VMware Puts New Muscle into vSphere Cloud Platform

The world's largest virtualization software and services company will be adding four new modules to the vSphere 4.0 platform that was launched last May. These are new tools for capacity planning, storage configuration, operational expense planning and data recovery/business continuity.

SAN FRANCISCO -- VMware CEO Paul Maritz, in his Day 1 keynote Sept. 1 to most of the 12,488 attendees of VMworld 2009 here at Moscone Center, revealed that his company is putting new and more powerful resources into its front-line vSphere 4.0 Cloud OS virtualization manager -- features that will become available in the next few months.

The world's largest virtualization software and services company, in its quest to virtualize all aspects of data centers, will be adding four new modules to the vSphere 4.0 platform that was launched last May. These comprise new tools for capacity planning, storage configuration, operational expense planning and data recovery/business continuity.

The capacity planning and storage configuraion modules are expected to be available for purchase by December. The operations-expense planning and data recovery modules wll be made available in Q1 2010; Maritz didn't offer details.
Most of these new features, which involve storage and security, will be supplied in some fashion by parent company EMC.
The new tools will introduce many of the attributes of a "true distributed cloud operating system, including storage and networking, and not just compute and memory. It also works with encapsulated applications to give them new abilities, Maritz said.
"We've always had these pillars of complexity in the data center that sort of work, and we've all learned how to deal with them," Maritz said. "But they're problematic. With VMware, we can slide in underneath the applications in the data center; that is what vSphere is all about -- making it easier to manage all this complexity. Virtualization is the key to enable this journey."
With its vCenter development platform, the vSphere 4.0 operating system and all the new and forthcoming management controls, VMware is producing "the building blocks for what in effect will be a virtual data center -- whether it's in your shop or not," Maritz said.
Users will be able to pick and choose which features to keep in-house and which ones to rent as a service, yet keep it all under one VMware management roof, Maritz said.
In the future, Maritz said, IT administrators will be able to take a virtual data center and "slide it under an external cloud. While you will probably have some inside data center functionality and some outside functionality, you'll still have a single pane of glass to manage it," Maritz said.
"We can't force you to work in a schizophrenic world. The user interface should always be the same, and the functionality should be good for getting data into the cloud and back out again," Maritz said.
"Otherwise, you'll have the ultimate 'California hotel,' where you can check your apps in but not be able to get them out. It is important for us to bridge these two environments," Maritz said with a laugh, in a reference to the Eagles' well-known anthem, "Hotel California."
Maritz offered an update on the adoption of vSphere 4.0, noting that about 1,000 servers, 1,000 storage devices and several hundred networks devices have been certified in the first four months it has been generally available.
"We're seeing about 20,000 to 30,000 downloads per week of vSphere," Maritz said "About three-quarters of our customers are planning to upgrade their existing infrastructures by end of this year. So the response has been excellent."
For smaller companies that want to experiment with adding virtualization to their IT system mix, Maritz pointed out VMware's new vSphere Enterprise Essentials package.
"This is a do-it-yourself basic platform, with management of fault tolerance, security, data protection, et cetera," Maritz said. "We're trying to make it very simple to reach a small organization. It is easy to run, like IT in a box. We see a very strong demand for this, and it's competitively priced [at $166 per processor]."
Maritz also talked about VMware Go, a service the company launched Aug. 31 that walks newcomers through the installation process of the freely downloadable ESXi hypervisor.
"Our ESXi has been downloaded 360,000 times, but up to now we haven't had too much of a relationship with those customers," Maritz said. "We just hoped they would find it useful. However, now we can walk them through the process to help make them more successful. This is a platform that will engage the community and make it a more satisfying experience in general.
"Then we can offer them more services to help them start the new journey we're now on."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...