My experience at VMworld US 2013

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I’m back since few days from VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, and as usual I’m slowly starting to “digest” the huge amount of news I received. Among the several announcements from VMware itself and those from almost every partner at the event, is hard to choose what to select and what to ignore. This year I completely ignored both Hands-On Labs and sessions. They will be both available after the event, so there will be all the time to watch the videos and test the new technologies.

Instead, I focused on networking activities. First of all, those kind of events are always a great way to meet new people and see again known ones, and to talk with them about several topics. Interaction is increased, and we are not limited to 140 characters as in twitter discussions. I had been lucky to be part of many of them, and I was able to compare my ideas and opinions with those of other professionals I deeply respect.

Also, networking involved some of the vendors. Opportunities like these ones are priceless, and is basically the main reason I’m going to the US event instead of the European one since two years: all the vendors have at their own booths engineers, product managers, consultants; to be able to interact with those people is unvaluable. One can choose to simply show up at a booth of a vendor and try to talk  with someone, or to schedule a personal meeting. I had both kind of meetings, and even if in a couple of times I’ve been lucky by simply showing up, scheduled meetings have obviously been better: you are out of the crowd at the booth, full of gadgets, quiz, prices, stuff I really do not care about (rather I’m a little bit daunted by them), and you can deep dive in the vendor technologies and value propositions.

Among these kind of meeting I can surely list also the Tech Field Day roundtables, where I’ve been invited again for the second year in a row. We were hosted in an hotel far from the Moscone Center, and all the three meetings I had were really interesting. I will write about them in future articles.

In my opinion, the two hottest topics at VMworld have been for sure Network Virtualization and Server Caching/SSD Storage. The first one has been totally monopolized by the announcement of VMware NSX, the new network virtualization solution; the second one has seen the battle between several vendors, both VMware itself with the announcement of vFlash, and several others much or less new like FlashSoft, Pernix Data, Infinio, Proximal Data, Fusion-IO ioTurbine and others.

Another topic, raised by the announcement of VMware VSAN, has been for sure distributed storage, or “NoSAN” has many like to call it. The VMware solution is only at a beta stage, while other vendors like Nutanix or Simplivity are already selling their solutions and having huge results, but for sure the VMware announcement has “heat up” this market. The so called “hyper-converged” market is valued at over 17 billions dollars in the next years, so there will be enough space for eveyone, and it will be interesting to see in few years who will succeed and will become a rock-solid solution, which other vendor will join the battle, and who will disappear.

Absurdly, the biggest news in previous years, that is the new vSphere realese (now numbered 5.5), has almost passed in the background. Sing of the times: nowadays the hypervisor and its management tools are a sort of “commodity”, and the real added value is in the solutions running on top of it. Nonetheless, there are some cool news like VMDKs that can now be increased up to 62 TB, and finally the complete support in the web client for Mac OS X; many Apple users like me are finally happy!

Finally, I’m linking here some of the most interesting posts I read. Some bloggers deserve all my respect for the huge amount of posts they wrote during VMworld, I would never be able to do the same, even with much more free time. In the next posts I will write about some of the new stuff I’ve seen, if they are not still covered by an NDA agreement.

vSphere 5.5:

VMworld 2013: What’s New in vSphere 5.5: Virtual Machines by Mike Laverick

vSphere 5.5 Improvements Part 1 – The New Hotness in ESXi 5.5 by Chris Wahl

VMware vSphere 5.5 Latency-Sensitivity Feature by Gregg Robertson

vSphere 5.5 nuggets: vCenter Server Appliance limitations lifted! by Duncan Epping


vSphere 5.5 Improvements Part 3 – Lions, Tigers, and 62TB VMDKs by Chris Wahl

Introduction to VMware vSphere Virtual SAN by Duncan Epping

VSAN Part 2 – What do you need to get started? by Cormac Hogan

vSphere 5.5 Improvements Part 5 – vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFlash) by Chris Wahl


vSphere 5.5 Improvements Part 8 – Network Virtualization with NSX by Chris Wahl

vSphere 5.5 Improvements Part 9 – Networking and VDS Razzle Dazzle by Chris Wahl

[This post was originally written by Luca Dell’Oca, and published on the blog ]

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