VMworld 2012 expert predictions

Thousands of IT pros will head to VMworld 2012 in a few weeks, but what can they expect to see? Our Advisory Board members discuss their predictions.

VMworld 2012 is right around the corner, and there's a lot of speculation surrounding VMware announcements. Will VMware release vSphere 5.1? What about Project Zephyr? Who's going to begin the keynote: Steve Herrod, Paul Maritz or Pat Gelsinger?

With so many questions swirling about, the SearchServerVirtualization.com Advisory Board members decided to weigh in and share their VMworld 2012 expectations.

Jack Kaiser, Focus Technology Solutions

I am expecting lots of announcements, updates and clarifications at VMworld 2012. Obviously, the big news is Pat Gelsinger’s first keynote as the CEO of VMware. He always did a great job at EMC World, but the spotlight will really be on him as he takes the reins as the top dog at VMware.

Paul Maritz’s last keynote as CEO (or first as chief strategist at EMC) will be interesting to hear, as well. He led VMware to magnificent growth the last few years and was one of the first executives in the IT industry to start talking about the cloud. Additionally, he got people to think of VMware as more than just a hypervisor company.

I am also looking forward to learning more about VMware’s cloud strategy as well as new enhancements and the rumored pricing changes to vSphere 5.1. Overall, it should be a great conference, as always.

Maish Saidel-Keesing, NDS Group

There have been several acquisitions in the past few months by VMware, including Wanova, DynamicOps, Nicira and Cetas. I would like to know where and how all of these products and technologies are going to become part of VMware's portfolio.

In addition, it will be nice to hear if there will be a change in direction under the new CEO of VMware Pat Gelsinger. If so, in what way? I am not really sure if we'll see new products, but we'll most likely see some version updates. I'm also pretty sure we'll see new features in those version updates.

Regarding cloud, it will be very interesting if more information comes out about the rumored Project Zephyr. I wonder how this project will affect VMware partners and if VMware is proceeding in a direction that will directly compete will Amazon, Microsoft and GCE [Google Compute Engine].

I am also expecting to hear about the new hands-on lab portal that will be launched and available to the general public, which will be a great resource for all virtualization admins.

But, most of all, I am looking forward to the amazing experience of being at VMworld. There is truly nothing like it.

Christian Mohn, EVRY

VMworld 2012 is dubbed "Right here, right now." If we read into that, it looks like VMware is ready to announce something big. Perhaps VMware's public cloud offering, code-named Project Zephyr, will take center stage? Is VMware ready to unveil its public cloud to the general public and compete against Microsoft and Amazon?

It's also interesting to note that VMworld 2010's motto was "Virtual Roads, Actual Clouds" and 2011 was "It's your cloud, own it!" Both slogans had cloud in the tagline, while this year's conference fails to mention it. It would be a funny coincidence if this year's big announcement is a VMware public cloud offering.

Some clarification on how VMware will integrate DynamicOps, Nicira and Log Insight will surely be a part of Paul Maritz's last keynote as VMware CEO. Perhaps he'll bring along Pat Gelsinger, as well? 

Steve Herrod will surely detail the future of the software-defined data center, maybe even how software-based networking fits into the overall picture. 

I also expect that the next version of vSphere will be announced, with new features that directly target Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012. But since this seems to be an incremental release, I don't think vSphere will take center stage this time around.

We may see further details on the next steps in VMware's end-user computing vision, even some releases in this area as well. Is Octopus ready for prime time? How about AppBlast?

All in all, VMware looks to be setting its targets high and wants to control the next-generation data center through the entire stack. It's a very ambitious vision, and a lot of the pieces are starting to come together. Let's see if they can pull it off.

Greg Shields, Concentrated Technologies

Recently, I learned from a source close to VMware that there will be a heavy focus on AppBlast during VMworld 2012. That focus might seem illogical, considering VMware's roots in hypervisor technologies. It also makes sense, though, considering application delivery is a problem that IT organizations will face in the near term.

Application delivery keeps getting heavy attention, and there's confusion around which application delivery methods best connect users with the resources they need. Each use case as well as app is different, but the solutions are growing similar.

Options for delivery include application virtualization atop technologies such as VMware ThinApp, Microsoft App-V or Citrix XenApp. Also, under certain circumstances, server and desktop virtualization atop VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer are notable delivery methods.

But parity doesn't exist in session virtualization (think Terminal Services). Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a mature solution, as is Citrix XenApp. But VMware is notably absent in this space, until now.

VMware AppBlast takes a much different approach than RDS or XenApp, focusing on a clientless HTML5 engine that remains in beta, as of this writing. For a seemingly quiet addition to VMware's portfolio, it is a critically important tool. Time will tell whether VMware's late entry into session virtualization will make waves. One thing is for certain: You're going to hear about it at VMworld 2012.

This was first published in August 2012

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