RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Oct 13 2010   8:43AM GMT

VMworld Day 1: Keynotes…

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Day one of VMworld 2010 Copehagen – kicked off with a keynote comprising of Paul Martiz and Steve Herrod. I got priority alumni seating so I was down at the front. It was pretty much the same keynote I’d seen at San Francisco. It was interesting to hear it again, to pick out the fine detail – in the sense that I sometimes think there are coded messages in these keynotes.

So the thing kicked off on the humorous cloud video thing – it was kinda of based on in jokes surrounding the Matrix movie. To be honest that went over my head at SF, and then again at CPN. I haven’t seen the Matrix in years, so didn’t get all the references!

VMware’s CEO Paul Martiz repeated the data about how the number of VMs were exceeding the number of physical machines (PMs) – according to IDC data. The important thing to remember here is that IDC data is about NEW servers, and reflect the fact that many customers have adopted a “virtualization first” policy… what that data doesn’t show is the TOTAL market share of VMs to PMs – which according to Gartner has remained stubbornly about the 25% mark. This was brought to my attention by Andi Mann (@andimann) now of CA, and a former analyst. I’m not sure why the Gartner number has stayed around this mark for so long. I’m no statistician but maybe its the rapid rise of new adopters that skewing those numbers – but heck you’d think they’d take that into account?

Paul Martiz also went on to restate the declining roll of the operating system as it no longer controls the hardware. This has been an ongoing theme since I’ve been coming to these events. As I sat there listening I wryly smiled at the powerpoint slide. The powerpoint said “OS no longer controls the hardware” – and the arrow on the box pointed directly at a Microsoft Windows VM. Perhaps I’m reading to much into this but – was that a gentle nod to how VMware think the role of Microsoft, and its operating system is about control. And that what VMware are doing is attempting to loosen the strangle hold of one of their competitors?

There was some other phrases that jumped out to me in the keynote as well. Firstly, VMware CEO once again warned of being locked-in to a cloud platform, that once you VMs were owned by a provider it would be hard to get them back out – he talked of being “Trapped in the cloud”. I thought that was quite noteworthy – since VMware’s management platform (vCenter) only recognises their hypervisor (ESX) – and there cloud automation tool for building out IaaS based clouds (vCloud Director) only works with vSphere. There’s been lot of talk about building “hybrid” cloud model – by which VMware mean a synergy of Private and Public Cloud provision – but that hybrid talk never seems to spill out into potentially recognising that the cloud might not need to be wedded to just one vendors virtualization platform. As I put it in a tweet – “U can get trapped in the cloud, but Paul –  vCD is vSphere only and vCenter is ESX only… Trapped in VMware cloud?”. Isn’t funny how 140 character limit imposes a kind of directness to one’s thoughts!!!

Don’t quote me directly on this – but I think I heard Paul Martiz talking about the days of single instance service with a single DB backend were numbers – and application developers would have to learn to design applications that scaled out for the cloud. At this point I began to think about how vCenter is single instance service, with single DB backend. Once again there’s somewhat of disconnect between what VMware preaches, and what they practise. This has been my theme for a number of weeks, and don’t worry I will soon get off my soapbox! I guess these things take time, and VMware will eventually get there with an archetecture that represents their aspirations – after all Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There was some good little bits in the keynote which I made a point of writing down. You see I think I will probably be writing some kind of “Building IaaS Clouds with VMware Technologies” book next year. I”m in the “thinking” stage about the whole thing, and walking away from the old-school analogies I had for explaining virtualization, to develop new ones for cloud computing. So I’m particularly attracted to the idea of the cloud being a building that I own and manage – and that I carve up for my various “tenants”. The metaphor is littered around the subject, but no-one has seemed to really articulated clear and elegantly (guess that’s my job then :-p) So if you think of “multi-tennacy” and stuff like that – and in this keynote Steve Herrod (CTO) made reference to “Noisy Neighbours” and “Nosey Neighbours” to describe other tenants in the cloud who piss you off with their loud music, and attempts to incept you mail – in other words the performance and security anxieties that cloud naturally bring.

VMware persist in circling around some other metaphors which I think many of my contemporaries either find confusing or laughable – and some case both.  So there was a repetition of the “OS-VDC” related material – Operating System for Virtual DataCenters – was touted some years ago. Since then we have had the “Software Mainframe” and now we on to the “Virtual Giant”. Clearly, VMware are in search for a user-C-Class-friendly term that can be understood by Execs.

There was lots of tidbits too – but I’m starting to loose the will with this blogpost – But VMware demo’d the vSphere Client for the iPAD… and Project Horizon a portal that aggregates different application deliver method it to a single view. All fun stuff. I won’t be long before this kind of thing is out in the wild and I get my paws on it. Heck, it might even make me consider buying an IPAD if I don’t win one here this week that is!

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