Live from VMworld 2017

Checking in with you live from VMworld 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Things here at the conference are really starting to heat up both inside and outside, with the temperature reaching up to 108 degrees this week. There was a lot of hype coming into the conference, with the details of the VMware/Amazon AWS platform finally getting fully released.

I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with Brian Graf from VMware for a personal guided tour of the new platform. A big shout-out, thanks, and kudos to Brian for taking the time to sit with me and answer my never-ending stream of questions, sometimes in random order, throughout his guided tour. Not all the expected and wanted features were in place yet for a 1.0 release, but what I saw was quite impressive, clean, and smooth in appearance and abilities. The deployment process was pretty simple and very quick, moving up the stack with the deployment of a new software-defined data center (SDDC) able to fully deploy in around sixty to ninety minutes. Picture that: fully deployed SDDC during your lunch break.

One of the concerns I had about the VMware/Amazon AWS platform was where the price point was going to end up at. I had heard and read that larger organizations would be interested in this new platform because of the rumored high price. What I have learned, however, is that there are going to be different discounts available for current VMware licensed customers as well as another type of discount for multiyear service contracts. All in all, there is a potential for somewhere around a twenty-five percent discount when taking advantage of the different discount opportunities.

Now, about the rumor that the platform only makes sense to the larger infrastructures: this rumor was true, but not quite in the way that I expected. Let me elaborate on that for a moment. The service contact is going to be based on a four-node AWS cluster. As such, to make this platform really worthwhile from a cost perspective, companies will need to be able to fully utilize the cluster with compute instances. In other words, before companies sign on the dotted line, they need to make sure they have enough workflows to fill this four-node cluster. Hosts can be added and removed to the four-node cluster based on demand. With the initial four nodes of cluster running near capacity, the very rough and generalized math has the cost of the virtual machine being somewhere around $45 to $50 per month. Your mileage will vary based on the type and size of the workloads you end up hosting, but I wanted to get some kind of rough idea, and this number does just that.

Since this VMware/Amazon AWS platform is basically a managed system, this means all the support and maintenance will be handled by VMware and the platform team, with a direct line to support from the web user interface to help resolve any issues when they happen. With it being a managed system, there are some restrictions on the permissions and administrative abilities that will be available to customers. Some of the restrictions may change over time, and the APIs will be redefined and enhanced in future releases after VMworld 2017.

Those of you who remember when vMotion technology was first released way back when should recall the excitement that comes with technology. At the time, this was a great innovation, and I would expect the same kind of excitement when extended vMotion for the new platform gets released. In the way we were all amazed as we watched workloads being migrated from host to host in a cluster, now we will bear witness to workloads moving back and forth between the private and public instance of the hybrid cloud. Once this is in place, I believe it will be a cornerstone that might accelerate partnerships with some of the other cloud providers, like Microsoft and Google. Speaking of Google, there is some irony that could come from this. In case you didn’t know, Diane Green (the original founder and CEO of VMware) is now working at Google. The irony would come into play if she happened to be a part of any partnership between VMware and Google. Think about that for a moment. Things that make you go “hmm,” live from VMworld 2017.

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