VMworld 2008 Keynote

Considering that VMware was founded in 1998, 2008 is definitely the year when virtualization became a teenager. Announcements at VMworld are indicating a certain level of maturity in the thinking of vendors, in that they are solving problems and wrapping up a lot of the loose ends that have plagued virtual infrastructure implementations. By wrapping all those problems up it frees time to work on more interesting things, like clouds.

On stage at VMworld 2008 Paul Maritz’ outlines the VMware strategy going forward. He commented that we’re moving away from a device- and hardware-centric world to one that is information- and people-centric. We’re also starting to think of our IT infrastructure as one giant computer. This is the basis behind the new announcements from VMware about the Virtual Data Center OS. VDC-OS is intended to be “an elastic, self-managing, self-healing substrate between the hardware pool and the application workloads.” VDC-OS is strategic, and will increase infrastructure efficiency, application agility, and create business-driven IT, including predictable, viable pay-for-usage models.

VDC-OS is one of the three prongs in VMware’s current strategy. The other two are vCloud and vClient. vCloud is a partnership with over 100+ vendors, federating the internal clouds IT departments build in their own data centers with the vast resources available from external cloud vendors. New features of vCenter will enable businesses to automatically instantiate a new server instance in a vendor’s cloud when needed. This should be really interesting, as businesses can rent capacity on-demand and manage it through the same framework they manage their local capacity.

vClient continues VMware’s efforts in desktop virtualization, but also takes it to a new level by acknowledging that people want their information abstracted from the hardware. They want to have their desktop wherever they are, whether it’s their actual desktop PC, a laptop, a thin desktop client, or even a PDA they carry around with them. This is good for workers and for IT departments, who can stop worrying about hardware as much. Broke your laptop? Here’s a new one. Bye.

Other notes I took from the keynote include:

  • “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra quote referenced by Maritz when he was displaying the SEC disclaimers.
  • Intel Xeon 7400s are available, tying up a big loose end with FlexMigration.
  • VMware is introducing vApps, new model for describing a collection of virtual appliances, as well as capturing metadata about QoS terms.
  • External cloud providers can scale better but traditionally are not compatible with enterprise IT or the apps they need to run.
  • The new AppSpeed product announced as part of the VDC-OS has the ability to learn about an application, rather than needing to instrument the app.
  • VDI 3.0 will have excellent 3D graphics support, and the demo of the LEGO Indiana Jones game was a good one.

Overall the keynote was evolutionary, not revolutionary, but good nonetheless. Tomorrow Dr. Stephen Herrod will speak more about the technology. I hope we get to see some good demos. 🙂