NWW: Let's dig a little bit deeper on the management side of things. Are there large differences in terms of the capabilities supported by the different toolsets or are they all similar at this point?
Gillen: I think you'll find there are differences and the differences are somewhat subtle. Sometimes it comes down to, for example, do you have the ability to extend directory or federate into a cloud. Do you have the ability to move blocks of IP addresses and bring storage from one set of services to another, and how these things are implemented differ from vendor to vendor. Some management and cloud infrastructures are more suited to certain types of environments. So, for example, if you're looking at a System Center management infrastructure you're going to find it works a little better with a Microsoft environment.
At the same time, if you've got a very mixed environment where you've got two different flavors of Linux and Windows in the same infrastructure, in many cases that's the type of environment where customers have a natural tendency to look toward VMware because VMware is seen as having less of a platform agenda.
NWW: Kerry, you have a take on that?
Kim: Our business strategy has been to support customer choice in terms of the management platforms that they want to use. So we're on the operating system and infrastructure layer and support various third-party tools, whether they're open source or proprietary.
NWW: How about you, Adam?
Jollans: In terms of the management of hypervisors I think the homogenous versus heterogeneous is one of the key points here. My expectation is it's going to get more heterogeneous than less heterogeneous. So either the VMware tools need to be able to manage other hypervisors or you'll have to turn to tools like IBM's VMControl, which can start to manage multiple hypervisors. Now, in a cloud you quite possibly have a pure environment because you're going to optimize by standardization. If' you're an enterprise IT center it will probably be heterogeneous because the rest of the data center tends to heterogeneous anyway.
NWW: Let's take a step back and look at Xen and KVM. There had been a battle brewing between the two, but with the recent decision to add Xen to the Linux core (KVM is already there), some of that has evaporated. What do you folks make of this recent development?
Gillen: Over the long term it's more sustainable to have the hypervisor built into the operating system simply because you don't have dual sets of development going on; you don't have to develop a set of drivers for every new piece of hardware that comes out. But commercial support for Xen has waned somewhat. Although Xen is the third most widely used hypervisor, the problem is there's no one single version of Xen used across these different places. Over time, it's going to be more and more difficult to sustain that Xen development effort. I'm not suggesting Xen folds up shop and goes home a year or two years from now. It's a safe bet Xen's going to stay around for the rest of the decade.
Kim: We've got a number of customers that are deploying production workloads in Xen, so we can't abandon them.
Gillen: Abandonment is probably too strong of a word. I think that over time Xen becomes seen as more of a legacy solution and, although it continues to be used and supported, over time users wind up going to some other environment.