Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Charles Araujo, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Exclusive Q&A with VMware CTO Steve Herrod

We Will Make the Cloud Hype a Reality: VMware CTO

"There's a lot of hype over cloud computing, but we're confident that we will have the tools to make the hype a reality and help enterprises leverage this new computing model for all of their applications and with their management and security concerns addressed," says VMware CTO Steve Herrod in this Exclusive Q&A with Jeremy Geelan, Conference Chair of SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Expo series (California, New York, and Prague).


Steve Herrod, VMware CTO, during his Virtualization Conference & Expo Keynote in New York City

Jeremy Geelan: Do you agree with Dell's Drew Engstrom that "virtualization has matured to the point where it is not just viewed as a red-hot, ‘solve everything' technology, but as an effective means...to meet specific business needs and objectives"? Are we really that far along already - and if so why?

Steve Herrod: At VMware, we've worked together with Dell and with Drew for many years, and we have enjoyed helping with virtualization's broad acceptance and continued maturation. It is absolutely clear that virtualization is here to stay. In the future, we'll look back at the non-virtualized compute models as we look back on the phonograph or on bulky CRTs. The benefits it brings towards more efficient hardware use, faster server provisioning, higher application availability, and more secure computing are undeniable. All of that being said, I believe we're far from realizing the full benefits that virtualization can bring to datacenters, desktops, laptops, and mobile phones.

Geelan: So in these recession-sensitive times, business benefits are both real and tangible, from virtualization?

Herrod: Absolutely. Virtualization has always enabled IT organizations to do more with less, and our customers commonly share their amazement regarding just how quickly and easily they achieve their return-on-investment. What's more, they are achieving these savings while also progressing down the path towards the more flexible, available, and secure datacenter of the future.

Geelan: In your recent VMware Blog you anticipated that 2009 would begin to see the resolution of what you called the "desktop dilemma" - i.e., the business choice of whether to provide thick or thin clients for employees. What specific business and technology vectors make 2009 a decision-year?

Herrod: There are a number of factors forcing IT departments to rethink how they will provide desktop computing to their organizations:

  • People are more mobile than ever, using a multitude of devices to do their work
  • Compliance and security requirements have increased
  • Growing diversity in the types of applications (e.g. Windows, Mac, and Web)
  • IT must support all of the above changes with tighter budgets than ever

Our vClient initiative is aimed at providing an elegant solution to the above challenges, giving users ubiquitous access to all of their applications and with a rich user experience while helping IT make these desktops more manageable and secure.

Geelan: Aside from the desktop, where else does VMware see most potential growth for virtualization technologies?

Herrod: We have three major initiatives at VMware; Virtual Datacenter OS (datacenter products), vClient (desktop products), and vCloud (connecting enterprise customers with cloud providers). The datacenter side of the business is the most mature, but it's still incredibly early on in this opportunity. We constantly see customers transition their use of virtualization from tactical server consolidation projects to it being the centerpiece of their more strategic datacenter directions. As customers continue this progression, we see huge opportunities for the management and automation solutions that we provide.

And the vCloud initiative is also very early and full of promise. There's a lot of hype over "cloud computing", but we're confident that we will have the tools to make the hype a reality and help enterprises leverage this new computing model for all of their applications and with their management and security concerns addressed.

Geelan: What's the risk of Virtualization becoming just another buzzword used in the attempt to get organizations to "sign a check"?

Herrod: VMware's culture has been to avoid the hype and always try to under-promise and over-deliver. That being said, excessive industry-wide hype over virtualization (and cloud computing for that matter) can lead to disappointment. We're going to try to tamper the overhyping and focus on the specific benefits of VMware virtualization.

Geelan: Tell us about your collaboration with Cisco...what role can virtualization play in the networking space?

Herrod: We're collaborating with Cisco on a number of fronts. The most visible collaboration has been their introduction of the Nexus 1000v, the first 3rd-party software network switch available for VMware Infrastructure. This will go a long way in giving network administrators all of the visibility and flexibility that they need in the virtualized datacenter. We are also collaborating on more responsive remote display protocols for our vClient initiative, on new security offerings for the Virtual Datacenter OS, on standards for network management, and on several future areas that I can't publicly comment on.

It's clear that this is just the beginning, too. The datacenter of the future will be fully virtualized with the network enabling new levels of application mobility, security, and quality-of service guarantees. As we transition customers towards the cloud model, the network will, of course, play an even bigger and more visible role in these same areas.

Geelan: How about mobile virtualization - what's the current story there?

Herrod: Virtualization for mobile phones feels very similar to what we encountered 10 years ago with desktop and server virtualization; there are several technical challenges, but there will be a very big payoff to handset manufacturers, telecom service providers, ISVs, and end customers. Several companies are evaluating our products and expressing excitement in two particular areas: (1) simplifying the development, test, and deployment of the increasingly powerful OSes and applications for mobile devices, and (2) providing increased security by isolating trusted data and applications from the fun downloads many people are enjoying. It's still early though, and I expect it to be at least another year before you start to see broad deployment of virtualizaiton in the mobile phone space.

Geelan: As you know, SYS-CON as an organization is laser-focused not only on virtualization but also on cloud computing: how does VMware define itself in relation to the new world of the cloud?

Herrod: Virtualization and automation are key enablers of cloud computing, so we feel that we have a major role to play in this new space. Our vision is three fold:

  1. Help enterprises to run their own datacenters in a more "cloud-like" fashion. These "internal clouds" will be more efficient, deliver compute capabilities on demand, and securely support multiple disparate departments on a shared physical infrastructure.
  2. Provide a powerful software stack to a broad ecosystem of cloud providers. We'll deliver a suite of software that will help "external clouds" increase their efficiency and provide meaningful service level agreements for their users.
  3. Provide technologies to connect the internal and external clouds. The beauty of virtualized applications is that they are fully encapsulated and can be transported between datacenters without modification. We're working with our partners to enable this connectivity and let enterprise customers leverage the external clouds as desired... for on-demand test labs, for overflow compute capacity during peak demand periods, or to completely transition a set of their production workloads.

Again, there is a lot of work to do to achieve this full vision, but we're confident in the direction and think we have the right team and tools to deliver it.

Geelan: So is it a multi-vendor world, an interoperable one?

Herrod: It's a more heterogeneous world than ever before, but customers clearly desire, and in fact demand, interoperability. Virtualization naturally helps interoperability by breaking the unnatural ties between software and hardware. However, there is a lot of additional interoperability work required, and we're particularly focused on enabling two industry standards. The first is called the open virtualization format (OVF). OVF is focused on defining a standard format for virtual machines that enables them to be deployed on any vendor's virtualization offering. The second focus area is on management of the virtualization layer. This effort is farther behind, but is focused on defining a standard set of interfaces that hypervisors should support with the end goal of enabling management of multiple virtualization offerings from a single management tool.

Geelan: Do you agree with those who contend that Cloud Computing, in its current incarnation anyway, falls short on its promise to make computing as a whole as simple as plugging an application into a utility service? What's the trajectory of Cloud Computing seen from a VMware perspective?

Herrod: There are some great examples of cloud computing today, but they typically come with some constraints or compromises. For example, some cloud computing offerings require that you rewrite your application for their specific environment. In addition to the work required to do the coding, it also makes it difficult or impossible to ever leave that cloud should you need to. Another compromise with some cloud offerings has been the lack of acceptable performance and availability service level agreements.

As mentioned above, we think we can leverage our technology expertise to address many of these compromises and make cloud computing a reality even for completely unmodified applications and with even more desirable SLAs. We also believe we can help on the interoperability front, allowing customers to more easily enter and exit cloud computing providers with their virtualized applications.

Geelan: Lastly, what duty or duties of care do you feel being the CTO of a top company like VMware brings with it in the first decade of the twenty-first century? How important is the ‘IT greening' aspect of virtualization to you, for example?

Herrod: I believe that all companies have a requirement to be good stewards of the environment while they grow their businesses, and I'm very proud at the positive impact that VMware has made in this space. Each server that we virtualize saves as much as 7000 kilowatt-hours of energy and has a carbon footprint improvement that is equivalent to planting 55 trees or taking 1.5 cars off the highway. We're doing even more research into power savings and expect to deliver even more improved "green" solutions across both the datacenter and desktop as we move forward.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
michael boca 01/21/09 10:52:00 PM EST

I believe that all companies have a requirement to be good stewards of the environment while they grow their businesses, and I'm very proud at the positive impact that VMware has made in this space. Each server that we virtualize saves as much as 7000 kilowatt-hours of energy and has a carbon footprint improvement that is equivalent to planting 55 trees or taking 1.5 cars off the highway. We're doing even more research into power savings and expect to deliver even more improved "green" solutions across both the datacenter and desktop as we move forward.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...