VMware To Reveal Details On Project Octopus Availability At VMworld

In an interview at solution provider GreenPages Cloudscape 2 Summit in Portsmouth, N.H., Bill Bliss, vice president of product management for VMware's end user computing division, said VMware will provide more "specifics around packaging and availability" for Project Octopus at VMworld, which is being held in San Francisco from Aug 26-30.

VMware will offer Project Octopus as a cloud service to compete with established foes like Dropbox and Box. But, VMware will also offer enterprise customers the option of running the cloud storage service on site, something Bliss described as a key differentiator for luring enterprise customers.

[Related: VMware Touts Virtual Workspace Security In 'Project Octopus' Demo ]

"We are focused right now on on-premise implementations," Bliss said of Project Octopus.

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Project Octopus started as a Zimbra project, and VMware partnered with EMC’s Mozy on the synchronization technology, said Bliss. Project Octopus is a code name, and the final product will carry a different label, he added.

Octopus is tied closely to VMware’s Horizon Application Manager, Bliss said, and the combination of the two products provides a virtual workspace for knowledge workers to access data and applications from any device including smartphones or tablet computers.

Horizon Application Manager, a classic three-tier Web application that VMware runs internally, will be packaged up as a virtual application -- referred to as a vApp in the VMware lexicon -- to mask the complexity of running Octopus as an on-premise data center solution, Bliss said.

"Ninety five percent of the complexity that you would normally see in deploying a three-tier Web application just goes away because you just deploy it as a vApp," he said. “Under the covers, there are a half-dozen or more virtual machines, but they are all wired up together to talk to each other. It is the type of thing that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago."

VMware has been working closely with service provider partners to get them up to speed on Project Octopus and Application Horizon, Bliss said. "We have been keeping them in the loop around our road map and our thoughts around packaging and availability [of Project Octopus]," he said.

Bliss said many IT departments have adopted the equivalent of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with Dropbox, looking the other way while also being cognizant of the security risks involved.

VMware first revealed Project Octopus at last year's VMworld show, and Bliss described the planned unveiling at this year's event as "daunting but exciting."

"VMworld happens every August like clockwork," he said. "Shipping software is a lot more complicated. It is always a reminder of how focused you have to be on execution whenever you make a public announcement on this stuff."