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VMware Predictions for 2011 - What's Next?

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed Article By Dr. Stephen Herrod, CTO at VMware

VMware Predictions for 2011 - What's Next?

The end of a year is a good time to step back, assess what we've accomplished over the past year, and attempt to predict what can happen in the year ahead. And who doesn't enjoy putting these out in the public with all the fame, blame, and shame these predictions can lead to! Last year I started my article with these very relevant quotations:

"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."  - Niels Bohr

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

For 2011, I'd like to add another favorite:

"If you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough" - Mario Andretti

[I'm pre-excusing myself for making some extra aggressive projections :)]

Before diving into 2011, let's provide a little self-assessment of last year's predictions:

1.    The growing modularization of the data center, especially as server, storage and networking companies continue to evolve what are currently still relatively young partnerships. The EMC/Cisco vBlock bundles, as well as "converged infrastructure" offerings from HP, demonstrate that vendors understand that customers want simplicity, ease of use, and a single support channel for utilizing them. Look for more to come.

Grade: A+ - As expected, there has been a ramp in discussing these converged datacenter building blocks. Both public awareness and sales of Cisco and EMC's vBlock offerings and HP's converged infrastructure offerings have ramped this year. IBM has also entered the fray with their latest System x and BladeCenter offerings as has Dell with a big focus on new converged infrastructure offerings. And Oracle has taken this even a step further, making hay from the convergence of their hardware AND software assets into the Exabyte Database Machine. Best-of-breed componentry will continue to thrive, but the trend towards convergence is now clear.

2. Industry participants in 2010 will better define the private cloud and help customers implement it. Customers want this hybrid world to be more easily managed and give them the right balances between efficiency, scalability, security, and control I fully expect that vendors, systems integrators, and certification agencies will rally to meet that demand in 2010.

GRADE: A - Is this the beginning of a roll? I was just at a big conference with the top system integrators, and they made it extremely clear that their clients were pushing hard for help with defining and implementing private clouds now. The analyst community discusses the same, and I can certainly share that VMware's customer base wants as much prescription as possible on this front. If you're interested, this was the primary focus of this year's VMworld event and of Paul Martiz's and my own keynote.

3. I expect 2010 to be the year when developers and customers recognize the need to have even more choice as to where their applications are run in the cloud. This will lead to both open cloud standards and the arrival of new PaaS offerings designed with cloud portability in mind.

GRADE: B+ - Wow... Perhaps I am just lucky, or more likely, customers are speaking loud and clear. 2010 was very big for VMware as we launched our own vision and efforts towards "Open PaaS". Most importantly, this wasn't just something from VMware. I was very pleased with a common vision from both salesforce.com and from Google. And we've put our money where our collective mouths were with public demonstrations and offerings respectively. There are other interesting open-source efforts as well, such as OpenStack. There's certainly a lot more to be done, but I feel confident there is momentum towards an open approach to the next wave of programming environments.

Now let's talk about 2011... I certainly believe all of the above projections will continue to ramp (as well other laggards noted in 2009 and 2010). For the coming year I'll add three more to the list:

1. The line between private and public clouds will blur. 2011 will bring a tighter coupling of private and public clouds, with the majority of medium- and large-sized companies utilizing a combination of the two. Just as the Internet has become a continuum of a company's internal and external communication protocols, so will typical IT computing resources become a blend of internal and external cloud technologies. Vendors will deliver new infrastructure, management, and security tools that present a more unified view of just one cloud to IT.

2. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings will continue their march into enterprises, and IT departments will demand solutions that give them more control over their access. At VMware alone, we've seen departmental-driven adoption of a number of SaaS offerings including salesforce.com, workday, success factors, and many others. They're great and help us move faster, but our IT department has little control over who can access these, what policies are in place around data placement, and even around how to remove employee access if they depart VMware. Companies, including VMware, will attack this area in 2011 and new platforms and solutions for "IT-friendly" SaaS offerings will grow.

3. New devices will also continue their march into enterprises, also leading enterprises to demand help. It doesn't take Nostradamus to recognize that iPads, iPhones, and Android-based devices are popping up everywhere and employees are demanding to use them for their work lives. As with SaaS applications, these devices often arrive unsanctioned by IT. But IT is still responsible for protecting access to corporate resources, handling private data appropriately, and signing off on those tricky compliance reports. And as with SaaS applications, we'll see an increasing number of vendors move to fill this hole, allowing easier provisioning and management of the increasing number of employee-owned devices entering their business.

Happy virtualizing to all of you and onward into the Cloud in 2011!

About the Author

Steve Herrod is the Chief Technology Officer and SVP of R&D at VMware. As CTO, Steve helps drive the company’s technology strategy and works with the engineering teams towards continued delivery of innovative products. The greatest innovations push technology limits, but are also simple to use and elegantly accessible. Steve helps drive these advances directly and via members of the Office of the CTO.

Steve provides particular leadership around technology collaborations between VMware engineering and our partners and customers. He plays an integral role in VMware’s acquisition strategy as well as in VMware’s strategic partnerships. Recent focus areas have centered on the acquisition of SpringSource as well as our partnerships with Salesforce.com and Google.

Steve was one of the first VMware engineering directors and remains a strong champion of engineering innovation at the company. He was named CTO of the Year by InfoWorld in 2009 and sits on the EMC Technical Advisory Board.

Prior to joining VMware Steve co-led the development of a virtual CPU with "Code Morphing" technology at Transmeta Corporation, as part of his now 20-year professional tenure in the field of virtualization.

Steve holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.

Published Monday, November 15, 2010 5:00 AM by David Marshall
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I always enjoy the chance to step back at the end of a year, reflect about what really has happened, and then put some predictions out there. And just as in last year's article, I'll lead this one with two of my favorite, relevant quotations:

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