VMware Virtualization Offering More Than Just Virtualization for the Cloud: CEO Paul Maritz

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-09-17

VMware Virtualization Offering More Than Just Virtualization for the Cloud: CEO Paul Maritz

LAS VEGAS-For VMware CEO and President Paul Maritz, the future of virtualization and his company's upcoming data center management platform-Virtual DataCenter OS-is more than just providing a platform for cloud computing.

Instead, Maritz envisions VMware's virtualization as being the engine for a new type of flexible, scalable data center that gives enterprises whole new ways to manage both the hardware and the applications that reside with virtual environments. While this concept can work as a cloud computing infrastructure, it also offers new ways of thinking about creating an infrastructure that can respond to the needs of the company.

At the VMworld conference here, Maritz introduced what he calls the "three Vs." These include the Virtual Datacenter OS, or VDC-OS; VCloud, which provides third-party providers with a way to build their own clouds and allow enterprises to access that compute power; and VMware View, which addresses the creation of a virtual desktop infrastructure and will help bring the technology to a range of mobile devices such as smart phones and laptops.

Together, these three initiatives are the future of VMware's virtualization offerings.

"Our focus is really on how we allow our customers to build on the technology that we already have, to strengthen their use of virtualization, to achieve much more fundamentally efficient and flexible use of their computing infrastructure," Maritz said during an interview with eWEEK. "We believe that by doing so, it will open up opportunities for them to federate with the external cloud, but it starts, first and foremost, with the Virtual Datacenter operating system."

The world around VMware is changing, and Maritz, a former Microsoft executive who took control of the company earlier this year after co-founder Diane Greene was ousted, is looking to ensure that VMware remains the No. 1 vendor of virtualization technology. In addition to the challenges of keeping its virtualization fresh in an ever-changing IT world, VMware is facing stiff competition from the likes of Microsoft with its Hyper-V hypervisor.

While Maritz believes that VMware still offers superior virtualization products, from the underlying hypervisor to the management tools built on top of the ESX Server, he knows that Microsoft is intent on catching up. For now, he said, VMware will concentrate on building a dynamic center platform and combine that technology with its vision for connecting clients to virtualization.

"Our first response is to remain focused on our main challenges and make sure that we execute well on them," said Maritz. "We share some of that vision with Microsoft, and Microsoft would like to solve some of those problems for our customers as well, so it's important that we maintain our lead. We are ahead of Microsoft in terms of virtualization technology."

While the cloud is one part of VMware's road map, Maritz said the VDC-OS will allow the company's customers to build a more flexible data center and allow their applications to take advantage of all these pooled resources without rewriting the applications. At the same time, VMware is opening up its APIs to allow ISVs and other vendors to plug into the VDC-OS in order to work within this new data center platform.

Is It an Operating System?


In the interview, Maritz said there was some debate about whether to call this new initiative an operating system, since it looked as though VMware was pushing Microsoft and the Linux operating systems out of their traditional role in the data center. However, after talking to customers, Maritz and his team felt the term "operating system" was appropriate for what they had created.

In addition to creating this new data center platform and its competition with Microsoft, Maritz said VMware is working more closely with Linux providers, such as Red Hat and Novell, and VMware announced that the VCenter-formally VirtualCenter-management console will now run on Linux.

On the open-source front, Maritz said VMware has considered bringing its ESX Server hypervisor to open source. While that has not happened, it remains a possibility.

"It [open-sourcing ESX] is something we have thought about, and it's something we don't shut the door on it," said Maritz, adding that VMware does not have any plans to support open-source hypervisors such as Xen.

Finally, Maritz addressed the relationship between VMware and its parent company, EMC. Before heading up VMware, Maritz oversaw EMC's cloud computing division, and some speculated that his appointment as VMware CEO could mean that the company and its products would be drawn closer into the EMC portfolio.

However, Maritz said VMware will remain independent of EMC.

"The bottom line is that I don't see any major change there," said Maritz. "EMC fully appreciates that VMware needs to have a large degree of independence. I don't see that changing, and when I look at the challenges out there, this is not one of the big ones."

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