A contributed article from SolarWinds' Mike Thompson on Geek Speak blog.
In my first VMWorld blog I asked the question "Will
it be all about the Cloud again this year?" From the first day of
sessions and my take on the General session topic this morning I think
we have an initial answer - while cloud hasn't gone away,
"software-defined" seems to be the focus from VMware. VMware is already
all about software defined computing with all their virtual computing
capabilities but it seems the Nicira acquisition has them thinking about
"software defined" everything. Nicira moves them in the direction of
abstracting networking capabilities from the hardware to the software
layer. They are also looking talking about "software-defined storage"
as well. Basically, VMware's goal is to control all of the major
infrastructure components of a data center.
also represents a shift back from the "cloud will rule the datacenter"
message that VMware has given in the past. In reality this makes
sense. Cloud is a great concept but the implementation of real
on-demand clouds is difficult. It is not just about being able to
automatically deploy another VM. This shift could be seen as a tacit
acknowledgement that there is still a lot of work to do to be able to
effectively deploy all the services and capabilities required to run a
data center with an on-demand cloud approach. This is especially true
when there are still hardware components that require configuration and
management. So the focus on software-defined infrastructure
capabilities makes sense in a journey toward the more advanced
automation that real cloud implementations require. Cloud automation
clearly exists today but it either requires some very heavy lifting to
do full automation of the provisioning and configuration activities or
you have to compromise on the scope and flexibility of your cloud (e.g.,
use predefined vLAN IP addresses, preconfigure and assign storage,
etc.). By first working on extracting the operational tasks for each of
the infrastructure components to a software layer, you take the first
step to really facilitating the automated deployment of those resources.
While being a more incremental step towards full deployment and monitoring of the cloud, it also is an acknowledgement that the path may be longer than originally advertised.
second major point to all this is that VMware's clear goal is to own
all of the underlying infrastructure components of a datacenter. That
is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. On the thrilling
side, VMware has enough execution muscle power that people in the
industry have to take them seriously. That is likely to drive many of
the current players who make their living in the spaces VMware is
targeting (e.g., networking, firewalls, storage, etc.) to accelerate
activities that provide an alternative to VMware controlled abstraction
of those infrastructure components. At the same time, the idea of one
vendor that abstracts and controls compute, networking and storage is a
scary concept. If you didn't like the level of control Microsoft had
with its operating system, just imagine what that would be like.
Read or comment on the original article on Geek Speak.