HP Vows More Virtualization

Upgrades its Virtual Server Environment (VSE) software and keeps the pressure on Sun

June 7, 2007

3 Min Read
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HP has overhauled its Virtual Server Environment (VSE) software as part of an ongoing attempt to lure Sun users onto its server platforms. (See HP Unveils Virtualization Software.)

VSE, which is used to control virtual machines running on Integrity servers, is now being pushed to the forefront of the vendor's virtualization efforts, according to Ute Albert, marketing manager in HP's Enterprise Storage and Server (ESS) division. "Customers have been taking really large scale advantages of virtualization," she explains, adding that this calls for a greater level of server management.

Specifically, HP has added a feature called Capacity Advisor to VSE, which can import data collected from Sun servers into VSE. "This allows you to plan the consolidation from Sun servers to Integrity servers," says Albert, adding that users making this move have been worth about $1 billion to HP since 2004.

The idea here is that users can compile data on their existing server workloads and then use this to simulate what the same workloads would look like on Integrity servers running HP-UX, Windows, and Linux.

The last few years have not been the easiest for Sun, which has had to undergo job losses and massive internal restructuring following a tough financial spell for the company. (See Is Sun Setting? and Sun Loses $760M in Q3.) Despite an upswing in Sun's overall performance, HP continues to target its server customers. (See Sun Slips on Storage.) "Virtualization is a hot topic for customers," says Albert. "Sun recognized that pretty late."Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told Byte and Switch that despite its recent problems, talk of a mass exodus from Sun is off the mark. "Sun's business has stabilized reasonably of late - it's good evidence that their customers are not deserting them in droves," he says. "Vendors are stealing business from each other all the time."

Other VSE enhancements, in this case, specifically targeted at the HP-UX 11i operating system, include a feature to quickly view applications running on a virtual server, and an upgrade to the software's Global Workload Manager.

HP's Albert told Byte and Switch that Global Workload Manager can specify whether individual applications such as SAP, CRM, and Oracle access spare server capacity. "For example, you can turn on an additional CPU," she says.

Similarly, the vendor has enhanced VSE's Global Instant Capacity feature, which can share access to CPUs across servers. The vendor also announced a new release of Serviceguard, which keeps Linux-based applications running on VMware virtual machines in the event of an outage. Previously, Serviceguard would only work with physical machines.

HP is not the only vendor playing in this space; IBM also offers software called virtualization manager to streamline use of applications running on virtual machines.Enhancements to products such as VSE, while making virtualization more efficient, can bring other problems, according to Illuminata's Haff. "There's always a tradeoff," he explains. "In exchange for flexibility and control, you're adding additional complexity" to your infrastructure, he says.

HP's virtualization upgrades will be available this month at no extra charge for users with existing support contracts. For new users, VSE is priced at $4,000 per processor core.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Illuminata Inc.

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

  • SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP)

  • VMware Inc.

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