Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Rishi Bhargava, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Dana Gardner

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...