By Sean Gilbride, Director of Professional Services and Matthew Trottier, Virtualization Practice Manager
After spending 3 fun-filled days out in sunny San Francisco at VMworld 2013, we wanted to take some time to share our impressions of this year’s event and the most note-worthy products and announcements.
Defy Convention. That was the main theme for the conference. VMware’s plan is to extend their Software-Defined Data Center Strategy with vSphere 5.5, NSX, and vSANs (more on those below) plus the GA announcement of their vSphere Hybrid Cloud Service. On the day 2 keynote, Carl Eschenbach, VMware’s President and COOs presented a humorous demo of how an application owner could request an application via vCloud Automation Center, get instant feedback on cost depending on which type of cloud instance was requested for the app (private, public, hybrid), deploy the app, and get visibility into the health of the app via VMware Operations Manager, while the IT team still retained overall control and governance of the entire solution in the back-end.
What’s new in vSphere. VMware announced vSphere 5.5 as well this year. While this release is not as feature-dense as other previous releases, it does promise some interesting enhancements. The most notable ones are:
- 2x performance improvement for mission critical applications
- vSphere App HA
- Support for virtual disks to up to 62 TB
- Virtual Flash (read cache acceleration using local SSDs)
- Storage vMotion support for vSphere replication
- Multi-point in time recovery for vSphere replication
- Big Data Extensions (Think Virtual Hadoop clusters)
vSAN. vSAN is VMware’s first attempt at delivering software defined storage to the enterprise. VMware introduced vSAN as a public Beta this year, with the intent of going GA some time next year. In a nutshell, vSAN allows you to build a shared datastore via local storage and 10Gb networking across your ESX hosts. Think scale-out, object based RAIN (not RAID) model for vdisks. Need more storage capacity or more performance? Just add another host to the cluster and extend your capacity and performance on the fly. VMware is also building in SSD based caching and policy-based capacity and performance management on a per VMs basis. The nice thing here is vSAN is built into the hypervisor in ESX 5.5, so there are no virtual appliances to worry about. Our initial thoughts here are that VMware is not intending to go after the major SAN vendors out of the gate, but want to provide a complete host-based SAN solution to compete in the ROBO and VDI space, in order to bring storage cost of ownership down and yet provide ample performance. VMware plans to extend some of these policy based management capabilities to external storage providers with VVols in a future release.
For more info on this, visit: http://cormachogan.com/2013/08/26/vsan-part-1-a-first-look-at-vsan/
NSX. VMware announced VMware NSX as their new flagship software defined network strategy solution. NSX is the Nicira product they purchased last year for $1.1 billion. NSX is a full-featured heterogeneous (VMware, OpenStack, KVM, Hyper-V) virtual switch framework with full L2-L7 services and VXLAN overlay technologies built-in to the hypervisor via a network agent. Also, VMware has already built up an impressive list of 3rd party network & security vendors that can integrate their current solutions into the NSX API framework. VMware is looking to streamline the network and security implementation process enabling rapid provisioning in cloud environments. Seems to me that vCNS (good old vShield Edge and App) will either be merged or replaced by NSX in some way in the future. For greater detail on VMware NSX, visit http://blogs.vmware.com/vmware/2013/03/vmware-nsx-network-virtualization.html
vCloud Hybrid Service. VMware dips into the Cloud services market with the GA of their Hybrid Cloud Service (vCHS). As of right now, they have 4 data centers across the US, and are planning on adding 2 more, and are talking to Savvis to extend this even further. VMware demoed the ability to directly access your VMs in the vCHS public cloud environment from the vSphere client via a plug-in. VMware is also building DRaaS, PaaS, and DaaS solutions as well for vCHS.
All in all, VMworld was a pretty interesting conference this year. You can be sure we will be keeping a close eye on all of these VMware technologies and trends.