VMware, Citrix rain on Microsoft virtualization with cloud initiatives

Microsoft may be "talking the talk" of cloud computing, but VMware and Citrix are already "walking the walk," with new strategies and products launched today at the VMworld conference in Las Vegas.

VMWare and Citrix handily trumped Microsoft's recent virtualization announcements today by unveiling detailed and comprehensive "cloud" strategies and product families for creating virtualized data centers in both enterprise locations and outside hosting sites.

To support its vision for the Virtual DataCenter, VMware announced a new "OS for the data center" called the Virtual Data Center OS (VDC-OS). It's seen by the company as delivering three types of services: Infrastructure vServices, for aggregating servers, storage, and networks; Application vServers, for guaranteeing the right levels of availability, security, and scalabiliity to applications; and Cloud vServices; for federating computing capacity between on-premise and off-premise clouds.

The virtualization vendor also rolled out management capabilities for the new OS, such as vCenter ConfgControl and vCenter Capacity IQ, along with specific slates of infrastructure and application servers.

The Infrastucture vServices will include vStorage, with thin provisioning and linked clones, and a vNetwork Distributed Switch. The Application vServices will include fault tolerance and data recovery services for high availability computing, plus vApp and vStudio software for deploying and managing applications.

Also at VMworld, Citrix announced C3 Solution, a new data center virtualization product family encompassing the XenServer Cloud Edition infrastructure platform; Citrix NetScaler service delivery platform; Citrix Workflow Studio, for orchestration and workflow; and Citrix WANScaler, for bridging together hosted and enterprise-based services.

Citrix also released a tech preview of Citrix Workflow Studio. All of the other products in Citrix's new data center virtualization family are now available, according to a company statement.

During Microsoft's Hyper-V Server product launch last week, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner articulated a new strategy for supporting data center clouds running in a choice -- and often a mix -- of three environments: the customer premise, servers hosted by Microsoft partners, and servers hosted by Microsoft itself.

Yet although three new virtualization products -- Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5; a standalone edition of Microsoft Hyper-V Server; and the final release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 that supports Hyper-V -- are now slated to ship within the next month -- Microsoft has delayed the expected rollout of live migration for Hyper-V for another two years.

Microsoft is certainly "talking the talk" of cloud computing, but its rivals VMWare and Citrix seem to be a lot readier to "walk the walk," too.

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