VMware tries to expand throughout the data center

VMware will ship new products next year to extend virtualization from servers to storage and network gear, it said Monday.

VCloud is a set of technologies that let hosting providers like BT and T Mobile turn their data centers into cloud environments, Balkansky said. It will also allow customers to connect their data centers to those clouds, so they can move virtual environments off their own premises if they want them hosted by a third party.

"We'll build a set of APIs that will allow customers to extend a virtual machine from their on-premise infrastructure out into the cloud. It's like Vmotion for moving a virtual machine from an internal to an external data center and back again, while still having those policies for availability and security attached." Vmotion is VMware's existing technology for moving running virtual machines from one physical server to another.

Use of vCloud will start with "baby steps," Balkansky acknowledged. "We see interest from large companies that want to be able to rent some of their overflow capacity to others, it will probably start there, and it will start with the kind of noncritical workloads you would be comfortable delegating to a third party."

VMware wants to be seen as less of a pure infrastructure provider and more as a company that helps businesses deliver applications more reliably to end users, Wolf said. VDC OS "gives them a message they can use to combat Microsoft, because Microsoft has been building a strong story around the end user and the application and how that relates to the virtual infrastructure."

The products for improving application performance will include VMware Fault Tolerance, for ensuring transactions continue in the event of a server failure, and VMware Data Recovery, a basic backup and recovery tool. To help applications scale better the company will provide the ability to add new CPUs and memory to a virtual machine without having to restart it, and it will increase the amount of CPUs and memory a virtual machine can access to eight CPUs and 256G bytes of RAM, from 4 CPUs and 64G bytes today, Balkansky said.

Also planned is vApp, a development tool that will let ISVs (independent software vendors) and large enterprises create applications that are prepackaged with multiple virtual machines, along with their policy and configuration requirements. VApp will be based on the Open Virtual Machine Format, a specification that Citrix is also supporting, which is supposed to let the applications be deployed on any OVF-compliant hypervisor.

Finally, VMware will update its strategy around desktop virtualization and introduce a new brand, vClient. The company is developing a new "client virtualization layer" for laptop and desktop PCs, and eventually also for smartphones. Customers will be able to run guest operating systems on this virtualization layer without needing a host OS underneath, potentially reducing OS license costs.

VMworld starts Monday evening at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and runs until Thursday. The company expects 14,000 people to attend, up from 11,000 last year.

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James Niccolai

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