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VMware CTO Details Future Of Virtualization

Speaking at VMworld, Stephen Herrod foresees virtual data centers recovering from disaster before users realize a disaster has occurred.

Still, when a wildfire is coming up the mountain side toward your data center, the ability to send it off to a distant location might not be such a bad idea.

Long distance VMotion might have uses in addition to forestalling disaster. For example, they could be used to migrate virtual machines from data center to data center around the world, in a path following the sun, Herrod noted.

Even more innovative would be migrating data centers around the world to "follow the moon" and take advantage of lower cost electricity, he added.

Herrod said VMware has become an example of effective virtualization itself by taking its 37,000 "machines that could be on at any time" and cutting the numbers down to 776 physical servers. The reduction is the equivalent of taking three football fields of computers and putting them all in one end zone, he said. Electricity usage shrank from 25 megawatts to 540 kilowatts, he added.

VMware has finalized and shipped its VMsafe and vCloud APIs for third parties, Herrod said, and both will generate a wide range of products from third parties using the APIs to gain access to the VMware virtual environment.

A broad set of security products will protect servers running the ESX hypervisor from intruders, Trojans, viruses and other malware code. Virtual firewall appliances are being built as well as system monitors that watch for irregular events or suspicious activity on a server.

"RSA (the security division of storage giant EMC Corp.) has a great tool for watching data (on the virtual machine) and keeping it safe." It could detect a bad practice and sound an alarm: "Don't send those Social Security numbers outside this department," he said.

In the future, he added, virtualized data centers will enjoy an ease of federation with external cloud service providers. A virtualized unit of the data center may be moved out into the cloud to reduce pressure on resources processing the remaining workloads, he said.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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