Every year after VMworld EMA receives countless inquiries regarding the most notable vendors on the show floor. This time around, we have compiled a list consisting of startups taking a new look at traditional IT challenges, as well as larger and more mature companies that have launched industry transforming initiatives. Ultimately, this list of eight extraordinary vendors is focused on one central concept: customer value.

EMC ViPR: Announced earlier this year, EMC’s ViPR technology signals the beginning of a revolution in enterprise storage. While servers are mostly virtualized and most organizations are in the process of making concrete plans for how to create application-aware networks, storage lags behind significantly and is almost entirely blind to the applications depending on it.

With ViPR, EMC lays the groundwork for centrally managing storage resources of any type and brand, not only across one data center, but spanning multiple locations and public cloud offerings. Tying together storage through the ViPR management layer enables end customers and service providers to offer their application teams one single northbound API for provisioning and managing ALL corporate storage resources. Application-aware storage is one of the key requirements for the Software Defined Data Center, which is why you should take a good look at what EMC is up to with its ViPR software.

ServiceMesh: The Software Defined Data Center, following EMA’s definition of the term, spans across all network, compute and storage resources that are available to the organization. These resources can be located within or outside of the corporate data center and they can be delivered in IaaS, PaaS or SaaS format.

ServiceMesh offers a central governance layer that sits on top of physical, virtual and cloud resources and enforces policy compliance, security and cost efficiency. Instead of today’s common script-based solutions, which by definition are error prone and difficult to govern, ServiceMesh leverages a declarative approach and is therefore worth a look for any organization that already has or is in the process of adopting private or public cloud environments. Follow this link to learn more about why ServiceMesh was an EMA Vendor to Watch in March of 2013.

Simplivity: Simplivity’s Omnicube appliances are hyper-converged building blocks consisting of all the components that can be typically found in a traditional rack: servers, switches, shared storage, WAN acceleration appliance, SSD appliance etc. Omnicubes make all of these resources available as shared pools that are managed through VMware vCenter. Policies are applied on a per VM basis, without the VMware administrators having to worry about configuring storage, network and compute resources.

Simplivity’s VM-centric approach to hyper-converged infrastructure enables customers to simply add on more 2U Omnicube appliances, when resources run out. These appliances can be hosted in different geographic locations, enabling advanced disaster recovery and high availability capabilities. In short, Simplivity’s Omnicube delivers a Software Defined Data Center in a box that can also leverage public cloud resources and is therefore worth a close look when evaluating converged infrastructure options.

CloudPhysics: CloudPhysics applies a big data approach to IT operations management, where operations data is collected across CloudPhysics’ entire customer base. This data is used as context knowledge when evaluating customer infrastructure events, configuration items and performance metrics.

Leveraging collective knowledge for operations management enables customers to automatically learn from their peers, without any manual intervention or dependencies on critical operations staff members. EMA’s impact brief on the launch of CloudPhysics in August 2013 provides a lot more details regarding this intriguing new approach to IT operations management.

Cirba: CiRBA addresses one of today’s central cloud challenges that becomes even more relevant when building the Software Defined Data Center: “where should I place my new application workloads?” and “how can I consolidate application environments in a secure and policy compliant way, without sacrificing performance”. These are questions that go vastly unaddressed in today’s private and public cloud platforms, but will have to be tackled before cloud can take on mission critical applications.

The new CiRBA reservation console in combination with CiRBA’s existing control console provides conclusive answers to these cloud capacity management challenges. Whether customers are considering OpenStack, vCloud, IBM SmartCloud or any other cloud solution, it is worth taking a close look at CiRBA. Specifically if a cloud is deployed to hyperconverged environments such as VBLOCK, SimplivityFlexpod, HP Cloud System or IBM Pure Systems, there could be tremendous consolidation potential, which translates into better utilization of these high-dollar hardware platforms (see EMA’s Vendor to Watch report for more details). In short, take a look at CiRBA, as you will get more value out of your infrastructure today and in future.

VMTurbo: VMTurbo aims at automatically optimizing resource allocation, based on the importance of a specific application. Mission critical applications are automatically enabled to self-provision more network, storage and compute capacity than lower tier apps. Resource re-allocation happens in near real-time, based on a set of compliance, policy and cost requirements.

VMTurbo has recently added management capabilities for NetApp storage arrays, as well as for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, vCloud, CloudStack and all common hypervisor platforms. Ultimately, VMTurbo aims at orchestrating the entire Software Defined Data Center –including public cloud resources– based on its analytics engine and market-like model of resource allocation (see EMA’s Vendor to Watch report for more details).

MetaCloud: Many organizations are intrigued by the potential freedom from hypervisor licensing fees that OpenStack could bring (see my previous post on the business case for OpenStack). In other words, what is really interesting about OpenStack is that it is best consumed with the free KVM hypervisor. However, the prospect of having to manage a new stack of open source cloud and virtualization technologies within the corporate data center has led many organizations to hesitate and limit their OpenStack deployments to small pilot environments.

The MetaCloud value proposition aims at eliminating these concerns, promising that customers can safely run many –not all applications are supported on KVM– workloads on the free KVM hypervisor, while MetaCloud remotely manages the environment. This includes upgrading OpenStack as new releases become available, as well as the addition of important features such as high availability and more flexible network management.

Pivotal: Probably the biggest startup in history -1,250 employees, $1 billion in funding- Pivotal facilitates a truly disruptive approach to IT operations management, by placing the application in the center of all efforts, aiming to enable customers to operate in a manner as nimble and agile as today’s poster children of DevOps: Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Pivotal constitutes a radical paradigm shift in enterprise IT, moving away from managing resources and toward a fully data driven model of enterprise IT. Overcoming the traditional separation of software delivery and IT operations constitutes Pivotal’s key mission. To make this happen, Pivotal leverages open technologies such as Spring, Cloud Foundry, Redis, Rabbit MQ etc.


This year’s VMworld was fully focused on the Software Defined Data Center, comprising of pooled network, storage, and compute resources that are centrally configured and made available to the application via APIs. Each one of these eight vendors contributes to the vision of the Software Defined Data Center and therefore offers tremendous customer value.