Live from VMworld Europe 2009: Day 1

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This is the conference welcome is opened by Maurizio Carli, the former Google executive that became the new VMware General Manager of EMEA in December 2008.

He starts by saying that compared to last year (4,500 attendees) this year VMworld Europe scored 4,700 attendees despite the economical conditions (early reports were talking about only 3,000 attendees).

Just in case one of those 4,700 doesn’t know VMware, he goes on with some numbers about the company size:

  • 6,300+ people worldwide, 1,300+ in EMEA
  • 42% of customers choose to standardize their virtual data centers with VMware (were 25% in 2007)

Paul Maritz, the former Microsoft top executive that took the place of VMware’s founder and CEO Diane Greene in July 2008, is on stage.

Maritz starts with a breakdown of the IT budget spending, claiming an overwhelming complexity that slows down or makes fail many projects. VMware is working to transform the IT in a service through three initiatives:

  • Virtual Data Center OS (VDC-OS)
  • vCloud (private and public clouds along with federation across them)
  • vClient (for a desktop as a Service)

So Maritz is probably going to replicate the presentation he performed at VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas.

Now Maritz details how VMware realize its cloud computing vision: standardized hardware, scalable and highly available software (the VMware Infrastructure), security policies to grant compliance and a management layer that can enforce a SLA management model.
On top of this stack the existing applications will be placed, along with next generation applications designed to run and scale inside the cloud.

Then Maritz sends a message to all the other vendors out there trying to suggest a different cloud computing model: virtualization is the only viable way.
Google is clearly mentioned: they don’t realize that they scale so well only by redesigning their applications and hardware (it’s worth to remind that in 2007 Google clarified how hardware virtualization is definitively not its way).

vSphere is the official (trademark) name of the new VMware platform, which includes six building blocks:

  • vCompute
    (hardware assisted virtualization and extended live migration compatibility)
  • vStorage
    (for storage management and replication)
  • vNetwork
    (for network management, look for Cisco here…)
  • Availability
    (for data protection and clustering)
  • Security
    (where VMsafe goes to innovate on firewalls, anti-virus, intrusion detection/prevention and compliance)
  • Scalability
    (for dynamic resource sizing)

vCenter Suite is the official name of the new VirtualCenter platform all its upcoming new modules / add-ons, which includes nine building blocks:

  • Provisioning
  • Configuration
  • Capacity
  • Operations
  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Self Service Portal
  • Service Catalogue
  • Billing / Chargeback

Maritz makes a remarkable claim at this point: starting later this year, when the first generation of vSphere platforms will be out, there will be no technical reason to not virtualize 100% of your data center.

Time to move on the vCloud initiative.

The most important point for VMware is to provide federation built on open industry standards so that the corporate private cloud can seamlessly integrate with external clouds out there.

To facilitate the growth of a cloud ecosystem based on VMware technology, vCenter Suite and vSphere are designed to make no difference between internals and externals cloud infrastructures.

The Terremark EMEA CTO is now on stage. Terremark is a well-known hosting provider that recently moved to an enterprise cloud architecture with VMware. 
He’s now showing the control panel where resource pools are assigned and managed for a specific customer and how Terremark can provision new servers to increase the assigned resources with a single click.
Through the VMware virtual infrastructure Terremark is able to grand a certain SLA and pays a penalty when they cannot meet the terms of the agreement.

Now on stage EngineYard, a solution provider that allows customers to build and host enterprise-grade Ruby-on-Rails applications inside the cloud.

Next one is IT Structures, a solution provider which offers on-demand multi-tier IT infrastructures inside the cloud.

(this showcase is definitively better than the ones we saw last year when VMware partners took a large part of the stage to push their servers or thin clients)

Maritz goes on mentioning a few other well-known names that are using VMware to deliver an enterprise cloud computing infrastructure today.

Time for the last part of the VMware strategy: vClient.
Time to provision users, not devices.

VMware wants to address all users: Maritz officially mentions a client hypervisor (CVP) side by side with the existing VDI approach.
VMware View will manage at the same time VDI thin clients and client hypervisor instances on corporate desktops and laptops.

VMware will roll-out all the vClient technologies during this 2009, including enhancements for thin clients management (HD video, Flash, 3D graphics) and the client hypervisor.

About this last point Maritz surprisingly announces a partnership with Intel.

The partnership is not surprising per se, but because just one month ago Citrix and Intel announced a major, joint initiative to develop a client hypervisor.
The Citrix-Intel partnership is not exclusive so it’s not clear if and how this second partnership with VMware overlaps.

And with this Paul Maritz closes his second keynote.
Overall the presentation was more concrete than his previous one in Las Vegas, but instead of spending more time on some additional points, like the VMware strategy for SMBs and the competition with others, Maritz is giving away no less than 30 minutes of his time to SAP.

On stage now is Dr. Worlfgan Krips, Senior Vice President of SAP Managed Services which is performing a real propaganda session.
The audience is underwhelmed and leaves in mass the keynote room after the first five minutes.
Why VMware, every year, has to give away at least 30 minutes of its precious keynote time? It’s not like the company has no topics to discuss…

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s live coverage: the VMware CTO Steve Herrod will be on stage covering all the topics discussed today by Maritz with greater technical details.