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VMworld Recap: Day One

Day 1 at VMworld 2012 has been pretty action packed.  The first order of business was the official handing over of the reins from Paul Maritz to Pat Gelsinger as CEO of VMware.  Paul will remain involved as he is taking the Chief Strategist role at EMC which owns 80% of VMware so I would not expect his influence to go away anytime soon.  From conversations I’ve had with others both inside and outside of VMware, the primary reason for this move seems to be purely operational.  Paul is an absolute visionary and has taken VMware to some fantastic heights over his four-year tenure, however there have been some challenges on the operational side in executing on the great visions.  This is where Pat comes into the picture as he’s historically been a pure operations guy so I envision the team of Paul and Pat to do some great things for VMware going forward.

Some other key highlights from the Keynote are as follows:

  1. It is estimated that 60% of all x86 server workloads in the world are now virtualized and 80% of that 60% are virtualized on ESX/vSphere.
  2. There are now 125,000 VCP certified engineers worldwide, almost a 5-fold increase from 4 years ago
  3. The dreaded vRAM allocation licensing model for vSphere 5 is now officially dead with the release of vSphere 5.1.  VMware is going back to per socket licensing and neither RAM nor cores matter.  Personally, I am not sure this was a great move as I think most people were over the headache of vRAM and in reality I never saw a single customer who was adversely affected by it.  When Pat announced this, I think he thought the entire auditorium would roar in appreciation but that was not the case.  Yes, there was some cheering, but even Pat made mention of the fact that it wasn’t the full on reaction he expected.
  4. There are a lot of new certifications and certification tracks that were announced to better align with VMware’s definition of the new “stack.”  These tracks include the pre-existing datacenter infrastructure certs plus new ones around Cloud (think vCloud Director here), Desktop (View and Wanova/Mirage), and Apps (SpringSource).  I’ll be taking the new VCP-IaaS exam tomorrow so wish me luck!
  5. There was a light touch on both the Dynamic Ops and Nicira acquisitions.  Both of these have huge implications for VMware but really not much was announced at the show.  Both of these are very recent acquisitions so it will take some time for VMware to get them integrated but I am very excited about the possibilities of each.
  6. There was an announcement of the vCloud Suite, which essentially is a bundling of existing VMware products under a singular license model.  There are the typical Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus editions of the suite which include different pieces and parts, but the Enterprise Plus edition throws in about everything and the kitchen sink including….
    1. vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus
    2. vCenter Operations Enterprise
    3. vCloud Director
    4. vCloud networking/security (I assume this will eventually include Nicira networking virtualization and the vShield product family)
    5. Site Recovery Manager
    6. vFabric Application Director
  7. Lots of focus on virtualization of business critical applications and not just the usual suspects of SQL, Oracle, Exchange, etc.  There was a cool demo of Hadoop via Project Serengeti which automates the spinning up/down of various Hadoop VMs and this is delivered as a single virtual appliance.  GreenPages has done a lot in the business critical app virtualization space over the past couple of years and we remain excited about the possibilities that virtualization brings to these beefy apps.
  8. One of the big geeky announcements is around the concept of shared nothing vMotion.  This means that you can now move a live running VM between two host servers but without any requirement for shared storage, basically vMotion without a SAN.  This has massive implications in the SMB and branch office spaces where the cost of shared storage was very prohibitive.  Now you can get some of the cool benefits of virtualization using only very cheap direct attached storage!
  9. The final piece of the keynote showed VMware’s vision for virtualization of “everything” including compute, storage, and networking.  Look for some very cool stuff coming over the next 6 months or so in relation to new ways of thinking about networking and storage within a virtual environment.  These are two elements that really have not fundamentally changed how they work since the advent of x86 virtualization and we are now running into limitations due to this.  VMware is leading the charge in changing the way we think about these two critical elements and looking at very interesting ways to attack design and in the end making it much simpler to work with networking and storage technologies within virtualized environments.

Have to jump back over for Day 2 activities now, but be on the lookout for some upcoming GreenPages events where we’ll dive deeper into the announcements from the show!

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