VMware Exec Outlines Virtual Vision

Server vendors, disaster recovery, and application management are high on the agenda UPDATED 5/12 11:40 AM

May 10, 2008

4 Min Read
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VMware is intent on expanding its embedded presence in servers, adding tools for disaster recovery and software testing, and upping the ante on security, according to Bogomil Balkansky, VMwares senior director of product marketing.

“I truly believe that in a few years’ time, every server will be virtualized,” Balkansky said in an interview with Byte and Switch today. "Virtualization is becoming an expected capability on servers." Soon, he believes, users will no longer have the hassle of buying and deploying hypervisors on x86 servers.

VMware, of course, has a vested interest in seeing this server/hypervisor combo come to fruition, effectively tying users to its core technology. The vendor has already clinched deals with a host of server manufacturers, including Dell, IBM, HP, and Fujitsu Siemens, in what has become something of an arms race with rival Citrix/XenSource.

Last week, Dell announced plans to embed VMware’s ESXi hypervisor on a number of its PowerEdge and blade servers. HP has a similar deal to put the technology on 10 of its x86 servers, and both IBM and Fujitsu Siemens are shipping ESXi on two servers apiece.

So far, Citrix's hypervisor is available embedded in servers from Dell, HP, Lenovo, and NEC.”All the market leaders are basically behind this with their high-volume server lines,” says Balkansky, adding that it could be a “lot sooner” than 10 years before hypervisors ship as standard on all servers.

The most notable absentee on anyone's hypervisor list is Sun, which has thrown $2 billion at its own xVM hypervisor, although Balkansky would not rule out the prospect of a deal with the server vendor.

”It’s a possibility,” he says. “I don’t see why they could not be in the mix -- we do support Sun Solaris as an OS.”

The exec was less forthcoming on the subject of VMware’s product roadmap during his interview today, although he did confirm that the next announcements will be in disaster recovery and managing how applications are released across virtual environments.

Although Balkansky skipped the details, it seems extremely likely that the next products on deck will be the Site Recovery Manager and Stage Manager offerings demo’d at the VMworld Europe event earlier this year.Site Recovery Manager, which integrates with EMC’s remote replication products, including RecoverPoint, MirrorView, and SRDF, creates a virtual version of a physical data center system or systems. These virtual versions can then be used for disaster recovery testing, removing the need for users to subject their production systems to DR tests.

Stage Manager aims to give users better control over the rollout of their applications by ensuring that virtual copies used for testing synchronize with the initial version of the application.

As expected, Site Recovery Manager and Stage Manager made their debut a couple of days after this interview was first published. Site Recovery Manager is priced at $1,750 per processor as a standalone product, or $3,995 as part of a two-processor bundle including Stage Manager and the vendor's Lifecycle Manager and Lab Manager software.

Stage Manager is also available as standalone software, priced at $1,295 per processor. Both Site Recovery Manager and Stage Manager will be available on May 19, with a slew of vendors, including 3Par, NetApp, and FalconStor, announcing support for Site Recovery Manager.

VMware is also seeling a third software bundle, called Site Recovery Manager Acceleration Kit, which includes VirtualCenter, Infrastructure Enterprise (for six processors), and Site Recovery Manager (for six processors) at $27,833.Despite the growing popularity of virtualization, some users have voiced concern that the technology could open up a new set of security risks, with hypervisors seen as particularly vulnerable.

“Any software is a potential target,” admits Balkansky, but he feels that ESXi is a smaller target than most hypervisors. “The embedded hypervisor is only 32 Mbytes, so it’s orders of magnitude smaller than competing hypervisors -- it basically reduces the surface attack area and how many things could be attacked.”

VMware also introduced its VMsafe technology, earlier this year, opening APIs in its software up to security vendors. “The APIs will enable the security ecosystem to create new types of product and protection engines that plug into the VMware Infrastructure platform."

Security vendors that have already signed up for VMsafe include McAfee, Symantec, and Check Point, according to Balkansky, although the exec could not say when the first VMsafe offerings will be available.

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  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP)

  • Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Fujitsu Siemens Computers

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: JAVA)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • VMware Inc.0

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