SAN DIEGO – VMware is not a name that is synonymous with open source. That doesn’t mean the company doesn’t use or embrace open source for different parts of its business.
That’s the message coming from VMware CTO Steve Herrod, who spoke today at the OpenStack Summit. Herrod’s session was all about explaining how VMware is moving to support OpenStack, even though in some respects the technology is competitive with VMware’s offerings.
“A huge part of our company is driven by open source,” Herrod said.
Herrod stressed that VMware is not an open source company, but it’s not an entirely closed source company either.
At the core of VMware’s closed-source business is the company’s ubiquitous vSphere ESX hypervisor. Herrod noted that vSphere is used today by 400,000 companies. He estimated that there are more than 25 million virtual machines and a new VMware VM is born every 6 seconds.
“Today 60 percent of all applications are now running virutalized,” Herrod said. “So more apps than not don’t talk to the bare metal.”
VMware and OpenStack
Herrod candidly admitted that there are some areas of OpenStack that are competitive with VMware’s existing proprietary business. That said, he stressed that there are a lot of areas of alignment as well.
Herrod noted that VMware’s new Nicira division is a core part of the OpenStack community. Nicira was one of the leading drivers behind the OpenStack Quantum networking project, and VMware acquired Nicira earlier this year.
“The real reason we acquired Nicira is because of the work they have been doing [with] OpenStack,” Herrod said. “We’re 100 percent committed to continuing to work on Quantum.”
The big question, though, is what about vSphere. It’s a question that Herrod today answered in a definitive way for the first time publicly.
“If a customer is using OpenStack, we want them to be using vSphere,” Herrod stated. “We are now working on enhancing VMware vSphere for the OpenStack Nova compute stack.”
To date, Nova compute has offered support for KVM, Xen and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Herrod noted that customers have told him that the world isn’t a VMware-only stack.
“We have been getting a lot of feedback that it’s a world of hybrid combinations, and people want to have choice in how they can run things,” Herrod said.
Herrod admitted it’s still early in the planning stages and there is overlap between VMware’s vCloud director technology and what OpenStack does. That said, Herrod explained that the two products aim at satisfying different goals.
Herrod said that OpenStack is popular and it has an extensible model. On the other hand, vCloud has deep integration with data center technologies. Despite the differences, Herrod believes there can potentially be interoperability between the two technologies.
“The core message is that we want to provide choice [for customers],” Herrod said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.