Ubiquitous underpinnings and idyllic interfaces - The virtualization ecosystem of the (very near) future

by Andrew Kutz

(Sorry "by the end of the day" turned into four days. I was in rural Pennsylvania with no Internet!)

In 2006 I was taking a look at the then unreleased XenSource XenServer 3.0. The server was running on a Dell laptop on a filing cabinet next to my desk where the XenServer management interface was open on my desktop. My wife walked into our office, looked over my shoulder, and while pointing to the monitor on my desk asked, "Is that the Xen thing you said you were going to be reviewing?" I responded that the laptop next to me was running Xen, and that she was just looking at the management software.

The fact of the matter is that to most people, the software that manages virtualization *is* virtualization -- a fact that may save companies like VMware. See, the virtualization management interface is the most public facing component of the virtualization ecosystem, and two crucial parts of this ecosystem are quickly becoming commoditized: the hypervisor and the virtual machine (VM). The entire virtualization ecosystem is being redefined, and in a few years the companies that wish thrive in this market will need to focus on an entirely different set of technologies than they like to tout now.

This blog briefly discusses the commoditization of the different parts of the virtualization ecosystem and what areas companies like VMware will need to pay attention to in order to survive software giants like Microsoft and open source alternatives such as Xen and KVM.


pavan yara
2008-04-02 23:55:51
Do we need CIM model to get this done?
Andrew Kutz
2008-04-03 03:52:09
The CIM model is not required, and I am not sure that it would help all that much anyway.
Hal Rottenberg
2008-04-03 10:54:35
Awesome article. You had me hooked up until the last point, #4 about everything must be delivered by web. I have to disagree with you on that. I cannot tell you how much I loath the sacrifice of the rich and NATIVE client applications to the Web App Gods. And I love Gmail and Wordpress, and use them along with tons of other web apps--for my PERSONAL affairs.

Hmm, I'm having difficulty putting into words why I feel so strongly about this topic. But I really do, and many colleagues I have spoken to feel the same. For example, Altiris' management software previously (prior to their acquisition by Symantec) had native clients. Today their products use a web front-end. I've heard on more than one occasion that being cited as a reason to move away from the products.

You could argue that my bias against web clients for enterprise software is due to the fact that nobody has gotten it right yet, whereas Google and so forth very much know how to make the web interface work for consumer end-users.

Maybe I just don't like the thought of right-clicking on a virtual machine to see a "Search Google for EXCHATA01.COMPANY.COM" popup. Yes, using javascript you can catch those right-clicks, but that introduces its own problems.

I strongly support VMware continuing to progress their VI Client, which is available for Linux and Windows as a native appliaction. Sure, they have web interfaces for ESX, VC, and even the free VMware Server products. But the native clients (which /do/ use a web service to talk to the mgmt server) are just BETTER.

Andrew Kutz
2008-04-03 11:15:30
Hal, we just love to disagree, don't we : ) The fact that companies cannot seem to produce web management applications is not a mark against web applications, it is a sign that these companies need to hire better developers. It is perfectly possible to produce a web application that could manage, let's say VI3, that has all the functionality of the VI client.

> But the native clients (which /do/ use a web service to talk to the mgmt server) are just BETTER.

Only because software developers take the easy route and use the IDEs that produce native apps. We need an IDE that produces web applications. For example, Eclipse or NetBeans integrated with GWT.