VMworld 2015 Wrap Up – Keynote announcements + More
After a lot of planning and talking, the week had finally arrived for some key updates from VMware. Significant or not I’m sure these announcements will be full of controversy, mystery and hot anticipation for VMware users…so what’s new ?
Carl Eschenbach was first on stage and highlighted the key message from VMworld this year – “READY FOR ANY” The message was about 3 key pillars ‘One unified hybrid cloud, One application and One device’. VMware understands that one size does not fit all and wants to meet the goals of businesses in having flexibility. Its difficult to see this being a reality for everyone but the vision was clear. The key announcements of note were :
This was previously known as EVO Rack and includes vSphere, VSAN, NSX, vRealize Suite and more. This solution can run at a bigger scale than EVO:Rail and includes physical infrastructure management and deployment in other words deploying ESXi and managing physical spine/leaf switching.
VMware vCloud Air –
Bill Fathers (GM of hybrid Cloud Services) came on stage to discuss further developments with vCloud Air. There were many points to cover. Project Skyscraper, which brings new capabilities in vCloud Air will enable customers to extend their data center to the public cloud and seamlessly operate across boundaries while providing enterprise-level security and business continuity. VMware demonstrated live workload migration through Cross-Cloud vMotion and Content Sync across a private cloud and vCloud Air. One of the technologies that helped enable this for vCloud Air was the deployment of VMware NSX. vCloud Air Object Storage was also announced, with options available powered by Google as well as EMC. Their first DBaaS offering, vCloud Air SQL is now available as part of an Early Access Program. A new pricing model for DRaaS (DR OnDemand) and Site Recovery Manager Air (SRM SaaS) will be in Early Access soon. They also demonstrated their Backend as a Service offerings, which are provided by strategic partners.
VMware Photon / Cloud Native Apps –
Just like the title mentioned, this was all about deploying and running Cloud Native Applications. These new 3rd Platform style applications are powered by fancy open source projects like Docker, Mesos, K8 and CoreOS. Developers do version control with tools like GitHub, and they push out their development code with tools such as Vagrant.
Platform 3 (Cloud Native Apps) are the way forward to deploy and scale software offerings built for the cloud. There was no real offerings from VMware previously but now the Photon platform allows VMware shops to create and deploy these types of applications at ease which is a real winner in all senses. With Cloud Native Apps there are two methods of deployment. In a mixed-mode, which uses the traditional vSphere product along with vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC). VIC is a Controller (Photon Controller) along with VMFork (Project Fargo) and the Photon OS to create what’s being called a jeVM (Just Enough VM). The developer would make their request to the Photon Controller, which would then instantly (VMFork) create a new virtual machine that uses the Photon OS as the Guest OS and creates your single container per-VM. Some crazy stuff which will develop as time goes on.
VMware VSAN –
I almost forgot about this little announcement and the product update to 6.1. This now becomes a much more attractive offer for implementation due to a number of enhancements. The most compelling ones are :
- The ability for a stretched cluster with synchronous replication of data between 2 separate offices
- 2 Node clusters which are a great use case for remote offices and more cost effective
- Support for Cloud Native Apps
- VSAN Management Pack for vROPS
This may mean that companies will now think about standing up a VSAN environment and this can only be a good thing for VMware in the ROBO space as they could compete with other companies offering similar solutions in the ROBO space. We’ll see how this product goes.
One of the my favourite VMware speakers was out today in the shape of Sanjay Poonen (GM of End User Computing). Sanjay was very upbeat about the growing use of VMware and the IDC landscape clearly showed that VMware is a leader as shown below. What took me by surprise was that Sanjay announced a guest from Microsoft !!! I think he must have done some serious talking with Satya Nadella to make this happen. Jim Alkove joins him on stage to discuss customer benefits. Jim talked of the Windows 10 program and looking at bringing enterprise mobility to devices/users. The importance of security, features such as device guard and credential guard were talked about. Identity protection is vital for users in the new world and the future and this was a clear statement. Sanjay then introduced on stage – Noah Wasmer (VP, End-User Computing Product Strategy). He demonstrated a brand new consumer device connecting to the cloud via the simplicity and management of AirWatch. It is now possible to combine AirWatch and AppVolumes to deploy software in a physical context to the end user device. The big announcement that these two products are combined is now known as Project A-Squared. As Sanjay mentioned, this EUC stuff is ‘Sesame street simple’.
Martin Casado (CTO of the Networking Group at VMware) then came on stage to discuss where NSX is going. The release of NSX 6.2 was discussed with all the new features and Direct TV discussed their use of NSX for their business and how it helps them remain competitive. Martin’s vision is to have NSX at the heart of the datacenter to allow complete provisioning and configuration at the network layer and this would also allow complete troubleshooting with end-to-end visibility. I would argue that most companies are some way off this for now but I can hear the message loud and clear from VMware.
Last up was Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO (surprisingly letting his leadership team take up the majority of the keynotes this year). Could this be a hint that Pat could be moving on soon ?? Pat took a more holistic view of the landscape and talked about mobile devices and the proliferation of these devices. It is estimated that 5 billion people will be connected in 10 years. There will be 80% of people connected in 2025. The impact of this is going to be massive to business, education etc. It will be interesting to observe how technology will inject itself in all of these industries. Pat goes on to mention how the Unified Hybrid cloud will be fundamental in providing a platform on which all industry can harness the power of the cloud. He also states how Edward Snowden has made a massive impact in the future of security in the cloud and how countries have concerns about data sovereignty and this could be a hint that vCloud Air datacenters need to ensure they meet the needs of these countries.
The last day was reserved for all things forward looking and VMware typically reserves this day for interesting future aspects from a different technology perspective. These were really interesting keynotes. The new CTO, Ray O’Farrell, stepped up to introduce Dr. Fei Fei-le, professor of Computer Science at Stanford. Her talk was on using object recognition algorithms that perform mass scale big data manipulation and analysis. Big data was used to train computer algorithms in image recognition which was fascinating in itself. In 2009, they provided 15 million images sorted and claimed across 22,000 categories automatically. The example shown was pictures of cats that were grouped into 1000’s of images. Using the recognition technology to look for specific patterns in how a cat is “made up”. The entire library is available at image-net.org available to the research world for free.
Convolutional neuro network was discussed by the Dr. – the science didn’t stop at image searching and categorization. It was then able to take a group of pictures of cars, correlate the data and match make, model, year, etc. Then taking the data from where it was sourced, it was able to put analysis together of what areas were good and bad for crime, depending on the types of car found there for the Chicago area and a bit beyond. Some clever brain scientists followed showing the power of the brain and how brain sounds could be heard. The scientist talked on how the Spiker Box was created to investigate neuroscience in an amateur way. He then demonstrated by putting a cockroach in ice water to slow it down and anaesthetise it. He then proceeded to cut off a limb of the cockroach live on stage and hook it up to the Spiker Box to “listen” to what the brain sounds like when he touches the leg and neurons fire. Very fascinating !! All in all this was a great week with some key messages from VMware (not any major ones as in previous years) to ensure their customers remain committed to them. Not always possible in the ever changing I.T. climate !!