VMworld 2015: Networking is the headline, containers are the punchline

By Rob Whiteley | | Cloud

August is that magical time of year, when more than 20,000 folks descend on San Francisco (at least this year) for VMworld. It’s full week of high-energy, high-tech conversations.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending eight VMworlds over the years. Each show is typically punctuated with product announcements, tech previews, and VMware showcasing it’s innovation prowess. But this year was different. There was a decidedly more mature feel to the event. I didn’t see any flashy announcements. Instead it was more about VMware stepping into a larger solutions provider role.

Networking and containers, not storage, headlined VMworld

As I think back on the event, three things really stood out for me:

  • Storage was NOT a key theme. As a storage guy that’s hard to admit. Storage was not mentioned much on the keynote stage, although there were some session on VSAN. Yet I’d estimate 25% of booths were storage vendors peddling (similar sounding) flash or hyperconverged solutions for VMware. I didn’t chat with attendees about either. I found people more interested in software-defined storage for granular, per-VM provisioning; multi-site replication for data protection; and server-side caching for VDI as an alternative architecture to hyperconvergence.
  • Networking stole the headline . . . So if storage wasn’t the belle of the ball, then what was? Networking. VMware spent a lot of time and energy showcasing its software-defined networking (SDN) solution, NSX. VMware presented lots of production customers and interesting use cases, like DC-to-DC and DC-to-cloud networking for VM migration, network encryption, and virtual WAN optimization. One customer, David Giambruno from Tribune Media, did a great job of putting it in the context of business transformation in this video.
  • . . . But containers were the punchline. Containers were mentioned quite a few times on stage. And with good reason! Containers are a popular infrastructure tool among developers and DevOps alike. I personally spent most of my VMworld time in our partner’s booth, ClusterHQ. I’d say 15-20% of the audience was already aware of containers. Maybe 10% are actively doing something, mostly with Docker. The most commonly asked question? No surprise, but: How do I architect storage for both VMs and containers?
Why you need a storage platform for VMs and containers

We went to VMworld with one simple mission: Evangelize how the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform works in both virtualized and containerized environments. I won’t recap that, but feel free to read about  why we’re a good fit for large-scale virtualized environments as well as containerized environments.

Why focus on both? Because the enterprise data center of the future is an and, not an or. Meaning, enterprises will have a mix of VMs and containers depending on the workload. In fact, I expect this to be a hot subtopic next year and I’ll go so far as to say VMworld 2017 will be all about containers.

Since a (moving) picture is worth a thousand words, check out this 7-minute whiteboard video with George Crump of Storage Swizterland. We briefly explain containers, container storage, and why Hedvig is particularly well suited for both VMs and containers.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help, check out both our VMware and Docker solution briefs.

You can also register below to watch our webinar with ClusterHQ where we’ll detail the Hedvig storage driver for Flocker and how we provide scalable, persistent storage for both VMs and containers.