VMware opened to an estimated crowd of 30,000 on August 28, 2017 at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Convention Center. vSphere took a back seat at this event while VMware showcased other virtualization technologies it developed as it rose to a dominant position in server virtualization. To underscore that point, VMware announced a list of new products, services and initiatives:
AppDefense—a new security solution that leverages virtual infrastructure to monitor running applications against their intended state, and can detect and automate response to attacks that attempt to manipulate those applications.
VMware Cloud Services—a set of SaaS services designed to provide a unified approach for visibility into cloud usage, costs, network traffic, metrics monitoring, and analytics.
In addition, VMware made significant announcements in cloud- and storage-related areas that we explore in more detail.
VMware and Pivotal have collaborated with Google Cloud to develop the VMware Pivotal Container Service also called VMware PKS. The objective of PKS is to deliver a purpose-built solution to operationalize containers on Kubernetes for enterprise IT and service providers. As such, it is the commercial release of an open source project called Kubo, launched by Pivotal and Google earlier this year. It combines the container scheduling and orchestration capabilities of Kubernetes with the cluster management, release engineering and automation capabilities of another open source project called BOSH. PKS also includes NSX integration and compatibility with Google services such as Container Engine and Open Service Broker. With initial availability in Q417, Pivotal and VMware will both sell and support this new product directly, via their respective channels, and via the VMware Cloud Provider partner program. VMware PKS will also be brought to market by Dell EMC on VxRail Appliances and VxRack Systems
VMware announced the initial availability and pricing of VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS in the US West (Oregon) region with plans to expand to additional regions worldwide throughout 2018. VMC on AWS allows enterprises to deploy applications across operationally consistent VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments, with direct access when desired to 50 popular AWS services (see Evaluator Group report entitled “Hybrid Cloud—a Work in Progress” for more information). It is based on VMware Cloud Foundation. Cloud Foundation integrates vSphere, VMware VSAN software defined storage and VMware NSX software defined networking technologies with VMware vCenter management.
VMware will make one-year and three-year subscription options available in the future. However, under these plans, customers are billed for every hour during the term, regardless whether the instances are running. A Hybrid Loyalty Program will provide discounts to customers with on-premises VMware vSphere, NSX, and/or vSAN licenses up to a maximum or 25%.
In conjunction with the announcement, VMware offered a pricing comparison model to show how a three-year commitment to the service would yield the greatest discount of 50% over hourly pricing. Additional discounts are available when the Loyalty Program is factored-in. Pricing is based on the number of hosts where each host has 2 CPUs, 36 cores, 512GB RAM, and local flash storage (3.6TB cache, 10.7TB raw capacity tier). A minimum of 4 hosts is required per cluster and hosts can be added or subtracted in units of 1. Pricing includes VMware software and support plus AWS infrastructure, but does not include charges for data transfer, IP addresses and direct connections to AWS services.
VMware now claims approximately 10,000 vSAN customers and a 150% yr/yr growth rate. The significant vSAN-related announcements made at VMworld include:
vSAN Native Snapshots—announced with general availability next year. This capability will provide native data protection to vSAN. Users will be able to integrate vSAN snapshots into their data protection strategies, either by using them in conjunction with third party data protection applications, or eliminating these other applications altogether with vSAN. Snapshots can be replicated and archived. Cloud is also supported as a snapshot target.
vSAN Storage Platform for Containers—provides persistent storage for Docker Container instances orchestrated by Kubernetes. This allows vSAN users to run stateful containers and is an outcome of VMware open source project codenamed “Hatchway”.
During a press/analyst Q&A session, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger commented that while ESX had powered VMware through the last twenty years, NSX will take over for the next twenty years. It was an indication of how far VMware has come to achieve its dominant position as a virtualization player as well as a window into VMware’s aspirations. While his predecessors dreamed that they could virtualize all servers, Gelsinger wants to virtualize all of IT. vSphere has made server virtualization the norm in the enterprise, but Gelsinger still has work to do with storage (vSAN) and networks (NSX). Out of 300,000 VMware customers, only 10,000 use vSAN and fewer still (8,000) use NSX.
VMware executives also made it clear that other technologies and approaches to their market would be integrated with their core virtualization products going forward. VMware will blend Artificial Intelligence (AI) and increasingly offer as-a-service software delivery models, leveraging Dell’s financial services, in addition to reassuring partners that they are still an independent software vendor
Finally, we note that VMworld was about cloud computing more than anything else. Cloud was everywhere. AWS and Google Cloud executives were in attendance. Most if not all vendor booths prominently featured cloud affinities. Over the last 10 years, VMworld has become the de facto IT infrastructure show. Now, one could see VMworld as a cloud computing show as well.