Wednesday, February 25, 2009

VMWare's Vcloud API still hazy, Ambitions are clear

VMWare keeps continuing to make noise around it's forthcoming Vcloud API initiative. According to an announced yesterday VMware has developed a new API aimed at offering service providers with the ability to easily migrate between public and private VMWare based clouds. Like the previous announcement, details are sketchy other then to say "select group" of partners are using it. When asked to comment or share a copy of the Vcloud API, the companies involved indicated they we're covered by aNDA. Those companies include SAVVIS, SunGard, Telefonica, Telstra and Terremark.

According to my source, the Vcloud API will be released "publicly very shortly". Funny that same source said that back in November as well.

Actually what I found most was the quote VMware's Dan Chu, vice president of emerging products and markets made had the Network World website in the post he outlines "that one of the drivers for the API was the lack of standardisation for cloud computing interoperability." He goes on to say that the company was looking to build on its work with Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) on the open virtualisation format (OVF). "The industry needs to take a big step towards interoperability. We hope to work with the appropriate bodies to move forward to establish a common standard."

As for being interoperable, VMware is saying that its various management tools will only work on top of the VMware hypervisor. In other words, physical servers and servers virtualised by Microsoft, Citrix or any other vendor will not be compatible with the Vcloud initiative. Summarized, we're interoperable as long as it's VMWare.

According to the Network World website, VMware has already submitted a draft of its VMware vCloud API to enable consistent mobility, provisioning, management, and service assurance of applications running in internal and external clouds." (What!? Did I miss something here?)

What concerns me about this is that Winston Bumpus is both President of the DMTF as well as Director of Standards Architecture at VMware. This would seem to mean that Bumpus has the ability to submit draft API specifications directly to the DMTF without any outside public review. He in effect has the ability to to define cloud standards directly thus giving VMware a "somewhat" unfair advantage in terms of defining the future direction for standards compliant cloud platforms, VMWare based or otherwise. If the DMTF accepts the Vcloud API specification, that would mean VMware essentially owns the cloud API standard. A standard that no one other then a select group of VMWare's partners has ever actual had a chance to review.

I'll keep you updated as more details emerge.

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