As I wrote in this column on the eve of VMworld, the last week of August saw VMware hold its annual festival to virtualization, cloud and the myriad ways software is eating the data center, for an event that’s become a milestone on the annual tech calendar where IT managers and sysadmins rub shoulders with industry executives, analysts and entrepreneurs. As always, the company used the huge event with over 22,000 attendees and worldwide media coverage to showcase new software, services and partnerships, but the overarching theme was clear: VMware will not be left behind as the cloud dramatically reshapes IT strategies and operations. The company continued its evolution from a purveyor of hypervisors and systems management software to a provider of a full spectrum of cloud infrastructure software and services by opening with the expected enhancements to its core vCloud management software and NSX virtual networking product. It went on to announce a marketing exercise designed to simplify branding and sales by bundling and renaming several management products into the new vRealize Suite and rechristening its vCloud hybrid service vCloud Air.
All are the sorts of technology upgrades and marketing tweaks one expects from a company’s biggest trade show, however these merely set the table for the big news: VMware has developed its own OpenStack distribution running on native vCenter infrastructure and using its ESXi hypervisor. Read the rest of my analysis in my Forbes column.
VMware also unveiled a new hyper-converged server reference platform, EVO RAIL, and had several OEM partners including Dell and Fujitsu showing off systems on the VMworld show floor. I’ll have more to say about EVO RAIL in an upcoming InformationWeek Report on private cloud infrastructure, but it EVO has all the look of a big software company, VMware, attempting to commodify hardware around a standard and undifferentiated platform, while its cloud software takes center stage.