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VMware Extends Virtualization's Reach To Servers Plus Storage

VMware, best known for virtualizing x86-based servers, is expanding into tools that can manage both virtualized servers and their attached networked storage, combining two key data center assets under one management interface.

VMware this week introduced Infrastructure 3, designed to aggregate both servers and storage as virtualized resources that can be more easily manged by one administrator. In effect, many combinations of an operating system and applications can be assigned virtual machines and disk space without the operator necessarily knowing the details of any of the physical devices.

The VMware products that make it possible—the ESX 3.0 virtual server, the VMotion virtual machine migrator, and VirtualCenter 2.0, a multiple virtual machine management tool—"aren't exactly new," writes Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff in a report this week. But the way VMware has packaged their capabilities into one management console and reduced their pricing "breaks new ground," he wrote.

In addition to the existing products, VMware has added the functions of distributed job scheduling, high availability or automated failover of a virtual machine from one server to another, and consolidated backup, letting Infrastructure 3 manage x86 servers and their storage throughout a server farm or data center.

Infrastructure 3 Starter is priced at $1,000 for small businesses being run on a two-way server; Infrastructure 3 Standard is priced at $3,750 for consolidating departmental level servers; the Enterprise version is designed for data centers and is priced at $5,750.

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