VMworld 2013 – Things I will be looking forward to and a look back

I am pretty excited about VMworld this year.  It is my first year out of the last nine, that I will be returning as a non VMware employee.

I supported VMworld, and specifically the Hands on Labs from 2005 – 2009, both US & EMEA.  They became so popular we took them on the road for vForum’s and Tech Summits, Partner Exchange…  The last year I was involved, 2009, my brainchild was the wall of Cisco UCS gear you saw as you came down the escalators in Moscone North.  It came out even better than I imagined. That was the last year I managed the Global Engineering Technical Operations team that was responsible for the design, architecture and overall user experience of the Labs.

This is one of my favorite videos and memories of VMworld.  The time lapse video of the build out of the datacenter.  This was one of three that we supported that year.

At first we thought, how are we going to top this, but the answer was easy, no gear onsite and run the Labs from the Cloud.  Awesome segway, directly aligned with the business and the only way to top that wall of gear. My hat is off the Mornay Van Der Walt and his team , who led the efforts and made the 2010 HOLs a historic event.

More posts of my VMworld memories, at least what I can remember of them will come throughout the week.  Now on to what I am looking for & forward to this year.

One of my favorite things to do is walk the Solutions Exchange floor.  Finding new technologies and looking to see who is going to be disruptive in the years to come.

The things I am looking for this year are the technologies and vendors that are breaking out of the traditional datacenter mold and ushering in a whole new set of enterprise tools.

1. OpenStack.  I am only a recent convert, but a convert nonetheless. I believe it’s here to stay.  I have yet to see a flavor that was enterprise ready in my own testing, so I am hoping to find one this week.  Piston Cloud (Booth 2329 in the Solutions Exchange) has the potential to be very disruptive, and I will hanging out by their booth for sure.  They alway have a lot of style at events, so it will be interesting to see what they do this year. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the Piston Cloud team, and I think the really have something worth paying attention to.  There is a good reason why Cloud Foundry and now Pivotal Labs have partnered with them.

I will also be checking out VSVC5511 - Deploying vSphere with OpenStack What It Means to Your Cloud Environment with Dan Wendlandt & Scott Lowe

I think the integration between vSphere and OpenStack will prove to be the first solid Enterprise Stack.  Why?  Because as it sits, OpenStack grew up fast, founded by some brilliant folks and is giving VMware a run for it’s Money, or at least is gobbling up more and more media time.  Which I plan to keep contributing to. I have seen up close & personal both VMware’s stack and OpenStack, from Red Hat’s RDO, to Piston Cloud, to StackOps, to Rackspace, to OneNode, Fuel, to straight, install from scratch pure OpenStack and to claim Enterprise ready to me,  OpenStack will have to remove all the caveats in their Install & Config documentation.  There are too many flavors, each with pros and cons, but until there is a clear frontrunner customers will be confused where to start. Which is why I believe it will be the integrators and not the distros themselves that move it more and more into the Enterprise. I believe VMware has some smart folks looking 1 to 2 years ahead, and I know they will have an answer.  The fastest way to OpenStack adoption will be the ability to integrate with current VMware deployments, not greenfield build outs.

I listen to opinions all the time.  The CEO of VMware said this, The Red CEO said this etc…  I can’t believe how much the media has made of this, and yet if you read the entire interviews, the overall themes  becomes very different than pulling the sensationalism quotes and only a few headlines to start a very unnecessary war of words.  My perception has been there are only a few folks who have really looked at, understood, installed and have working clouds to be able to have a true unbiased opinion across the board.  I think it would be eye opening if the most vocal against VMware integration, sat down and went through a hand install of the vCloud Suite. (remember the Redwood documentation…)  And the same but the opposite for VMware developers.   All you really have to do is look at the OpenSource used in all the cloud stacks.  There are some curious similarities, yet the Hatfield’s are still saying they are better than the McCoys.  Each vendor adds their own bits to the stack, but if development was done with integration in mind, you would get a much smoother and more robust integrated stack.  There are going to be features that OpenStack can develop faster than VMware, and instead of building it’s own, or buying those technologies, leave them in the ecosystem as OpenSource, but allow them to hook into the infrastructure much more seamlessly.

2. Automation – Application Director, Puppet, vCAC & vSphere / vCloud Director integration.  I love these tools and have not had the opportunity to see them working together.  I know the VMware vCHS utilizes Puppet with vSphere & vCloud Director, possibly AppD, but I believe AppD will play a larger part of the datacenter once it makes it down to the vSphere level.  I hope to get into Nan Liu & Nick Weaver’s session PHC5640 - The Story Behind Designing and Building a Distributed Automation Framework for vCloud Hybrid Services to learn more about what they are using and how. Why it’s taken this long for VMware to offer such a solution has always been a question of mine.  End 2 End provisioning was something I felt was lacking in the product and could have eased or even sped up adoption.  The tools are now available, and it would be great to see a “bare metal to the cloud” deployment option.  One that simply requires the end user to enter a few bits of information, generate some xml that is fed into the deployment engine and away you go!

3. Security.  This is an area I have rarely focused on in my career.  At least not beyond typical sysadmin best practices and recommendations. I’ve supported R&D my entire 18 years in the industry.  Security just got in the way.  But with all the attention it’s getting these days per current events, past events that are now current events etc… And the outages that always seem to come right when Public or Hybrid clouds are about to take off.  It’s said to be the last barrier for cloud adoption.  Wouldn’t it be fun to be on a team that cracks that code.  They will usher in the next wave of datacenter consumption. This is an area I want to explore and adopt a more security focused view as an Architect.

For those in San Francisco, enjoy the show!




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