Today is the first day of VMworld 2014 San Francisco. For the last 7 consecutive years, I have attended all the VMworld conferences in US, either as a speaker, booth duty staff, or normal attendee. This year is no exception. As always, I find the solution exchange is the best part of the conference, so I spent several hours in the reception party this afternoon. While enjoying the good food, I talked to quite a few vendors. When the party was over, I found I only finished two rows. So there are a lot more work tomorrow.
One impression from the 3 hours is that there are many new storage vendors this year. Maybe they are not really new, but come to VMworld for the first time. It’s all possible that they were here before but I had totally missed them. I collected a few brochures from companies like QNAP, Promise Technologies, StorMagic, Quanta (more than storage, more like SuperMicro), AIC (not complete storage but the storage enclosure into which you install disks yourself).
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QNAP engineers gave me a demo on their storage management system which is very much like the one from their competitor Synology. I am impressed by their Virtualization Station that turns their NAS into a KVM. You can run and manage virtual machines easily with their intuitive Web interface. If you are a virtual machine user, you can use either HTML5 viewer or JavaScipt viewer in a Web browser. When I checked out their Web site, I found a live demo site: http://usanasdemo.myqnapcloud.com:8080/cgi-bin/ with username and password both as “qnap” (don’t type the enclosing double quotation mark). Very impressive product from a hardware company. I wish VMware can make its vSphere Web Client as easy to use some day.
Another interesting company is Intigua. As its brochure claims, its product is best of VMworld 2012 & 2013. For sure, they are not new to VMworld. Its product is “Software Defined Operations for Enterprise IT.” Although I think the “software defined” is a bit over marketing, what it does is pretty impressive. Forget about the marketing buzz, it’s really a container technology based management system which can deploy different management agents (Splunk, Hyperic, Nagios, Puppet, Symantec, EMC, IBM Tivoli, HP, BMC, Microsoft System Center – most of them are at VMworld except Microsoft) into virtual machines to achieve its manageability. The container is a proprietary technology that does not overlay filesystem, which is different from generic containers like LXC used by Docker. You may be wondering why not using provisioning tool like Puppet/Chef. One difference is that Intigua can throttle resources used by management agents.
One networking company I checked out is the ExtraHop. As its brochure claims, “The ExtraHop platform is a non-intrusive network appliance that provides IT teams with the visibility they need to ensure application performance in virtualized and cloud environments.” It reminds the startup company Beehive that VMware acquired a few years ago and turned into AppSpeed, then vFabric Application Performance Manager, and lastly announced end of life in December, 2011. The ExtraHop seems to have broader support – not only the virtualized environment but cloud environment too.
I also had an interesting discussion with a friendly and very knowledgeable Catbird staff who turned out to the company CEO Mr. Costa. The demo was pretty impressive and intuitive. I like the logical abstraction for zoning so that it’s not limited to one network. The support for VMware NSX and Cisco is definitely a big plus.
That is it today. Stay tuned for more on VMworld.