Mental Ward

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Doing the Cannes-Cannes

CANNES, FRANCE -- Oh, how I'd love to be writing that dateline for real! No, I'm still here in the States, in my humble hovel in northern Maryland, rather than gazing out at the Riviera. But I can dream, can't I?

Oh well, on to business. Our fabulous "Everyday Virtualization" blogger, Rick Vanover, has given a nice overview of announcements at VMworld Europe, and I wanted to follow up with some basic analysis of my own. (BTW, if you're not a regular reader of Rick's blog and articles here, you'd be wise to add it to your bookmarks. It has a real-world flavor you don't often find in this industry.)

If I had to give an overall opinion of the news coming out of Cannes, I could do it in one word: Yawn. It's clear that, although this is an important show, VMware and the other vendors are mostly gunning for the U.S. conference later this year (I would add, however, that attendance is larger than I expected -- about 4,700 folks. Not bad at all, and a good sign for the industry).

First up, the former Virtual Datacenter Operating System (VDC-OS) is now vSphere. Oh boy! I like that they've shortened the ungainly acronym, but vSphere is less than overwhelming. Too much like IBM's WebSphere for my money. Not much new stuff in terms of functionality.

But Alessandro Pirilli at virtualization.info is reporting that CEO Paul Maritz claimed that once vSphere is shipping, there's no reason that 100 percent of your datacenter can't be virtualized. In my opinion, that's simply marketing hyperbole at its best. Until virtualization can make the claim of absolutely native performance, there will still be situations where you must have one OS and one application per box. Remember also that we're right at the beginning of things like network virtualization and I/O virtualization; until that crucial plumbing has been proven as robust and reliable as their physical counterparts, companies should rightly be wary of going 100 percent virtual.

Of more interest to me was the announcement of the VMware Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) bare-metal client hypervisor. This has been known for some time, and it's good to see it formalized. CVP will be part of the VMware View family of desktop products, and available, it appears initially, only with Intel vPro procs. That makes me wonder if a similar deal will be forthcoming with AMD, or if this will be an exclusive contract.

Bare-metal hypervisors are one of the coolest current areas of virtualization research, and I'm interested to see how far they go -- on laptops and desktops for now, but soon coming to a smartphone near you. It also gives more impetus to the desktop virtualization movement, which continues to gain steam. Citrix, of course, beat VMware to the punch with Independence, and you have to think that Microsoft isnt' far behind.

Hmmm, this blog is getting long. I'll break it into another entry or two, coming later. In the meantime, let me know what you think of VMworld Europe's announcements, either below or via e-mail. Am I too blase about it?

Posted by Keith Ward on 02/26/2009 at 12:48 PM


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