Live from VMworld 2009: VMware on Cloud Computing

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Deeply hidden in the VMworld 2009 opening keynote the VMware CEO Paul Maritz introduced three new key concepts that define the new message of VMware:

  • the next generation virtual data center will be a software mainframe, fully automated and self-sufficient
  • the software mainframe will be populated through a service catalog (more on this later or tomorrow)
  • the cloud-ready services available in the catalog are not here yet. The software mainframe services will be Java enterprise applications that ISVs develop, test and control inside the cloud through the SpringSource framework.

VMware is now hosting a second, closed-doors keynote just about cloud computing, where hopefully the three concepts above will be further defined.

Paul Maritz is on stage.  
He summarizes what was already said during the keynote and then calls on stage the first of what seems to be a long series of partners: AT&T.

AT&T starts with a shameless plug about how the company is in a unique position to deliver the promise of cloud computing and then continues by describing its current Synaptic Hosting offering (if every VMware partner will come on stage to do the same show the room will be empty well before the end of the session).

After AT&T VMware moves on something more concrete, promising a demo of a live migration across two federated cloud infrastructures.
Unfortunately the only thing that is actually demonstrated is the simple VMotion of a virtual machine with SQL Server, simulating running transactions, from a virtual center to another, both controlled by the same vCenter.
There’s no proof that what we saw was a real geographical, long-distance live migration.

Next on stage: SAVVIS, which announces today a new cloud computing infrastructure called Project Spirit.
SAVVIS claims that Spirit is the industry first Virtual Private Data Center with multi-tiered Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities.
But as far as we can see from the online website that is projected Spirit is still in beta and Amazon may have something to say on who has the first virtual private data center.

Now VMware addresses the security concerns about cloud computing. Verizon is on stage to help on the impossible task.
Whatever will be addressed in the next 10 minutes will be just a fraction of the hundreds of security implications of moving inside the cloud.
Verizon talks about its recently released Computer-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering and talks about how it has a validation/certification program that allows 3rd party to add security features to CaaS.
In other words Verizon is doing nothing by itself to improve the security of its cloud computing infrastructure.

It’s amazing how this keynote is turning into a propaganda event to educate the press inside the room. 
So far the VMware partners that came on stage were unable to prove anything but their marketing effort in cloud computing. Not a single one was able to cover the many issues that plague cloud computing today and explain exactly how they are addressing the challenges.

Terremark is the next one on stage.
They perform another demo of the vCloud Express portal that we already saw during the opening keynote.
As already described, the portal is able to easily reconfigure the virtual hardware inside a single virtual machine in the cloud, to provision new virtual machines and to define virtual networking in a very simple way.
Anyway it’s not clear yet if this interface comes out of the box (as a sort of white-label self-service protal) or if the cloud provider has to do most of the job in leveraging the vCloud Express SDK and build such product from scratch.

Now VMware announces the availability of the vCloud API, submitted to the DMTF for the ratification as standard.

Again, on stage we have the SpringSource CEO to explain how the vSphere infrastructure can become the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that VMware has in mind.
Compared to the morning keynote one, this time the demo is focused on how the IT administrator deploys the JAVA application inside a public cloud.

Still, the demo is extremely complex and completely far from what most of the people understanding virtualization and the VMware products recognize as familiar.
It doesn’t matter how detailed is the description of the Spring framework and its application server, VMware has to clarify in much, much simpler terms why and how the JAVA applications are now so critical in the company’s vision.

Right Scale is the last one to come on stage.
It’s just launched service is able to interact with multiple public clouds at the same time, abstracting the providers and giving the customers a single super-management console where to configure and provision new virtual machines.

With this last demo the showcase ends. Time for Q&As.