A private cloud is still a giant computer for VMware

Who remembers the VMware’s marketing message in 2008? It was all about a giant computer where VMware provided the operating system, called Virtual Datacenter OS or VDC-OS.

The VDC-OS rapidly disappeared because it had too many similarities with the mainframe, and was slowly replaced by the ubiquitous private cloud computing concept we have today. Despite the name change, the idea of a giant computer remains.

Yesterday InformationWeek published an exclusive interview with the VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz. He provided interesting information, like the desire to abandon mainframes for some of the largest banks in the world:

“We’re starting to get—for the first time ever—some very significant companies saying, ‘We have decided in principle—we don’t know when, but we have decided—to move off of the mainframe.’ This is one of the world’s three largest banks telling us this,” Maritz said.

“They’re realizing that eventually they’re gonna have to rewrite their applications. And if you really want to go after true business value you can take some cost out, but to be more competitive, you’re going to have to change your applications. And in fact, the really forward-looking customers are saying that the long-term IT strategy is to take cost out of our infrastructure and reapply those funds to rewriting applications,” he said…

Maritz has no problems in admitting that private cloud computing is just a new way to call old stuff:

“So the other thing we’re doing down at the infrastructure layer is that we’re saying we can help you build this giant computer internally—and call it the ‘private cloud’ cause it sounds much more sexy—and we will increasingly allow you to organize your applications into what we call the virtual data centers. And virtual data centers are really just a management construct for applications that share some policy—so you can say, ‘Here are all my test and development apps,’ or ‘Here are my production apps’, etc., and the key point is the giant computer will take the policies associated with those apps and use it to schedule the underlying resources.

The VDC allows us to start lifting up that user interface—lifting up the contract that the giant computer exposes—and making it simpler over time. Now we still have to have management for the giant computer because getting it to the point where you can just load applications into the top of giant computer and it runs automatically forever—well, that’s a perfect world that you never get to…

“Things do go wrong, so you’ve got to have basically the console for the giant computer—or as our guys like to call it, ‘the VNOC’—and we’re building it on V-Center for this giant computer, and we’re trying to take all of our current scattered management tools and pull them together at the infrastructure layer around this notion of a common console or command center for the giant computer.”…