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December 01, 2009



"First, we'll need a cloud operating system. That comes from VMware."

People try to get away from proprietary solutions. Why would they want to buy a new (and also very expensive) one?

"Our assumption is that -- over time -- most of the today's workloads running on these legacy environments end up on something like Windows or Linux, running on a modern hypervisor like VMware"

I'm a Unix Guy, close to the community. I see more and more Linux-Admins getting interested in OpenSolaris, because it's much more mature for Enterprise deployment (oh and they get ZFS :-).

If you want to scale up, Windows/Linux are a joke, only AIX and Solaris are viable. Solaris is the main reason why Oracle wants to buy Sun. Ask any serious Oracle DBA, about his preferred platform. And he will choose Solaris, in native mode. No VMWare stuff to sell here...

Saying that Solaris and AIX will die, is just ridiculous.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Brainy

First, we're going to have to get you a new handle. How about "Ornery"? Or "Cantankerous?"

People are gravitating towards VMware because it delivers the goods. Have you looked at the market adoption rates lately? That much is a fact, and not really up for discussion.

I, too, was a Unix Guy. Cut my teeth on Version 7 drivers before moving on to BSD, System III, System V and all of that. Most of my early jobs were on Motorola 68k platforms -- remember those?

UNIX celebrated its 40th birthday this year. That's a long run for any technology, wouldn't you agree? And you'd be surprised what you can get out of Windows/Linux these days -- not that it can do *everything*, but more than you probably think.

Technologies don't die, they just become less important over time. And, in our humble opinion, that includes proprietary RISC, and the UNIXes that run on them.

Everything must change. Including, hopefully, people like you.

-- Chuck


Why do you think, that your virtualization solution will be the only one? Oh and btw, VMWare is not even completely yours.

Other solutions are catching up fast. Virtualization is becoming a commodity, with many players.

Everyone is doing it. Sometimes even better and cheaper than you can.

And just as you say it about your own products, one size does not fit all.

What disqualifies you is, when you call UNIX proprietary. Heck SPARC CPUs and Solaris as an example are Open-sourced. That's what I call open.

ESX and x86 are proprietary. Both are closed technologies. The "old world" intelligent people want to escape from.

Chuck Hollis


Are you like this with other people, or is it just me?

So, let's start at the beginning.

Never, ever have I or anyone else ever claimed that there would "only be one" of anything -- this is true for processors, networks, operating systems databases, hypervisors or anything else.

It would be dumb for me to say something like that. It would be even dumber for you to claim that I said something like that.

Strike one.

One meaning of commodity is "no room left for differentiation". I would offer that's hardly the case today for hypervisors, and won't change in the forseeable future. If you don't see it, you're not using your imagination enough.

Strike two.

All the major UNIXes have proprietary extensions not found in other versions. Software (and hardware) can be both proprietary *and* open source at the same time. And, at some point, I need to introduce you to the concept of de-facto standards.

Strike three.

Unless you can bring something better to this discussion,

you're out.

-- Chuck



EMC has clearly done a great job in advancing the VCE story and expressing an opinion. While many of us are clearly fascinated by VMWare’s success to date, I’d like to pose a hypothetical question. Suppose an Enterprise EMC downtown Boston financial account comes to you and says, “Hey, love the overall story, but there is an element that concerns us. We have standardized on Citrix, or ABC technology. Everything else being equal, how can we implement your vision while using the Citrix Xen suite?” Is it binary, i.e., the VCE brand stands united, or, will there be some flexibility and genuine effort expended in working with customers to help them achieve their objective of private cloud computing?

Chuck Hollis


These are great questions, and they deserve a serious answer, so let me try?

First, customers always get to choose the technology they want to choose. We, nor anyone else, are in any position to dictate how people build their IT infrastructure.

Second, each of the VCE companies has to serve broad markets, which means we all have to work with all these choices at some level of interoperability, support, etc.

For example at EMC, that means that we have to have some good proficiency with Hyper-V, Citrix, et. al. -- even though we own VMware! Conversely, VMware partners extensively with EMC competitors -- it's part of their business model.

Specifically, you'd be surprised at just how much EMC does in Xen environments, given our stance with VMware.

Now, consider this. Imagine a big industry transition was coming along, and we as vendors wanted to "double down" in a few key areas to accelerate the transition and increase the value proposition.

Vendors can't do that with everyone, it's just not economically viable (even though the marketing literature might lead you to believe otherwise), so we pick a few lead technology vendors and invest heavily.

That's what VCE is all about -- do it the way we're suggesting, and we can do more, and do it faster and better, than other alternatives.

None of the existing alternatives go away -- they're still available, as always.

However, if you're allergic to one part of another of the technology stack (be it VMware, Cisco or EMC), we default back to the traditional mode of working with customers to create more tailored and customized solutions.

These customized solutions won't do everything that VCE solutions do. They might be a bit harder to design, implement and support. There may be some other compromises along the way. But, if you think about it, that's "business as usual" for IT organizations that want to assemble their own bespoke stacks, be it for a private cloud or anything else.

At the end of the day, customers are always right, and we as vendors have to work with their preferences. But, at the same, we as vendors should be able to make big bets on creating new forms of value as well.

And that's what you're seeing here.

Thanks for the questions -- it was a good one!

-- Chuck

Damir Lukic

Hi Chuck,

about this cloud story, I am thinking one other way. Why VMware doesn't provide a hypervisor for typical UNIX platforms like IBM POWER, Sun SPARC, intel Itanium(2), IBM zSeries? OK, we know that these platforms already have logical partitioning...

What I'd like to see is the platform independent application (let's say we have JAVA for this), and cloud consisting of different types of architectures (ARM for mobile phones, intel x86, IBM POWER, Sun SPARC, intel Itanium(2), IBM zSeries). With this approach, you don't need to worry about application's performance demands, because inside a cloud you can have few different tiers (like EMC does inside Symmetrix with SATA, FC and EFD drives) and application could simply travel from one architecture to another if it needs more performance.

Basically, you could have Facebook application on your mobile phone or netbook when on the road, and when you come home or go to work, have that application placed inside a cloud. Also, you could have application for telco billing as well inside this type of cloud.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Damir

You're on the right track. Hypervisors are intimately tied to their underlying processor architecture. For example, IBM would always do a better job virtualizing, say, AIX on PowerPC than any third-party vendor. It'd be an enormous expense, and not much of a market -- although there's always Linux-based Xen and KVM if you want.

Application and experience portability is much more intriguing and useful, in my opinion. Java is the most likely candidate, which explains VMware's most recent acquisition of SpringSource.

Virtualization of the mobile phone itself is an intriguing market going forward, one that VMware is investing in. The idea is that your smartphone could have multiple personalities, for example, one for work and one for personal life.

Thanks for the comment.

-- Chuck


Chuck, love the comprehensive vision you've sketched out here. It really seems like a compelling way to run and manage IT infrastructure in the future. However, we believe that much of the benefits of cloud computing - time to market, significant cost savings and ability to focus on business process comes from abstracting away the management of hw and sw infrastructure. That's precisely what higher level platforms as a service, e.g.,Force.com, or SaaS applications do. In your vision, you can manage and scale HW much more elegantly but you're still managing HW and all the SW on top of it, with all that that entails.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, 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 Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

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

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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