Live from VMworld 2008: Day 1 – VMware Keynote

As usual, will provide a live coverage of the opening keynotes at VMworld.

The brand new VMware CEO, Paul Maritz, is on stage.

He starts with a short recap of the IT history, and of the VMware story, mentioning both Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum, both out of the company, for their contribution (surprisingly, no applause from the audience).

To describe the evolution of VMware products over the last 10 years the slides show three branches that,  somewhere after 2008, will merge into a single thing.

Maritz introduces the three technology domains that VMware sees matching those three branches to become one: the Virtual Datacenter OS (VDC-OS), the vCloud and the vClient.

To justify the need for a new software platform that is elastic, self-managing and self-healing, Maritz points out the impossibility to provision in a proper and prompt way the application workloads depending on the business needs.

The upcoming VMware’s VDC-OS depends on physical hardware capabilities (vCompute), Intel FlexMigration is mentioned, on virtual hardware extensibility (vNetwork), Cisco virtual switches are mentioned (we’ll cover the Cisco keynote later today), on storage availability and reliability (vStorage).

The Virtual Datacenter OS is made to run workloads of course, and Maritz describes how the company is moving from the Virtual Appliances to the vApps, an evolution of the pre-configured VMs that we have today, able to match security, manageability and availability requirements more easily.

The Virtual Datacenter OS and its vApps must be managed, so Maritz introduces the vManagement concept: an extensible management framework where 3rd party vendors (BMC, CA, IBM, etc.) can plug into to add value on top of Virtual Center.

Now VMware’s CEO move on the vCloud concept. He announces that over 100 service providers (including BT, Verizon, Sunguard and T-Systems) are working with the company to deploy federated vApps.

Demo time: a system administrator downloads a virtual appliance (vApp in the future) from the VMware Marketplace and defines a business policy for it before deploying: the SLA must be less than 4 seconds, if the condition is not satisfied then a cloud for that application must be built on the fly to address the workload demand in a transparent way.
The virtual appliance is loaded and put on heavy pressure until it surpass the SLA threshold. At that point the VMware Infrastructure spawns new instances of it to recover the performance level required.

Last part of the Maritz story: the vClient.

The company is working to move from the concept of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to a new thing called VMware View.

In desktop environments the end user experience and productivity is the key so VMware is working on something to define the OS, the applications and the storage of a desktop environment as user properties. These properties follow the user on any physical platform he uses (a thin client, a standard PC, a mobile device, etc.).

Demo time: an end user plugs a USB key into a laptop which boots the operating system inside it (it seems a Linux distribution). The minimal OS just launches a Virtual Desktop Manager client to reach a virtual workstation somewhere in the VMware Infrastructure.
Once there, the end user is welcome to launch a 3D game and enjoy a smooth rendering.

The visionary keynote is almost finished.
Maritz could just touch the fascinating, epic and extremely complex vision that VMware wants to realize. But what he presented is enough to reveal a profound fracture between his company and the current competitors: never like today VMware seems far, far away from the small business market and fully committed just to the highest-end of the enterprise segment.

Just to summarize: VMware is moving the current hardware, including servers, workstations and storage, to the cloud. is suggesting that VMware would start moving to cloud computing as soon as Microsoft would enter the market for serious competition. Here we go now.

Now the question really is if the market is ready to follow.
For now the answer in not exactly positive:


The session is finished but will also cover some of the other sponsors keynotes (Cisco is one of them) due today.
Additionally, we’ll provide the coverage for tomorrow’s keynote, performed by Steve Herrod, CTO at VMware, and for the Paul Maritz Q&A session.

Stay with us!