VMware Ships Updates As Rivals Crowd Virtualization Market

As it faces new competition from Microsoft Virtual Server and SWsoft's Virtuozzo, VMware on Tuesday launched an upgrade of its flagship virtualization server, ESX 2.5, that offers advanced storage features,

December 15, 2004

3 Min Read
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As competitors move in on its coveted territory, VMware is launching upgrades of its leading virtualization products and has formed an alliance to help bolster its growth.

On Tuesday, VMware, Palo Alto, Calif., unveiled significant upgrades of its flagship server, ESX 2.5, and the Virtual Center companion platform that allows customers to manage farms of ESX servers.

VMware's ESX 2.5, which is available now, offers advanced storage features, automated installation, expanded support for rack and blade servers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, and expanded guest operating system support, according to VMware.

The company Tuesday also announced Virtual Center 1.2 and the VMware Virtual Infrastructure Software Development Kit. These products add support for the new VMware ESX 2.5 that will enable management of virtual machines using SAN transparency and ease management of clustered virtual machines, the company said.

As VMware refines the capabilities of these offerings, the vendor announced last week a major strategic alliance with Oracle, which also competes heavily against VMware competitor Microsoft.The pact, unveiled at OracleWorld in conjunction with the Server Technologies division of Oracle, covers cooperative product development, performance engineering and marketing between the two companies.

These announcements from VMware come on the heels of a major launch from a player in the Linux virtualization game, SWsoft. The Herndon, Va.-based vendor plans Wednesday to officially unveil the first production version of its virtualization platform for Windows, Virtuozzo for Windows.

SWsoft launched its public beta in November and is expected to ship the final product in 2005. The version available this week is a production version for customers who want to buy and test Virtuozzo in production environments now, said Kurt Daniel, director of marketing at SWsoft.

VMware also faces new competition from Microsoft, whose Virtual Server 2005 hit the market this quarter.

As VMware prepares for battle against those two players, it has readied what it hopes will be the leading platform for the next wave of storage virtualization, as well as added other advanced capabilities to its products.ESX 2.5, for example, offers advanced storage features, including SAN transparency and the ability to boot the ESX kernel directly from a SAN. SAN transparency will enable native SAN access from within virtual machines, as if they were running on physical hardware, according to VMware. That means users can run SAN backup and replication software inside multiple virtual machines that run on a single server.

Moreover, the upgrade allows customer to run virtual machines on diskless servers and blades by booting the ESX kernel from a SAN directly.

ESX 2.5 also features scripts that speed deployment of multi-server installations and allows new support for FreeBSD 4.0, Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9 to run as guests in virtual machines.

To facilitate improved management, the ESX upgrade also incorporates the Common Information Model (CIM) API and a software development kit (SDK) to enable monitoring of ESX host and virtual servers from any CIM-based client or management tools.

In addition to these ESX improvements, the Virtual Center update offers enhanced support for VMware's GSX server, allowing users to automate the migration and management of virtual machines between GSX and the enterprise-ready ESX server. Customers will also be able to export virtual machine performance data in HTML and Excel formats to enable better analysis and reporting, according to VMware.0

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