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Multiplying Virtual Servers With New VMware Tools

VMware Inc. began in November to ship VirtualCenter, an expanded management tool that handles provisioning, monitoring, and security access controls for virtual servers across multiple physical servers. VirtualCenter, unveiled in June as VMware Control Center, also feeds the data it collects to more comprehensive management suites such as IBM Tivoli and Computer Associates Unicenter. VMware is working on integration with Hewlett-Packard OpenView.
In addition to VirtualCenter, VMware is also making its VMotion technology available as part of ESX Server. VMotion software lets system administrators move virtual servers from one physical server to another using a drag-and-drop Windows screen interface. These servers can be moved without interruption to any applications running on them.

Gannett Co., one of the world's largest media companies, plans to meet the need for computing power through a strategy of server consolidation. The company, which owns 94 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA Today, is using VMware's virtualization software to quickly and cheaply upgrade older servers while also setting up test environments to ensure a smooth transition.

Since August, the company has been running VMware's ESX Server on two four-way Intel-based IBM x440 servers. Gannett's IT staff is using ESX Server to divide the x440s into 10 virtual servers running intranet, systems management, and financials apps migrated from older Intel-based servers running on either Pentium 2 or Pentium 3 processors.

That's just the beginning, Gannett IT architect Eric Kuzmack says. The company plans to continue to wring efficiency out of its IT operations by running as many as 25 virtual servers on each x440 over the next several months. The century-old news company saw 2002 net income jump nearly 40% to $1.2 billion, while sales only increased 1% to $6.4 billion.

Companies in several industries, including agribusiness J.R. Simplot Co. and insurance provider American International Group Inc., have for years been using VMware virtualization software to consolidate Intel-based server farms that grew out of late 1990s business growth. Gannett, however, is taking advantage of VMware's newest technology to improve the management of these virtual servers.

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