VMworld 2012, Day 1 – Keynote

The opening act for VMworld was the usual keynote by Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod.  This being Paul Maritz’ last week as CEO of VMware, he took the opportunity to introduce the incoming CEO, Pat Gelsinger and officially hand the torch over to him.  Maritz is a man of incredible vision mixed with the business acumen to drive a multi-billion dollar company through some of wildest changes across the IT landscape.  Over the last five years as CEO, he gauged the direction of the industry, foresaw and articulated what most people couldn’t comprehend, and leveraged VMware’s existing solutions to  capitalize on this new paradigm.  VMware through their solutions has revolutionized cloud and we have Paul Maritz to thank for his incredible leadership.  And now a new leader is coming in – Pat Gelsinger.  Paul handed the torch to him with command, “Take good care of her.”

Pat Gelsinger then articulated the vision of the expanding cloud infrastructure.  He defined the Software-Defined Datacenter – “All infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service, and the control of the datacenter is entirely automated by software.” He outlined the need to abstract, pool and automate all aspects of the data center and deliver the entire data center as a set of services.  This has already been done with Compute and Storage/Availability, but still needs to be done with Network/Security and Management.  The goal of the SDDC is to bring together one common platform to manage all aspects.  With this he introduced the vCloud Suite, one of the major announcements coming out of VMworld.

The vCloud Suite is the complete integrated solution to IT infrastructure management for the cloud.  It is built on the solid core foundation of vSphere and extends its reach with the following components:  vCloud Director, vCloud Connector, vCloud Networking and Security, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vCenter Operations Management Suite and vFabric Application Director.

Along with this announcement came the release of vSphere 5.1, the newest version of the highest performing and most reliable hypervisor in the industry.  And with this release came the greater announcement, the music to everyone’s ears:  the abolishment of vRAM entitlements.  This reversal in their pricing was in direct response to the negative feedback from the community.  Future pricing would be one easy model – per CPU, per socket.  Hooray.

Steve Herrod then came to the stage and further explained the value of the vCloud Suite.  He dived down into each of the layers to show how we can now provision the entire virtualized data center just like we have been provisioning virtual machines.  So much has already been accomplished on the compute layer, but max capacity levels have increased.  Moster VMs have gone from max of 32 vCPUs to 64 vCPUs with up to 1 million IOPS per VM (up from 1 million per host).  On the storage layer, advances have been made to better integrate components such as storage pools, storage DRS and SRM into the management tools.  One big announcement around this layer is the introduction of Enhanced vMotion.  The software-defined data center should have no physical constructs with which to move around so the limitation of shared storage has been removed!  Finally on the network layer, great progress has been made to abstract the physical network.  So IDS, traffic management, firewalls, subnets and VLANS can now be abstracted and worked into the virtualized data center, allowing much faster and easier provisioning.  VXLAN technology has been expanded and we can now extend Layer 2 networks across the cloud.  We can burst a VM into a vCloud provider’s cloud without changing the IP or MAC address, seamlessly and easily.  Cool stuff.  All of these layers are pulled together into one management tool.  VMware has designed a more elegant user browser-based interface to manage everything from one place.  This UI seamlessly ties into other tools that customers are already working with and provides vCloud APIs to allow partners to build UIs on top of this to further extend the capabilities.

Steve showed off this technology using several cool demos.  Tomorrow he plans to continue his journey up the stack by outlining the advances around mobile access.  Looking forward to it!

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