Well another VMworld under the belt, for me it’s #5, I’ve been going every year since 2009 and it never gets old. VMware has record attendance every year except for 2009 with this year topping out around 21,000 attendees. I wonder where and when that number will finally peak, with Hyper-V gaining popularity I imagine it will only be a year or two away. Here’s the attendance numbers throughout the years:
- 2004 VMworld conference held in San Diego, CA (1,400 attendees)
- 2005 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (3,500 attendees)
- 2006 VMworld conference held in Los Angeles, CA (6,700 attendees)
- 2007 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (10,800 attendees)
- 2008 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (14,000 attendees)
- 2009 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (12,500 attendees)
- 2010 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (17,000 attendees)
- 2011 VMworld conference held in Las Vegas, NV (19,000 attendees)
- 2012 VMworld conference held in San Francisco, CA (21,000 attendees)
Here’s a summary of what I saw and heard this year:
- vSphere 5.1 is announced and on display at the show, this is just an incremental update but it still has some cool enhancements. It will be available on September 11th.
- Lots of cool new VDI stuff coming soon, VMware’s embedded phone hypervisor (MVP) dream appears to be dead to be replaced by apps and VDI on smartphones. Horizion Mobile was shown off but it seems like it is perpetually on the horizon.
- vRAM licensing is dead, enough said, bad idea to begin with that came back to bite VMware in the butt. You won’t find a news release from VMware on it and it was only briefly mentioned in the keynote but go read the updated licensing white paper.
- New cloud suites announced, VMware doesn’t want you to buy just vSphere & vCenter Server anymore so they are packaging the companion products into cloud suites. If you’re a Enterprise Plus customer with current SnS you get a free upgrade to the vCloud Standard suite that gets you vCloud Director and some vShield components.
- The future of storage in vSphere was shown off again with the new Virtual Volume (vVols) along with Virtual SAN (vSAN) and Virtual Flash (vFlash). vVols represents a lot of development work and is a big change to the vSphere storage architecture. We’ll have to wait and see if VMware is able to pull this one off. You’re not going to find out a lot of information on this stuff, VMware showed it as a tech preview at VMworld but you’re probably not going to see or hear about it again until it’s released.
- Bring Your Own Desktop ( BYOD) for VDI is out and replaced with Spend Your Own Money (SYOM), I like it.
- VMware’s whole model for the future is the Software Defined Data Center where the entire physical data center becomes virtual. This includes traditional physical components such as storage and networking. You still need physical components but VMware wants to dumb down the hardware and place the intelligence and manageability inside the virtual layer. Since VMware is a software company that makes no money on hardware that makes sense, I can see the advantages from an integration and manageability standpoint but they are putting a lot of overhead on the hypervisor but doing it. One of the advantages of features like VAAI is being able to offload specific operations to the physical hardware which can do it more efficiently and now they want to bring it back into the hypervisor.
- VMware’s Next Generation Client, a fancy name for the flex based web client is finally ready for prime time. VMware has been trying to develop it for quite some time now so it could replace all the functionality that the C++ based vSphere Client provides. Just like ESXi finally replaced ESX, the NGC is ready for use and VMware expects everyone to start using it, you can bet that this is probably the last major release of vSphere that includes the vSphere Client. The NGC has one big advantage that replaced a common gripe, you can use it on any operating system, not just Windows like the vSphere Client was limited to. You don’t really have to use it in this release although there are a few things that require it like vDP but you should get familiar with it now so you are ahead of the curve. You can read more about it in this white paper.
- VMware took the wraps off their new integrated backup product that replaces vSphere Data Recovery (vDR) that was introduced in vSphere 4.0 as a simple, integrated backup product for smaller customers. vSphere Data Protection (vDP) is the new product and it’s really just Avamar with a new name and coat of paint. Unlike many of their other products that VMware acquired, vDR they developed in-house. VMware probably felt that rather than try and dump all that development effort into a product that many customers don’t even use was a waste. However they felt that they needed to check the box for built-in backup capabilities in vSphere so they took EMC’s Avamar and used it’s engine, put a new wrapper on it, changed the name and replace vDR with it. Now this move may be more convenient for VMware but it’s sure to piss off their partners that compete in that space like Veeam and Symantec. Having a enterprise-class backup product built-in to vSphere could potentially take business away from their partners. vDP has limits though and doesn’t scale well but it’s still a much better product than vDR, especially with it’s built-in de-dupe. As expected it caused a big uproar on the internet, I felt VMware should have been very low-key about it and not even mention the name Avamar to be sensitive to their partners but they chose to keep calling out Avamar at VMworld. EMC was beating their chests to show how proud they were that Avamar was embedded into vSphere. In fact they chose that as their 4-minute demo during the keynote as if to thumb their noses at the competition and rub salt in the wound. I attended a session on vDP so stay tuned for more on it. Before you choose to use it though I strongly encourage you to check out Veeam Backup & Replication instead, you won’t be disappointed.
- I received an invite to VMware’s exclusive Office of the CTO reception. This is the 3rd year for it at VMworld, it evolved from a gathering that was exclusively for vExperts into a more general gathering with vExperts making up a large portion of the attendees. There were some big names and big talent at the event, many of the product management, lead engineers and top brass were in attendance. Pat Gelsinger was there hanging out and talking to everyone, I was able to meet him and shake his hand. All in all a great event and a great opportunity to meet those people in a casual setting.
- Having judged the Best of VMworld the previous 3 years I was curious to see who the winners were this year. I was surprised to see many companies that I’ve never heard of win this year, especially in Management and Security. With Hardware for Virtualization all the winners were small storage players, just goes to show that storage for virtualization is hot. You can read about all the winners at Tech Target’s website.
- I happened to be sitting next to Mike Laverick in the Hang Space when he whipped out his iPhone and dragged me into a mini-wag, you can view it here.
- Jon Bon Jovi played at the official VMworld party, I was very excited to see him being a Bon Jovi fan but was very disappointed afterwards. Maybe only a quarter of his songs were actual Bon Jovi songs, the rest were all cover songs from other bands. Sounds like he didn’t get to keep much in his divorce from Bon Jovi.
Well that’s it, I probably forgot a few things which I may add to this post later. All in all a good show and can’t wait for next year. Also wanted to call out the good folks over at SolarWinds who sponsored me for this event, be sure and check out their great VMware management solutions.
Little late posting this but better late then never. Day 2 at VMworld and the keynote was mostly dominated by VMware’s End User Computing (VDI) initiatives. They showed off some pretty slick stuff including a seamless real-time upgrade of a user desktop from Windows XP to Windows 7 as well as some great mobility options for users, but and this is a BIG but, it’s still all in development and you won’t see it for quite a while. VMware has been known to demo VDI stuff at VMworld and then it kind of disappears for a while and you don’t hear much about it (i.e Octopus). I do realize the whole VDI side is like a big puzzle with many pieces and VMware has a lot of work ahead of them to get them so they fit just right. Hopefully we finally see the fruits of their labor on the VDI side soon.
Remember years ago when VMware wanted to virtualize smart phones with their ambitious Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP). The concept was you run a hypervisor like ESXi on your phone and then be able to have multiple persona’s, VMs essentially, on it to be able to completely separate one phone environment from one another (personal vs. work). I always questioned that, not that the technology wasn’t there to do it, but the phone carriers and manufacturers would never go for it. There was no way in hell that VMware would ever be able to convince Apple, one of the big players to ever do that. Since that announcement we’ve never heard much about MVP at all, well judging from VMworld this year MVP is officially dead and VMware has made an end run to approach the concept through apps and thin clients instead.
Since VMware can’t control the hardware or OS on the phone they decided to move up to the application layer and attack it there. VMware demonstrated at VMworld how they would do this with Apple iOS with Horizon Mobile which leverages the ability to deploy apps outside the Apple iTunes store and store them inside secure folders. Sounds great but when will this be available? Who knows, VMware claims a beta will be coming by the end of the year but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it. They do need to conquer the mobile phone market somehow so they cover that endpoint for VDI but they have a big challenge ahead of them to successfully do that across all the platforms. VMware isn’t really in a position to dictate the future of mobile phone computing as much as they would like to, mobile computing is nothing at all like server or desktop virtualization, all they can hope to do is try and position themselves as best as they can to integrate with it. VMware also made fun of the new Windows mobile phone but they better take them seriously as they are going to rapidly gain market share. You can read a good write-up on VMware’s mobile efforts over at Ars Technica who is declaring it vaporware.
Also in the keynote VMware tried something new this year by letting their biggest partners, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP & NetApp all do 4 minute live demos on stage. I’ll summarize this with I hope VMware doesn’t do this again next year. While it’s good to showcase partner technology and integration, the live talent show theme didn’t play well, Cisco’s attempt at a music video wasn’t well received at all. They also had live voting via a web-based polling app so every could vote for their favorite with the winner getting a donation to the charity of their choice. Unfortunately the polling website couldn’t handle the load from voting and many attendees couldn’t even vote.
Finally just wanted to mention the good folks over at SolarWinds who sponsored me for this event, be sure and check out their great VMware management solutions.
I’ve been a judge for the Best of VMworld awards for 3 years but I had to hang up my robes when I changed jobs and went to a partner. So I was interested to see who the winners were this year. Last year SolarWinds won the Virtualization Management category, I was a bit surprised to see that all winner and finalists in that category this year do not include any of the companies from last year. SolarWinds has a great, solid and mature VMware management product. With the many storage startups that have sprung up it’s no surprise that the winner (Tintri) and all the finalists in the Hardware for Virtualization category are storage startups. You can check out the full list of all the winners here. Congrats to all.
Well, technically this is day 2 at the Welcome Reception opened on Sunday evening this year. At the opening keynote in the morning Paul Maritz presented before passing off to his replacement from EMC, Pat Gelsinger. VMware showed off to their vision for the future and laid the groundwork for the other announcements that they had. Perhaps the biggest announcement centered around their vRAM licensing model which has been not received well by their customers. Last year when they launched vSphere 5 they also first announced the new licensing model based on vRAM usage. As expected there was a huge customer outcry as licensing costs for many customers would be much higher with vSphere 5. VMware reacted to this by slightly changing the model to offer more vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition. This didn’t do much to relieve customer concerns with the licensing model but like it or not customers had to accept it.
So fast forward to this year, VMware simply said in the keynote that the vRAM licensing model is no more without much explanation on why they made the change. There were probably several reasons for this:
- Customers still did not like it and are more willing to like at alternative hypervisors.
- Increased competition from Microsoft, vSphere offered much more value and features compared to Hyper-V, and when you have a good product people are willing to pay for it because Hyper-V was very lacking. Now that Hyper-V is catching up even closer to vSphere with the upcoming Windows Server 2012 release it becomes more of a viable alternative for customers. So the cost vs. features argument is not going to be as effective anymore.
- More focus on cloud suites and management products. It used to be VMware’s main source of revenue was ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server licenses. Now they have a whole slew of other products they can make money on as well. With the core hypervisor becoming commoditized the focus is on all the other products that sit on top of it.
With yet another licensing change, despite being beneficial to customers, VMware has left a bad taste in the mouths of customers and memories linger. So this backpedaling may not be enough to stop customers from looking at alternatives to vSphere. You can read the new licensing details in this updated vSphere pricing and packaging document. VMware also announced new suites of vCloud products as they attempt to bundle products together. You can still by products a la carte but VMware is moving towards the suite model in the future. Isn’t VMware licensing fun, it’s just like a saying we have in Colorado, don’t like the weather, wait an hour and it will change. Just when you thought you understood VMware licensing it changes. You can read more on the vCloud Suites at this page and also on the product datasheet. There is a free upgrade path for customer with Enterprise Plus licenses and current SnS to the vCloud Standard Suite.
Other announcements centered around the new vSphere 5.1 release which was officially announced and Stephen Herrod covered, however it won’t be available until Sept. 11th. This a point release so there are not a huge number of big new features but it still has a lot of good stuff in it. You can read the general What’s New list here and there a bunch of new technical papers that cover it in detail. One of the big things is the updated Web UI client that provides the full functionality of the vSphere Client and also a unified interface across all the VMware products like vCloud Director. Yet better get used to because VMware intends to bury the vSphere Client in the next major release like they did with the ESX hypervisor. Other big features are the new ability to do a vMotion with shared storage, bigger VMs, no downtime VMware Tools upgrades (yes!), vSphere Data Protection (detailed post coming soon) and a new SE Sparse virtual disk type that you can’t use yet until the next version of View. They also previewed some of their big storage directions with Virtual Volumes (vVols), Virtual Flash Cache and their Virtual SAN (vSAN).
Here’s a slide from the VMware opening keynote that illustrates how much the Monster VM has been working out from vSphere 5.0 to vSphere 5.1, check out the big guns on that thing:
Later that evening I attended the SolarWinds vMixer party and met a lot of great people there including my old friend and a virtualization legend, Ken Cline. Also met some of the original Hyper9 guys like David Marshall and John Meadows who there in the early days before the SolarWinds acquisition. SolarWinds had some real cool geeked out buttons with lots of catchy and funny phrases on them which made a nice addition to my lanyard. Be sure and check out their great VMware management products which can add a lot of value to your VMware environment.
All in all a great day and look forward to what day 2 brings.
Can’t attend VMworld in person, no worries, I’ll be blogging here each day to help keep you in the loop with all the exciting things happening at VMworld. Even if you are attending it’s hard to catch everything so watch for my daily recaps here. My journey begins on Friday as I drive from Denver to Phoenix and arrive there on Saturday before hopping on a flight Sunday morning to San Francisco. I’ll be attending the VMunderground party Sunday evening after the Welcome Reception ends. Speaking of parties be sure and sign-up for SolarWinds vMixer party on Monday evening, I’ll be attending that one as well.
David Marshall over at VMblog.com will also be providing a ton of information on his dedicated event page for VMworld 2012 that is sponsored by SolarWinds. So be sure and check back here and bookmark the event page over at VMblog.com for lots of great information on this great event!