What a week in Las Vegas at VMware Partner Exchange 2010! For all those that complained just 4 months ago that VMworld 2009 was disappointing because the announcements were few and far between, all I can say is, based on what I watched, experienced, and touched this week at PEX 2010, VMware should grab your attention again soon! Unfortunately, so much of what was discussed falls under the VMware Partner NDA that I’ll have to ask VM /ETC readers to wait for the technology to become public. We’ll have plenty to discuss when it does.
For now I’ll quickly wrap up my week and drop some hints about VMware’s future direction based on my understanding about what I saw during the PTAB meetings, the Keynotes, and the Hands On and Self Paced Labs. I’m also linking to some reactions from others to support my impressions.
The official VMware News Release for Partner Exchange can be found at this link:
VMware Partner Exchange 2010 Kicks Off With Record-breaking 2,600+ Attendees, 55 Sponsors and 45 Countries Represented
PTAB: Cloud Infrastructure and Virtual Desktops
I knew what was on the Partner Technical Advisory Board meeting agenda before I arrived, but I have to admit I was still pleasantly surprised. In short, the two day meeting was split by topics. We talked about virtual servers on Day 1 and virtual desktops on Day 2.
The server discussions included everything from possible future enhancements to the vStorage API to details about Project Redwood architecture. Discussions included a mix of vSphere roadmap possibilities and potential directions of VMware in the private and hosted cloud. VMware is serious about Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Software as a Service, and the slides presented to the PTAB committee revealed a considerable strategy to make it happen. I’ll just say it is a lot clearer to me where exactly Zimbra and SpringSource fit into VMware’s future plans.
Switching to the second day and to the topic of virtual desktops, if you are like me you would assume it to be a different day of independent content. Surprisingly, the paths of servers and desktops seemingly are going to collide in the VMware virtual cloud. I would suggest that you get ready to rethink what a VMware Virtual Infrastructure actually means. The boundaries will be changing as to where VMware’s technology actually begins and ends.
Among the 32 other PTAB members with me was Brian Knudtson. Brian has been providing his own coverage of the VMware PEX 2010 on his Knudt Blog. Check out his posts as well — Partner Exchange Day 1 — Sunday (PTAB Day 1) and Partner Exchange Day 2 — Monday (PTAB Day 2).
Keynotes: VMware Gets Aggressive About The Cloud and SMBs
EVP of Worldwide Field Operations Carl Eschenbach opened the official first day of the conference with his Keynote on Tuesday morning. Eschenbach later called on stage Rick Jackson, VMware’s Chief Marketing Officer, they established that 2010 would be an aggressive year for VMware. The two also emphasized VMware’s intent to secure existing and future business in the SMB market. The day 1 Keynote concluded with the promise that special discounts would soon be available for the vSphere Essentials bundles.
On Wednesday morning, VMware’s CTO Steve Herrod took the stage. Herrod’s Keynotes usually provide the product demos and are therefore always the most anticipated for me. The PEX 2010 Keynote 2 definitely did not disappoint! With the help of a few VMware product managers, Herrod demonstrated a technical preview of the Redwood Cloud UI as well as a future virtual desktop environment with application virtualization integration. A key point to the demos was that the Cloud is a series of “layers of abstraction” above the physical hardware. I thought Herrod and company did a great job illustrating this by providing example scenarios where screen shots of both the user’s perspective and the system administrator’s tool set were provided.
Keynote reactions from others
VMware employee Duncan Epping echoes my amazement about what was previewed on Wednesday:
“I was impressed with all the insights Steve gave in terms of upcoming products, brand new projects and even a couple tech previews. I am looking forward to the upcoming version of VMware View and a new project which I can’t disclose as the VMware NDA Police would again kill me.”
Responsible for all things VMware at EMC, Chad Sakac says the following on his PEX wrap up post:
“Steve Herrod did some big unveiling. Project “Redwood” (end user self-service portal targeted for Private and Public cloud uses) was public outed for the first time, as well as the next version of VMware View (loads of stuff in here, more to come soon). He also talked about the scaling and feature goals of the next generation of the vSphere generation.”
Chad’s post is really about 10 blog posts on Partner Exchange and EMC’s doings in Las Vegas shoved into one title. He covers lots of topics. Check it out.
Hands On and Self Paced Labs — The VMware View Buzz
Previously mentioned for posts about PTAB above, vExpert Brian Knudtson comments:
“… I attended the Advanced View 4 Lab, which ended up actually being a Tech Preview of the next version of View. This next version introduces many new features and some considerable changes to the interface and scalability of the product. According to the lab instructors, they didn’t even get their hands on the code until three days before the conference and had to learn it while building the lab. I have to say that I was very impressed with the product, the improvements they made and the stability of a product still in the Alpha stage. This release has more features than View 4.0 had and is everything that View 4.0 should have been. It will truly be a game changer.”
I too attended the VMware View lab, and got a first hand glimpse of what everyone was excited about. View dot next, the only version name or number VMware employees would commit to, is amazing.
I also used the self paced labs to explore configuration of The Nexus 1000v virtual switch as well as using the REST client to connect to the vCloud API. PEX 2010 was actually the first time I’ve used the self paced labs. The customized lab interface that allows an attendee to select a lab at their terminal coupled with the monitoring screen visible to all lab takers is really cool. During my few hours in the self paced labs on Wednesday I noticed average activity of over 300 VMs on the monitor.
It was good to see Randy Keever again. Randy’s GETO team built and managed all the conference lab infrastructure, and Keever was actually sitting at the administrator’s table during my VMware View lab. The set up was mostly the same from VMworld 2009 in September. Early reports from attendees on Monday said they experienced some congestion when simultaneously starting installation processes in a lab, but Randy’s team identified the issue as a too aggressive vSphere host oversubscription strategy and were quickly able to add additional blade servers as vSphere hosts. For those that see this as an opportunity to knock ESX oversubscription, realize that conference labs are a unique scenario. How often will administrators experience an environment where nested ESX hosts are created, started, and reset on an hourly basis. My labs started on Tuesday. I can tell you I had no issues.
2010 should another great year for VMware virtualization. I’m hoping I can fill in the blanks for VM /ETC readers between now and VMworld 2010!
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