The Troposphere

Jun 4 2010   12:57AM GMT

VMware wants the whole private cloud software stack- and it may get it

CarlBrooks Carl Brooks Profile: CarlBrooks

Details of VMware’s Project Redwood have been unearthed, and it’s a telling look at where VMware sees itself in the new era of cloud computing: in charge of everything.

While Redwood is still vapor as far as the public is concerned (and the basic VMware cloud technology, vCloud is still in pre-release at ver. 09) – it’s clear that VMware thinks it can capitalize on its position as the default virtualization platform for the enterprise and swoop in to become the private cloud platform of choice as enterprises increasing retool their data centers to look, and work, more like services like Rackspace and Amazon Web Services.

Some people are grumpy about the term private cloud, saying it’s just a data center modernized and automated to the hilt – let’s get that out of the way by noting that “private cloud” is a lot easier to say than “highly automated and fully managed self-provisioning server infrastructure data center system with integrated billing”. It’s also less annoying than “Infrastructure 3.0″, a term that can make normally calm operators scream like enraged pterodactyls. Private cloud it is.

Project Redwood, now known as the VMware Service Director, will lay over a VMware vSphere installation and allow users governed self-service usage via a web portal and an API, effectively obscuring both the data center hardware and the virtualization software VMware customers are used to operating. The goal is to automate resource management so that admins don’t have to and make distributing computing resources as easy and flexible as possible, while maintaining full control.

According to the presentation, vCloud Service Director will support three modes of resource management: “Allocation pools“, where users are given a ‘container’ of resources and allowed to create and use VMs anyway they like up to the limits of the CPU and storage they paid for; “Reservation pools“, which give users a set of resources they can increase or decrease by themselves and “Pay-per-VM” for single-instance purchasing.

–From the article

That’s the IT side taken care of- the other really significant concept is vApps- users can build, save and move application stacks en suite, and will be able to flow out of their private cloud into VMware-approved public cloud services– vCloud Express hosters like BlueLock and Terremark. So admins get control and visibility, and users get true scalability and self-service. That means there’s something for everyone in the enterprise.

Other tidbits from the document-VMware’s concept of cloud:

  • Cloud Computing according to VMware
    Lightweight entry/exit service acquisition model
    Consumption based pricing
    Accessible using standard internet protocols
    Elastic
    Improved economics due to shared infrastructure
    Massively more efficient to manage
  • And how Redwood is the answer:

  • Project Redwood Strategy
    High-Level: Enable broad deployment of
    compute clouds by:
    • Delivering a software solution enabling self-service
    access to compute infrastructure
    • Establishing the most compelling platform for
    internal and external clouds
    Approach
    • Allow enterprises to create fully-functional internal
    cloud infrastructure
    • Create a broad ecosystem of cloud providers to
    give enterprises choice
    • Provide identical interfaces between internal and
    external clouds to allow toolsets to operate
    identically with either
    • Enable developers on the cloud platform to create
    new applications within a cloud framework
  • Of course, there are products that can already do this and already well on the way to maturity- Abiquo springs to mind. You can do everything Redwood is shooting for today, if you’re so inclined. A titillating report says an audience that reportedly contained VMware engineers cheered during an Abiquo demo. The problem is you have to bring your own hypervisor- few want their YAVS(Yet Another Vendor Syndrome)infection complicated.

    Oracle, on the other hand, has reinvented itself as a “complete stack” of private cloud products, from the Sun iron on up, and IBM is happy to sell you iron that behaves like cloud, and so on.

    But VMware is betting brand loyalty, severe antipathy towards non-commodity hardware and inertia will catapult it past the upstarts and comfortably ahead of Microsoft, its real competition here, which is shooting for the same goal with Hyper-V and the Dynamic Data Center but is at least a year behind VMware here.

    Enterprises running clouds are inevitable, goes the thinking; virtualization is ideally suited to both cloud computing and the commoditized hardware market–provide the entire software stack needed to turn those servers and switches into compute clouds, and you’ll make out like a bandit, especially when the only serious competition to try and offer the same thing right now is Canonical on one extreme, and Oracle on the other.

    If you are running an enterprise data center, want drop-in, one-stop cloud computing, and your options are “free–from hippies” or “bend over“, VMware, who already makes your preferred hypervisor, will be a favored alternative. All they have to do is execute.

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