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Virtual Iron Boosted by Intel

Server virtualizaton startup Virtual Iron Software Inc. will use $8.5 million in Series C funding led by Intel Capital to get its multisystem message out to more customers. The funding brings the startup's total to $28.5 million since its founding in March 2003.

Virtual Iron, which claims six unnamed customers, is one of a growing roster of startups laying claim to controlling server resources regardless of the underlying hardware. In Virtual Iron's case, the claim is mainly one of scale: Unlike market leader VMware Inc., whose focus traditionally has been on partitioning individual servers, Virtual Iron's focus is on virtualization across multiple Intel-based servers.

"We do an entire data center," claims Mike Grandinetti, Virtual Iron's chief marketing officer. Of course, he knows his place as a market newbie: "We can compliment VMware, actually."

Not in this world, says at least one analyst. "In some universe, somewhere, it might be theoretically possible that the two could complement each other in some way," says senior analyst Gordon Haff of Illuminata Inc.

Lots of players in the general virtualization space, mostly newcomers like Virtual Iron, take aim at the same problem, but from different angles, Haff states, making a product choice depend largely on the problem being solved. He says SWsoft Inc., for instance, specializes in partitioning a single operating system into individual containers -- a strategy hosting providers find advantageous, because of their interest in maintaining commonality in partitioned systems. VMware and Virtual Iron add overhead, but both can put multiple versions of an operating system into virtual machines.

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