Live from VMworld Europe 2010: Day 1 is here in Copenhagen to follow the european edition of the VMware VMworld conference.
The US event has been a great success (read live coverage), with over 17,000 attendees. We’ll see if VMware will be able to impress the european audience as much as it did with the US one.

Maurizio Carli, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EMEA region, is on stage. He reports that there are over 6,000 attendees, 1,000 more than VMware’s target.

After a short introduction, Carli leaves the stage to Rick Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer.
He suggests that the companies’ journey in virtualization is made of three stages: the IT Production, focused on cost efficiency (where virtualization is used for server consolidation), the Business Production, focused on quality of service (where virtualization is used to achieve unprecedented reliability for mission critical applications), and the IT as a Service, focused on business agility (where virtualization is used to deliver a more agile cloud computing architecture).
The first two are for optimizing the production of IT services, but the companies should really look forward the third phase, which is for optimizing the business consumption of IT services.

VMware’s CEO, Paul Maritz, is on stage. 
He reports that in 2009 the number of running virtual machines were equal to the number of physical servers. In 2013, IDC predicts that VMs will be more than 15M, almost doubling the number of physical servers deployed worldwide

Maritz states that the operating system no longer controls the hardware (it would be interesting to hear what his former company Microsoft has to say about that), giving control of the underlying hardware to the virtualization layer, which is where vendors are focused on innovation. In other words, he’s suggesting that OS vendors don’t innovate anymore. 
This innovation happening at the virtualization layer is primarily focused on automation and management. Interestingly, as previously noted for the US keynote, VMware seems finally fully committed to evangelize automation.

Automation and management control four primary domains: compute capability, storage, networking and integrated security (VMware has to make a case for its new vShield line of security products).

Attendees are encouraged to group together their applications in virtual data centers, as building blocks of private clouds. The grouping approach allows to define granular service level agreements (SLAs), security policies and chargeback models.

Maritz now focuses on how to move in and out applications to/from the service providers clouds. Quite interestingly, he mentions the risk of lock-in even if he doesn’t fully articulate how VMware sees the problem and how’s trying to solve it.

Maritz is back to the fading role of operating systems: if the OS is no more the important layer that guarantees the application portability, what layer is going to replace it? VMware believes in open frameworks, like the SpringSource Spring acquired in August 2009.

The IT is going to be responsible for three kind of applications: existing (legacy) applications, new enterprise applications and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications (VMware uses 15 SaaS products in house).
These applications must be accessible from a plethora of different end-user access devices, like smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc. And this is going to be a very big challenge: how to present information in a consistent way on all these devices, while keeping them manageable and secure for the company.

Dr. Stephen Herrod, CTO and Senior Vice President of R&D at VMware, is now on stage, to show how the company is executing the vision Maritz just described.
He starts with a recap of the innovation introduced in vSphere 4.1, including networking and storage I/O controls, as well as the vStorage APIs for array integration.

Very interestingly, Herrod is pushing the price of vSphere 4.1 Essential Edition on stage: “402.64 Euros only, 13.5 Euros per virtual machine”.
There was nothing like this in the US keynote: VMware probably believes that the european audience is much more sensitive about pricing that its north american counter part. Judging from the comments on Twitter, a few people found the information exciting.

After a nice demo of Alive, the product recently acquired from Integrien, Herrod moves back the concept of virtual data centers in the private cloud.
Talking about vCloud Director and the business consumption of IT services, Herrod mentions the Apple AppStore as the ultimate example of simplicity and delivery efficiency. Problem is that the AppStore model also brings in painful issues, unacceptable for some companies, like the tight control on what is approved and published in the catalog.

After a nice demo of vCloud Director the discussion moves to the new VMware cloud application platform, the vFabric. Herrod mentions the partnership with Salesforce and Google over and AppEngine (GAE), both to offer a vFabric stack.
A legit question is: how the VMware infrastructure is improving the vFabric platform? Herrod says that the integration will simplify provisioning, scaling and visibility (he mentions the SpringSource Hyperic monitoring solution about this last point).

He moves on the last part of the vision: the end-user access to SaaS applications. VMware View and project Horizon are both mentioned. 
View 4.5 (non-experimental) Local Mode is highlighted on stage. Of course this is a promotion against the recently released Citrix XenClient 1.0.
VMware reports that the total acquisition cost for a new user is now equal to $500.

A demo of project Horizon, powered by the technology recently acquired by TriCipher, shows how to authorize the access to a SaaS application ( for a corporate user, and how he can connect to the approved SaaS application without additional logging operations. The identity management system is federated with the on-premises corporate Microsoft Active Directory directory service, allowing single sign-on (SSO).
The user can access his newly approved application from the corporate virtual desktop, an iPad (9.7″ display) or a Dell Streak (5″ display) device without further intervention.

And with this demo, VMware ends its VMworld Europe 2010 opening keynote. 
Nothing new was added on top of what it has been already said one month ago, not even a mention for the upcoming vCloud Request Manager for vCloud Director. Despite that, this year’s keynote remains one of the best ever delivered by the company.