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VMware, Cloudy With a (Strong) Chance of Server Virtualization

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Jul 14, 2010


More on server virtualization

VMware's Tuesday release of VSphere 4.1 is more than a typical point release, and it's about more than server virtualization.

VMware's Tuesday release of vSphere 4.1 may look and sound like a point release, but it has functionality that for some would merit a major releases.

It's been a more than a year since the release of vSphere 4.0, which was meant to reposition the virtualization infrastructure software at cloud computing environments.

Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's vice president of product marketing, told ServerWatch of the two areas to receive major feature bumps in the release, both of which are key to cloud computing: scalability and quality of service.

VMware (NYSE: VMW) has increased the scalability of vSphere in terms of both capacity and management. Customers can now create clusters two three times larger than previously possible. They can also have up to 3,000 VMs in a cluster, a nearly three-fold increase over the previous cap of 1,280. vSphere is now capable of managing 1,000 physical hosts and 10,000 Power Dome VMs, triple the 3,500 manageable previously. The number of simultaneous server migrations possible has quadrupled and execution time faster is faster. This means that a cluster with, for example, 20 physical hosts, can have up to 80 migrations at one time.

VMware is also claiming a better quality of service guarantee as related to storage and network resources. It has developed resources available for virtual servers for some time and made them available for storage and networking software. Balkansky said he believes they will enable virtual environment to run better and are necessary to keep a cluster in good health.

From the sound of it, the offering seems like a pure HPC play, but Balkansky was quick to note that the offering is not just for HPC installs. In fact, VMware is aiming a version of vSphere aimed at SMBs. VMware officially decreased the price of vSphere Essentials to $495 for three physical servers after running a promotion at that price point since March. The volume increase more than made up for price decrease, Balkansky explained, noting "there's something 'magical' about the $500 price." At that price, he explained, a data center manager can buy it and expense it.

With VMware gearing up for next month's VMworld, you can bet this isn't the last time we'll hear from the virtualization vendor. You can also count on the dog days of summer being anything but as far as virtualization is concerned. Expect to hear from the competition soon.

The cloud is getting crowded, and VMware is doing everything it can to ensure businesses of all stripes, from the Fortune 100s to the mom-and-pop shops on the corner, are in its weather pattern. Whether one vendor can adequately meet the needs of all every organization is doubtful, but the other vendors could well be in reaction mode already. Consider Microsoft's announcement of its three-forked cloud computing strategy, which included among other things, a new way of treating Azure.

Amy Newman is the senior managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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