VMware president and CEO Diane Green sees a datacentre operating system coming. I was a bit stunned by that statement because earlier in her presentation she'd emphatically denied that VMware was an operating system.
OK, I'll buy the "no OS here" argument for now, but one has to admit that VMware is much more than a hypervisor. And if VMware sees a datacentre operating system on its road map to the future, then an operating system is what VMware will surely become. Just as surely though, it will be a system unlike any we've seen before.
So, is there a datacentre fabric in your future? Speaking the next day at this event, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers preached the virtues of datacentre fabric on the horizon. What's that? Recall those early depictions of Ethernet as a cloud. Now imagine a datacentre cloud populated by servers, storage and Cisco's "intelligent" networking gear, all managed by Cisco and its partners - starting with VMware. As proof, Chambers ran a demo of Cisco's VFrame provisioning virtual machines under VMware. So adding the datacentre operating system and the intelligent datacentre fabric yields "The datacentre is the computer," I guess. How Scott McNealy-esque is all that?
VMware is without doubt in my mind the hottest IT property on the planet right now, and this event is really about virtualisation in all of its incarnations: server, network and storage. Teamed with Cisco's VFrame "platform," VMware could become the first datacentre operating system, but not before some doors are opened - starting with the door to the operations manager's office.
John Webster is the principal IT adviser at research firm Illuminata.