With that in mind, it begs the question: how far do VMware's storage aspirations extend? From virtual machine technology, it has expanded into virtual infrastructure — the next logical step would certainly seem be storage. Play its cards right and VMware could be uniquely positioned to provide an integrated virtualized data center, with pools of computing resources and pools of storage allocated to tasks automatically, managed from a single, all-powerful VMware management console.
Centralized management of the entire data center is certainly something that VMware wants to make possible, according to Lionel Cavalliere, senior product marketing at VMware. "One of the goals of VMware is optimizing the management of storage in a virtualized environment," he said.
But he categorically rules out the possibility of VMware moving into the storage space to create a total virtual environment. "We certainly want to give Virtual Center vision of storage so it can manage storage resources, but there will be no integration into a single product," he said. "What we intend to do is this: rather than being integrated, we will provide SDKs to enable our VI3 (Virtual Infrastructure 3) to report on storage. We will allow (storage) management tools to plug in."
And EMC won't get any preferential treatment, despite being VMware's parent company, Cavalliere said. "Our approach is to base the overall setup on a spirit of openness. When it comes to outside tools there is no reason for us to focus on any one vendor."
Although EMC storage executives might not agree, it would certainly seem to be a sensible approach from VMware's point of view to avoid being perceived as tying its virtualization products to any particular vendor's storage products. That, said Bowker, would be commercial suicide for the company.
To date, VMware has really only made relatively small forays into the storage space, in areas like backup (see Making Sense of VMware Storage Options and Backing Up on VMware) and storage migration. For example, the company recently announced its Storage VMotion product. The standard VMotion enables companies to move a working virtual machine from one physical server to another without interruption to operations. Cavalliere said VMware's customers have been demanding something similar for storage. Essentially, that's because virtual machines' disk storage is virtualized and stored elsewhere.
EMC had better watch out!
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