Tuesday, September 16, 2008

VMworld topic du jour: Cloud Computing

I have the pleasure of spending today and tomorrow at VMworld in Las Vegas. These conference are always an experience. I should have known VMworld wouldn't disappoint when, on my way into the conference, I got handed a card with a $1 poker chip on it from none other than Microsoft. The card reads: “Looking for your best bet? You won’t find it with VMware. www.vmwarecostswaytoomuch.com” Gotta love it.

The morning started off with a keynote speech from VMware’s new CEO, Paul Maritz. Apparently, VCs aren’t the only ones excited by the concept of cloud computing. In Maritz’s keynote speech this morning, he divided his presentation into three areas: cloud computing (for internal data center), cloud computing (federated external cloud), and more cloud computing (virtual desktops – okay, that’s a little bit of a stretch).

As much as I joke, Paul’s aspiration to build the next Windows looks like it will be based in part on riding the coat tails of the much-discussed cloud computing paradigm shift. VMware hopes to do this with its newly announced Virtual Datacenter OS. With VDC-OS, instead of having a legacy Windows/Linux/Unix OS in the data center, IT administrators can instead deploy VDC-OS. VDC-OS aggregates all the physical resources in the data center to create an internal, private cloud. An administrator can assign business policies to applications (e.g., Serve Level Agreements), and the data center will automatically provision new resources in order to maintain these SLAs.

Taking it one step further, one cool concept Paul demoed is the idea of leveraging a federated public cloud for peak loads. So if an application has a SLA that it is in danger of breaking, the VDC-OS will allow the infrastructure to “burst” to a paused vApp in the public cloud. I thought that was pretty nifty. A long way off, but a girl can dream.

Anyways, back to the conference. So many company booths, so little time.