VMworld 2014 Scaled-Out Recap

VMworld 2014 Recap

The Themes

  1. VMware is trying to transcend the hypervisor with a Software Defined Data Center – Not news but repackaging and renaming it a modernization of the marketing approach sometimes needed to move forward (See announcements on vRealize). New products/services were announced but not as prominently as previous VMworlds.
  2. VMware is transcending storage – This is an incremental story played out in phases. Storage is a mess for VMware with LUNS and automation issues. Both are getting fixed between now and Q1, 2015 (estimated).
  3. VMware is embracing the new trends; OpenStack, Docker – VMware will distribute OpenStack software but it’s unknown how that community will embrace it. It also proclaims a Docker vm will be a 1st class citizen in a VMware Infrastructure.
  4. VMware is trying to embrace consumption models – By offering by the minute consumption billing, VMware now may be on par with AWS and other pay by the usage consumption models.
  5. VMware is now in Hyper-Converged – EVO Rail and Rack now put VMware into new water with specific builds of hardware. The only problem is HP and Cisco aren’t playing.
  6. VMware is fully featured in End User Computing (except profile management) – With integration of Airwatch ,VMware Horizon is no longer a virtual desktop offering. They will be aggressively pursuing VDI, DaaS, EUC, EMM, and all angles of this space
  7. The Ecosystem – This show was more about the disruptors and their value. At the show was Docker, SolidFire, Simplivity, and more.



I was amazed at how well the SolidFire presence played out.  People loved the message of converging and mixing workloads at scale. They also loved the socks, the beer event, and Dave Wright gave a special briefing for 11 partners which felt like a sequel to his widely admired Tech Field Day address. This happened at the W on Wednesday and as one attendee put it, “it was the best briefing of VMworld”.


vbrownbagSunday was a day that normally isn’t full of great content unless you’re doing bootcamps.  vBrownBag really stepped it up this year with the following:

VMworld Announcements: http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/ + other

EVO Family

This is VMware’s new “Hyper-Converged” solution to the market.  (Note; this is different than converged architecture in that the storage is direct attached in each of the server nodes and pooled via software to scale out)

  • EVO Rail: a single appliance with 4 server nodes integrated with specially customized software to enhance and automate the provisioning and administration of virtual infrastructure. Rail will support:
    • Approximately 100 general purpose virtual machines, with a VM profile of 2 vCPU, 4 GB vMEM, and 60 GB vDisk with redundancy.
    • Up to 250 Horizon View virtual desktops, with a desktop profile of 2 vCPU, 2 GB vMEM, and 32 GB vDisk with linked clone.
  • EVO Rack: a “technology preview” for integrated rack, power, and other parts of managing up to 4 EVO Rail appliances (16 nodes).  That would equal max scale of 400 VM’s and 1000 Horizon View desktops.

VMware OpenStack (VIO)

Welcome to VMware’s distribution of OpenStack. Details are still emerging but for organizations that want to embrace OpenStack VMware will be offering an “integrated” way to access the software. The integration news here seems to be more about NSX as Compute and Storage are accessed via a vCenter adapter.

vCloud Air

This is a renaming of vCloud Hybrid Service to vCloud Air. Beyond just the name change there are expansions of services:

    • Global expansion of DaaS
    • Database as a Service – future
    • Storage as a Service (Q3) – VMware vCloud Air Object Storage is expected to be available in beta in Q3 2014 with general service availability expected in Q1 2015
    • By the minute consumption model – VMware vCloud Air Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand is available today through a qualified beta program, with general service availability expected in Q1 2015.
    • Hybrid Mobile Cloud Solutions and New Pre-validated Mobility Capabilities 


VMware renamed it’s management suite delivery, provisioning, optimization, costing, monitoring and metering into a single suite. Welcome VMware vRealize Suite. There’s also an Automation tool SaaS based that provisions and delivers applications for deploying private and public clouds.  Lastly there’s a tool called Insight.  This tool is a monitoring solution that provides OS monitoring, health/performance management, plus capacity planning/modeling, log analytics in real time, compliance/security hardening, application dependency management mapping, and storage + network visibility.


VMware announced teaming with Docker, Google and Pivotal to Simplify Enterprise Adoption of Containers.  You might have heard of “Docker”. This is born out of a new technology for stateless applications. Think of this as containerizing application with a very lightweight abstraction.  The new theme is that Docker isn’t an alternative to VMware but more of an add-on.  As the CTO, Ben Fathi, put it; “they will be 1st class citizens” in VMware’s virtual infrastructure.



This is an acquisition pre-VMworld for the EUC group.  CloudVolumes represents a technology difference from Mirage which captures the desktop OS image in a synchronized way so the users can take that image offline.  CloudVolumes by contrast needs a persistent connect to manage the image.

VMware Workspace Suite

EUC Screen-Shot-2014-08-25-at-12.18.51-PM

VMware announced the new Workspace Suite. This is the compilation of traditional Horizon View combined with assets from Airwatch and joining with CloudVolumes.  If you combine this with vCloud Air DaaS and the previously announced app publishing VMware was left no stone unturned….  Except profile management. Stay tuned.

Project Fargo – “VMFork”

This is nicknamed from the UNIX command, fork.  The idea is that instantaneously you will be able to fork a desktop and clone it in volume.  I think the natural question should be how is this different than storage array cloning?  In this case it’s a copy on write of the CPU and memory not just the data. (thanks Jeramiah)


  • VVols – VMware did not announce anything more on VVols as a launch but did education on deeper topics.  See here for link to recorded session.  Another cool revelation was the concept of VASA being the control plane and VVols being the data plane.


  • Project Magic (this is big IMO) – This is something shown late on Thursday where vCAC can now call down to storage and execute commands to external storage arrays, pre-VVols!  This is done by vCO programming to work with SPBM and the VASA provider to make policy based executions based on vCAC’s policy groups and/or blueprints.
  • VMware IOFilters (VAIO) – Here’s the future of all “kernel mode”.  In the future VMware will provide an IOFilter for software providers to connect into for kernel mode things like caching and acceleration. Aaron Patten did a good blog post here about it.

SolidFire Agile Infrastructure for Cisco, VMware


At VMworld SolidFire announced Agile Infrastructure for Cisco and VMware. This is a reference architecture taking Cisco’s best of breed UCS Servers and Networking combined with SolidFire’s scale-out flash storage running VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure.  The key in this isn’t simply the reference architecture but that it’s tested with mixed workloads which makes it unique.  Here’s a sample of the workloads:

  • Boot storm of 200 VMware Horizon View desktops
  • Two hosted Oracle OLTP database workloads running approximately 230,000 TPM
  • MongoDB job running 70 concurrent threads
  • Inline data reduction, including deduplication, compression and thin provisioning, driving 13.5x efficiency rates across all three workloads

SolidFire also showcased Fibre Chanel for the 1st time. This now provides a full range of organizations to access legacy Fibre Channel for the SolidFire scale-out, all-flash solution.


My Net Take

VMworld 2014 was the usual success in attendees and it feels like the energy is back. Disruption seems to rule the day being lead by interests in transcending all you’ve done previously.  OpenStack, getting beyond VDI, consumption models, hyper-convergence for SMB/commercial, All Flash Storage, and mixed workloads for a full enterprise solution all ruled the day.  The key in the future seems to be at what pace will organizations move to disrupt themselves and embrace all this new innovation?  And how will they control it?

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