Scenes From VMworld: Pushing IT To The Cloud5:57 PM EST Thu. Sep. 03, 2009
VMworld 2009, held in San Francisco this week, brought together a host of vendors trying to demonstrate the latest in virtualization technology.
That host was led by VMware, which founded the conference and is the primary sponsor, driver and arbitrator of all that goes on during the show.
VMware's role in running the show sparked some controversy this year after it changed its rules restricting the participation of competitors, particularly Citrix and Microsoft.
Both Citrix and Microsoft were limited to tiny 10-foot-by-10-foot booths, and were not allowed to sponsor activities, but they still managed to make the most of their opportunity.
Citrix personnel manning the company's booth at VMworld protested the tiny space it was given at VMworld by wearing T-shirts showing its Xen-based products breaking out of its small booth.
Citrix competes directly with VMware with its XenServer server virtualization technology, XenDesktop desktop PC virtualization technology and XenApp application serving technology.
Citrix also offered a chance to win a Rolex watch as a way to entice VMworld exhibitors, including this HP/VMware T-shirt-wearing fellow, into the booth.
Microsoft, which like Citrix was limited to a 100-square-foot booth in the exhibition area, was not outwardly protesting its small space.
Instead, the developer of the Hyper-V server virtualization technology preferred to bring some of its virtualization experts to the conference, who used their T-shirts to display their Twitter nicknames.
These included, from left to right, MS_Int_Virt (Kenon Owens, technical project manager for integrated virtualization), edwinyuen (Edwin Yuen, virtualization product manager) and vtango (Vijay Tewari, principal program manager of the virtualization team). All three work at Microsoft.
Paul Maritz, VMware president and CEO, started off his keynote with either a slip of the tongue or a jab at anyone who thinks VMworld should be an open virtualization conference.
"Good morning, and welcome to VMware 2009," Maritz said, referring to the conference by his company's name and not by the VMworld name.
Maritz said the vast majority of IT spending goes toward running IT infrastructures, with relatively little going toward things that make a company more competitive.
"Everything we are doing should be focused on moving that meter, helping [those companies] be more flexible, more productive," he said.
Companies are hungry for a way to move toward cloud computing to provide secure access to scalable, on-demand resources, and that means using virtualization from VMware or another vendor, Maritz said.
To do so, a company needs to lift up an existing application, slide in a virtualized component, and take it to any physical or virtual data center without disrupting current operations, which is what VMware is doing with its vSphere 4 virtualization technology, Maritz said.
After adopting vSphere 4, the next step toward the cloud, in VMware's view, is to add management to vSphere with the company's vCenter management application.
vCenter offers three types of management, Maritz said.
At the foundation, it provides virtualization capacity planning, configuration, operations scheduling, and continuity and disaster recovery.
VCenter also provides self-service capabilities such as the ability to set up service profiles and catalogs of services, a portal for their customers to get their own services on a self-service basis and chargeback systems for services used by those customers.
VCenter also lets companies put their applications on autopilot with such capabilities as application provisioning and application scheduling, Maritz said.
VMware is now making such cloud capabilities available to smaller businesses with vSphere Essentials, which Maritz said handles the installation and deployment of applications with management, data protection and security starting as low as $166 per processor.
Maritz also unveiled the beta version of VMware Go, a free online service that helps small businesses get virtual servers deployed and managed by VMware in the hope that they will one day become paying customers.
Maritz then discussed VMware's $420 million acquisition of SpringSource, a developer of applications based on open source technologies.
SpringSource is active in several open source communities. It leads the Spring Framework enterprise Java programming model that supports about half of all enterprise Java projects, and is the key contributor to the Apache Tomcat Java application server environment in use by more than 60 percent of all Java application server users.
The company also leads the Groovy and Grails dynamic language and Web application framework community for working with Ruby on Rails while maintaining compatibility with Java virtual machine (JVM) environments.
Maritz expressed VMware's commitment to keeping SpringSource part of the open source community, including its support of virtual environments other than VMware.
"It's important for developers that we don't cut off choice," he said.
VMware will slide the SpringSource framework into its vSphere technology, making it the foundation of its Platform-as-a-Service initiative for building applications that run in virtualized infrastructures and on the Web, Maritz said.
VMware makes working with technical partners a priority as part of its move to bring its virtualization and cloud technology to market, Maritz said.
To make his point, Maritz called onto the stage Tom Brey, senior technical staff manager for power management at IBM, who demonstrated how new IBM servers not only use half the power of previous servers when running multiple virtual machines, but also work with VMware's vCenter management application.
Brey demonstrated how, with vSphere and vCenter, the power required by IBM servers changes as the number of virtual servers deployed changes, which means that power consumption can actually drop during times of lighter workloads.
Maritz was also joined on-stage by Steve Dupree, director of platform virtualization at HP's Enterprise Server and Storage group.
Dupree said his company's new HP Virtual Desktop Reference Architecture for VMware View enables customers to build a virtual desktop infrastructure solution for under $1,000 per seat.
Based on an HP blade server infrastructure and HP's LeftHand iSCSI SAN and Virtual Connect networking infrastructure, the HP Virtual Desktop Reference Architecture is directly managed via VMware vCenter, Dupree said.
HP also showed a new version of its Insight Control software, which integrates the management of its blade servers and ProLiant servers with VMware's vCenter.
Maritz later on Tuesday hosted several service provider partners on-stage for a discussion on what it takes to build a cloud computing infrastructure.
With Maritz, from left to right, were Steve Caniano, vice president of hosting and application services at AT&T Operations; Bryan Doerr, Savvis CTO; Kerry Bailey, senior vice president of global services at Verizon Business; Manuel Medina, Terremark chairman and CEO; Rod Johnson, SpringSource CEO; and Michael Crandell, RightScale CEO and founder.
David Shacochis, vice president of R&D at Savvis, told Channelweb.com his company's Project Spirit is a way to help customers easily move to cloud computing.
Project Spirit is a cloud data center platform that uses VMware technology to let customers build a virtual data center as part of a private cloud with all the necessary resources on a pay-for-use basis.
Savvis provides the tools customers need to build their virtual data centers, and will eventually publish APIs so customers can use third-party tools, Shacochis said.
A beta of the service is slated for late this year, with full release planned for early 2010.
VMware, which already has the largest share of the server virtualization market, is building on its technology base to bring desktop virtualization to any end-user device, including iPhones or mobile devices, said VMware CTO Steve Herrod.
While vSphere 4 is VMware's technology for server virtualization, it is also the base on which VMware is moving towards a more complete virtualization infrastructure, Herrod said.
Yet regardless of the technology involved, virtual desktops have to be less desktop-centric and more people-centric, especially in terms of the user experience that users expect based on traditional PCs, Herrod said. "If their experience isn't as good as possible, your customers will hear about it," he said.
VMware is continuing to update its virtual desktop in a number of ways, Herrod said.
Herrod unveiled a new OEM agreement with RTO Software, the Alpharetta, Ga.-based developer of software that improved the performance of virtual desktops and thin clients.
VMware is using an RTO technology called Virtual Profilers with its VMware View desktop virtualization technology to separate the operating system, application and personality components of a virtual desktop in order to modify or patch any of these components without impacting the others.
VMware also is working with Teradici, of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, to develop products that use the PC-over-IP, or PCoIP, protocol, Herrod said. VMware will ship products with a software version of the PCoIP later this year to increase the performance of mobile and remote users who use virtual desktops, he said.
VMware and its partners also are continuing to develop new capabilities to make it easier for mobile device users to get a virtual desktop experience using any device.
Herrod said VMware's mobile strategy includes using mobile phones as thin clients, as devices for doing remote management and as virtual PCs. The result is end-user freedom to work on any device, and a reduction in management issues by corporate IT departments, which are increasingly forced to deal with multiple types of user devices.
For instance, Herrod and another VMware colleague demonstrated PocketCloud, an application from Wyse Technology, San Jose, Calif., that turns an Apple iPhone into a mobile thin client device that can be used to access virtual desktop PCs from anywhere.
Herrod and Peter Ciurea, global head of product development at credit card giant Visa, demonstrated VMware's yet-to-be-released virtual mobile phone technology, which allows multiple virtual devices to reside on a single mobile phone and be accessed by clicking on the appropriate icon.
Ciurea showed how the Visa application, which included a separate operating system from that of the mobile phone itself, can alert a user when his or her Visa card is swiped, send out promotional offers based on his or her buying history and interface with Google Maps to show the location of local ATMs.
"So together, we'll make it easier to spend money wherever you are," Herrod said.
Data deduplication technology developer Data Domain used its VMworld booth to try and get people away from tape and onto disk-based storage. "Tape Sucks. Move On!" was the theme.
However, it may be Data Domain which will be moving on. The company was acquired by EMC for $2.1 billion in July, and so whether it will have a stand-alone booth at VMworld 2010 is still an unknown.
But then again, EMC is also the majority shareholder in VMware, so who knows what will happen next year?
Several solution providers had booths at VMworld in order to grab the attention of the nearly 15,000 attendees at the conference.
They included Forsythe Solutions Group, Skokie, Ill., where Russell Chow, product manager, was introducing his company's virtualization services to a prospective client.
Nate Schnable, network architect at GreenPages Technology Solutions, Kittery, Maine, used his time at the booth to demonstrate how his company can help customers virtualize their infrastructures.
Mark Click, sales manager at Hosting.com, told potential clients how his company can help them take advantage of cloud computing.
Hosting.com as it exists today was formed in May when Denver-based application hosting provider HostMySite acquired Louisville, Ken.-based Hosting.com in order to form a national platform for the delivery of managed services, collocation, dedicated servers and virtualized application services.
Distributor Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, or Arrow ECS, showed its support of the channel at VMworld with the help of Katie Lovell, ECS inside account rep, and Marc Schwitters, senior account manager at Arrow ECS's Alternative Technology Group.