One of the most surprising moves at VMWorld to some was VMware's announcement that it would support OpenStack in its cloud management software. For close followers of VMware, however, it may not have been a huge surprise -- VMware has been active in the OpenStack community since it purchased Nicira a few years ago and even more recently has been a contributor of code to the project.
But, like containers, OpenStack represented what some considered a potential headwind for VMware. OpenStack is an open source project for building clouds. VMware executives made the case that if IT wants to build OpenStack clouds, then they should be managed with VMware tools. The move is a strong vote of confidence for OpenStack, and it supports VMware's marketing pitch that it will support customer choice for cloud management. What VMware doesn't mention, but analysts have pointed out, is that VMware is making its own distribution of OpenStack that requires all VMware tools to run. Watching how VMware develops its OpenStack strategy will be an indicator of how the company plans to play in the broader cloud market.
VMware's NSX network virtualization platform has become a hugely popular technology, but you wouldn't have known that just from listening to the VMworld keynotes.
One year ago VMWorld 2013 could easily have been called NSXWorld instead given the amount of talk there was about network virtualization. Fast forward one year and there was a lot of customer interest in network virtualization, but a surprising lack of talk by VMware executives about NSX. Executives mentioned it briefly in the two days of keynotes. Meanwhile, the company's cloud chief, end user computing head and software-defined data center executive each got extended speaking slots during the keynotes. There were a number of sessions about NSX, particularly as the technology applies to security, but Network World was expecting more from VMware related to NSX at VMWorld.
Customers seem very interested in this topic. For the second year in a row the NSX introduction was the most popular hands-on lab (a lab is where users can learn and play around with software in a test/sandbox environment at VMWorld).
VMware did have some news about NSX - -the company released Version 6.1. It played up the security angle by talking about the ability for the NSX software to create in effect virtual firewalls that allow for micro-segmentation of network traffic. And companies like Dell and F5 announced integrations with NSX.
But there just wasn't a lot of pizazz about NSX at VMworld during the keynotes. Network World would have liked to have seen an even greater focus by executives on the important topic of network virtualization and the company's strategy around NSX.
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