It’s obvious VMware and virtualization are playing a huge role in cloud computing from the perspective of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). VMware’s lead Cloud Architect, Mike Dipetrillo, was gracious enough to provid some great insight into VMware’s strategy.
IaaS is where most managed service providers focusing on today for their cloud offerings. We discussed that developing self-service infrastructure as a service provider offering is tricky. The folks who have done infrastructure understand the glue that is needed for provisioning and allowing users control over their own environment. Giving users the ability to turn the knobs that control things takes a lot of work. Today that is VMware Lab Manager under the covers with some special glue for provisioning. Lab Manager has some challenges today because it wasn’t designed for a multi-tenant environment. Over the next year you’ll start to see products come out that address this for service providers. VMware is also heavily focused on delivering more APIs which allow companies like RightScale to hook into VMware to provision and manage virtual machines. VMware categorizes all of its cloud computing initiatives under the vCloud umbrella. This will include all of their cloud-focused products and APIs. The roadmap has developed rapidly over the last year or two.
Helping small, medium and large businesses build out their internal clouds has been a big focus as well. It needs to be easy to allow people to have the flexibility to move things between the internal and external cloud. One of the questions I get asked the most is “How can I move my applications out into the cloud?” It is a lot cheaper and easier to virtualize your existing software stack compared to rewriting things to fit on exotic platform as a service software at the moment.
Another thing we discussed is how enterprise companies don’t really like “elastic” or “usage-based” billing models. They actually prefer allocation-based where they billed in a consistent fashion. I’ve never given a lot of thought to this but it makes sense. A lot of companies do business the way they do because it works well for them.
Today VMware has over 500 service providers who are either in the process to getting a cloud offering off the ground or have one today. The team at VMware is small when compared to the rest of the organization but things have been progressing fast.
We discussed competition briefly but both agreed how things are changing rapidly. It was obvious that VMware is agressively ramping up its vCloud offering and the internal structure to go along with it. The benefit they have as a company is that they’re able to leverage so many of their existing products and IP.
Many thanks to Mike for sparing some time to discuss VMware’s vCloud initiative.