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August 2014
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For the popular Innovator’s Day at the end of the VMworld Conference…


Jay1Jay Silver, Founder and Director Joylabz, and Maker Research Scientist at Intel Labs.

Jay went to Ken Burns’ place in Massachusetts and went on a nature awareness walk. He had a guide, but Jay didn’t see anything new… so he went to downtown Boston and did some urban discovery. Another student licked his finger and stuck it in the air all around the area… and noted wind patterns that led to a vortex at the center.

“If we can see the invisible, can you change it? Can you make the world a construction kit?”

He attached a “squeaky set” sound sensor to a pencil and after spreading the graphite on a paper found you could play music. Ditto with water on a surface, or water pouring from a tap. Or copper stripes on a one’s body that when you hula hoop across it, makes music.

jay2The crowd loved his example of using a MaKey MaKey via USB to a bananas that act as forward and back arrow on a MacBook laptop. Or the same with Play Doh. Or making pianos out of stairs, or even dogs. Or a child with MS whose dad made controllers for him out of gloves. Or a musician who makes drums out of eggplants.

“What happens if you drop an M&M on an escalator and then add a roll of Chap Stick?”


keller1Keller Renaudo, CEO and Co-Founder Romotive

Robots are what science fiction has been teaching us for a hundred years. In movies: C3PO from Star Wars and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, but can they be made real and accessible?

Others like Asimo by Honda came out, but he had a hard time with stairs.

Robots are science meets the real world. Mobile phones cannot move. What if we could make cheaper robots, that use the software on your mobile phone?  It would be 100 times simpler than previous robots that are only available in big companies or university research labs. It’s here with Romo, which will be sold under $150.

Meet Romo

Romo, uses computer vision and a simple visual programming language — you can program him to turn and bow. Kids who cannot read can program it. Romo is WiFi capable with other iOS devices, and you can see through his eyes, like Skype on wheels. He can flip himself over if he falls. You can change Romo’s firmware from the iPhone. You can update the software on the iPhone. Goal: build a community of hackers who create innovation for Romo.

With no experience in robotics or creating a hardware company, and being poor, they went out to Kick Starter and got orders that went out to 1,300 requests. But they ended up shipping 2,000 units.

Mission is the next step. It’s an interactive story line. The goal is for Romo to compete in an intergalactic space race.

“People tend to overestimate effects of technology in the short term but underestimate the effects of technology in the long term.

“All Robos come in Peace.”



Bre Pettis, CEO, MakerBot

Inventer and open source guru. Made the MakerBot 3D printer. In 2007 a 3D printer cost $100K. So they made a cheaper one.

“Innovation through absurdity”

“It builds up layers of plastic one at a time until you have an object. Even the first one sole out immediately. We drank way too much caffeine and we ate 2 cases of ramen developing it. Don’t do that.

pre2“We’re now on our 4th generation: MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner.  Previous models turned 3D designs into a physical object. The latest model: lasers point, I’m talking “lasers”, at a physical object and turn it into a 3D design. These come off our assembly line every 2 minutes, no screws on the bottom. Finished it 2 weeks ago, announced it 10 days ago. Ship at the end of Sept/early October.

pre3“My friend saw a cool fish head he saw on a lamp post in Paris, and now it’s turned into a plaster replica. We do this in Brooklyn.

“Go visit to see if someone else has already created something you couldn’t make yesterday.

“PLA is a natural plastic made from corn. It’s like “kittens” for architects, they can build anything. Head of NASA:JPL said “You’ve got to come see what we’re doing with MakerBot.” Yeah, I can make some time for that.

“It’s very iterative and you can make multiple prototypes/day rather than one a month.

“Lockheed used it to save 6 months/$1M on the next Hubble telescope.

pre4“A guy in South Africa lost fingers in an accident and decided to remake his fingers. A child in South Africa was born without fingers and could not afford a $10K prosthetic. So MakerBot made it with $500 worth of materials. sells doll furniture… but it was designed by a set designer on Broadway who designs sets with MakerBot.

“I started as an artist, saw every piece of art in Seattle. Shared photos of what he’d done. Worked for Make magazine. I developed the Cult of Done Manifesto. It’s self-contradictory as most manifestos, my “a ha!” moment was that everything is a draft. I conclude my manifesto with “Done is the agent of more.” (Someone said “I’m so glad you don’t work on airplanes.”)

“Beautiful Objects + Sharing + Iteration”

Is this “The Next Industrial Revolution?”

Thanks for coming along,


During this week amongst 22,500 geeks it was noticeable how many devices I saw, especially mobile devices. Here’s the quick breakdown…

Cell phones:

  • iPhones by a vast majority, mostly iPhone 5s.
  • Androids as the largest minority, mostly Samsung Galaxy 3 and 4.


  • iPads by a vast majority, with some iPad minis.
  • Androids in the minority, including the smaller Nexus 7 size.


  • MacBooks were a surprisingly significant fraction
  • PCs of all flavors
  • Ultra thin laptops running Android or Windows 8, including the Microsoft Surface, were more prevalent than in the general population


With a tech show that talks so much about mobile, cloud, VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it is not surprising to see so many different devices, especially non-traditional laptops.

Every person here had at least two devices, a laptop and a cell phone, but many had a third, a tablet. Is the future a single converged device, or more likely, being able to access common data, and perhaps a common environment, from multiple devices?

Thanks for coming along,


In Day 2, the focused moved to details of the big announcements from Day 1, including NSX, vSAN, and a bit on automation.

Carl Eschenbach, President and COO, VMware

Carl started with the observation of “More attendees than expected this year, 22,500 attendees rounded up to 23K, making this the largest IT Infrastructure event of the year”. Wikipedia reports that the 2009 Oracle OpenWorld had 37,000 attendees, but let’s not quibble.

He recapped yesterday’s announcements: vSphere 5.5 & vCloud Suite 5.5, NSX Network Virtualization, and vCloud Hybrid Services, Cloud Foundry on vSphere — through partnership with Pivotal — and Virtual SAN.

3 Imperatives for IT Infrastructure:

Virtualization extends to ALL of IT

  1. IT management gives way to automation
  2. Compatible hybrid cloud will be ubiquitous
  3. Done with the Software-Defined Data Center as the Architectural Foundation.

To show IT as a Service in action…

He demoed vCloud Automation Center (formerly acquired Dynamic Ops technology), showing costs for different cloud options — Private Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Windows Azure.

…showing self-service, transparent pricing, governance, automation.

Then he demoed vCloud Application Director that showed the provisioning of a multi-tiered application.


Then followed a discussion of NSX network virtualization with its APIs to L2 switches, L3 Routers, Firewalls and Load Balancers. vSphere Web Client showed these workflows.

Switching with NSX moves the switching intelligence into the hypervisor layer. Routing with NSX is similar, and eliminates “hair pinning” of a packet, moving the routing intelligence into the hypervisor layer. VMware claims that studies show that 70% of traffic in a data center happens between VM. Ditto network security and fire walling.

A video was shown of of WestJet, the Canadian airline, discussed how they use NSX for their network virtualization.

Going further vMotion moved a VM from one vLAN to another vLAN with NSX visible in the vSphere Web Client.

Summarizing, Carl pointed out that NSX delivers:

  • Speed and efficiency
  • Same operating model as compute virtualization
  • Extends value of existing network infrastructure

Switching gears to application dependencies of storage, Carl insisted his customers have requirements around: time to market, predictable performance, certain SLAs, and managed costs. VMware Virtual SAN moves Direct Attach Storage (from a host), including Flash storage, to be used in virtualized environments. This allows setting the data storage policy and having it move with the VM.

In summary, VMware Virtual SAN delivers:

  • Simple provisioning at time of VM provisioning
  • Storage that scales with compute
  • Leverage and extend existing direct attached storage

Announcement that this technology is available for public beta at:

Shifting to mobile end users, the demo moved to vCloud Automation Center which goes to VMware View to provision a desktop, including storage tier, gold of course. Horizon Workspace shows provisioning of SaaS apps to an iPad, and logging in to the desktop from the tablet.

Discussed efficient operations and Policy-Based Automation with vCenter Operations Manager. With a popular application running, auto scaling, which was previously provisioned, is automatically remediated.

vCloud Automation Operations Delivers

  • Policy-driven, automated, proactive response
  • Intelligent analytics
  • Visibility into application health for app owner

Administrators can also take hands-on, or guided remediation, to improve storage I/O per second to increase the SLA for storage from one tier to another, silver to gold.

This delivers:

  • Broad ecosystem that improves accuracy
  • Specific recommendations to speed up troubleshooting
  • Policy-driven IT and financial governance

vCenter Log Insight does Big Data analytics to help examine storage scalability. This shows the trade-offs between cost and scale. Carl announces 5 free licenses of vCenter Log Insight by following the Twitter account @VMLogInsight

Finally, Hybrid Cloud was captured in a discussion of seamless extension of the Data Center from the private to the public cloud. Demoed vSphere Web Client in v5.5: vCloud Hybrid Services is now visible there. Public templates are visible, additionally private ones can be continuously synchronized across private and public clouds.

Carl closed the keynote in the same way as Pat did yesterday, by talking about how the audience were champions. “Champions drive change, so go drive change, and defy convention!”

Thanks for coming along,

VMworld 2013 San Francisco


Twenty thousand suits and t-shirts arrive at the virtualization love fest in San Francisco for the 10th annual event. I've been attending since 2007 and each year they get bigger. While Oracle Openworld is a larger show, I'd argue that VMworld is more exciting. There is a vitality and passion at the show that cannot be ignored. I've been coming to Moscone Center for over 20 years, since the days of MacWorld Expo here, when the Metreon shopping area and Moscone North were still being built. Now there are three halls: Moscone North, South and West.

My first observation this year: I've asked half a dozen workers here different questions that they could not answer. I didn't ask questions like "What's the capital of South Dakota?" but things like when the first general session begins.

EMC World attracts an older crowd. CiscoLive runs much more efficiently, like a well orchestrated network with no packets dropped. CiscoLive Orlando featured Journey at the band at it's latest event. VMworld features younger music groups --  in the past Smashmouth, The Killers... this year Imagine Dragons and Train -- that are familiar to a more Millennial audience.

This keynote made several big announcements, as they typically do at this show. I'll draw my conclusions at the end of the article.

The first general session keynote Monday morning opened with:

Robin Matlock, CMO

She talked about 3 phases where VMware applies innovation:

  1. CapEx, Consolidation(IT Production)
  2. QOS Improvements, Reliability (Business Production
  3. Agility, Automation (IaaS)

She then introduced
Pat Gelsinger, CEO

This is his second show since picking up the baton last year. He talked about another 3 phases:

  1. Mainframe:  Thousands of users, Hundreds of apps
  2. Client/Server: Millions of users, thousands of apps
  3. Cloud/Mobile: Billions of users, millions of apps

What is the role of attendees at this year's show in Cloud-Mobile universe? Here are some examples he named:
"Masters of the universe, gods, martyrs, bull fighters, ninjas, dragon slayers... or more likely: champions."

VMware's 3 Imperatives:

  1. Virtualization extends to all of IT. Next: networking
  2. IT Management gives way to automation
  3. Compatible hybrid cloud is ubiquitous.

VMware intends to be the software in the Software Defined Data Center in: Compute, Network, Storage, Automation.


vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Suite 5.5. With 2x the apps supported, Pat claims: Apps <3 VMware.
Cloud Foundry on VMware.

Storage: Software Defined Storage:
Policy-driven Control Plane
Virtual Data Plane
Virtualization of Application-centric Data Services.
Virtual SAN: policy-driven, elastic, high-performance, resilient. In general public beta.
Virtual Volumes
vSphere Flash Read Cache
Virsto: Write Cache, Data Services
Network: Network Virtualization:

VMware NSX: any hypervisor, based on technologies from VCNS, Nicera. <- This is the big news that it was rumored VMware would announce

Martin Casado, CTO Networking VMware

Software layer between OS and HW, adding an abstraction layer above the networking hardware. Operational model of a VM, taking the same model of ESX to networking. In 2010 there was the VM Cross Over, where there more virtual than physical machines. Martin claims that in 2012 the virtual ports exceeded the physical ports on the network. CTOs from eBay, Citi and GE were brought up.

Automation: VMware Cloud Management - Heterogeneous
Provisioning - vCenter Automation Center, vCloud App Director
Operations  vCenter Log Insight, vCenter Operations Mgt Suite
Financial - IT Business Cloud Management

Pat says that IDC has stated "VMware as the Number 1 in Cloud Management."
OpenStack support from VMware including networking and security layer.

"Hybrid Cloud: any app, any compromises"

Announces: VMware vCloud Hybrid Service now in general availability

Bill Fathers: SVP/GM, Hybrid Cloud VMware

Was at Savvis, in cloud for 10 years.
Talks about Harley-Davidson Dealer Systems who needed a mobile app to access corporate tools.
Apollo Group was able to expand their application footprint into VMware's public cloud service with 15 to 1 consolidation.
Disaster Recovery as a Service is supported in the vCloud Hybrid Service. Data centers in Santa Clara, Las Vegas, Dallas, Sterling. To come through Savvis, Chicago and New York,

Desktop as a Service on vCloud Hybrid Service is an expansion of their end-user computing platform: VMware Horizon Suite: VMware View, Mirage, Workspace.