Companies that Caught My Eye
Being a one-man editorial shop at a magazine and Web site dedicated to virtualization is like blowing up Grand Coulee Dam and trying to catch all the spillover in a paper cup. Every day, I'm deluged with press releases describing a plethora of virtualization products and services. Rather than decry this tsunami of information, I embrace it, because it affords me the privilege of keeping a finger on the pulse of an industry in overdrive.
So what are some of the most interesting virtualization vendors I've encountered recently? Here are three that caught my eye:
- F5 Networks: One of the goals of F5 is to help virtualization users escape the tyranny of being rigidly mapped to physical machines by providing an on-demand solution that lets users access their applications whenever and wherever they need them. To that end, the company unveiled a dynamic services model that helps users extend enterprise data centers to the cloud. When I interviewed Ken Salchow, F5 manager of technical marketing, he explained it this way: "Customers want the control and capabilities from their traditional infrastructures, along with the simplicity and flexibility to outsource and make their applications totally virtual."
F5 takes a holistic approach, which integrates multi-vendor solutions into a unified whole -- and raises the specter of finger pointing in the cloud. Not to worry, assured Salchow -- no one vendor can do it all. As he put it: "We can't solve all these problems alone. It's an ecosystem effort, and it's a matter of trying to tie all these things together. There's a lot of fear about what the cloud means."
- RingCube: RingCube is carving out a niche in the desktop virtualization world via its technically advanced ability to deliver virtual workspaces to large enterprises, delegate IT management and efficiently distribute storage. With the recently introduced vDesk 3.0 -- which includes hardware-assisted isolation control with Intel vPro technology -- RingCube is streamlining the control and management of Windows desktops by offering global scalability and providing Windows 7 compatibility.
RingCube VP of Marketing and Product Development Doug Dooley told me: "We virtualize on top of Windows, there's no second OS and it runs extremely fast -- 99.8 percent of what the host can deliver. It's centrally managed, stored and locally executed." In addition, the company employs a hybrid approach that stores virtual desktops on file servers and streams them to local endpoints across the network.
- Xangati: "Seeing is understanding," says Xangati, which, like many virtualization companies these days, is trying to ease the transition users are making from the physical to the virtual world. In this case, however, Xangati is easing physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration pains with its Xangati for ESX and Xangati Management Dashboard products. The products enable users to monitor traffic across both environments via software that depicts virtual machine conditions by eliminating the "blind spots" that have plagued hybrid IT shops. This is accomplished by graphically presenting virtual communications within a physical hypervisor, which allows users to see problems coming and eliminate them before they get worse.
Xangati sums up the power -- and philosophy -- behind its products by saying better P2V communications "foster better relationships between virtualization teams and the owners of the
servers that they have created."
Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.