As VMware kicks off its annual VMworld conference, the company is announcing a product road map for 2009 that moves beyond the virtualization of individual servers to a holistic management approach encompassing all the virtualized servers and storage in a datacenter.
VMware Monday plans to take the wraps off its new Virtual Datacenter Operating System (VDC-OS), which aggregates virtualized servers, storage, and network resources into one big computing pool that serves up computing resources to applications, providing a better level of availability and scalability.
VMware also is expected to preview new desktop virtualization technology and partnerships with more than 100 service providers that will offer Internet-based computing clouds enabled by VMware's hypervisor.
Since VMware fired co-founder and CEO Diane Greene in July, "there have been a lot of questions about 'hey, what happens now,'" says VMware product vice president Raghu Raghuram. "This is a pretty significant array of new products. It's a sign we're stepping on the gas pedal here even as the rest of the industry just tries to bring out basic virtualization."
Competitors aren't sitting on their hands, though. Microsoft has announced that it will ship System Center Virtual Machine Manager software this year to help users configure and deploy virtual machines, and Citrix is upgrading its main XenServer product line and introducing a new cloud initiative.
VMware is comparing its VDC-OS to a server operating system. While it wouldn't replace a server operating system, the goal is to do for the virtual datacenter what a traditional operating system does for one piece of hardware.
With VDC-OS it will be easier to dynamically increase capacity, share resources among applications and avoid downtime, Raghuram says. In the event a single piece of hardware or software fails, the VDC-OS will automatically route traffic around failure points so that applications are not affected.
Just as with previous VMware products, VDC-OS will not manage physical hardware that has not been virtualized. Even though rival Microsoft's System Center can manage both physical and virtual systems, VMware has decided that customers can use software like IBM Tivoli or HP OpenView to manage purely physical servers and storage, says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker.
"That's a smart move," Bowker says. "They don't need to become managers of the physical environment as well. Their expertise is in the virtual environment."