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VMware To Ship Infrastructure 3

Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware is rolling out this month a new suite of its virtualization tools that bundles both existing and new products into a package meant to more closely reflect what customers say they need as their deployments become more complex. High on that list, say company officials, is the ability to manage a lot of virtual machines from one centralized view.

Infrastructure 3 is intended to do that and more -- like providing virtualization management systems for entire farms of servers and storage, independent of the application/operating system workloads and of the underlying hardware.

"Managing [virtual machines] on a server-by-server basis will be shortly viewed as the past," Patrick Lin, director of datacenter products at VMware, said in an interview. "[Instead, it will be that] I have applications and workloads that have certain requirements... You define what the resource requirements are and Infrastructure 3 provides that," Lin added.

In polling their customers, it turned out, said Lin, that they typically licensed a set of VMware's products to help them manage virtual machines (VMs) running on the company's flagship ESX Server virtualization product. The new suite combines existing and new products to better meet customers' request for an all-in-one solution, Lin said.

Infrastructure 3 is comprised of ESX Server, plus two other existing products -- Virtual SMP and VirtualCenter, which includes the company's VMotion technology. (VMotion is a technology VMware introduced three years ago that enables a VM to be moved around a set of physical servers automatically without any downtime.)

To this base, VMware is also adding four new products: VMFS, a next generation distributed file system that supports management of VMs, VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), VMware High Availability (HA) and VMware Consolidated Backup.

VMware HA provides high-availability capabilities as part of the virtual environment. For instance, if a host goes down, HA can automatically restart all of that host's VMs, the company said in a statement. Other upgrades have been made as well to existing products. Virtual SMP support, meanwhile, has been scaled up from two-way to four-way virtual processors.

Ultimately, Lin said, virtualized environments are changing how companies use computing technologies. "IT [becomes] a shared utility that is deployed dynamically in order to meet the needs of the business," he added. "When you bring up a VM, you can say, 'I want this level of resources'...you don't have to look at individual VMs."

Infrastructure 3 comes in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard edition starts at $3,750 and includes ESX Server 3, Virtual Center 2, Virtual SMP and VMFS. Meantime, the Enterprise edition adds VMotion support, DRS, HA and Consolidated Backup. That package starts at $5,750.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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