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VMware To Deliver on Vision in 2009

LAS VEGAS, SEPT. 18 -- VMware announced a number of initiatives this week at VMworld, but gave few specifics on products and availability. The company has revealed, however, that all the technologies to implement that vision will be available by the end of next year.

Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's senior director of product marketing, said during a press conference Wednesday that all the pieces of the puzzle VMware is building "will be deliverables in 2009." Balkansky would not go further into predictions than that: "I won't say it will be the beginning, middle or end" of the year, he commented. But he confirmed that the future laid out by CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Stephen Herrod was not some vague politician's promise; instead, it will result in real products, and that they'll be here soon.

"This isn't a vision; this is a concrete roadmap of [products] that will be released in 2009," he said.

Those products look to be many, and varied. It covers a large range of ambitious undertakings involving infrastructure underpinnings like network virtualization, including switches and routers; cloud computing initiatives to enable the mobility of virtual machines (VMs) and data to and from local and remote datacenters, and tie those datacenters together with new security structures; and expanding the concept of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) beyond a user getting his desktop delivered remotely to a laptop or desktop, into that user being an endpoint for all his data, rather than a device being the endpoint.

Another product, that does not yet appear to have a deliverable timeframe, is a bare-metal hypervisor that will run on a laptop or desktop. Bare-metal hypervisors are common on servers, and many vendors, including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Virtual Iron, Parallels, Red Hat, Novell, Oracle and others offer them. Thus far, however, bare-metal hypervisors -- that is, hypervisors installed directly on hardware and existing at a level beneath the operating system -- have not been a feature on non-server computers.

Current PC and Mac hypervisors are Type II, or hosted, hypervisors. They sit on top of the OS, and pass information through it. Microsoft's Virtual PC, for instance, allows Windows XP or Windows Vista users to run Windows 98 on their computers. On the Mac side, a number of companies, including VMware (Fusion) and Parallels (Parallels for Mac) allow users to run XP, Vista or various flavors of Linux.

VMware demonstrated the bare-metal hypervisor during Herrod's keynote, but gave no further details about it.

Balkansky declined to give details costs or versions as well. When asked, for instance, whether VMware Fault Tolerance, which promises a "no downtime" solution for VMs through mirroring technology, will be part of a basic offering or part of a higher-level, more expensive option, he said that information is not being released -- but not for reasons of secrecy. "We're not providing packaging and pricing information because it hasn't been set yet," he said.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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