Virtualization is here to stay, but its breaking out from its cocoon of being constrained to servers and now spilling over to networks and storage. InformationWeek’s Varun Haran spoke to T Srinivasan, MD, VMware India on where virtualization is headed
What would you say is the next revolution about to happen in the data center today? If you look at the data center today, the three key physical components are servers, networks and storage. Beyond servers, network and storage are the new emerging areas in the virtualization marketplace today. We envisage that going forward, software is going to govern the data center as all components of the data center will be virtualized. Fundamentally, virtualization will take cost and complexity out of the system.
Can you shed some light on the significance of network and storage virtualization? While provisioning in server virtualization is now near immediate, it’s the provisioning of the auxiliary components that presents the bottleneck. It is only logical in such a scenario to look at network virtualization and storage virtualization to be able to leverage the true potential of a software-defined data center. Network virtualization ensures that all the tiers of the network L1 to L7 get virtualized. Storage virtualization is even more interesting, because while vendors sell external storage devices using the SAN and NAS model, there is a lot of storage that servers typically ship with. More often than not, this storage is not utilized properly. Storage virtualization can virtualize these internal drives into one cohesive piece, which will help customers save money and manage their data center better.
What benefits does virtualization of networks bring to the table? Typically, while the hardware components in the network are still required, virtualizing them helps overcome various limitations of the physical infrastructure. This makes the network more efficient by enabling universal connectivity within the SDN.
What are VMware’s priorities as far as growth is concerned? VMware has three big priorities: the software defined data center, the hybrid cloud and end-user computing. Let me touch a little on hybrid cloud. We find that customers want to be on the cloud. However, most customers continue to retain at least part of their data centers, even after moving to an external cloud. Customers are now looking at having private clouds within these data centers that can be leveraged by internal customers to provision services on their own. This includes the ability to drag and drop applications to the external cloud and move it back. We believe private clouds will be the norm and hybrid clouds will be a part of the data center, going forward.
What is VMware’s interest in end-user computing? VMware’s end-user computing foray comes in the form of Horizon workspace, which provides policy-based application aggregation in the cloud — whether it is an internal application hosted in the data center or an external SaaS application — in a secure manner. Horizon workspace also provides Dropbox functionality for internal collaboration. This goes beyond the thin client concept and virtualizes application provisioning within the organization as well. These apps can be streamed across platforms. So for instance a Windows app can be made available on an iPad in an emergency. This provisioning is not virtualized and it is actually a copy of the physical endpoint maintained centrally that can be accessed through other devices. I think the key takeaway here is that the device is no longer important — the user is; productivity is.
What does this mean for licensing when you talk about application provisioning? I don’t think asset management will get any more complicated, because the licenses will be determined by your access points, even if it’s provisioned through the private cloud. It might actually make it easier to manage your software assets, since the count is now kept centrally.