VMware: Get Ready for the New Infrastructure

The number of businesses moving toward virtualization is growing constantly, and together they will lead to an important change in the face of IT, according to to VMware President and CEO Paul Maritz.

Speaking at his company’s VMworld expo on Tuesday, Maritz told his audience that the focus will change from hardware efficiency to operational efficiency, that a new infrastructure will evolve, and that IT must figure out how this infrastructure will be consumed and paid for, among other things.

That will lead to new applications and new technologies for delivering these apps, Maritz said.

The Not-So-Real Real World

Enterprises are increasingly moving toward virtualization, Maritz said, and that heralds big changes.

“In 2009, IDC reported the number of server applications deployed on virtualized infrastructure exceeded the number of server applications deployed on physical servers,” Maritz told his audience. “The growth rate of virtual machines is 28 percent annually. This technology has touched the entire industry; it spans the globe.”

One of the implications of the move toward virtualization is that mediating access to and coordinating hardware is being taken over by a new layer of software VMware calls “extended virtualization.”

This layer will increasingly mediate access to other resources in the datacenter, such as storage and networking, Maritz said. It can be considered the new infrastructure, and it will be the new focus of innovation for the entire industry.

That innovation will focus on automation and management.

“We need to make it cheaper to operate this new infrastructure,” Maritz pointed out.

Let’s Get Logical

IT’s approach to security will also undergo changes.

“We need to make sure security goes beyond the traditional physical infrastructure and meets our needs going forward,” Maritz explained.

Traditionally, security was done by implementing checks at physical boundaries, but virtualization is now blurring these boundaries so we need checks at logical boundaries, Maritz pointed out.

For example, VMware is working on a user-centric approach in which users can download their virtual desktop onto any device at any time anywhere regardless of the form factor. It is working on a project code-named “Project Horizon” that is building the next generation of end-user computing.

All enterprise apps will have a single sign-on that will be good from any device, and VMware on Tuesday announced that it had purchased TriCipher, whose technology will enable single sign-on. TriCipher provides a unified authentication infrastructure that’s available on demand as the myOneLogin service or on premise as the TriCipher Armored Credential System.

The New Infrastructure’s Economics

Automation, management and enhanced security will feed into the private cloud, which Maritz described as “shorthand for the collective effect of these three streams of innovation.”

The private cloud will also need new constructs, one of which will be the virtual datacenter, Maritz said. This is “a collection of applications or services that shares some common set of policies,” he explained.

This virtual datacenter will “unlock new ways to purchase and utilize infrastructure,” thereby unleashing yet another stream of innovation focusing on how this infrastructure will be purchased, he pointed out.

“On whose books will the purchases be recorded?” Maritz asked. “Can you purchase infrastructure in a just-in-time fashion?”

This infrastructure will be standards-driven, which means enterprises will be able to move data freely between private and public clouds. That will let enterprises leverage their existing applications, Maritz said.

Taking Things to the Next Step

However, leveraging existing apps may not deliver the value business is looking for, Maritz remarked.

“Businesses are realizing they’re stuck with 20- or 30-year-old batch delivery code,” Maritz said. “That’s not going to meet new demands, which are going to require a new infrastructure and applications.”

A new set of technologies that will be useful for delivering new applications will emerge, and apps will be built differently, to be more real-time, among other things, Maritz predicted.

“We believe industry is beginning to respond to that around new open development frameworks and tools such as Spring and Ruby on Rails,” Maritz said. “So we believe it’s time to think about how the new open frameworks will be put on top of new infrastructure. This is the next focus of innovation.”

Two other key trends are happening in the cloud computing space, Maritz said. One is the emergence of other clouds, from providers such as Google and Amazon. The other is the spread of software as a service (SaaS) apps into business.

IT has to prepare for the latter, Maritz warned.

“Ultimately, IT is going to be left holding the bag,” Maritz warned. “It’s going to have to make sense out of a world where it has existing applications, new applications it’s writing and SaaS applications that are coming in for generic business needs, whether IT likes it or not.”

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