Although VMware points that it began life as a desktop virtualisation company, it was not the right kind of desktop virtualisation. So far VMwares desktop software has not been about accessing virtual desktops across a wide-area network, but about using a single desktop box to run multiple OSs when developing cross-platform applications, or running Windows applications on Apple machines.
VMwares data centre vision is cloudy
The third front on which VMware said it will compete is in the cloud. Here VMware again shares Microsofts view of the future, by predicting that demand for cloud or online services will grow strongly.
VMwares vision of lights-out, fully automated data centres is far from new, and it is certainly not the company to claim that it is developing a data centre operating system. VMware predictions have been delivered by others under labels such as grid, autonomic or utility computing.
One of VMwares boldest promises is that businesses will be able to stretch applications across their own and service providers data centres when they need extra resources. VMware labelled this as a federated cloud, and said it will be enabled by virtualisation wrappers that can encompass entire multi-layer applications, and define their security, availability and performance requirements provided of course that they run on x86 or x64 processors.
All of this is some way distant from real-world use. However, it does highlight the huge benefits that virtualisation gives by making servers fluid, over and beyond mere consolidation. And for VMware, it was part of a pitch designed to project the company as a major force and not just the latest technology leader set to be steamrollered by Microsoft.
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