Today at VMworld 2008 those industrious developers working for a small technology company you may or may not have heard of, VMware, announced their most ambitious product to date, the Virtual Data Center OS (VDC-OS). Equal to the developers who have worked on it, the ambition of VDC-OS is to turn all of the resources in the data center — compute, storage, network and applications — into a single, manageable, secure cloud. While VMware Infrastructure has made amazing strides towards becoming an integral part of the data center, compared to VDC-OS, it is a drop in the bucket. Let’s take a closer look at this new technology:
VDC-OS allows IT professionals to aggregate their datacenter resources through four technologies:
- Application vServices
- Infrastructure vServices
- Cloud vServices
- Management vServices
Application vServices is the list of services that VMware provides which enable greater application functionality and uptime. This list includes existing services such as VMotion, Storage VMotion and HA. Coming in 2009, however, VMware will introduce VMware Fault Tolerance, a new technology that will enable two VMs on separate ESX servers to be kept in lock and step with each other simply by the click of a button. In this way if the first VM goes offline, the second VM is ready to step in instantly and take over services ownership.
Infrastructure vServices consist of technologies that have to do with compute, storage and network. Today VMware already offers CPU virtualization assist, memory virtualization, memory sharing, and its own fully-fledged virtual switch. Tomorrow, however, VMware will offer even more. In 2009 VMware is going to offer fully paravirtualized storage drivers allowing one of the last remaining bottlenecks of virtualizing intense applications to be removed. These drivers will allow for up to 200,000 IOPs / second. Additionally, VMware will also be introducing its VMDirect technology that allows hardware to be accessed directly from VMs.
2009 will also finally see VMware doing what I have said they should do all along and partner with existing network companies such as Cisco to provide the ability for others to create third-party virtual switches. Very soon network administrators will be able to manage a VMware vSwitch using the IOS! Other networking improvements include Network vMotion, the ability to migrate network statistics along with the VM from server to server. The premier networking technology on the horizon though has to be the Distributed Switch which greatly simplifies the set up of ESX networking.
VMware is not resting on its laurels when it comes to storage either. Three new storage technologies are right around the corner: vStorage Thin Provisioning, vStorage Linked Clones, and vStorage APIs. The specifics on these technologies are not known at this time, but I will report more on them as the conference progresses. I can say that with the exception of the AIis, the first two technologies do exist currently in storage vendor hardware, so I am betting that VMware has taken these technologies and integrated them directly into VI.
Cloud vServices is an ecosystem developed by VMware and its partners to provide the utmost flexibility when it comes to data center computing. Cloud services is essentially a set of APIs and promises that will allow any VMware customer to leverage any other VMware customer’s infrastructure in case of the former’s inability to do so.
This cloud will create the opportunity for small to large data centers to outsource their needs to larger partners who also participate in the VMware Cloud.
Management vServices are new services that add to VMware’s ever-expanding list of management capabilities. Thankfully they reigned in some of their desire to be a Windows patch management system and concentrated on increasing management and monitoring at a more fundamental level. New technologies include:
- vCenter AppSpeed – Helps in diagnosing and fixing application issues
- VCSync – Allows multiple VC instances to be synchronized to bring about federated management scenarios
- ESX Baseline – Allows ESX servers to be held accountable to a provided system configuration baseline
- vCenter Orchestrator – Allows IT professionals to create their own custom management workflows (such as how to create a VM)
- vCenter Chargeback – Finally! A charging system built into VC!
… and more!
VMware has once again provided us with several great technologies that will hopefully increase the case for virtualization in the data center. While these technologies may be offered under the name VDC-OS, they are far from a single solution. VMware has had a problem before with product sprawl and the inability to manage all of their offerings. Will the same thing happen in 2009? Or will these products come together and become the backbone of the data center OS that VMware hopes them to be? Only time will tell!