VMware opens up to multihypervisor support with acquisition of DynamicOps

After insisting for years it wouldn't provide heterogeneous support, VMware will now let its users consume multicloud resources such as Hyper-V, Xen, and Amazon EC2

Two announcements last week greatly altered the virtualization and cloud management ecosystems. The geek in me wants to describe these events as having caused a "great disturbance in the force." Don't get me wrong: The events were neither good nor evil in nature, but they did cause a shift in the balance of power within the virtualization management community.

The first announcement was Dell's acquisition of Quest Software, which instantly positioned Dell as one of the top virtualization management vendors in the market, capable of giving other third-party vendors and the big four a run for their money. Later that same day, virtualization giant VMware -- in a move that seemed to come out of nowhere -- announced plans to acquire DynamicOps, a virtualization management and cloud provisioning and automation solution provider that was spawned out of Credit Suisse and founded in 2008.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Dell becomes key software player with Quest purchase. | Find out how to get all the advantages of a desktop PC but none of the hassles in InfoWorld's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Deep Dive report. Download the PDF today! | Keep up on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]

Three things initially jumped out at me when reading up on the VMware acquisition.

Heterogeneous virtualization management

For years, VMware has been insisting it wouldn't provide heterogeneous support for competing vendors' hypervisors -- after all, doing so would validate those other platforms as legitimate. Time and time again, VMware downplayed those technologies as inferior, making it sound like other platforms were always one or two steps behind, trying to play catch-up with vSphere.

But with the acquisition of DynamicOps, VMware is finally offering its customers a way to manage third-party hypervisors. This is quite a departure from previous management strategies that assumed a VMware-only environment. If indeed companies are experimenting or moving to heterogeneous virtualized data centers, VMware may have realized it needed to support other platforms in order to stay relevant. This idea was further substantiated when VMware announced the acquisition and let the following slip out:

VMware believes that customers will benefit most by a standardized architecture, but will build solutions that make it easy for customers to choose the model that best works for their needs, including heterogeneous environments/management.

Public and private cloud management

Beyond virtualization management, VMware's acquisition of DynamicOps seems a necessity when it comes to private and public cloud management and taking VMware customers from virtualization to the cloud.

VMware really doesn't have much of a choice. VMware may want vSphere to be the de-facto standard platform, but there is increased competition from all directions. Microsoft, Citrix, and Amazon all have something to say about who should lead this effort, and open source, multihypervisor cloud management offerings are also coming out of CloudStack, OpenStack, and Eucalyptus. In the same press release announcing the DynamicOps acquisition, VMware stated:

For customers whose requirements for managing and provisioning resources extend beyond VMware-only environments, DynamicOps builds on the capabilities of vCloud Director by enabling customers to consume multi-cloud resources (e.g., physical environments, Hyper-V- and Xen-based hypervisors, and Amazon EC2).

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