As technology giants rush to add products and services for the fast-growing part of the industry known as cloud computing, VMware Inc.—a Silicon Valley company that helped usher in the mania—is readying a new push of its own.

Cloud computing is an industry term for information that is stored remotely on equipment operated by outside specialists and accessed via the Internet.

At its annual conference this week, VMware on Tuesday will unveil technology aimed at both making it easier for businesses to move information into the cloud and to run their own data centers more efficiently.

Dubbed vCloud Director, VMware’s new software is aimed at letting businesses set up server-computer systems to run new programs more quickly than the days or weeks it often takes now.

The product also helps companies track in more detail the computing resources these programs consume.

It also gives businesses the ability determine on the fly whether a program will run on their own computers or “in the cloud.”

Running a data center “will become increasingly a business discussion,” and not a series of technical decisions, said Paul Maritz, VMware’s chief executive.

VMware’s announcement comes amid a greater push by tech companies into cloud computing. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. last week became locked in a public bidding war for once-obscure 3PAR Inc., which makes storage systems tuned for the setup.

And Microsoft Corp. in July announced a version of its Windows operating system designed specifically for the cloud.

“We think this is the future,” Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s server and tools business, said at the time.

Research company IDC predicts that spending on cloud computing will increase to $55.5 billion in 2014 from $16.5 billion in 2009 as businesses realize it can be cheaper to outsource their data centers than to build and manage their own.

The software’s popularity helped VMware’s revenue grow to $2 billion in 2009, from $1.3 billion in 2007. Its $32.6 billion market cap trails just a handful of software specialists, such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.

For VMware, the new products are part of an effort to expand its role in the industry. The Palo Alto, Calif., company went public in 2007 on the strength of its “virtualization” software, which makes it possible to run multiple programs on a single server computer.

VMware’s new cloud push brings it into competition with CA Inc., BMC Software Inc., International Business Machines Corp., and H-P, which all offer software for managing servers.

That’s a risk for VMware, which also has partnerships with these companies. But in the case of H-P, at least, the company will be part of the Tuesday announcement, along with Cisco Systems Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Some corporate information-technology departments said they see the promise of the cloud, but still have concerns about storing data on equipment operated by outside parties.

Airline-reservation company Sabre Holdings Corp., for instance, might consider a third-party host for a marketing website, but will run programs that contain customer or payment data on its own systems, said Glenn Harper, the company’s chief infrastructure architect.

Mr. Harper said the new VMware software, which Sabre is testing, allows the Southlake, Texas, company to operate its own servers the same way that external cloud providers do, making it cheaper and faster to get new programs up and running.

Write to Ben Worthen at ben.worthen@wsj.com

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703618504575459552428511236.html#ixzz0yDJbKhvy

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