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VMworld in the Cloud

The sixth annual VMworld user conference is underway this week in the "city by the bay," and this year's event was accompanied by the usual flurry of product announcements. My inbox is stuffed with vendor messages about new product and service offerings. But if I did a keyword search using "virtualization," I'd surface only about half of them. The keyword this year is "cloud."

It's not surprising that cloud computing would take center stage at this year's event. Competition in the virtualization space has been racing up the stack since the commoditization of the hypervisor.

"My chief concern with the whole cloud conversation is that people plunge into it headlong thinking about infrastructure," says Paul Muller, VP of HP's Software and Solutions organization. "We tend to get a little wrapped up in the how, when all we need to care about is the what. Whether it be virtualized or served up by mice on a treadmill, it doesn't matter, as long as I get my services." (Muller is one of those guys you actually want on a soap box.)

HP is making one of the splashier cloud announcements today (which I'll cover here later). But it won't be alone. The list of product releases at this year's show with "cloud" in the name is long. As the show's sponsor and still the market leader, VMware will take the spotlight, of course. Here are a few other vendors to look for that might not get the press they deserve:

- Analysts at Gartner may be predicting that VMWorld’s share of the cloud management market will decline from 100 percent, which it theoretically commanded until recently, to 65 percent by 2012 -- but this is still their show.

- HyTrust, a Mountain View, CA-based provider of access control and policy enforcement vendor for virtualized infrastructure, unveiled an out-of-the-box integration between the HyTrust Appliance and VMware's vCloud Director. Dubbed HyTrust Cloud Control, it's designed to bring strong authentication, role-based access control, security and visibility to VMware-based clouds.

- Egnyte, a provider of cloud file server solutions, announced its Enterprise Local Cloud (ELC) solution on VMware. The ELC is designed to be deployed as a virtual appliance on any VMware Virtual Machine (VM). It's a merging of virtualization and cloud computing, the company says, that allows organizations to deploy a hybrid cloud storage solution on existing infrastructure, including big iron equipment, low-cost commodity servers or a heterogeneous mixture of the two.

- Nimbula is a Menlo Park, CA-based provider of "cloud operating system technology" that was developed by the company's founders in Cape Town, South Africa. The company plans to launch Nimbula Director, which it describes as "a new class of cloud infrastructure and services system that uniquely combines the flexibility, scalability and operational efficiencies of the public cloud with the control, security and trust of today’s most advanced data centers." Think of it as Amazon EC2-like services behind the firewall.

- BlueLock, a provider of cloud hosting and managed IT services, is announcing a partnership with VMware at the show, and the release of a beta version of a new enterprise-class cloud service. The BlueLock plug-in is designed to enable VMware customers to view and manage private cloud environments and new public new enterprise-class cloud service resources in a single interface. Even more surprising: They're not based in Silicon Valley! (You'll find them in Indianapolis, IN.)

- Not every vendor is at the show to announce partnerships with VMware. Abiquo, for example, is focusing on virtual-to-virtual conversion, and citing studies in its PR about VMware losing cloud market share. The Redwood City, CA-based company is a provider of a hyper-visor agnostic, open-source platform for setting up public and private clouds and managing resource allocation. Not only does the company support all major hypervisors, but it supports conversion of virtual machines from one hypervisor to another in any combination.

Posted by John K. Waters on August 31, 2010