VMWorldWelcome to another of our series of “VMware or Microsoft?” articles.  Yesterday I watched general session keynote coming out of VMworld, and thought I’d jot down and share some notes about what was announced, and perhaps how what was announced compares to products or capabilities in Microsoft’s similar solutions (Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012.)

“Are you attending VMworld, Kevin?”

I wish.  But no.  I just decided to set aside some time to watch the live feed.  In my notes I try to follow the outline of the presentation, but this article might read more like someone who was taking notes during a lecture.  Which is essentially what it is.  And then after the event is over I’ll add “My Microsoft Comment” portions to point you to how Microsoft addresses any of the key technology or functionality areas discussed. (NOTE: You can watch the recording of the general session here.)

So… Here we go!

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Opening Video – Evolution towards simplicity – the “software defined datacenter”.  “Expand virtualization to the entire datacenter”

On stage: Robin Matlock – Chief Marketing Officer

Good plug for VMUGVMware User Group, and celebrating the “VMWorld Alumni Elite” – the folks who have attended all 10 US VMWorld conferences.  (Big deal… I haven’t missed a TechEd in North America since 1997.) 
Some of the alums share their favorite VMWorld memories.  Nice.

“Customer Virtualization Journey” research – the path from IT Production to IT-as-a-Service (and ultimate productivity)  You’re all making progress.  Congratulations.

VMotion – “you all just take it for granted today”.  (No, Robin.. people won’t take it for granted if they have to pay more for it.  Include it in the free hypervisor if you want to impress me or anyone using Hyper-V.)

Defying Convention - “ESX was a highly disruptive innovation.” (True)  “..and all this goodness is just about ‘compute’”.  But “the Software Defined Datacenter is extending it ‘beyond compute’”. 

On stage: VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Pace of innovation has picked up.  “Build the architecture of tomorrow, while reducing the costs of what you have today.”  IT is too slow, and infrastructure is too fragile.  More of IT needs to be an asset, and Apps should be self-service.  It’s all about applications; enable applications for business. 

How do you see yourself as an IT Pro?  A God?  A Ninja?  A Martyr?  … what about “Champion”?  You are “Champions of the mobile cloud era”. 

Four pillars (the outline of the rest of the session):

  1. The Software-Defined Data Center
  2. Virtualize the Network
  3. Management to give way to automation
  4. Easy migration of machines and entire applications to public cloud. 

 

1. The Software-Defined Data Center

Compute – expand virtual compute to all applications. 

Announcing: vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Suite 5.5.  (Not v6?  Hmm)

What’s new: “5.5 is 2x”.  2 times the number of cores, vCPUs, and now up to 64TB disks (really 16x – up from 4TB disks). 

My Microsoft Comment: They are just matching what Hyper-V and the .VHDX file format do already, and for no additional cost.

Storage: “storage is complex”.  Many solutions, and “one size does not fit all”.  So we now move to “software defined storage”.

3 elements of SDS –

  1. Policy driven control plane
  2. Virtualization of the data plane
  3. Virtualization of app-centric data services.

Announcing: general public beta of vSAN – Pool compute and storage using local storage and flash as a converged data later and tier. 

Resilient, high performing, take advantage of caching.  Great for scenarios like VDI.

  1. vSAN is now in general public beta.  GA will happen in the first half of 2014
  2. vVols – virtual volumes for external storage
  3. Flash Read Cache – read-caching of the IO datastream,  “vMotion-consistent storage caching”
  4. Virsto – the storage hypervisor.

My Microsoft Comment: It sounds like they're addressing some of the storage technology and storage management that Microsoft is doing in Windows Server 2012 with Storage Spaces, System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager storage management and automation, and improvements such as automatic tiered storage support and caching coming in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.  And perhaps it’s also related to using Windows Server as highly available storage cluster nodes for a Continuously Available File Server cluster (Scale-Out File Server Cluster).

 

2. Virtualize the Network

VMs are traditionally bound to a network.  Network virtualization is about about portability.  Now the network is just like the compute.  We can spin up networks as easily as VMs.

Announcing: VMware NSX – “What ESX was for virtual compute, NSX is to network virtualization” 

Martin Casado – The guy who originally created SDN (and openflow).  Goal: Make networks cloud-ready.

Animation – the vSwitch logically contains a “network hypervisor”.  It supports virtual networks that look like physical networks, but are created and run as virtual entities.  (He refers to them as virtual machines.)

Customer example on stage: eBay, Citi, and GE – all discuss the importance of SDN and the flexibility it provides. 

My Microsoft Comment: This sounds interesting.  I’m curious to see how it’s implemented.  But I bet most VMware users don’t know that you can easily create (or automate) and manage network virtualization for Hyper-V hosts and networks using System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager

 

3. Management to give way to automation

“The control plane for the datacenter of the future”  We need to simplify cloud management. 

Where does VMware fit in relation to OpenStack?  vCloud Automation Center will manage vCloud Hybrid Service as well as OpenStack clouds.  VMware is aggressively supporting OpenStack, and providing “the best of breed components”

The Hybrid Cloud: it’s the extension of on-premises to off-premises.  “Any app.  Any place.  No compromise”  Same management tools.  Same networking.  Common support mechanisms.  Seamless extension. 

Announcing: GA of VMware vCloud Hybrid Service  - “the first and only true hybrid cloud service”. (hmm)

My Microsoft Comment: Gee. .sounds like System Center and how it works with Windows Azure.  Smile

 

4. Easy migration of machines and entire applications to public cloud. 

Services:

  1. Disaster Recovery as a Service.
  2. Cloud Foundary – extending to vCloud Hybrid Service.
  3. Desktop-as-a-Service – making desktop services (like VMware View) available and extended into the vCHS.

My Microsoft Comment: It makes sense that they’re leveraging the cloud for disaster recovery automation and to support desktops in the cloud.  Microsoft is doing that with Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager (Preview) and the recent addition of licensing to support Remote Desktops running on Windows Azure-base Servers.

Announcing: two new US datacenters in December, and another next year.  Also more partner datacenters.

My Microsoft Comment: They are extending their own cloud footprint, but they have a long way to go to catch up with Windows Azure’s global reach and scale.  (http://aka.ms/msdatacenters)

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Closing: Summary of the 3 imperatives:

  1. Virtualization extends to all of IT
  2. IT management gives way to automation
  3. Compatible hybrid cloud is ubiquitous

You are the “Champions of the Mobile Cloud Era”.  You are poised to “rewire IT” again.

My Microsoft Comment: We agree.