VMware Revamps Midrange Virtual Server

VMware has upgraded its virtualization server for mid-range customers, bumping the software’s memory to 3.6 gigabytes per server for large applications and adding Microsoft Windows integration for performance monitoring and event logging.

GSX Server 3 allows IT administrators to consolidate Windows and Linux-based servers in large departments of large enterprises by providing the ability to run multiple instances of operating systems through one access point.

Virtualization has become increasingly popular as more enterprises seek to simplify the infrastructure in their data centers by pooling or sharing resources.

The improvements to the GSX server also include support for network adapters, SCSI backup devices, as well as improved CPU, disk and networking performance, said Raghu Raghuram, director of product management for the Palo Alto, Calif., company.

The GSX Server 3 now includes automatic virtual start-up and shutdown, PXE provisioning for booting and installing operating systems into new virtual machines, as well as the ability to migrate virtual machines from GSX Server to VMware ESX Server, the company’s enterprise-class virtual server.

Moreover, GSX runs new Windows, Linux and NetWare operating systems, making it the most flexible virtual server on the market. The product is compatible with the company’s VirtualCenter management and provisioning software.

“This a quantum leap forward in provisioning enterprise applications,” Raghuram told internetnews.com.

VMware was acquired by storage systems giant EMC January 8 in a blockbuster purchase that should give EMC an inroad to the utility computing market, where rivals HP, IBM and Veritas Software are strong. Many analysts with knowledge about the space expressed surprise that EMC and not IBM or HP made
a play for VMware.

But Michael Mullany, vice president of marketing at VMware, said it wouldn’t have made for good business had VMware been acquired by HP or IBM because either purchase would run the risk of alienating the other company; VMware enjoys fruitful partnerships with both HP and IBM, providing virtualization for their Intel-based servers.

One move in particular speaks volumes about the value software companies see in making virtualization software.

Never known as a company that serves data centers, Microsoft is soon entering the virtualization market and is currently testing its Virtual Server 2004 software to centrally manage server farms in data centers.

Mullany doesn’t expect tough competition here, however, as he said VMware’s technology and success are difficult to duplicate. He said VMware earned $100 million in revenues last year and expects to double that in 2004 under the auspices of EMC.

Mullany said that currently Dell, Egenera, HP, NEC Systems Technologies and Unisys are distributing GSX Server. GSX Server 3 will be available for both Windows and Linux host operating systems by the end of February. Pricing starts at $2500 for 2-CPU servers.

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