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EMC World: VMware boss predicts 10,000 servers for every admin

22 May 2012
VMware's Paul Maritz

LAS VEGAS: Virtualisation giant VMware has set its sights on developing a management platform which would allow a single administrator to control as many as 10,000 servers.

Speaking at his EMC World keynote address, chief executive Paul Maritz told attendees that the explosion in data loads and the growth of virtualisation has made efficient server management tools more important than ever.

He said that at top web firms such as Google, efficient and automated management techniques have already driven the estimated ratio of system administrators to virtual servers as high as 1:1,000.

As data loads increase and the demand for new servers and increasingly sophisticated analytical systems grows, VMware believes that it will need to offer management tools which allow that ration to grow as high as 1:10,000.

"All of us are realising we are in a schizophrenic state," Maritz told delegates.

"The challenge is how we reconcile these contradictory trends to deliver efficiency on one hand but deliver new experiences on the other."

A large part of the solution, said Maritz, will come from automation. He said that customer research has shown that automated diagnostic platforms which use a "red light/green light" format to report errors have in many cases dramatically speeded up the process of spotting and resolving issues.

When the proper management platforms can be put into place, Maritz believes that the use of virtualisation technologies will expand even further.

The VMware boss suggested that eventually, such hosted platforms would allow for nearly all IT activity to be conducted on virtualised platforms, freeing financial and staffing resources for more ambitious development projects.

"This whole journey is to make infrastructure at the end of the day become invisible," he said.

"Infrastructure is an enabling technology, it is not what delivers the business value in and of itself."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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