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February 25, 2009

VMware revamps virtual data centre OS

VSphere builds on previous announcement

By CBR Staff Writer

VMware has used the European leg of its VMworld conference to release more information about its new generation of virtual data centre products, called vSphere, which will replace its current virtual infrastructure platform.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz said that the thinking behind the restructuring was to improve the delivery of its cloud architecture. He added that the company was using virtualisation as the foundation to help turn IT into a service and make it easier to use, more flexible and more efficient.

“Too much of the effort in IT goes on the things that fundamentally don’t differentiate the business,” he said. “Most of the IT budget goes on keeping the lights on, tending to the plumbing rather than tending to the things that give competitive differentiation. Long-term, that is unsustainable.”

To that end, VMware announced a new virtual data centre operating system (VDC OS). “You can think of it as a new substrate of software that provides the foundation for an internal cloud, allowing IT to operate more like a hosting provider in the data centre, as well as the foundation for an external cloud,” Maritz said.

Maritz added that the infrastructure will be built on industry standard building blocks. “We will use that to support our existing applications by adding in a layer of software that allows scalability and availability through software. In other words, we take those building blocks and by adding software we are turning it into a single, giant computer,” Maritz said.

As part of this new-look strategy, VMware has revamped the management side of its offerings, the vCenter Suite. The company wants, according to Maritz, to try and move the focus of management to a different level, enabling the end-user to directly manage their environment.
Essentially the company will be moving management to the service level rather than the hardware level, Maritz said.

 “We will be providing a framework for users to have a self-service portal, so that they can come to a data centre, look at a catalogue and select the services they want, much like they would with a hosting provider,” Maritz said during his keynote presentation.

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Maritz also drew attention to the fact that vSphere enables an organisation to view everything that happens in the virtualised environment.

“We can literally see every instruction, every memory reference, every packet flow that happens in that entire environment,” said Maritz. “People can see an event screen at any level of granularity. We can produce an instruction trace for the entire data centre.”

This increased visibility can not only help with de-bugging but also security and compliance functions, Maritz added, who described it as a, “Fundamentally more secure and viable infrastructure.”

VMware vSphere should start to ship later this year, Maritz said.

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