Infrastructure challenges in virtual datacenters

Posted by Staff   |   Friday, January 5th, 2007   |  

From his corporate blog, Chuck Hollis, Vice President of Technology Alliances at EMC, talks about issues preventing worldwide customers from deploying virtualization immediately and everywhere:

Challenge #1 – Flat Name Space for VMotion

One of the most powerful and sexy features in VMware ESX 3.0 is the advanced capabilities of VMotion, managed by DRS.

But this presents a new challenge to the storage infrastructure. You’re going to want the ability for every virtual server image to be able to see every storage object from every server.

One way of describing this is a flat name space.

Challenge #2 – Storage Resource Management

Many larger shops have already set up enterprise SRM for all of their servers and storage. How does VI3 fit in here? Yes, VI3 delivers some capabilities within its own VMware world, but what about everything else?

The starting point for enterprise-class SRM is discovery and visualization. What do I have, how does it connect, and how is it all related?

Challenge #3 – Backup and Recovery

Backup and recovery – never a pleasant topic in the physical server world – gets even more thorny and problematic in a virtual server world.

Why is this? Well, for one thing, you want the ability to backup individual virtual machines (and their respective virtual file systems) in addition to backing up entire ESX images and their respective files or disks.

Not only that, but there’s a ton of duplicated data sitting around in VMware environments. Lots of replicated copies of binaries, guest OSes and so on.

Challenge #4 – Managing End-To-End Service Delivery

I’ve made the case before that we don’t live in a world anymore where one user uses one application. What the user sees is a logical combination of application services that run on an increasingly complex IT infrastructure stack. And IT finds it harder and harder to drive back to a root cause when there’s a performance or outage that users are noticing…

He also talks about business relationship between EMC and acquired VMware:

Even though VMware is owned by EMC, you’d never know it. For good reasons, it’s run as a completely separate company.

This is good because we believe an operating environment like VMware needs to be free-standing and independent to meet customer needs and be successful. This also has a bit of downside for EMC customers that would like to have “one face” to EMC, which we can’t do in this regard.

Specifically, EMC doesn’t sell VMware. VMware sells VMware.

This independence goes both ways. Customers don’t want one choice to dictate another.

So EMC can’t limit itself to one and only one server virtualization technology. We’re actively working with Xen, Sun’s Zones, IBM’s LPARs, Microsoft’s eventual offering, etc. etc. etc…

Read the whole article at source. Highly recommended.

In my opinion the point around EMC-VMware relationship is not if EMC has to embed or not its subsidiary in a single corporate image (drastically reducing or zeroing chances to make deals with competitors).

The point is: why VMware is not taking a serious advantage of EMC owned technologies after two years already from acquisition?

As far as I know the first useful technology among ones EMC owns, Legato NetWorker backup solution, appears in integration with VMware products for the first time with Infrastructure 3 and Consolidated Backup. And it seems a very limited integration.

Will VMware use just acquired Rainfinity load balancing technology or RSA encryption and authentication technologies within another two years?

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