VMWorld 2008: VMware touts 'the cloud' at user conference

At chief executive Paul Maritz's first VMworld conference, the company previewed a broad set of technology designed to help enterprises become cloud computing providers to their employees.

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In addition to VDC-OS and vCloud, VMware discussed a few more technologies designed to increase data centre flexibility. Herrod said VMware will introduce live migration for storage, allowing virtual machines to be moved from one piece of storage to another without any downtime.

Herrod also promised improvements to VMware's High Availability software, which responds to hardware failures by automatically sending virtual machines from one box to another when the original host machine goes down.

"We want applications to be better than physical," Herrod said. "If that physical piece of hardware dies we seamlessly move over to a second physical machine."

Beyond the specific technology announcements, the sheer scope of VMworld demonstrated how important virtualisation is to the IT industry today, noted Yankee Group analyst Phil Hochmuth.

Seemingly every IT company had a product announcement to make at VMworld, and big players like HP, IBM, Cisco, Dell and Intel delivered keynote addresses.

"To me, this is like the new Interop," Hochmuth said. "Everyone wants to get into virtualisation, they want their brand or their company to be associated with virtualisation the way every technology company wanted their brand to be associated with the Internet seven years ago."

About 14,000 people attended VMworld, including representatives from Microsoft, who tried to rain on VMware's parade by distributing fake casino chips directing attendees to a web site titled "VMware costs way too much."

The Microsoft-hosted site says "Looking for your best bet? You won't find it with VMware," and provides several links to virtualisation pages on Microsoft.com.

Maritz, reflecting on his own experience as a Microsoft executive, said he's been guilty of conducting similar types of subversive marketing campaigns.

"That's the kind of thing you do when you're trying to get your foot in the door," he said. "These things are more for your own emotional satisfaction than anything else."

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