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Hopes and Dreams for VMworld 2014

On the eve of VMworld 2014, I can't help but be excited about the potential number of announcements expected at this year's show. As I consider past VMworlds, I've seen an evolution: the conference has moved past the point of being a place to announce the next version of vSphere, to become the focal point around which the entire industry revolves. Vendors wait for the event to launch new products, new companies come out of stealth mode, and customers leverage it to plot their course of action and plan ahead. That's a long way to come for a company that began with a single product that abstracted server hardware from software.

With that in mind, I'll take a look at some expected announcements and speculate on what I'd like to see at VMworld.

Expected Announcements
In keeping with tradition, VMware is expected to announce the availability of vSphere 6, an upgrade to its flagship virtualization platform. vSphere 6 promises new features, enhancements to existing features and of course raising current maximum limits of hosts and virtual machines to support larger workloads and higher levels of virtualization.

Virtual Volumes, or vVols, are expected to make its debut this year. Many are looking forward to vVols, and for good reason: they'll simplify the provisioning and management of storage in a virtualized environment. I expect vVols to transform the storage industry, specifically as they relate to virtualized environments.

"Project Marvin" is another expected announcement that will literally steal the show. This is VMware's venture into the hyper-converged space; if I was a betting man, I'd put money on VMware leveraging SuperMicro hardware to empower this solution, in addition to its traditional server OEM vendors that will ship SKUs of their servers coupled with Project Marvin. Since we're speculating, I wonder what name this new hyper-converged infrastructure will carry: vPOD? vPAD? Or maybe vHYPER?

I'm also confident we'll hear several announcements around VMware NSX, its software-defined networking (SDN) solution. In addition, I expect VMware to announce expanded geographical coverage for its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). With that, I hope to see expanded features, especially a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) integration with Site Recovery Manager (SRM). I also hope to see more competitive pricing with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as far as the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering is concerned.

Hoped-for Announcements
It's hard to imagine VMworld 2014 without a mention of container-based technology, especially after the splash that Docker made. I think it's inevitable that vSphere will eventually support containers, given the many benefits it adds. This is especially true when it comes to application mobility and portability in the cloud. I'm hopeful that one surprise will be a demo of container technology running on vSphere.

My other wish list item is around the enhancement of Secure Content Locker, the cloud file sync tool VMware acquired via AirWatch. My hope here is that VMware would acquire or fold EMC's Syncplicity and integrate the two products for a more full-featured solution. I have a lot of expectations around the end user computing announcements, especially regarding integration between VMware products. (More to come on that in a future blog).

A Multi-Front Battle
VMware is tirelessly innovating, in many ways. In addition, it's taking on significant competitors in numerous areas, including:

  • In the cloud, specifically pitting vCHS against Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
  • Microsoft, on the hypervisor front. Yes, that battle is still ongoing.
  • It's in fierce competition with Citrix in every arena of end-user computing.
  • Its relationship with Cisco has deteriorated as a result of its thunderous entrance into the SDN space, a battle so fierce it prompted Cisco CEO to say "We will crush VMware in SDN".
  • Hyper-convergence. Here it faces competition from OpenStack, Docker and others.

With everything happening in the industry, the question inevitably becomes whether VMware can realistically maintain its aggressive course without prioritizing and choosing its battles? It's crucial for management to understand the importance of prioritization on the quality and innovation of its products.

For those of you attending this year's VMworld, I hope you enjoy the show. For those that can't make it, be sure to follow this blog, as I'll be covering all the new announcements.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 08/07/2014 at 8:24 AM


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