September 10, 2008

What Will VMworld Tell Us About the Cloud?

Derrick Harris

Next week should tell us quite a bit about how the cloud computing ecosystem might look in the years to come — at the hypervisor layer, at least.

The reason for this, of course, is that VMworld is taking place in Las Vegas next week. Event host VMware has been pretty adamant about its cloud computing designs over the past several months (e.g., its acquisition of B-hive Networks, naming Paul Maritz president and CEO, and rather in-depth discussion on the topic at Structure ’08) and rumor has it the company has its sights set on getting into the cloud provider fray with its own cloud infrastructure. And let’s not forget about the company’s portfolio of virtualization tools — like Distributed Resource Scheduler, VMotion VMware High Availability — that offer the levels of flexibility necessary to enable in-house clouds or utilities. Depending on what new products, updates or partnerships VMware announces next week, its cloud strategy could become much clearer.

Speaking of partnerships, let’s not forget about the slew of VMware technology partners that will be announcing new products. Cloud is hot, and you can bet it won’t be ignored by the skyrocketing population of virtualization tool and appliance vendors.

VMware also has competitors in the hypervisor space, and something tells me they won’t let VMware have all the spotlight. Sun announced some additional xVM products today, and Citrix has some big news of its own coming down the pike. Microsoft made some news earlier this week with its myriad Hyper-V partnerships, but it will be interesting to see if the newest big-time virtualization player takes advantage of next week’s virtualization focus to make an even bigger splash.

I like to complain about being sick of writing and talking about cloud computing, but the truth is that it’s the “what is” discussion that becomes tiresome. The paradigm of accessing resources as services — whatever you choose to call — isn’t going anywhere. The hypervisor being a big, if not underappreciated, part of these architectures, events like VMworld can’t help but generate excitement — even in jaded types like myself.

Not Just VMworld

For those not interested in the VMworld goings-on, I’ll be splitting my time next week at Tier1 Research’s Hosting Transformation Summit and The 451 Group’s ICE Summit. Cloud computing is on the agenda at both, but both also will provide insights into the greater on-demand world. The ICE Summit, especially, should provide a nice complement to VMworld, as it focuses on the higher-performance side of virtualization technologies.

I’ll be blogging from and writing about all three events, so keep an eye open.

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