VMworld 2013: Why this one is important

Rick Vanover thinks that this VMworld is going to usher in some new ideas and technology that will significantly change the world of the data center for server admins.

VMworld is going on this week in San Francisco. I've always had trouble explaining VMworld to people, because from the outside, it seems like a big party. Well, there are plenty of social events. But, the core content is very important also!

This year's VMworld marks a serious transition in my eyes. The best part: it's not about the cloud debate. While that's not settled, the next topic is upon us. Convergence and software-defined infrastructure services will clearly be a focus going forward.

Since I started virtualizing production data center workloads with ESX in 2007 and GSX before that, I effectively self-taught myself. I'm sure many of you can relate. I found that ESX, ESXi, vCenter, etc., were very comfortable for me as a "server admin" at the time. Sure, I learned a lot about storage along the way. I learned even more about storage bottlenecks. But that's beyond the point.

Today, virtualization isn't like it used to be. In the context of VMworld; we'll be immersed next week with the workings and benefits of the VMware Software Defined Datacenter. This is effectively a tighter connection of the pieces that are parts of the modern data center.

There are many reasons why this is important. It can fundamentally shift everything from staff training requirements to the purchase patterns for networking and storage. There are a lot of technologies in play, but I'm not sure what the future will hold. As progressive as I may seem to be at time, I'm a little bit conservative in my IT practice. Take cloud discussions of recent years — my approach is that the cloud still has infrastructure and it still needs management and protection (credit @VMDoug with that one). This attitude has meant that I take a closer look at things as they are made available but resist any bandwagon-jumping and buzz words until I can see results.

Sure, I'll focus on benefits for the modern data center and my VMware virtualization practice while at VMworld. But I will be putting a sharp focus on the bigger picture and the long term changes that we will see going forward. In fact, I discussed that with Trevor Pott in a recent audio podcast, and the takeaway is that the "server admin" we have known over the years is a job description that is seriously at risk.

So, with VMworld upon us now, we all need to take good notes of the key changes, product features, and requirements for our virtualization practice going forward. Even at the end of this series (it's repeated in Barcelona in October), I'm convinced the picture won't be entirely clear to the end user. So what questions do you have? Let's discuss.


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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