Making what now seems like the next logical step for operating system evolution, VMware today told the world about Virtual Datacenter OS, which it positions as a way to "pool all types of hardware resources--servers, storage and network--into an aggregated on-premise cloud." The solution gives enterprise administrators flexibility and options in terms of application environments and computing power than had been previously possible.

Introduced at VMworld 2008, its annual conference for IT professionals, VDC/OS comprises three primary services: Infrastructure vServices, which aggregate servers, storage and networking and dole them out to applications as needed; Application vServices, which oversee application availability, security and scalability; and Cloud vServices, which manage and federate overall execution workloads, and can seek assistance from clouds outside an organization if computing demand requires it.

The benefits of such an environment are many, including the obvious access it afforts IT folks to nearly instantaneous setup of high-power servers running Linux, Unix, Windows, .NET, Java EE or all of the above. The system can virtualize as many as 8 CPUs with 256 GB RAM; that's gigabytes, with a "g." Applications can execute on virtually any version of any operating system, or can "run in mixed operating system environments," the company claimed in a news release issued this morning from the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Virtual CPUs memory and networking devices can be added on-the-fly without downtime, the company claims. For transaction-based applications, a feature called VMDirectPath boosts network and storage I/O performance. As for reliability, VDC/OS introduces a fault tolerance service that "provides zero downtime, zero data loss availability to all applications against hardware failures without the cost and complexity of hardware or software clustering," the company said. There's also a data recovery function for disk-based backup in the event of catastrophic failure.

There's a lot more to tell, but I'm out of time. Tune in tomorrow for part II, which will cover new administrative capabilities and provisioning, as well as a pair of new tools aimed at enterprise developers and ISVs (respectively) that turn applications into "self-describing, self-managing entities" or allow them to be converted for execution as stand-alone appliances.