Network Virtualization Takes Top Billing At VMworld

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger took the VMworld stage at the Moscone Center today to evangelize his vision for network virtualization to a collection of VMware partners and customers.

To outsiders, the launch of VMware vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Suite 5.5 and the two-times performance in mission critical apps, might not have stirred much excitement. Nor would news that the VMware Virtual SAN that’s currently in public beta and would become generally available in the fourth quarter. But audience members, many of whom make their livelihoods selling VMware products, sat up in their seats and paid attention. Some took pictures of his PowerPoint slides.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of Gelsinger’s keynote were his comments about OpenStack. OpenStack provides a kind of open source operating system for the datacenter—and competes with some of the proprietary products VMware hopes to sell.

“There’s been some confusion around our relationship to OpenStack,” he told the audience. He went on to explain that although the vast majority of the audience had chosen a full-suite of enterprise-grade integrated software components, there were still a few people—mostly at service providers—that want to build their own cloud management tools.

Gelsinger told the audience VMware will continue to execute on what he called a “component strategy.” He said that the company would continue to manage workloads to OpenStack environments and continue to support work in Neutron, a Networking-as-a-Service project in OpenStack that encompasses many functional aspects of network virtualization. “We’re aggressively supporting development and delivering our best of breed components into that [Neutron],” he said.

VMware defined the sexiest part of computing for the past five years: saving money. But the value of VMware’s network virtualization is not yet clear. Gelsinger brought several high-profile executives to support his claim that this slice of IT would be the place where careers will be made in the coming half-decade. Lance Weaver, the CTO of GE Appliances said: “Network virtualization, a lot like cloud, can mean a lot of things to many people.” Greg Lavender, the CTO of Citi, said: “You have to take an end-to-end perspective.” And Sri Shivananda, a vice president at eBay, proclaimed: “It’s no longer a wait-and-see technology. It’s a here and now.” What, exactly, any of these customers did with network virtualization or what benefits they got from seems to have been ancillary to the discussion—or perhaps too nuanced to go into depth about.

Still, some 77 percent of VMware’s customers are anticipating adopting this new technology, the company says. And Gelsinger has a new product to please the new desires of these existing customers, VMware NSX—which is for the network what VMware ESX was for server virtualization. So if you like what you bought before, now you can get more of that, only for networks.

“This is the coming out party for network virtualization,” Gelsinger told the San Francisco audience.

Are you at VMworld 2013 this week? Come check us out at booth No. 2404 on the expo floor – we’re excited to talk to you about new additions to our VMware®-powered service portfolio, Rackspace Managed Virtualization, and the future of Rackspace Hybrid Cloud. We’ll also have technical experts in the booth to answer all of your questions about everything from Rackspace Replication Manager (powered by VMware SRM) to VMware to OpenStack.

While you’re here, play our “Unlock the Cloud” game for a chance to win prizes.

And be sure to see Rackspace Enterprise Cloud Strategist Paul Croteau and VMware’s Bryan Evans present “DR to the Cloud with VMware Site Recovery Manager and Rackspace Disaster Recovery Planning Services” at 4 p.m. PDT on Monday, August 26.


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