Expert predictions for what to expect at VMworld 2013

VMworld 2013 is right around the corner and speculations are growing about what VMware will reveal. Our Advisory Board experts share what they expect.

It's hard to believe, but we're quickly closing in on VMworld 2013. So, as we do every July, we're turning to our server virtualization experts to ask what they expect to see and hear at the show. In an age of IT transformation, VMware's tagline for this year's event is "defy convention." The question is, what products or technologies will VMware unveil to help companies cope with this change and defy conventional IT roles?

Jason Helmick, Concentrated Technology LLC

VMworld 2013 will be blazing with new features and innovation. The IT pro can't miss this opportunity to catch up on the latest news, views and learning that this conference is famous for delivering. I'm sure there will be plenty of information about the usual suspects like heterogeneous management, storage, security and business continuity, but I'm looking forward to what will surely be a huge push for IT pros over the next year: vCloud Hybrid Service

This is stacking up to be a classic fight between two Titans -- VMware and Microsoft -- as they seek to blend the management of private and public cloud. Each contender enters the ring with its own public cloud solution and each with a desire to make scaling out your private cloud faster and more cost effective. Having a blended solution helps reduce hardware cost and implementation time, but efficient management tools along with a skilled group of IT pros will determine the success at which the hybrid approach is adopted by businesses.

VMworld 2013 is the place to be this August and I don't think anyone will regret the value of attending. If you're one of those starting down the path of a hybrid cloud approach, there will be plenty of breakout sessions just for you. VMware and Microsoft are setting up for a mighty clash with the hybrid cloud approach and all of us will benefit from the fight with great products from both corners.

Maish Saidel-Keesing, Cisco Video Technologies Israel (formerly NDS Group Ltd.)

VMworld 2013 is just around the corner and this year it is all about "defying convention." At first I was quite surprised at the theme, because the only thing I would want as an IT guy is to have everything the same. In most environments, standardization is a good thing. Convention is also usually a great thing. Having your ESXi hosts deployed in a conventional manner is the best thing that could ever happen to you -- just ask any admin that has spent hours fixing something because someone did not follow convention.

However, we are now at a time where the tables have turned; IT is slowly losing control (some might say they already have). Users are bypassing IT all the time.

Do you need to share a file? IT cannot provide a shared location that you and your colleague can access, so users turn to services like Dropbox. Do you need a VM? IT can create one for you in a week. But, with Amazon Web Services, you provide one in minutes.

To stay relevant, IT departments must evolve quickly and provide service that is reliable, innovative and close to the experience that end users are accustomed to in their personal life.

VMware has tried to enter that consumerization of IT niche, but not all of these attempts have been successful (yet). A few examples include vCloud Director (private/public/hybrid), SocialCast (collaboration) and Horizon (IT-controlled Software as a Service). 

VMware is now more than just a virtualization company. I see VMware as a leading solution provider that is trying to give enterprise IT the ability to provide end users with an experience similar to what they are used to in their everyday lives. That is defying convention and revolutionizing the way IT provides services to end users.

I do not foresee VMware announcing any earth shattering new products at VMworld 2013 (perhaps some new versions), but instead expect a steady continuation of this journey.

Dave Sobel, Level Platforms Inc.

IT is a constantly changing industry, and total systems management is becoming a bigger trend. A set of statistics I've been recently watching is the operating system market share (both desktop and mobile), as measured by Web traffic. Android and iOS are dominating, with 45% of the market, with Wintel making up only 35%. IT management is no longer simply a Windows world. The trend I'm looking to see is how VMware plugs its management products into other systems management suites, or if it will elect to take on systems management in a larger way.

Virtualization is a key management concern, but it's not the only management concern. As VMware continues to expand, how will it handle total systems management?

Rob McShinsky, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

The head start that VMware enjoyed in the virtualization market has been drastically narrowed. To "defy convention," VMware will have to reimagine new features and continue to define the game. VMware must deliver at VMworld 2013 to remind the industry why it should remain the dominant player in this space.

To do this, I believe VMware needs to swallow its pride a bit and open its doors to integration with private clouds, public clouds and other third-party vendors that are willing to create enhancement niches. Integration at the management layer will be the critical business model.

The management layer of private and public clouds needs to be seamless with all major vendors moving forward. The hypervisor monopoly is over. Large VMware shops are going to have other hypervisors in their environments. Large VMware shops are going to want to have choice in public cloud providers. Failing to address these realities will equal lost potential revenue.

VMware has the largest third-party and hardware vendor support of any hypervisor vendor. It is time they work with these vendors to solidify and exploit these relationships. They should develop more application programming interfaces for management and monitoring, and give vendors the ability to enhance features. Think of the Microsoft and Citrix partnership that allows enhancements over Microsoft's remote desktop protocol or virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. Making these partnerships that require VMware's product as a base license will enhance revenue and consumer adoption.

Defying convention may not refer only to the potential for new amazing technical features. VMware has to defy its conventional approach of shutting out third-party vendors to promote integration if it wants to dominate the management of internal and external environments.

This was first published in July 2013

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