Does B-hive Acquisition Make VMware a Cloud Vendor?

By By Derrick Harris, Editor

June 2, 2008

They say it’s dangerous to speak in terms of certainties, to take a “black or white” view of the world. Here’s one that should be safe, though: VMware is the leader in the enterprise server virtualization market. Its acquisition of B-hive Networks doesn’t change that, but it could widen the gap between VMware and the rest of the virtualization pack, as B-hive’s Conductor technology will allow VMware to target higher-end, more mission-critical applications, as well as users looking to seriously step up service levels.

According to VMware CTO Stephen Herrod, the company is intent on making VMware environments the best place to run high-end, complex applications, and B-hive’s technology immediately helps them do just that. A virtual appliance that sits outside the software stack, Conductor works across different operating systems and machines, and provides detailed information on application performance — something Herrod says has been “one of the critical factors that people have looked to as they get higher- and higher-end applications running on VMware infrastructure.”

To put it simply, Herrod says that Conductor is able to “think at the level that applications that at,” as opposed to thinking at an infrastructure level. Whereas most of VMware’s measurement tools focus on machine metrics like CPU MHz or RAM usage, B-hive’s tool is able to, for example, recognize what it looks like to report a Web page and what it looks like when a Web page is returned to a user, and can then report on the average time to provide a page. And it is just as proficient looking into more complex, multi-tier applications, says Herrod.

This application-level insight is increasingly vital to VMware users, many of whom are implementing “VMware first” initiatives. Large companies in particular, says Herrod, are putting all of their apps in virtual environments, and they are not hesitant about requesting more support in terms of performance tracking when they migrate mission-critical applications to VMware. “From our standpoint,” he says, “we saw a way to do performance better than it’s done on physical systems, so we see it as another driver for people to bring new applications into their systems.”

“We’re 100 percent serious about making VMware the best place to run mission-critical applications,” Staten stated. “And to the extent we make those easier to manage and more available and more secure than when they’re running natively, that’s absolutely our strategy — and this is one of the pillars in doing that.”

James Staten, principal analyst with Forrester Research, lauds another feature of B-hive’s Conductor — its ability to map dependencies among different VMs that make up a business process. Calling dependency mapping the biggest problem with high availability, Staten says “you may do HA services or clustering or fast re-start for a particular application, but usually a business process involves multiple applications, and not knowing what those dependencies are is problematic.”

Automation is the Future

But these capabilities are just the beginning: B-hive’s technology also allows VMware to significantly advance its plans around automated, policy-based resource allocation, which it refers to as “remediation.” Herrod says the company definitely sees the combination of Conductor and VMware’s current suite of products allowing for this type of functionality, where the tool will be able to measure which parts of a complex application are keeping from peak performance and then adapt resources on the fly to address those problem spots. “It’s recognizing where the bottleneck is, and then using the nice, flexible features of virtualization to attack those,” Herrod said, adding that the ideal implementation of this technology essentially will be a “closed loop of performance monitoring and remediation.”

Forrester’s Staten agrees that the ability of B-hive’s tool to tell the load balancer what to do is “very valuable,” but notes that automation on this level is far beyond what most virtualization users would be able to digest at this point. “What we see in virtual environments is they’re going up the maturity curve, where we have a large number of customers who are starting to make the move from tactically trying it out to strategically implementing it,” he explained. “And they’re not yet, even in the strategically implementing it phase, ready to start automating it.”

The key, Staten believes, is for VMware to make its automation tools ready before users get to that point so they can start learning about and trusting the tools. B-hive was experiencing some early success, he said, but “putting this into [VMware] VirtualCenter will make it possible for a lot more customers to start learning about and getting familiar with automation and actually using it.” In addition, he says, the promise of added support and certification, as well as the presence of VMware’s large R&D team, will add a level of comfort for prospective users.

Can You Say “Cloud Computing?”

Pools of VMs … automated, application-centric resource allocation … this all is starting to sound a lot like cloud computing. VMware sees the connection as well, and Herrod acknowledges that with its ability to read and report and real SLAs for distributed applications, the company is, in many ways, building a cloud for the datacenter. “The way we’ve started to both think about things and hear from our customers is that the notion of a virtual infrastructure is very cloud-like,” he explained, “in the sense that you have applications that are moving around and you don’t necessarily know where they’re running, or care where they’re running, as long as they’re serving the right SLA and staying available.”

If you combine B-hive’s Conductor, VMware’s DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), VirtualCenter, and the billing mechanism you find for Vkernel, you have cobbled together everything you need for a dynamic cloud, says Staten. Problems might arise in that a lot of process you might be using B-hive’s technology to map in a cloud environment could cross virtual/physical boundaries, and “VMware has no credibility in managing anything that’s not in the VMware world.” There are other tools that cross that boundary more effectively, he added, but VMware now has a good platform from which to grow these capabilities. What is certain, though, is that the enterprise space definitely will be most comfortable with VMware as the hypervisor layer in an internal cloud infrastructure.

When it comes to the companies building clouds to deliver external services, however, Staten believes VMware’s presence in the market will have little effect, as “external services are being built around Xen because it’s cheap.”

XenServer Interoperability?

Speaking of XenServer, Staten believes the fact that B-hive’s technology supports Xen is one of the more interesting aspects of this acquisition. VMware has always said it wants to support other hypervisors when the time is right, noted Staten, and now they’re inheriting that capability. He isn’t so sure that Xen support will automatically disappear from Conductor just because VMware now owns it, and he believes that continuing to support Xen with this tool will show that they actually do plan to be a heterogeneous management tool, “which they’re absolutely not today.” Additionally, Staten said, VMware is positioned to be the virtualization company and “the center of your universe for managing your virtual world” if they actually expand Xen support within this and other products.

What about from Citrix’s perspective? “I think the big question here is: One to two years down the road, do they continue to support Xen with this product? That’s what I think the people who are using the Xen product actually should be watching,” said Staten. “And what is Citrix’s response? Do they start — right now — designing into their product the B-hive capabilities?” They probably already have been working on it, he added, but there wasn’t a sense of urgency until now because they could point customers to B-hive Networks.

Herrod didn’t comment on Citrix interoperability, but did say that the goal with this acquisition is for it to be very partner-friendly. VMware will be able to measure things it previously could not, he said, and it will provide that performance data through open APIs. Even traditional application performance companies will be able to grab the data and add it to their reporting tools. The plan is to open access to data so that both VMware and its partners can build on it, he said.

The Israeli Connection

Aside from a straight technology acquisition, though, VMware also sought out B-hive for strategic reasons. Herrod said VMware very much wants to be in Israel (where B-hive Networks is based) because there is a very strong R&D base there. Acquiring B-hive shows VMware is “doubling down” on a heavy R&D focus in the country, he added, and this will serve as the basis for an Israeli R&D center. It’s not just about what they have today, but about a world-class engineering team that will help in other areas, he said.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Supercomputer Research Reveals Star Cluster Born Outside Our Galaxy

July 11, 2020

The Milky Way is our galactic home, containing our solar system and continuing into a giant band of densely packed stars that stretches across clear night skies around the world – but, it turns out, not all of those st Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprised of Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia A100 GPUs, and featuri Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Xilinx Announces First Adaptive Computing Challenge

July 9, 2020

A new contest is challenging the computing world. Xilinx has announced the first Xilinx Adaptive Computing Challenge, a competition that will task developers and startups with finding creative workload acceleration solutions. Xilinx is running the Adaptive Computing Challenge in partnership with, a developing community... Read more…

By Staff report

Reviving Moore’s Law? LBNL Researchers See Promise in Heterostructure Oxides

July 9, 2020

The reality of Moore’s law’s decline is no longer doubted for good empirical reasons. That said, never say never. Recent work by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers suggests heterostructure oxides may b Read more…

By John Russell

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: 1) Industries of the Future (IotF), chaired be Dario Gil (d Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Best Practices for Running Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Workloads on AWS

The scalable nature and variable demand of CFD workloads makes them well-suited for a cloud computing environment. Many of the AWS instance types, such as the compute family instance types, are designed to include support for this type of workload.  Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Penguin Computing Brings Cascade Lake-AP to OCP Form Factor

July 7, 2020

Penguin Computing, a subsidiary of SMART Global Holdings, Inc., announced yesterday (July 6) a new Tundra server, Tundra AP, that is the first to implement the Intel Xeon Scalable 9200 series processors (codenamed Cascad Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Max Planck Society Begins Installation of Liquid-Cooled Supercomputer from Lenovo

July 9, 2020

Lenovo announced today that it is supplying a new high performance computer to the Max Planck Society, one of Germany's premier research organizations. Comprise Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

President’s Council Targets AI, Quantum, STEM; Recommends Spending Growth

July 9, 2020

Last week the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met (webinar) to review policy recommendations around three sub-committee reports: Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Q&A: HLRS’s Bastian Koller Tackles HPC and Industry in Germany and Europe

July 6, 2020

In this exclusive interview for HPCwire – sadly not face to face – Steve Conway, senior advisor for Hyperion Research, talks with Dr.-Ing Bastian Koller about the state of HPC and its collaboration with Industry in Europe. Koller is a familiar figure in HPC. He is the managing director at High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) and also serves... Read more…

By Steve Conway, Hyperion

OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

July 2, 2020

Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time Read more…

By John Russell

Hyperion Forecast – Headwinds in 2020 Won’t Stifle Cloud HPC Adoption or Arm’s Rise

June 30, 2020

The semiannual taking of HPC’s pulse by Hyperion Research – late fall at SC and early summer at ISC – is a much-watched indicator of things come. This yea Read more…

By John Russell

Racism and HPC: a Special Podcast

June 29, 2020

Promoting greater diversity in HPC is a much-discussed goal and ostensibly a long-sought goal in HPC. Yet it seems clear HPC is far from achieving this goal. Re Read more…

Top500 Trends: Movement on Top, but Record Low Turnover

June 25, 2020

The 55th installment of the Top500 list saw strong activity in the leadership segment with four new systems in the top ten and a crowning achievement from the f Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Turns Its Massive Crowdsourced Computer Network Against COVID-19

March 16, 2020

For gamers, fighting against a global crisis is usually pure fantasy – but now, it’s looking more like a reality. As supercomputers around the world spin up Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

[email protected] Rallies a Legion of Computers Against the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

Last week, we highlighted [email protected], a massive, crowdsourced computer network that has turned its resources against the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe – but [email protected] isn’t the only game in town. The internet is buzzing with crowdsourced computing... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DoE Expands on Role of COVID-19 Supercomputing Consortium

March 25, 2020

After announcing the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium on Sunday, the Department of Energy yesterday provided more details on its sco Read more…

By John Russell

Honeywell’s Big Bet on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing

April 7, 2020

Honeywell doesn’t spring to mind when thinking of quantum computing pioneers, but a decade ago the high-tech conglomerate better known for its control systems waded deliberately into the then calmer quantum computing (QC) waters. Fast forward to March when Honeywell announced plans to introduce an ion trap-based quantum computer whose ‘performance’ would... Read more…

By John Russell

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Global Supercomputing Is Mobilizing Against COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Tech has been taking some heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Global supply chains have been disrupted, virtually every major tech conference taking place over the next few months has been canceled... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers


10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

TACC Supercomputers Run Simulations Illuminating COVID-19, DNA Replication

March 19, 2020

As supercomputers around the world spin up to combat the coronavirus, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) is announcing results that may help to illumina Read more…

By Staff report

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This