VMWorld 2018 Summary

by Gustavo Vázquez

I had the chance to attend the VMWorld 2018, hosted in Las Vegas. Taking into account the amount of assistants (20.000 during this edition), and the importance of MVWare in the software virtualization industry, I can say it is the world’s biggest virtualization event.

Together with out friends from AT, and AGESIC members, we witnessed where the industry’s strategy is taking us. The main subjects of the VMWare 2018-19 strategy are: hybrid cloud, SDCC and Edge computing.

Software Defined Data Center

vSAN y NSX are VMWare’s battle horses, in their strategy to enlarge virtualization beyond virtual machines. Particularly, VMWare already sees these strategies as a commodity where they base all their product strategies, Hybrid Cloud and PaaS.

The strategy goes beyond offering possibilities of raising the virtualization level and make new architectures available: it opens its doors to what it’s called Infrastructure as Code. All these technologies expose, in different ways, APIs that allow the manipulation of datacenter technologies, programmatically from code, which could be another alternative that validates the way we administrate technology today.

Just as it was told in previous conferences, some of the source code properties (such as auditability, versioning and repeatability) make it quite attractive the fact that all the definition from a datacenter is made by code and that we tend to stateless infrastructure, where it’s easier to create all the infrastructure from the bottom rather than changing the existing configuration. Even though this can be done with “standard” tools such as Git or Jenkins, VMWare proposes its new series of products inside the new Cloud Suite. Some of these tools are Cloud Assembly(infrastructure modeler), Service Broker (for code publication and governance) and Code Stream ( CI/CD tool).

Regarding to the product’s most traditional approach, the greatest announcement was the AppDefense acquisition (a product that is coming in the new vSphere Platinum, which allows the implementation of adaptive micro segmentation in an NSX network) and VeloCloud to reinforce its SD-Wan strategy.

Hybrid Cloud

It has been a while since VMWare created a strong alliance with public providers and Amazon. In fact, VMWare Cloud on AWS is a product already available that allows having an implementation with VMWare technologies in a public cloud. This alliance is strongly growing and some of the announcements of the joint strategy were already made.

Particularly, VMWare announced a new product suite that expands what it is known as VMWare cloud foundation (a suite that combines all the VMWare products associated to SDDC) and includes products associated with IaC’s strategy and others associated to the transparent management of the hybrid cloud.

The most promoted product, which in my opinion is key to the cloud’s unification strategy, is the HCX (Hybrid Cloud Extension). HCX is currently available to use with Amazon. It works as a bridge between an on- premise VMWare installation and the Amazon installation. This enables, among other things, replication between clouds, a network extension through NSX and the possibility to generate vMotions between the both worlds (outbound and return). This makes it possible to work on the public cloud as an extension of the private one, helpful in contingency situations, additional calculation need and even as an extension of the existing computing capacity.

On the other hand, Amazon also made big announcements. The most remarkable one is the RDS on-premise availability.This provides a product to implement databases as services through a proven and successful technology in our private cloud. This product is adding others in a roadmap by next year, including Lambda (serverless computing implementation), Snowball and e IAM.

VMWare is also aiming to become a valid player in what is called PaaS (Platform As a Service). Through PKS (Kubernetes Implementation on VMWare Platform), we try defining a product that, although it may seem immature in comparison with its competitors, it has a very strong integration with the underlying virtualization platform and an interesting roadmap to become an interesting product in the short and medium term.

Computing on the Edge

Just as Pat Gelsinger, (VMWare CEO) said, we are in front of a new chapter in this “pendulum that goes back and forth between centralization and decentralization” of systems. This chapter is mainly linked to IoT (Internet of Things) and to the need of processing data as close as possible from where they are generated. Thus, datacenter based centralization is no longer applicable; the cloud concept must be extended to the Edge.

This implies we need to count on the possibility to implement virtualization in remote “offices”. As told before, SDDC makes this possible through networking virtualization both in LAN and WAN, but coming to virtualization solutions it is also necessary (for virtual machines and storage). Two components of this strategy were presented.

One of them is the Dimension project. It implements, together with a series of partners such as Lenovo, HP or Dell, hardware and OEM implementations of Cloud Foundation ready to deploy. These deployments, and the maintenance and monitoring of this cloud, can be done between VMWare services.

The second component presented, which ended up being a surprise, is the possibility to virtualize (through an specific ESXi for ARM processors) low cost and consumption hardware. This ESXi can be managed by the same vCenter we have available today and and allows vMotion, DRs and other features implementation (basic in any Intel architecture).

Conclusions

VMWare has, around existing and acquired products, a strategy towards converting SDDC in a fundamental aspect for companies. There is a total conviction that the future is on the software and, based on this is that the current IT problems attack.

The event itself is a great opportunity to get to know not only the VMWare trends, but also their partner’s and the industry’s. Whatever the attendant profile may be, one finds a useful and interesting concept to apply.

An impeccable organization makes it possible to enjoy an event with more than 600 talks and make the best of all of it from beginning to end.



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