#vmworld It’s been a full day of sessions, discussions and random expo wandering at VMworld 2012 San Francisco. Here’s the top 5 for the day:

1. The Keynote. Amongst the passing-of-the-baton sentimentality, rabble-rousing and general rejoicing at the demise of vRAM pricing, I thought that the most important messages from the keynote were the themes of policy, templates and automation. The great advantage of this to VMware customers is that policy driven automation tools make it easier to deploy virtual infrastructure solutions in a robust and repeatable way. It’s been interesting this year to see that so many customers, partners and (say it quietly) competitors are starting to realize that  we will only make good on the promises of cloud once all the infrastructure components can be controlled programmatically. I could point out at this point that APIs and templates are not exactly news here at F5, but that might seem a little churlish.

2. The end user computing roadmap. For those of you that didn’t make the session or couldn’t attend, make sure you get to tomorrow’s general session or look out for some really interesting announcements. The focus around user context and delivering services across a range of devices is something close to the heart of F5. I think it’s true to say that the delivery of enterprise applications in a device-independent way is going to be a central concern over the next few years, although I once thought that about hover boards too.

3. The power of the API – part 1. The integration of F5 into  vCloud Director and vShield Manager (vCEF)  is going  to enable IT departments to deploy enterprise applications into public or private cloud environments simply and with a predefined application delivery and security policy. The session delivered by VMware’s Adina Simu and F5’s Charlie Cano illustrated the automated deployment of an application delivery configuration for an application driven entirely from within vShield Manager.  Policy is  predefined by the security and architecture teams and cemented into templates, so they retain control. Implementation can be done by the VM admin – or more excitingly through self service portals, reducing time, effort and cost of deployment. This separation of policy creation and implementation leaves IT staff with time to innovate further, delivering more for their organization, and probably a far more interesting life. Read more about this here, or feel free to come by booth #1101 to have a chat about it.

4 . The power of API’s – part 2.  If you are interested what happens when you take open, standards-based API’s from some of the market leaders, an innovative company with a point to prove and a platform to prove it on, and add some clever engineers you should vmworld-smhead to stand #1917 and talk to the guys at Arista, or take a read of their press release. Imagine a switch that communicates with your application delivery controller, informing it of newly available servers, or checking that there are no application sessions connected to a server before shutting down. Want to add a new physical or virtual server into an application infrastructure? Switch it on, connect it to the network and once the devices are sure it’s working properly, it’s taking traffic. When you link two key components in your application delivery path together you open up a huge range of possibilities. This is what API’s are for, this is what we need to deliver truly flexible, adaptable services at scale. 

5. Not really a top 5. Let’s be clear about this: first night party beers and an opening session at 8:30 the next morning employing chirpy sadists with drumsticks and amplifiers set to ‘annihilate’ is not, ever, a nice thing to do.  If we weren’t so tightly packed in (there are 20 000 attendees at VMworld this year) I would have curled up under my chair and cried. Melodic harp music (played gently) next year please Mr. Gelsinger.


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