VMware, the world's leading provider of virtualization platforms, has this week announced Serengeti, an open source project that will allow SMBs and other organizations to enjoy simple deployment and management of Hadoop in both cloud and virtual computer ecosystems. Hadoop is a tool that helps organizations deal with 'big data' needs. The move is widely regarded as VMware positioning itself to be the ideal provider of virtualization needs for organizations running Hadoop, but it will also help fulfill VMware's eventual goal of being an important player when it comes to integrating big data into cloud environments.
VMware's interest in big data has been noted for some time now. Earlier in 2012, the company acquired Cetas, a startup specializing in analytics for big data. By enabling IT support personnel to deploy Serengeti onto a virtual cloud, VMware is hoping to persuade more businesses of the value of big data analytics. While Hadoop has been hailed for bringing a big data tool within reach of more organizations, its main disadvantage has widely been seen as its failure to support a virtualized environment.
VMware hopes to change all this. According to Fausto Ibarra, who serves VMware as one of its senior director for project management: "Hadoop is design for a physical infrastructure, not a virtual one. If you want to deploy a cluster of 20 nodes, you need to procure 20 physical servers. Then you basically have to install it on each server and configure it. Hadoop represents how data centers were run 10 years ago before virtualization was mainstream."
Serengeti will provide IT services personnel with a command-line interface they can use to manage Hadoop in a virtualized environment. Ibarra explained, "you just issue a handful of commands to specify the site for the cluster, how much memory per node, storage, networking configurations. Then Serengeti deploys it." The result should be a higher degree of availability combined with superior utilization of resources and a much quicker deployment than was possible with physical infrastructure.
SMBs will find that virtualization itself is a technology best planned, deployed, and maintained as part of a managed services model for IT support. By working with a specialized IT company experienced in the creation of virtual infrastructure, businesses can reduce the footprint of their in-house IT departments. In some cases they can eliminate such departments entirely and run their IT operations at an overall cost savings as compared to the traditional paradigm.