Gazing into the VMworld 2012 crystal ball

Companies in the VMware ecosystem are beginning to lay out their plans for the upcoming VMworld bash. What are we likely to see?

Vendors in the VMware ecosystem are coming forward to brief Kusnetzky Group analysts about upcoming announcements at VMworld 2012. Although these conversations have taken place under a non-disclosure agreement, I can comment on the categories of things to expect at the upcoming event.

Expanding the scope

Suppliers are finally beginning to acknowledge that virtualization is a much broader area of technology that merely the use of virtual machine software, also known as a hypervisor, to create virtual environments. We can expect to see suppliers discuss how many forms of virtualization technology, including access, application, processing, network and storage virtualization should be used together to create an optimal processing environment for today's workloads.

Access Virtualization

We are likely to learn of new products and enhancements to older products to make it easier for devices of all types to access applications without the application having to be changed. These announcements are likely to also mention improved security and management features.

Application Virtualization

We are likely to learn of products designed to make the move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 easier through the use of application encapsulation and delivery. This may be presented as "desktop virtualization," "user virtualization" or some other such catch phrase.

Processing Virtualization

We can expect to hear of new capabilities in clustering products improving reliability and availability of virtual machines as well as traditional workloads. These will be presented as companion products for VMware's vMotion technology.

We can also expect to learn of enhancements to current virtual machine software products. The enhancements are likely to include the support of more virtual CPUs per virtual system, the ability to assign larger virtual memory spaces to a virtual machine, and performance improvements. The suppliers that offer operating system virtualization and partitioning products are likely to discuss similar enhancements to their products.

Network Virtualization

Suppliers of processing virtualization technology are likely to announce closer ties to network virtualization suppliers or the introduction of network virtualization into their product portfolios.  After all, it is important that the network be as agile as encapsulated systems or workloads.

The traditional network virtualization players are likely to announce improvements in performance, scalability and ease of management of networks. We can expect to hear "software defined networks," "openflow" and other catch phrases and buzzwords to be bandied about.

Storage Virtualization

As with network virtualization, Suppliers of processing virtualization technology are likely to announce closer ties to storage virtualization suppliers or the introduction of storage virtualization into their product portfolios.  After all, it is important that storage be as agile as encapsulated systems or workloads.

We'll also learn of more suppliers offering some for of flash-based storage subsystems. Each of these suppliers will, of course, be uniquely qualified to address the needs of virtual environments.

Security in virtualized environments

Security is likely to be a hot topic at the event. We are likely to learn of several different approaches to provide strong security without also overloading systems with security software.

Management of virtualized environments

Many of today's data centers can be seen as buildings full of independent systems that are part of totally separate computing silos. This creates quite a number of difficulties and produces an inefficient environment. Suppliers of management technology are all going to point out that they've developed ways to monitor operational data, analyze that data and present very easy to use dashboards showing what's happening. Some are going to talk about how they use that analysis to predict potential problems so that they can be prevented before they have an impact on operations.

Cloud computing

We're going to see a number of very interesting attempts to apply cloud computing to the requirement for increased processing power, storage, security, and management.

Snapshot analysis

If this list appears to be similar to those published for previous industry events, such as VMworld, you're right, it is. We're at a stage in the market in which incremental improvements are more likely to be discussed than surprisingly new approaches to today's problems.

What's exciting for me to see is that many of the largest suppliers in this market are turning to discussing the whole virtualization stack rather than focusing on just virtual machine software.


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