VMware's brand of server virtualization is the industry leader. VMworld 2011 has attracted a reported 20,000 people to a broiling Las Vegas.
But strolling the vendor expo it looks like a storage show. EMC and Isilon have booths up front, as do Coraid, Fusion-io and NetApp.
Emerging vendors like Tintri, Avere, Nexenta, Whiptail, Nimble Storage, Sanbolic, Nimbus, Virsto, Scale Computing, Pure Storage, StorSimple and Nutanix are also showing. And that's hardly a complete list.
Obviously, VMware has a storage
Storage is the hard part VMware's biggest selling point is VMotion: the ability to take a running app and migrate it to another physical server without shutting it down. Great for system maintenance and usage spikes.
But VMware's weak spot has been moving the app's data: an app isn't good for much without its data.
Other issues include:
The Storage Bits take Virtualization schemes like VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V can't reach their full potential without storage that is as flexible and performant as the VMs. But while one VM looks much the same as another, the user and application data are always unique.
VMware's storage problem recapitulates computing's earliest days: the CPUs were easy; it was the storage that held them back.
And so today's 10Gig ports, flash and fast disk, dozens of gigabytes of DRAM, smart software and much ingenuity are working to solve the problems of a key enabling technology for the future of computing: real storage optimized for a virtual world.
Comments welcome, of course. I'll be on the show floor today looking for the coolest stuff. Stay tuned.