At the beginning of December 2008 virtualization.info broke the news about the upcoming entrance of Cisco in the x86 server market, revealing some details about a massive blade system codenamed California that will be powered by VMware technology (and probably by EMC storage).
Only two months later the rest of the worldwide press (including mainstream newspapers like the New York Times) confirmed the information.
Cisco (as well as VMware and EMC) stays mum about this project, besides the company’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior, admitted the future entrance in new markets with something called Unified Computing.
It’s even unclear when the three will announce the partnership (VMworld 2009?).
Despite that, we may have the first pieces of the puzzle. And it’s coming from EMC.
Yesterday in fact, Chad Sakac, Senior Director of VMware Strategic Alliance at EMC (and Top Blogger 2008 for virtualization.info), published one of his amazing posts highlighting the vision of a private cloud in a box:
Point 1: It presumes a 100% virtualized datacenter (at least as far as x86 workloads go). What can we do to make any x86 workload a candidate for a VM, and how do we help customers accelerate that transformation.
Point 2: Every Layer of the physical infrastructure (CPU, Memory, Network, Storage) need to be transparent. Transparency means “invisible”. This implies a lot, and implies that the glue in the middle, like a general purpose OS, needs to provide the “API models” for those hardware elements to be transparent.
Point 3: Every Layer of the physical infrastructure needs to be able to think/understand/respond to “VM objects” (or more accurately, groups of VMs that define applications and application SLAs). These groups of VMs that define the application become central, both as a way to get fast value (Virtual Appliances), and also for the infrastructure to support. Long and short – the Network and Storage need to be “VM-aware”.
Of course Sakac published the article as a personal view of the future, but his point of view is pretty reliable as, by a fortunate coincidence, he co-presented with Steve Herrod, CTO at VMware, and Ed Bugnion, CTO at Cisco, at the last VMworld 2008 (and will do again at the upcoming VMworld Europe 2009).
So, just in case, be sure to read the whole piece as it’s the best indicator publicly available today to understand what these three vendors will do in the near future.