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

If you thought that VMworld was the only place to find out information about what VMware is doing, you thought wrong. VMworld is definitely the place to be to learn about "anything and everything" VMware in one fell swoop, but local and regional VMware user group meetings (VMUGs) can provide interesting tidbits of information as well.

Case in point, at a recent VMUG meeting in Italy, guest speaker Steve Herrod, VMware's chief technology officer, came prepared to educate, entertain, and inform the company's base. Kicking off his VMUG presentation, Herrod told the audience (tongue in cheek) that he'd be sharing some things with them that weren't yet public, so they should keep it quiet. I say "tongue in cheek," because as a VMUG member myself, I know full well that saying anything to a room full of VMUG members is a surefire way of spreading virtualization information on the Internet faster than you can finish a sentence. Herrod knows that all too well.

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One of the mantras during the meeting was to automate everything. Over the last two years, I've heard customers express a big need for more automation and integration among VMware's various product lines. Customers should be happy to learn that VMware understands that pain and is working on this problem, according to what was said at this particular VMUG meeting.

In an hour-long, seven-part video series filmed during the Italy VMUG meeting, Herrod gave audience members a lot of information to digest. It should come as no surprise that this video series popped up on the radar of Dave Northey, one of Microsoft's TechNet bloggers and a staff member at Microsoft Ireland.

Northey has done his part in continuing the FUD campaign going back and forth between Microsoft and VMware, perhaps the most recent (and entertaining) being the "hidden bummers of going too far beyond virtualization" series Microsoft has been putting out and made famous by the retro cloud salesman named Tad.

Northey's recent blog post, titled, "VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite is really more of a marketing term -- did he just say that?," called attention to one section of the seven-part video series, pulling out and publishing the following quote from Herrod:

VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite is really more of a marketing term. Those of you know our products deeply know that they don't fit this well together as they need to. Some of them have multiple databases, some don't look the same, some install differently, and what I can't stand that is Site Recovery Manager doesn't currently work with vCloud Director. So, what we are basically able to say is that we created and acquired companies that led to a lot of individual products that don't work well enough together yet.

After listening to the video clips myself, that quote isn't exactly 100 percent accurate. Even worse, it's a bit disingenuous because it is taken partly out of context (thus my FUD comment). More to the point, the quote ends prematurely -- Herrod continues by saying, "So a huge focus for the company is really how we make it become a suite." In other words, VMware is aware of the shortcomings and plans to address the problem.

To answer Northey's question, yes, he really did say that (or something like that). But Herrod isn't saying anything that everyone, including VMware's most trusted fans, aren't already thinking and saying. Like many other large software companies, VMware is growing its product line by in-house development and through acquisition. When you acquire technology from multiple vendors, it's often difficult to bring them all together in a cohesive manner. It takes time to sync databases, combine UIs, and make them interoperate with one another. Is that frustrating for end-users? Absolutely! Is VMware aware of it? Evidently so. The challenge becomes, will the company address that problem; if so, when? Users can't and won't wait forever if there are alternative solutions on the market.

To prove that VMware is actively working toward putting these various pieces together, Herrod shared with the Italian VMUG audience the company's top priorities for R&D over the next couple of years.

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