VMware CTO gives glimpse of vSphere future in VMUG videos

Steve Herrod, captured on video speaking to a local VMware user group in Italy, provides interesting insights ahead of VMworld 2012

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Herrod said VMware has a big release coming out the middle of the year and is working on three releases at any given time. In addition to being almost done with the release that ships later this year, VMware is also far along on the next version and have already started on the release after that.

"You will see in the next releases and heading forward that the products really do tie very nicely together," said Herrod. "They will be sold together. They will have the same installation process. But the idea will be that every one of the products has to work much better together."

I'm sure we'll hear more about this at VMworld 2012, but automation has become a key focus for the virtualization giant. According to Herrod, VMware is trying to only have humans involved when they need to be. He stated, "Humans are not very good at repetitive tasks, and you shouldn't be. You should only get involved when you have to be. I can't announce some specific things just yet, but know that pretty much anything that requires you to go to a spreadsheet right now, or that requires email going back and forth, we're trying to automate that aggressively."

VMware vCenter Operations (vCOPS) is also becoming very important to VMware. It is rapidly becoming VMware's most adopted new technology. The point of the tool is to help you manage a very complex, fast-moving virtualized environment. It does so by taking a different approach because the traditional approach to management in a virtualized environment doesn't work very well.

What's interesting is that VMware will be building a lot of their existing tools right into the same framework as vCOPS. Things like billing and capacity management will plug directly into this exact same model. If this sounds a lot like what VMware's ecosystem partners are already doing (folks like SolarWinds, Veeam, VKernel, and VMTurbo), you're absolutely right. That lends itself to the notion of co-opetition that many people never quite get a handle on -- for good reason.

VMware is also very excited about high availability (HA) and fault tolerance (FT). During last year's VMworld, they demonstrated how they figured out how to do SMP FT. Unfortunately, today VMware can only do fault tolerance with a single processor, which for many isn't that useful. A lot of people don't use it because their applications require multiple processors. But according to Herrod, VMware will be announce very soon how it will solve the problem for SMP.

At the same time, VMware is also spending a lot of time with partners on taking the HA functionality and moving it to know about the software running within the virtual machines themselves. It's nice to know that if your hardware dies you can automatically restart a virtual machine elsewhere, but what happens if your application dies? A lot of what they are looking at is heartbeats for applications and automatically restarting them within a virtual machine when need be.

One other trend you may be hearing about is software-defined networking. VMware is tired of hearing about other companies becoming the "VMware of networking." VMware wants to be the VMware of networking, and it is working on the VXLAN standard.

VXLAN was created to allow network packets to flow easily across multiple segments. It encapsulates Layer 2 packets within Layer 3, allowing them to be routed. "This is a way to create kind of VLANs as they were supposed to be, without the scale limits and without some of the restrictions," said Herrod.

"As we roll out VXLAN, and in the upcoming versions of some of our products, you'll see the ability to have a large, flat network that is logical and works across different environments, including across data centers. That's going to be a very big focus for us," he continued.

I can already predict that the VMworld 2012 keynotes are shaping up to have quite a few "aha" moments.

This article, "VMware CTO gives glimpse of vSphere future in VMUG videos," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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