VMworld 2015: Monday General Session

As I begin writing this, it is currently Monday morning and just moments away from the first general session of VMworld 2015, here at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. While I am waiting for the official announcements to begin, I can say that this year’s show seems to show signs of having a focus on storage. If the pre-story before the announcement is any indication, then 2015 may be the year in which VMware steers the focus toward its vision of hybrid cloud solutions.

It is great to be at VMworld again this year, with over 23,000 of my closest friends and peers in the industry. In the opening of the general session, we get to take a trip down memory lane to review how VMware has dramatically transformed the landscape of the modern-day data center. This transformation has been accomplished in the last decade or so, basically since the turn of century, and it has driven other companies to jump on the virtual bandwagon to help shape the technology highway through the twenty-first century.

VMware has shared a vision for “One Cloud.” This is not just one private or public cloud. VMware’s vision for the future is to be the central control point for both private and public clouds, to be seen and managed as “One Cloud.” This vision is the architecture for the future of IT and just another piece of the puzzle of the software-defined data center.

It is no secret that I am a big fan and active evangelist for cloud computing in general, regardless of whether a cloud is presented by Microsoft, VMware, OpenStack, or pick your flavor. Although it is very educational to hear how different companies are taking advantage of the cloud, in my humble opinion, having DIRECTV present at the start of the general session seems more like a marketing pitch for DIRECTV than anything else. It would be great to hear how DIRECTV and AT&T are utilizing the cloud in their businesses, but I disagree that the general session is the place for that. But hey, that is just my two cents on that.

Are you ready for any? This is the theme for this session. Now, as the session has gotten into a little more of the meat of the presentation, “Are you ready for any?” appears to mean “Are you ready for hybrid and the software-defined data center (SDDC)?” VMware appears to have put some time and effort into its VMware EVO technology, and it is pushing to make EVO the base for its vision of the SDDC. EVO will combine the power of NSX and vRealize Automation, as well as adding a content library as a central point for images of appliances and golden images of different operating system flavors. However, I am not quite sold on the idea that EVO is the best solution for all environments large and small.

Memory flashback: when VMware first released its vMotion technology, vMotion was one of the coolest technologies for moving a live virtual machine from one physical host to another. Today, VMware has taken another step forward for vMotion technology, announcing Cross-Cloud vMotion, which has the ability to cross-cloud virtual machines into the cloud and back. This sets the stage and puts VMware into a strong position to be the central control and management point between the private and public clouds.

“Simply extend and reach” is the message VMware has presented in day one’s general session. From hybrid applications and hybrid clouds to unified hybrid solutions, VMware appears to be claiming the area between different clouds, whereas other cloud companies have been focusing on getting customers into their cloud offering. Cloud providers have always offered a path into the cloud, but none of these providers have seemed to have a solid return path back out of their cloud to the corporate private cloud or another cloud provider. This is something that has been missing for a while now, and VMware is more than happy to step up and provide a solution to this specific use case.

The real question is, “Moving forward, will other cloud providers follow VMware’s lead in management between different cloud providers, or will these providers continue to focus on bringing clients into their own cloud solutions?” Would it be in Microsoft’s, Amazon’s, or Google’s interest to fully provide a pathway from its own solution to a competitor’s? Only time can answer that question, but meanwhile, VMware has found its own way to extend its solutions, management, and automation, giving them the ability to reach out to the other clouds.

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