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VMware Buys DynamicOps, Accelerates Software-Defined Data Center

DynamicOps, a pioneer in multi-hypervisor management, brings VMware's IT-as-a-service strategy a giant leap forward.

VMware moved its vision of a software-defined data center a giant step forward Monday by announcing the pending acquisition of DynamicOps, a multi-hypervisor management firm that was spun out of Credit Swisse investment bank.

VMware is fully committed to generated VMware-based public cloud services through partners such as Bluelock, Verizon Terremark, CenturyLink Savvis, Colt, SoftBank, and Singtel. But the DynamicOps move reflects VMware's realization that it will never be a uniform ESX Server world beyond the enterprise data center. DynamicOps brings VMware a service governor that can manage Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix, and Oracle Xen-based hypervisors and Amazon Web Services' proprietary version of Xen, Amazon Machine Images.

VMware started out planning to manage the virtualized portion of the data center through its vSphere and vCenter virtual machine management software. With DynamicOps added to the fold, it will be able to manage other suppliers' virtual machines as well, adding them to the on-premises, private cloud and extending its reach to workloads in the public cloud as well.

"DynamicOps dovetails really well with our 'IT-as-a-service' strategy," said Ramin Sayar, VP and general manager of cloud infrastructure and management at VMware. VMware CTO Steve Herrod described IT-as-a-service as springing out of a software-defined data center, where virtual machines are created and moved around as needed for most efficient operation. Instead of just managing virtual machines created under ESX Server, it will be able to add two other major hypervisors as well.

No purchase price was disclosed. DynamicOps has received $16.3 million in venture capital backing since emerging in 2008 from a software group at Credit Swisse that had sought to install a management console over the several types of virtual machines the firm was running.

Part of DynamicOps' early success was to enter into an agreement with Dell to provide management components for Dell's Virtual Integrated System (VIS), a multi-hypervisor approach to managing clusters of Dell hardware. According to VMware's Sayar, not only will that agreement remain in place, but VMware will gain early integration of DynamicOps with its own product line because DynamicOps and VMware's vCloud Director have already been integrated to work together on Dell VIS.

[ Learn more about another newly announced acquisition. See Why Dell Bought Quest Software. ]

DynamicOps is also "very synergistic" with another key VMware product, vCenter Operations, which brings configuration, performance management, and capacity management to virtual machine operations. VCenter Operations maintains information about each VM that is useful in a management console like DynamicOps.

If VMware is able to collect information about each virtual machine as it is formed and understands what share of a given task that virtual machine can perform, it will prove useful information to a system that is trying to manage a variety of hypervisors at the same time or manage workloads in both private and public clouds.

The software vendor that knows how to use information derived from the configuration of different brands of virtual machines--and can manage their performance--has taken a giant step toward becoming the pivot point of the software-defined data center, as described by VMware CTO Herrod. When capacity is needed, it will be able to spin up additional virtual machines that are added seamlessly to the cluster, according to preset policies. When traffic wanes, it will decommission virtual machines and consolidate those remaining on fewer physical hosts, according to preset policies.

DynamicOps uses a model-driven approach that allows self-service provisioning and governance policies that apply to ESX Server virtual machines to be extended to competing hypervisors' virtual machines. Likewise, policies built out to govern cloud infrastructure built with VMware's vCloud Director can be extended into other cloud settings, said Sayar.

While different clouds have different self-provisioning procedures, DynamicOps' modeling can pull them together into "a single cloud storefront across heterogeneous infrastructure pools," said Sayar.

DynamicOps was initially funded by Credit Swisse's internal venture capital arm. It was later supported with $5.5 million from Intel Capital and $11 million from Sierra Ventures and Next World Capital.

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