VMware (NYSE: VMW) is taking aim at the database market with its new vFabric Data Director technology. The new technology will provide database-as-a-service capabilities by way of vFabric Postgres, which is a VMware-supported version of the open source PostgreSQL database.
The vFabric technology effort began in 2010 as an approach to help enable applications for the cloud.
“Many of the processes associated with deployment and management of databases in the enterprise are very manual,” David McJannet, VMware’s director of Cloud and Application Services, told InternetNews.com. “There is an opportunity to leverage the construct of virtualization and virtual machines to really automate the process of deploying and managing databases.”
McJannet added that by having database as a service, the goal is to provide a central place for enterprise IT to control and manage database assets. He said database administrators using vFabric can create a series of templates for types of databases they want to provision. The administrators can also apply policy to the database virtual machines for usage and permissions. Developers with appropriate permission can then visit an online portal and self-provision their own databases as a virtual machine.
“At the same time the database virtual machines remain under centralized management,” McJannet said. “So when a new version of the database is required by the operations team they can push out updates to all machines and automate many of the manual processes that need to be done.”
McJannet noted that for every database in production, many enterprises have an additional five to ten databases that were used during the application development lifecycle for development and testing. With the vFabric Data connector, enterprises can take advantage of the linked clone feature to ensure that a virtual machine in one place can be easily cloned.
The first database supported by VMware is PostgreSQL, though McJannet said that other databases would be added over time. As to why VMware is supporting PostgreSQL first, McJannet noted that it’s an open source technology with a long history of mission critical customer adoption.
“We really do believe that PostgreSQL with its vibrant community and heritage of critical usage is a very good database for this purpose,” McJannet said.
From a competitive perspective, VMware is also stressing how the new vFabric Data Connector is different than simply using the Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service).
“The real distinction between us and Amazon is that our service is about enabling database-as-a-service for the enterprise,” McJannet said. “This is something that the enterprises can create on its own for internal uses.”