VMworld USA 2011 summary

Bye bye VMworld 2011 Las Vegas! It was a great time. Enjoyed every minute of it!

This is a report on what I saw in this year’s edition.

Firstly compliments to the VMware crew and contractors who organized the event. It sure is a BIG challenge to host 20.000 attendees and deliver a great party, breakout sessions, hands-on labs, food, drinks  etc etc etc. Except for some delay at registration on Sunday all went very well!

There were a lot of new announcements by VMware. Project AppBlast and Project Octopus are very interesting. AppBlast enables any Windows, Mac or Linux application to be presented on any HTML5 compliant browser or device. No agents or addons needs to be installed on the client! It even works with graphical applications like video. See a ubercool video with demo here at VMworldTV

Project Octopus enables end users to access their files from any place and from any device. It can best be described as Dropbox for the enterprise. But using Octopus the IT-department has control over who has access to files and authentication is done using the directory service of the enterprise. Clients are available for various clients like Windows pc, Apple iPad and Android. Documents can be viewed in the browser without having to use the native application which was used to create the document. Policies can be set to for example set how many copies are available and how much storage can be used. Updates to documents can be sent via email or SMS. Octopus when released will be available as an OVF file . Sync agents enable to access files even when the device is offline. When online the documents will be synchronized. Octopus will be available first half of 2012. To subscribe to the beta fill in your email address at vmwareoctopus.com A cool video of Project Octopus here.

VXLAN is a new IETF draft submitted by VMware, Cisco and others which is meant to make networking virtualization aware by separation of  location and identity of IP-addressing. VMware has done lots of effort to  improve compute and storage but did not focus yet of making networking more suitable for virtualization. VXLAN enables a virtual machine to keep it’s IP-configuration when it is moved to another datacenter/network. Think about moving from one cloud provider to another or moved for DR reasons. Will report more on this later.

My favorite session of VMworld was titled ‘VSP3205 – Technology Preview: VMware vStorage APIs for VM and Application Granular Data Management’. It was about bringing the storage array and vSphere closer together. It is another step forward since the release of VAAI and VASA. Currently storage arrays are based on LUNs. They are not aware of the virtual disk files and their specifications and behaviour.  In the future storage arrays will have VMDK files as objects. These are called VM Volumes. VMware is working together with IBM, NetApp, EMC, Dell and HP on this exciting new technology.

I saw a demo of the upcoming version 6 of Veeam Backup and Replication which is scheduled to be released in Q4 2011. Some nice enhancements and new features like Hyper-V support and one click restore. 

 Keep an close eye on this site for more information on VMworld sessions and announcements the coming days and weeks.

Lots of talk at VMworld about Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Steve Herrod even mentioned in his keynote DRaaS being one of the enablers for cloud computing. VXLAN will make DR much easier. Site Recovery Manager ‘s feature of storage agnostic data replication called vSphere Replication will help Service Providers to offer cost effective DRaaS services. Providers like Iland, hosting.com , Veristor and FusionStorm will be offering DRaaS to their customers using sRM 5.0 very soon. Other service providers are in talks with strong alternatives like Zerto Virtual Replication and VirtualSharp ReliableDR.

HP announced the HP VirtualSystem for VMware. This is as pre-configured, tested and optimized infrastructure built using  VMware software and HP server, storage and networking technologies to provide easy deployment to users, allowing for fast implementation and minimizing reliance on IT resources. The solution is offered in three configurations: VS1 (HP ProLiant-based with P4500 SAS Virt SAN storage), VS2 (HP BladeSystem-based with P4800 SAS SAN solution for BladeSystem), and VS3 (HP BladeSystem-based with 3PAR F-class SAN solution).
It is the same turn key solution  as for example  VCE Vblock.

Location and venue
This was my third visit to VMworld. The previous two visits were to Cannes and Copenhagen. What a difference between those two cities and Las Vegas! Cannes and Copenhagen did have not much bizarre sightings as Las Vegas has. Also the weather is totally different (I prefer the HOT Las Vegas over cold Copenhagen).  I have seen many big casino’s, thrillrides inside a casino, the Eifeltower, lots of tourists, female croupiers with hardly cloths on and big plastic breats (hello Pussycat Dolls at Ceasar Palace) and much more. Las Vegas sure is a bizarre city.

VMworld 2011 was held at the Venetian conference centre and in the Sands Expo. Partner sessions were held in The Wynn hotel. Venetian is a BIG convention centre compared to what I have seen in Europe. 5 stories with large ballrooms and 20.000 attendees. Everything is big and massive. Massive area for lunch with countless tables.

VMworld 2012 by the way will be in San Francisco again. With the growing number of attendees and the wish for having Partner sessions and breakout sessions in the same location even Las Vegas has become too small. Rumours say the next 7 VMworld conferences will be held in San Francisco.

I went to the Generall Session of Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod. The speach of Paul was pretty boring. Some customers were brought on stage to tell their story of how they do virtualization. In the meanwhile a lot of the attendees walked away. I do not understand why VMware want to communicate to their customers and partners this way. Most of the attendees are not interested in stories of CIO’s but in cool technology. For VMworld Europe there will be a change.  Steve Herrod will do his keynote on Tuesday. Paul Maritz will do his keynote on Thursday. This is after the party on Wednesday evening. Good luck Paul 😉

The keynote of Steve Herrod on the other hand was great! He mentioned a lot of cool solotions of VMware most of them being new or a new version. VMware did a great demo by actually showing how solutions are used in real life. Very funny and well done on that one!

VMworld Party
This year the band was The Killers. Not my type of music and the soundlevel was very high but lots of people enjoyed their performance. The warm up was done by a band called Recycled Percussion. Never heard of them but they are famous because of their act at America’s got Talent (thanks Google). When The Killers were done with their noise 1000’s of attendees went over to the Venetian and Palazao pools. It was a bit crowdy to get there walking through the casino and small corridors but it was a nice location. 

What happens in Vegas does ends up on YouTube thanks to Eric Sloof. Watch a 10 minute report of the party here.

Hands-on labs
One of the nicest things of VMworld is being able to play with solutions of VMware. Hands-on labs were as impressive as ever with many labs. This years each lab had a scenario. At certain times there were long queues of 1 hour and more waiting. 5042 unique attendees visited Hands-on labs this year. In total 13415 labs were taken. See Duncan Epping’s post with more figures. Hands-on labs will be available to the public early January 2012! So from that date everyone can play with VMware solotions from home.

Hang out space
The photo below show the Hang Out area. Here you could sit on the grass to relax or play chess, basketball or badminton.  


About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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