New VMware CEO Paul Maritz is planning to bring the virtualization company deeper into the cloud by providing the tools to create a virtual, flexible IT infrastructure for the enterprise and for hosting providers.
VMware is positioning itself to provide a layer of virtualization technology
needed to create a cloud computing infrastructure.
When newly minted CEO Paul Maritz spoke
to analysts July 22 following the release of VMware's 2008 second-quarter
financial results, he told the audience that the virtualization company is
moving into a new stage of its development that would include a vigorous focus
on creating virtual environments for cloud computing infrastructures.
The fact that VMware, which is still considered the leading vendor of x86
virtualization technology, is developing virtualization for the cloud should
not come as a shock. Maritz
himself oversaw EMC's cloud division
before moving to VMware and former CEO
Diane Greene had spoken of moving virtualization from a mere consolidation tool
to a technology that would bring a new level of automation and systems
management into the data center, which then leads to a cloud infrastructure.
Cloud computing holds the promise of allowing enterprises to save money and
resources by offloading some or all of their IT infrastructure to vendors that
provide applications or software infrastructures that are delivered through the
Internet. What VMware and other vendors are trying to do now is build out the
infrastructure and applications needed to create a cloud environment.
"The VMware infrastructure technology has a lot of relevance both in
the cloud itself by helping people build and operate clouds, but also as an
onramp to the cloud that allows existing customers to easily migrate their
compute loads outside of their environments and into the cloud and back
again," Maritz said during the July 22 earnings call.
While Maritz, a former Microsoft executive who became VMware's CEO
earlier in July, did
not specifically indicate when VMware's new cloud computing technology would
hit the market,
it seems clear that the company will detail its efforts at
the VMworld conference in September.
Chris Wolf, an analyst with the Burton Group, said he believes that cloud
computing will develop in two different ways in the next five to 10 years. The
first is the public cloud that will be created by hosting providers and the
other is a private cloud created by enterprises for exclusive use by their
employees and IT departments for business purposes.
In both cases, Wolf said he sees VMware looking to become the primary
provider of not only virtualization technology to help consolidate the physical
infrastructure, but also of resources such as VMotion, which allows the IT
department to move a virtual machine from one physical server to another, or to
create virtual appliances to deliver SAAS (software as a service) to individual
customers of the cloud.
fact that VMware is also now giving away a free version of its ESXi hypervisor
-the piece of
software that makes virtualization possible-is also a step toward this cloud
"The fact that VMware is offering ESXi for free does go toward the
cloud model because it's heading down a path to data center automation," Wolf
To an extent, Amazon.com
is already pushing this model with its own Elastic Compute Cloud,
powered through a Xen-based hypervisor. Microsoft
is also gearing up to offer its own version of a cloud computing solution,
which Wolf said he believes will take advantage of the company's Hyper-V
hypervisor as well as the natural advantage of having so many Windows-based
applications already in the data center.
The next significant step for VMware, and the key to its own cloud computing
solution, is automation and life-cycle management, which will make it easier to
allocate resources in the cloud and allow the user to draw upon those resources
So far, VMware is using acquisitions to help out with this part of the
2007, VMware acquired Dunes Technologies
to create its Lifecycle Manager to
help automate the creation, management and removal of virtual machines from the
data center infrastructure.
In 2008, VMware
bought B-hive Networks, which creates its own virtual appliance to test the
performance of both a physical and virtual machine.
This acquisition will
allow VMware's Virtual Infrastructure management suite to better monitor the
applications running on the physical hardware and within virtual machines, and
that information is then passed on to the Lifecycle Manager to determine
if additional compute resources are needed.