VMware has delved a little deeper into the technology that will drive its vSphere virtual datacentre operating system for cloud computing over the next year, detailing how it will improve the user experience for workers accessing virtual desktops.
Dr Stephen Herrod, VMware's chief technology officer, explained on the second day of the VMworld conference how the company will make its platform scale up, become more fault tolerant, and allow customers to migrate workloads from a datacentre to an external cloud provider.
At the bottom layer of the new vSphere is VMware's ESX virtualisation software, now referred to as vCompute. With recent updates, this is now more than powerful enough to handle any workload, according to Herrod, even large corporate databases.
"In 2009, we can now support up to eight virtual CPUs [per virtual machine] and more I/O bandwidth than before," he said, claiming that a virtual machine running Oracle has been measured at 24,000 transactions per second. " Performance is no longer an excuse for not virtualising an application."
Herrod added that VMware's platform can also be made greener using distributed power management, and by deploying the vMotion migration tool to minimise the resources being used outside peak periods of demand.
"We can vMotion virtual machines onto a smaller number of physical servers when there is not such demand, saving on power requirements," he said.
On the security side, Herrod explained that the VMsafe application programming interfaces that will enable security vendors to provide protection for virtual infrastructure will be delivered in vSphere this year.
For scalability, VMware's VI Client console will also be able to connect and control up to 10 vCenter servers, in what the company calls vCenter Server Linked Mode. The console will also gain a search tool to help administrators find the resource they are looking for.
The VI Client also plays a part in VMware's vCloud strategy. Herrod said that a planned vCenter vCloud plug-in coming this year will allow administrators to move workloads between the datacentre and an external cloud.
"It allows you to buy in extra resources from a cloud provider, and just drag-and-drop the relevant workload to the cloud," he said.
Jerry Chen, director of enterprise desktop platforms and solutions at VMware, explained how the company is working to provide a better experience for workers accessing virtual desktops running in the datacentre, via a partnership with Teradici and its PC-over-IP technology.
Chen said that remote users accessing via a wide area network will be able to run productivity applications, while those on a local area network will be able to use multiple screens up to 1,920 x 1,200 resolution.
"You will get a true PC experience with support for things like streaming audio, just like a regular PC," he said.
Chen added that graphics professionals will be able to access 3D applications using a thin client to access rack-mount workstations.
PC-over-IP is adaptive to the available bandwidth, and administrators will be able to cap how much network capacity it can use, according to Chen. "You can cap the bandwidth, and it will adjust the user experience accordingly," he said.
VMware View is set for "complete rollout by the end of 2009", according to Herrod.
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