As I write this, VMworld San Francisco 2013 is two months behind me. I went, I saw, I schmoozed, and I came away from the event unsettled. I had expected the event to be a glorification of VMware – a rich parade of the ecosystem that surrounds it and cheerleading by its users. What I found was anything but. I entered the …
vmware no longer exciting
IMO their last big good release was 4.0 (still using it for my production systems, well 4.1U3 - and I use ESX not ESXi - I like the thick mgmt stuff). I looked at what was new in 5.0, 5.1 and now I think 5.5, and don't see much that gets me really excited. 4.0 is obviously pretty old at this point, but the point is the competition is/has caught up to vsphere 4.0 in many areas.
So there's less incentive to go hog wild with vmware, though I still think it's the best hypervisor out there(and the only one I use today still).
Never been much into conferences myself, living just a dozen or so miles from VMworld was hosted I never had any interest at all in attending. My boss went for one day on a vendor invite - though he said he didn't see much either, given the lack of news on el reg on the thing I wasn't too surprised.
As a VMware customer for the past 14 years now (back when vmware was linux only, need to find my 1.0.2 CD ..) - I feel that it is no longer exciting, it's a very useful technology to have and I use it every day, but it's pretty mature tech at this point.
I told our VMware rep I don't see us buying any more licenses until at least 2015, I plan to upgrade the CPUs on our existing clusters, the cost of that is a fraction of additional hosts, and doesn't consume any additional power.
After that perhaps late 2014 start replacing existing servers with the newer faster variety.
The latest Intel 12-core chips are 3x faster than our existing 12-core 2.3ghz opterons, so we can triple our performance/capacity at some point and won't have to worry about any more vsphere licensing. Too bad that AMD abandoned the high end chips, was sad to learn that. Not sure what chip perf will look like a year from now.
Also I'm a strong believer in not making everything a VM if it doesn't have to be. If you can drive performance on the HW side (or there is a software licensing issue) I have no problems putting something on real HW (even though right now all of my shit is VM).
The honeymoon is over
I was also at VMworld SF this year, and Barcelona 2012 before that. I would agree that there is rapid innovation happening within other parts of the virtualization space and as a result VMware has lost a bit of its wow factor. But this was inevitable.
I think the problem lies in not how VMware are refusing to accept the commoditization of their core hypervisor and management software, but rather in their lack of presence in this thing we call Cloud. They had no choice but launch vCHS, and what would we be saying if they hadn't, even Microsoft have their Azure platform... (recent outages non withstanding)
VMware need to adapt to avoid becoming a victim of their own success. The huge ecosystem they have created provides everything a virtualization shop could need, but it screams lock-in and comes at too high a price. I think their expansion into desktop and application virtualization was a good move and helps keep Citrix on their toes.
But what next? What is going to make VMworld 2014 an event you really want to go to and not worry about the lock-in? I certainly don't know.
VirtualBox vs VMware
I used to use VMware religiously to host the Windows sessions that I needed to run whatever proprietary app or whatever. However, every time Debian Testing came out with a new kernel, VMware was dead in the water until I found some patch somewhere that some non-VMware bright spark had figured out.
C'mon, VMware started as Linux-only, they should have this shit in-hand and down cold.
On the other hand, VirtualBox is integrated with dkms and just works, and so does Oracle's Debian repository. I'm shocked. In the year or so since I switched, I've had no issues.
Fun with Badges
At this year's RSA conference in San Francisco I reached into my bag on day two and pulled out last year's badge by mistake*. I wore it all the time. No one noticed except the marketing droids who wanted to scan my badge to send me spam.
The Badge was a different color. The strap was a different color. The badge said RSA 2012 on it.
No one noticed.
*AT A SECURITY CONFERENCE*
* I just stuffed it in the side pocket of my bag when I left the last time and forgot about it, then this year I stuffed this year's badge into the same pocket when I wanted to go out drinking and not be identified as a security nerd
Are you sure you want to be called a vExpert Trevor?
vex: to bring trouble, distress, or agitation; to irritate or annoy by petty provocations
spurt: a synonym for drip
I could be jealous as I'm only a certified ass-clown...
For all that VMware has it's rough spots, it's still damned amazing software.
....that and Hyper-V keeps randomly rebooting on me and blowing up at critical times...
Rise of oVirt
We are very happy with the steady progress being made by the oVirt community (http://ovirt.org), which transforms magically into Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. Also very happy with the pricing.
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