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Best Of VMworld 2011: 6 Innovative Vendors

The exhibit hall at last week's VMworld 2011 was the largest I have ever seen. It's amazing how large of an ecosystem VMware in particular has and virtualization in general. It seems like every vendor that had a big announcement saved it for VMworld. For this week's blog, during the show I scouted the exhibit floor looking for what I thought were the best vendors in regards to innovation and I came back with the following list (in no particular order). My Best of Show Awards" go to:

Splunk (don't ask me where the name came from or what it stands for) is a tool that allows you to converge all logs across all your systems in a centralized, indexed and searchable medium. Centralizing your logs and indexing them allows you to quickly search, identify trends, and do proactive monitoring and troubleshooting.

Gale Technologies is a converged infrastructure orchestration and automation tool. I have been looking for an end-to-end tool that can take existing infrastructure of different makes and models and enable orchestration and automation. Gale technologies brings the best of both worlds, providing tools for the Flexpods of the world where the system is pre-built and pre-tested. But it also allows customers that don't have the pre-built and pre-validated infrastructure to also take advantage of orchestration and automation. Gale allows you to take compute, storage and network resources orchestrate ad automate all the way into virtual machines. Really cool stuff!

Nutanix is purpose-built for desktop virtualization, VDI in particular. For a while now I have been saying local disk is dead; don't pitch local disk to me for VDI, I want all the enterprise features of virtualization that require shared storage. Nutanix must have been listening, what they have is a server with traditional compute and local storage in the form of a FusionIO card. The cool thing about Nutanix is they have developed software that allows you to grid their servers together. That way, you get the scalability you need with the shared storage needed at a lower cost. You also get the shared storage needed for the enterprise virtualization features. It's a win-win in a very elegant setup.

Cloupia is another orchestration and automation software that was very impressive. Like Gale technologies they also have software that is dedicated to managing the NetApp FlexPod, but you can also automate and orchestrate existing infrastructure. A big plus and a building block for internal couds.

Tintri is one of the coolest storage solutions for VMware vSphere; it is an NFS solution with SSD drives. The cool thing about Tintri is that it provisions datastores out of the box, which means it presents a datastore to vSphere. However, that is not what caught my attention. What I found impressive were the monitoring capabilities. Today, in traditional storage, if there is a LUN that is being hammered, you only have visibility to recognize that the LUN is being hammered. With Tintri, you can see the LUN, drill into the VM that is causing the contention, and drill even deeper into the VMDK and see which file exactly is causing the issue. For instance, if the windows pagefile is consuming a lot of IOPS, you can drill all the way into the VMDK and see that the pagefile is consuming all the IOPS and then take corrective measures. Tintri represents a new breed of storage that is virtualization-aware or hypervisor-aware. I am very excited about the potential for Tintri.

LG had a very cool announcement at VMworld. They are the first company to release mobile phones that support VMware's Horizon Mobile (previously Mobile Virtualization Platform). The phone is based on Android and delivers a Type-2 hypervisor on the phone, therefore allowing you to run a second operating system with applications completely isolated from your underlying OS. Think of it as VMware Workstation for Mobile Phones. Now you can have your work life and your personal life completely separated on the same device and in the event that you need to wipe out your work profile for whatever reason, you can do that non-intrusively without wiping out the entire phone. It is a very cool life-work separation.

While I am sure all vendors that were present bring innovation and quality products, the vendors mentioned above were the ones that caught my attention. I narrowed this list down from about 30 vendors that I was able to investigate.

Disclaimer: I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from the listed vendors. I looked at them from a purely independent stand point.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 09/06/2011 at 12:49 PM


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