Video interview with Nick Van Der Zweep, Virtualization Director at HP (Part 1/4)

In this first part of our lengthy video interview (4 parts) with Nick Van Der Zweep, Director for Virtualization at HP, we get introduced to how HP defines virtualization as flowing computing resources around and how this drops your costs and increases agility from desktop virtualization to data center virtualization and storage.

The interview was recorded at the HP headquarters in Cupertino, where Nick is often asked by financial analysts: ‘Is virtualization bad for your business?”. His clear answer is “NO”, as it unlocks the potential for businesses to do more and enables HP to sell a lot more robust configurations with a larger amount of condensed CPUs, much more memory, more I/O capability, etc.

Nick also shines a light on the future of virtualization, which will have (mostly free) hypervisors as a commodity. What really unlocks virtualization however is the management software and related automation capabilities. This is why HP bought and integrated a company like Opsware.

Apart from its top-range Integrity platform, with the HP-UX operating system, (deeply virtualized since 1999), HP is absolutely not entering the X86-market with a proprietary hypervisor. With products like Inside Dynamics, HP reaches into third party hypervisor software and manipulates those virtualization layers agnostically for multiple vendors. Nick is very happy with the excellent responsiveness from the X86 virtualization leaders and claims HP is the number one partner for VMware, Citrix and Microsoft.

Read the full transcript below.

0:12 Nick Van Der Zweep, welcome on Virtualization.com. You are the director for virtualizationat HP. We are at your Cupertino headquartersand you’ve got the longest job title I’ve come across in a while. I think that illustrates how disruptive this virtualization technology is to the industry. Could you tell us something more about that?

Van Der Zweep:  So virtualization for HP is all about pooling and sharing of resources so that the supply of resources can meet the demand from a business demand.  The idea is to move away from silos of resources, servers, networking, software, and storage, that is dedicated on an application by application basis, more to a pooled set of resources that can flow and ebb and flow to the application on demand.  You want to be able to do that automatically so that automatically when one application needs more resources, they automatically flow to it, although that’s scary for a large amount of IT organizations out there to have automatic reallocation of resources.  So at a minimum, you want to have the ability to just type in a command to reroute resources very, very quickly, instantaneously even, from one place to another.  So virtualization  to us is everything from desktop virtualization, to data center virtualization, storage, etc.  But ultimately, it’s all about flowing those resources around, dropping your costs, increasing your agility.

1:43 What types of virtualization does HP support?

Van Der Zweep:  Well, we’re investing heavily in all aspects of virtualization.  Like I said, desktop to data center, desktop virtualization, thin clients, storage virtualization, that started years ago and it’s back into a renaissance again with some of the capabilities that are out there.  Server raid virtualization absolutely top of mind, to folks as well, the software, software virtualization, management software around it.  So, all the technology aspects for sure and then services because this is new to a large amount of companies.  So services, plan for it, plan consolidation, data center transformations, implement the technologies, help people through cultural changes as they move to a shared environment as well. Because that’s another probably one of the biggest sticky factor as well is you’ve got to move to a mode where you’re sharing with your co-workers, your infrastructure instead of having dedicated and that’s a bit of a wall sometimes.

02:51 I’m interested to know if virtualization was expected to lower hardware sales because people are finally going to be better utilizing their hardware.  But it turns out that it’s actually quite good for hardware sales and HP is one of the ones that has benefited of this movement. Which elements does one need to get better performing hardware to do  virtualization the right way?

Van Der Zweep:  Yeah, classic question that we hear all the time. Usually the question is not from technical people, but from the financial analysts and goes “is this bad for your business”?  But it absolutely is good and this even goes back to ’98 when I was doing the consolidation program.  People would ask, is this bad for you business?  It isn’t.  It’s good, because it unlocks the potential for businesses to do more and because they are frustrated because they have a hundred projects to do but they can only afford a certain amount of infrastructure and a certain amount of projects so this really allows them to do a lot more.  And then from a net-net to HP we see a lot more robust configurations going out the door, so a larger amount of CPUs within it, much, much more memory within the systems, more I/O capability so there are very much richer systems that they can run many applications on top.

4:11 It’s more condensed, more cores.

Van Der Zweep:  More cores and more memory.  Memory is a big one; more I/O is a big one.  And then because virtualization causes a lot of sprawl as well—virtualization sprawl.  While you might have had a hundred servers before you install virtualization, you go to twenty servers but, pretty quickly, you’ve got 200 images of OSes running, so you need better management software to manage that ecosystem, where as you might have done it manually before.  You’ve got to put in management software, virtualization management and then automation comes into play.  Hence, things like our investment in automation, in buying companies like Opsware as well.

4:56  Where do you think virtualization is headed?

Van Der Zweep:  You know that’s an interesting one.  I think it’s going to move fast.  It’s been moving fast.  I don’t think it’s going to slow down.  To a large extent the hypervisors are going to commoditize.  People are seeing a lot of that moving on.

5:13 Prices are dropping or even free.

Van Der Zweep:  Prices are dropping, free open source, a lot of activity in that space.  Management software virtualization or management software automation is what really unlocks virtualization.  Those core hypervisors give some basic functionality but that software really unlocks the power to deliver, reduce cost, better agility, and high availability—those types of things.  That is where the value is showing up.  So we’re going to see a lot more of that.To be honest I don’t think there’s anybody in the industry that can really predict what it’s going to look like in five or six years because this thing is moving so fast that if anybody says, “I can tell you exactly where virtualization is going,” I just walk away, because it’s going to change dramatically again over the next number of years as well.

6:10  HP hasn’t built its own hypervisor.  You chose to offer your clients the choice between VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V.  You ship them with the hardware?

Van Der Zweep:  It’s actually a combination. We do have our own hypervisor for our Integrity platform, so on that platform we have an HP-UX operating system, the partitioning, hypervisor, management software, and we deeply virtualized back since 1999-2000.  In the X86 space, we absolutely are not entering the market with the hypervisor.  VMware is out there and Microsoft is out there with virtual server but Hyper-V is if it’s not today it’s soon to be generally available.Citrix, acquiring XenSource and the other Xen open source environments and Linux with KVM.  There is plenty of work going on in the hypervisor space.  We are trying to enable on top of that, add management to be on top that.  Our products like HP Insight Dynamics-VSE reach into and manipulate and use VMware’s software and manipulate that virtualization layer.

7:23:  How happy are you with the support of these partners?  VMware and Xen service or technology partners?

Van Der Zweep:  So they’re very responsive us and we’ve got a very good relationship with them.  We’re the number one partner of VMware in the industry, the number one partner of Microsoft in the industry, and the number one partner of Citrix in the industry.  So they tend to jump when we give them a call saying, “Hey we’re looking at integrated hypervisors or building management software around it.”  They know they get a huge addressable market by working very, very close with us.  So they’ve been very responsive.

About the author

I'm a Belgian based internet entrepreneur and the owner of Virtualization.com & Virtualisation.com. I failed at raising venture capital for my X86 virtualization venture in 1999 and moved on to found Casius.com, Virtualisers.be & Data.be... This is where I keep my finger on the Virtualization pulse.

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