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VMware: Predictions for 2012 - What's Next?

 

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

VMware Predictions for 2012 - What's Next?

Contributed Article by Steve Herrod, CTO, VMware

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:

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

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

Before diving into 2012, let's provide a quick recap (and shameless self-assessment) of last year's predictions:

1. The line between private and public clouds will blur

Grade: B+ - Hybrid clouds are a discussion topic at almost every large company that I visit, and more and more vendors launched tools in 2011 to help customers realize them, including VMware. We just released our free VMware vCloud Connector tool that lets customers copy, view, and operate computing resources across their private cloud and our set of vCloud Service Provider partners. I expect this trend to continue in 2012 and to see larger customers publicly discussing their implementations.

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

Grade: B+ - Not surprisingly, SaaS continues its rapid adoption in the enterprise with offerings from vendors such as salesforce.com, Google, and SuccessFactors growing more and more popular. Security discussions continue with resulting growth in discussions of SAML and other standards for securing access. VMware released our first offering in this space called Horizon Application Manager, offering an enterprise SaaS AppStore and connecting a company's ActiveDirectory-based authentication to those SaaS offerings. I expect this trend to continue well into 2012 and beyond and see this as part of the above "hybrid cloud" adoption.

3. New devices will also continue their march into enterprises, also leading enterprises to demand help
Grade: A+ - This one was kind of a no-brainer, but I have to admit it has exceeded my own high expectations. We're seeing "bring your own device" policies march into enterprises, including VMware! MDM vendors are proliferating, and VMware has also announced Horizon Mobile, our first entry into this space. Exciting times ahead for sure!

OK. So not too bad last year, and I'll roll each of those forward into the coming year as well. Now let's move onto a few new 2012 predictions. To set the foundation for these predictions, the dramatic move of enterprises towards private and public cloud computing will continue its acceleration. Almost every company that I meet would like to reallocate the cost of managing infrastructure towards funding application renewal and new application creation as these have a much more dramatic impact on company results. Even beyond the financial side of things, the desire to make infrastructure invisible is pervasive. With this backdrop, here are a few specific transformations on my mind for 2012:

1. Software Defined Networking will become a mainstay of data center architectures. 2012 will begin to see the deployment of SDN techniques including network virtualization, logical networks and software controllers, as server virtualization, massive consolidation & convergence, and mobility requirements begin to expose the shortcomings and expense of existing static, IP-based, 3-tier data center networking.

2. The security industry status quo is due for a major overhaul, with emphasis shifting towards proactive, whitelisting techniques, with security guards moving closer to the resources being protected. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), and polymorphic exploits have rendered signature-based approaches obsolete, necessitating whitelisting of users, access to resources, and proactive policies to minimize attack surfaces. With the crumbling perimeter due to mobility and omnipresent HTTP, perimeter defense is no longer sufficient, necessitating bringing security controls closer to critical resources i.e., data center cluster-based, or even hypervisor-based security.

3. The continued rise of big data and big analytics. OK... it doesn't take much of a crystal ball to predict this one, but I do see a rapid increase in the number of enterprises (not just big web companies) looking to harness all of the information they connect. I'm seeing the arrival of a new wave of applications that will leverage this insight, too. They speak to high-scale, real-time data analytics, ultimately helping companies provide better service, gain better insight, and spend their time and money more wisely. These apps will trigger new architectural foundations as well. We're already seeing the rise of in-memory databases as well as more leverage of distributed systems for scale. VMware is spending substantial time making sure these application types are a great fit for virtualization!

4. Continued growth in Open PaaS. I've written about this in my blog several times during 2011 and continue to be amazed by how quickly this is becoming popular. 2012 will see offerings such as our own Cloud Foundry begin to reach into the enterprise as a simpler and faster way to create rich applications.

5. Heterogeneity rules the end-user computing space. Again, not too much of a stretch here, but I'm seeing the rise of heterogeneity on all fronts. We're all accessing multiple application types; certainly Windows, but also enterprise web apps, SaaS, and native mobile apps. We're accessing them from multiple devices (I for one, have way too many). And we're accessing them from multiple locations. We want our data accessible on all of them (hello, Dropbox!), and IT is left with a massive headache. This is the future and VMware, as well as other vendors, will continue to deliver products to help.

Happy virtualizing to all of you and onward into the Cloud in 2012!

##

About the Author

Steve Herrod drives VMware technology strategy across its entire product portfolio, bringing 20 years of virtualization technology experience. Named InfoWorld's CTO of the Year in 2009, Herrod was one of VMware's first engineering directors and during his tenure at VMware has led numerous teams in developing new technologies.

Published Wednesday, December 07, 2011 7:24 AM by David Marshall
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