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VMworld 2012: Impressions

It’s day two or three, depending on what you consider Sunday, here at VMworld 2012, and the feel is very different from prior years. Technicalities aside, just the venue and city set a tone that is distinct from the past. San Francisco bears a cultural appeal all of its own, and the Moscone is literally light–daylight isn’t scarce like our IT budgets, or like it is in Vegas.

In many ways, it feels like a transition year, epitomized by the transfer of reins from Paul Maritz to new CEO Pat Gelsinger. The kickoff music was a drum line embedded in the tops of the four-foot letters and numbers of “VMWORLD 2012″ on the stage, accompanied by hip-hop artists. Not that this is foreign to VMworld, but it seemed like changing energy (to me).

Technically, the focus has been on vCloud and the bigger, “software-defined” virtual datacenter. I enjoyed the direction and forward looking nature, but the application was definitely larger organization and more abstract, especially to the little guys in the community. Single site deployments and small shops will stretch to find more than removed interest in the focal points. Perhaps, though, they will find use in larger organizations in their IT careers.

The fact that this is a “dot” year (5.1) and not a major version marking event also affects things. In 2008, vSphere 4.0 made its debut (if not RTM) which was major news. Then in 2011, 5.0 showcased, another big deal. Sessions thus far have been half recap of 5.0 with minor updates that come with 5.1. Not disappointing, but not as wildly exciting as it could be.

I’ve said a lot that could be construed as disappointment, but the reality is that I’ve already been reminded of features and updates that I need to apply in my environments. Some task items are new; others are quite old but require a fresh look at things that six years of virtualization have obscured.

The second keynote is about to begin, so I’ll sign off for now. In the words of VMworld 2008, remember, “Virtually Anything Is Possible”.


By Chris Gurley, MCSE, CCNA
Last updated: August 28, 2012


VMworld: Engineering The Future (Keynote)

This morning’s keynote is purported to be more technical in flavor than yesterday’s presentation by VMware CEO Paul Maritz, who apparently wasn’t in his prime on Monday (per veteran EMC staff in attendance). Looking forward to what Steve’s going to offer…

Video interviews with VMware engineers: “It should just work and work well.”

Project Octopus: a collaboration platform that bridges somewhere between independent work and SharePoint with a service and simple centrality.


The entire presentation will be done with post-it notes and whiteboards (on screen), instead of PowerPoint.

We want to manage services not individual servers. We want the people to be thought of as a first tier individual who is accessing IT.

Devices. It’s about using all of our devices and having universal access. We have very high expectations. Devices + Universal Access + High Expectations = DUH!

Simplify the existing world: extract from silos, treat things in a common way with a common policy
– Desktop Service: not strapped to a Windows PC
– – VMware View 5
– App Catalog Service: one place
– – Project ThinApp Factory
– – – indexes a location for all MSI’s and exe’s
– – – may even spin up a VM to install the app and package it as a thin app
– – – assign access to apps by groups or users as auto-provisioned or user-activated
– – Horizon App Manager (ships today)
– – – next step is to add Windows apps to Horizon
– Data Service: inconvenience and big security challenge
– – how many of you are using DropBox today?
– – how many of you are /supposed to be/ using DropBox today?
– – Project Octopus:
– – – enterprise controls over external sharing, including expiration and domains
– – – works with both private cloud and public cloud

Manage: secure, user-focused
– Unified Service Broker
– Users, Application, Data Policy
– demonstration by Vittorio (VMware staff) of View thin & mobile

Connect: my app, my data, my colleagues
– Secure Universal Access
– View 5: access via thin client
– Horizon: provision mobile access (Horizon Mobile)
– – work life and home life separated but contained on one device
– – IT has control to wipe the work portion of a phone without affecting the personal side
– Project Octopus: “My Docs” present on Windows and mobile device
– Socialcast: new VMware acquisition for collaboration
– demonstration by Vittorio of iPad access and sharing files
– – Project App Blast: presents MS Excel to iPad
– – – presents apps via native HTML5 primitives
– – video calling from iPad to call center
– – Steve: “how a mobile user will interact with IT in a post-PC era”

Simplify – Manage – Connect

VMotion from the iPad using VCMA

# vSphere 5

# Accessible Innovation (including demonstration by Bruce)

Small Businesses:
– VMware Go: designed for small businesses getting started with virtualization
– – scans network for servers capable of running vSphere
– – Go reaches out to the machine, checks info, asks for password, and converts a Windows server to ESXi
– – can also do patch management and even help desk functionality
– vSphere Storage Appliance
– – enables organizations to deploy VMware without requiring a formal SAN
– – VSA runs as a virtual appliance on each host and presents local storage as shared
– – also writes data to primary and secondary locations for resilience

Larger Environments:
– Auto Deploy: enables ESXi provisioning via PXE

– biggest VM ever: 32 vCPU, 1000 GB RAM, 1 million IOPS
– guarantees: performance, availability, security

# Guarantees:

Intelligent Virtual Infrastructure
– set the policy, deploy the VM, and let IVI satisfy the contract in the private or public cloud

+ Performance Guarantees:
– “noisy neighbor”
– protect VMs from one another
– already been protecting CPU and memory for years
– now protecting Storage in vSphere 5
– – Pooling: take all the arrays in place and create pools and tiers
– – Placement: chooses storage based on policies and even within a tier
– – DRS: tracks behavior of VMs within the pool and migrates VMs within pools
– Storage I/O Control: minimums and shares for VMs
– Network I/O Control: same principles in networking — FINALLY!
– – at the hypervisor layer

– making networking fully virtualization aware
– Problem: Identifier = Location (IP addresses)
– – also shows up in the telephony space as phones moved from landlines to mobile
– – same goal in networking
– VXLAN: encapsulating L2 packets in L3 —HUGE!
– – create logical extensible overlay networks to span geography
– – applicable both inter-datacenter and intra-datacenter for DR, etc
– – vendors: Cisco, Intel, Emulex, Arista, Broadcom, IETF

+ Availability:
– one of the main reasons people have always chose to virtualize
– Datacenter outages:
– – SRM 5
– – – SRM has always abstracted the hardware
– – – SRM 5 introduces vSphere Replication for disparate SANs or less need for replication performance
– – – also introduces Automated Failback
– – – vCloud Partners to use 3rd party data centers as your replication site
– – – use cases: disaster avoidance, datacenter migration

+ Security:
– “nosy neighbor”
– critical in public cloud consideration
– vShield
– Defense In Depth
– – vShield Endpoint (VM)
– – vShield App (between VMs)
– – vShield Edge (virtual edge of network)

Guarantees: Performance – Availability – Security

Automate. Automate. Automate.
– typically an Alert –> Respond model
– an intelligent solution should Respond –> Alert
– Management Solution:
1) Monitor: AppSpeed
2) Correlate: event relations
3) Remediate: DRS, Storage & Network I/O Control, etc
– Sneak Peak (demonstration by Bruce):
– – vCenter Management
– – “Navigator” technology discovers applications running within servers —incredible!
– – no need to change apps within the servers to monitor them
– – discovers how the applications relate to each other
– – vCenter Operations Advanced —very interesting dashboards and metrics

It’s about the services and it’s about the people.