Software
News
9/18/2008
05:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

VMware Sets Bold Ambition: Data Center Operating System

VMware CEO Paul Maritz has unfurled a vision of virtualization as the enabler of future, flexible data center management -- the company's response to Microsoft making its Hyper-V hypervisor a cheap feature of the server operating system.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz, in his debut appearance at VMworld in Las Vegas last week, unfurled a vision of virtualization as the enabler of future, flexible data center management. For anyone wondering what VMware's response would be to Microsoft making its Hyper-V hypervisor a cheap feature of the server operating system, this is it.

Instead of creeping quietly in the direction of a virtual data center operating system, VMware is stomping headlong at this goal, with Maritz's newly drawn road map in hand. But it wasn't very specific on when it would deliver most of the elements it laid out--sometime next year--and its system management rivals certainly see the same opportunity.

Don't focus on virtualizing a single server at a time with the operating system. Think instead of a virtual data center OS that covers all servers "as an elastic, shared, self-managing, and self-healing utility," Maritz said in his keynote speech. That's what virtualization enables, and that's what VMware is working on. It was an ambitious--perhaps overreaching--vision for a software company whose charter hasn't previously extended to managing most physical resources inside the data center.

Maritz pointed the audience toward a practical result: With what VMware's promising, IT would be able to allocate computing, memory, and storage resources to applications on a dynamic basis--as it needs them and according to the priorities of the business, not on the old silo-by-silo basis. It's an idea that's been broached before, says Frank Gillett, virtualization analyst at Forrester Research, but VMware is one of the few vendors in a position to bring it about.

Count on the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems to commit their x86 expertise in a similar direction. They already offer pieces of it, such as Sun's hardware and virtualized server software management system, Ops Center, but none of them has committed to building a virtual data center operating system.



Maritz goes big
CAN'T SEE IT ALL
The problem for VMware is opposite of the one faced by system management vendors BMC, CA, HP, and IBM Tivoli, which must adapt their systems to provide deeper understanding of virtual servers. VMware can only see virtualized x86 machines, not Unix and mainframe physical resources, leaving islands of isolation in its vision of a future data center operating system. Still, with many IT organizations relying on x86 multicore server power, a substantial share of the future data center falls within VMware's aspirations.

For example, VMware promises to give its virtual machine management system the ability to add CPUs and memory and to set network access for a running VM. VMDirectPath will provide greater network and storage I/O performance for transactional applications.

DIG DEEPER
Virtualization In Depth
For a PDF of these articles and additional analysis of virutalization news coming out around VMworld
Maritz said the data center of the future won't configure physical servers for particular applications. Instead, the application will be bundled with its fully configured operating system into a virtual appliance. VMware will generate vApps from existing applications using the Open Virtual Format, which it proposed shortly after Citrix Systems, owner of XenSource, and Microsoft threatened to establish a broad-based, de facto standard around Microsoft's VHD format. (For more on standards, see Tame That VM Sprawl)

Virtual machine authoring and configuration tool vStudio will let companies build vApps and deploy them as a single entity.

In addition, Maritz promised VMware Infrastructure vServices will pool on-premises resources and federate them, when needed, with external computing clouds. The goal is to make virtual resources more elastic and tie in outside resources as needed. VServices also will include cloud-specific vServices, such as connecting the internal data center with a cloud resource.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A UBM Tech Radio episode on the changing economics of Flash storage used in data tiering -- sponsored by Dell.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.