VMware Forecasts Big Growth In Virtual Servers

About 3 percent of all new x86-based server workloads are now being handled on servers virtualized with software by Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware, with that figure expected to be as high as 5 percent by year-end, said VMware President Diane Greene.

"We can provide independence from underlying hardware and free choice of operating system to customers," Greene said.

Prior to opening the conference on Thursday, VMware brought a number of its solution providers in to explain its new programs and technologies.

One of them, Myron Bari, president of IPM, a New York-based solution provider, said VMware told its partners that it is less interested in expanding to thousands of solution providers than it is in helping its current partner work together to expand the market. "It's a good idea," he said.

Sponsored post

While IPM started with VMware only six months ago, it always focused its business on virtualization of clients and applications, and the VMware relationship will help it move towards virtualizing the data center, Bari said.

"As people experience the virtualization, everything will change dramatically," he said. "Look at wireless. Look at how people have changed since wireless became popular."

Greene told a crowd of over 1,600 attendees, including 260 solution providers, that her company's acquisition early this year by EMC has not affected how it works with customers or partners.

Instead, she said, EMC is like a "big brother" to VMware. "From (CEO) Joe Tucci and on down, there's a very clear understanding of the ecosystem. EMC's biggest competitors are our partners and our competition, singular, is a big EMC partner," Green told the audience, referring to VMware's partnerships with IBM, HP and Dell and to EMC's close ties to Microsoft.

Mendel Rosenblum, chief scientist of VMware and company co-founder, was even more optimistic in his predictions of the success of virtualization. He said he expects about 20 percent of new server deployments to be virtual servers by 2006, rising to 75 percent by 2010.

Rosenblum said VMware plans to ship software with the ability to work on 4-way SMP servers next year, and it can go further in terms of multi-processor capabilities if needed. The company has also embraced the move towards dual-core and multi-core processors and 64-bit computing, the latter of which has eased its move into working with 4-way SMP virtualization, he said.

Going forward, VMware's virtualization software will also include enhanced support for networking and storage as vendors of Fibre Channel, Ethernet and InfiniBand interface cards build VMware support into their products, said Rosenblum.

For example, he said, two virtual machines on a single processor currently share a single network interface card so that I/O operations are executed with a 15 percent overhead on processing power. However, he said, such cards will use processing offload engines to cut that overhead.

One good thing about VMware is the fact that it has a chief scientist, said IPM's Bari. "Other companies have one product, but they don't evolve," he said. "VMware has a good vision to separate the operating system from the hardware."

VMware is getting support from its partners. William Swope, vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group, said that his company is building technology into its processors to increase the robustness of virtualization, as well as to increase the security of virtual servers by allowing a protected server to run inside a non-protected server.

"As we better understand the loads (VMware) is creating, we can make sure we have the hardware to make it happen," he said.