July 25, 2010
"So this is really about how do we take these existing apps—because ultimately business value is all about the apps—and put them on a journey. And precisely because you can't rewrite them you have to be able to do it underneath them at the infrastructure layer," says Maritz, bring the conversation around to VMware's wheelhouse.
"So the other thing we're doing down at the infrastructure layer is that we're saying we can help you build this giant computer internally—and call it the 'private cloud' cause it sounds much more sexy—and we will increasingly allow you to organize your applications into what we call the virtual data centers. And virtual data centers are really just a management construct for applications that share some policy—so you can say, 'Here are all my test and development apps,' or 'Here are my production apps', etc., and the key point is the giant computer will take the policies associated with those apps and use it to schedule the underlying resources. "The VDC allows us to start lifting up that user interface—lifting up the contract that the giant computer exposes—and making it simpler over time. Now we still have to have management for the giant computer because getting it to the point where you can just load applications into the top of giant computer and it runs automatically forever—well, that's a perfect world that you never get to," says Maritz. "Things do go wrong, so you've got to have basically the console for the giant computer—or as our guys like to call it, 'the VNOC'—and we're building it on V-Center for this giant computer, and we're trying to take all of our current scattered management tools and pull them together at the infrastructure layer around this notion of a common console or command center for the giant computer." Unified and harmonious management: that, my friends, appears to be the theme among the big IT boys battling for control (or at least heavy influence over) your data centers and IT infrastructure and applications. Oracle, whose overall vision of future IT strategy is as different as it could possibly be from VMware's, released a huge new set of integrated management tools a few months ago. IBM's new release of a zEnterprise mainframe and related tools and services are predicated upon making management more streamlined, more comprehensible, and less costly (IBM promises to be able to cut data center labor costs by up to 70%). Hewlett-Packard's entire multibillion-dollar software group is all about managing complex, rapidly changing, and wildly diverse software infrastructure and applications to enhance business value. And CA, Microsoft, SAP, and a handful of other software companies are also offering broad and deep sets of products that might not promise to build and operate a single giant computer, but do promise to reduce complexity and cost in today's wildly jumbled data centers. How, precisely, Maritz and VMware intend to pull off their plan is grist for part 2 of this series, and for a sweeping package on virtualization InformationWeek is preparing for next month. But for now, let me close with this comment from Maritz on why VMware sees big opportunities in a highly complex IT world that's only becoming more complex with each passing day: "And IT is gonna be left holding this bag [new SaaS apps] and IT is gonna have to figure out how to make all of this into some sort of coherent environment," Maritz said. "We see a lot of interest, concerns, questions from CIOs now—it's no longer, 'Is this gonna happen to me' but rather 'I see it happening and how can you help me' kind of a deal. "And as if this wasn't bad enough, you've got another change here basically with new devices—IT's spent the last 10-15 years learning how to manage Windows devices and they're finally just sort of getting good at it and all of a sudden there's Macs and iPads and smartphones and all sorts of new animals in the zoo and CIOs are looking it at and saying, 'How the hell do I deal with that?' One CIO recently said to me, 'I'd no sooner issued a no-Mac edict than I turn around and my CEO had one! So what do I do now?'," Maritz said with a laugh. RECOMMENDED READING: Global CIO: Top 10 Reasons Why Steve Jobs And Apple Are The Future Of IT Global CIO: Who Is The Tech Sector's #1 Acquisition Target? Global CIO: IBM Doubles Down On Red-Hot Optimized Systems Global CIO: Oracle's Top 10 Retail Insights A Must-Read For All CIOs Global CIO: Apple CEO Steve Jobs Should Tell Sen. Schumer To Shut The Hell Up Global CIO: In Database Wars, Oracle Blasts IBM And Microsoft Global CIO: Five Big Questions For Microsoft Global CIO: Larry Ellison's IBM-Slayer Is Oracle Exadata Machine Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Hardware Boasts Are Nonsense, Says IBM Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
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