In the IT industry there's always someone, somewhere holding a convention: most recently it was VMware (again) hosting its VMworld 2013 event, this time in Barcelona. And when it comes to conventions, there are few finer places in the world to hold one than the Catalan capital — home city of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Lionel Messi and delicious tapas.
It's against this splendid backdrop that VMware has made a raft of announcements about new and upgraded products to keep its customers happy. There's another backdrop too, according to Martin Klaus, VMware's Group Product Line Marketing Manager.
"The backdrop for our announcements is the emergence of public clouds like Amazon, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings like Salesforce.com, social media, and easy access to IT," Klaus says. "IT departments are looking to become brokers of services, and VMware is trying to facilitate that by evolving from a virtualization provider to a cloud management provider."
It's not surprising that this is the VMware line, given that Hyper-V, Xen and KVM all do a perfectly respectable job in the server virtualization hypervisor department. That means that plain vanilla server virtualization is now officially boring, as far as VMware is concerned. Software-defined data centers (SDDCs) and cloud management systems, on the other hand, are where the company believes the action is.
OK, so down to business. VMware made three main product announcements in Barcelona, and they are all about cloud management:
- Cloud Automation: VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 (upgrade)
- Cloud Operations: VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 and VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 (upgrade)
- Cloud Business: VMware IT Business Management Suite 1.0 Standard Edition (new) , VMware IT Business Management Suite 8.0 Advanced and Enterprise (upgrade)
So what exactly is new? Here are some of the highlights:
vCloud Automation Center 6.0:
- Self-service catalogs providing a centralized approval and entitlement mechanism for infrastructure, application and other types of IT services. Visibility into the cost of VMs and the utilization of shared resources across internal infrastructure and public IaaS is also provided.
- Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) capabilities promise to allow IT departments to create "any" IT service, such as storage-as-a-service or backup-as-a-service.
- Support for vCloud Hybrid Service and Red Hat OpenStack has been added, as has back-end support for Amazon, Azure and Hyper-V as well as VMware's vSphere.
vCenter Operations 5.8
- vCenter Operations' analytics have been extended to include the monitoring of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server, and also to provide visibility into more vendors' storage systems through three supported APIs.
- The software additionally now provides broader unified management capabilities with support for Hyper-V and Amazon's AWS public cloud.
IT Business Management Suite 1 Standard Edition
This is a new product that's aimed at the infrastructure team rather than the CIO or CFO, according to Klaus. Its aim is to make it easier to compare the cost of providing a given application at a given QoS level when implemented in-house in a private cloud, or hosted on Amazon or Azure public clouds.
"It will auto-generate a rate card, taking into account all the costs for the QoS you need, so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison of your cost with public cloud providers'," says Klaus. He expects that it will show that public clouds provide far lower savings levels than many infrastructure team leaders may imagine.
The obvious omission here is of VMware public cloud providers in the comparison charts, and it's one that must be galling to them given their support for VMware technologies. But Klaus says that adding support for them is "on the roadmap" and will happen at some point in the future. "But Azure and Amazon is where the action is at the moment," Klaus adds.
And that just about wraps up the key product news, except to point out that they are announcements and not product launches — expect the new software to ship some time before the end of the year.
So for those lucky enough to be in Barcelona, it's back to the delicious tapas…
Paul Rubens is a technology journalist and contributor to ServerWatch, EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and EnterpriseMobileToday. He has also covered technology for international newspapers and magazines including The Economist and The Financial Times since 1991.