Making your VMs more nimble, and more global
Last week I joined senior technical director Mike Otey and News Analyst Jeff James at VMworld, held at The Venetian and adjoining hotels in Las Vegas. VMworld is the largest IT conference I've ever attended, with 19,000 IT pros, developers, vendors and partners filling the Sands Conference Center.
As you might expect for a conference held by a virtualization company, the word "cloud" was everywhere. Much of the talk focused on the hybrid cloud model, a blend of on-premises private cloud tools and off-premises public cloud that will be the end state for the vast majority of cloud computing installations. As a major vendor of products that support cloud computing, VMware must be far in front of cloud computing's adoption in the marketplace in order to have products ready when they're needed. I sat down with Rob Smoot, VMware's director of product marketing for VMware’s vCenter management products, and Joe Andrews, group manager for product marketing, to talk about a couple of updates to their vCloud suite designed to make managing a hybrid cloud and globalization just a little easier.
One of the big advantages of a hybrid cloud is the ability to move virtual machines from on premises in your private cloud to a public cloud to support peak demand times, for example if a marketing campaign receives a very strong response. VMware's vCloud Connector, first released in the beginning of this year, is designed to do just that. The channel between your local public cloud and an off-premise public cloud is will always be a bottleneck, because moving multi-gigabyte VMs over a limited-bandwidth internet connection takes more time than moving them around between vCenter clusters on your LAN. vCloud Connector 1.5, announced to be in public beta at VMworld, features improved performance for moving VMs between both private – public cloud and vCenter clusters by using multiple parallel network connections instead of the single connection in version 1.0. The new vCloud Connector version also has automatic checkpoint and restart mechanisms – essential for large file transfers over links that can be impacted for many reasons outside your control.
For large enterprises that need a multinational presence for their cloud services, VMware’s Global Connect program may be of interest. The purpose of the Global Connect program is to bring different vCloud Datacenter partners into closer technical and business relationships with each other, with the end goal of presenting a uniform interface for the vCloud Datacenter customer regardless of which partner the customer chooses. A customer can establish a relationship with just one partner, yet use other Global Connect partners to host the customer’s workloads in the countries they need.
As with many aspects of cloud computing, the challenge here is more than just technical. It’s a business challenge to get the various vCloud Datacenter partners in different countries to work with each other, but this is also manageable. The real challenge for hosting workloads in different countries is the tangle of government regulations. Each country has its own regulations, compliance, and security around data hosted within its borders, and VMware's initiatives won’t make this any easier. However, if Global Connect eases some of the technical and business barriers for companies that have a multinational services requirement, it should lower the initial barrier to entering this area.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @shorinsean.