Reactions to VMware’s VSphere 4

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I was impressed with the VMware simulcast this morning announcing VSphere, the next iteration of their enterprise virtualization platform, dubbed the first “Cloud OS.” Having deployed and administered VMware products for several years, it’s exciting to see them continue to push the evolution of virtualization, which has now expanded from a single server up to multiple data centers.

It’s also becoming quite apparent that a loose alliance is coalescing between several of the established leaders in the infrastructure space. In particular, VMware continues to align with Cisco, whose recent unveiling of a “Unified Computing System” combined with VSphere offers the promise of a private “cloud in a box.” Other members of this confederation are Intel, whose recent Xeon 5500 Nehalem chip is tailored for VM loads, in addition to EMC, whose updated Symmetrix SAN is optimized for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V support. Dell appears to be more closely aligned than HP, and has a better position in the SMB market.

And don’t count out Oracle / Sun, one of today’s VSphere demo’s featured Sunfire servers, and when Cisco CEO John Chambers left the stage to congratulate VMware’s lead engineering team, Sun racks were featured quite prominently.

So who’s not joining the party, yet?

Here’s my list –

  • HP – not seeing innovation, very quiet these days
  • IBM – passed on Sun, noticeably low-key at today’s VSphere event
  • Google – how long before they offer a full-blown Cloud service
  • Microsoft – no support for Hyper-V in VMware VSphere
  • Citrix – falling further behind, no support from EMC Symmetrix, or VSphere

The continued limited inter-operability between major virtualization vendors – VMware, Microsoft, Citrix – and subsequent “vendor lock-in” really makes me wonder about the feasibility and likelihood of a truly Open Cloud platform, given the symbiotic relationship between Virtualization and Cloud computing.

P.S. I still think Cisco should have picked up Sun…


9 thoughts on “Reactions to VMware’s VSphere 4

    Vmware vSphere | said:
    April 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

    […] And for an interesting response, Microsoft’s reaction to the announcement: […]

    Doug Park said:
    April 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

    I agree that Cisco should have made a stronger play for Sun. But the Ellison/McNealy relationship certainly had something to do with Oracle winning out.

      darowh said:
      April 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, that’s a good observation on the personal connection. Sun’s emphasis in recent years has been more on the software side too, which makes it an easier meld into Oracle. Cisco is still taking a gamble with the UCS, and it remains to be seen whether it will pay off.

    DouglasAntonio Ebanks said:
    April 22, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Obviously, there is a continuing demand for the benefits of VMWare. Why do you think there is an apparent non-participation from the big players, i.e. IBM, Microsoft, Citrix … could it be they’re developing their own “brands” of what VMWare does?

      darowh said:
      April 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      Douglas, I think IBM is still playing catch-up with virtualization and cloud computing. It’s only slightly ironic that IBM researchers actually invented virtualization back in the 60’s-70’s, but as with the PC they have missed out with bringing it to the wider marketplace.

      Microsoft and Citrix do indeed have their own virtualization systems – Hyper-V and Xen, respectively – and VMware needed to pull away from the pack with this VSphere release, which I believe they have done.

    Mak King said:
    April 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Darrow – I thought the presentation yesterday was pretty good. I like that they are now offering real failover capabilities for VMs. I was a little confused about the purpose of having all the Sun equipment there, though. Nothing about Amazon that I could see either. Appreciate your observations!

    Jack said:
    April 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Some very good points, but I think you’re missing a big player on the Unified Storage front, NetApp.

      darowh said:
      April 30, 2009 at 5:50 am

      I agree that NetApp is a big player in storage, and so far compatibility with VMware is comparable with EMC though that may change. However, EMC is much better positioned as the majority shareholder of VMware.

    Unix said:
    April 26, 2009 at 12:21 am

    just to correct your comment on HP not being innovative

    please read this HP has support for vSphere HP can support it today.

    Also please note ther HP have released Bladesystem Matrix (server/storage/network) built upon the very innovative and leading blade infrastructure – c7000/VC blade. This is actually available today (unlike UCS) and it has the software to manage it

    They have also produced the BL495 blade specifically built for virtualisation and the BL2x220c the worlds first 2-1 blade – in a 42inch rack you get 128 servers totalling 1024 cores, 4TB Memory. both pretty innovative.

    The reason why i mention matrix and blades is because that is effectively what the ‘cloud’ will be built on with management software on top to reprovision infrastructure based on SLA and OLA. This is not new to HP and IBM (they will deliver more in due course) or Sun.

    Netapp is another example of a very innovative company (as mentioned).

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