Just one day into VMworld 2011 VMware has already subtly announced one of the revolutionary products in years. Quietly, humbly, and with little fanfare, VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz mentioned VMware’s foray into the database market with VMware’s vFabric Data Director (vDD).
VMware has taken a PostgreSQL database on Linux and packaged it as a self-service virtual appliance. They improved upon the traditional database by optimizing the software for virtualization and adding VMware-aware memory management. And VMware has simplified the deployment model by eliminating operating system and database configuration. Now databases can be configured and deployed with the simplicity of a few drop-down boxes.
This new database-as-a-service (DBaaS) model will allow VMware’s customers to remove administrators from the repetitive process of building database virtual machines. Because vDD uses the self-service provisioning model as vCloud Director, VMware’s admins can allow their database-hungry developers and database administrators (DBAs) to provision their own databases. And this occurs in the same process-driven framework that private clouds consumers expect.
I expect many people in the industry to ask, “Wait…did VMware just announce their intent to compete with Oracle and Microsoft SQL?!?”.
Let me answer simply: No.
VMware can no more expect to take Oracle’s market share in databases than Oracle can expect to take VMware’s in virtualization.
However, I know from years of experience that virtualized databases have multiplied throughout the enterprise faster than rabbits in the summertime. And the great majority of these databases are lightly loaded, barely used instances that consume precious administrator hours. VMware will allow these swarms of light databases, mostly owned during development activities, to be created, monitored, and decommissioned as easily as Gmail account.
I cannot wait to see vDD as it reaches the market. The high end of database deployments should remain undisrupted. But the lives of thousands of VMware administrators dealing with millions of database virtual machines are about to get a lot better.