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Little did I know when I wrote this - Should we quietly look out for EMC to announce VMware Cloud Edition? - that one week later it would do just that with VMWare's vCloud initiative.

The vCloud initiative federates compute capacity on demand between virtual datacenters and cloud service providers. VMware is expanding its virtual infrastructure into a Virtual Datacenter Operating System (VDOS) with the application, infrastructure, management, and cloud services to run existing application loads as well as future application loads developed on any framework.

VMware says the core technology underpinning vCloud is a set of Cloud 'vServices' that provide the APIs and technologies to enable enterprise-class cloud computing as well as federate between on-premise and off-premise clouds, scaling the infrastructure needed for peak load, service level management or disaster recovery.

VMware has corralled support from more than 100 partners, including BT, Rackspace, SAVVIS, Sungard, T-Systems, and Verizon Busines, so that internal and external cloud data centre services can be used. I bet VMware CEO Paul Maritz enjoyed saying this: "Whether businesses want to expand their internal IT infrastructure into an internal cloud model or leverage off-premise compute capacity, the VMware platform would give them the flexibility and assurance to dial up and dial down the IT resources they need, when they need them, to run their businesses with high efficiency and agility." And so moving decisively on from the update code license expiry cock-up.

Cloud service providers have access to three bundles of services:

  • VMware Ready cloud services leverage the benefits of VMware Infrastructure to deliver flexible enterprise class cloud, hosting, and managed services. They're available now from service providers.
  • VMware Ready Optimized cloud services use the Cloud vServices API, vApp technology, and other VMware technologies to enable mobility, provisioning, management, and service assurance of applications running in on-premise datacenters and in off-premise clouds. They're under development with partners.
  • VMware Ready Integrated cloud services enable a common manageability approach between on-premise and external cloud environments as part of vCenter, VMware's management product line. Other integrated cloud service offerings will deliver cloud-optimized versions of VMware's business continuity, virtual appliance authoring, and other key capabilities. They're also under development with partners.

John Humphreys, an IDC research VP, said: "It's a smart move to leverage (VMware's) extensive partner ecosystem, rather than open datacenters of their own. This gives customers the advantage of a broad choice of locations and the ability to choose providers based on quality of services as applications and business services are no longer hard-wired with a single provider."

And here's an indication of the sorts of things that are coming:

  • vCenter will get an orchestration engine, vCenter Orchestrator, to enable the development of customized workflows that automate operational tasks through a drag and drop interface, much better than scripting.
  • Utility, pay-for-what-you-use infrastructure: VMware will automate tracking and chargeback of the costs associated with cloud computing services. vCenter Chargeback will enable automated tracking and chargeback of costs.

VMware crows that, unlike other compute clouds that require applications to be built specifically or rewritten to a single cloud computing platform, zillions of existing applications currently running on VMware Infrastructure can run in a VMware-based cloud without modification. Oh boy, what a sweet, sweet move.

This vCloud Initiative enables any application, from legacy Windows NT to modern day Ruby-on-Rails, to be deployed on-premise or off-premise as you wish. It leaves Microsoft a considerable distance behind. Ditto Citrix and Virtual Iron and Red Hat. The thing has obviously been in preparation for many months and is part of fired VMware CEO Diane Greene's legacy. Darn it, she and her crew were sharp as nails. It's a breath-taking vision. ®

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