This week at VMworld, the announcement of what had been Project Marvin became official. I wanted to add my voice to the debate on the use case for this, and where I believe the industry goes with products like this. To answer the title question, EVO is a step in the right direction, but it is not the end of the evolution. As always I have no inside information, I am not speaking on behalf of VMware, this is my opinion on where the industry goes and what I think is cool and fun.
To understand this, we need to consider something my wife said recently. As a teacher, she was a bit frustrated this week to return to school to find her laptop re-imaged, and her printer was not configured. I tried to help her remotely, but it is something I will need to work on when I get back. Her comment was, “Technology is supposed to make things easier”. This stung for a moment, after all technology is my life, but when I thought about her perspective, it struck me just how right she is. Why afterall shouldn’t the laptop have reached out, discovered a printer near by and been prepared to print to it, afterall, my iPhone/iPad can do that with no configuration on the device itself.
So what does this have to do with EVO? If we look at EVO as a stand alone product, it doesn’t quite add up. It is essentially a faster way of implimenting a product which is not too complicated to install. I have personally installed thousands of Nodes of vSphere, hundreds of vCenters, it is pretty simple with a proper design. The real value here though, the trend, is simplification. Just because I know how to build a computer, doesn’t mean I want to. Just because I can easily impliment a massive vSphere environment, that doesn’t mean I want to go through the steps. That is why scripting is so popular, it enables us to do repetetive tasks more effeciently.
The second part of this though really comes down to a vision, where are we going. If you look at where we are going as an industry, we are moving to do more at the application layer in terms of high availability, disaster recovery, and performance. We see this with the openstack movement, the cloud movement, docker, and so many others. At some point, we are going to stop worrying about highly available infrastructure. At some point our applications will all work everywhere, and if the infrastructure fails, we will be redirected to infrastructure in another location without realizing it.
That is the future, but for now we have to find a way to hide the complexity from our users, and still provide the infrastructure. We need to scale faster, better, stronger, and more resilient, without impacting legacy applications. Someday we will all be free from our devices, and use what ever is in our hand, or in front of us, or just get a chip in our brains, someday HA won’t be an infrastructure issue, but until then projects like EVO will help us to bridge that gap. Not perfect arguably, but this is a bridge to get us a step closer to a better world. At the end of the day the more complexity we hide with software, the better we are, provide that software is solid, and we can continusiouly improve.