by Edward L. Haletky

VMware Chief Redefines Virtualization, But Doesn’t Make Case for Real Innovation

Sep 18, 20083 mins

VMware CEO Paul Maritz redefined VMware's vision of virtualization in his VMworld keynote this week, mostly by changing the names of existing products. What he didn't do is convince customers VMware is ready to break out of its rut and innovate its way out of a tough competitive position.

vThis, vThat, Virtualization Redefined

VMware CEO Paul Maritz redevfined virtualization this week.

He spent most of his keynote speech at VMworld yesterday defining the goals not only for VMware’s product set, but also the company’s expectations for the evolution of the data center.

The main portion of VMware’s strategy revolves around its Virtual Data Center OS (VDC-OS), a new product plan that, essentially changes the name ESX to VDC-OS.

There’s a little more to it, but less than you’d think.

The building blocks of VDC-OS, for example, are elements called vCompute, vStorage and vNetwork, each of which is dedicated to the part of the virtualization infrastructure inherent in its name.

Those elements aren’t really much different from ESX as it is structured now, with the exception of the new one, vCloud, which is an update and renaming of the VMware ESX Cluster.

Redefinition is good if it leads to the future, and Maritz did lay out his view of the future.

One important element of where VMware would like to go is toward a situation in which the vClient can on any device—thin, thick or mobile.

Yet this is not very new either. VMware has talked about that model before and about most of the rest of the ‘revelations,’ most of which are simply changes in terminology. The reality might outstrip the early definitions, but so far the basics look like this:

  • vCompute is DRS/HA with DPM and Resource Pools that exist today.
  • vStorage is SVMotion and Site Recovery Manager, Thin Provisioning.
  • vNetwork is the virtual switch and virtual network interface card.
  • vCloud is the current ESX Cluster.
  • New things were announced as well and followed up with a technology preview. Cisco’s Distributed Virtual Switch (Nexus 1000V), for example is a huge change!

    From a security and networking perspective the Cisco Nexus 1000V is a very important change. Finally the network team has visibility into the virtual network with port level controls and statistics.

    Redefinitions will help organize VMware’s directions, but Cisco’s vSwitch has the largest immediate impact on Security and Networking.

    The security of the Cisco vSwitch is still to be determined by outside sources. Paul Maritz also stated things were not quite ready.

    Management has also changed with vCenter. vCenter the new version of VirtualCenter is much more modular but will allow the management of a cloud of virtual resources (multiple ESX hosts). Future versions, Maritz says, will be able to support both onsite and offsite hosts within the cloud.

    The connotations of these new concepts changes how many people think of virtualization.

    I’ve written several times that VMware must innovate in order to remain relevant and competitive. However, redefinition is not innovation.

    The Cisco vSwitch is innovative. Cisco couldn’t deliver that functionality without VMware. Innovation like that and, hopefully, the new v-products from VMware will keep VMware going as it competes against Microsoft and Citrix.

    I’m just hoping there’s more innovation in the VDC-OS reality than in the plan that relies so much on name changes and redefinitions.