Archive for September, 2016

VMworld US 2016 Buzz: VMware Chief Technology Officer Panel & Trends and Futures – CTO9943

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

VMware CTOs, Shawn Bass, Ray O’Farrell, Paul Strong & Chris Wolf took to the stage to give their perspectives. The role of a CTO is two fold, looking outward to understand technology and business trends to define a companies strategy and then look inward to direct that strategy internally and also to connect customers to R&D.


I had been fortunate recently to interview VMware Europe CTO Joe Baguley so it would be interesting to see what his colleagues said.

Introductions from everyone, they see their role as to “Drive thought leadership and accelerate technology leadership.”

Ray: Focused on digital transition, cloud, multi-cloud, new apps, containers, DevOps, take the same abstraction of hardware virtualisation and apply it to abstract clouds.

Shaun: Seen plenty of bad user interactions, wanting consumer simplicity with enterprise security. Users wanting self service, push button approach, getting data quickly, combining web, windows, mobile apps together

Chris: IT people generally started managing desktops and then tried to get out of it as quickly as possible! EUC is now becoming strategic rather than connecting just employees to data but now also customers. Also focused on enterprises operating multiple clouds.

Paul: How everything comes together, driving the VMware simplicity of mission, bringing clouds together, helping people so they don’t have to worry about infrastructure. We’re also moving from managing just virtual machines to managing virtual cars, virtual aeroplanes, virtual pumps, all these virtual things to model physical things.

There was talk of moving from centralised computing with cloud to more edge analytics for IoT. There will be too much data for all IoT devices to send data centrally. The devices themselves will aggregate and possible crunch the data to make it more efficient and do some actions before sending it to the cloud.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Open Source as a Critical Ingredient in Enterprise Computing – CTO9606-S

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

IMG_4502_thumb2I was interested in this session to get a take on how VMware’s new Chief Open Source Officer, Dirk Hohndel, sees the role of open source in Enterprises where I’m seeing more and more adoption. Interestingly there were only 30 people in a large room, does this indicate not much interest in open source software (OSS) or just a time that was during lunch?

Drives the Internet

Dirk started by saying open source software drives the internet, the more you head towards the infrastructure, the more you find open source.

Amazon, Google, Facebook etc. use open source as the base of their business, Yahoo runs on FreeBSD.

The major companies that use the internet are also therefore the developers of the infrastructure of the internet. By infrastructure, Dirk includes web servers such as Nginx or Apache.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Virtual SAN Management Current & Future – STO7904

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

IMG_4466_thumbAlthough I’m fairly up to date with the new features of VSAN, I wanted more of a peak into the future. VSAN Architect Christian Dickmann was one of the initial developers for VSAN and has done an incredible job bringing VSAN to market.

As a quick summary of the vision, VSAN is bringing “appliance like experience” on “your choice of hardware” with “different storage policies per VM”.

HCI is the driver for further revolution in simplicity, the next stage for VSAN is to double down on simplification and this wasn’t just for VSAN but for vSphere as a whole. They are questioning every knob in the vSphere + VSAN universe and seeing if they can make it simpler.

The biggest simplification opportunities include:

  • install / upgrade for both software and hardware
  • setup of the entire vSphere stack
  • introducing infrastructure analytics
  • take data centre management to a new level

Christian went on to say they are thinking about this by being able to provide both Choice and Simplicity. You can chose your hardware and yet still get the same simplicity of install and operations.

The theme was not really about just VSAN and this was very good to hear, so much more integration between products planned and a huge focus on automated and simpler deployments.

He then went through 6 demos:

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Group Discussion: vSphere Integrated Containers with Ben Corrie – CNA10737-GD

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I attended a group discussion hosted by Ben Corrie who was the clever guy who put together last year’s VMworld demo of the game Prince of Persia running in MS-DOS in a container!

It was a pretty high level group discussion, Ben asked for agenda things to go through:

He went through the reasons for vSphere Integrated Containers which is to provide a Docker API consistent experience to developers yet also provide a VM consistent experience to operations people. Each container is spawned as a VM so all the security, availability, backup, scheduling and management procedures you have for VMs can now work with containers as well.


Containers 101 – VMs have a private name space with resource constraints, containers also have the same construct of a private name space but without a shared OS.

Docker made containers easier to deploy by bringing a daemon to act as control plane, also layered image management.

Problem solving/value proposition: portability, state management, operational efficiency, automation

vSphere integrated Containers: Docker commands send from docker client, VIC deploys a regular VM, image pulled from docker registry, the VM is booted with small PhotonOS .ISO just to be able to connect over serial port. Container as a VM, you get same networking / storage / scheduling / availability etc. as a regular VM.

Photon Platform: orchestration platform for creating container hosts

Also went through roles of what developers and operators do.

Discussion on portability, from laptop to production, same image.

Direct VIC integration with NSX is coming in the future, if you already have NSX it will work and be available as a network but currently you can’t add new NSX constructs. So, the demos of container management with NSX and VIC are a little premature.

As for compatibility Mesos, etc that don’t use native Docker APIs don’t work as they normally expect an agent within Linux to look at the processors and iptables. This isn’t in the VM, anything that is native Docker API compatible will work. This is going to get interesting if your operational people are going to want to use higher level container management tools which are then not compatible with VIC which your ops people want to use to get visibility.

You can go and have a try for yourself at :

I was actually genuinely interested that very few people in the session actually knew how containers worked even at a high level. I expected the group discussion to be more of a deep dive considering Ben’s deep architectural knowledge. It seems containers are very new after all or perhaps there were other deeper dive container sessions on at the same time. Containers are going to be deployed very badly in many cases, existing apps are just going to be repackaged to run in containers. This fits perfectly into VMware’s vision for running containers as VMs. Packaged apps running as they did in VMs but now as containers will need the underlying infrastructure availability and operations that vSphere is great at providing. This is however the wrong way to approach the true benefits of containers which should be microservices but its not going to stop people heading down that road and VIC is there to help.

Scott M. Fulton III from was also in the sessions and has also written some more on the tech at VMworld.

VMworld2016 has made the recording of many sessions publicly available but not this one it seems.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Chatting to Satyam Vaghani from PernixData/Nutanix

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I luckily managed to bump into PernixData CTO Satyam Vaghani who had just been on theCUBE talking about his companies acquisition by Nutanix.

Satyam was gracious enough to talk and hear my ramblings, so I’m not quoting him here, all my words! I think it is good tech for Nutanix to acquire, I believe Pernix was caught between two technology shifts, they solved the traditional storage speed problem but the fast rise of Flash and it being good enough meant Pernix’s tech wasn’t needed. Remember however that Pernix also does the same clever caching for memory but we’re not ready yet with applications that can take advantage of this so Pernix didn’t have the time to stand alone until its tech found it next incarnation as a super fast memory cache tier so had to sell.

I hope culturally they work out a fit as they are very different companies. I would presume they’re looking at porting Pernix FVP to run on AHV which is very heavily modified KVM and the Architect product is an immediate fit for storage analytics especially for Nutanix’s push into business critical applications. Where I see the future with Nutanix’s aim to make clouds invisible is being able to store your VM data off-prem in some cloud and being able to run the VMs on-prem using Pernix as the caching layer. You can take advantage of public cloud backups / DR / etc. at a storage layer yet have on-prem compute which can be run from anywhere.

Ex- Pernix’s Frank Denneman also announced he is “going home” back to VMware. Satyam is heading to Nutanix, they could use his deep smarts with how ESXi storage works, no idea if he’s planning on staying for the long term or has the itch to do his own thing again. I wish them both luck, they’re awesome people!

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Cloud Native Buzzwords (Demystified) for Dummies – CTO7964

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

Quickly off to this excellently titled presentation from VMware’s Massimo Re Ferre’ who’s an Open Source PM. Massimo is one of the voices of reason in the industry with excellent perspective on the reality of global IT. He had an awesome t-shirt saying BADaaS!

20160830_213632504_iOS_thumb1He went through the transition from traditional application development and why applications are being re-architected to allow faster development time. DevOps being the enabler for this.

He explained how the infrastructure requirements are being encoded in Infrastructure as Code with the developer also being responsible for running it in production.  Monitoring, scaling, scheduling, placement are now becoming operational issues that developers need to take into account.

Massimo then went through the definition for cloud native applications, talking about pets vs. cattle.

He went through the containers vs/and VMs debate and did say you need to switch your bias/politic filter to to go through the discussions or spend a weekend watching twitter.

He dissected Docker != Containers with an explanation of what Docker does as the engine which provides a mechanism to instantiate the code in a container shipped as a Docker image, the code being written in a Dockerfile.

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Hot Topics in VMware Research – CTO9406

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I then heard from VMware’s Senior Director for R&D, Chris Ramming as well as Chief Research Officer, David Tennenhouse who were joined by Michael Wei and Mihai Budiu who are researches


I had heard from David last year at VMworld so was interested to see what additional things they saw as important areas of research. VMware has always been heavily research focused having been born out of Stanford University where the original VMware software was conceived. VMware has always had a strong link with the academic community.

David reported back over the past year where they had talked about consistency at scale and they have had great success for realising strong consistency & massive scale.


Then Michael Wei spoke about Corfu which is an open source distributed open scale platform. He went through how a typical application becomes  distributed which leads to a whole bunch of tools to get this working. Corfu is meant to solve this by being a distributed shared log with strong consistency for massive scale. Corfu objects are in-memory, highly available data structures and are being baked initially into NSX to provide a much more scalable and flexible control plane. They are also researching new programming models to be able to take advantage of this.

Corfu OneData is a new project using this platform for BigData. This provides a common Big Data store but still using native Hadoop/MySQL/Cassandra etc. APIs

Read more about Corfu here:

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: VMware Internet of Things Strategy Unveiled – CTO9018

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

I headed off to catch the rest of this spotlight IoT session. It was presented by Ravishankar Chamarajnagar and Mimi Spier from VMware’s IoT division

I managed to get a quick update on the beginning which was how companies are starting to invest heavily in IoT to be able to create a new market and be first movers. Companies are however facing challenges in scaling out and supporting IoT with having to manage IoT things and devices with the usual security, configuration and monitoring concerns.

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Ravishankar and Mimi then outlined VMware’s new IoT strategy which uses parts of NSX for networking as well as AirWatch for managing the endpoints with the themes of: Manage Broader, Innovate Faster, Protect Better and Operate Smarter.

They went through some of the customer use cases such as:

Retail:  Coke vending machines being managed via AirWatch

Medical: Medical devices located inside bodies with associated patient management

Connected retail: personal connections for marketing to customers and using cameras to analyse shopping patterns

Connected car: manage cars by providing new services and software upgrades, collect telemetry data from vehicles.

VMware IoT Project Ice

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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Day 2 General Session Thoughts

September 12th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

VMware’s energetic Sanjay Poonen who is EVP & GM for End User Computer and has also taken on the role of Global Marketing head honcho kicked off the day 2 keynote. Initial talk about “digital transformation”. I still can’t believe in this day and age we need to highlight this but I’m sure its a nod to CxOs who still need to drive digital into their businesses. I suppose working in IT, I have a blinkered view of this and assume “digital” is obvious. Sanjay used this to highlight VMware’s proposition to make the data-center cloud ready and prepare end users for the mobile-cloud era.

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Any Cloud

Sanjay highlighted again the “Any Cloud, Any Device, Any Application” an obvious change from last year’s “One Cloud….” which when I heard it last year seemed daft, no-one was ever thinking of using a single cloud. He highlighted the existing partnerships with Microsoft, Apple and Google (note, not AWS).


Workplace ONE

This lead into Workplace One, VMware’s EUC focused suite of applications, the idea to bring apps and identity together, unified desktop and mobile management, security everywhere.

Sanjay went through a few demos of parts of the apps, Workday which is an HR app, Box which is a email and calendar app, showing how you can annotate docs live from file repositories like Dropbox. You can see contacts from AD.

Stephanie Buscemi, EVP from Salesforce came on stage to demo what the view from a phone would be like for a Sales Manager which uses the Workplace ONE single sign-on.

I get the feeling we’ve see the same story for a while now, I’m hoping the integration is is becoming more substantial than just skin deep.


Free Fusion/Workstation

Free licenses for everyone with the VMworld app for VMware Fusion / Workstation, a nice touch although apparently someone posted a code online so the whole world could grab it and the promo had to be halted by the end of the conference!


Then the keynote moved onto VMware AirWatch which is for endpoint management, mobile, VDI, PC and even IoT. He reiterated the huge number of partners they work with in this space.

Conditional Access

Next up was a demo of Conditional Access which is part of Workspace ONE. This was actually quite cool, its a native data loss prevention (DLP) capability so when something from a financial information spreadsheet was copied into the clipboard, the figure couldn’t be pasted into Twitter. You can also integrate NSX into this kind of scenario to dissalow access to some company information from external networks. The days of enterprises relying on anti-virus and firewalls to block the leaking of sensitive information are so far gone, DLP is going to so much more important.



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VMworld US 2016 Buzz: Day 1 General Session Thoughts

September 9th, 2016 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld US 2016 coverage:

imageThis is VMware’s opportunity to articulate its strategy and help us understand where it is heading. I was not expecting too much technical information but rather some announcement highlights and a sense of how relevant VMware is in a rapidly changing cloud world. The theme of this year’s show is “be_Tomorrow” rather than 2015s “Ready for Any”. So, are we moving from a sort of getting ready for something phase to actually deploying the technology our future businesses can use?

CEO Pat Gelsinger started talking about his perspective on the industry of digital business (does anyone ever talk about analogue business!?) and of course on the state of the cloud. Poor Pat was recovering from a foot injury 10 weeks ago and still had to walk around the stage for 90 minutes.

The keynote had lots of customer references starting with GE and CVS pharmacy.

Pat then went through some figures showing cloud adoption. The forecast is 50% cloud usage (public and private) by 2021 and 50% public cloud adoption by 2030. I still wonder how people work out whether they actually have a private cloud. IoT was also mentioned, there will be 18 billion devices connected by 2020. Cloud IT is permeating the business and the physical world with IoT.

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