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By David Davis

Over the years of attending four VMworlds, one Partner Exchange (PEX), and numerous VMUGs, I have been able to meet some of the most amazing and distinguished people in the virtualization industry. Certainly Scott Lowe is one of those people that I have been honored to meet. Not only is Scott always friendly to talk to but, when he speaks about virtualization and infrastructure, it is immediately evident that his knowledge on the topic is vast. Additionally, Scott's book and certification as a VCDX document his width breadth and depth of knowledge in architecting virtual infrastructures.

Scottlowe

For those who don't know Scott Lowe, here is his Bio:

An industry veteran of almost 17 years, Scott brings a range of technical skills combined with outstanding communication skills. In addition to VCDX, Scott is a VCP2, VCP3, VCP4, VSP4, and VTSP4, and holds industry certifications from Cisco, EMC, and Microsoft. Scott's blog (blog.scottlowe.org) is consistently recognized as one of the top technical virtualization blogs, and Scott was a very early contributor to the Planet V12n blog aggregator. Scott is also a published author; his first book, Mastering VMware vSphere 4, is a best seller. Scott currently works with EMC Corporation as a technology consultant specializing in EMC, Cisco, and VMware solutions. For his work supporting the VMware community, Scott was also awarded a VMware vExpert award in both 2009 and 2010.

I am thankful to Scott for agreeing to be interviewed about Cloud Computing, vCloud Director, and his role in this ecosystem as a vSpecialist at EMC.

Question #1: What is your take on the VMware vCloud Director announcement, as an EMC vSpecialist?

We try really hard, as vSpecialists, to make sure that we stay on the ball about developments that involve cloud computing as defined by VMware. This means that we work closely with VMware to ensure that we understand their direction and how we can, from EMC’s perspective, help support their efforts. In that regard, the VMware vCloud Director announcement was not a surprise (not that it was a surprise to very many people); we’d been working with pre-release code for quite some time. It was great to see VMware finally be able to unveil the code and the functionality they’d been working on for so long. VMware vCloud Director is a necessary step toward enabling organizations to treat their IT assets in a more fluid way than they do today. That fluidity is, in turn, necessary in order for organizations to be able to build a private cloud and move to more of a cloud computing operational model.

Question #2: How do EMC Vblocks and VMware's vCloud initiative fit together?

EMC Vblocks and vCloud are very complementary. Both are focused on helping IT organizations move to that idea of IT as a Service, or embracing a cloud computing operational model. These products are not competitive, but designed to work hand-in-hand. Vblocks are intended to help organizations quickly deploy infrastructure (compute, memory, network, storage) and VMware’s vCloud initiative, including vCloud Director, are intended to help organizations quickly deploy workloads on running infrastructure. They are like two sides of the same coin: one deals with infrastructure and the other deals with the workloads running on top of that infrastructure.

Question #3: Will Vblocks and Cloud Computing help small and medium-size businesses?

It’s really about their infrastructure needs. For organizations that are small right now but growing rapidly, a Vblock might make a lot of sense because it gives the organization a fairly clear view of how much capacity they have available to them as they grow. The same goes for medium-sized businesses. In addition, Vblocks might be attractive because they eliminate a lot of the guesswork that can be involved in building your own private cloud infrastructure. In a Vblock, the VCE Coalition has tested the components to ensure that everything works as expected in as predictable a fashion as possible.

Indirectly, Vblocks can also impact small- to medium-sized businesses through service providers. As service providers adopt the Vblock model of provisioning infrastructure and then begin to leverage software like UIM (Unified Infrastructure Manager) and vCloud Director, it makes the cloud more available to small- and medium-sized businesses. At least, I think so.

Question #4: What is an EMC VPLEX and how will it make cloud computing possible?

Personally, I consider EMC VPLEX to be a key component in building both private and hybrid clouds (hybrid clouds being a mix of private and public clouds). VMware has been talking about moving workloads into the cloud for a while now, but until the arrival of VPLEX no one had the answer for how to handle storage. With VPLEX, EMC can enable customers and service providers to provide active/active read-write storage at two locations simultaneously, and it’s this functionality that is leveraged by vMotion over distance to truly make it possible for workloads to burst into the cloud. This functionality is going to get even more exciting in the near future when EMC adds asynchronous functionality to VPLEX.

Qyestion #5: How do you see cloud computing evolving over the next few years? (i.e., what is missing today that you hope to see later?)

That’s a really open-ended question, but I’ll do my best to answer it. I think we will see continued efforts and development poured into addressing some of the key issues that still surround the broad adoption of cloud computing: networking challenges, storage, security, and multi-tenancy. VMware will obviously focus on the areas that are core to their mission, as will EMC and Cisco; between the three organizations, the VCE Coalition has all these areas pretty well covered. It’s going to be an exciting time over the next few years!

Question #6: Can you recommend any resources to learn about EMC, cloud computing, and vCloud Director?

Well, without being too self-serving, I did publish a collection of vCloud Director-related links on my site recently, so check that out. Almost all of the top VMware-focused bloggers have been writing about vCloud Director, so be sure to check out sites from bloggers like Duncan Epping, Frank Denneman, Hany Michael, and others. I’m sure there are many, many more that I did not mention! Of course, as a blogger I’m a bit biased, but leveraging bloggers’ knowledge is also a great way to learn more about EMC and cloud computing as well.

Again, big thank you to Scott Lowe for agreeing to be interviewed for my VMware vCloud blog and I hope that you will checkout his blog at blog.scottlowe.org.

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!