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June 2, 2008

A Little Love for VMware

Derrick Harris

VMware is a company that doesn’t get too much feature coverage in this publication because even though it definitely has some dynamic tools and capabilities, the server virtualization market, by all accounts, is still relatively nascent, with most users still grappling with consolidation. If there are big-time customers taking advantage of VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler, for example, I haven’t heard of them, and the majority of work around making virtual environments truly dynamic is being done by start-ups and grid-type middleware vendors taking advantage of existing VMs.

However, VMware’s acquisition of Israeli start-up B-hive Networks warrants some notice, which is why you’ll notice a feature on it in this week’s issue. Right off the bat, B-hive’s technology gives VMware the ability to do in-depth performance management and measurement at the application level, as well as the ability to map dependencies among business processes spanning multiple VMs. When this is combined with the ability to dynamically and automatically allocate virtual resources based on these application-centric metrics – a capability VMware says definitely is on the horizon – well, now we’re talking about something.

If all of this sounds a little bit like cloud computing, that isn’t a coincidence. In fact, when I asked VMware CTO Stephen Herrod whether the company is looking at these soon-to-be capabilities in the light of cloud computing, he said, “Absolutely.”

Rather than retell the whole article here, I’ll leave you read it and find out more about VMware’s take on, and role in, the cloud computing market, but take my word that there is more to this story than initially meets the eye. And if you follow the comings and goings of the overall server virtualization market, you’ll be interested to read an analyst’s take on how VMware’s acquisition of B-hive might affect the latter’s support for XenServer, and what the acquisition might mean for Xen proprietor Citrix.

Keeping with cloud computing, last week also brought news that HP has entered what is being referred to as the cloud computing, or hyper-scale, “arms race.” For its part, HP introduced a two-in-one server blade that not only does wonders in terms of density, but also, according to the announcement, “delivers 60 percent better performance per watt than similar configurations on the market and minimizes cooling and power costs.” Like IBM and Dell before it, HP realizes that despite a general move toward less hardware, there are certain customers — like cloud service providers or companies running increasingly intensive applications — who always will need more. The problem, of course is that space and power constraints are now very real factors, hence these lines of specialized machines. Now that the big three server providers are all officially in this market, it will be interesting to watch how the number of units they move is affected — positively or negatively — by the enterprise’s overall shunning of more hardware. Speaking specifically of HP, we’ll have more in-depth coverage of its ProLiant BL2x220c G5 next week.

In other news, you’ll want to check out the following items, starting with a look at eXludus’ attempt to make grid computing as easy as dragging and dropping: “P2P Music Service Taps Oracle for Scalability, Availability“; “WebSphere VE Gives Services Resources On-Demand“; “Intridea Debuts Self-Scaling Hosting for EC2“; “Morph AppSpace Enables 5-Minute Facebook Apps“; “Zeugma Unveils Service Delivery Router“; “Appistry Closes First Series C Financing“; and “Middleware Messaging Expert Joins GigaSpaces Board.”

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Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at editor@gridtoday.com.