VMware moves up the stack with Data Director

At VMworld, the virtualisation specialist has released vFabric Data Director, a platform for managing and automating databases within the vSphere virtualised IT environment

VMware has introduced technology that allows enterprises to manage and automate databases in virtual software stacks.

vFabric Data Director, announced on Monday, is a software application for provisioning, automating and managing databases within a vSphere virtualised enterprise. VMware calls it a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) product.

"A lot of effort goes into managing and provisioning databases, so how can we start to make that much easier to do?" chief executive Paul Maritz asked in a keynote speech at VMworld on Monday. "vFabric Data Director makes it much easier to set up the managing and cloning of databases.

"You'll get much higher densities of databases per unit of infrastructure," he told the audience in Las Vegas.

Ultimately, VMware expects vFabric Data Director will be used to co-ordinate multiple databases and serve them to a company's cloud. Maritz hopes the tool will be widely used by database administrators as the software provides web-based management; fast database cloning; template creation; and role-based access control, among other features.

As with the majority of VMware's products, a prerequisite for using vFabric Data Director is for an organisation to virtualise via VMware's ESX or ESXi hypervisor and use its vSphere virtual management suite.

Maritz suggested vFabric Data Director could be a useful tool for testing and development environments, and he noted it can be extended to live production databases as well.

Postgres support

The first database it will support is vFabric Postgres, which is a VMware product analogous to, and compatible with, the open-source PostgreSQL database.

VMware has tweaked Postgres — and contributed the code back to the open-source PostgreSQL — so that it works better with virtual environments, according to Maritz.

A lot of effort goes into managing and provisioning databases, so how can we start to make that much easier to do?

– Paul Maritz, VMware

"If you don't get [memory management] properly co-ordinated in a virtualised world, you can get the database working against the virtualisation layer," he said. Maritz explained the changes VMware has made to Postgres are part of a "general technique" that he hoped to see other database vendors take up.

Support for other databases in vFabric Data Director is expected to roll out in time. Database specialist Sybase and EMC's Greenplum division voiced their support for the technology alongside the launch announcement.

vFabric Data Director is expected to be available for download in the third quarter at a price of around $600 (£365) per virtual machine. vFabric Postgres is available for free for non-production use and for $1,700 per virtual machine for production use. Postgres is also available for download from VMware's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) effort Cloud Foundry.

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