Will the fruits of the $1.2 billion purchase of Nicira ripen in time for VMworld 2013 as VMware inches closer to software-defined networking in the data center? Or will the rumblings of big news in virtual storage yield significant performance gains in your virtual infrastructure? Our experts share their expectations for the VMware event being held in San Francisco from Aug. 25-29.
In the past few years, we have seen more appliances become available, so I hope that we will see an explosion of appliances for Update Manager, Horizon View servers and other management and monitoring services.
I'd like to see VMware integrate the management Web interfaces of several products into one standard interface.
I'm also hoping VMware could do something about certificate management. I don't mean what they had released in the spring of 2013, but a good all-products-covering certificate management dashboard.
I expect there will be a new version of vSphere; rumors are that this will be version 5.5. A feature that has been expected for a while is multiple vCPU support for the fault tolerance feature, so let's hope that arrives on time.
I believe VMware's recent acquisition of what is now vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), combined with Nicira's technology, will allow large businesses with multiple operating companies to move further into the realm of customer self-provision, streamlining the delivery of virtual machines and services as the ultimate business outcome. There will be a raft of products around this, although what, I don't know.
Multi-tenanted vCAC environments, with the added security features that came from the Nicira purchase, will help flatten the networks and blur the lines between internal and external VMware infrastructure. This will help reduce the costs and increase efficiency of the compute and storage infrastructure. This, I believe, is when we finally see the results of the much-talked-about software-defined networking.
I think we will see a rapid push in this area and a whole set of new features and enhancements in the vCAC and associated products, as well as better integration with third-party cloud providers so that businesses can own the baseline and rent the spike.
This year at VMworld I am expecting a big storage year, particularly with local storage and caching inside ESXi servers. VMware has telegraphed what might ship, with public comments about storage technology from the demos and discussions at 2012 VMworld.
We've seen what Infinio has done with RAM as cache for network file system data stores and PernixData is doing caching with local solid-state disk (SSD). These solutions are both in the space that Atlantis has had to itself with its ILIO storage cache software. These solutions are about distributing a fast storage layer close to the ESXi hosts and using the SAN for persistent storage, which is often a great help to Horizon View customers where storage performance is a critical part of project success.
I hope we see more vendors with virtual storage appliances like the venerable HP VSA -- now called StoreVirtual -- but far more recognizable as LeftHand.
Nexenta has an appliance that leverages local SSD and hard disk; I hope we see a new version this year.
I know many people are keen on using the Web-based client for managing their vSphere infrastructure, and VMware appears to be pushing it as the replacement to the Windows-based fat client.
Personally, I find the Web client difficult to use; it is akin to when Novell created its Java-based client for managing NetWare servers -- yes, it worked, but it was clumsy and it should have put its efforts elsewhere. I would like to see VMware continue to not only support but also improve its fat client.
Furthermore, the newly released vCenter Certificate Automation Tool has a long way to go. For a company as innovative as VMware, I think it could greatly improve its certificate deployment and management tools for its products. With its ongoing focus on security, this should be top of VMware's list for making the product easy to use and intuitive for users.
I expect quite a bit of talk around storage. There is no lack of innovation with new companies coming out of stealth and new releases from existing companies. Storage is hot, and companies from EMC to Infinio are trying to carve out a niche and become "the next evolution in storage."
I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of talk occurs around OpenStack. There is definitely a movement occurring, and it's a cloud movement that isn't centered on VMware. I'm going to keep an eye on the number of products supporting OpenStack and the amount of sessions that touch on it.
More discussion around mobile seems inevitable. When VMware brought up its mobile initiatives, there weren't many enterprise IT companies talking about it. Today, everybody seems to be talking about it. And now that there are many options that are already available, hopefully VMware will announce more progress on Horizon Mobile.
I'm also anticipating new versions of core VMware products. Bigger, better, faster! Need I say anything more?
VMworld promises to be an exciting time for me. A couple of my clients are represented; I am eager to see how the public reacts to CloudPhysics' announcements and feature releases since its excellent showing last year. Similarly, Proximal Data has been improving steadily; I hope to see interest crystallize around it.
There are a few other companies I'm interested to visit: SimpliVity and Nutanix are shaking up the vBlock scene, while Atlantis' ILIO has me intrigued. Nexenta and Tintri are always fun, and some of the old standbys such as Puppet and are sure to come out with interesting stuff.
The established "tech titan" players are not the companies that interest me at VMworld. I honestly don't expect that VMware is going to release anything all that interesting. What information I can glean says that what's on the table for VMware proper is "too little, too late" and not enough to keep my eyes wide when compared with the innovation coming out of the startup scene. Just as EMC has become staid, boring and expensive, so too has VMware stagnated.