As new vendors enter the x86 virtualization space, pioneer VMware, Inc. is moving on to the next frontier, cloud computing, said VMware President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Greene in her keynote address at the JP Morgan Technology Conference in Boston on May 21.
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“The dream of cloud computing is fast becoming reality,” she said.
With cloud computing, workloads are assigned to connections, software and services, which are accessed over a network of servers and connections in various locations, collectively known as “the cloud.” Using a thin client or other access point, like an iPhone or laptop, users can access the cloud for resources on demand.
Greene told the event attendees that the evolution of virtualization begins with users deploying VMs for testing and development, then easing into server consolidations for production environments. The third phase is resource aggregation, with entire data centers being virtualized, followed by automation of all of those aggregated workloads. The final “liberation” phase is cloud computing, Greene said.
“We now have competition going after the first two phases of virtualization evolution with 1.0 products, but we are very much in the aggregate, automate and liberate phase,” Greene said.
Other vendors have their sights set on cloud computing as well. IBM Corp. and Google announced plans to promote cloud computing in October by investing over $20 million in the hardware, software and services at universities, and Reuters reported this week that Microsoft expects companies will abandon their own in-house computer systems and shift to cloud computing as a less expensive alternative.
While VMware moves towards cloud computing, the company is in the thick of the automation phase and has released a number of virtualization automation products recently, including VMware Site Recovery Manager for Disaster Recovery, VMware Stage Manager and VMware Lifecycle Manager for lifecycle management and VMware Lab Manager, as well as product and service bundles.
The company is also focusing on desktop virtualization with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and has introduced services and products to move that inititive forward.
“Desktop virtualization does require a major change in the infrastructure, so it could be 2011 before we see desktop virtualization adoption in the millions. We do have hosted desktop virtualization customers with large deployments…but [adoption] will happen at a measured pace,” Greene said. “I do think someday everyone’s desktop will run in a virtual machine, whether it be on PCs or MACs, thin clients or phones. With the advantages from a security, manageability and flexibility standpoint, it will become mainstream.”
The cost of desktop virtualization is a barrier to adoption, but Greene said the price per user of desktop virtualization will come down steadily over the next few years. It is in the $800 per user range today, she said.