and apps as a service, that’s what they were alluding to in the keynote Project Fargo and CloudVolumes together is being called Project Meteor which will enable very rapid provisioning of desktops and all applications by rapid cloning and CloudVolume layers.

Here’s a picture I  had taken yesterday of VMFork at the VMware CTO innovation stand in the Solutions Exchange. (Click to enlarge)

The combination of Project Fargo + CloudVolumes is internally called Project Meteor.

Real Time application delivery with 3D graphics anywhere and anytime is what they are calling Applications as a Service. Also mentioned was Global Desktops as a Service with an expansion of the Desktop powered cloud to the UK for EMEA.

EVO:RAIL and in the future EVO:RACK will come out with a version optimised for Horizon 6, Airwatch EMM and Secure Content Locker.

IMG_4818Harry Labana, who is now VP Products, EUC was the founder of CloudVolumes before VMware did a demo. He stressed Cloud Volumes has no packaging, no modifications and no streaming, its very easy to install apps as you do it as you normally would and then it is massively scalable to add to desktops.




John Marahsall, the CEO of Airwatch talked about their product which looks like a really slick and mature product. They have 12000 customers, 1800 employees from 150 countries and their software is available in 17 languages.

Their plans are to have their software available on every mobile device, every mobile platform (including Blackberry later this year), with mobile deployment across corporate multi-users, BYOD and multiple lined of business. They talk about next generation content collaboration, being able to manage Macs and Windows alongside smart phones and tables all with AirWatch.

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He also mentioned a new idea of the smart phone becoming an ecosystem in itself as you add peripherals such as a PoS terminal with Square and add encryption etc and may need to connect to a wireless printer in a shop. AirWatch will bring this all together in the future.

Kit Colbert them came on stage and re-iterated the End-User Computing announcements at VMworld.

  • VMware Workplace Suite
    • Unified Mobile, Desktop and Content Management
    • Integrated Platform with AirWatch Mobile and Horizon
  • VMware, NVIDIA and Google
    • Graphics rich applications delivered on enterprise cloud desktops
    • Fluid, remote user experience with any Windows apps on Google Chromebooks
  • VMware and SAP
    • Mobile security and simplified user experience for mobile applications
  • Project Meteor
    • Real time apps, desktops combining CloudVolumes and Project Fargo
    • Expanded DaaS Offering
    • New applications as a service, only DaaS solution to integrate published apps, shared desktops and full virtual desktops.
    • New European expansion for DaaS in the UK.

    Virtual Volumes

IMG_4821 Although VMware hasn’t officially announced when its new storage technology Virtual Volumes is shipping, there are a number of VMworld sessions dealing with VVols and I attended What Can Virtual Volumes Do For You where Suzy Visvanathan, the VVols Product Manager and EMCs Matt Cowger talked about what EMC is doing with VMware to make this happen.

Suzy went through the challenges of the current storage implementation with fixed size LUNs and how VVols will be radically changing this.

I have covered this in a separate post: What’s New in vSphere 6.0: Virtual Volumes

Matt did a great demo of using EMC functionality with VVols. He talked about offloading things off the array and being able to deliver for example the simpleness of VM snapshots but having them created at the array with its performance capabilities.

SRM will not be supported with VVols in the 1st version but they are working on it.

Matt said with VVols, the protocol choice between FC,iSCSI and NFS was a minor implementation decision rather than basing your entire storage layout.

I enjoyed lunch in the sun to catch my breath.

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New Kids on the Storage Block

Next up was another storage session which was a panel discussion talking about how the storage industry is constantly evolving. Howard Marks self titled Founder and Chief Scientist of DeepStorage moderated the panel of a number of newish storage companies represented to tease out what’s new with the latest storage technologies, how the industry is changing and how storage is being delivered as a service.

The panelists were:


Howard did a great job keeping them honest. Funnily enough they all said they had the leading all flash storage product and tried to go through their products. It would take far too long to go through them and do them justice.

I find with the current storage market as it is, there are technical differences between the arrays but for customers it must be very difficult to choose between them.

VMware Foundation

The VMware Foundation has a great initiative to raise money for charity by building your own paper airplane and the further you can throw it the more money VMware will donate. Neat!

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I managed to get an awesome VSAN T-shirt, likely to be run in tomorrow!

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Best Practices with Software Defined Storage

What seems like storage day continued with the old storage frenemy double act of Chad Sakac from EMC and Vaughn Stewart ex NetApp now at Pure Storage joined by Rawlinson Rivera from VMware. The session was about technical best practices with emerging storage technologies for vSphere. Thing like flash in the array and the hosts and hyper-converged.

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Things that were mentioned in general were:

  • Keep things simple
  • Use large datastores
  • Use vStorage APIs
  • Limit use of RDMs
  • Use Plugable Storage Architecture
  • Use Storage DRS

Talk about the I/O blender mixing workloads that may have different requirements for different arrays.

Went through different types of storage, Hybrid Arrays (Nimble, Tintri, NetApp), Host Cache (PernixData,VFRC,SanDisk), Converged Infrastructure (Nutanix, Simplivity, EVO:RAIL) and All Flash Arrays (EMC XtremIO, Pure Storage SolidFire)

Talked about testing, and how tests to kick the tyres can be unrealistic.

Benchmarking Principles:

Don’t let vendors steer you too much, especially sales, you need to benchmark over time. Use lots of hosts/VMs, not a single guest/datastore. Benchmark mixed loads. Recognize tools like SLOB or IOmeter are still artificial workloads. It’s hard to drive sufficient loads particularly with all flash arrays so spread it out across multiple hosts. Absolute performance is not the only design considerations. Also benchmark resiliency, availability and data management features.

IMG_4842 Discussion about understanding the numerous queue depths from disk all the way up to VM. You may need to increase some for all flash arrays yet storage array vendor best practices may conflict so be careful changing default settings.

Avoid using Jumbo Frames as all the stars need to align and the risk of human error is greater than the performance gains you may get.

Bets to understand how de-duplication works with your array, is it inline or is it a post-process. Best to ask your vendor about data reduction technology and understand what they do.

Talk then on VSAN and best practices of disk ratio sizing, wider clusters the better, use more disk groups.

vExpert Party

I then attended the always excellent combined vExpert and VCDX party in a fantastic venue, E&O. Saw loads of people. Pat Ganix, Velsinger was there. Missing was Jane Rimmer who always manages to ask Pat when he’ll be attending the London VMUG! I took over her responsibilities for this year, hopefully we’ll have him doing a session soon! The VMware semi-official band, Elastic Sky (the original name for ESX) performed and lead singer John Arrasjnid is retiring from the band so its the end of an era.

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I new certification was announced and the first recipient numbered VCID-NX 001 is Ray Budvari.

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PernixData Party.

Went to say hi to the PernixData club at the Minna Gallery

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CTO Party

I then also was lucky to get an invitation to the CTO Party at the amazing venue of the San Francisco Mint.

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Then no VMworld is complete without the Veea Annual Party which is always great, colourful always in a green way.

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That’s Day 2 of VMware US 2014

For fun I have a Jawbone UP this year which tracks my movement, I did 19070 steps and travelled 19.89km.

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