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VMWare in further data centre land grab with vCloud update

Company pushing the concept of the software defined data centre

VMWare has updated a cloud virtualisation management suite it only only launched five weeks ago, as it continues to try and dominate the data centre management arena.

Last month at VMWorld in San Francisco the company launched the vCloud suite consisting of various module products designed to support organisations moving towards virtualised cloud data centre management, whether involving private or hybrid cloud environments for their applications, or the small number adopting the public cloud for important apps.

At the VMWorld conference in Barcelona this week - attended by 7,000 delegates - the company has now updated that suite and added a further module to improve application provisioning.

On the provisioning side vCloud Automation 5.1 is a "new" addition to the suite, and is joined by the updated vFabric Application Director 5.0. On the operations side the company has unveiled vCentre Operations Management 5.6, and the business management side of the equation has been updated with IT business management suite 7.5.

The new module however has come through acquisition. VMWare has recently completed three acquisitions totalling $2 billion, covering platform as a service through buying Cloud Foundry, automated service provisioning through acquiring DynamicOps, and software defined networking and security with the capture of Nicira.

The integration of the provisioning technology and its rebranding was confirmed by a tweet this morning from Mike Laverick, VMWare's senior cloud infrastructure evangelist, who said, "DynamicOps is now vCloud Automation 5.1."

However, much of the action around VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger's keynote to the conference this morning was linked to the Nicira acquisition. VMWare is pushing the concept of the software defined data centre - or SDDC. This mirrors the recent move towards the promotion of software defined networking - SDN - in major parts of the networking industry.

Nicira just happened to be an early entrant into that SDN arena, which saw open source moves to make it easier to manage routers and switches through free software instead of having to rely on expensive management systems from the networking equipment vendors themselves.

VMWare, while not giving away its software as an open source stack, wants to use the technology from Nicira to further virtualise the hardware elements in the data centre to support improved and potentially cheaper cloud computing - through including powerful hardware management software in its vCloud suite.

As Gelsinger said: "The software defined data centre sees everything virtualised and everything delivered as a service through automated data centre management software."

Gelsinger said the days of monolith mainframes, high performance computers and giant databases dominating data centre proceedings through proprietary management controls would have to come to an end when it came to cloud-based data centres.

Rick Jackson, VMWare chief marketing officer said this didn't mean VMWare trying to define an SDDC standard on its own, but "through collaboration and partnerships" with those monolith suppliers.

Jackson said: "Despite VMWare coming onto the scene the server market has grown, and SDDC will make the pie bigger for everyone by creating efficiency for the customers."

This might sound like an ideal opportunity for VMWare, and even its virtualisation rivals in Citrix and Microsoft, but when looking at SDN, the company with most to lose - Cisco - hasn't exactly fully adopted the calls for it to make SDN working very easy to adopt with its own switches and routers.

VMWare will have to work hard to convince the database, mainframe and high end computer makers that it means well.


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