VMware reveals details on Project Octopus

By Steven Burke on Aug 7, 2012 4:14 PM
Filed under Data centre

Gears up for launch.

VMware is gearing up to unveil the on-premise version of Project Octopus, the storage and file synchronisation offering it is billing as "Dropbox for the enterprise," later this month.

Bill Bliss, vice president of product management for VMware's end user computing division, told CRN VMware will provide more "specifics around packaging and availability" for Project Octopus at VMworld, which is being held in San Francisco from Aug 26-30.

VMware will offer Project Octopus as a cloud service to compete with established foes like Dropbox and Box. But, VMware will also offer enterprise customers the option of running the cloud storage service on site, something Bliss described as a key differentiator for luring enterprise customers.

"We are focused right now on on-premise implementations," Bliss said.

Project Octopus started as a Zimbra project, and VMware partnered with EMC’s Mozy on the synchronisation technology, said Bliss. The final product will carry a different label from the 'Project Octopus' codename, he added.

Octopus is tied closely to VMware’s Horizon Application Manager, and the combination of the two products provides a virtual workspace for knowledge workers to access data and applications from any device including smartphones or tablet computers.

Horizon Application Manager, a classic three-tier web application that VMware runs internally, will be packaged up as a virtual application -- referred to as a vApp in the VMware lexicon -- to mask the complexity of running Octopus as an on-premise data centre solution, Bliss said.

"95 percent of the complexity that you would normally see in deploying a three-tier web application just goes away because you just deploy it as a vApp," he said. “Under the covers, there are a half-dozen or more virtual machines, but they are all wired up together to talk to each other. It is the type of thing that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago."

VMware has been working closely with service provider partners to get them up to speed on Project Octopus and Application Horizon, Bliss said.

"We have been keeping them in the loop around our road map and our thoughts around packaging and availability," he said.

Bliss said many IT departments have adopted the equivalent of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with Dropbox, looking the other way while also being cognisant of the security risks involved.

VMware first revealed Project Octopus at last year's VMworld show, and Bliss described the planned unveiling at this year's event as "daunting but exciting."

"VMworld happens every August like clockwork," he said. "Shipping software is a lot more complicated. It is always a reminder of how focused you have to be on execution whenever you make a public announcement on this stuff."

This article originally appeared at crn.com

 
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