Mental Ward

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Dissecting VMware's Strategy

You've already read the news about VMware's announcements regarding its new initiatives. I thought I'd give some quick analysis (note that this is always subject to change after more review and digesting of the information; but hey, it's a blog, after all.)

The first is the idea of the Virtual Datacenter OS, or VDC-OS. It's a technology that, to put it in Maritz' words, makes your datacenter "one giant computer." Everything is a pool of resources, including CPUs, RAM, services, storage, I/O, network, and so on. In a way, it's similar to what ESX and XenServer from Citrix already do. The new stuff, as far as I can tell, is extending the virtualization beyond the servers and into network, I/O and storage. Those services are already offered by third parties right now, so I don't know if this new architecture will incorporate what those vendors offer, or if it will replace what they're offering.

It should be noted that I'm not sure I fully grasp VDC-OS beyond that point. I've heard the discussion twice now, and continue to grapple with the concept. In a way, it's like the first time I heard a discussion of Microsoft's .NET strategy. This was at Comdex (remember that show?) in 2000. After hearing Microsoft's presentation, I said to myself, "What did I just hear?" I asked a guy sitting near me, who worked for a very large ISP at the time, if he got it. He told me he'd listened to the presentation twice and still had no idea what .NET was about.

I guess I'm fuzzy on it because Maritz offered no specific products to enable VDC-OS. No details on availability. No cost information. No demonstrations of the technology. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about it soon, but right now that's about all I can give you.

The second of the three new pillars is "vCloud." It's cloud computing with a twist. VMware promises an "internal cloud" that can hook up with external clouds and form a little cloud community. Cloud computing is a buzzword right now, probably even hotter than "virtualization." I'm not sure that you can even have an "internal" cloud; I think of a cloud as services offered by a third party that is remote from users and your internal datacenter.

Again, there wasn't much in the way of details offered in the way of products, pricing or roadmpas, so I don't know what form VMware's implementation will take. Maritz did note that more than 100 cloud operators have signed on to the initiative, so it's creating some excitement among the hosters.

What interested me most was the client aspect. Maritz said, correctly I believe, that "users don't want their lives held hostage by a particular device ... how do we make sure that our environment belongs to us, and not the device?" he asked.

He had an answer, called VMware View. View, the successor to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), will "install application and the environment to an individual." That data and information, Maritz continued, "belongs to an identity, not to a device." And VMware will offer management tools "to help assemble those environments." That means, of course, thick and thin clients, but also PDAs, smart phones and other non-PC form factors.

One advantage he mentioned, that will be welcome news to help desks and system administrators is that View will "take IT out of the business of provisioning laptops."

Given my infatuation with my iPhone, I was intensely interested in hearing about how my "stuff", as George Carlin might say, will follow me around, including being available on my phone. In fact, an iPhone was one of the devices shown on a slide about View's possibilities (a point I made to Tom, as I continue my crusade to get him to pony up for the phone.)

So, that's my snapshot analysis. Does yours differ? Tell me.

Posted by Keith Ward on 09/16/2008 at 12:48 PM


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