VMware, Nicira and a holistic view of virtualization

Virtualization is far more than merely creating virtual servers or virtual clients. It is a range of technology that spans the entire software stack. Over time, VMware has moved from a one trick pony to having a strong portfolio of virtualization technology. Only IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle have a stronger portfolio.

My ZDnet colleague, Larry Dignan, just posted a commentary describing VMware's recent move to acquire the network virtualization company Nicira. I'd like to take a moment to look at the story behind the story.

Virtualization is far more than merely creating virtual servers and virtual clients. It is a concept that ranges from enhancing access to systems, how applications run, how systems can be deployed to solve problems, how storage can be best utilized, how security can be improved and, yes, how networks fit into the picture. I've often written about the Kusnetzky Group model and how it is wise to consider all of the layers of the software stack rather than focusing on a single function in a single layer.

Over time, VMware has slowly moved from being a one-trick pony that offered virtual machine software to a full-service supplier of virtualization technology. The company still doesn't offer technology in each area of the Kusnetzky Group model, however.  At this time, only IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle either offer products in each category of virtualization.

This acquisition makes it is clear that VMware has come to understand that a totally virtualized environment requires technology that makes the network as dynamic and agile as virtual servers are in today's data center.

Although one could question the size of the investment, VMware has made a move in the right direction.


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