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VMware blows vCloud across skies public and private

Project Redwood is go

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VMworld VMware has officially lifted the curtain on Project Redwood, its long-expected platform for building so-called infrastructure clouds. Now known as vCloud Director, the platform underpins Amazon EC2-like public clouds from VMware partners such as Verizon, but it's also a means of building similar services inside private data centers. The idea is to provide a single "hybrid" platform that lets businesses run applications across the public and the private.

"Our objective is to help companies achieve the benefits of hybrid clouds, where they're able to bring together — and stitch together — both private clouds and public clouds," John Gilmartin, VMware director of product marketing for private cloud products, tells The Register. "They can build clouds internally — so [they can] create cloud services inside the data center — but also be able to access public cloud services. And bridge between the two."

vCloud Director creates what VMware likes to call "virtual data centers" — abstracted pools of processing power, storage, and networking that can scale up as needed. "This is about pulling together server, storage, and network resources, presenting those as a service — an infrastructure service — that end users can access through self-service portals and programmatic interfaces," Gilmartin explains. "The end user can deploy these resources without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure."

Naturally, such clouds are built atop VMware's vSphere hypervisor and its vCenter management console, and they offer up the vCloud API that VMware submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) as a proposed standard this time last year.

You might think of vCloud as an alternative to private cloud platforms such Eucalyptus or Nimbula or Cloud.com. The difference is that whereas these services dovetail with Amazon's public cloud, VMware is partnering with third-party service providers to create any number of public clouds built on exactly the same platform.

Such public infrastructure services are provided through a VMware program dubbed VMware vCloud Datacenter Services. Initial partners include not only Verizon but Bluelock, Singtel, and Colt. "We're starting primarily with compute-oriented services, so being able to buy computing power on demand, essentially as you would be able to with an EC2," Gilmartin says.

In its labs, VMware has tested vCloud Director across 25 separate instances of its vCenter console, orchestrating more than 10,000 virtual machines, and Gilmartin says the design limits are "well beyond that." "This is built for a public cloud, so IT managers know it will scale well for their company's private clouds," he says.

In tandem with the vCloud Director platform, VMware offers a trio of products designed to provide security across these public and private clouds: Vmware vShield, VMware vShield App, and vShield Endpoint. These virtualize security services, including firewalls, VPNs, and load balancing. You can also take advantage of the company's professional services offering: vCloud Acceleration Professional Services. ®

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