At this month’s New England VMware User Group meeting, an attendee told me about a conversation he’d had with an EMC higher-up. The topic turned to VMware, and the EMC executive said something like, “We thought it would be a good investment, but we had no idea it would turn into this!”
Back in 2003, when the acquisition happened, VMware was only four years old, and server virtualization was still a fringe technology. Just check out this CNET story on EMC’s VMware acquisition: It describes VMware as “a start-up that sells software to make servers more flexible” and doesn’t even mention the word “virtualization” until the fifth paragraph.
Now virtualization is one of the hottest IT markets, and VMware is its leader, with nearly $3 billion in annual revenue and a yearly conference that drew 14,000 people. So why would EMC want to get rid of VMware? Or why would VMware want to get rid of its core virtualization business?
That’s what two observers have suggested in recent blog posts.
Wendy Perilli, VMware’s former director of cloud computing product marketing, has joined Abiquo.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based cloud management startup announced the hire today. Perilli joined VMware in 2006, when the company acquired Akimbi Systems, where she was also a director of product marketing. In a press release, Abiquo said Perilli had “key responsibility” for moving VMware into the cloud market and developing Project Redwood, which eventually became vCloud Director.
(Perilli left VMware in December 2009 — eight months before the company released vCloud Director. She was most recently senior vice president of corporate marketing for OpTier.)
Abiquo, which pulled in a new round of venture capital money late last year, also announced the hiring of Azmir Mohamed, a senior director of product management at VMware, who oversaw VMware Server and VMware Data Recovery.
News of the VMware View iPad client was all the rage yesterday. The constant discussion got so bad at one point that I had to close my Twitter client and take a breather (but not before I posted a link to my own blog post on the product, of course).
Anyway, as things died down, I got to thinking: Isn’t VMware sort of contradicting itself by releasing this app? Since Paul Maritz became VMware CEO in 2008, one of his big talking points has been that the traditional operating system is on its way out. (And by “traditional operating system,” We defINitely DO knoW what he meanS.) But the whole point of the View iPad client is so users can access their corporate desktops — most of which run said traditional operating system — in new ways and in more places. Why is VMware saying Windows is dying on one hand, then helping to keep it alive on the other?
Because deep down, Maritz and his colleagues know the traditional operating system isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, cloud computing is going to make some pretty big changes to the data center, and end users are coming up with new, mobile ways to get their work done. But even in private clouds, VMs will be running Windows workloads. And even with the BYOPC model, users will be accessing Windows desktops.
The VMware View Client for iPad hit Apple’s App Store today.
The VMware View iPad client lets users access their virtual desktops on their tablets using PC-over-IP on either WiFi or 3G networks. It also has support for external keyboards and monitors, leading VMware to exclaim, “If you wanted to, you could realistically go iPad full time!” (Unless you’re on a plane, or, for AT&T users, in any major city. In fact, there are several cases where virtual desktops on mobile devices aren’t always practical.)
Here are some screenshots that show what the VMware View iPad client can do. (If you’re an Android user like me, a View client is in the works, but you’ll have to wait until later this year.)
The log-on screen is where you set up your remote connection:
VMware’s approach to management is still a problem for users.
Several attendees at yesterday’s New England VMware User Group meeting in Newport, R.I. said the company has too many management products that cost too much money, and they can’t afford to buy them all. That may change with the upcoming release of vCenter Operations, which will consolidate several monitoring and management tools into one suite.
But even then, users are worried about a tiered pricing and feature structure that could make it cost-prohibitive for them to take advantage of vCenter Operations’ advanced capabilities.
There are few technical barriers standing the way of virtualizing unified communications environments, but there also doesn’t seem to be much market interest in doing so at the moment.
Users today acknowledge that most communications servers, among the last bastions of virtualization-resistant applications, will probably work with virtualization. In fact, those who run aggressively “virtualization first” shops have also found that communications application vendors are amenable to virtualization, provided the user can demonstrate the app running virtualized in a environment.
According to Chris Rima, supervisor of infrastructure systems for a utility in the Southwest, that’s how his shop virtualized all but two of 14 servers associated with Avaya Inc.’s Contact Center Management Server (CCMS) and Witness Workforce Optimization apps run on VMware, saving the company close to $100,000.
The two servers not being virtualized are doing real-time call recording; Rima said his organization still might have pushed for virtualizing those servers as well, but the project schedule wouldn’t allow it. “We have no data showing that virtualization wouldn’t have worked on the speech servers,” he said.
Someone asked if vCenter Server would support other hypervisors like Microsoft is doing with Systems Center supporting ESX. Maritz’s answer was no; VMware is committed to focusing on only its own product because this is what VMware’s customers want.
In light of yesterday’s news, that last sentence is especially important. With XVP Manager, is VMware recognizing that its own product isn’t necessarily what customers always want?
Speculation that VMware will support Hyper-V has become reality.
A so-called “fling” that lets vCenter manage Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines (VMs) is now available for download on the VMware Labs website.
The tool, dubbed XVP Manager, installs as a vCenter management plugin, according to demo videos on the VMware website. The IP addresses and authentication of Hyper-V hosts can be directly input into the vCenter/XVP system using the Add Host wizard within vCenter.
Virtualization skills are in high demand, and their value is only going to increase.
Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Hot Lists Forecast report indicates that only 29 out of 225 certified skills will increase in value over the next six months — but four of the top 11 are virtualization certifications.
The VMware Certified Professional certification holds the top spot, followed by the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (virtualization version) at No. 3. The VMware Certified Design Expert and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (which includes a virtualization specialization) also made the top 11.
Even though server virtualization continues to evolve, it seems like antivirus software for virtual infrastructures is stuck in the past.
Traditionally, to protect against malware and viruses, antivirus agents must be placed in each virtual machine (VM). It’s no secret that this model is plagued with problems. Antivirus scans are resource-intensive, and they can cripple host performance if multiple VMs perform scans at the same time. But don’t blame antivirus vendors for this archaic protection method.
“It’s primarily the fault of VMware,” said Eric Siebert, senior systems administrator for Boston Market and regular TechTarget contributor. “It took awhile for VMware to develop a framework that looks inside the VM.”