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August 09, 2013

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Jeramiah Dooley

I think this idea of VMware as a storage provider has been out there for a while, good to see you taking the wraps off it, so to speak.

The challenge, as I see it, is how VMware chooses to go to market with these features. If they are built in and licensed as part of the hypervisor, I think it's a huge mistake. IMO, the time where a company can thrive on revenue driven by licensing a hypervisor are largely over, and continuing to tie higher order features to that platform only digs VMware in further to that model.

I would love to see VMware push these kinds of features and functions up the stack, making them universally available regardless of which commodity hypervisor is in use by the customer, in the same way that you rightly point out that VMware has always done on the hardware side.

Once VMware can innovate products across the entire virtualization ecosystem I think the possibilities are significant. I'll cross my fingers. :-)

Chuck Hollis

I can't argue with your logic here.

Hardware-oriented storage vendors are agnostic to operating system, hypervisor, application, etc. Software-oriented storage vendors will find that the same is required.

We'll see, won't we?

-- Chuck

Hans De Leenheer

You do bring up a good point Chuck! When should one be called a storage vendor? Is it as of the point that you have an operating system that provides some type of information retention services (wether or not it is network/block/object) to another system? Or is it as of the moment that you sell those services as a standalone product?

In the first case VSAN is a very good example of what would make VMware a storage vendor. In the second case however I have to agree wth Jeremiah that VMware is not there yet as every storage solution now is just a feature under the hypervisor umbrella.

Final point as short controverse: in both cases Microsoft is already there for years and should actually be considered market leader as storage vendor. I think Microsoft fileshares (or even iSCSI targets) run in over 90% of the infrastructures worldwide :)

Kelly Olivier

This whole blog post feels like a Nutanix commercial.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Kelly

Not even close, thanks ...

-- Chuck

Ravi

Chuck

Not too long ago (makes me old saying that, well, that's fine given I spent more than 20 years already in the industry), there was a company called "Sun Microsystems" and they were building servers/OS and they had the same ambitions of building server/storage and went and bought a company called StorageTek. The irony of this story is that even though they could have done miracles in the field, as they were a major force to reckon in the IT landscape, majority of the vendors still bought EMC, HDS, IBM storage and never let a single vendor decide their IT future. This made the vendors I list even stronger and they are still in business unlike Sun (we know how that story ended!).
Now, reading your article makes me cringe at the idea of a hypervisor vendor's ambition to provide storage and network.
Having a small virtual storage appliance for SMBs is one thing and providing enterprise storage is a whole different ball game (needless to say as you were at EMC not too long ago).
I wish you guys good luck on that front, but time will tell whether billions spent on those ambition will ever bring fruits.

David Freund

Regardless of which vendor's products are involved, the ability to soft-provision CPU/memory resources for storage-specific work is compelling. Imagine being able to dynamically allocate resources for accelerating or rebalancing I/O as easily as applications. Now imagine being able to redirect CPU horsepower from the same pool for either I/O or application workloads. The potential changes to storage operational norms, and economics, could be as dramatic as those we now take for granted in the server world.

Will there continue be a place for specialized iron in storage? Of course. But we're likely going to see specialized storage increasingly deployed in environments with unique physical requirements, unique workloads, or both. I'm already seeing that at my company. We may even see the old "80/20" rule apply to software-virtualized vs. hardware-based storage some day.

We have a long way to go, with some big technological hills to climb, before we can get to such Virtual Nirvana. But I'm glad to see VMware taking up the challenge. And issuing the same to the rest of us.

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Chuck Hollis


  • Chuck Hollis
    Chief Strategist, VMware SAS BU
    @chuckhollis

    Chuck has recently joined VMware in a new role, and is quite enthused!

    Previously, he was with EMC for 18 years, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Holliston, MA with his wife, three kids and four dogs when he's not travelling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.
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