This is one of a series of posts discussing the presenters at Storage Field Day 9, occurring 16th-18th March 2016 in Silicon Valley, at which I am an attending delegate.  See links at the end of this post to other presenting vendors.  Details of the event can be found on the Storage Field Day 9 page at techfieldday.com and on the dedicated events page on this site at Storage Field Day 9.

Over the past 15 years, VMware has been at the forefront of a huge amount of the evolution in the deployment and management of technology infrastructure.  Most IT organisations have a “virtual first” policy, with estimates that around 70-80% of all workloads sit on virtual environments (not all of them VMware of course).

The structure of the company has been the subject of much discussion.  Although VMware is technically a public entity, EMC Corporation owns around 80% of the stock, with only around 20% being available on the public market.  The proposed acquisition of EMC by Dell has send VMware shares into free fall, dropping from a 52-week peak of $93.43 to a low of $43.25, or a reduction of almost 54% in value.  For more detail on VMware’s financials, check out Justin Warren’s excellent pre-event post.

On the product side, vSphere has been a cash cow, however VMware is pinning hopes for future revenues on new products like NSX and VSAN.  VSAN (or Virtual SAN to use it’s correct name) is a feature of vSphere that converts a cluster of multiple ESXi servers into a distributed storage platform.  The software runs in the hypervisor kernel and was recently upgraded to version 6.2, with support for erasure coding, compression and de-duplication.

By VMware’s own measure the company now claims they are number one for hyper-converged infrastructure, one of the main uses of VSAN as a distributed storage solution.  Of course claiming something doesn’t make it true and VMware’s comments were based on their own research.

With the volume of marketing hype we’ve seen for VSAN over the last 2-3 years, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that the presentation at SFD9 will be more of the same.  Sadly I was disappointed with the last presentation on VSAN from VMware at Storage Field Day 7, which was basically a re-hash of the existing material that could found online.  There was no real deep dive, just a re-packaging of the marketing materials.

So, I’m hoping for better this time around.  There’s a great opportunity to be more open and transparent and explain why VSAN truly is better than the competition.  Fingers crossed that we get see something good.

Further Reading

 

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Written by Chris Evans

With 30+ years in IT, Chris has worked on everything from mainframe to open platforms, Windows and more. During that time, he has focused on storage, developed software and even co-founded a music company in the late 1990s. These days it's all about analysis, advice and consultancy.