Dave Greschler is Microsoft's go-to guy for virtualization -- server, desktop or application. As the company prepares the next version of its Hyper-V server virtualization, Greschler, director of integrated virtualization, talked to SearchCloudComputing.com about Microsoft's virtualization plans and products as they pertain to cloud.
Before joining Microsoft, Greschler co-founded Softricity, the developer of SoftGrid application virtualization products.
Q: I'm unclear what the underlying virtualization is in Azure. In an interview a few years ago, Microsoft cloud execs said Azure virtualization is not Hyper-V. So what is it?
Dave Greschler: That's a great question. Let's go back and start with virtualization, [which is] step one towards cloud. If you think, before virtualization, workloads and operating systems were tied to specific machines; virtualization decouples that operating system and application from that machine. The ability to move the operating system and its application to whatever machine in your data center is most appropriate for that process at that time.
That's an interesting separation. If you think of what cloud computing is, it's IT as a service. [You can] turn it on and off. [It's the] ability for operating systems and applications to be moved around and turned on and off much quicker versus being installed. It's that fundamental shift…
The way we see the evolution, the cloud continuum is once you virtualized, you've turned your workloads into services that can be turned on and off.
Step one: think about your data center as this place where you can be more agile with workload, and the term used is private cloud. We've created this services model versus an installed model.
That's one reason we've made Hyper-V freely available. Just like networking, when we put networking in our server room we created the opportunity to think beyond the networking stack and start doing things with that stack.
Virtualization is just a core technology that is kind of interesting but in itself doesn't give you that much, but it lets you think of the data center as private cloud.
Step two: we have a lot of hosting partners out there, and as they start using Hyper-V and System Center, they have a similar cloud-like model but with a different business model.
I've got my data center, but sometimes I have excess demand and I need to be more elastic. Because at the core the tech is the same at my hoster and my data center, I can move or expand workloads to the hoster site.
That's step two -- private cloud but on a location that's not necessarily the customer's own site. It's a tremendous opportunity for certain partners.
Then the conversation [becomes about] Azure and public, scale-out clouds -- Azure has 21 data centers worldwide. What we are working on, and Bob Muglia actually announced this at the Microsoft Management Summit, is the ability to be more elastic …to take workloads in your data center or in a hosted environment and move them into Azure.
We don't have the product today but it is absolutely planned…so over time you'll have infinite scalability.
Q: So is it based on Hyper-V?
DG: It'll be Hyper-V related…maybe not based. There's a lot going on under the covers…the demo [Muglia] actually showed was Operations Manager, a workload running in a data center, one in hosted environment and one in Azure and the ability to move between them. So we're building that.
So getting back to why are customers investing in Hyper-V -- it gives them this ability to virtualize not just today, but to build a foundation for seamlessly moving between cloud environments.
Q: So what is the time frame? Is it a year out, five years out?
DG: There were no dates from Muglia, but we're aggressively pursuing this vision. We understand the future is cloud but we're not throwing away the past to move to the future.