Existing customer base the focus as VMware drives virtualization deeper

SAN FRANCISCOVMware sees a lot of opportunity for its channel partners to go deeper with its existing partner base, and is giving partners new solutions to help them drive virtualization even deeper into customer environments.

The virtualization vendor kicked off its annual VMworld user conference on Monday with a bevy of product announcements, and CEO Pat Gelsinger promising the vendor won’t quit until the data centre reaches 100 per cent virtualizaiton. Next step: the network.

It’s all about apps, said Gelsinger. He sees four major trends driving IT today – social, mobile, cloud and big data – all of which are putting pressure on existing infrastructure. “It means more apps, more people and more data, all putting more pressure on the infrastructure you deliver,” said Gelsinger.

VMware’s answer is its software-defined data centre architecture and its four legs: Compute, Storage, Networking and Automation. VMworld saw products announced in each of these areas, but perhaps the most prominent was networking, where VMware launched VMware NSX, an offering it calls the platform for network virtualization.

It’s designed to allow data centre operators to deliver networking and security virtually, viewing the physical network much the same a virtualized server environment is viewed: “a pool of transport capacity that can be consumed and re-purposed on demand.” Virtual networks can be created and provisioned on demand using the underlying physical infrastructure.

E-commerce giant eBay has been a beta user of the solution. Sri Shivananda, vice-president of platform and infrastructure with eBay, said it has simplified its physical network infrastructure and allowed it to be more agile when expanding existing business units or acquiring new companies.

“We didn’t have to make any changes to our physical infrastructure,” said Shivananda. “Network virtualization is no longer a wait and see technology. I think it’s here now. We need to take the lessons we learned from compute virtualization and apply them to network virtualization.”

Toni Adams, vice-president of global partner and alliance marketing with VMware, said the partner opportunity for partners around these announcements is really the existing VMware customer base.

“Our partners have already moved our customers onto the journey to the cloud. The journey to the software-defined data centre and the cloud starts with virtualization,” said Adams. “The opportunity for partners is around the ancillary products; how do I get more form my environment, more automation, more management.”

Among the other announcements at VMworld were VMware Virtual SAN, which leverages vSphere to pool and compute direct and attached storage, creating a “virtual data plane that clusters server disks and flash” creating shared storage for virtual machines.

On the cloud front, vCloud Suite 5.5 helps users create and operate vSphere-based private clouds. Also new is vSpehre with Operations Management 5.5, which gives managers capacity management and proactive monitoring capabilities.

“The fundamental business and consumer driver for the software-defined data centre is the need for velocity in the business,” said Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president, cloud infrastructure and management with VMware. “Application teams need to deliver customer innovation faster and faster, and that puts more pressure on data centre infrastructure. In the mobile cloud era, apps need to be deployed at the speed of business.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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