The Drive to Make Nice (or Not) with VMware

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

Seven Best Practices for Virtualization

Virtualization is taking IT to new horizons from which whole new sets of opportunities are coming into view.

Whenever you are invited to someone's house for a dinner party, protocol dictates that you bring something for the host to serve - a bottle of wine, perhaps, or a dessert.

That same custom applies to the tech industry as well, as evidenced by this week's VMworld event. Virtually anyone who is anybody at the annual confab is touting new products, new services and new compatibility with VMware's major platforms, and the new vSphere 5.0 in particular.

HP, for example, has its hands full as it seeks to remake itself into a software/services-centric firm. But at VMworld, the big news is how easy it will be to run vSphere 5.0 on Blade System servers using the VirtualSystem stack. The combo lets enterprises extend the virtual layer directly to HP's Lefthand Networks storage arrays where they can take advantage of tools like VMotion for Storage to more closely align virtual machine files with available physical resources. HP is offering a range of configuration options, from an 8-machine/96-core entry-level system to a 64-machine/768-core behemoth.

Over at Dell, the news is even bigger - no less than a complete cloud infrastructure based on VMware technology. The Dell Cloud will be built largely around the vCloud platform and will offer public, private and hybrid configurations for enterprises and service providers looking to build Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities. The Dell Cloud will also encompass other VMware tools like the ESXi 5.0 hypervisor and the vSphere 5.0 management stack. It's also worth noting that Dell plans to launch similar offerings on Microsoft's Azure and the OpenStack platforms.

Not everyone bearing gifts at VMworld is there to make nice to VMware, however. Rival hypervisor vendor Citrix, for example, has announced it will bolster its support for vSphere in its CloudStack infrastructure. That actually gives Citrix a wedge into VMware environments because it gives users the option to deploy CloudStack instead of vCloud Director as they ramp up their cloud architectures. Not only does this open the door to multi-vendor environments, according to Citrix, but it also lets users dodge some of the confusion surrounding vSphere licensing. Citrix has extended the same type of support to Oracle's OVM platform as well.

The very fact that VMware has a tradeshow of its own that rivals many of the generalized enterprise events is a testament to the truly innovative nature of the company's technology. Add to that the fact that vendors of all stripes are falling over themselves to become part of that universe, and it's clear VMware has cemented itself in the top tier of IT infrastructure.

That doesn't mean the company's future is self-assured, however. It wasn't long ago that Microsoft was lord of all it surveyed, and before that, IBM. And just as virtualization shook up the old data center paradigm, the cloud is set to remake everything once again.

All it takes is one person with a vision, and the world as we know it is turned on its head. But rest assured, no matter who comes out on top, there will be a show somewhere where we can all talk about it.

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