HP Feeds Growing Virtualization Demand

Virtualization is a hot commodity and Hewlett-Packard thinks its latest release makes it more valuable for its enterprise customers. Today, HP announced a new Virtual Server Environment (VSE) Reference Architecture for Oracle Real Application Clusters for HP-UX 11i database customers.

The software dynamically scales the HP Integrity server infrastructure when mission-critical database workloads fluctuate. Another new function helps protect against failure by automatically moving the virtual machines between servers. Implemented in the latest version of its Serviceguard for HP-UX 11i, the software will automatically move the VMs between servers when there’s a failure.

HP also said it’s made it easier to manually move VMs from one system to another. “You might want to, for example, move VMs to rebalance workloads. This can be very helpful,” said Nick van der Zweep, director of virtualization and Integrity server software at HP.

“The ability to shift workloads easily from one system to another that HP added is a really nice feature,” Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice told internetnews.com. “In a couple of years time, as more vendors adopt this idea, IT departments will realize they aren’t married to a physical instance for the life of the application. That’s a big change.”

Eunice describes the HP upgrades as a “really nice tweak,” but is more impressed that it is an other example of the rapid evolution of virtualization features. “There is a whole new model and expectation of what is possible,” said Eunice. “What we’re seeing with virtualization is that it’s changing the thinking of people who develop and pay for applications.”

Companies like HP and IBM , with long experience offering virtualization for large systems, are being pushed by fast-growing VM suppliers like upstart VMware to offer more features and get them to market quicker.

IDC analyst Jean Bozman said HP is showing it has the experience and resources to bring valuable features to the high-end, Itanium-based Integrity platform. HP is by far the biggest seller of Itanium systems.

“Much of the discussion around virtualization that you hear in the industry
today focuses on the x86 platform,” Bozman told internetnews.com via email. “HP’s VSE environment supports highly granular virtualization for data center mission critical workloads, many of which leverage a data center database or high availability software capabilities.”

Insurance company Royal London, said it’s already saved $200,000 by using HP virtualization technologies and has been able to respond quicker to changing workloads.

“We have benefited enormously from out IT staff being able to focus on adding value to the business,” said Clive Cranshaw, technical administrator with Royal London. “The HP Integrity Virtual Machines allocate and manage server resources automatically and keep our user productive.”

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