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Monthly Archives: July 2010

What is the difference between virtualization and private cloud?

I promised in an earlier post to talk more about customer
practices in evolving to cloud computing. 
Specifically, one of the questions we get around cloud evolution is, “My
organization has adopted vSphere and virtualized the majority of our internal datacenter
resources.  Does this mean I have a
private cloud?”  There actually are some critical
differences between an environment with large amounts of virtualization and one
with a private cloud.

Many of you probably had a chance to travel during the
recent long weekend.  For those of you
who travel by air frequently, you’ve probably noticed that the time required to
check-in and get boarding passes has dramatically come down in the last ten
years.  I still remember the old days
when getting a boarding pass required standing in a long line with a paper
ticket.  The airlines initially took a lot of cost out of the process by implementing unified electronic ticketing
systems.  These electronic systems drove
a lot of consolidation and consistent management for the airlines.  But most of us as passengers barely felt any
impact from those internal operational efficiencies.

We felt the impact when the airlines finally introduced
self-check-in kiosks.  Self-check-in
kiosks did reduce costs for the airlines. 
But the real impact of self-check-in kiosks was to:

  • increase the number of passengers that a ticketing agent could process
  • decrease the amount of time that a passenger had to wait get what they needed

This is what cloud computing is all about. 

And if you don’t believe me, check out what Malaysia
Airlines just launched at Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station:  http://www.etravelblackboard.com/showarticle.asp?id=105995&nav=2

IT organizations have gained a lot of operational
efficiencies from virtualization. 
Consolidating infrastructure and unifying management has definitely
helped to reduce costs.  But have line of
business users really felt the impact yet? 
Perhaps they have felt some, but they will certainly feel the impact
when IT implements a private cloud.

Much like the self-check-in kiosks at the airport, a private

  • increases the number of provisioning requests
    that an IT admin can process
  • decreases the amount of time that a user has to
    wait to get what they need

A private cloud also offers additional economic
benefit.  In the airport example, when
customers know they have to wait a long time to be checked in, all they could
do is show up to the airport earlier. 
But in the IT world, when users realize there is a long cycle time for
IT provisioning, they start requesting more resources than they actually need
to hedge against the long provisioning cycle. 
By offering the promise of immediate self-service, through a VM catalog attached
to chargeback, business users are more likely to consume only what they need,
which itself will drive down overall costs.

So although extensive virtualization and private cloud both address
cost reduction, private cloud really is about something more.  It’s about getting business users to finally
feeling the impact of IT evolution.  It’s
about making the process of getting IT resources as easy as it is to get a
boarding pass at the airport.  In
following posts, I’ll talk more about specific customers who have done this
inside their environments. 


vSphere and vCenter: The Foundation of VMware’s Cloud Strategy

There are many exciting things about today’s announcements: a significant update to our flagship platform, VMware vSphere, the continued expansion of our vCenter management portfolio, a new licensing model to support management in virtualized and cloud environments, and some exciting new options for our SMB customers.  I’m certainly not suffering from a lack of topics for this blog post!

When we launched VMware vSphere 4 just over a year ago, we started talking about it in terms of a platform for cloud computing.  Over the months that have followed, we’ve articulated our definition of “Cloud", and have made great strides in executing on a strategy for delivering on the promise of cloud computing – a new model and approach for delivering IT.  The foundation of this strategy is to deliver the critical infrastructure and services required for enterprises and service providers to adopt this new model.  VMware vSphere 4.1 and the vCenter product family are cornerstone solutions for enterprise customers and service providers building private and public cloud environments. With today’s announcements there are so many new features and capabilities that advance these cornerstones that there is potential for the “bigger meaning” to get lost.  So, here is my take on how today’s news fits into VMware’s vision and strategy:  

VMware is bringing the benefits of cloud computing to internal datacenters by helping customers more efficiently and effectively manage existing applications while building the path to the private and public cloud.  This is what virtualization is all about. By enabling an evolutionary approach to cloud, VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter are the foundation for our cloud strategy, which includes:

  • Cloud Scale.  Scalability is absolutely critical to achieving the elasticity and economics of cloud computing. As such, we continue to enhance our platform to allow customers to scale to an unmatched number of VMs and hosts and meet the requirements of the most resource-intensive workloads and ensure that all business-critical applications can be safely virtualized.  Scalability is a major theme of today’s news, and we’re delivering some very dramatic leaps in this respect.

  • Cloud Elasticity. Over the past 12 years we’ve introduced and perfected the concept of “pooling” – grouping server compute and memory resources together so that they can be used and managed as a single “pool” of capacity.  We are extending these concepts to storage and networking so that vSphere becomes the orchestration layer for all three elements of the datacenter fabric.

  • Cloud QoS. Quality of service is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of cloud computing. But this is precisely what is needed in order to foster cloud adoption in the enterprise. By combining the vSphere resource pooling with granular quality of service guarantees we effectively marry cloud elasticity with enterprise-class quality of service.

  • Cloud Economics. The efficient pooling of resources also delivers on the good old VMware value proposition of saving customers a lot of money, which also happens to be one of the salient benefits of cloud computing.  VMware vSphere 4.1 continues to reduce the unit cost of computing.

  • Cloud Business Model. Cloud computing is equal parts technology transformation and business transformation. The new reality is that the virtual machine is the unit of value measurement in the cloud – the way customers do cost accounting and chargeback. Second, cloud computing is about better alignment of cost and usage.  With the per VM licensing model for the vCenter management products we are aligning cost and value .

So that is the big picture.  As far as the details… VMware vSphere 4.1 really builds upon the platform in three ways:  delivering “cloud scale” to enterprise and service provider customers (and the scalability enhancements in VMware vSphere 4.1 are not percentages, they are multiples – in some areas two to three times the scale of version 4); enabling QoS guarantees with an emphasis on storage and network resources; and further improving resource utilization – which is critical to driving down the unit cost of computing.

I’m not going to dive deep into all of the cool new stuff.  You can find that in the press releases in Steve Herrod’s blog and on our Web site. What I will say is this – VMware vSphere remains the only choice for building cloud infrastructures!

I am excited about today’s milestone and about what is still to come.  We are now less than two months away from VMworld, so stay tuned!