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Chris Wolf on OpenStack, vCloud Director, Etc.

I posted some pithy quotes gathered during a recent interview with Gartner research VP Chris Wolf on the topic of Citrix, and promised more of the same here. So, here goes:

VR: What is the Impact of OpenStack Compute supporting vSphere?
Wolf: You just can't look at support as a checkbox because that often times doesn't really carry a lot of meaning. For example, for I don't know, for seven or eight years, vendors like HP and IBM and CA have had heterogeneous virtualization management solutions that were supporting VMware. They were supporting Virtual Server 2005 as well as other products. But, if you look at customers, they were not using a CA tool or an HP tool to manage VMware. For the most part, they haven't used System Center Virtual Machine Manager either, and that's because VMware makes it so these vendors can integrate and do certain management tasks. But not everything is exposed through their APIs, which means that administrators still have to touch Virtual Center.

If you think about that, then at the end of the day, the admin says, "Well, if I already need to use Virtual Center for everything, except A, B, and C, then I might as well just use Virtual Center for everything. What's the point of having that separate console if Virtual Center can do those things too?" That's something that Citrix and others have to work around.

What's going on with vCloud Director?
VMware is being very smart with vCloud Director. As I see vCloud Director evolving, there's going to be certain elements of VMware management that will be exposed through vCloud Director and not necessarily through their APIs. The reason VMware would do something like that is because that strategy worked very well with vCenter as their management server, and I can see it taking a similar approach with vCloud Director.

VMware has done a very good job with the vCloud partner ecosystem. They're starting to enforce some standards and some benchmarks for partnership levels in the cloud. I think that has gone very well. The fact that you can get hypervisor parity between providers in between your internal infrastructure is something that's also important to customers, not necessarily because you can't convert (which you can), but if the customer's looking at a hybrid cloud where they're trying to take a lot of their management software with them, then that parity can become important to them because they're going to have to have some assurances about how workloads would behave both in a public cloud and in their own datacenter.

How ready for prime time are XenClient and BYOC?
I think that the BYOC is there, but it's more long term, and that's how most of our customers think about it. As the technology matures, as you start to see XenClient come out of the factory on different laptop or desktop models (and it's a very stable platform), that's when the folks will start to really think about it and how to integrate it as part of their strategy.

Today, it's more about technology that I might use in the lab and just gain some institutional knowledge around it, rather than a full-fledged bring-your-own-PC enabler. That is something that they need to work on. XenClient from a security play is the most pure technology out there in terms of isolation. You can relate it to, say, the hypervisor that Virtual Computer offers as well.

How would you evaluate Parallels?
They have their own hypervisor. They're mature and established on the client computing side. When you talk about bring-your-own PC, Mac often comes into the discussion. They have a very good history with supporting Apple Macintosh devices and running virtual workloads on them.

And also, you know, the other side of Parallels that still does well is the service provider space. Virtuoso Containers is used by a number of service providers out there. They've quietly been under the radar, but they've been a virtualization technology, if you want to say, in a cloud for a long time before we were even calling some of these infrastructure-as-a-service offerings "cloud."

There are a lot of competitive products in the market.
Sometimes having the best product is not enough to get customers to look your way.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 05/05/2011 at 12:48 PM


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