Virtually Speaking: VMware Everywhere
We bring you a delayed Virtually Speaking so we could bring you the results of the third annual ServerWatch Product Excellence Awards. Virtualization is no stranger to the awards, and this year, two categories focused on the technology. VMware Infrastructure 3 took top honors in the Virtualization Platform category, while Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition and Sun xVM took the runner-up spots. In the Virtualization Tool category, VMLogix LabManager Manager came in first and Hyperic HQ was runner up. Meanwhile, VMware was busy wooing and being wooed. Like any software vendor, VMware's relationships and partnering with OEMs is a common strategy. On Monday, the company went beyond this space and into the far less glamorous original design manufacturer (ODM) arena. ODMs, more commonly known as whitebox vendors, accounted for about 25 percent of the servers that shipped in 2007, Ben Matheson senior director of producct management at VMware, told Serverwatch. VMware wins, woos and partners up.
Until now, the virtualization vendors, for the most part, have ignored this dispersed market in favor of the more high-profile vendors.
That dynamic may be changing if VMware's announcement from earlier this week is a barometer. On Monday, the virtualization vendor announced it had forged partnerships with four ODMs.
Asia-based companies stand to benefit the most from the deal, as they are the stronghold of whitebox customers, Matheson said. It is not surprising, therefore, that VMware chose the Computex Taipei 2008 show as its platform to announce it has inked deals with ASUS, Gigabyte, Inventec and Tyan, all of which happen to be Asia-based. VMware also has an ongoing relationship with Supermicro, which it announced back in February.
VMware will certify 1-, 2- and 4-socket servers and blades from the four vendors to run its ESX and ESXi hypervisor. The process is expected to be complete, and the certified systems made available, within the next 60 days, Matheson said. Certified Supermicro offerings are currently available.
Of course, users can opt to install VMware's software themselves on these systems today. The value-add that comes with the certification is that the software is guaranteed to work as well as the fact that VMware ESX or ESXi is installed and ready to roll at the initial boot-up as well as first-line support from the ODM.
The ODMs, Matheson notes, are not limited to offering the hypervisor. They, as well as channel partners, can also offer the more comprehensive Virtual Infrastructure 3 preinstalled or make it available as an option to customers.
Meanwhile, on the flipside, Toronto, Canada based Uptime Software added VMware support to its arsenal. On Wednesday, the company released a new version of its software for enterprise-wide, cross-domain, cross-environment system monitoring and capacity management.
The changes in this release center around service-level agreement (SLA) management and monitoring, application transaction monitoring (ATM) and virtualization management.
First and foremost, support for VMware has been deepened and AIX 6 and POWER 6 virtualized environments has been added. VMware ESX accounts for nearly 20 percent of all sales, up in recent months from a mere 5 percent to 7 percent of customers last year, CTO Alex Bewley told ServerWatch.
The improvements in virtual functionality center around controlling virtual sprawl with automatic discovery and tracking of motioning instances, as well as better workload metrics and measurement capabilities, including physical-to-virtual planning capability.
Up.time5's pricing is described as virtualization friendly $695 per box regardless of how many virtual machines are running. This frees up enterprise to move workloads around as optimally as possible without worrying about licensing
The multi-platform solution is aimed at organizations with 100 to 5,000 servers, a fairly broad range, Bewley admitted. Uptime maintains that the range is appropriate because despite infrastructure size, problems are similar.
Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been following the virtualization space since 2001.