It is not exactly a surprise, but at its VMworld 2008 event in Las Vegas last week, virtualisation player VMware announced a raft of new products that will simplify the management of virtualised environments.
It promised that businesses will be able to pool applications across their own and service providers’ data centres when they need extra resources, something it calls a “federated cloud”.
It’s said that 14,000 people attended VMware’s Vegas shindig, while another 800 or so are expected to attend its UK Virtualisation Forum event at the London Excel Centre tomorrow [Thursday September 25th].
The reason the latest announcements are not so surprising is that the core hypervisor technology which enables servers to be virtualised is nearing commodity status – not just because an open source hypervisor is available at no cost in the shape of the open source Xen, but also because Microsoft is bundling a hypervisor with Windows Server 2008… [click continue reading for more on this entry]…
As Tim Stammers, senior analyst at Ovum put it, “VMware’s most important near-term task is to grow its customer base in the fast-growing market for server virtualization and management tools as quickly as it can before Microsoft and others muscle in on its act. That is why the most important developments that VMware talked about last week [at VMworld in Vegas] were new and enhanced server management tools.”
“In the virtual server management arena VMware is already significantly ahead of Microsoft and others,” said Stammers. “The new tools that will ship next year will maintain that lead in areas such as configuration, failover, chargeback, application monitoring and workflow.”
Stammers noted that unlike those from Microsoft, VMware’s tools do not work with rival virtualisation systems, citing lack of customer demand for such capabilities. As Stammers noted, with VMware estimated to account for roughly 80% of server virtualisation environments, you can see their point.
Also at the show, VMware made noises in the direction of desktop virtualisation, where it has a somewhat less commanding position. Rivals there include the likes of Citrix, Sun, Microsoft and Parallels. Competing with Parallels and its Parallels Desktop for Mac product, also at VMworld in Las Vegas VMware announced the general availability of VMware Fusion version 2.
VMware Fusion 2 is a free, downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers, which the firm said adds more than a hundred new features and enhancements, giving Mac users a more integrated Windows-on-Mac experience. It’s aimed at people who want to run Windows on their Macs and perhaps switch between running Mac operating systems and Windows on their trusty Apple desktops.
Why run Windows on a Mac? As well as being useful for those developing or testing software, the desktop virtualisation vendors report that more and more users want the security and power of their beloved Mac platforms but perhaps want the use of Windows-based applications.
As Parallels CEO Serguei Beloussov told me recently, “We’ve got customers who have found that Windows runs better virtualized on the Mac than it does on generic PC hardware.” More on that interview with Beloussov and Windows-Mac virtualisation here.
Get VMware Fusion 2.0 info and downloads here.