By David Davis
While at VMworld 2010, I was a judge for TechTarget's Best of VMworld 2010 awards and, as part of that process, I filtered through 30+ different vendors offering virtualization management solutions for VMware and struggled to recommend just 3 of those for awards. While I wasn't part of the new private & public cloud provider categories, I did learn a lot during the 3+ hour deliberation process. Judges from every category discussed why they felt that the companies in their respective categories were or weren't deserving of the prize.
As I believe that VMware's cloud computing initiative will transform IT departments, I was especially keen on hearing the winners of the private and public/hybrid cloud categories. I noted each of the winners in those categories and I have listed them below with a summary of what makes their offering standout from the competition (again, I wasn't a judge in that category so most of this reasoning comes from my experience visiting their booth at VMworld or from visiting their website):
Judges said that NewScale 9 "brings the iPhone experience to the enterprise". Probably more accurately, NewScale takes the concept of the iTunes App store and offers your IT services in such a format while taking this idea many steps further. Let me explain, with NewScale 9, the IT services offered by your company will be displayed in an online catalog. End users can request those IT services and each will have its own price tag. Then, those services can be "managed from cradle to grave" with NewScale lifecycle manager.
Think about it, consider how much more value the end users would see if the services offered by IT were clearly explained to them and if each had associated price tags. If organizations can really consume IT in this way, IT can be more easily understood, costs can be lowered, end users can change their perception of IT.
Finally, with NewScale Front Office supporting not only Amazon EC2 but also the new VMware vCloud Director and the VMware vCloud API, I can see why NewScale was a logical choice for the judges.
Built to speed up development of software appliances and virtual appliances. The only solution of its kind, rBuilder has provided the packaging and distribution for many appliances like OpenFiler, Zenoss, Foresight Linux, and Asterisk. Once applications are deployed, rPath can provide "full lifecycle management" and automated system updates.
What rBuilder offers is a sort of VMware virtual appliance marketplace but it takes it a step further by allowing you to deploy these virtual appliances directly to platforms like EC2, VMware, or Xen.
Public/ Hybrid Cloud Computing
According to the judges, Terremark's Gold-Winning cloud offering, which is based on VMware virtualization, "provides security services that supersede anything IT pros can build in-house". Personally, I think that Terremark must have an outstanding product if they are confident enough to call it "THE" Enterprise Cloud.
Terremark's cloud is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and uses vSphere as the underlying virtualization platform. Instead of customers requesting or paying for "servers", with "enterprise cloud", they only pay for the compute resources that they use. What impressed me the most is the very user-friendly interface along with the advanced features that the interface provides (load-balancing, firewalling, and private network integration).
What I have heard most about SkyTap is that they "make the cloud easy". After seeing their variety of integrated cloud features and their impressive interface, I can see why. The Skytap cloud can be used for application development, app testing, migration, virtual private clouds, virtual training, sales demonstrations, and proof of concept. I am especially impressed by the virtual private cloud feature that allows enterprises to connect their internal network to the Skytap cloud, securely, thus enabling the hybrid cloud. Skytap says that one of their greatest benefits to enterprises is reducing TCO by about 50% as compared to in-house solutions. Any company that can do that is worth checking out.
If you are a .NET developer, Azure is a great platform as a service (PaaS) but don't confuse it with the IaaS offerings from Skytap and Terremark. Azure allows you to deploy .NET and SQL server-based apps to the Internet. You can learn more about Azure with their nice "stick figure" videos on their getting started with Azure webpage.
In summary, VMworld was an awesome experience where new products were announced, companies were acquired, and awards were given. I was honored to speak at VMworld as well as serve as a judge for the best of VMworld competition. Through the difficult judging process all judges learned a lot about the product offerings from hundreds of companies and, in the end, we were glad to award a few companies for their amazing products.
David Davis is a VMware Evangelist and vSphere Video Training Author for Train Signal. He has achieved CCIE, VCP,CISSP, and vExpert level status over his 15+ years in the IT industry. David has authored hundreds of articles on the Internet and nine different video training courses for TrainSignal.com including the popular vSphere video training package. Learn more about David at his blog or on Twitter and check out a sample of his VMware vSphere video training course from TrainSignal.com!