The sub-title of my blog is “an insider's perspective, technical tips n' tricks in the era of the VMware Revolution”. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I think I’ve got the coolest job on the planet :-) I’ll give you a couple “insider” hints. 2010 will be a very big year on the VMware front – loads of big releases, new functionality and expanding use cases. Likewise, it’s shaping up to be a block-buster year on the product front at EMC. The number of “headline” level things down the storage and security fronts between now and EMC World (May) are huge. Between now and the end of the year – massive.
So today, a big move occurred on the management side of the house that’s been underway for a while. You can read more here. For more detail, and that “insider perspective”, read on…
My blog posts are long, and I’m long-winded by nature – so here’s the conclusion before the detail:
This is a move where VMware in an instant, makes a quantum increases the depth of resources, tools and capabilities in things that are focused on server-layer and up. This expands the vCenter family of management capabilities, and the teams that develop them, and the teams take them to market.
This is a move where EMC, in an instant, can focus ongoing management M&A and R&D and go to market on the things that focus on UCS, networks, and storage - the server layer and down. This accelerates EMC’s management efforts.
Ok – now for more detail…
Before going further, understand: EMC and VMware do indeed operate as “arms length” technology partners.
The model has VMware operating independently, and EMC partnering in a way that is analagous to our partnership model with Microsoft. We know that this dynamic is very important for VMware’s continued success.
What is perhaps different versus the partnership models with others is the degree of shared vision – and that we have linked success.
VMware’s strategic goal is the journey to the private cloud. EMC’s strategic goal is the journey to the private cloud. One of Cisco’s strategic goals is the journey to the private cloud.
I know that many look at that statement - “journey to the private cloud” and write it off as marketing. Well it is, in a sense. It’s also a massive rallying call to our resources – to be focused on a strategic goal. The other thing to understand is that it’s not some future state, many elements are possible today.
Taking it down a nerd notch, what exactly do we mean?
Enabling cloud operating models (both technologically and economically) inside datacenters and service providers. Doing that for all use cases (servers AND clients, legacy apps AND next-gen “built for cloud” apps). All of which is possible today (look at Terremark, or look at your own virtualized datacenter) – and every thing we do going forward is about expanding this set of use cases, making it easier, making it more “out of the box”, and more cost-effective and scalable. Ultimately where we are trying to go are models where the internal clouds and the external clouds can transparently blend together into hybrids, or Private Cloud models.
This model – technology partners with shared vision, shared goals - means that the VMware/Ionix news today isn’t an “internal restructuring”, but in fact a strategic decision by two companies to align their mutual assets for focus and execution.
- EMC came to the conclusion that since VMware is more and more the context for our customers, and people look to VMware for the server layer and up, and EMC to the infrastructure and down – some of the assets would get more leverage outside EMC.
- VMware came to the conclusion that they can accelerate their vCenter management stack capabilities, and selected the EMC assets that they felt could accelerate them the most.
Want the next level of detail? Keep reading…
EMC has working to assemble a “best of breed” – but specifically targeted - management portfolio, outside “traditional” Storage Management that people naturally look to us for. Why? Because - we think management in this target “cloud” state that our customers are looking for, well “management” disciplines are going to change, and the technology requirements will too. I’ve said it before, and will say it again. We’re not trying to beat HP, CA, BMC and others at their own game, on their turf. We’re trying to get to where the puck is going. When there is a disruptive change in the market, new techniques can make entrants beat established giants.
So, we’ve done about $1B in M&A and R&D over the last few years – with the guiding principles of “what management functions, operational models will be important in a world dominated by new operational models that are “cloud like”?
These included acquisitions that focused on servers, clients, and applications – and up:
- Acquired Configuresoft – server (both ESX host level and guest OS level) configuration, control and compliance (including a great vCenter plugin) http://www.configuresoft.com/
- Acquired FastScale – next generation guest image construction through on-demand composition http://www.fastscale.com/
- Acquired nLayers – very cool model-based (and no agents needed) application dependency mapping (including vCenter API integration, and vCollectors – which are virtual appliances) http://www.emc.com/products/family/smarts-family.htm. That’s how we collect the info for the “EMC.com” portion of this demo of Data Center Insight here:
- Acquired Infra – a very cool service desk-level application – something that ties all the application information back to business-level SLAs.
We also expanded out our assets that focus on the network, storage, and integrated infrastructure - and “down”
- Acquired SMARTS (http://www.emc.com/products/family/smarts-family.htm) this is a very extensive set of network management tools, focused on root cause, performance analytics and much, much more. Widely used in the enterprise and service provider community. Cisco OEMs this from EMC as Device Fault Manager (DFM).
- Acquired Voyence – Cisco Resells this product as Network Configuration Manager (NCM)
- Built Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM) – this was a fork from Voyence - which specifically integrates Cisco UCS, Network, and Storage into template-oriented provisioning models. You can see a demo of UIM v1 here, and I previewed UIMv2 at VMware Partner Exchange (read about that here)
You can download the high-resolution version of this video here in MOV format.
- Built Data Center Insight (which actually pulls together all the info from the sources listed and more – like UCS manager).
- Continuously worked on Control Center (adding vCenter API integration even before it was cool to do that :-)
None of these are “perfect” products (there is no such thing, IMO), but they all fit into a framework of next-generation management – from the business SLA, to the application, all the way down through to the infrastructure.
What we started to realize on the EMC side is that all the “server and up” category management tools people started to ask for literally as part of the vCenter suite. Likewise, if I thought about every time a customer has said one of the following when I was having a VMware-centric (not Ionix-Centric) conversation:
- “I really like the idea of ESX host profiles, but I wish it did more” (answer: SCM does that)
- “I wish I could have that compliance and remediation policy extend to the guest” (asnwer: SCM does that)
- “I wish guest composition wasn’t just from a template, but a ‘ingredients list’ from which i could make recipes on demand” (answer: Fastscale does that)
- “Appspeed is a cool idea, but it’s missing the idea of the fact that the vApps are all interdependent on each other and infrastructure – you need something to capture that relationship if you want to deliver SLA models” (answer: ADM does that)
For those of you wondering about a visual example of the power of this move… At VMware Partner Exchange – remember the demo that Steve Herrod did of the future of VMware Studio, where they composed a developer’s vApp instance by dragging and dropping elements (kernel, app stack, database), which resulted in a custom-built (but easily and instantly built) vApp? Fastscale can and will be a huge part of making that real and accelerating it.
Well… You get the picture.
So – the server-and-up assets (SCM, FastScale, ADM, Infra) are now VMware assets. EMC retains and focuses on the server-and-down assets (SMARTS, UIM, Voyence, UIM and Data Center Insight).
This move accelerates VMware – both with intellectual property, developers, and field resources in areas where they feel they could use them.
This move focuses EMC where we need to be focused – making sure that we provide the best, most integrated Information Infrastructure to support the Virtual Infrastructure domain, and transformational infrastructure management around VCE, Vblock, and integration with things like Redwood from VMware.
I’m pumped. This is an example of the big moves we are doing and will continue to do to accelerate the Journey to the private cloud.