EMC World 2014: A Software-Defined Future

The VAR Guy is once again roaming the halls at EMC World 2014, where the third platform and the channel have so far taken center stage. What did Day Two hold in store? Read on and find out.

The VAR Guy

May 7, 2014

4 Min Read
Pat Gelsinger CEO of VMware
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware

The VAR Guy is once again roaming the halls at EMC World 2014, where the third platform and the channel have so far taken center stage. What did Day Two hold in store? Read on and find out.

VMware (VMW) CEO Pat Gelsinger kicked off the second day’s general session with a discussion about the tectonic shift in IT as companies transition to the cloud. Traditionally, he said, companies take one of two paths in building their data centers—hardware-defined or software-defined—but VMware believes the solution to bridging these two paths lies in the third platform and hybrid cloud computing.

Software defined data centers offer the ability to expand virtual computing ability, virtualize the network for speed and efficiency, transform storage by aligning it with storage demands and design management tools to allow for automation of services, Gelsinger noted. And in a rather candid moment, he apologized for VMware’s lack of progress with its vVolumes (virtual volumes) technology, which Gelsinger said should have been released prior to the company’s efforts in storage array tech. He promised that VMware is working to correct this as soon as possible.

In line with VMware’s goal of virtualizing all business applications, Gelsinger announced the availability of SAP HANA on vSphere 5.5, noting that vSphere is the only enterprise hypervisor to utilize SAP HANA. The combination, he said, will deliver customers much greater material value than ever before.

Gelsinger then touched on the importance of networking and security for developing a hybrid cloud strategy. While on-premise spending still dwarfs cloud services spending by an overwhelming majority, Gelsinger said the gap will begin to close as the rest of the industry begins to transition to hybrid cloud services. One advantage of the hybrid cloud model, he said, is it eliminates the “Hotel California Problem” associated with public clouds—users can opt to leave the public cloud, but their information remains there regardless.

Gelsinger closed out his talk with the announcement of Pivotal Cloud Foundry (CF) on the vCloud Hybrid Service. Pivotal CF is a platform as a service (PaaS) built on Cloud Foundry that offers hybrid deployment options powered by vSphere and vCloud Hybrid Service.

Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz then took the stage to elaborate on the power of Pivotal CF and how it will work as a part of vSphere. Pivotal CF will allow users to run an enterprise-ready PaaS powered by vSphere, offering increased business agility and the ability to build and run applications using a PaaS that supports on-premise, public cloud and hybrid cloud deployment.

Super Session 1: ViPR 365 Days Later
EMC President of Advanced Software Division Amitabh Srivastava highlighted the advances made in the year since EMC released its first version of ViPR. Srivastava called upon several partners to talk about the ways in which they use the program to manage their infrastructures, and discussed ways EMC plans to deliver new hyper-scale, hyper-converged solutions to bring public cloud economics to the forefront of the storage industry.

Super Session 2: Data Protection – Unplugged to Amped Up
In the final session, Guy Churchward, EMC’s president of Data Protection and Availability, used his love of music to draw parallels between the changing music consumption models and the way in which EMC caters to its storage customers. Although record players and cassette tapes no longer are the most popular format for listening to music, there always will be some consumers who prefer records to mp3s, he said. In this same way, some customers will want to continue investing in on-premise and other “old-fashioned” consumption models, and EMC will continue to innovate and provide these products to the customer. By driving home the point that new consumption models don’t automatically eliminate previous models, Churchward was able to draw relatable similarities between mainstream music and the arguably more difficult to understand world of software-defined storage.

The VAR Guy thinks there may be something to this software-defined storage thing. It will be interesting to see how the software-defined strategy will play out over the next year. Will EMC be playing the same tune at next year’s EMC World conference? Our intrepid blogger plans to be on hand to find out.

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