At VMWorld 2010 …

Wow – being at VMWorld 2010 has been such a rush. So many new things being announced and what a congregation of smart folks (a mind-boggling 17K) who are all changing the way IT works. There are a number of us from EMC and EMC IT who have been lapping it all up. Many, many customer product meetings as well and such a lot to share and learn.

So highlights for me so far ?

Paul Maritz in his keynote on Tuesday emphasized that the broader vision of virtualization in the enterprise is ‘IT as a service’ (hear, hear!) He also painted the picture of hybrid clouds being part of the enterprise future. Steve Herrod followed those thoughts up with the Project Horizon vision, where the consumer cloud experience of today will be made available seamlessly for the enterprise user and where the user experience is being provisioned vs. the physical desktop provisioning model today.  We in EMC IT are huge fans of the models described by Paul and Steve. You may remember that at EMC World in May earlier this year,  Sanjay Mirchandani, EMC CIO (and my boss, so I better be careful what I say) had talked about exactly the notion of IT-as-a-service and how we are adapting ourselves within EMC IT to  the fundamental changes implied by IT as a service and how “IT is being built, consumed, operated and governed differently”.

One of the exciting announcements for me at VMWorld was the release of vCloud Director – a service catalog-based management and automation layer that will be the secret sauce for cloud management. vCloud Director enables IT managers to manage their virtual data centers within their cloud(s) and provision rapidly from a pool of resources – servers, storage and networking. More importantly though, it will also provide a self-service ability for business users  to provision resources from that pool. Here comes business agility ! Moreover, this is all on a service-level basis with a built-in chargeback model. vCloud Director moves us closer to a true IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) model, and the foundations for PaaS and SaaS. Also attended a great panel discussion with George Reese (enStratus), Adrian Cole (Opscode) and one of the principals at Engine Yard (sorry to miss the name) where they talked about how you can manage private and public clouds using a single management interface through the vCloud and vSphere APIs.

Another highlight. Pat Gelsinger in his super session with Chad Sakac demoed the incredible continuity of the visions of  vCloud Director with Unified Infrastructure Manager 2.0 and EMC’s stable of storage/backup/recovery/security products – truly game changing vs the older (current) model where we manage infrastructure as different entities.

I cannot leave behind EMC IT’s own session at VMWorld done by Sanjay, Paul Divittorio and Adam Wagner. Sanjay carried forward the vision established in his keynote at EMC World and talked through how our journey to the private cloud continues. Believe it or not, we are at about 70% virtualized with our OS-images in EMC IT and we continue forward at a good clip with a goal to reach 100% in early 2011 – the last mile is always the most grinding, isn’t it ? 🙂 Paul and Adam, who are the diehard practitioners leading us in this journey, went into great detail about how we have been successful in virtualizing mission-critical applications such as Exchange and eBusiness Suite. Good stuff, right ! But wait, there’s more.

Paul D. talked about the Phase 3 of our IaaS journey which has begun and which focuses on how we will leverage vCloud Director to carry through on the vision of IaaS in a self-service provisioned manner. Of course, we have been optimizing our internal processes preparing for this transformation – we have gone from nearly 30-45 days for provisioning to about 7 days just by rejiggering our infamous 33 steps (but that’s a story for later). From days to hours to minutes is what lies ahead !

An excellent conference and look forward to doing some labs up here while it winds down.

There is much more to come on our journey too – we will continue to write about how we are delving into the upper layers of the PaaS stack – database and application platforms-as-services and software-as-a-service models all employing the same easy to use management interface (and there is a ton of work ahead !) 🙂 And of course, the important guiding principle in the cloud model is to be able to build to normal loads but be able to federate out for peak loads. How will we federate our workloads within the data center, across our own data centers and then on to service providers ? What about our governance models for which apps go to which clouds under the constraints of security/risk/performance/availability/cost/… ? Stay tuned.

About the Author: KK Krishnakumar