The Monday general session at VMWorld 2012 covered a lot of ground but didn’t really provide any major new technology announcements.  It started off with some of the traditional background statistics showing VMware’s and virtualization’s growth from 2008 to 2012 including an increase in virtualized workloads from 25% to 60% and that the key question regarding Cloud has changed from “What?” is it to “How?” do you implement it.  With that introduction, Paul Moritz went on to lay out his vision for the future, first with the general and pretty widely used paradigm that IT must provide services “Wherever, Whenever, and in Context” in the future. In order to make this transformation VMWare sees a number of transformations at the various layers in IT:

  • Infrastructure Layer: a transformation from server based to the cloud
  • Application Layer: a transformation from existing applications to new, cloud friendly applications and big data
  • Access Layer: a transformation from the PC to mobile devices.

While none of that is really new news, they then got into the heart of what they are aiming for with a “Software-Defined Datacenter” where all the infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service and automation is done by software.  While the concept isn’t new, it did lay out where VMware will be putting their emphasis in the near future trying to expand out from just the compute components to virtualized network and storage capabilities as well.  As part of this effort they announced the vCloud Suite which appears to be a regrouping primarily of their existing capabilities including management (vCenter Ops and vFabric), virtualization and cloud with vSphere and vCloud Director and adding new capabilities for software-defined networking and security plus software-defined storage and availability all available through a set of APIs.

After announcing the vSphere 5.1 release along with some shots at Microsoft Hyper-V around performance and reliability they got to what was probably the only really new news of the session that VMware will drop their current vRAM based pricing scheme and move to a per CPU price with no resource limits.   This was based on a survey of 13,000 of their customers and clearly is an effort to correct what has been broadly acknowledged as a tactical mistake on their part. 

The remainder of the session went into more details about how they will implement the vCloud Suite type capabilities including a couple relatively standard command line and screen-shot demos.  Tuesday’s general session is “Delivering on the Promise of the Software Defined Datacenter”, we’ll see if any exciting news comes out of that.