VMworld kicked off this week with a flurry of announcements and improvements and I wanted to highlight two of the important ones for my coverage area.
Global Connect – this new announcement is intriguing for enterprise customers. The goal is for vCloud Datacenter partners to develop global relationships with one another to provide customers true global coverage for vCloud hosting while only having to maintain a relationship with a vCloud Datacenter partner in their region. The announcement kicks off with Bluelock (US), Softbank (Japan), and Singtel (Singapore).
While this will take some time for the technology to be put in place and work effectively, my concerns are not around technology. The non-technical side of this announcement will prove to be extremely challenging. For each of the providers to establish legal agreements with one another in such a way that Customer X can deploy a workload to Bluelock and then later move it or copy it to Singtel or Softbank (or vice versa) will surely prove to be challenging. It is hard enough for Customer X to establish satisfactory terms and conditions with any single provider today. For a customer to be able to establish those terms and then for the provider to take those terms and pass on to other providers is daunting to consider.
Surely these providers will be motivated, but tracking the agreements will be an area to watch closely. Furthermore, customers will now have additional context to consider when negotiating agreements. Pay close to attention for language around the mobility of workloads from provider to provider.
If VMware can successfully broker their providers through this Global Connect initiative, it squarely places vCloud Datacenter providers (or the ecosystem) in line to compete with Amazon Web Services from a global availability perspective, an area until this announcement where vCloud was getting beat badly.
vCloud Connector 1.5 – Earlier this year I published a research document named, Moving Applications to the Cloud: Finding Your Right Path. The document provides guidance around the process to move virtual machines from internal data centers to public cloud providers. In the document, I highlighted several current concerns with vCloud Director and vCloud Connector 1.0. At the document publication time there were issues such as no network transmission intelligence, restart protocol, and the fact that vCloud Connector had to temporarily make a copy of the OVF/VMDK and store it in a temporary holding area. All of these factors contributed to really poor VM mobility performance.
It is great to see that version 1.5 addresses some of these issues. vCloud Connector no longer requires a copy of the OVF/VMDK to a temporary location. Furthermore, a restartable protocol has now been introduced. Now a single network hiccup will not completely interrupt the transmission and require you to start over. Both advancements are welcome.
However, as noted in the document, the biggest problem in V2C Mobility is inconsistent/slow internet upload speeds from customers to vCloud Datacenter providers. I would still like to see network intelligence built into vCloud Director and Connector (e.g. compression, acceleration, de-dup). Adding these enhancements will really start to change the game for VM mobility performance and move the industry from a nice concept to reality. VMware’s stiff competitor, Citrix, is already aggressively innovating in this space with their Netscaler CloudBridge announcement earlier in the year. Perhaps VMware can build, acquire, or partner with someone to bring similar capabilities to vCloud.
I hope to see many of you at VMworld this week. It is always a great week and wonderful chance to learn, network, and gain perspective.