Sun's datacenter in a boxThis week at the VMworld Europe 2009 show, the topic of cloud computing was high on VMware's list of things to talk about--and talk it did. In the process of discussing its plans for virtualization and cloud computing, VMware made no qualms that it felt cloud computing solutions from both Microsoft and Google are not what would benefit customers in the long run.
According to VMware, big companies like Microsoft and Google, want to create a computing cloud, where they call all the shots, and the customer is confined within the operating parameters of the service provider. This, says VMware, creates potential price hikes down the line, that a customer can get locked into because of a business contract, or just to avoid the headache of moving big infrastructures elsewhere. Those dealing with large server volumes a day, can attest to the delicate balance of migration/maintenance versus time spent and money spent.
What VMware proposes in return is something it calls the virtual datacenter operating system, or VDC-OS for short. Essentially, VMware wants to create a virtual datacenter platform, running on more consolidated racks, but providing the full setup, deployment and management facilities as a real data center.
- being able to set up virtual racks
- being able to set up virtual servers
- being able to set up virtual network wiring and routing
VMware's goal is not only to virtualize servers, racks, and networking, but to virtualize an entire data center.
VMware is proposing--in a very big way--that companies, small or big, take complete control of a datacenter, essentially creating a private computing cloud. Now, this private virtual datacenter would still physically exist on real servers, but the utilization of real compute resources would be significantly more optimized. Instead of having a rack made up of 20 more more CPUs spending the majority of their time idling, customers can potentially reduce purchasing costs down to 10 CPUs, and utilize greater than 90 percent of system resources.
"The first step is to evolve the datacenter from components of complex infrastructure to a more dynamic, manageable internal cloud. Internal clouds have, at their foundation, a new substrate layer that pools all internal compute capacity – servers, storage, and networking capacity into an internal cloud. VMware announced its focus on creating this new layer as its VDC-OS Initiative and the company is expected to ship the first instantiation of it in 2009," says VMware
In a typical server environment, not all servers will be hit hard at all times. Depending on the company, a company intranet server for example, may be idling most of the time while the web and database server take the biggest hits. Meanwhile, the intranet server may have the same CPU as the database server. With virtualization, it's already possible to change resource loads to best utilize your hardware. But what if you could actually remove one virtual server from a virtual rack node, and deploy it into another rack responsible for a completely different department?
Utilizing a private cloud, companies have control over the majority of its resources and how things are used. Some of these technologies are already deployed in the real world. eBay for example, utilizes VMware's ESX Server to deploy thousands of virtual machines at its datacenters--large scale deployment truly on epic proportions.
Cloud computing has become a hot topic recently. Even AMD is proposing cloud computing based on its Fusion initiative, where gaming services will be hosted server side and streamed to the end user. AMD hopes not only to provide raw processing power that some gamers may not be able to afford, but also render game graphics in the cloud, passing the rasterized results to the player.