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VMware and Citrix are separately taking server virtualization technology to the next level with the addition of high availability, storage-friendly features, and the ability to move server virtualization into the cloud.
Both vendors, rivals with each other and both looking over their shoulders at the recent release of Microsoft's Hyper-V technology, used Monday's opening of the VMworld 2008 conference to introduce major additions to their product lines.
The introductions were not unexpected given the need to keep ahead of the technology curve and ahead of Microsoft, said Scott Miller, president of Server Centric, a St. Louis-based solution provider specializing in virtualized infrastructures and partner to both VMware and Citrix.
"The hypervisor is continuing to evolve and adopt," Miller said. "The market is early."
The push to virtualize the cloud-based data center and harden the virtual environment shows a combination of maturity and market reaction on the part of the two vendors, Miller said.
"The technologies are both maturing," he said. "But it's a lot about reacting to the launch of Hyper-V. Microsoft doesn't have the ability to play in the cloud. So this separates them from Microsoft."
VMware is taking advantage of VMworld, which was originally founded by the company but which has since became a virtualization industry event, to introduce three major virtualization initiatives, said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of products and solutions for the company.
The first is VMware's Virtual Data Center OS, or VDC-OS, a roadmap for expanding VMware technology into a cloud-based virtual data center with a combination of virtual servers, storage, and networking, Raghuram said.
The VDC-OS is aimed both at helping companies build internal cloud computing infrastructures and at helping third-party service providers build external cloud computing infrastructures, Raghuram said.
It is being developed as many companies have adopted virtualization technologies to handle upwards of 50 percent of their infrastructures, he said.
"VDC-OS manages the resources of the virtual data center with the same efficiency as large physical data centers," he said. "Eventually, there will be more than just VMware offering this ability. This is the future of virtualization."
One of the foundations of VDC-OS is Application vServices, which provides availability, security, and scalability to customer applications in a virtual environment, Raghuram said.
Availability is provided by VMware Fault Tolerance, which ensures that an application suffers no downtime, he said. In the event of a hardware failure, an application resumes on different hardware at the same point it failed, with no downtime, he said. No clustering of customer hardware is required for this capability, he said.