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Monthly Archives: April 2011

The New Way to Work – End-user computing in the post-PC era

Steve_Herrod

Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

Cloud computing is the most impactful advance in information technology in years, and VMware’s contributions to this field have been defined by innovations affecting almost every aspect of our technology interactions. From changing the way that IT looks at servers and the datacenter, to delivering the next generation open application platform, to redefining the role of the desktop, VMware innovation has led the charge. But we’re just getting started…

The cloud is about much more than just making the IT department’s life easier. End-users deserve to reap the benefits of the cloud as well, and “your cloud” is focused on delivering these to both IT and end-users in a very personalized way. Let’s make this a bit more concrete…

I don’t know about you, but I frequently find myself doing silly things at work. Have you ever found that you

  • Email yourself large documents so that you can access them from home or from multiple devices?
  • Collaborate on documents by sending around files with names like”vmworld-keynote-v11-PM-SH.ppt”?
  • Live with a clogged mailbox where almost all company communication (both relevant and not) occurs?
  • Carry two mobile phones so that your personal life can be kept separate from your work life?
  • Spelunk for your VPN token just to get access to a single file at work?
  • Constantly copy and update “standard” presentations to get the latest templates and data or to customize just one page for a specific audience?

These are the sorts of problems we’re attacking in our end-user computing group at VMware. Our mission is to help users get their work done quickly, effectively, safely, and collaboratively. Along the way, they should have their experience at work be as engaging and enjoyable as when working at home with consumer applications.

To date we’ve attacked these problems through our VMware View, ThinApp, and Zimbra products, and today I’m happy to announce another step forward in offering people a new way to work.

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Today, VMware is announcing the acquisition of SlideRocket – the leader in online presentations. SlideRocket’s focus on improving the process of building, delivering, and sharing presentations is a testament to the potential of cloud computing to change how business users work, providing them with technology that makes them happier, engaged and more productive.

Presentations are second only to email as the most commonly used business tool. Professionals rely upon presentations for critical business communication such as influencing audiences and closing deals. Yet, despite their critical role, the process of creating, delivering, and sharing presentations is still based on 25-year-old technology, so most presentations remain static, one-way documents that lack impact.

Collaborating with others around presentations often involves sending large file attachments and comments in email, worrying about whether recipients have the appropriate software to review, and wasting time keeping track of who has the latest version.  And, once a presentation is shared outside your company, it’s impossible to make changes, or even know if someone has viewed it.  The process is frustrating and the result is often miscommunication and lost productivity. Perhaps most importantly, this approach to building and sharing presentations is incompatible with our increasingly mobile business lives.

SlideRocket is built for a new, cloud-centric way of working. Its intuitive, web-based interface allows users to easily assemble rich, dynamic presentations that help captivate an audience whether they’re in the conference room, on a conference call, or in a coffee shop. Individuals can quickly create slides that flow with dynamic data from sources like Google, Twitter, and Salesforce. Author’s charts and graphs are always up-to-date with real-time data from Google spreadsheets, display up to the moment financial information, tap into the instant flow of ideas on twitter, and intelligently assemble sales decks in a single click. People can work as teams to build presentations that take full advantage of the cloud, while analytics provide insight into how presentations are impacting your audience. Most importantly, all SlideRocket presentations are built so audiences can experience them on multiple devices, ranging from desktops to tablets, online or off.

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I’m quite enthused about both the product and the great team that is joining VMware. You can read more about this move in SlideRocket CEO Chuck Dietrich’s blog here. Better yet, give it a try at http://www.sliderocket.com.

We’re doing many exciting things at VMware, but I find our efforts in end-user computing to be among the most personally satisfying. These new products are literally offering me a new way to work, a new way that is more productive, convenient, and fun! Today marks a step forward on this journey, and there are many more exciting steps ahead…

Cloud Foundry — Delivering on VMware’s “Open PaaS” Strategy

Steve_Herrod

Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

It has been 20 months since VMware acquired SpringSource, launching our entry into the application development space and expanding our capability to “Simplify IT”.  In the development area, we are focusing on simplifying application creation, deployment, and operations via an approach we call open platform-as-a-service, or “Open PaaS”. And over the past year, we have been busily building out this offering via acquisitions and partnerships

Today marks a major milestone in our mission with the introduction of Cloud Foundry, the industry’s first open PaaS implementation.  Cloud Foundry provides a PaaS implementation that offers developers what they need… choice:

  • choice of developer frameworks,
  • choice of application infrastructure services, and
  • choice of clouds to which to deploy applications. 

By offering an open architecture in all three dimensions, Cloud Foundry overcomes major limitations found in today’s PaaS solutions.  Nascent industry PaaS offerings are held back by limited or non-standard framework support, lack of variety of application services and especially the inability to deploy applications across both public and private clouds. Let’s explore each in more detail

A Choice of Developer Frameworks

We’ are living in an exciting time for application development frameworks with a Cambrian explosion of new options.  In the past, developers had to choose from the limited number of frameworks large corporations blessed as appropriate for their use.  Today, developers have taken matters in their own hands and are driving incredible innovation in new frameworks.  Furthermore, they are voting with their feet as they flee older development approaches to these higher productivity frameworks. 

Amidst such broad innovation, PaaS solutions that are restricted to a single framework or require non-standard frameworks are simply too limiting.  Because of the breadth of high productivity frameworks being used today, and the likelihood that innovation around frameworks will continue into the future, Cloud Foundry has been designed to support multiple frameworks.  In the initial release, Spring for Java, Rails and Sinatra for Ruby and Node.js are supported.  The system also supports other JVM-based frameworks such as Grails.

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A Choice of Application Services

Just as with the frenzy of innovation occurring around frameworks, a similar phenomenon is happening around application services.  Developers use these data, messaging, and web services as building blocks for their application.  Data management in particular is seeing intense innovation and experimentation as different solutions emerge to handle large scale and highly distributed data problems.  As with frameworks, Cloud Foundry is designed to support a wide variety of application services because there simply is no single solution that meets all application requirements.  Initially, Cloud Foundry supports MySQL, MongoDB and Redis.  In coming months, we will add support for other application services.  We will work with the industry to support popular third party technologies as well as VMware’s own vFabric application services.

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A Choice of Clouds: Public and Private, VMware and Non-VMware

A choice of clouds for application deployment is imperative for mainstream adoption of PaaS.  Even if development is significantly more productive, without deployment flexibility the PaaS model is unlikely to see mainstream adoption.  Customers need the flexibility, both today and in the future, to switch between cloud operators.  This choice is critical to avoid lock-in, have the option to deploy applications within the firewall or to deploy in a specific geography.

Cloud Foundry can be deployed in public or private clouds.  It runs on top of vSphere and vCloud infrastructure but can also run on top of other infrastructure clouds.  Our partner RightScale today is demonstrating the deployment of Cloud Foundry on top of Amazon Web Services.  Because of the open architecture, it could also be implemented on top of other infrastructure technologies like Eucalyptus or OpenStack.

Public Clouds: CloudFoundry.com and Partner Clouds

VMware will operate a public cloud PaaS service at www.CloudFoundry.com.  This instance of Cloud Foundry will give developers an easy way to trial Cloud Foundry and provides a test bed for new services and operational optimization of the software.  CloudFoundry.com is in beta and developers can sign up today for an invite.  We will scale the service as quickly as possible.  In the coming months, you will see other public clouds running Cloud Foundry, including existing and new VMware partners. 

Private Clouds

VMware will also offer a commercial version of Cloud Foundry for enterprise customers who want to deploy a PaaS solution on their own clouds.  Cloud Foundry in a private cloud will give IT control over the application environment as well as the ability to integrate with a company’s own portfolio of application services.  The commercial version will support vFabric application services as well as third party services.  And by running on vSphere infrastructure, companies will be able to easily leverage their existing investments in virtual infrastructure.  PaaS can help IT accelerate application delivery and reduce the application backlog.

Honey I Shrank the Cloud: The Micro Cloud

We’ve even shrunk the cloud down to sit on a developer’s laptop.  With the “Micro Cloud”, we have a version of Cloud Foundry that will run in a single virtual machine.  This will allow developers to build and test their applications on their own machine, with the confidence that their production environment is symmetrical to the development environment.  The Micro Cloud configuration of Cloud Foundry will be available later this quarter from CloudFoundry.com.

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Open Source?  But Of Course

It is increasingly a prerequisite for modern developer technologies to be available as open source.  This allows developers to inspect, evaluate and modify the software based on their own needs, as well as avoid the risk of lock-in.  Cloud Foundry is an open source project with a community and source code today at www.cloudfoundry.org.  This provides the ultimate in extensibility and allows the community to extend and integrate Cloud Foundry with any framework, application service or infrastructure cloud.  Available under the Apache 2 license, this liberal licensing model encourages a broad-based community of contributors.  While not a Spring project, the Cloud Foundry project will be governed like Spring based on the long and successful history of Spring as an open source project.

Happy Coding 

Each generation of computing brings a new application development platform, and in the cloud era that platform will be delivered as a service.  By leveraging PaaS, developers avoid the many hassles of updating machines and configuring middleware and focus their attention on delivering applications. Reducing these obstacles means faster delivery of applications. Or as one of our own PaaS-using developers has declared,

Developers should write code, not IT trouble tickets.

For more information on Cloud Foundry, please visit CloudFoundry.com where you can request an invitation to the service and get notified when your Micro Cloud is available for download.  For information on the open source project, please visit CloudFoundry.org.  And you can replay the developer webcast at www.vmware.com/go/apr12

VMware Welcomes Team Mozy

Steve_Herrod

Posted by Steve Herrod
Chief Technology Officer

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Today it is my pleasure to announce that VMware has hired the team and acquired assets behind EMC’s Mozy cloud-based data protection service.  VMware will operate the Mozy service on behalf of EMC without interruption.  However, the strategic relevance of today’s news is what this group brings to VMware.  Over the past 5 years, Mozy has built one of the best examples of a globally distributed, large-scale cloud offering. We believe that, by being directly engaged with the delivery of such a service, VMware will further ramp our own cloud-related learning and accelerate new IP, scale, and capabilities into the products that we provide to our customers and public cloud partners.

The scale of the Mozy service is impressive. Let’s talk some numbers… today they have more than 1 million users, 70,000 business customers, and a worldwide network of datacenters storing more than 70 petabytes of data. 70 petabytes! That’s enough to store the entire written works of mankind from the beginning of recorded history… in all languages… with 20 petabytes to spare. But it’s about more than simple backup of all of this data. Mozy has taken the base technology that keeps you from losing your data and turned it into a scalable, fail-safe way of building out a collection of highly-automated datacenters with strong security and 24/7 operations fronted by elegant, user interfaces across many client types. This is the foundational architecture for the many cloud-based services being delivered today.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with many of the Mozy team members over the last year. The individuals responsible for building, operating and maintaining this service at a global scale clearly possess the experience and knowledge essential to running such an operation, and we’ll be leveraging that to improve our own products and help customers and partners to best leverage them.

The Mozy team will also help VMware continue to serve the burgeoning SMB community as they move forward on their own path to cloud computing. In the past year, our customer base grew by more than 50,000 customers, the majority of which came from the SMB community (many through our “VMware Go” offering). It’s clear that organizations of this size (with little or no IT staff) are moving even more rapidly to adopt IT services via the public cloud. We’ll make sure that these customers have easy access to the Mozy back-up service as well as other related data services to come.

I’m also excited about some of the core data-handling technologies developed by the Mozy team. The Mozy future roadmap is going to excite consumers and businesses alike, and we also see the opportunity to leverage Mozy’s data compression, synchronization, client integration, and analytic tools to extend several existing and not-yet-announced VMware products.

It truly is an exciting time to be here at VMware and working with such great talent to bring the enterprise hybrid cloud to our customers and partners as they continue the journey to IT-as-a-Service. Also, check out what Mozy’s COO Charlotte Yarkoni had to say about today’s announcement.