This document is a transcription of an interview of David Scott, SVP of HP’s Storage Group, and VMware Co-President Carl Eschenbach at HP Discover 2011 in early June. The interview, conducted by SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier, was originally webcast live on SiliconAngle.TV.
VMware’s Relationship with 3Par and HP
JF: Welcome. So we were at VMworld 2010, our first big continuous multiday webcast coverage operation, where Paul laid out his plans for what eventually was the cloud operating system, based on our analysis. You guys have a lot of plans involved, and the ecosystem message is great -- $15 of revenue for every dollar created from VMware. How’s that going, Carl, and what’s the update quickly from VMware?
CE: So there’s roughly a $45 billion ecosystem that’s been generated through VMware’s cloud infrastructure platform. And that’s because virtualization drives convergence of all different assets in the data center. And with convergence comes disruption, and that’s why the ecosystem that surrounds VMware is so large. One of our best partners in the industry is our friends here at HP. It spans more than a decade, and we are really excited about some of the announcements that have been made this week in joint partnership with HP. And the ecosystem is alive, it’s vibrant, and I think it will continue to grow as people look more and more at these converged infrastructures.
JF: David, you guys were ??? before it was cool and cloud before it was cool, and now everybody’s copied that. What’s the 3PAR story with VMware, because VMware is Switzerland. Although it is owned by EMC it has to deal with all the storage vendors like NetApp and HP. So what’s the story here with 3PAR?
DS: Interestingly enough VMware and 3PAR had a really strong relationship when 3PAR was still an independent company. We did a lot of joint work in terms of supporting interfaces, APIs, very early on. And that was driven out of the fact that both companies were looking at some joint target segments, particularly in the hosting service providers, where fundamentally the complete virtualized environment was what – best-of-breed components was differentiating us. About four years ago HP, 3PAR as an independent company, and VMware jointly announced one of the first solution blueprints for the cloud. And we named it 3CV. So the relationship has been going on very tight ever since that time, and it continues obviously with 3PAR within the HP fold.
Data Center Convergence
JF: What is the reaction in the market, Carl, on your end, to the 3PAR acquisition by HP, and its impact on VMware in that relationship?
CE: I think if you follow along with what David was speaking about, everyone is trying to drive convergence in their datacenter. HP had a lot of good storage solutions, but they were looking for something that would take them to the next level and really provide multitenant cloud environments. That’s what the 3PAR acquisition has given HP. And VMware, yes, to your point earlier, John, we are a company whose majority shareholder is EMC, but at the same time we also understand there’s a vibrant ecosystem out there, and people need choices. The relationship with 3PAR is as strong as ever. And as David said, before there were any vertical stacks or any converged infrastructure was even brought to market, through this 3CV initiative of 3PAR, HP C-class blades, and VMware. We actually brought this to market four years ago, and there was a lot of success. It may actually be what’s driven all of us to talk about virtual systems this week.
JF: So even four years ago – that’s like decades ago in cloud time. Just last year you guys were transforming. VMware’s transformed its business significantly in just the last year with Paul. The stack he laid out is very similar to what HP’s talking about here. So what’s changed in the marketplace relative to that proposition you mentioned from four years ago?
CE: Specific to the infrastructure layer?
JF: The infrastructure layer and the market. You’ve done some acquisitions at the top of the stack. So what’s changed in the cloud relative to virtualization? You have Cloud Foundry out there. That’s hypervisor in the cloud, some are saying the premium model. Tell us what that’s about?
CE: This whole “cloud” word has become very pervasive in the industry. Everyone’s using it, and I’m not sure anyone really has a common definition. But the one thing we do know is that cloud if implemented in the appropriate way, whether it’s in a private or public setting, can reduce the cost for a customer to run their applications, as well as to support their infrastructure. So VMware, while we’ve historically been focused on the infrastructure layer, we’ve also started to take a look at how applications are written and really tried to focus on delivering new, next-generation frameworks to allow applications to be modernized, and we think there’s a tight coupling between some of the things we’ve announced around Cloud Foundry, which is an open-source developer community cloud, and what we’re doing in the infrastructure, and those two shall converge over time as well.
JF: Is that a fremium model? You give it away for free?
CE: The Cloud Foundry is being given away for free. And we have a sandbox that we stood up to allow developers to get access to it today.
Federated Infrastructure & vMotion
JF: How’s the impact above the infrastructure in applications. VMware obviously recently bought a social company, Socialcast, and added Zimbra. Not a lot going on at the top of the stack in terms of apps, but there’s a ton going on in mobile. What are you seeing on the infrastructure side that’s happening? You guys did thin provisioning, which was great and everybody is copying, but you guys were leaders. What I’m trying to get at is what’s next? What’s the next big thing that you guys see that’s coming?
DS: I think the next big thing that’s coming is making resources work together across data centers, across metropolitan areas, and across long distance. It’s an area that we talk about as federation of the infrastructure. And actually HP’s had a tremendous head start in leading scale-out software that’s federated. In fact another partner with VMware early on was LeftHand Networks, which is now part of HP. And that has a federated, scale-out software model and is one of the environments that really is tightly integrated with VMware to provide long-distance vMotion support across metropolitan areas. And we think that capability – peer-based federation – is going to be extremely important in all software architectures moving forward, because the way you try to federate to join resources together, you’ve got two choices: Are you going to put appliances in front of your storage arrays as some vendors would describe, or are you going to make it peer-to-peer? And we think the answer is peer-to-peer federation, just like VMware’s vMotion. It’s peer-to-peer.
JF: Is the marketplace ready for that? What inning are we in in that peer-to-peer? Some people say there’s a lot of white space, particularly in the VMware stack. What’s happening with that?
DS: I think it’s early stages right now, but thin provisioning was early stages once. When we were at the point when thin provisioning was early stages people were saying, “You’ll never want to do that. It’s a crazy idea.” Now everybody in the world thinks it’s a must have. You’re going to see the same thing in federation.
Cloud Foundry and SpringSource
JF: Carl, how does VMware keep up with the pace of change? Even just from VMworld we were watching you guys making acquisitions. You have lots going on in the middleware on the platform side. Above the infrastructure on the platform side there’s lots of white spaces, and you’ve got a lot going on with the big vendors -- obviously Oracle, other vendors, SAP has some approaches, you have the closed and open. This peer-to-peer really talks about open. Can you talk about what’s going on on the platform level?
CE: Sure. So as I said earlier, the Cloud Foundry announcement we made a few months ago was a critical announcement for VMware, because it put us in the forefront of how people are going to build and write their next generation of applications. And almost two years ago we made a critical acquisition for us of SpringSource, which is the industry-leading JAVA J2EE framework out there today. So we see a very tight coupling between the infrastructure and the applications. The infrastructure needs to become much more automated to support the next generation of the users in the new generation of applications that are being developed. So we believe that as we move up the stack and focus on these new frameworks, that historically haven’t been part of our DNA, that we believe we are going to start seeing people say, “I’m writing now in a VMware framework in an open source type of a cloud and we’re also going to deploy that in a virtualized appliance on top of a highly virtualized infrastructure like what we’re doing with Virtual Systems. So we see the two coming together.
DS: It’s all very complimentary. HP’s recently announced Virtual systems. It’s all about tying up & providing best-of-breed functionality, integrated server-networking-storage stack that’s tied in with the virtualization layer, infrastructure layer, and the applications beyond that. And we also announced the Cloud System approach which is allowing people a complete infrastructure to build out their own private clouds. The great thing is that you’re able to upgrade from Virtual System to this new Cloud System world, leveraging technologies both from HP and VMware.
Virtualizing Tier 1 Applications
CE: The other thing I might add that we just announced jointly with HP last week is a lot of people historically have looked at a converged and virtualized infrastructure for more infrastructure-type applications. We’re seeing a rapid adoption of Tier 1 applications moving on top of this environment. And last week we made an announcement with HP and SAP that converged infrastructure with Vsphere can now support, and is certified to support, SAP applications. So you can see us moving up the stack and looking at the heavier weight, tier 1 applications to run on this environment.
JF: We were at SAP Sapphire and then message there was very clearly mobility. But the data – they didn’t talk about big data as everybody else was hyping. They were really talking about almost an assumptive way, fast data; that’s the term we called it. They want the information really fast. So we were talking about virtualization, and we were trying to get out some questions. We didn’t really find many customers there to talk to who could answer the question. But how many Sap environments are truly virtualized, in production? Are you seeing more of the big app guys like SAP virtualizing in this environment?
CE: Yes. Clearly. I don’t know the percentages off the top of my head, but I know a large percent of our customers are running databases in general on top of a virtualized converged infrastructure. So we do see that transition happening. In fact as you’ll see in a video that David will run on Paul where I talk about how there’s now more virtualized workloads being deployed on servers, and this year alone many analysts predict that there will be more applications virtualized than there’s been virtualized in the last five years combined. So it’s not if you’re going to virtualize, it’s and how fast, and how can you take advantage of these new converged infrastructures to really focus on business agility.
The Cloud OS
JF: One of the things we speculate about is the cloud operating system. Is there really a cloud operating system? You have Paul Maritz who knows that business. He worked at Microsoft. At VMworld last year there was a cloud operating system kind of pitch. So what do you think about the cloud operating system concept?
DS: I think what a cloud operating system would be is the question. People are having trouble defining what the cloud is, let alone what the cloud operating system is going to be. So I think there is plenty of room for innovation, and that’s at the heart of what’s making the industry so excited at this point in time. You’re getting this tremendous migration from traditional IT to the delivery of IT-as-a-service. And all of the building blocks have to change. VMware was very early on understanding that virtualization of server environments was going to have to be one of those elements of change. At 3Par we recognized that you have to change the storage. The operating system environment is one of the next areas to be focused on.
CE: I’d say the same thing. The industry’s going through a radical transformation here. Existing operating systems as we have known them will probably have to migrate and take a different role, especially when you look at it from applications and how they’re being developed. And if you think about it, if there are more applications being deployed in virtual environments than in physical environments, there’s an abstraction layer now called virtualization with things that HP is doing that actually becomes, if you will, the underlying architecture for service delivery. So it’s not a hardware delivery, it’s a virtualized delivery taking advantage of highly optimized infrastructure that, for example, HP’s providing.
Looking Into the Future
JF: I find it interesting that the subsystems of storage, compute, and servers, HP has under one roof now.
DS: And networking.
JF: Yes, and networking. So you see what you guys have done with 3PAR since the acquisition – you guys have put systems tools in there and you guys are spinning with virtualization. So I just want your take on that. So final question: what’s the future going to look like in five-or-ten years? Obviously some of the infrastructure you guys are building is going to change a lot of things like how we interact, how we govern, how we do things with mobile and other things. So what’s your view of how this tech will translate?
CE: Every decade or so our industry goes through tectonic shifts. And we’re in the next tectonic shift to cloud computing, and the underlying architecture is virtualization with converged infrastructures. We’re being driven by a consumer world, and it’s bleeding into the enterprise. So it will be about any device getting access to any information and applications in real time in a very secure environment. So we as IT need to find a way to consumerize the infrastructure to make it very consumable, drive the cost out, and make it all done in a very self-service way, where the consumer is getting access to services from IT, and IT isn’t the bottleneck any longer.
DS: I think Carl’s spot on. I think as you go out 10 years it’s going to be increasingly difficult to separate one’s professional life from one’s personal life. You’re already beginning to see that with the question of privacy for the parts of your life that you want to keep private. But it will be a blended, melded world.