VMworld 2010 – Taking the virtual roads to actual clouds

“Virtual Roads, Actual Clouds” was the theme of VMworld 2010 held at San Francisco last week. This was our fourth consecutive VMworld show and its amazing how the conference gets bigger each time.

This year, VMworld Europe is being held within a month of the VMworld USA event. So we saw far fewer people from Europe make it to VMworld USA. I would even go to the extent of saying we saw far fewer international visitors this year. Despite that, attendance at the show was at an all time high – 17,000+ – indicating that virtualization and cloud computing are alive and kicking!

The VMware keynotes were interesting. What i caught were repeated references to the Hybrid Cloud – not to private or public cloud. This is the practical way to look at it, because the large enterprises are unlikely to move to a completely public cloud model. At the same time, there was a lot of discussion on standards and interoperability between public and private clouds. I wonder if this is such a big issue – will the same applications be moved between public and private clouds? I suspect not!

While Paul Maritz’s (VMware CEO) keynote was dull, he did have several statistics of interest. According to an IDC survey, 2010 is the year that the total number of virtual machines deployed in the year exceeds the number of physical machines deployed in the year! In 2010, greater than 10 million VMs will be installed. This represents a growth of 28% in VM deployment in 2010 compared to 2009.

In 2010, the number of VMs deployed will exceed the number of physical machines deployed – for the first time!

Given that more VMs will be deployed, Paul views that the virtualization layer is becoming more important than the operating system. Automation, management, and security are areas VMware sees as important and is innovating in.

VMware had several interesting announcements. Important among them were:

  • vFabric is the new cloud application platform – including a full Java stack with a web server and an application server.
  • vCloud Director – this a software that allows IT operations to offer a “Virtual Data Center” – it pools computing, networking, and storage resources as a service offering. The vision is for IT managers to use vCloud Director to create catalogs from which services are simply selected and automatically provisioned.

VMware also announced two acquisitions – Integrien, in the virtualization management/capacity management space and TriCipher in the security space. If the numbers quoted in some of the press articles are right, a 50-fold exit for Integrien ($100mil value for an eight year old company with an annual revenue of $2mil) is a great exit for them. This said, VMware’s play in the management space has been confusing. In the last three years, they have acquired a number of monitoring tools – first B-hive (AppSpeed), then Hyperic (through the SpringSource acquisition), then PinPoint through the RTO acquisition, and now Integrien. All of these are different tools with differing capabilities. Yet it is unclear if these will be integrated and how they will be positioned. Today, Hyperic is part of the vFabric initiative. PinPoint is not being spoken about. And whatever happened to AppSpeed? We have not seen any of our customers using this product, and there was no talk at all at the show about where this product is – didnt see any sessions on AppSpeed or any demos.

For us, many of our customers and prospects were at the show. So it was a great opportunity to get feedback from customers on what we could do better. We also got to meet with many prospects who are evaluating our products. At the show, we also announced a new release – version 5 – of the eG Enterprise Suite (see the full announcement here). In particular, our new configuration and change tracking capabilities got very good feedback from customers and prospects. Compared to four years ago, when we started attending this conference, the profile of the average visitor has changed. Most people visiting our booth were already far ahead in their move to virtualization. A few even have multiple hypervisors deployed, with Microsoft Hyper-V being the second choice.

All in all, we had a great week. If you could not make it VMworld, here is a link to the keynote.