VMware spreads its Java development reach with vFabric
The crucial message to take away from the recent VMworld Europe 2012 conference in Barcelona is that VMware has software solutions for the broader management of virtualized environments that cover VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.
To use VMwareâ€™s terminology for the new-generation virtualized datacenter, the â€śsoftware-defined datacenterâ€ť is one where all aspects of IT infrastructure, including servers, network, and storage, is virtual and represents a step change in virtualization capability. The application platform tier within this strategy is vFabric and Cloud Foundry. vFabric is VMwareâ€™s branding for a host of related application-platform and management products, with some built on open source but extended to run optimally on virtualized environments. Noteworthy is vFabric Application Director 5.0, which introduces a new template technology called blueprints that standardizes pre-approved OS and middleware components for easy provisioning of applications on any cloud, spanning virtual and hybrid cloud infrastructures, including Amazon EC2. The new release extends support for Microsoft packaged applications, as well as custom applications including Java, .NET, and Ruby on Rails.
Cloud Foundry is VMwareâ€™s PaaS offering on three levels: an open-source project, a public PaaS service (at cloudfoundry.com, currently in beta), and a private cloud PaaS premium product (announced, but not yet available).
vFabric Suite offers Spring developers an optimum experience
VMware vFabric Suite offers a lightweight stack of middleware optimized for the Spring Framework and virtualized environments (for example, built into Cloud Foundry) with the tc Server Spring edition, which extends Apache Tomcat with a management glue, Elastic Memory for Java, GemFire caching, a web server, and vFabric Application Performance Manager. The Advanced edition adds vFabric Application Director, SQLFire in-memory distributed SQL database, Postgres vSphere-optimized RDBMS, and RabbitMQ message server. Java developers can run applications unchanged on virtual environments. However, just as they do on physical environments, they need to be aware of environmental settings to tune for best performance. Keeping this in mind, VMware has introduced optimizations for Java workloads on vSphere by enabling much more efficient memory management, something that would not have been possible on physical servers. For example, operations teams will often configure application servers to run with massive amounts of memory, but might only use a fraction of it because this memory is allocated inside the JVM and it is not easily possible to view actual usage. When running on vSphere, however, the vFabric Elastic Memory for Java tool will identify wasteful declaration of memory and shrink it to what is needed. To manage memory in an application server or database requires optimizing the memory page tables to increase memory consolidation. This is all done in the optimized vFabric Suite components.
Cloud Foundry takes the next step. It takes these independent components and creates a curated PaaS where a lot of the automation and scalability is done by the software. In Ovumâ€™s opinion, enterprise Java users have much to gain from the optimized and tuned middleware offered in vFabric. VMware has a strong message for Java developers, and while previously only a suggestion, this is now about to change as VMware reaches out to this community with solutions such as vFabric Application Director for provisioning applications on hybrid clouds.
VMware support for mobile applications is all about the back end
VMware takes the long view of a future of public clouds
VMwareâ€™s seat on the board of OpenStack, a competing cloud platform, heralds a long-term strategy around the management of virtualized environments. VMware earns twice as much from private cloud or data center virtualization as it does from public cloud customers, but the future is likely to be a gradual move toward greater public cloud usage. Of course, some applications can never fit into a public cloud scenario, whether this is because of national security concerns or just the logistics of integration with behind-the-firewall systems, but the scope for growth in public cloud usage is still massive.
VMware is preparing for this future with its move into the management of virtualized environments and the embracing of heterogeneous systems, with new CEO Pat Gelsinger taking the long view.
VMware does heterogeneity (Ovum, October 2012).
VMware begins a new phase in its evolution (Ovum, October 2012).
Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst, Software Solutions Group
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