The Integration Angle on VMWorld Announcements


VMware CEO Paul Maritz grabbed a lot of headlines this week by declaring the traditional operating system obsolete.


It's pretty hard to move beyond that. But, let's do, because, as it turns out, there was quite a bit of integration news mixed in with the announcements coming out of VMworld.


It's important to note, however, that much of the focus is on integrating VMWare's own products. Critics note there's still precious little help for integration working the other way -- support for integrating VMWare with other solutions.


NewsFactor.com reported this week on how VMWare's new offerings help with integration of virtual and cloud resources, noting the Virtual Data Center Operating System is at the center of these efforts. The VDC-OS allows you to pool storage, server and network hardware resources "into one aggregated cloud for use by the enterprise," according to the article.


The big news here seems to be that it can dynamically allocate cloud resources where they're needed, which basically means you don't have to micro-manage all those virtual servers and databases.


For instance, it can allocate applications to both on- and off-site cloud resources. As the article points out, that gives you flexibility for application management and a greater fault tolerance.


All of this connects to the VDC-OS central management console. VMWare noted that other management console vendors -- IBM, HP and BMC were specifically mentioned -- "are working to integrate their platforms with VMWare's vCenter product."


ComputerWorld published a pretty skeptical, scathing column by Kevin Fogarty about on VMWare's announcement. Fogarty basically mocked the idea that VDC-OS is even close to being mature enough to be taken seriously. The column also made this point about integration:

If Maritz wants to take over the IT market by building an all-encompassing data-center OS, he's got to deal with all the mess underneath the flow charts and misleadingly simple diagrams. Expecting that from a company that, so far, hasn't even committed to being able to natively manage its competitors' products with its own management software -- or allow competitors to manage it without inefficient detours through functionally deficient APIs -- is too much of a leap of faith for me and, I suspect, most of the VMware faithful ... .

Two other integration-specific announcements were the new vStorage component and the vNetwork component. NewsFactor.com reports the vStorage will help integrate storage components to VMware and includes a set of APIs -- called, predictably enough, vStorage APIs, which you can use to integrate storage arrays from third-party vendors.


One appealing claim about the vStorage is that it can save you nearly 50 percent on storage costs, because it can regulate how much storage virtual machines use.


As you might have guessed from its name, the vNetwork component integrates "management of physical and virtual networks from all the major network switch vendors, including Cisco, Intel Relevant Products/Services and QLogic," according to the NewsFactor.com article. VMWare also announced support for Intel's Xeon 7400 six-core processors.


Speaking of networking, Cisco, which holds a 1.6 percent equity stake in VMWare, announced it's working with the virtualization company to develop software that would integrate the management of virtual servers with overall network management systems.


This could change some of the job descriptions within IT divisions, according to a report from IT News. VMWare and Cisco believe this could "blur" the distinction between data center managers and the network administrators, potentially eliminating one. The article quotes Cisco Business Development VP Jackie Ross:

Eventually the two roles will be able to be done by one person in some organizations. This might take some time due to cultural reasons, but it's something we are starting to see.

Hmmm. With Cisco, is there any doubt as to which job would be absorbed?


So, a lot of controversial, "fightin' words" coming out of VMworld this week. Hopefully, beneath some of this bravado and hype, there's some real integration going on.