By Monday morning, the buzz surrounding the world’s largest virtualization conference, VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada, should be so deafening that it will make you virtually insane. The pun was intended. The topics on news, finance, technical analysis and blog sites will be overflowing with announcements and reports from VMware, sponsors, exhibitors and partners at the conference. We are, and will continue, contributing to the buzz here at Virtualization Pro as well. There will also be strategically released announcements from VMware’s competitors, most of which signed up for exhibitor booths at VMworld anyway. I do not know how I will keep up with the steady geyser of information, and I will be in the middle of it.
Here are some of my predictions on what I expect (more like hope) to hear loud and clear above the constant static to be generated next week. I have no special access or insight other than my conversations with my contacts. These predictions are just my guesses.
- Continuous Availability – Demonstrated in the past at VMworlds, the ability to simultaneously run a VM across multiple ESX/ESXi hosts and provide a synchronized, instantaneous failover will be touted as the foundation for the next generation of VMware’s HA (high availability) features.
- Cloud Infrastructure – Building on advances like continuous availability, VMware’s vision of ubiquitous and automated virtual infrastructure will be discussed in detail.
VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)
- Offline VMs – The latest version of VMware’s virtual desktop manager product, VDM, will help push the VDI concept to the next level of adoption with the ability to provide mobile users a local copy of a VM that will synchronize with a master version when on the corporate network.
- Faster, more flexible and efficient VM deployments – I expect to hear about advancements in the ability to rapidly deploy large numbers of VMs from a single master template using minimal storage space. This will be achieved by separating the operating system, applications, and user profiles into separate components that are individually pieced together to form a customized virtual desktop. Enhancements from storage vendors in thin provisioning and LUN cloning will support this model.
VMware Workstation 6.5
- Version 6.5 – VMworld 2008 would be a great time to release the latest version, wouldn’t it? With the growing popularity of Sun’s xVM Virtualbox VMware should take the opportunity to introduce the new version and all the automation, GUI, and performance improvements they’ve added.
- Integration of ACE – Building on the existing integration of VMware ACE in the current version, I expect VMware Workstation and ACE to merge into one product eventually.
- Free Version or enhancements to VMware Player – I’m not convinced that the full version of Workstation will ever be offered for free, but, just like VMware’s strategy with ESXi, I can imagine a free version of VMware Workstation that could be offered with limited features. Whether VMware introduces a restricted Workstation or just adds to the already free VMware Player, offering a free desktop product with comparable features to the competition would make sense.