VMware has fleshed out its future strategy for delivering IT as a cloud-based service, announcing plans to transform its current virtualisation platform into a virtual datacentre operating system capable of meeting various service level requirements.
The company also intends to enable an ecosystem that will allow end users to choose a provider without fear of being locked into a proprietary solution.
VMware president and chief executive Paul Maritz said at the VMworld Europe 2009 conference in Cannes that the firm will overhaul the VMware infrastructure platform to better deliver a cloud architecture. The new version, to succeed the current VMware Infrastructure 3, will be called vSphere.
Maritz explained during his keynote address that the company's cloud vision is constructed on standard building blocks, such as Windows servers, melded together to act as a single giant computer.
"If you like, we are trying to build a software mainframe. This is no longer about the hypervisor, it's about a co-operating substrate creating a single giant computer," he said.
VSphere is designed to co-ordinate hardware resources at the bottom end of the stack, and have hooks for applications at the other end. This will allow it to be aware of hardware such as virtualisation accelerators and any storage management or network layers, while third parties can provide plug-ins for data protection and anti-virus tools.
As part of this, Maritz indicated that VMware is restructuring its vCenter management suite to the service level, rather than the hardware level.
"We need to move the focus to a higher level, one that is meaningful to the end customer, and work in terms of service levels. You specify the service level you want, and [vCenter] delivers it," he said.
The new vCenter will be "extensible and federable", according to Maritz, and will enable users to come to it like a catalogue to choose the services they want. "You can even see who is using what resources, and it can integrate with billing systems at the back end," he said.
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