VMware’s next steps towards the cloud , VMware Partner Exchange recap

From February 8-10 VMware held it’s annual VMware Partner Exchange event in Las Vegas. Partner Exchange is an event  accessible only for VMware partners so not open for the general public (customers).
It has technical and marketing sessions and labs. The roadmap for VMware products are announced here.
While most information is under strict Non Disclosure, some information has been given by attendees via Twitter and blogs.

VMware Partner Exchange presentations will be available on Partner Central by the end of February!

This is a summary of what I found. A recap on Partner Exchange can be found on the Virtual Intelligence website

The two days had two main points of interest:
-The cloud
-Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

The next release of VMware vSphere  (probably version 4.5) might have a feature what is called something like ‘IO DRS’. With IO DRS, a virtual machine with demand for high IO which the ESX host cannot offer can be moved to another ESX host which is able to fullfill the demand for IO. Similar to the current DRS which monitors demand for CPU and internal memory.  Another new feature might be memory compression which will save on the consumption of physical memory. Just like transparent page sharing does.

More on IO DRS can be read on this blogpost at Yellow-Bricks.com and here another post on IO DRS

The applications
In January 2010 VMware announced the takeover of Zimbra. Zimbra is an open source email and collaboration software solution. They offer both a server platform and client software, competing with Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook. In 2009 VMware acquired SpringSource, a company offering a development platform for Java based applications. More later on these takeovers.

Virtual desktop infrastructure 
Applications which cannot be accessed are pretty useless. An enduser needs a desktop and client software to access data and applications. Now server virtualization is getting more and more mature and establised, desktop virtualizition is the next big move in IT. VMware offers VMware View as a virtual desktop infrastructure solution. View is getting more and more interesing features. One of them is PC-over-IP introduced in version 4. PC-over-IP is like RDP a protocol to tranfer video output to devices, tranfer mouse and keyboard to the remote system and to enable the use of devices like USB. The upcoming release of the next version of View will have a lot more interesting features.

The cloud
Microsoft started a revolution a while ago with the development of a pc based operating system. It was the start of a new phase in computing. Earlier all computing was done on a mainframe. With personal computers and servers the end user had more control, flexibility etc. New challenges in management arise, like deployment, protection again virusses, data protection etc. The cloud could be a new revolution just like client/server computing was. VMware put and continious to put a lot of effort into cloud computing.
One might think why VMware is taking over companies offering application solutions like Zimbra and SpringSource. It is because of the move from offering server virtualization towards offering applications on a highly available, flexible, scalable infrastructure. The application running inside the virtual machine is what business is all about. And it does not matter at what platform that application is running. VMware wants to offer a complete private cloud solution. Another term often heard for private cloud is Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). IaaS basically means a company pays a hosting company for usage of computing resources, storage, storage bandwith and network bandwidth. Reasons to use IaaS as a customer are time to market, flexibility and pay as you go. Imagine an organization which depends on sales via the internet. If sales grow, the organization needs more webservers, more database servers, more storage etc. If IaaS is used, extra capacitiy is added with a few clicks. If capacity demands decreases again, resources are lowered and the costs are lowered as well. Very flexible.

Examples of IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services, Terremark and Rackspace. Microsoft is developing a similar service called Azure.
vCloud Express is the marketing name used by VMware to name service provider services using VMware technology to offer IaaS services to their customers. To stimulate the development of vCloud Express services, VMware bought a $20 million /5 percent stake in provider Terremark in 2009.

VMware is obvious assisting customers on their journey from inhouse computing towards cloud computing/IaaS. Currently there is no interface and common management for internal and external clouds. To create and manage virtual machines running in the private cloud, an interface developed by the hosting provider needs to be used. Transfer of virtual machines from internal to external cloud is not possible.
In the future the internal and external cloud will be transparently connected. VMware vSphere client can be used to manage both infrastructures. Virtual machines can be moved from internal to external and vice versa. This technnique is called long distance vMotion. The tooling used for all of this is developed under the name Project Redwood.

Small and medium business
Infrastructure as a Service will most likely be adopted by large enterprises first. VMware recognises server virtualization has many benefits for smaller organizations as well. The Essentials and Essentials Plus editions of vSphere are targeted at small and medium businesss (SMB) which has less demands for application availability and lower budgets. The license cost for those two editions will be lowered significantly in 2010.


About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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