Live from VMworld 2009: Day 1

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In less than one hour Paul Maritz, the VMware CEO, will be on stage to start the VMworld 2009.
This year there are 12,500 attendees, slightly less than last year, but definitively an amazing result considering the economic conditions.

A number of demos are highly expected from the audience. One for sure is the software implementation of the PCoIP remote protocol that VMware is developing with Teradici.
Another is the client hypervisor that will compete with the Citrix Xen Client expected later this year.

Tod Nielsen is on stage.
Nielsen is one of the first Microsoft veteran that joined VMware this year as the new COO.
Every single move, word, joke or smile he has on stage is 100% Microsoft style, which neatly breaks with the usual style of VMware keynotes.

Nielsen’s introduction is about the Fortune 1000 customers that are not using VMware technologies, only 30, and about the company’s goal: energize and save. 

Paul Maritz is on stage.
This is the second VMworld keynote for the former Microsoft executive who replaced the VMware founder and CEO Diane Greene in July 2008.
His first keynote last September was entirely dedicated to the new focus that the company has on cloud computing. We’ll see if this year the message will be exactly the same.

Maritz starts on the key issues of the IT industry today: complexity, inefficiency and inflexibility.
Only 5% of the IT budgets are spent on infrastructure investments.
The current data center have all these issues but are well understood. The demand to solve these issues will drive the adoption of cloud computing technologies, where hardware virtualization is the mandatory building block.
So the vision then is to move from the “simple” server consolidation to an internal/external cloud architecture to the mythical world of autonomic computing.

Interestingly, this year Maritz uses the term software mainframe multiple times when he talks about automating the data center.
Maritz says that vSphere 4.0 is really able now to deliver mainframe performance and mentions the record performance that VMware announced a few months ago (more than 350,000 IOPS from a single server).

The VMware software mainframe will be built on top of the hypervisor using a number of vCenter new modules that the company already announced in January and that has partially released so far: AppSpeed, CapacityIQ, ChargeBack, ConfigControl, Orchestrator, etc.

But Maritz wants to remark that VMware continues to keep the platform open for the interoperability: IBM is on stage and shows how System Director interacts with vCenter in measuring the power consumption of multiple virtual machines running on a blade, through the IBM power meter and the VMware vCenter APIs.

The discussion is back to the new vCenter modules.
Brief demos of the recently released LabManager 4.0 and ChargeBack 1.0 are shown on stage.

Maritz briefly mentions a key new concept: the service catalog. More on this probably tomorrow in the Stephen Herrod keynote.

Now Maritz moves back to the cloud computing and introduces the expected new initiative called vCloud Express.
Over 1000 service providers already joined the vCloud initiative but starting today new partners can use the vCloud Express to further accelerate the adoption of clouds.

Demo time.
A VMware partner exposes its VMware-powered cloud infrastructure through a vCloud Express portal.
The customer connects to the portal, sign up (by submitting financial details for payment) and then goes into a self-service portal where it can immediately customize and provision virtual machines and virtual networks in the partner cloud.

Maritz now shifts the focus on desktop virtualization and View.
HP is on stage and introduces its virtual desktop reference architecture featuring LeftHand Networks storage. 
HP also shows a new product called Insight Control for VMware View, which offers integration with the HP Onboard Administrator interface, power management control and other features.

Finally Maritz talks about the PCoIP protocol.
Telus Communications, a VMware customer, is called on stage to show a demo of VMware View 4.0 and the software implementation of PCoIP.
A PowerPoint presentation about Telus with some transition effects is launched from a virtual desktop. Nothing more than some fading effects, but smooth enough to not compromise the user experience.
The presentation also includes a small video that runs smoothly as well, but it’s not clear if its an animated GIF, a Flash clip or a fully-featured video.

Despite the strategic value of PCoIP and the effort that VMware has put so far in developing it, Maritz doesn’t spend any more time on it and moves on to discuss the SpringSource acquisition.
Hopefully the tomorrow’s keynote will show something more concrete.

Maritz explains that most of the enterprise Java applications are developed with the Spring framework.
VMware will continue to support the Oracle and IBM application servers side by side with the SpringSource application server. 
Maritz states that the acquisition of SpringSource will accelerate the development of new applications that are more cloud-oriented and calls the SpringSource CEO on stage.

A notable number of people in the audience leaves the room. This is because VMware has failed so far to explain in a clear way what will exactly do with the Sprint framework and the Hyperic management layer.
The demo is showing something more adapt to an audience of developers than for the typical virtual infrastructure administrator that attends VMworld.

This last intervention closes the Day 1 Keynote. Within one hour there’s another, closed-doors keynote from Paul Maritz entirely dedicated to cloud computing. will cover that one as well. Stay tuned!