Another VMworld event is over and it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole 12 months since the last one. Certainly during the keynotes there was a lot of coverage about what VMware has achieved over the last 12 months and it is impressive especially in the end user computing and hybrid cloud spaces. But overall I felt that VMworld USA 2014 lacked some of the sparkle of last year. But I guess it’s hard to top last year considering it was the 10th anniversary. This year seemed much more about building a solid foundation for a software defined datacenter, a software defined enterprise and a hybrid cloud model integrating applications with infrastructure, providing ability and flexibility, but without compromise. Although attendance was flat or a little down on last year the breakout sessions were packed, right up to the last session on Thursday. Instead of having our heads in the clouds this year it was all about the vCloud Air, and we vRealized the product naming is about to be changing. So lets dive into what I think are some of the highlights.
My VMworld started on Sunday with a Nutanix sponsored VCDX study group. Nutanix is a big supporter of the VCDX program for the entire community. The study group was put on for candidates that wanted to know more about the VCDX process and practice the design and troubleshooting scenarios. It was completely vendor agnostic, and it needs to stay that way. Nutanix understands that the only way sponsoring a VCDX study group can be of value is if the content is vendor agnostic and covers a wide range of topics. There were many VCDX helping in the room and giving advice from across many companies. This really is what the community is all about. Everyone helping each other.
Then I moved on to opening acts at VMunderground that was put on by vBrownBag. I was on the storage panel and it was a good discussion around Virtual Volumes, Hyper Convergence and Flash. I even agreed with a traditional SAN vendor that hyper converged appliances will not help SuperDomes and Mainframes, but then again I can always migrate the workloads and processes off those systems, and the Unix mid range systems as well, to a Hyper Converged world. SuperDomes, Mainframes and Unix systems is where the legacy SAN technology will stay for the foreseeable future and it will be a decline over a number of years, just like we’ve seen with the traditional big iron systems themselves. The move away from traditional SAN for x86 connected environments isn’t going to happen over night, but it’s a trend that is starting to take hold, but honestly it’s not even scratching the surface of the potential opportunity yet. The announcements from VMware and EMC around their hyper-converged offerings are just more validation of that. Flash is definitely the way of the future, and it opens up things that were previously not possible. I have a section on flash technology in the storage chapter of Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware.
There were a number of VMware announcements during the keynotes that are worth mentioning. But before I do I have to get something off my chest. vRealise is the worst name ever thought of for anything. My initial reaction to the new name for VMware’s hybrid cloud, vCloud Air was somewhat similar, but at least Air has a cool ring to it, like iPad Air for example. vRealize, just NO! I feel sorry for the sales team who have to try and sell that now. Ok, rant over. The overall themes about this being a brave new world and requiring bravery from all of the customers and the community participants was interesting. I’ve been doing virtualization for a very long time and even for business critical apps it’s a very safe bet. But SDDC and the Software Defined Enterprise going to further reduce silos and this will require some organisational changes and maturity. This is really where the bravery comes in, most of the challenges are not technical.
Two major overall themes were used during the keynotes. Firstly – “Compatibility, Compliance, Choice”, and secondly the “Power of &”. VMware has done a great job of building a partner ecosystem across a number of technologies, including the vCloud Air Network, which has 3900 partners, and the broader ecosystem around the hypervisor and NSX. This is where compatibility, compliance and choice really comes in. Seamless compatibility, compliance with regulatory and industry requirements, and choice of multiple partners and technologies. This is then extended to the OpenStack, NSX and Containers, which can run extremely well in a VMware environment, and this is the Power of &. Have your containers without compromise. Have your OpenStack on a platform easily fit on top of VMware vSphere.
By far the biggest highlight was meeting a lot of people who regularly read my blog and have benefited from the work that I and others in the community have done over the years. This is why we keep doing it. Because it makes a difference. It was also great to meet a lot of people who had bought Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing IT Right, and had got a lot out of it too. My co-authors, Michael Corey, Jeff Szastak and I were blown away by the stories that were relayed to us about how the book had helped people, especially when it was being used to explain to DBA’s how virtualization works and that SQL is a great candidate for virtualization. The book was so popular that it actually sold out at VMworld, and we had a lot of people come up to us during the meet the authors session and book signing.
Here is a photo of my co-authors and I with the happy customer who purchased the very last copy of our book at VMworld.
Shortly after the above photo was Michael Corey and I recorded an interview with VMworld TV’s Eric Sloof regarding virtualizing SQL Server Databases on VMware.
I was lucky again this year to present a session that was included in the top 10 sessions of VMworld for the second consecutive year – VMworld 2014 SDDC1600 Art of IT Infrastructure Design The Way of the VCDX Panel.
It was another great VMworld and a very successful VMworld. I’m very much looking forward to next year. Hopefully we’ll see the return of the Monster VM sessions and some other business critical apps sessions from me in next years VMworld.
This post first appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com. By Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2012 – 2014 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.