We began the week of VMworld US blogging about “Software Defined Storage the SDDC has been asking for” and anticipating what is always an exciting week, with 23,000 attendees seeking the latest updates from VMware and the ecosystem. Since the virtualization revolution has begun, we’ve noticed a range of truth-seeking. From “How do I advance my virtualization platform?” to “How do I automate?” to “How does the open source movement fit with containers and open platforms?”

“Ready for Any” was the theme extending VMware into new capabilities, emerging technologies/movements, and ecosystem. The “Any” VMworld addressed focused on executing in four ways: Run, Build, Deliver, and Secure. The One Cloud architecture will be delivered through public, hybrid, and managed deliveries, extending through “Any” device, enabling consumption to the end users.

SDDC and Unified Hybrid evolves

VMware announcements ranged from “Extending Unified Hybrid Platform” through vCloud Air DR, Object Storage, and SQL-as-a-Service offerings to Software Defined Data Center updates through NSX 6.2, vROPs 6.1, Log Insight 3, SRM 6.1, and VIO 2.0.

EVO SDDC emerged as a new branding of previously labeled EVO Rack designed to deliver multi-rack automation. One of the highlights was showcasing a new tech preview of Cross-Cloud vMotion (Project Skyscraper) demonstrating the ability to vMotion workloads from one VMware Cloud to another. Joining that announcement was Content Sync, enabling cross cloud sync of a vSphere content library of VM templates, etc.


Little was mentioned in the keynote (lots of sessions) about vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) as PEX 2015 stole that show previously. VVols was a popular topic for SolidFire (Session STO5074 and Whiteboarding here), with more details of our implementation revealed in a private session.


vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform

Consensus was that Kit Colbert’s keynote stole the show. The open source movement is nothing new, but Docker, CoreOS, and Mesosphere have kicked off a fast-moving craze behind containers. Mostly a dev and devops use case, the evolving position from VMware is to fix the “citizenship status” of these new workloads. vSphere Integrated Containers is set to provide security/isolation, storage/data persistence (VVols), networking, SLA adherence, and manageability.


VMware Photon is focused toward SaaS and DevOps with an API-driven platform for these ultra-agile, high churn workload environments. The Photon Controller is a multi-tenant API-driven control plane designed for thousands of new containers per minute with hundreds of thousands of total simultaneous workloads. Photon Machine is a new ESX Microvisor that includes a Photon OS (lightweight Linux OS for containers).

End User Computing built off Project Enzo and extended into Project A2 is basically App Volumes for physical devices. Extending from VDI to End User Computing, VMware continued to stretch beyond even the virtual session, and with A2 they have Microsoft’s attention.

To address EUC customers, SolidFire presented in VMworld sessions and our own booth whiteboard the details of how to deliver highly dense desktops per node and how to run them without interference along with databases, web apps, and mixed workloads through Quality of Service (QoS) controls. The ability to hit $50/user ($2/user per month for DaaS) for all-flash with QoS presents a breakthrough enterprises have been asking for.

Great partners think alike

VMware’s Pat Gelsinger addressed attendees with 5 imperatives:

1) Innovate like a startup, deliver like an Enterprise. Asymmetry is ruling business today.

2) We are entering the “professional era of cloud.” “It’s not the big beating the small. It’s the fast beating the slow.”

In the two images below, notice the similarities in VMware presenting a bridge and SolidFire’s VMware message:

VMware’s Keynote Message



SolidFire’s VMware Message



3) Security – protecting people, apps, and data.

4) Automate (almost) everything.

5) Welcome to the age of rattling the cage.


SolidFire at VMworld

One thing is clear: there is a wide range of VMware implementations. Below outlines where SolidFire’s informal poll showed varying results.


SolidFire had a presence that built excitement and presented Great Feats of Virtualization. Our whiteboard sessions drew in crowds of people interested in VVols, automation, scale-out storage, end user computing, and advancing the software defined data center.

Lots of choices, but SolidFire stands clear

The Solutions Exchange floor presented almost 80 storage providers. SolidFire presented a clear choice:

Hardware silos, hardware tiers, and all-flash without controls or scale-out flexibility


SolidFire’s all-flash, scale-out storage platform that provides software controls for performance separate from capacity through QoS


There’s a reason Gartner rated us the #1 all-flash storage in virtualization workloads and other workloads twice (SolidFire received the highest overall score for vendors’ product scores for the Server Virtualization use case).

Enterprise companies and service providers have a lot of choices, but VMworld 2015 attendees came away with a clear choice for a true Software Defined Storage platform as they continue their journey to SDDC, hybrid cloud, and “Any.”

Keith Norbie

At NetApp Keith drives Strategic Alliances in partnership with the business units and currently leads VMware, Data Protection (Veeam, Commvault, Rubrik) and SAN/Brocade. This applies strategy development, advising/collaborating with product managers, incubates new offerings, cross functional solution development, and executive interlocks. All of this is to drive GTM net new revenue to NetApp via partners in key areas like Private and Hybrid Multi-Cloud, EUC (VDI), Modernized Data Protection and Next Gen SAN for Enterprise Apps.

Keith joined NetApp in February 2016 with the acquisition of SolidFire and previously had 20 years in the channel as an executive including a successful acquisition built from a startup. He delivers a passion for delivering results through clarity, focus (less is more), relationships, intense curiosity, and seeking signal from noise.

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