VMware pushes further into systems infrastructure

Virtualisation will extend further than ever before under the company's new vision, its chief executive says. By China Martens

Virtualisation software vendor VMware plans to extend its reach into additional systems-infrastructure areas, following the recent unveiling of its VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3).

Due to ship shortly, VI3 brings together new versions of VMware’s ESX Server and its VirtualCentre software and adds brand-new capabilities including distributed resource scheduling and consolidated backup.

VMware has applied its virtualisation technology to help simplify a number of different IT operations in the datacentre and it plans to do a lot more in this area, says Diane Greene, the company’s co-founder and president.

“Over the next few years, we’ll take all the systems infrastructure and put in virtual infrastructure and do more powerful things than anyone thought possible,” she said in a keynote address to attendees at VMware’s recent inagural analyst day in the US.

Other systems infrastructure features on VMware’s future roadmap include “reliability, availability, serviceability, security and responsiveness,” Greene says.

During her presentation, she particularly talked up software lifecycle management as an area that could benefit from the virtualisation approach to help companies as they first develop and later test new applications.

Greene doesn’t expect VMware to release these future capabilities in a suite like VI3, but rather more on a gradual basis over time.

Greene positioned the forthcoming release of VI3 as the start of a second phase for VMware, one where virtualisation is an established technology which users feel comfortable with.

“We spent the last eight and a half years evangelising virtualisation,” she says. “Now, it’s here to stay.”

Phase two also means facing competition from the likes of Microsoft and open source virtualisation player XenSource.

“In phase one, there were no alternatives, no shipping products,” Greene says. Looking ahead, VMware plans to issue performance benchmarks comparing its virtualisation software with that of its rivals, she says. VMware is an independent subsidiary of EMC.

Virtualisation is becoming one of the hot items of the year, with companies like Microsoft, IBM and Dell jumping on the bandwagon.

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