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VMware to Virtualize IBM Blade Servers

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Mar 23, 2005


IBM has agreed to offer evaluation copies of VMware's applications with its BladeCenter system in an attempt to bring the promise of virtualization software on blade servers to life. VMware aims to hone its virtualization software on IBM's modular blade server systems to gain market presence.

Financial terms of the agreement, expected to be announced at the Server Blade Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., were not disclosed. Brian Byun, vice president of alliances with VMware, said customers purchasing IBM BladeCenter will receive six-month evaluation copies of VMware's ESX Server, Virtual SMP and VirtualCenter with VMotion.

Virtualization software is a technological approach in which multiple copies of a certain piece of software are run on one machine, making a single server function as though it were several computers. This often allows enterprises to realize greater resource efficiencies and save money.

Specifically, VMware enables multiple copies of an operating system, such as Windows and Linux, to run on one machine through virtual partitions.

While IBM has been reselling VMware software on its eServer xSeries and BladeCenter systems since 2002, customers previously had to request evaluation copies of VMware software, Byun said.

The enhanced deal calls for VMware software to automatically come on IBM blades, thin servers that slide in and out of the BladeCenter chassis. If customers decide VMware software is a good fit after the evaluation period, they may begin licensing the applications from IBM.

The program could boost VMware's nearly ubiquitous presence on servers in the market because IBM is easily the blade server system leader, according to the latest research from IDC, which found that IBM has 49.5 percent of the blade market.

HP is considered the second leading blade server provider. Although Byun said the IBM deal was not exclusive, he would not comment on whether VMware is crafting a similar arrangement with its Palo, Alto, Calif., partner, HP.

Moreover, Byun said the customers that purchase blade servers and virtualization software are often the same clients.

"Buyers who buy blades and the people who buy virtualization are very synonymous," Byun said. "They tend to be looking for efficiency and a standardized way of doing things. We find that people that try it have a propensity to go deploy it."

This is the second major partnership extension for VMware this month. Earlier, Intel said it will add hardware support for VMware virtualization software in its forthcoming Vanderpool chip line.

Separately, IBM announced a new McData storage area network switch at the Server Blade Summit. Co-developed by McDATA and QLogic, the device integrates with data centers that run McData software. Moreover, IBM also secured new BladeCenter customers, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Siebel, and FusionStorm.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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