VMworld 2009: Hello Freedom!

VMworld 2009 in San Francisco
VMworld 2009 in San Francisco

According to Tod Nielsen, COO of VMware, 97% of all the Fortune 1000 companies use VMware. So, what does this mean? “There are 30 companies that still need to be convinced.” And this is where Nielsen is also relying on support from users, albeit tongue-in-cheek: Anyone who helps him win one of these 30 companies as a customer will have a free ticket to the next VMworld. Is that incentive enough, though? Last time, at least, the plan came together, and the number was reduced from 40 to the said 30.

Save resources, spread the load optimally

According to Nielsen, what VMware intends to do – not only with its customers, but also as its objective for the entire industry – is simply “save energy” on three scales – financial, human, and macroeconomic. “Saving financial energy” means cutting capital expenditure and operating expenses by optimizing data center operations, “saving human energy” involves reducing administration and operating effort, and “saving the Earth’s energy” entails saving energy and natural resources through lower consumption and optimal load distribution.

Applications on autopilot

VMware CEO Paul Maritz picks up on this thread and talks about the IT industry as a whole investing its energy in the wrong things. He says that more than 70% of IT expenditure serves only to maintain the status quo, and too little is invested in innovations and gaining competitive advantage. To change this, VMware wants to take companies on a “virtualization journey” with the goal of automating IT resources – regardless of where they come from – and operating them as efficiently as possible. “We must switch applications to autopilot and make IT more simple and faster,” Maritz explains.

How IT industry investing its energy
VMware: How the IT industry invests its energy

According to Maritz, the virtualization journey has three steps, and VMware makes the relevant products available to the market at each stage:

  • IT consolidation, data center optimization: The first step in classic virtualization is to save energy costs, reduce physical hardware, and optimally use the capacity of IT landscapes.
  • Cloud computing: creating internal and external clouds: Resource pools are created within the company and connected to the pools of other providers beyond the company’s own four walls. “It doesn’t matter where the resources are actually physically located,” Maritz says. “What matters is that they meet user requirements and are always available.”
  • Complete flexibility, platform as a service: According to Maritz, this flexibility can only be achieved if the applications themselves become less complex and a new type of middleware enables leaner applications. VMware wants to create such a needs-based development platform – known as a platform as a service (PaaS) – and integrate it with its own product family by acquiring the company SpringSource, as already announced.

To achieve its goals, VMware relies on close cooperation with partner companies, using a model that is similar to SAP’s. More than 1,000 service providers are already backing the VMware vCloud initiative and have developed certified solution enhancements that support the integration of different applications with internal and external clouds. As part of this initiative, VMware is making its vCloud interface (VMware vCloud API) openly available, enabling developers to use it for their applications. “Our API is designed to be an open standard, a cloud interface that helps both customers and providers,” Maritz concludes.

VMworld 2009 in San Francisco

VMware and around 200 partners and exhibitors will be demonstrating the latest from the world of virtualization and cloud computing until September 3. In more than 300 presentations and workshops, participants can enrich their knowledge, exchange experiences, and take a closer look at successful cloud projects.