Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Article

VMware Announces OS for All Aspects of the Virtual Datacenter

Virtual Datacenter OS (VDC-OS): the next step in the evolution and maturation of virtualization

Scott Lowe's Blog

The way to really view VMware Virtual Datacenter OS (VDC-OS) is not as a “datacenter OS”, because it’s not intended to provide automation of non-virtual resources. Instead, look at VDC-OS as a framework. Within this framework are sets of services that can be extended or modified in very standardized ways (via APIs and SDKs) to provide different functionality for the applications running within that framework.

What VMware is working on is an OS for the virtual datacenter, not a virtual OS for the datacenter. The distinction is important. VDC-OS isn’t intended to be an OS for all aspects of the datacenter. It’s intended to be an OS for all aspects of the virtual datacenter.

When you think of an OS, you think of software that manages access to resources and provides services to applications. That’s what VMware is doing with VDC-OS: managing access to resources and providing services to applications, only this time the applications are workloads (virtual machines with an OS and a set of applications on that guest OS). VDC-OS will provide sets of services to these applications:

  • Application vServices, like availability, security, and scalability. These application vServices are provided via features like VMotion, Storage VMotion, VMware HA, VCB, and—in the future—stuff like VMware Fault Tolerance (FT), formerly known as Continuous Availability. See this page on VMware’s site for more examples.
  • Infrastructure vServices, like compute functionality (vCompute), networking connectivity (vNetwork), or storage features (vStorage). These vServices are manifested as features like VMware DRS, and will be extended in the future with things like vStorage Linked Clones, or 3rd party virtual switches, or VMDirectPath. The APIs are there for additional third party vServices to be added as well; one example would be network load balancing as an infrastructure vService.
  • Cloud vServices enable the interaction of on-premise infrastructure (the servers in your data center) to integrate with external cloud infrastructure. There are no concrete examples to really share here; in my opinion, this is the most nebulous part of this announcement. See this page for more information.
  • Finally, management vServices provide…well, management functionality for the virtual data center and the applications running in the virtual data center. More information is available here.

The way to really view VDC-OS is not as a “datacenter OS”, because it’s not intended to provide automation of non-virtual resources. Instead, look at VDC-OS as a framework. Within this framework are sets of services that can be extended or modified in very standardized ways (via APIs and SDKs) to provide different functionality for the applications running within that framework. Some third party ISV wants to write a different way of providing fault tolerance and failover? Fine, no problem, that can be plugged into the VDC-OS application vService framework for availability. I used the example earlier of a load balancer as an infrastructure vService. VMware announced the VMsafe APIs back at VMworld Europe, and the idea of VMsafe ties directly into API access for ISVs to develop new or different security-related application vServices that can be provided to all applications running within the VDC-OS, such as anti-virus or host-based intrustion detection/prevention.

I was a bit worried that this messaging wasn’t going to be received as clearly as I had hoped it would be, and the initial coverage I’m seeing so far confirms that many people are going to misread what VMware is trying to do. Hopefully, we can get the idea across to everyone so that they can begin to really understand where VMware is headed with this idea and why it is the next step in the evolution and maturation of virtualization.

New Features in VDC-OS

Now that I’ve gotten through the first part of discussing VMware’s VDC-OS announcement — making sure that the message and vision is a bit clearer — I can focus on some of the specifics contained within the announcement. In other words, I can talk about new features.

  • VMware Fault Tolerance (FT), formerly “Continuous Availability,” (demoed at VMworld 2007, described in my liveblog here) provides real-time VM mirroring between two different hosts. If a host fails, the mirrored VM on the secondary host picks up automatically with no disruption to the users. Marathon Technologies is working on similar functionality for Citrix XenServer, and both companies are expected to deliver next year. If VMware wants a leg up on the competition, they need to deliver this first.
  • The Distributed vSwitch enables administrators to define network settings at the cluster level, instead of on a host-by-host basis. This is huge for larger shops. Define your port group once, and you’re done.
  • As has been pointed out elsewhere, Cisco is announcing the first third-party vSwitch for VMware ESX. Alessandro points out rumors that it will run NX-OS and will be a distributed vSwitch. In any case, it will certainly bring hard-core Cisco shops closer to embracing VMware as it will give them end-to-end control over the networking environment, all the way down to the virtual port level within any given VMware ESX host.
  • vStorage Thin Provisioning will help on storage demands. I suspect this is just the use of thin provisioned VMDKs, but if anyone has any other information to share I’d love to hear it.
  • Similarly, vStorage Linked Clones just brings to VMware ESX a feature that VMware Workstation and VMware Lab Manager have had for a while.
  • VMware will finally enter the backup market with vCenter Data Recovery, which (to my understanding) will leverage VCB to provide a backup solution for the virtual infrastructure.

That’s quite an impressive list of features slated to be included in VDC-OS. What I’m also interested in seeing, though, is how the underlying components of VDC-OS — VMware ESX and VirtualCenter/vCenter — are going to change. I’ve seen rumors of 64-bit VMkernel and Console OS, and Duncan Epps points out linked vCenters (which is quite cool, might I add). I suppose that will be part of the “Tech Preview” sessions that are going on later this week at VMworld 2008.

More Stories By Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe is a senior engineer with ePlus, a local reseller/VAR in Raleigh, NC, where he specializes in server virtualization, storage, and related enterprise technologies. He has been in the IT field for more than 15 years, starting out with desktop support. Along the way, he has worked as an instructor, a technical trainer and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), systems administrator, IT manager, and as Chief Technology Officer for a small start-up.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of ...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...