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VMware vCenter Family Buttresses vSphere 4.0

VMware (NYSE: VMW) today unveiled the vCenter family of products, designed to improve the utility of VMware's flagship vSphere 4.0 virtualization system. The announcement came at the company's VMworld virtualization conference, which opens today in San Francisco.

"With the VMware vCenter family of products, customers will be able to dramatically simplify infrastructure management, service delivery, and application management eliminating tedious manual tasks, achieving greater visibility into datacenter operations, and ultimately guaranteeing service levels through set-and-forget policy-based control," Raghu Raghuram, vice president and general manager of VMware's server business unit, said in a statement.

The product family is divided into two categories of application. vCenter's infrastructure management applications help enterprise IT managers monitor and control the performance of applications, some of which have both virtual machine (VM) and physical server components.

Meanwhile, vCenter's service delivery management helps developers and IT managers ensure that applications are secure and stable, from development through decommissioning.

Additionally, the VMware vCenter Chargeback app enables IT to ensure that business lines pay for and understand the costs of the virtualized resources they use.

VMware vCenter is designed to be extensible, allowing it to work with rather than replace whatever enterprise software the business is currently using. This drew praise and more from numerous leading enterprise software vendors.

In the major announcement, EMC (NYSE: EMC) said today that it has licensed VMware's AppSpeed infrastructure management application. AppSpeed will now be resold by EMC as part of EMC's Ionix virtualization management portfolio.

"In VMware vCenter AppSpeed, VMware has taken a major step forward helping customers conduct service-level reporting and proactive performance management for multi-tier applications running on virtual machines," Jay Mastaj, EMC Ionix vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "IT administrators gain unprecedented visibility into application performance and how it helps accelerate their journey to the private cloud."

Companies representing a significant portion of the total enterprise software market also talked up vCenter today and explained how their products will work with it.

For instance, IBM highlighted the close ties between the two companies' wares. "IBM continues to work closely with VMware on comprehensive management solutions, including IBM CloudBurst, a pre-integrated service delivery platform for private clouds built on IBM BladeCenter that incorporates the VMware platform and VMware vCenter Server," said Alex Yost, vice president of IBM's (NYSE:IBM) systems and technology group, in a statement.

Security player Symantec also weighed in, saying vCenter could combine with its Altiris Server Management Suite to help customers "reduce server provisioning time from hours to minutes, ensure consistency between physical and virtual machines, and better manage virtualization across their organizations," Mark Magee, senior director of product management Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), said in a statement.

VMware for SMBs

Also today, VMware announced the beta of VMware Go, a free product designed for small- and midsized businesses (SMBs). The product is designed to increase the level of adoption of virtualization by this key enterprise segment.

"VMware Go will simplify virtualization for SMBs to a few easy online steps and was designed with SMBs in mind," Dan Chu, VMware vice president of emerging products and markets, said in a statement. "We want SMBs who may be sitting on the fence to realize all the benefits of virtualization without burdening their limited IT resources."

The free product will be generally available in 2010, the company said.

VMware also announced that Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) will offer vSphere 4 through its channel, which consists of over 50,000 members, helping VMware sell to SMBs worldwide.

"SMBs are looking for a means of administering 'Always On IT' through a robust, continuously available IT infrastructure with minimal overhead and high investment return," Carl Eschenbach, VMware executive vice president of worldwide field operations, said in a statement. "Combining VMware vSphere 4 with Intel server products through Intel's channel will help reseller and system integrator partners deliver virtualization solutions faster and at a lower cost, while extending the critical business benefits of virtualization to an even larger number of customers."