Live from VMworld 2009: Day 2

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Second day keynote here at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for the VMworld 2009.
The yesterday keynote, performed by the VMware CEO Paul Maritz and the COO Tod Nielsen, was mostly focused on the company vision.

Today the CTO Dr. Stephen Herrod is expected to deliver, as usual, a more concrete, technology-wise keynote, dedicating more time to the new products that VMware is delivering or developing for a future release.

Stephen Herrod is on stage.
He starts recapping the three initiatives that make the VMware strategy and how there’s a major refocus on the desktop virtualization area and View. View enables Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).

DaaS requires the right platform (vSphere) and technology for centralized image and policy management.
A key challenge is providing shared images, managing the user personality and simplifying patching.

About the user personality VMware has just started a OEM partnership to integrate RTO Virtual Profiles in View.

Another area that requires a major effort is the user experience, which has to be the best possible no matter what endpoint the workforce is using.
Of course Herrod is talking about the partnership with Teradici and the software version of their PCoIP remote protocol that was briefly demonstrated yesterday.
View 4.0 with the software version of PCoIP will ship this year.

Now Herrod talks about the most important innovation that VMware is working on: the client hypervisor or Client Virtualization Platform (CVP).
A demo of the product is running now: a virtual desktop is launched through View and executed on the local laptop. It runs large Flash videos from YouTube and 3D graphics using the local GPU. Yet the operating system is running inside a virtual machine and has a fully emulated virtual display card.
The second part of the demo shows PCoIP in action on a thin client and on an Apple iPhone, through the new Wyse PocketCloud application.

Herrod is back on the strategy.
VMware wants to provide easy management for the virtual data center also inside the mobile devices. This will happen through the vCenter Mobile Administrator.
But more than that VMware wants to bring the hypervisor on phones: time for the upcoming Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP).

The Global Head of Product Development at Visa is on stage.
A large R&D mobile device with QWERTY keyboard (three times the size of an iPhone) is used on the demo.
It runs the new mobile hypervisor they acquired from Trango in November 2008.
The host OS is Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and the guest OS is Google Android with a Visa mobile app that connects online and integrates with Google Maps.

That’s enough about the desktop virtualization effort. Herrod moves back to the server virtualization domain and reiterates the new concept that Paul Maritz introduced yesterday: the software mainframe.

VMotion is the foundation of the software mainframe.

So far VMware estimates that virtual administrators perfomerd over 350M live migrations with VMotion, saving over $400M.
VMotion is maturing at a fast pace, with Storage VMotion introduced at the end of 2006 and Network VMotion introduced in May with vSphere. 
Herrod doesn’t say where VMware is with long-distance VMotion but points out that a number of partner have working demos about this.

When you use VMotion for global performance optimization then VMware DRS is the technology to use.
In tests DRS achieved 96% efficiency compared to a manual placement of the virtual machines.
VMware is working to extend DRS to include I/O.

Fast-forward to the new generation of virtual appliances (a name that VMware doesn’t seem to use anymore): the vApps, introduced with vSphere.
Herrod recaps that a vApp has a metadata layer that describes its SLA and security policy, enforced by 3rd party security vendors that use the VMsafe APIs.

Herrod now introduces one of the upcoming modules for vCenter Server: ConfigControl.
ConfigControl is a configuration and change management tool that keeps an historical record of what happens in the vSphere inventory.
It will compete with a number of solutions currently provided by multiple VMware partners.

The product (a technology preview) is shown for the first time ever on stage: the administrator can use a search web interface to find out what changed about a specific object in the inventory.
It can also choose the way the changes are visualized in the console.
For each change that ConfigControl can return the administrator is able to know what are objects were impacted by the change.
The interface seems a little unintuitive but the product is extremely interesting.

Herrod now moves on the last initiative of the VMware strategy: the vCloud.
Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an example of connectivity between clouds (one is private, the other can be public or private as well).
Long-distance VMotion is another way to connect the clouds. There are a lot of challenges : moving the VM memory, move and sync the VM disk images, and more.
Herrod says that next year there will be more  long-distance live migration solutions.

Now Herrod is back to the most controversial domain where VMware is moving: the SpringSource acquistion.
It seems that VMware made some on-the-fly adjustments to its message to clarify what the acquisition means in the big picture.

Herrod is doing a better job in explaining where enterprise Java applications are in the VMware universe, but his presentation still doesn’t answer the most important question: why the virtual data center administrators should care.

The SpringSource CTO is on stage, hopefully to explain this. Unfortunately people start to leave as soon as they see code.
VMware has a major challenge here: it has to remove all traces of the SpringSource details from the slides and demo, and refocus the message in a way that it doesn’t alienate its core audience.

With the same demo shown yesterday during the Paul Maritz specific keynote about cloud computing this second day keynote ends.