Virtualization Is Key to Disaster Recovery, Says VMware's Greene

CEO Diane Greene touts virtualization as the cure to users' DR woes

September 12, 2007

3 Min Read
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SAN FRANCISCO -- VMworld -- Virtualization, as well as changing the landscape of the data center, is prompting users to rethink their disaster recovery strategies, according to VMware CEO Diane Greene.

"Disaster recovery has been a huge factor driving application of virtualization," she said during her keynote here today, explaining that, for many firms, disaster recovery has typically been complex to set up and almost impossible to test.

CIOs and IT managers are certainly wrestling with the demands of keeping systems up and running, and recent weather emergencies have underlined the need to establish disaster recovery sites as far as possible from their central data centers. (See Washington University Medical School, New Orleans Parish School Board, and People-Planning Critical to DR.)

The challenge for many firms is lack of hardware and disaster recovery expertise, according to Greene, who pointed to virtualization as a possible solution. Yesterday, for example, the vendor launched its Site Recovery Manager software, which aims to simplify and automate disaster recovery. (See VMware Intros Recovery Manager.)

"Now, any workload that goes into the virtual machine will have disaster recovery properties," said Greene, referring to Site Recovery Manager's ability to shift virtual machines from storage devices and servers. (See VMworld to Showcase Storage News.)Although VMware is keeping pricing for Site Recovery Manager under wraps, Greene explained how two resource-strapped colleges are already testing the software for cross-continent disaster recovery. Brunswick, Maine-based Bowdoin College has teamed up with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles to share data, according to Greene. "They keep each other's VMs up and running in case they have a disaster," she explained.

The VMware CEO also highlighted the changing nature of enterprise data centers during her keynote today, explaining that virtualization is finding its way into more and more pieces of hardware. (See Sun Micro Expands Storage Platform and EqualLogic Offers Automated DR.) "Virtualization is driving a corporate infrastructure refresh -- the data center is getting modernized," she said.

"Hardware is increasingly going to become virtualization enabled," explained the CEO, alluding to VMware's recent deal to embed its ESX Server 3i hypervisor in servers from Dell, IBM, and HP. "The first one to ship will come from Dell," said Greene during her keynote, explaining that the hypervisor will ship on Dell's 'Veso' appliance, which will be launched in November.

Despite Greene's attempts to showcase the benefits of virtualization, another keynote speaker, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, urged users not to get too carried away with the technology. "We see a set of virtualization challenges ahead," he said, highlighting QoS and security issues.

"Some of the customers have said to us that, until they can see QoS [in virtualization software], they can't use virtualization," he said, underlining the need to tie virtualization software to existing data center SLAs.The exec explained that there are also gaps to be plugged around virtual security. "As virtual machine migrations become popular, they become vulnerable," he said, warning that a "whole new set" of attacks will emerge focused on VMs.

Surprisingly, Greene did not mention the vendor's acquisition of desktop specialist Dunes during her keynote today, and she made only passing reference to VMware's recent headline-grabbing IPO. (See VMware Acquires Dunes, VMware IPO Nearly Doubles the Goal, VMware IPO: A Storage Celebration, and VMware Announces Over-Allotment.) "That IPO wasn't about VMware, it was about the virtualization industry," she said.

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • Dunes Technologies SA

  • Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • VMware Inc.

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