Pulling IT teams together

Three new management suites were announced at VMworld Europe.
1 December 2011
photos: Therese van WykThe giant atrium at the Bella Centre kept the Copenhagen rain at bay.

Seven thousand people powered up on pastries and sandwiches heaped high at VMworld Europe 2011. In the three and a half days at the end of October, a river of coffee delivered real-world caffeine spurts. But visitors needed these to take in the keynote addresses, allday hands-on labs, and many other sessions ranging from the business of IT to deep tech. Eventually some slumped in beanbags in the giant atrium of the Bella Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, beyond the reach of mere food and drink.

Heightened awareness was a must for the keynote address from VMware CTO and senior VP of R&D, Dr Steve Herrod, on Tuesday afternoon. In an hour and a half, Herrod sprinted across VMware’s solutions for socially connecting enterprise, virtualising enterprise-critical applications also across datacentres, and better managing virtualised environments for true IT-as-a-service.

He announced three new enterprise management suites: vCentre Operations Management, vFabric Application Management and IT Business Management.

“This is one of the biggest management launches we have ever done. We want to focus on all the areas you need to be ready for the cloud,” said Herrod.

“vCentre converges the fields of infrastructure and operations so you can handle performance, capacity and configuration changes. vFabric allows you to provision and monitor applications in the cloud world we’re clearly headed for. IT Business Management gives the CIO a chance to understand cost and risk in a world that has a lot more choices than before. What we’re trying to do is pull all these teams together, probably not solving world peace, but at least taking you a step further towards IT-as-a-service.”

Cloud era

In the hands-on labs, enthusiasts created and destroyed 43 000 virtual machines in two and a half days.

Not only does infrastructure need better management in general, but the very infrastructure inside datacentres will be changed by new-generation applications, argued Raghu Raghuram, senior VP and GM cloud infrastructure and management, at his keynote address on Wednesday morning.

“The datacentre as we know it is built from specialised CPUs, chips, silicon and hardware. But it will move to a world of standardised hardware blocks,” said Raghuram.

CEO Paul Maritz delivered his keynote address on Thursday morning. Another emerging IT age is upon us, he said.

“We don’t just have hundreds of millions of people connected to the web on PCs. We will have billions of people, devices, sensors and other sources feeding into the pool of information. We are already seeing new programming technologies in this space, such as HTML5 and a new generation of programming frameworks. Most importantly, I think we’ll see a new set of applications, steeped in the fact that to do competitive business in the future, you’ll have to be able to gather information from many more sources, analyse that information in real time and respond in real time.

“It will no longer be sufficient simply to capture information, put it into a giant data warehouse, and find out what happened last month or the month before that. Increasingly, people will want to service the Facebook generation in real time. This will require new data fabric, with a corresponding change in the infrastructure.

“The real challenge I think businesses face as we go from the client-server era to the cloud era is not just that they need to take operational expense out of infrastructure, but they’ll require a new generation of applications. This is where business value will be realised. Users will increasingly want to see information the way they prefer.”

For VMworld Europe 2011, the key geek information had to wait until the end of Maritz’ address: “We delivered over 5 000 lab sessions in the course of three and a half days. And I am told we served 75 000 cups of coffee.”

So maybe caffeine powered the 43 000 virtual machines created and destroyed in the VMworld Europe hands-on labs.