Sunday, 14 August 2011

Competition to VMWare - There is choice

Its really interesting watching the emergence of new hypervisor, virtualisation and "cloud" tools and the way that other companies that are in this space have been dismissive of new tech / options open to end customers. When i here phrases such as “you dont need to worry about that as we already have”, and “what other choice do you have” from some of these bigger vendors - it can make my blood boil

Well... For the other choices - it seems we have lots emerging. Watching the likes of Hyper-V, Xen and KVM come flying through the ranks really should get VMWare quite concerned - and there is a number of reasons for this, the high level points being:

More management tools are becoming readily available
Customers are changing their development practices for virtualized environments
Maturity in DR and new style of application failover techniques will start removing the legacy fail-over / fail-back paradigm
Standards such as OpenStack / OpenStorage will start becoming prevalent
Open-source will win (look at what happened with proprietary unix models and Linux)

Management Tools - Yeah sure, VMWare have a tool for every day of the week - and some of it is pretty slick - but here is the problem... Large enterprises are now making investments in tools for enterprise orchestration, deployment and management - with these comes some pretty comprehensive frameworks and ability to do some smart stuff. If you have done a good job at the infrastructure layer, architected environments appropriately, some of these higher end tools such as vcloud director, vsphere etc become negated.

You start taking on products such as KVM / Xen / HyperV etc - lets buy enterprise class tools around them to manage appropriately. If you are using the correct processes, understand a common approach across your infrastructure your tool selection should not only answer your virtualisation approach but all of your platform deployment / management / orchestration needs.

You only need to take a look at IBM Cloudburst to see what is possible with non VMWare tool sets (and the fact that the likes of IBM are willing to support this config also!)

Open-Source will win! Has VMWare become the same as Solaris is to Unix (i.e. proprietary)? Not sure it has yet - however they will need to navigate there strategy carefully to ensure that this does not happen. You just need to look at market pressures and the commoditisiation / consumerisation of products to see what happens in this circumstance. In the same way that Linux is now way more prevalent than the lock-in Unix products, virtualisation tools will go the same way (Hell look at RedHat - they are shipping KVM within 6.1 - why wouldn't you use it if you can wrap the smart management stuff around it?)

Final thought / and tech that is worth following - OpenStack / OpenStorage - Follow these, and understand them... Are they fully matured yet - No!, Are they gonna get there and are they useable - HELL YES!!! These type of approaches will fundamentally change how infrastructure is architected and more importantly how the application layer is delivered. The smarts that VMWare have introduced / customers have used will start declining at some point. The smart way of working is to not to solve the worlds ills at the infrastructure layer, but solve them higher up in the stack at the application and orchestration layer.

Have a good one!

Cheers.



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