VMware's Maritz: Innovation efforts will focus on IT as a service

Summary:Speaking at VMworld's opening keynote in San Francisco, VMware CEO Paul Maritz said innovation in the tech industry will revolve around IT as a service.

VMware on Tuesday stumped for its IT as a service vision, which revolves around virtualization, efficiency and automation. This IT vision also includes a hefty dose of hybrid data centers as cloud computing and traditional infrastructure, or so-called private clouds, meld together.

Speaking at VMworld's opening keynote in San Francisco, VMware CEO Paul Maritz said innovation in the tech industry will revolve around IT as a service. "We want to take our customers on a journey to operational efficiently," said Maritz. "We see the industry focusing on data center automation and management."

According to Maritz purchasing of infrastructure as well as the management of IT is in upheaval and VMware as well as others will have to adopt to an "as a service" approach.

To back that assertion up, VMware included a bevy of announcements that build on its vSphere cloud operating system. Remember the game here is to be the operating system of the cloud with a virtualized stack of applications to go with it. Maritz said that increasingly the role of the OS is being diminished. "The traditional operating system is becoming just one of several components," he said.

That's because "the stack" is being redefined, Maritz said. There's a new infrastructure at work here. There's a new application platform to work with. And don't forget the flood of new devices that are out there now - from the traditional PC to mobile devices and the new tablet category.

We're at a tipping point in virtualization, Maritz said. This year, he said, more than 10 million VMs will be deployed and the growth rate is at 28 percent. But this isn't just a VMWare thing, he said. The tides are turning and now, with more apps running on virtual infrastructures instead of physical infrastructures. And it will happen whether VMWare is behind it or not.

But this can't just be about building new infrastructures to run old apps. As part of the "new stack" that Maritz referenced, there's a new application platform, as well as an end user device access layer. In this scenario, the traditional operating system is just another piece of the puzzle.

The technology advancements are all well and good, but at the end of the day, it's hard to ignore the biggest player in this equation - money. One of the goals - and results - is a decrease of operating expenses. The rule of thumb, Maritz said, is that for every dollar spent on hardware, approximately $6-$8 are spent operating it. A virtual model significantly reduces those costs and frees the IT folks for other projects.

EMC, in announcing its Inonix Unified Infrastructure Manager 2.0 here today, said that the tool automates more than 60 operations that would normally be performed manually - a shift that frees resources and improves a company’s operating expenses.

That might sound scary to IT professionals who worry about job security, but EMC noted - and VMWare seemed to back up - that this is not just about reducing expenses (and employees) but rather shifting those resources. Someone in the IT department whose job has been automated by a move into virtualization can now focus on building new apps on the new layer - a valuable shift for not only the company but also that IT employee.

There were a bevy of VMware announcements along those lines. To wit:

  • The company launched its VMware vFabric, which is a cloud app platform that combines its Spring Java development framework and data management, app servers and load balancing. The product is targeted at heterogeneous IT shops.
  • VMware announced six new vCloud products. The headliner here is the vCloud Director, which is designed to model and deliver IT infrastructure services. The idea here is to create virtual data centers and computing pools. There were other security products such as vShield and vShield Edge as well as vCloud Datacenter Services, interoperable clouds.
  • Desktop virtualization was also a key theme. VMware pitched a vision where legacy desktops would be shed for more cloud delivery. The key theme was a "cloud experience for the enterprise." The big pitch here was VMware View 4.5. Desktop virtualization was a key theme on both the Citrix and VMware earnings conference calls.
  • VMware also said that its ThinApp 4.6 is now available. VMware ThinApp is designed to deploy Microsoft Windows 7 virtual desktop environments.
  • The company also outlined its consulting services and partnerships with the likes of Hewlett-Packard to create private clouds. Verizon will also include VMware's applications in its computing as a service lineup.

Larry Dignan contributed to this report.

Topics: Hardware, Virtualization, VMWare

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