VMWare Hires Redis Key Developer – But Why?

My friend MosheZ alerted me to the fact (which few hours later appeared all over the net) that VMWare hired Redis key developer. Which is as close to acquisition as you can get with an open source project.

What is Redis? Redis is yet-another-NoSQL. A key-value store, somewhat similar to Tokyo Cabinet. Except that Redis does persistence differently, which makes it faster in many cases. Redis started as a Memcached replacement, so a lot of the documentation describes it as follows: Redis is like Memcached, except it supports more data types, it is persistent to some degree and it is not distributed.

But the more interesting question is – Why does VMWare need Redis?

VMWare says: “As VMware continues its investments in the context of cloud computing, technologies such as Redis become key for future cloud based apps, whether private or public cloud, and the cloud infrastructure itself.”

So Redis is cloud and VMWare is a major cloud player, therefore VMWare needs redis. Two discrepancies stand out in this story:

  1. Redis is not distributed system. Unlike Cassandra, where you can scale by quickly adding more Cassandras to the party, Redis is just one (very fast) server, only supporting master-slave replication. VMWare is all about adding new machines quickly. Something doesn’t fit.
  2. While key-value stores are  cloudy and VMWare is cloudy, there is no natural match between their cloudiness. VMWare itself can’t use Redis – because Redis technology is a natural match for big-data websites which VMWare clearly isn’t. Some VMWare customers can benefit from Redis, but most can’t. What’s going on here?

Clearly, the place to look is not in existing value but in the future. So here are my predictions:

  1. Redis will become distributed. It can certainly be done. Perhaps it can even be done without losing it’s performance edge.
  2. VMware will announce an Amazon-like, cloud-for-rent service. They have the technology for this, and Redis will help them manage the “huge website” part of it.
  3. They may also offer Redis on top of the virtual servers, as something built in. Like Amazon’s Oracle servers.
  4. VMWare can also offer storage for rent. They can do it with EMC storage (since VMWare is an EMC company), but I’m betting that they’ll do it with Netapp – their favorite cloud partner.  I can totally imagine a near-future Netapp-Vmware offering that is similar to Amazon’s EC2+ S3+AWS.

Predicting is very difficult (especially about the future) and I’m very much ready to regret ever posting my day dreams in public, but these are exciting possibilities. I wonder if they make sense to anyone else.


And speaking of MosheZ, he is a prolific song writer, and he wrote a song about DBAs! I’m thinking of performing it live during one of my presentations. Actually I’m thinking of writing a presentation “How to win arguments or influence users” just to have an excuse to sneak this song in 🙂


4 Comments on “VMWare Hires Redis Key Developer – But Why?”

  1. o says:

    Another use case for Redis – private cloud infrastructure. In SOA environment, ablity to scale horisontaly is actually very important.

  2. Tzvika says:

    it doesn’t have to become distributed to be useful in a vmware env. it can run in a single vm that scales massively to span as many esx as you want. that’s the oft ignore ‘other’ use case of virtualization, to build 1 vm that runs on N physical servers, rather than the other way around…

    • prodlife says:

      I never tried running a memory-based DB where vmware is used to spread the memory between several physical machines. But I doubt if it can scale as well as distributed DBs will. The general distributed memory problem is just much harder than what distributed key-value stores are solving.

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