VMworld 2014 recap: SDDC, EUC and hybrid cloud

By Chris Ward, CTO

Another year, another VMworld in the books. It was a great event this year with some key announcements and updates. First, some interesting stats:

The top 3 strategic priorities for VMware remain unchanged (Software Defined Datacenter/Enterprise, End User Computing, and Hybrid Cloud).  Some interesting numbers presented included on premise infrastructure is increasing at a rate of 4% year over year while off premise (primarily SaaS and IaaS) is growing at 25% year over year.  However, the overall market for on premise today is about $2 trillion while off premise (cloud) is about $45 billion, and most analysts are saying that even in the year 2020 that 75% of infrastructure will still exist on premise. 

The key takeaway here is that Hybrid will be the ultimate winner with most customers ending up with a mix of both on and off prem, and the secret will be getting the integration right.

Monday’s opening keynote contained several announcements outlined below.  I’ve categorized them into the three primary focus areas for VMW (SDDC, Hybrid Cloud, and EUC).

SDDC:

  • There was some fun new naming of the management toolsets.  vRealize will now be the prefix to all management tools so vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) now becomes vRealize Automation, vCloud Operations Manager (vCOPS) now becomes vRealize Operations, etc.  There will be new suites of the management tools as well, known as the vRealize Suite, which replaces the vCenter Operations Suites.  There are a few versions/editions of the new vRealize Suites including….
    • vRealize Automation (formally vCAC), vRealize Operations (formally vCOPS), Log Insight, and ITBM Standard)
    • vRealize Operations Insight will include the vRealize Advanced Suite along with Log Insight.  This is targeted as an Upgrade Path to existing vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) customers who want/need additional functionality.
    • vRealize Air Automation – As the ‘Air’ name implies, this is a service hosted in the public cloud and is essentially vCAC as a Service consumed via SaaS vs traditional on premise.  This will be released in Beta very soon and should be GA by Q1 2015.
    • Expect to also see vRealize Air Operations (vCOPS as a Service) around this same timeframe as well.
  • vCloud Suite 5.8 was announced with major updates. These updates included tighter component integration, enhanced support for next generation applications, and proactive support.  On the integration front, this is mainly focused on tighter vCAC (now vRealize Automation) supportability with SRM and NSX.  The next gen app support is focused around Hadoop and containers (Docker), and the proactive support is really just the inclusion of the support assistant vCenter plugin.
  • VMWare continues to join and support open source initiatives including joining OCP (Open Compute Project). They formally announced their own distribution of OpenStack.  The OpenStack announcement is pretty significant as VMware will now formally have their own supported distribution as they have seen numerous customers adopting OpenStack in the Enterprise.  The OCP announcement is important as well and is tied to the next announcement from the show……
  • VMware is entering the hyper-converged infrastructure space with the introduction of EVO.  This is essentially a packaged software stack which will run on OEM hardware from vendors such as Dell, Fujitsu, Supermicro, etc. The key thing here is fast deployment. VMWare claims that once the systems are racked and cabled that it only takes 15 min to get a full software stack deployed (vSphere along with management capabilities and vSAN for storage).  EVO will come in two flavors, EVO Rail and EVO Rack.  The primary difference between them is scale. Rail starts at about 100 VM support scalable to 400 and Rack scaling is targeted more to enterprise level deployments.
  • Other announcements on the SDDC side of the house include vSphere 6 Beta and vSAN 2.0 Beta along with vVOL Beta.  On the vSphere 6 side, major new functionality will include SMP enabled Fault Tolerance for up to 4 vCPU VMs, Cross vCenter vMotion and enhanced Long Distance vMotion.  Not much news on the vSAN 2.0 Beta but expect to see major storage manufacturers begin to release vVol support pretty soon.

Hybrid cloud: 

  • There were more naming changes here as vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) will now be known as vCloud Air.  Any and all cloud based offerings from VMwrae going forward will have ‘Air’ in the name.
  • The latest release of vCloud Connector has L2 overlay capabilities to extend a subnet across the WAN into vCloud Air.
  • Launch of GOV cloud within vCloud Air to support federal government compliance.  Very similar to Amazon’s Gov cloud offering.
  • On average, VMware is launching 1 new datacenter per month along with partnering with the existing 3,500 worldwide VSPP service providers.  Data sovereignty was brought up as a major point for the EU, and the fact that VMware has the VSPP partners means that they don’t necessarily have to make large CapEx investments in datacenters across all of the EU countries.  Additionally, any service that VMware makes available on vCloud Air will also be made available to the VSPP providers should they want to offer the same sort of service.
  • Some new services to keep an eye out for include API level integration to existing DevOps toolsets, Database as a Service (DBaaS) with MS SQL and MySQL with Oracle coming down the road, object based storage utilizing EMC ViPR, and mobility tools via Airwatch running in vCloud Air. As mentioned above, we’ll also see the management toolsets being offered ‘as a service’ in early 2015 as well with Automation and Operations being the first two.
  • Finally, the launch of vCloud Air ‘On Demand’ will be coming by end of year. This is essentially a way to consume the service via a quick credit card swipe and provision in as quickly as 30 seconds with Amazon style billing by the minute.

End user computing:

There’s a lot going on in this space since VMware had a big leadership change last year.  In 12 months we have seen the acquisitions of Desktone, Airwatch, and CloudVolumes along with expanded partnerships with F5, Google, and Nvidia.

  • There was an announcement around doing not just Desktop as a Service (DaaS) but also Apps as a service in vCloud Air. There weren’t a lot of details here, but I assume it would be similar to what Microsoft is doing in Azure – essentially presenting individual apps via terminal services (but I need to do more digging on this one).
  • With the release of vSphere 6, we will finally see true vGPU support with VIEW and the Nvidia GRID solution. The demos shown at the conference were impressive and on par with what we’ve seen from the XenServer/XenDesktop integration with GRID.
  • The two most interesting things I saw were the CloudVolumes integration along with what VMware is calling ‘Project Fargo.’  I have looked at CloudVolumes in the past, and the technology is very slick from an application perspective.  The promise/vision is that you can get a persistent desktop experience in a non-persistent environment because you can dynamically deliver apps without the traditional ‘packaging’ required. Project Fargo is all about the concept of ‘forking’ whereby you can take an instant clone of a running VM without the overhead and scaling issues we typically see with Composer/Linked Clones.

All in all, another great VMworld. Obviously, this is a quick summary. If you would like to discuss in any more detail, shoot us an email at socialmedia@greenpages.com

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