Greene: How Virtualization Became Its Own Industry
VMware unveils its new slimmed-down hypervisor, disaster recovery tool and virtual desktop controller.SAN FRANCISCO-VMware President and CEO Diane Greene put the virtualization phenomenon into keen perspective when she kicked off the fourth annual VMworld conference Sept. 11. "A year ago, we were talking about virtualization becoming mainstream, now we're talking about it as an industry," Greene told a standing room-only crowd of some 10,000 attendees at Moscone Center, here.
"Even the applications are being optimized for virtualization," Greene said. "There's now a huge industry, and it's an incredible time to be part of it. We can see and help build as the complete refresh happens." Slimming Down Greene said there has been some confusion about exactly what a hypervisor (VMware's software layer) is, in relation to an operating system. "The hypervisor sits right on top of the hardware," Greene said. "A lot of times it's seen as being in the same class as the operating system. But the OS does far more than the hypervisor-it manages the applications and the end user. The hypervisor just manages the resources." The hypervisor is equated with virtualization, but it is not the same thing as the virtual infrastructure, Greene said. "The hypervisor manages the resources, and the virtual infrastructure aggregates those resources, so that they will always have responsiveness to the user," Greene said. VMware's hypervisor has been the foundation of the company's rapidly growing business for six years, Greene said, and "it's done a great job of managing resources. But the footprint is 2 gigabytes; 90 percent of that is the [control] console. The kernel is only 32 MB. So we decided to thin it down so we could use it in other areas." The result is VMware's new ESX Server 3i server, announced here at the conference. The new hypervisor is small enough it can be carried on a flash chip and also embedded directly into servers and storage boxes built by company partners, such as Dell, IBM, NEC, HP, EMC and NetApp. ESX Server 3i is a bare-metal-type hypervisor that partitions a physical server into multiple secure and portable virtual machines. "Ninety percent of the [old] hypervisor was the peripheral operating system we were tied to. We rearchitected it, and now the new version is here. The smaller the VM engine is, the better the security and portability of the software," Greene said. IBM will be coming out in Q4 with a new MP