VMware is making progress on its goal to become a player in the big data market. Back in February, Richard McDougall, Application Infrastructure CTO and Principal Engineer in the Office of the CTO, blogged about the company’s plans for expansion into the big data market. Big data is definitely a growth area, but is it a smart investment for VMWare?
VMWare is striving to create a leading platform for “big, fast and flexible data in the cloud.” VMWare released Spring Hadoop to help developers create applications with Apache Hadoop and the Spring framework to. Then in April, VMware purchased of online analytics provider Cetas. In May, VMWare unveiled its new in-memory database, SQLFire.
VMware’s latest announcement may be the most significant to date. The company announced a new open source project that brings virtualization to Hadoop. The project, Serengeti, automates deployment and management of Apache Hadoop clusters on virtualized environments. It was already possible to run Hadoop in a virtualized environment, but there is a long list of well document limitations. Eliminating these issues and simplifying the deployment process for Hadoop is a big win. In addition to Serengeti, VMware revealed it is contributing new code to Apache Hadoop to make it virtualization aware.
Microsoft, VMWare’s main competitor in the virtualization space, has also made big investments in the big data. Azure supports Hadoop, and Microsoft plans to integrate Hadoop into SQL Server 2012. The company is also developing its own Windows optimized Hadoop distribution. However, there has been no indication that Microsoft has any plans to deliver a Hyoer-V solution for Hadoop. Red Hat, which competes with VMware in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) space, also released an in-memory database, JBoss Data Grid 6, this month.
Other than matching competitor’s efforts, why is VMware investing in big data? Big data is placing increased pressure on the data center; meeting the demands often requires new skills, more storage capacity and increasing processing power. VMware is the biggest player in virtualization. If VMware can help solve these issues, it strengthens its hold on the enterprise and provides a new revenue stream for VMware. VMware is only in the beginning stages of its big data strategy. We will be watching to see if VMware manages to extend market leadership beyond virtualization to big data.