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VMware Moves To Next Level Of Enterprise Virtualization

Since introducing virtualization software for lower-end servers in 2001, VMware has continued to expand its virtualization footprint within enterprises and SMBs for a commanding 85% of the enterprise market. The value proposition for its customers has been to reduce server sprawl, energy consumption and licensing costs in data centers--but with most of those objectives met, the ante is being raised.

"We recognize that the majority of our customers have taken the first step of virtualization, which is the reduction of servers--and that we have to go beyond the low-hanging fruit," said Rob Smoot, Group Manager of Product Marketing for VMware's vCenter products. "This means using virtualization as a means of optimizing people, processes and technologies."

VMware's latest product strategy is a combination of offense and defense. vCenter delivers new performance monitoring and tuning tools that were missing on low-end servers in the past, although they were common on large computing platforms such as mainframes. Now that most sites have virtualized their low-end servers, they are are looking for more.

"When you are functioning in the realm of enterprise applications, it is important for sites to have absolute confidence in the solutions that you are providing," said VMware's Smoot. "So for example, if you have a multi-tiered application that includes virtualization components and you are benchmarking a virtualized application versus a physically located one, you want the ability  to monitor to the same level in either scenario and a network administrator also needs the ability to troubleshoot when there are performance issues. Sometimes we find that virtualization as a 'new kid on the block' is unjustly blamed for performance issues, and complete visibility of performance from end to end can reduce the finger-pointing."  

The stakes for next generation virtualization are huge. Large enterprises like Google that are reliant on distributed servers continue to make it clear that they are still not necessarily sold on virtualization. With a computing-intensive business, Google continues to rely on an in-house crafted infrastructure constructed around physical components with built-in redundancy and readily swappable parts. Understandably, they are reluctant to enter into virtualized cloud computing where it risks sacrificing direct control over its custom IT infrastructure.

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